Beer plus Wine (rabbit trail)

Just as a point of reference, beer sales in the U.S. make up about 60% of all sales of alcoholic beverages. Wine is another 15%, and hard liquor is the balance at 25%.

We need to think about something in those stats: more than half of the fermented beverages sold in the U.S. have less than 6% alcohol by volume, and 75% have less than 11% by volume. If we don't try to pick nits over whether 1st century wine was 5 proof or 3 proof and concede that it was watered down, more than 60% of the alcoholic beverages consumed in the US today are in that same range -- and another 15% are in striking distance.

Which is fine, I guess -- the problem for the prohibitionist is that if 40% of all alcohol being sold in the U.S. is in the category of "strong drink", why aren't 40% of all drinkers causing sociol-political havoc? Not to put too fine a point on this, but 40% is a pretty big minority. The alcohol industry is a $100 billion industry -- meaning that on-average, $333 is spent every year (about a dollar per day) in the U.S. for every man, woman and child inside our borders.

How can it be that, with that much hootch sloshing around, there are only 0.63 traffic accidents per 10,000 motor vehicles registered in the U.S.? How can it be that less than 2% of the total population suffers from alcohol-related liver damage?

The argument that beer and wine are causing social havoc is unsustainable -- because there's no havoc. It is certain -- indisputable -- that alcohol abuse causes some social instability. The question is whether or not someone who uses alcohol is more likely to become a danger to society and a moral scofflaw than not -- and it is equally indisputable that the vast majority of alcohol users are not alcohol abusers. They do not become reckless abandoners of families, and missers of work, and vehicular homocidal maniacs.

But how can this be? Isn't it possible that there's some moral force keeping them from choosing to abuse a privilege? You know: the same one which keeps most of them driving at safe speeds, and practicing ball with their kids in open fields, and eating hamburger rather than Frankburger?

To be as specific as possible, isn't it likely that one of the reasons people can have a drink or two over the course of a couple of hours and not let themselves get blown away is the fruit of the spirit which includes the astounding virtue of self-control -- and against such a thing there is no law?

Think about that. More later.