Friday 10 February 2012

History Repeating Itself?

Does this look familiar to you?
An American-Indian tribe in South Dakota has sued some of the world's biggest beer firms over severe alcohol-related issues in the community.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe are asking for $500m (£316m) for healthcare, social services and child rehabilitation.
Well, it should do as it's exactly how the long road to tobacco prohibition started.

1954 saw the first litigation in America claiming tobacco companies to be liable for the effects of consumption. It failed, as many would in the following decades. The regular defence was that smoking is a personal choice and the harms are well known.

More recently, though, some cases have been more successful by advocating that the industry were aware that their products were addictive. And of course, once a substance is classified as addictive, personal choice can be discarded as a defence. The consumer doesn't choose to consume ... they are forced into it.

This appears to be the gist of the claim here. That booze was being sold near to vulnerable people, and therefore there was pressure to buy which caused alcohol-related illnesses. The ability of the individual to resist what they know to be harmful is dismissed.

I don't expect this case will be successful, but I wouldn't bet on there being a future alcohol Master Settlement Agreement on the distant horizon. And once that comes in, all hell will break loose for the drinks industry - they will be paying for their opponents to produce acres of junk science to prove alcohol causes every ailment from incontinence to ingrowing toenails, accompanied by recommendations for legislation which would regulate ethanol on the same severity as sulphuric acid.

The lawsuit, filed in the district court of Nebraska, targets Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, SAB Miller, Molson Coors Brewing Company, MillerCoors LLC, and Pabst Brewing Company.
Interestingly, most of those companies have seen this all before. They were closed down between 1919 and 1933 under America's period of prohibition. They must be thinking "here we go again".

The difference is that, this time, the anti-booze puritans have a ready-made litigious template as to how to topple a large and popular - albeit potentially unhealthy - industry. It will just take a decade or two to fully implement, that's all.

This is tobacco control's miserable legacy to the world. A future where humans are reduced to incompetent, unthinking lobby fodder, and where enjoyable products are incrementally denormalised and banned due to the self-righteous crusades of a few miserable obsessives.


barnacle bill said...

And now they are considering bringing alcohol tagging to this country.
Okay it's aimed at the moment at offenders with a "drink" problem for now, but how long before health & safety get on the bandwagon?
A very worrying foot-in-the-door move.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Fully agree Dick.  They have the road all mapped out for them AND they've got a very important trick up their sleeve now that the original alcohol prohibitionists never had: the chance at eternal megabillion funding.  Just like with the antismoking movement, funding will turn the small MADD type operations into multistate megalithic monsters full of professional staffers who'll do anything to keep their jobs going into the future.


RooBeeDoo said...

I always try to look on the bright side - I don't think there will be mega-funding available because the global finanical system is going to collpse in on itself sometime this year.

nisakiman said...

When I read that article this morning, my thoughts were the same as yours, DP.

Now they've had such success denormalising tobacco, it was only a matter of time before someone lodged a claim like this. The professional lobbyists will be in there like shit off a stick pushing for "more research", and then we'll start hearing in the MSM about the danger to cheeeeldren of second-hand alcohol, and soon it will be "you don't actually drink alcohol in front of your children, do you? (.. gasp! - how unutterably awful / irresponsible / unhealthy / uncaring / etc etc..)".

I'm ok, I'm out of it, but I weep for the UK, I really do. I can just see those bansturbators salivating at the prospect of having the tools to impose misery and abstinence on a whole new swathe of the population.

andy5759 said...

We all know who they are. We all know what they are doing. We all know how they are going about it. BUT, we don't know WHY they are doing it. What motivates people to be such illiberal ogres? What gain is there for these people? Surely in a 'bread and circuses" society alcohol would be liquid bread, a vehicle to keep the people acting like sheeple.

Lyn said...

Will it really take a decade of two?  Now they know exactly how the model works, will they not be tempted to speed things up a bit?  After all, far more people drink than smoke and they have many more targets waiting in the wings!

As civil and democratic societies (ha, ha) we are completely doomed!

harleyrider1989 said...

Dick,the Indians have been rampant alcoholics forever on the reservations. Its pretty common knowledge here in the states. Especially those who live near a reservation. This is just a payoff lawsuit,but who pushed it. We know it wasnt the Indians by themselves.......Looks to RWJF as probable instigator!

harleyrider1989 said...

The roads/laws/court cases are done,all they need do now is fill in the next victim or victims as they travel the road of prohibitional destruction on us all here in America. Trust me these fools get 40 states with bans and they will push for a constitutional amendment to outlaw tobacco all together! They will do it I guarantee ya.

James Pickett said...

"I don't think there will be mega-funding available because the global finanical system is going to collpse in on itself sometime this year"

It's nice to know there's a silver lining to that! I think the same applies to windmills and other loony green nonsense, too. Hope so, anyway...