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The tragedy of European and American drunkenness

Discussion in 'Ethnic & Cultural Preservation' started by Lithium, 27 November 2017.

  1. Lithium

    Lithium Member

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    The government legally allows for the operation of motor vehicles to establishments that serve alcohol and only alcohol. There are parking lots outside of these businesses where people will drive to, enter the place, walk out drunk, enter their car and proceed to kill themselves and potentially others in a car accident. It is not a matter of rolling the dice as drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.10% are 6 to 12 times more likely to get into a fatal crash or injury than drivers with no alcohol.

    As soon as someone gets into their vehicle while intoxicated they are able to be convicted of a crime, however, how many people get away with it even at the result of their own death? In the United States the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 17,941 people died in 2006 in alcohol-related collisions, representing 40% of total traffic deaths in the US. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that in 1996 local law enforcement agencies made 1,467,300 arrests nationwide for driving under the influence of alcohol, 1 out of every 10 arrests for all crimes in the U.S., compared to 1.9 million such arrests during the peak year in 1983, accounting for 1 out of every 80 licensed drivers in the U.S. In 2012, 29.1 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.

    In 2014, 30,722 people died from alcohol-induced causes in the US, and that does not count drinking-related accidents or homicides. If those deaths were included, the number would be closer to 90,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    This is the one and only warning the United States government requires be printed on all alcoholic beverages sold in stores;

    GOVERNMENT WARNING:
    (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.

    (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.


    MayoClinic states that, "There's no cure or specific treatment for fetal alcohol syndrome. The physical defects and mental deficiencies typically persist for a lifetime."

    Symptoms of the illness include:

    Distinctive facial features, including small eyes, an exceptionally thin upper lip, a short, upturned nose, and a smooth skin surface between the nose and upper lip
    Deformities of joints, limbs and fingers
    Slow physical growth before and after birth
    Vision difficulties or hearing problems
    Small head circumference and brain size
    Heart defects and problems with kidneys and bones
    Brain and central nervous system problems

    Problems with the brain and central nervous system may include:

    Poor coordination or balance
    Intellectual disability, learning disorders and delayed development
    Poor memory
    Trouble with attention and with processing information
    Difficulty with reasoning and problem-solving
    Difficulty identifying consequences of choices
    Poor judgment skills
    Jitteriness or hyperactivity
    Rapidly changing moods
    Social and behavioral issues

    Problems in functioning, coping and interacting with others may include:

    Difficulty in school
    Trouble getting along with others
    Poor social skills
    Trouble adapting to change or switching from one task to another
    Problems with behavior and impulse control
    Poor concept of time
    Problems staying on task
    Difficulty planning or working toward a goal

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization has classified alcohol as a group 1 carcinogen in the same category as arsenic, benzene and asbestos. Its evaluation states, "There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages in humans. [...] Alcoholic beverages at any quantity are carcinogenic to humans."

    Overall, there is a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and more than 60 types of diseases and injuries. Alcohol is estimated to cause about 20–30% of cases of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, epilepsy and motor vehicle accidents.

    Alcohol is known to increase the risk of suicidal behavior. Beck and Steer found that alcoholism was the strongest single predictor of subsequent completed suicide in a sample of attempted suicides.

    Suicide among adolescents constitutes 6% of all suicides and is the second or third cause of death in adolescents. According to data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance study, 16.9% of high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide, 11.3% had made a suicide plan, and 8.4% had actually attempted suicide in 2005.

    According to Petersen 20% of youths between 14 and 19 years of age have had thoughts about their own death, and 40% of youths who do not succeed in their first suicide attempt repeat the attempt. More worrying data comes from research reported by the CDC indicating that 25.6% of high school students had consumed their first alcoholic drink by age 13, and 25.5% admitted having five or more alcoholic drinks in a row within the last two weeks.

    Translated this means that one out of every four youths regularly engages in binges and that about the same proportion has started taking alcohol early in their life when their brain is still maturing. Among people with depression those who consumed substances or alcohol have a higher probability of attempting suicide as compared with depressed individuals who did not. Follow up studies suggest that alcoholics may be between 60 and 120 times more likely to complete suicide than those free from psychiatric illness.

    Kolves in a psychological autopsy study reported that 68% of males and 29% of females who committed suicide met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.

    Postmortem investigations have revealed that alcohol was in the blood of 45% of Swedish, 36–40% in Finnish, 35–48% of Estonian; 28–29% of American and 20% of Dutch suicide victims.

    In men, consumption of alcohol was associated with significantly increased risk of mortality due to the following: Cirrhosis, alcoholism, or both; injuries and external causes; alcohol-related cancers (mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver); colorectal cancer; all other cancers.

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    In women, consumption of alcohol was associated with significantly increased risk of mortality due to the following: Cirrhosis, alcoholism, or both; alcohol-related cancers; breast cancer. The risk of death due to breast cancer was 30% higher in women who consumed at least one drink a day, as compared with women who did not drink.

    Cirrhosis is a late stage of serious liver disease marked by inflammation, fibrosis and damaged membranes preventing detoxification of chemicals in the body, ending in scarring and cell death. Between 10% to 20% of heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis of the liver.

    How can we stand by and let this atrocious nightmare be available at every gas station, every grocery store and restaurant while it silently kill us and makes us sick? We allow for hundreds of advertisements on television promoting the purchasing and consumption of alcohol. It is a disgrace to overlook this menace and to sweep it under the rug.

    It is inexpensive, widely available and promoted by both our culture and big business alike. When are we going to make a fuss and stand up to this poison that has tainted, ruined and eventually destroyed the lives of untold numbers of Americans and Europeans? This is not a political problem as it is has specifically been the political system that has sanctioned it in the first place. This is a spiritual and metaphysical problem and one that plagues the individual more than the collective.

    “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
    -Edgar Allen Poe

    Sources:
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352901
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_and_cancer
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872355/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drunk_driving_in_the_United_States
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776569/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_liver_disease
     
  2. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    I don't think you need to persuade anybody that the misuse of alcohol is bad. The real questions are: Is alcohol bad per se? And what should we do to address the use of alcohol in society? Since you have started this thread, perhaps you should set out your stance on those questions, first.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Lithium

    Lithium Member

    Buddhism and Islam both seem to be surprisingly popular on this forum even though they are both foreign to European people. As is their mystery school counterparts. I think that it is made pretty clear that drinking is an impediment to enlightenment and that the Muslim interpretation of God forbids alcohol.

    It is completely a personal choice. Prohibition turned out quite badly, but I would argue it was entirely because people had no desire to stop. The effort was not intrinsic but external.

    To me it is an attitude problem. We regard it as benign when it is lethal. We raise our children wit the idea that having a glass of wine or a beer at the dinner table is the norm. Maybe there is some locked cabinet or safe full of hard liquor and whiskey, but not often.

    On a personal note I attribute most the success of my young life to having a natural disinclination towards any kind of drinking. It made me feel ill and not much else.

    I do not think you can make anybody do anything. People will cling to whatever they want even when it is destroying them from the inside out. I think of alcohol as something that slowly and in a concealed manner saps us of our intellect, discipline, wisdom and strength. But I know that it also covers up emotional and physicals wounds that can take decades to heal.

    If you could analyze the effect at the level of an entire society as to what alcohol abstinence brings I believe you would see everyone quickly find that this substance is a crutch. One that white people have used for far too long. "Our water is poison so the only solution is to boil and ferment it." What a load of garbage.
     
  4. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    You're not really proving anything to me by just citing Buddhism, and Islam is the Socialism of religion insofar as it has a lower frequency of spiritual accuracy than a stopped clock.

    We do raise our children that way. And from all I've seen, regular drinking in moderation is conducive to bodily health. Its good for the heart and veins. We have yet to have a great revelation showing that every mouthful takes time of your life, in the same way as there was against the cigarette industry. I'm also not convinced that drinking is inherently addictive, such that when you begin you slide down the slope towards destruction. I've known several alcoholics, I've known plenty of people who may occasionally drink to excess, and I've known plenty of people who stick well within moderation - the difference always seems to be in their personality.

    I attribute my best grades to doing otherwise. In vino veritas.

    What benefits has opposition to alcohol brought to the Islamic world? What did it bring to the Protestant world? I mean, really, I find the standpoint that alcohol itself is inherently bad to be one of two things: Personal invective, as when someone had a drunkard family member; Or a sort of virtue signalling which doesn't legitimately represent spiritual truth or moral health.

    In short, I agree with Fr. Hesse:
     
  5. Lithium

    Lithium Member

    If we contrast Ebola with Syphilis what you find is that Ebola actually limits its transmission options by quickly killing its host and it does so 9 out of 10 times. Syphilis on the other hand stays dormant in the body slowly infecting others through sexual contact.

    A drug like opium makes its self so plainly toxic to a community. People notice that their loved ones and family members have gone to the opium den and what has come back is just a shell of their former self. It causes such a concern that inevitably, and I am looking at China as the example, people look to eradicate it. The properties that make it alluring and so easily abused lend to it becoming a target for those who have concern over the wellbeing of a nation.

    Alcohol, like Syphilis, latches onto a its host and causes only minor damage. It gives the appearance of being harmless because as time moves on, and as a country still struggles with the same problems, it becomes difficult to remove something that is so ingrained from the equation and thus to identify it as problematic. And of course for the most part people can operate normal lives until a night of drinking takes that away from them.

    When people drink it is the catalyst for domestic abuse, violent revenge, rape and even murder. And if it were like any other substance, that is hidden away and uncommonly used, then there would be no issue. It would simply be an anomaly. Yet because of the volume and frequency of consumption and with a culture that that celebrates every occasion with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer in addition to laws to enable it to be everywhere and consumed everywhere the fundamental question that you must ask is; are we okay with mediocrity and stagnation? Do we approve of the lifestyles and people created by tolerance of alcohol? And lastly do we seek for spiritual elevation, enlightenment, wisdom and growth, to perhaps find peace within ourselves, or are we complacent enough to let booze be the companion of every pastime?

    “I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.”
    -Sylvia Plath
     
  6. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    I have mixed feelings on the topic. Personally I don't drink and while I had a few enjoyable bouts of wild drunkenness with my friends in high school, I never really liked drinking too much and I especially had a distaste for the wider drinking culture, being around crowds who were drinking, etc. I suppose I'm fortunate in that the thirst passed me over because my aunt was an alcoholic and it drover her to her grave, two of my grandmother's brothers died in a car accident after drinking and driving, and I've seen its destructive effects on friends.

    If I had to wager I'd say its overall more harmful than beneficial, yet paradoxically two civilizations/cultures I most admire, namely the ancient/medieval West and the Far East, were both drinking cultures.

    One area I could see it lending itself at least somewhat positively toward would be more ancient, pre-gunpowder warfare where an intoxicated warrior or warrior-host might be more liable to be aggressive, feel less pain due to alcohol, etc. yet it might also be harmful to overall discipline and certainly a clearheaded commander is better than a drunken one. A historical/literary figure who embodies the drunken warrior is Zhang Fei from Romance of the Three Kingdoms....considered one of the fiercest fighters, especially after having multiple drinks, yet his drunkenness caused him to lose a city he was defending earlier in his life and later caused his death due to beating two subordinates while drunk who later killed him in his sleep.

    Spiritually I can't say I see any benefits to drinking and its condemned not only in Hinduism (for yogis especially) and Buddhism, but also in much of Daoism, especially the predominate Quanzhen sect, alcohol is considered one of the "four hindrances."

    Really I am undecided on the issue. I don't think alcohol should be banned, I don't think drinking in moderation is necessarily destructive, but I do think that alcoholism should be discouraged and I don't think it is conducive to any higher spiritual, mental, or even physical disciplines. Would European man be better off without it entirely? I suppose I could only answer "probably."
     
  7. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Is it a catalyst? I mean, let us look at two stratas which score highly in those categories of criminality: The urban poor, and Muslim immigrants.

    The former, whether White or Negro or mixed, misuses alcohol, to be sure - but they also misuse tobacco, fast food, television, music, and often consume drugs ( - in short, they indulge in all things which offer immediate satisfaction and escapism). They have an ethos of imprudence and they tend to be simple minded. If you take alcohol away from such people, would they improve? Quite probably. But I have no reason to say that alcohol is the cause of these peoples woes, since taking alcohol away from (e.g.) the White Middle Class wouldn't produce as comparable a benefit as it would in taking it away from the lowest of proles. The real problem is that this strata has an eggshell skull, as it were, such that they are particularly vulnerable to anything which has a destabilising quality. I mean, alcohol misuse in the higher classes has nowhere near as bad an effect on productivity nor does it produce anywhere near as great an incentive to violence - which should tell you something about what the real dynamic is.

    The latter has a culture which strongly opposes alcohol, even if there is a significant amount of illicit and hypocritical alcoholism from this community on that point. And yet they are much more domestically violent, much more prone to assault, much more prone to corruption, much more tolerant of rape, and much more responsible for acts of murder. I ask again - what benefit has prohibition brought to the Islamic world?

    Unless anyone else wants to step up in defence of alcohol, I will offer three:

    1) It lessens the restraints of etiquette and detached calculation, meaning that communication becomes more direct and honest - and thus it serves to strengthen affections amongst kin, as well as allowing for greater solidarity amongst comrades. Both European and Chinese cultures have used drinking in high-class conditions precisely for this reason. The Japanese do this even more strongly.
    2) It has a joyful quality which offers, within everyday life, an affirmation of the value of Being. Monastics may oppose alcohol not because it is bad - but because it is good; For true asceticism is only possible if they feel the value of what they are abstaining from (for another example, celibacy wouldn't have great value if marriage was itself a vice).
    3) It increases the fluidity of thought, and thus allows for insights which previously would not have been so readily accessible. It recedes the faculties of anxious calculation, allowing intuition and the unconscious inspirations to make themselves known. Alcohol has featured as a muse for clerics, philosophers, and artists alike, throughout our history; - Indeed, if we look at our periods of great cultural output, we find the presence of alcohol to be quite strong. Chinese wine culture has much the same idea. Qu Shui Liu Shang, Plant.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    This sort of vision of asceticism is one seen in Christianity but it doesn't apply across the board for traditions. In the Eastern/yogic/alchemical model these things aren't given up because they are good but because doing so is a mode of living conducive to achieving higher states of consciousness, transformation, self-mastery, etc. Specifically in relation to alcohol it was seen as dulling awareness or leading to decisions that might otherwise be unhelpful in the spiritual quest, perhaps something as benign as overindulgence in food to something more serious like getting into a violent confrontation and accidentally killing someone. This of course applies more to drunkenness than having a drink or two.

    For a specific example from the Daoist tradition, here's a poem by early Quanzhen master/founder Wang Chongyang:

    Alcohol

    Alcohol, oh alcohol,
    So hateful to the lips,
    Plundering the mouth.
    Innate nature overly obscured,
    And spirit unable to flourish.
    You injure and ruin the perfect and primordial;
    You disperse and wear away longevity.
    Half-intoxicated, anxiety fills the bowels;
    Completely drunk, the heart-mind’s direction is lost.
    Toward oneself, unrestrained, mad and wild;
    Toward others, not even the most basic dignity.
    What is better than abandoning this and waking up to sobriety?
    Free from injury, free from calamity, cultivate the double nine.

    That said personally I don't see the harm in moderate alcohol consumption on an individual level, though on a wider social level I remain skeptical of alcohol's benign nature.