Friday, February 06, 2009

Go drugs!

Gary Becker thinks we should legalize and tax drugs. Look at how this approach has decimated alcohol and tobacco usage, for example.

And the joys to be had from drugs! As the Moroccan saying goes,"A pipe of khif before breakfast is worth a hundred camels in the courtyard." Though I think the Devils' Dictionary needs updating: we need slogans like, "A six-pack of wife-beater in the morning is worth a hundred business calls", "Sixty a day is worth death before sixty", "Dropping a tab is worth the risk of grinning at the backs of your hands for the rest of your life."

So what's it to be, Falstaff or the pain-in-the-mule Puritans?

I think it's to do with work. In the old days, the ordinary person couldn't afford (financially or otherwise) to be almost constantly intoxicated; now, most of us are richer than Roman Emperors: central heating, carpets, hot water, ice cream, multimedia entertainment 24/7, no starvation if you don't work. Once, the Tree of Idleness was for the few surviving old men, who were past it; now, while we still have The Energy of Slaves (ie. machines and fossil fuels) to do the hard stuff for us, we don't know what to do with ourselves.

Freedom makes you fall apart.


Paddington said...

The author of a new biography of Priestly noted that, before the coffee houses, everyone started the day with beer. He discusses the idea that the enlightenment and Industrial Revolution may have been possible becuase we sobered up.

Sackerson said...

There was beer for work, and beer for drunkenness. I read that in the 18th century, the working man got a quarter of his calories from beer; but that's different from what he'd have when "on the batter". A late 19th century favourite was Dog's Nose, a mixture of beer, gin and spices; and I understand that the average strength of beer then was equivalent to the strongest winter ales today.

I used to share lodgings with a wiry Irishman who joined a road gang. They soon got him into their routine: 17 pints of Guinness a night, with possibly a cheese sandwich when he got home - and that was it. Thick head in the morning, sweated out with labour by lunchtime, and a good thirst by knocking-off time. How many labourers died in working men's hostels with nothing to their name, having sent money home and spent the rest enriching Arthur Guinness and Co.?

AntiCitizenOne said...

So you want to ban booze now too?

Sackerson said...

Nope, that cat's out of the bag already. But it should be recognised for what it is, and there are intermediate positions between Prohibition and the Gin Epidemic.