one girl’s perspective on life, neopaganism, veganism, politics, books, films, and… stuff.

Well, okay, they’re not actively working towards complete prohibition (the alcohol industry earns waaaaaay too much), but the government is working on impeding on civil liberties. At the moment, what I want to rant talk about is THIS article.

For those too impatient to read the entire thing, it’s basically saying that we should entirely condemn the ‘DrinkWise’ anti-alcohol campaign, because it’s sponsored by the alcohol industry. And then goes on to tangentially mention the sports industry’s support of alcohol products, the “underage drinking epidemic!!!”, and the whole issue of basically “no-one ought to be allowed to smoke, ever”.

Yeah, it’s well thought out and completely rational. *ahem*

For starters, it’s plain stupid to completely condemn the entire campaign because of whence it derives its funding; ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’ springs to mind. As for the argument that it’s because of this source of funding that the campaign doesn’t work – uh, no. They’ve done studies on government funded anti-drinking campaigns, and shown that they also have very little effect on people’s drinking habits. It’s not a question of where the funds come from, it’s a question of finding a method of transmission of information that actually works. Of course, that would basically require a complete overhaul of Australian social values and attitudes, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

One of my main problems with government officials (and every other wealthy bastard) condemning drinking and smoking is this: it’s an individual’s choice. You step in and tell people what they can and can’t do in their lives, as far as personal choice goes (and where it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others, obviously) and you are setting a dangerous precedent for 1984-esque levels of control (of course, that’s what the government wants, but that’s a whole other rant). Yes, I do understand the argument that these activities cost the health system a shitload of money. Much like, hmm, obesity and the myriad of health problems associated with being overweight. I don’t see the government stepping in and shutting down fast-food chains, or assisting in lowering the price of health food and taxing the fuckery out of anything deep-fried. Ahh, the sweet smell of blatant hypocrisy.

The only thing I agree with in this article is that it’s stupid to have athletic events, such as hand egg ‘football’, financially sponsored by the alcohol and tobacco industry. That being said, Australians like to be distracted by mindless drivel, such as television and sports, and the funding has to come from somewhere. I’d rather see government funding being distributed to things like education than the pursuit of head-injuries. There’s also something delightfully ironic about something that kills brain cells (i.e. alcohol) lending financial support to something so brainless (i.e. sport). But it does provide yet another vehicle by which pro-drinking sentiments enter into social consciousness, which harks back to my earlier point; if you want to stop binge-drinking, etc. then the social norms and mores of Australian society would have to be changed.

Besides, distract the population with brainless pursuits, and you can basically do whatever you want. I thought that was the ultimate goal of any government?

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