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June 16, 2008



I don't understand the logic of your last paragraph. Surely in your own example business has been coerced by the state into implementing stupid laws.
The 'intertwining' is therefore untrue, as if the state stayed out of this area then business would not be pressed to implement its poor laws.
The enemy is the state and leftist ideology as you point out very well in the preceding paragraphs.

Bob B

"The function of the state is no longer to protect people from each other, but rather to protect people from themselves."

C'mon. It is certainly one function of the state to protect its citizens from violent crimes.

"A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest."

"The Lesson for Mental Health Care in Scotland report, by Manchester University, found there were 18.7 suicides per 100,000 population in Scotland, compared to 10.2 in England and Wales. Similarly, the homicide rate in Scotland was 2.12 per 100,000 people – compared to 1.23 in England and Wales."

Bob B

Also, alcohol and drug abuse imposes additional costs on the NHS which UK taxpayers have to meet. This is a malignant externality by any reasonable definition of the term:

"A drug addict costs the taxpayer more than £800,000 over the addict's lifetime, a government review has said."

Your wage slave colleagues

Forget not that a global corporation, owned by dastardly shareholder capitalists and presided over by a bunch of managerialist halfwits, pays you more than a living wage to reside peacefully in the Shires penning agitprop rants!
By this logic, are you not in open collaboration with business - "the enemy of the people and reason?!"

Mark Wadsworth

Bob B, hang about here.

Taxes on fags and booze are far greater than cost to NHS, that bit of extra policing, sweeping up cigarette butts and so on.

If we legalized most drugs and taxed and regulated them sensibly, we'd be able to minimise harm/crime and more than cover our costs.


Is not there a line between the control on alcohol consumption or the smoking ban and the NHS ?
What you gain in security you pay on liberty. You choose.

Bob B


You must have missed these news items:

"A six-month ban on smoking in all public places slashed the number of heart attacks in a US town by almost a half, a new study has revealed."

"Fifty years ago, England and Wales had the lowest cirrhosis mortality rates in western Europe; now, recent research reveals, deaths from liver cirrhosis are rising faster in the UK than anywhere else in western Europe.

"The analysis shows that cirrhosis mortality rates in the UK increased steadily until the end of the 1970s, with accelerations in the 1980s and again from 1990–94 onwards. Rates among men in England and Wales rose by over two-thirds and in women by over a third. In Scotland, rates in men more than doubled and among women increased by almost two-thirds. Scottish cirrhosis mortality rates are now among the highest in western Europe. In contrast, mortality rates in most other European countries have been falling since the late 1970s, particularly in southern Europe and France."


"Surely in your own example business has been coerced by the state into implementing stupid laws."

Only because some businesses - IT contractors, security firms, arms companies etc - quite enjoy being coerced by the state into helping it create stupid authoritarian bureacuracies. In fact the enjoy it so much they lobby for more of it and fund the political parties that will give them the contracts.

So chris's final paragraph is in fact true, business and the state are intertwined.

Winton Bates

The new Australian goverment has recently attempted to introduce an additional high tax on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks (alco-pops) in the hope that this would discourage teenage binge drinking. But they apparently overlooked the fact that substantial numbers of middle-aged males also like the convenience of pre-mixed drinks (e.g. bundy and coke, where bundy equals Bundaberg rum).

It seems possible that the government could suffer an electoral backlash over this in a forthcoming by-election. If so, it will be an interesting learning experience for them.

Bob B

By natural instinct I am a libertarian inclined to JS Mill's analysis:

"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant." JS Mill: On Liberty

But we can no longer accept the plea that excessive alcohol consumption is purely a (potentially tragic) private matter. Dispassionate scrutiny of the mounting evidence shows that because of the consequences - such as additional healthcare costs falling on the national exchequer and traffic accident fatalities - alcohol abuse has to be considered an other-regarding action with social consequences.

"Between 1970 and 2000 there was a ninefold increase in the number of deaths from alcohol related chronic disease in English men and women aged 25-44 years."

- in nearly half (46%) of all violent incidents, victims believed offenders to be under the influence of alcohol
- this figure rose to 58% in cases of attacks by people they did not know
- 39% of domestic violence cases involve alcohol
- in more than a million violent attacks the aggressors were believed to be drunk
- the offender was least likely to be perceived to be under the influence of alcohol in the case of muggings (17%)
(Source: British Crime Survey 2006/07)

Bob B

Sad to say, the yoof in Britain are becoming increasingly anti-social mainly because of alcohol and drug abuse:

"THE death rate among young drivers has doubled in the past five years, prompting demands for greater restrictions on those who have recently passed their tests. The steady improvement in road safety across the general population is masking a sharp increase in the number of drivers aged under 20 having fatal crashes, despite a tougher driving test."

"The teenage pregnancy rate in Britain is the highest in Western Europe and dealing with the consequences costs taxpayers an estimated £63million a year."


The law should be everyone's concern, not just the police's. Shopkeepers need a license to sell alcohol. If we decide to change the terms of the license, so be it. We do the same to pubs and other licensed premises, shutting down those ones who serve underaged drinkers, for example.

I don't agree with 21 age limit, as I think the problems is the cultural attitude to drinking, but I don't think the law stops at the copper's notepad.

I think public drunkenness is out of control, and I'm someone who a few years ago used to be a protagonist (aged 16-30). It might be age, or having kids, but I don't want to clean vomit from my doorstep, or be hassled by folks who are worse for wear. I don't want to stop their fun, but I don't want them to cause me nuisance either.

Something's got to change I think.

Bob B

" . . . to reside peacefully in the Shires penning agitprop rants!"

I've long had lingering suspicions about Rutland but have no Nazguls been seen there of late?


What ChrisD regularly is a bit disingenous about is making large abastract issues of practical concerns. In this case it is individual rights vs. the state.

But in practice it is just politicians pandering to the median voter, and median voters are increasingly intolerant of anything that disturbs the perfect tranquility of the enjoyment of their perquisites, in large part because the median voter is a middle aged landlord looking forward to a time of ease living off rent, if not already.

So politicians are just reacting to a change in the demand of the voters, and in a democracy it is voters and not JS Mill who elect politicians.

The same voters are also fond of having their preferences satisfied by unfunded mandates, so less policemen because they are expensive (especially after their loyalty was purchased by Thatcher), thus delegating the issue to shops.

As one member of the Silent Majority writes:

«I think public drunkenness is out of control, and I'm someone who a few years ago used to be a protagonist (aged 16-30). It might be age, or having kids, but I don't want to clean vomit from my doorstep, or be hassled by folks who are worse for wear.»

So do old aunts, retired headteachers, and couples with small children think and vote, for Nice Neighbourhoods and ASBOs.

And authoritarians in business and government are very happy indeed to pander, as every new measure to ensure that everybody is a Nice Neighbour also "accidentally" give them a lot of power to deal with all sorts of "troublemakers", not just those that darken the doorsteps of the middle class.

אומנויות לחימה

It does recognize that we still want to be mean, and the answer to what should be to maintain the old laws against drunkenness and disorderly.

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