The Left says Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Alcohol are bad for you but Smoking Marijuana is OK

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

Week in Review

You hear it all the time.  Smoking marijuana is no worse than drinking alcohol.  So we should decriminalize it everywhere.  And allow responsible adults smoke marijuana if they choose.  While at the same time they have banned smoking cigarettes just about everywhere outside of your own home.  Because smoking will kill you.  And anyone near you.  Funny how smoking cigarettes will kill you and anyone near you while smoking marijuana is no worse than enjoying a refreshing adult beverage.

What’s even funnier is that as they continue to make statements like smoking marijuana is no worse than drinking alcohol they are ramping up a war on alcohol.  As drinking alcohol is killing people at record numbers (see Raising the price of booze saves lives and money. Scotland is right to try it posted 12/21/2013 on The Economist).

AMONG man’s earliest artefacts are vessels to store and carry booze. Drunk from Stone Age jugs or Etruscan amphoras, fermented sugars have brought cheer for more than 12,000 years. And headaches too: alcohol stokes rage and gloom as well as jollity and dancing. For liberal-minded types, the downsides are a personal matter—we should be free to frolic.

Within limits. Where the harm extends beyond the individual, there is a case for intervention. Global alcohol consumption is stable. But some people are tippling more, in ways that hurt themselves and others (see article).

At stake are not just vomit-drenched streets. Deaths linked to drinking have tripled since 1990; in that time alcohol has gone from the sixth to the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The bill lands on everyone, as does booze-fuelled violence. Including lost output, the harm from alcohol costs Europe and America around 1.5% of national income.

The problem is worsening. Across the rich world, a small share of the population consumes a large share of the liquor. One reason is that many young people have upped their intake. More drinkers are also bingeing—even in southern Europe, where alcohol used to be taken mainly with food…

The best way to tackle excessive drinking is to raise prices through taxes levied on a drink’s strength, so that the most harmful drinks are more expensive. The resulting price-rise should cut the consumption of hard-up heavy topers (who are particularly partial to dirt-cheap supermarket booze) and young drinkers, who can afford only what’s cheap…

Public-health laws often require an unpopular move at the start, but new habits and attitudes can take root surprisingly quickly. A ban on smoking in restaurants and pubs seemed outlandish—until New York City introduced one in 2003. Much of the world quickly followed suit. Even diehard liberals like this newspaper, queasy at first about smoking bans, or mandatory crash helmets and seat belts, would hesitate to scrap those regulations now.

We are drinking ourselves to death three times as much as we were in the 1990s.  And one reason why is that young people are drinking more.  In fact many of the binge drinkers are young people.  It is less uncommon to read about a binge-drinking related death on a college campus.  It’s not happening all of the time but there are deaths.  And sexual assaults.

Getting a woman drunk has long been a prelude to sex.  That’s what singles’ bars were for.  Drinking to lower a woman’s inhibitions.  To get her to go home with a strange man for consensual sex.  But at a party on a college campus?  There’s no need to go home.  For there is always a bedroom or a couch or a floor available in a fraternity house, apartment or dorm room.  And young men with raging hormones in a sexualized culture will take advantage of a passed out college coed.  Even doing terrible things to her as she lay unconscious.  Or getting a video of her while she’s still conscious doing things she’d never do sober.  And posting it online.  Causing great pain and suffering for the girl.

Smoking marijuana will be no different than people enjoying alcohol.  So we should decriminalize it.  For what bad thing ever happened from enjoying alcohol?

Marijuana is a young person’s intoxicant.  We’ve all seen the stoner movies where high school teachers have to deal with stoners.  Like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  And this was when the drug was illegal everywhere in the United States.  Imagine the Jeff Spicolis when the drug is decriminalized everywhere.  While being more potent than ever.  If new habits and new attitudes can take root surprisingly quickly then existing habits and attitudes and law should be just as easy to remain rooted.  Especially for marijuana.  For it combines the reckless abandon of youths to over consume like alcohol.  And the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes.

Would the left sacrifice our young just to get their vote?  Yes.  Of course they will.  And are.  For do you really think they care if these people die after they grow up and begin acting—and voting—responsibly?

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Binge Drinking is yet another Example of Young People making Poor Decisions

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Border towns.  It’s where people can escape high legal drinking ages.  Laws against gambling.  And bans on totally naked girls at strip bars serving alcohol.  By simply crossing the border you can have all the fun your little heart desires.  Even get yourself into a whole lot of trouble.  Because most of this fun starts with young adults getting drunk.  And drunk young adults have a penchant for making bad decisions.

One of these border towns is across the river from Detroit.  Windsor.  A small city that thrives on that cross-border traffic pouring millions into their local economy.  But it’s just not the Americans having a really good time in downtown Windsor (see Health unit launches campaign to tackle binge drinking by Beatrice Fantoni posted 5/24/2013 on The Windsor Star).

Windsor is notorious for its busy bar scene but the public health unit wants to tone the binge drinking down just a little in the interests of long-term health…

A nasty hangover can last well past the weekend. Abusing alcohol today can have serious health repercussions years from now, in the form of increased cancer risk – most notably, breast cancer – or other serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis or stroke.

Using a set of guidelines for safe alcohol consumption developed by the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee, the public health campaign – which eight other public health units in southwestern Ontario are also launching – involves the roll-out of a different poster every three months on topics such as what constitutes a safe serving size and the short- and long-term risks of heavy drinking.

The target population is the 25-44 age group and posters are being distributed to local bars, restaurants, gyms, workplaces, for example, McBeth said…

“The end result is going to be the same,” said Rich Kingsley, who used to own several restaurants in the city. When people head downtown for drinks, Kingsley said, they’re gonna binge.

Posters alone won’t help just like those graphic images on cigarette packages do little to dissuade smokers, he said. Policies like changing the legal drinking age or prohibiting smoking in public places have to go along with it, he said.

Raising the legal drinking age.  Makes sense.  Young adults make a bad decision to binge drink.  And when they’re drunk they make even more bad decisions.  Not to mention all of that health damage they’re causing.  So raising the legal drinking age to allow these people to grow up and become mature and responsible sounds like a good idea.  Good for them.  And good for us.  For our loved ones won’t make a bad decision with lasting consequences.  Nor will we have to see them suffer some horrible disease later in life.   Or pay the high costs of treating some horrible disease.  How can you argue with that?

Can you imagine leaving this up to the young people?  Say getting all the 15-21 year-olds together.  And have them determine the new legal drinking age?  Can you guess what they would say it should be?  I’ll take a guess.  They’ll probably say the legal drinking age should be 15.  For if they’re responsible enough to vote, they’ll figure, they’re responsible enough to drink.  Besides, what 15-year-old wouldn’t love to be able to walk into a party store and buy booze without a fake ID?

This is why we don’t let 15-year-olds vote.  And why we should never let 15-year-olds vote.  Because they are not wise enough, mature enough or responsible enough to do what’s best for them.  In fact, we probably should raise the voting age.  If people 25-44 are acting so irresponsibly by binge drinking perhaps we should just raise the voting age.  Maybe not to 45.  But definitely higher than 18.  For it’s obvious these people put their immediate wants before their long-term best interests.  Which explains how a country that is 21% liberal is being run by liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats get the youth vote.  And what’s important to the youth?  Having a good time.  Which means decriminalizing pot.  Free birth control.   And access to abortion.  Things the liberal Democrats tell these kids are the most important things in the world.  And that the Republicans want to take them away from them.  So they vote liberal Democrat.  Until they have children of their own.  Especially daughters.  Then an all-girl Catholic school doesn’t look that bad.  Because putting the fear of God into our kids is a good way of helping them make better decisions.  And it will help prevent some boy from knocking up our daughters.  Or giving them a venereal disease.

Perhaps we need a little less partying.  And a little more religion in our lives.  A little morality may make us drink less.  Smoke less.  Engage in sexual congress less.  Resulting in fewer unplanned pregnancies.  That will require fewer abortions.  If we do that perhaps our young people can focus on more important things.  Like getting a good education.  Establishing a career.  And starting a family.  Things that are in their long-term best interests.

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Student falls down Stairs after Binge Drinking then Dies while Waiting for Treatment at NHS Hospital

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 13th, 2012

Week in Review

Here are two sad stories in one.  Another senseless death due to stupid behavior of our young.  And how the NHS let this kid die from his stupid behavior (see Student, 18, ‘downed a bottle of rum in 15 MINUTES for a bet before falling to his death down a flight of stairs’ by Emily Andrews and Ben Spencer posted 10/11/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Timothy Jarvis, 18, was in the first week of his maths degree when he downed an entire bottle of rum in 15 minutes for a bet.

The former grammar school boy then suffered fatal head injuries after tumbling down a flight of stairs at his university’s hall of residence.

Despite being taken to hospital, it was 90 minutes before he was assessed by a doctor and he died the next day.

How many of us did something as stupid as this in our youth?  Only we were lucky enough not to have killed ourselves?  And I stress the word ‘lucky’.  Binge drinking.  This is poor decision making.  Poor understanding of the consequences of our actions.  And a poor understanding of what’s important in life.  This student had a promising future.  He was not in university taking the easy courses just to party.  He was taking one of the hard degrees.  Who knows what he would have contributed to make the world a better place.  What a senseless waste.

As a side note, these are the people that often swing elections.  The youth vote.  Who have a propensity for poor decision making.  That’s why in most of the United States we don’t let these kids drink until after they turn 21.  Put severe limits on them when they start driving.  And charge them the highest car insurance rates.  Because of their consistent poor decision making.  Yet when they walk into the voting booth the Left would have us believe that they are the wisest and the most responsible people in the world.  Because they vote for the party of birth control and abortion.  And the party that is more inclined to decriminalize marijuana.  Everything a growing young person wants to make life as fun as possible.  While discarding the possible consequences of their actions.  But doing things their parents warn them not to do often comes with consequences.  While their votes often saddle the nation with the consequences of their foolish actions inside the voting booth.  For the majority of people have issues that are more important to them than birth control, abortion and marijuana.

When paramedics arrived and found Mr Jarvis unconscious, they made a ‘red alert’ call to Colchester Hospital to warn them to expect a serious case.

But when they arrived at 12.35am, there was no trauma team to meet them, Mr Jarvis was left on a trolley in a corridor and was not assessed by a doctor for nearly 90 minutes.

NHS guidelines say every patient should be examined by a nurse within 15 minutes and by a doctor within an hour.

Imagine that.  A hospital with an emergency department without a trauma team standing ready.  If you’re wondering what the future of Obamacare is here it is.  Cost cutting, long wait times and service rationing that leaves an emergency department at a hospital without a trauma team at the ready.  And who helped pass Obamacare into law?  That’s right.  The youth vote.  Who voted for Barack Obama in droves.  Yet another example of poor decision making.  That the rest of us will have to live with the consequences of their actions.

If we have age restrictions on drinking because the young are just not mature enough to drink at such a young age perhaps we should have an age restriction on voting.  Letting young people vote only after they are mature enough to understand how to drink responsibly.  Unless they’re serving in the military.  Which should be the only exception due to their service to the country.  And the incredible amount of discipline they acquire through their military training.

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LESSONS LEARNED #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2010

COYOTE UGLY

We’ve all heard the joke.  What’s coyote ugly?  That’s when you wake up with an extremely ugly person in bed lying on your arm.  After a night of heavy drinking.  You’re fairly certain you had sex.  You’re not 100% sure because you can’t remember anything.  But here the two of you are.  Naked.  The circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.  You want to get out.  Fast.  Instead of waking your lover, you chew your arm off so you can slip away quietly.  Like a coyote will do if caught in a steel-jaw trap.

The lesson here is, of course, to drink in moderation.  For when we drink to excess, we sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do sober.  But we do.  Drink to excess.  And get drunk.  And, boy, when we do, some of us really do.  Make a real mess of their lives, too.  You see, drunken husbands do not make happy wives.  Or good fathers.  Especially when drunken husbands beat up their wives, spend their paychecks at the corner saloon, have sex with prostitutes and catch syphilis (which they then pass on to their wives and soon to be born children). 

For these reasons, wives have been behind various temperance movements throughout history.  And they have had modest success.  If you ever found yourself in a dry county thirsting for an adult beverage, you can thank these ladies.  But Prohibition?  That’s a different story.  That took Big Government.  The Progressives.  Who thought they knew best what was for the common good.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Wives have suffered unfairly from the affects of alcohol.  But during the 19th century, their power was limited.  They had to rely on grass-roots movements.  And their churches.  Which had moral authority as we were much more religious back then.  Most drunken husbands knew they were behaving poorly.  When sober.  But things changed in the 20th century.  The powers of the government grew.  This power and new sciences (like eugenics) made some believe they could make a better society by passing enlightened laws.  (And make better people in the case of eugenics).

We call it social engineering.  Using the power of the state to change human behavior.  Well, change it for those who are not apparatchiks of the state.  The elite Progressives, including the ladies of high society, still drank.  For it wasn’t illegal to drink adult beverages.  Only to manufacture, sell, or transport them.  So it was the poorer elements of society who felt the impact of Prohibition.  And the immigrants.  Who the social elites blamed for all the drinking woes.  For people in their strata of society didn’t have drinking problems.  So there was no reason to punish them.  The elites.  They weren’t the problem.  It was the poor.  And the immigrants.  They’re the ones government needed to keep from drinking themselves to ruin.

So while the elites still enjoyed their intoxicating beverages in the safety of their mansions and clubs, Al Capone and other bootleggers fought for turf.  For control of the illegal liquor trade.  Shooting each other with Thompson Machine Guns in our public streets.  That’s a .45 caliber round.  It makes big holes.  And shatters bone.  A lot of these rounds were flying through our public streets.  And they hit more than just gangsters.

Prohibition modified some behavior.  But at great cost.  Congress repealed it in 1933.  In part to stem the liquor violence.  And part because the Great Depression was too depressing sober.

JUST SAY NO

I once worked at a small office in a bad part of town.  One day a woman knocked on the door.  She asked if that ‘short guy’ that opens the gates in the morning was around.  I said no.  Then she asked me if I wanted to have a little fun.  I said, “Thank you, but no.”  My secretary had come to the door while I was talking to her.  After I closed the door, she told me that woman just lost a lot of weight.  And that she probably had AIDS.

Women like her were common in the neighborhood.  They sold sex for drug money.  When they weren’t with a John they were getting high.  Men, too.  One time, this 6-foot-plus behemoth in a skirt was walking in the street shouting something incoherent.  Our driver discovered he was a guy.  When he lunged through his open window while turning at the corner.  I don’t know what scared him more.  The assault.  Or the fact that she was a he. 

By the way, that short guy that opens the gates?  He was married.  And had a couple of daughters.  God only knows what he gave his wife.

Drug addiction is not good.  No one’s life ever got better by being addicted to drugs.  None of these people ever planned on drug addiction.  It just happened.  Somehow.  One day you’re just partying with some friends.  Then the next thing you know you’re turning tricks or stealing to support your habit.  If you have money it’s a different story.  Then you can party until you kill yourself.  John Belushi overdosed from a heroin/cocaine cocktail called a speedball.  Chris Farley, too.  It’s unlikely that the speedball was their first high.  They probably started out with something less potent.  Like marijuana.  The entry drug of choice.  Only when that drug loses its charm do people step up to something a little more potent. 

Of course, if you don’t start, chances are you won’t move up to something more potent.  This was the idea behind Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program.  Stop the kids from starting.  To resist peer pressure.  To just say no.  Her program did modify some behavior.  Kids did use fewer drugs.  But she was Ronald Reagan’s wife.  The Left didn’t like him.  Or her.  So they ridiculed her program as being simplistic.  Discontinued it.  And drug use by kids increased.

GANGSTA’S PARADISE

Like Capone and his fellow bootleggers, the illegal drug trade is controlled by gangs.  And they, too, fight over turf.  But those involved at the street level of the drug trade today are a lot younger.  During the days of Prohibition, kids played with toy guns.  Today, they’re playing with real guns.  Not so much playing but killing each other.  And innocent bystanders.  In drive-by shootings.  Why?  Because drugs get you money.  And money gets you power.  Put all that together and it’s very seductive to kids from broken homes in the hood.  Who have nothing.  And have nothing to lose.  It’s almost romantic.  Fighting.  And dying.  A regular gangster.  Living in a gangster paradise.

Once in, though, it’s hard to get out.  The song Gangsta’s Paradise (by Coolio featuring L.V. from the 1995 Movie Dangerous Minds) laments about that paradise.  “Tell me why are we so blind to see.  That the ones we hurt are you and me.”

You get higher up in the echelon and the violence gets worse.  You can see that on America’s southern border.  And further south.  Kidnappings.  Beheadings.  And other unspeakable things.  Because of the big money in illegal drugs.  Like there was in bootlegging.  Make something illegal that people still want and will buy, and that something becomes a very profitable commodity indeed.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

So what’s the answer?  What is the best course of action for the common good?  We can keep drugs illegal.  And continue to fight the war on drugs.  And watch the violence escalate as people fight to control this illicit trade.  Or we can decriminalize drugs.  Make them easily accessible.  And cheap.  The drug gangs would go the way of the bootlegger gangs.  And the crack/meth whore in the street won’t have to perform as many sexual acts to support her habit.

Alcohol is legal today.  And there are a lot of social costs because of that.  But the majority of people who do drink are not driving under the influence or beating their wives.  Or getting syphilis from a prostitute hanging out at the corner saloon.  Wouldn’t it be the same for drugs?

Kids drink.  Even though they can’t legally buy alcohol.  But the worse thing they can do is kill someone while driving a car.  Or get killed in a car driven by another drunken kid.  Or kill themselves from binge drinking.  Or get pregnant because they got drunk at a party.  Or get infected with a venereal disease because they got drunk at a party and had sex.  These are very bad things.  But they’re not an addiction.  Sure, you can become an alcoholic, but a lot of kids don’t like the taste of the adult beverages they’re consuming.  They’re just doing it for the party buzz.  And vomiting after.  It takes awhile, for some, to get over that hump where those awful tasting beverages don’t taste so awful anymore.  But drugs?  They’re tasteless.  There isn’t a delivery system ‘hump’ to get over.  Which makes the addiction process that much easier.  And where there is only one kind of drunk, there are all sorts of highs.  New and different drugs to explore.  When you get bored with the drug du jour.  So, no.  It probably wouldn’t be the same with alcohol.  It would probably be worse.

THE LESSER OF EVILS

Often the choice comes down to a lesser of evils.  So, to do what is best for the common good, we just need to determine which is the lesser evil.  So which is worse?  The violence from trying to keep something illegal?  Or the social costs of decriminalizing something that is already causing a lot of harm while being illegal?  It comes down to what you, as an individual, think.  And that is, must be, a subjective decision.  And therein lays the problem of choosing what is best for the common good.  It’s an opinion.  Choices aren’t right or wrong.  There’re just different opinions.

And that’s why so few can agree on what is best for the common good.  Different people think different things are better.  And different things are worse.  And, at best, they can agree to disagree.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #5: “When it comes to regretting past choices, liberals lead conservatives when it comes to their vote.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2010

A LOT OF conservatives regretted voting for Richard Nixon.  But not for the reason you think.  If the election was today with everything we know now, conservatives probably wouldn’t elect him.  Even if you take Watergate out of the picture.  You see, something changed during his presidency.  And it wasn’t the voters. 

He changed.  The conservative candidate governed as a liberal.  He embraced Keynesian economic policy (Big Government and big spending to solve all problems).  Deficit spending and inflation led to the end of responsible government (the decoupling of the dollar from gold so they could keep printing money).  If this was the conservative platform going into the election, few conservatives would have voted for the ticket.

This is one type of regret.  Regret at being tricked or duped.  This is when a person’s core beliefs don’t change.  It’s when their candidate changed.  But there is another type of regret.

THE POPULAR CONCEPTION liberals have of conservatives is that they are a bunch of old, stodgy white men.  Out of touch with reality and mired in the past.  Whereas liberals think of themselves as young.  Cool.  Progressive.  Their eyes are open to what the future can be, not to what has been.

Young.  That’s key.  Many liberals are young.  Or, better said, a lot of the young are liberals.  What else can you say about the young?  Many are in school.  Many don’t have a job.  Many aren’t married yet.  Many aren’t raising a family yet.  See the pattern?  They’re young and idealistic, i.e., liberal, because they can be.  When they start working, get married, buy a house, raise children, etc., they find they can’t be so idealistic anymore.

Binge drinking, getting high and bedding coeds was okay in college for you, but you’re not so keen on your daughters following your example.  In fact, you kinda gloss over that part of your life when talking to your kids about your past.  When the weight of being a parent really hits, you begin to regret all the hell you put your parents through.

In college you were all for lowering the drinking age, legalizing drugs, keeping abortion legal, taxing the rich to provide free benefits for the poor (and college students), etc.  As a parent, though, you’d like to see the drinking age raised to 35 and probably voted against allowing medical marijuana.  When you’re working 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week to provide for your family, you start looking at all that withholding tax.  And you’re not thinking about how you’re helping those who need help.  You’re probably thinking things like ‘what the f***’ and ‘get a job you leech’.  And, if you have daughters, you’d probably like to see chastity belts brought back into vogue (even though YOUR daughters will keep their chastity until their wedding night – when they’re 35).

GROWING UP IS a learning process.  Children think they can eat third helpings of cake and ice cream, washed down with glasses of super sweet fruit punch and then run out and play in the hot summer sun.  Those of you who have had to clean up the resulting mess know that eating and drinking like that does not end well.  Children learn, too.  In time.  Until they do, parents watch out for them.

Getting a driver’s license is special.  It severs the chains of childhood.  You can go places and do things.  Without your parents.  You can speed, drive around railroad crossing barricades and hang out on a Friday night drinking beer while driving.  And other dumb things.  There’s a reason car insurance is expensive for young drivers.  Because they do stupid things behind the wheel.  But they learn.  In time.  Until they do, the police are there to help them along.

Then these kids turn 18, graduate from high school, leave home and go to college.  And the party is only starting.  Some things never change.  Students are still binge drinking, getting high and bedding coeds.  And, of course, voting.

WE CHANGE AS we grow.  Children think about ice cream and cake.  Teenagers think about getting their driver’s license.  College students think about partying and trying to change the world (sometimes to enhance their partying).  Parents think about doing what’s best for their kids.  The middle-aged start to think about retirement and holding on to what they have (because most think that Social Security will not be there for them).  The elderly think about their mounting medical concerns and medical costs.

Where we are in the growth process influences our vote.  More kids (teenagers and early 20s) want to lower the drinking age, legalize drugs and tax the ‘rich’ than grownups.  More grownups want to lower taxes and cut government spending than kids.  But grownups were once kids.  They thought and prioritized like kids, too.  So it is likely that many voting conservative today voted liberal when they were a kid.  And they’ve grown to regret some of their votes.

This is the other kind of regret.  It’s when we change.  And realize the consequences of our previous votes.  Votes made for the moment, not the future.  And now that we have reached that future our youth helped to create, it is often not what we want anymore.  But the damage is done.  And it can’t be easily undone.  But you can’t tell this to kids today.  They won’t listen.  Just as you didn’t when you were their age.

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