Gut Rumbles

May 29, 2005

fisking a comment

I'm in a foul mood and this comment just chapped my Cracker ass. It's a perfect example of what's wrong with this country today.

Just to put in a contrary opinion.

Banning an activity makes it less commonly done. I don't think there is any argument about that. On the downside, driving it underground makes life harder for those who engage in that activity, either as buyer of seller, because it becomes a criminal activity, without regulations.

Your sweeping statement applies to speed limits, too, right? NOBODY violates those laws. How about murder? Make it illegal and people stop killing each other, right? Outlaw guns and you have no more gun crime, right? I beg to differ with you.

Driving any human vice underground accomplishes two things. First, it brings criminals into the trade because what they are doing is against the law anyway, and that pissant fact doesn't bother them. They're perfectly willing to sell whatever the government says they can't sell. Second, it poses a huge risk for consumers because you never know what that shit is you buy from Vito in the alley behind the bar. But the central point is: the laws don't stop it from happening.

Most people don't appreciate, because they are never told, that during Prohibition, deaths from liver (alcoholic) cirrhosis dropped. This is a lethal scarring of the liver due to chronic or recurrent hepatitis (liver inflammation), in this case due to alcohol.

The original name for this type of cirrhosis (Laennec's cirrhosis). He was a French physician in the 19th century. The French, famous wine drinkers, had a lot of this disease.

Give me a fucking break. Joel, you're going to tell me with a straight face that during Prohibition, when people made "bathtub gin," ran moonshine through car radiators and sold rubbing alcohol as genuine hootch, FEWER PEOPLE got sick from drinking? I'd like to see a link to your source. I seem to recall reading about the number of people who never had the chance to develop cirrhosis because they were POISONED RIGHT AWAY by what they drank in those days. And the end result was people drank anyway, and organized crime got its start.

It is common for many rational people to think nothing should be banned. Let adults decide what do with their own bodies.

A contrary view is held by many peopler, who think they are supposed to control the activities of other people. You know who you are. YOU ARE PARENTS.

Okay, Ward Cleaver. You missed one small detail in that holier-then-thou observation. Parents control the behavior of CHILDREN. Once those kids become adults, they have the right to make their own decisions. As a parent, the best you can hope to do is instill a good set of values in your children so that they do okay in the world. But once they fly the nest, it's not your job to control their behavior anymore. That's THEIR JOB.

THESE PARENTS CARE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR CHILDREN, unlike those rational adults who don't give a hoot about what happens to other people.

That's right, these parents don't want their children to be drug addicts or alcoholics, and don't want them smoking, and want laws passed to make such behavior by their children difficult.

No, they want GOVERNMENT to raise their children for them and I find that idea absolutely repugnant. If these fucking laws you're so proud of worked, we wouldn't have teenagers smoking dope and getting drunk today, but we do. And the fact that too many parents rely on GOVERNMENT to raise their children is why we end up with so many drunk, stoned kids. Hang it out there as "forbidden fruit" and see if a teenager won't go for it. The reason I smoked my first joint was because all the anti-drug propaganda I received in school and on TV made me curious about it. If it was THAT bad, it had to be good, so I tried it. And I don't believe that I was that unusual as a teenager.

So, as long as we have PARENTS we will have laws to control the use of drugs and alcohol. Live with it. I like parents.

I loved BOTH of my parents. I AM a parent myself. What's that fact got to do with whether the laws are effective and necessary or not? I can answer that question easily: diddly-squat. The fact that you "like parents" doesn't mean that you need Daddy Ted Kennedy or Uncle Henry Waxman or Mama Barbara Boxer raising your kids. That's YOUR goddam job, not the government's.

The wise thing to do is to respect their laws as much as you are able, and don't endanger your freedom or wealth by circumventing these laws stupidly.

Posted by joel at May 29, 2005 08:44 PM

And don't bitch about the laws even when they are stupid and don't work, either. Right? Just be a good little sheeple. That's "wise."

My aching ass, it is. Joel, your line of reasoning is why the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves today over what this country has become. You are the last person in the world who needs to be preaching about how to "endanger your freedom."

Shit. You're willing to give yours away.


please read :: Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do !!!!! for the REAL historical low-down. written by Peter McWilliams; who ended up being a MARTYR to governmental regulations. There is an entire chapter on PROHIBITION. Peter McWilliams ALSO BELIEVED IN free and open access to his writings SO ALL HIS BOOKS ARE ON THE WEB. (and he is a real historian!) ----> TAKE A MOMENT AND CHECK IT OUT.

Posted by: adele on May 29, 2005 11:32 PM

Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do --

Posted by: adele on May 29, 2005 11:34 PM

I don't want Big Brother being my parent, for heavens sake! Ugh! Get them the F*ck outta my life and let me control it myself!


Posted by: jim on May 30, 2005 02:02 AM

Sophistry or not, it is true that fewer people were drinking back then. But that fact never made headlines.

Posted by: McGehee on May 30, 2005 08:11 AM

As the Clintonistas proved; it takes a village to raise an idiot.

Posted by: og on May 30, 2005 08:22 AM

What Rob said.In spades.

Posted by: Horrabin's Mistakes on May 30, 2005 09:01 AM

"Most people don't appreciate, because they are never told, that during Prohibition, deaths from liver (alcoholic) cirrhosis dropped."Anybody who quotes a stat like that better link to the source. This one smells like a baldfaced lie -- it assumes (a) diagnosis of liver disease was as reliable then as it was today, (b) reliable statistics were maintained from the eras BEFORE and AFTER the institution of the Volstead act, and (c) that alcohol use as a vector could be isolated from others.Many academics have made a career out of becoming hung up on a conclusion and force-fitting the real or imagined facts to support them. For every Michael Bellesiles that gets caught, twenty are living the lush life of tenured professorship.OT: I'll be visiting Baldwin County and my Dad on Thursday. Yippee!

Posted by: Scott Ferguson on May 30, 2005 09:12 AM

My comment about the reduced deaths from cirrhosis during Prohibtion came from a textbook on Gastroenterology.

No question that people got bad alcohol during Prohibition. Methanol and lead contamination can lead to severe heatlh problems. That is a downside of making an activity illegal. It was prepared without govt. regulation.

But, you have declared yourself agains govt. regulation of most activities. Why then should the govt certify that a product (alcohol) is safe for human consumption or punish people who sell tainted products? Based on your statements, you think homemade moonshine is fine to sell. Let the buyer beware.

You are perhaps not aware of the mountain of govt regulations involved when you seek heatlh care. I don't mean the red tape you have to go through. Every aspect of health care delivery is under regulatory control, from the doctor you visit (Getting and keeping a medical license is not easy. You have to spend your entire youth in school or in training, about 12 years beyond high school, on the average.) to the pills he prescribes (Getting a new drug to market cost tens of millions, mostly due to FDA regulations) to the lab tests he orders (I won't even attempt to describe the regulatory nightmare of laboratory medicine). Few people complain about these regulations. Take my word for it, although the cost of these regulations is very high, and although many of these regulations are stupid, overall they do greatly improve quality.

I said that banning an activity makes it less common. It does not stop it entirely. If it did, we wouldn't need police or the courts.

For example, I think that robberies and murders in Baltimore City would become more common if they were not against the law.

Imagine if there were no law against murdering your spouse. I suspect there would be a lot more widows and widowers out there.

About those parents. They have to let their children circulate in society. The alternative would be to raise them in some self contained commune. Now that would be weird. Parents don't want their children exposed to certain influences. Afterall, they are children and children are easily influenced. And, children have absolutely no experience in life; therefore, they are completely lacking in judgement. Letting them be exposed to whatever is not what parents have in mind for their children.

Since parents, at great cost to themselves, provide us with the next generation of humans in our society, and since most parents are dedicated to raising healthy and happy children, I think we should give them a LOT of say in how our society is structured.

But, this is just an opinion.


Posted by: joel on May 30, 2005 09:13 AM

You're kidding, right?

Prohibition, after the first year, resulted in MORE consumption of alcohol. Because standards were non-existant more people died from alcohol during prohibition too.

Another downfall of prohibition was that the illegally made products had no standards. Deaths from poisoned liquor rose from 1,064 in 1920 to 4,154 in 1925.

Think about it rationally. Take drugs for example. There is a complete prohibition on so called street drugs. Alcolhol, on the other hand is legal. Anyone will tell you that pot, cocain, even heroin, is more available than alcohol. They stop selling alcohol after cetain times (1 am where I live), many kinds of alcohol is unavailable except in certain areas.

With so called street drugs, I could go almost anywhere, anytime and pick up something if I so choose.

this is a good place for information,

Posted by: Daniel Medley on May 30, 2005 10:56 AM

Dan seems to agree that govt regulation is necessary for the safe consumption of alcohol.

Now, if you allow govt to regulate the content of the liquor, why do you so vigorously oppose the govt regulating who can drink the liquor?

I know we all agree that 12 year olds should go to school and not hang out in a bar playing pool. How you will achieve that goal without some govt regulation is beyond me. If the child is independent minded, he could just refuse to go to school and hang out with his friends at the pool hall. What's his mother/father going to do? Beat him? That would be illegal. He could sell drugs or do odd jobs to support his life style. His parents couldn't force him out of the house until he was 16 or 18 or something, and which point he would be society's problem.

Posted by: joel on May 30, 2005 12:02 PM

Too many parents are conceited. They had children because they wanted to--NOT to give me a gift.

And entirely too many parents think the country should be turned into a giant kindergarten so their lives will be more to their liking.

Any parent who wants to violate his fellow citizens' liberties, holding his own children out as a hostage, is a child himself.

Posted by: Brett on May 30, 2005 12:08 PM

It is funny, most "established" religions have a similar set of "ten commandments" that are the basis of proper behavior. Now we have "ten million laws" and don't have any better results.
Guess common sense and human stupidity can't be regulated. We just live or die by it.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on May 30, 2005 12:21 PM

Joel, kids DO cut school and hang out in pool halls in spite of all the "government regulations" against it. The best remedy for that problem is a PARENT who says, "If I find out you've been cutting school and hanging out in the pool hall, I'M GOING TO BUST YOUR ASS!"

Bejus. You probably get a wet spot on the front of your pants any time some gas-bag politician says he's passing a law "for the children."

Posted by: Acidman on May 30, 2005 01:04 PM

As I stated here before, I am a recovered alcoholic. The one thing that I found after I decided to sober up was that no one nor no law coudd keep me from using alcohol if I wanted to use it. My joke was " I don't have a problem with alcohol, when I'm broke my friends buy." All of the laws ever made cannot nor willnot take the place of personal responsibility.

By the way, Joel, did you ever stop to think that if at the same time murder and theft was decriminalized in Balitmore ( in fact I thought it already was ) they also decriminalized blowing away the people who try to kill you and the thieves that try to rip you off that the crime rate would be about the same. Probably less because that woukld mean someone would take out the thieving politicians and lawyers.

Posted by: GUYK on May 30, 2005 01:15 PM

Thoughts from a guy about to graduate High School:

It appears that a good percentage of kids (not necessarily a majority, but "enough") have tried alcohol before they turn 18. Some drink it regularly, others occasionally. Just about the same with Weed. Parents might be able to curb this by threatening actual punishment, rather than grounding or allowance cuts. Or, we could use the military to actually police the borders, effectively blockading a large sector of the drug trade, rather than sending it over to other nations to free people whose grandchildren will probably be ungrateful little shitheads who burn and degenerate American flags, in South Korea, for example.

Most kids under 18 (primarily guys) in high school view porn at least somewhat regularly, despite the fact that it's (apparently) against the law, and a good deal of the "Age-Blockers" on smut sites are nothing more than honor-bound curtains that are supposed to scare youngsters away. Parental Controls that the kids don't know how to unlock and modify, rather than illegalization and (shitty) scare tactics, seem to be the best bet.

Posted by: JG22 on May 30, 2005 05:18 PM

GUYK seems to think having open season in Baltimore would make the city safer. I suspect most businsses would move out if killing were legal in Baltimore, since getting murdered in your store for $50 is really bad for most businessmen.

Without commerce, everything falls apart.

Face it, life is regulated because without regulations civilized life is impossible:

....continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

I don''t why people get their knickers tied in knots over regulations forbidding 15 year olds from buying alcohol or refusing to go to school.

Posted by: joel on May 30, 2005 08:17 PM

Got-Dam, Joel. Read John Locke and get back to me.

Posted by: Acidman on May 30, 2005 08:49 PM

I'm sorry, but kids practically EVERYWHERE in the US are required by law to go to school until 18, and I see WAY too many of them skipping with regularity, failing to study and either cramming during study hall on the same day their stuff's due, or not doing it at all. Even the sophisticated ones whine and bitch whenever a pop-quiz is issued, even ones that've been listed on the chalk board for the past three days.

Far more common than complete absence is the skipping of individual classes, hanging out in the bathroom for 45 minutes to tell fart jokes or swapping weed for concert tickets. Most kids I've known over the years seem to remember negative-12% of what they've been tought through high school, except the one's who've had ANY kind of involvement with the military/ROTC; they know loads concerning military history from WWII up to the present day, are far more knowledgeable concerning small arms and mobile artillery than the rest of the masses, and will probably go on to not only recognize but experience a universal truth exhibited on a small number of T-shirts across the nation: HAPPINESS IS A CONFIRMED KILL.

Alright, back to the schools: I say make all schooling after MiddleSchool/JuniorHigh OPTIONAL. Let the sorry bastards who think they can take make it in the world with less than a High School education work for a few years, let them realize that not much more than flipping burgers and pumping gas is available to those who drop out, and let THEM decide whether they'd rather spend the rest of their lives serving in the wonders of a greasy burger joint, or serving as a cubicle wart in somebody's commercial hive. I suppose there's better things out there too, but then again, I'm a pessimist.

Posted by: JG22 on May 30, 2005 10:03 PM

And Christ, I'M living proof that the schools have failed. Just look at some of the grammar in my previous post!

Posted by: JG22 on May 30, 2005 10:05 PM

JG22 wrote:
"I'm sorry, but kids practically EVERYWHERE in the US are required by law to go to school until 18, and I see WAY too many of them skipping with regularity..."

And, of those who DO go to school, how many of them do so because of the law? I can't remember a single time that any of my friends said, "Well, you know, I'd skip today, but I'm afraid of the cops." It was always something more like this: "Man, I wish I could skip today, but if my parents found out, they'd kill me."

As far as I'm concerned, laws should exist only to protect my life, liberty, and property from other people (and the government itself). Those are the only kinds of laws needed to maintain a civilized society.

What adults do to themselves (or to willing partners) is neither my business nor the government's.

Posted by: Robin S. on May 31, 2005 09:18 AM

Robin-- you can share a drink around MY campfire any time. We think a lot alike.

Posted by: Acidman on May 31, 2005 01:24 PM

"Most people don't appreciate, because they are never told, that during Prohibition, deaths from liver (alcoholic) cirrhosis dropped."

Of course, what he doesn't seem to appreciate is that, during Prohibition, the homicide rate spiked (from 7.2 in 1919 to as much as 9.7 in 1933). After prohibition was repealed, the murder rates gradually declined again (to 5.0 in 1944).

All statistics are in murders per 100,000 people. Source:

Wish I knew what the US population was during that time, but I'm too lazy to check it out. If someone knows, one can easily estimate the number of additional deaths due to Prohibition.

Posted by: Tom on May 31, 2005 03:31 PM
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