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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brooks takes on the Marin Institute

Jay Brooks has written a great diatribe -- not over the top enough for a rant, but it'll do -- about the booze-hatin' Marin Institute's support for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed nickel-drink tax. He exposes all the crap about this proposal: the basic unfairness of it, the bogus justifications for it, the nebulous "statistics" used to support it, the imposition of morality it represents, all that, and does it well. Anti-alcohol groups like the Marin Institute, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, like the Center on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, like the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth -- no wait, they folded their tents and slipped away into the night (or another Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded anti-booze group, same difference) -- consistently misrepresent the facts, rig the statistics, and spin the studies. This one is a classic.

But I have to disagree with Jay on one thing, this:
"I can’t help but be surprised to see neo-prohibitionists — an overwhelmingly conservative bunch — co-opt liberal socialist (and President-elect) Barack Obama’s tagline and appropriate it for their own use."
Neo-prohibitionists are not overwhelmingly conservative! That's what makes them dangerous. They are, as they were 90 years ago, before the neo- part came along, a movement that spans the political spectrum and uses whatever tools are to hand. They are against alcohol for moral reasons, for "health" reasons, and often, sadly, because their family was blighted by an alcoholic. We cannot assume that they only come from one side of the aisle...if we do, we'll be blindsided.


J said...

Thanks for the love, Lew. One thing I should point out that apparently wasn't clear; when I said "conservative" I meant primarily "socially" conservative, not politically. But since I was referencing a political slogan, I should have made that clearer. I do agree that neo-prohibitionists come from both sides of the political aisle, but I do still contend they're huddled on one side of the moral divide.

Lew Bryson said...

Love's love, baby, take it where you can get it...

I think the whole political/social conservative thing gets muddled when alcohol's involved, and I don't mean drunken conversations. I know plenty of pro-choice folks who are anti-alcohol, and vice versa. Which brings social conservatives necessarily attempt to impose their mores on society as a whole? And then, the Progressives were a major force behind Prohibition: Pennsylvania's Gifford Pinchot, a Progressive and one of our greatest governors, was an ardent dry. Too muddled!

Tom E said...

Didn't you mean "liberal socialist elitist"? If you're going to go for two of the playbook bogeyman terms back to back, why not go for the trifecta?

Anonymous said...

Indeed there are many parties or organizations involved when we talk about alcoholism. The results of the talk would just end up in constant debates over the proposal.