Thank You Judge Davies!

Well it's great to know that people in our community are making a difference in the alcohol problem. What better way to deter people from drinking than to severely limit individual's personal liberties with presumptuous laws then unduly punish them for attempting to exercise any fundamental freedoms which fall outside these laws. With any luck everyone in the world will stop drinking alcohol all together, of course after we've all quit using tobacco products, stopped speeding, engaging in sexual intercourse outside of marriage, melted down all of our guns, and donated all of our extra money to people that actually need it, and we'll be well on our way to becoming municipal judges to propagate these very same ideals to our younger, unenlightened brethren. In fact with the help of our friendly law enforcement we can all fall into a utopian nirvana where we work, shop and watch TV like fields of homologous robotic clones, guided by dickie shepherds wielding wooden hammers and ticket books. What a wonderful world it will be. I hope you're catching my mordant sarcasm here.

Alcohol abuse isn't "the" problem, it's "a" problem; and no small problem at that: contributing to over 40,000 deaths per year and estimated to cost society hundreds of billions of dollars every year, with over 30 million Americans at one point in their lives falling into the criteria of being alcohol abusers. But, despite this no one's going to save the world by eliminating alcohol, and traditionally laws meant to curb alcohol abuse do little to actually curb the abusers, at most they will drive the problem underground or outside the community. Remember the Prohibition? At the time the 18th amendment was passed the public in general was very much for the abolishment of liquor with such zealous sayings such as "alcohol is the root of all evil" popping up everywhere, and yet prohibition lasted little more than a decade, with the last few years making a joke of public policy and enforceability of the legislation. And today this same legislation exists in one way, shape or form on the micro level targeted towards individuals without a means for defense: namely poor, undereducated, and unorganized (students) groups of people. Simple psychology dictates that in order to change any person's behavior via negative reinforcement there must be a negative consequence for every instance of said behavior. Otherwise each instance without the undesirable consequence becomes positive reinforcement. This is why people don't stop speeding, smoking, eating Big Mac's, and of course, drinking alcohol. Like I said before alcohol abuse isn't the root of evil, moreso it functions as an outlet for other problems in general much like: smoking, irresponsible sex, child abuse, violence, theft, etc. We cannot stop people from abusing by punishing the offenders any more than we can change our appearance by smashing the mirror that stares back that unhappy reflection of ourselves. We can only hide the problem, or in the case of Fargo drive the problem to outside communities, where parties still abound in century-old farmstead houses and the like far outside the gaze of Fargo's totalitarian police force, with many bleary eyed collegians trying to find ways home early the next morning. If one looks at the demographics of abusers and binge drinkers she/he will find a marked disparity in socioeconomic status between those who drink, and those who do not. I'm not going to get into a "cause or effect" argument here, but I will say that placing undue fines on "lawbreakers" is just like taxing the poor, which is often the argument put forth opposing raising taxes on tobacco products. Not only is the system taking away from those that have the least, but it further alienates those who are already disenfranchised with politics, laws, and government in general and potentates the "I'm not going to vote, or partake because the system sucks" mentality which seems only too prevalent in our society. Of course this in turn further widens the rift between the astute, conforming policymakers, and the leery, "rip the system," "lawbreakers." Anti-alcohol laws are about as useful as anti-sodomy laws, unless of course you're a city trying to make money from denizens intent on moving away. Many students, such as myself, simply put up with all the "idiocracy" here in Fargo because we never intend to live here once we're done with school, but I thought I'd write a quick note in case anyone actually does.

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." -Friedrich Nietzsche

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding." -Einstein

by tid242 | posted on 2/26/2001