Drink to me only . . .

Dewar’s whiskey is running ads urging people to celebrate December 5 as Repeal Day, marking the end of Prohibition 70-plus years ago.  The Nonprofiteer thinks this is a fine idea, and that everyone should commemorate this great moment in history by having automobile accidents, beating their intimate partners, committing other felonies and falling down stairs. 

When they’re done with that, maybe they could take the amount of money they were going to spend on liquor today and donate it to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, the National Center for the Victims of Crime or the Brain Injury Association of America.

It’s bad enough that the only intoxicant legally tolerated is simultaneously one of the most lethal.  To suggest that its use be not merely permitted but celebrated should raise the hackles of every nonprofit whose job it is to clean up after alcohol-related misbehavior.


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5 Responses to “Drink to me only . . .”

  1. Anita Bernstein Says:

    You don’t mean to say we’d have been better off if Prohibition stayed on the books? The 18th amendment gave us a fully funded Mob, took away zillions in tax revenue, and killed the manufacture of decent wine in the U.S. People drank less, but AFAIK the social ills you mention didn’t go down. The country still hasn’t recovered. I’ll raise a glass and hope for similar sanity ahead re marijuana.

  2. Sam Davis Says:

    You wrote, “It’s bad enough that the only intoxicant legally tolerated is simultaneously one of the most lethal. To suggest that its use be not merely permitted but celebrated should raise the hackles of every nonprofit whose job it is to clean up after alcohol-related misbehavior.”
    Actually, it is worth celebrating having the federal government out of the business of being national nanny to adults. Prohibition was a massive failure, most notably in that it helped enrich a criminal syndicate that is with us still, while doing nothing to stop alcohol consumption, while promoting urban violence to a whole new level previously not seen, even in America.
    I am personally a sober alcoholic (last drink July 19, 1999). I overcame my alcohol problem the only way it can be solved – as an individual, taking responsibility for my own life. It helped a lot that I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (I’m a Nichiren Buddhist). But it was an individual decision and individual commitment.
    Giving George Bush, George Ryan, Rich Daley, John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and other professional celebrity meddlers control over other adults’ personal lives – any part of their personal lives – is a recipe for authoritarianism. One glaring contemporary example, the current Drug Prohibition (“War on Drugs,” similar in ideology to the “War on Terror”) has produced decades of crime, international mobs, enriched terrorists, and put thousands of people in jail for the “crime” of lighting a marijuana cigarette in the wrong place. Results – billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives lost later, drug use is about the same % (2 to 5, according to studies I’ve seen) of the population as 100 years ago when it was legal for an adult to buy narcotics, etc., over the counter at market prices. (Oddly, the main abusers circa 1907 were middle-aged and elderly women who bought cocaine to add to their afternoon tea for arthritis, or laudanum to use similarly.)
    Yes, others have to clean up the mess after alcoholics, but enablers choose to be enablers and public subsidies for treatment for alcoholics is another form of enabling, as well as government meddling.
    These are human problems, but not problems that can be addressed by institutions (governments) whose history, culture and raison d’etre are to use violence to stop violence against peaceful individuals. Inevitably, that historic culture of governments means they use violence or the threat of it to accomplish any task given them, and they have run amok from Chicago to Baghdad to Burma, have they not?
    This is key for progressives to understand: making governments into substitute social service agencies is precisely like hiring hungry wolves to guard your sheep flock or starving foxes as security guards for your henhouse.

  3. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Ah, I knew this one would wake everybody up.

    I don’t actually advocate prohibition, though I’m teetotal myself; I’m just constantly infuriated by
    the casual way in which people treat alcohol use, minimizing the damage it causes and treating
    efforts to call attention to that damage as a big joke. It’s just like the sniggering that accompanies
    discussions of historic whorehouses: what, exactly, is so funny about an economic system which
    offers women nothing but the opportunity to rent their vaginas? And I’ve often thought that these
    were two faces of one issue, namely, the tendency to treat anything done by women as trivial:
    witness the ridicule heaped on Carrie Nation who was, after all, crusading to protect
    working-class wives from their abusive drunken husbands.

    Prohibition did actually reduce alcohol consumption and its negative social consequences,
    though obviously (in hindsight) at a disproportionate cost. That’s the assessment we do about
    every piece of social legislation (our libertarian friends to the contrary notwithstanding): do the
    likely positive effects outweigh the likely negative effects? And, yes, the so-called War on Drugs,
    which involves the imprisonment and disenfranchisement of a huge proportion of the
    African-American population, is as bad an advertisement for social intervention as Prohibition
    ever was. But no one should, or could, use that as an excuse to suggest that we have a national
    day of cocaine abuse to celebrate our freedom.

  4. Kate Says:


    Do you know that the Canadian chapter of MADD was recently involved in a scandal for spending almost all of it’s donations income on administration and further fundraising?

    While the org says it will “mend its ways,” I don’t think I will be sending any donations its way.

    Here is a link to an article about the scandal:


  5. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Kate, I hadn’t known about the MADD Canada scandal and appreciate your having brought the information to light here. I should note, though, that my suggestions in Drink to me only . . . were less genuine endorsements of particular charities and more reminders of the social costs of alcohol, including having to have an entire network of nonprofits dedicated to cleaning up after it.

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