Sunday, December 11, 2005

More On Booze

This guy picks up on an old post of mine together with one of his own. I agree with him mostly. One thing I would say is that it’s also worth considering the effects of business rates on small pubs (or, indeed, shops). This takes a huge chunk out of a businesses turn-over even before a pint is sold, hence the trend towards massive battery pubs.

The other thing worth considering is the issue of culture. Actually, AJE pretty much covers this, but I’m not one to avoid ramming a point home, so here goes: dysfunctional behaviour is the product of a dysfunctional culture not a dark conspiracy between makers of fermented products. In my original post I alluded to the endemic violence in our nation’s schools. Yet, a few years later when these kids are committing acts of violence in the street, it’s all the fault of the brewers ? How does that work exactly ?

Again, AJE is right to point out that one problem is the way in which these maroons are insulated from the consequences of their actions, but I think there’s more to it than that. It was the great Theodore Dalrymple who coined the phrase ‘ideological drunkenness’ to describe this kind of drunken excess. What he meant was that as well as a culture that protects people from the perfectly predictable consequences of their actions, we have one that prizes self-expression above all else. That’s another aspect of the infantilisation of the public, a culture that regards each and every impulse as perfectly valid while the failure of anyone to comply with your needs is a grievous imposition on you. You want to get too drunk and throw up everywhere ? But of course! Someone looking at you in a funny way ? You don’t have to put up with that! Glass him! That’ll teach him.

This is the irony of the whole ‘brewers make people violent’ argument. Not only is it wrong, it's also, in and of itself, a perfect example of the real problem: victim culture. Those six yobs didn’t beat an innocent guy to death because they’re scum. Oh no, they’re victims of the brewers, the TV companies, bad experiences at school, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy…. Just as long as we’re prepared to go to any lengths other than to address the basic fact that yobbery is the fault of yobs, then we deserve to have our cities turned into war zones.

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