Sunday, 11 April 2010

(Morning) Service as normal with the temperance nazis

Having gone to bed far later than is good for an over-the-hill hellraiser I missed the first part of The Big Question on the Beeb this morning, and only had time to laugh at clueless faith junkies for 25 minutes.
The question I did catch concerned drinking and driving, or more exactly if people should be allowed to drink any alcohol at all and then drive a car. Such is the power of temperance nazis that Campbell had problems finding anyone brave enough to say responsible adults should be able to do so in moderation.
The two gents who did were a journalist from a car magazine (and not of the Clarksonian variety) and a libertarian whose name I didn’t catch - I think a Libertarian Party speaker but possibly Libertarian Alliance as they once expressed somewhat determined views in a press release on this topic.
The journalist, reasonably I thought, said a law which treated some serious inebriate who kills while driving his Jag at speed through a built up area and a responsible citizen who has a pint of mild with a family Sunday lunch in a country pub then drives home safely in exactly the same manner is (a) bonkers and (b) bad for business and leisure interests.
The libertarian said, in essence, that drink driving laws don’t work and we’d be better off encouraging a culture in which people take personal responsibility for their actions. He also pointed to the experience of Sweden, where the permitted alcohol level is far lower yet the figures for drink-driving deaths are far higher.
As I wasn’t in the room, I could then laugh my socks off as a broad cross-selection of fanatical halfwits tried to outscream each other. Two of the loudest were the Catholic Herald’s most notorious ex-editor and that black lady vicar from Hackney who Lambeth sends whenever Anglicans need to look all-inclusive on the telly.
Funny thing is, I suppose they were both on the panel to stop it looking like the senile godbotherers who cynics like me snigger at before they even open their mouths.
Earth to Nick Campbell – you’re not fooling anyone, son. Give up now.
More seriously, it did highlight the fact that the deluded herd are easily fooled by any old emotional tosh, not just that nominally concerning their imaginary mate, and that even those with expensive educations start screaming in dissent before, not even during or after, a contrary argument has been offered or the evidence has been heard.
Sad, isn’t it? But also another reason why I think it is right to highlight not only the freethinking but also the libertarian aspects of topics I raise, and to look at ways of doing so which draw from both traditions rather than slip unconsciously into the secular methodism which, in my view, holds us back.

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