Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On social alcohol consumption and tolerance

Elaborating on my previous post, I think that societies that are indifferent (or tolerant) to alcohol consumption are more tolerant than societies that do not.

Examples: Pakistan versus Germany. Or Saudi Arabia versus Romania. Or Egypt versus Italy.

In addition, alcohol consumption can be a proxy for other types of substances, such as marijuana or other mildly attention/focus diverting substances. (To be clear, abuses at individual level are not to be considered relevant for this post.)

Getting back to the idea that alcohol consumption -at society levels- fosters tolerance let's zoom in on some reasons.

1. Creates substitutes for acceptance and, surely,  creates a sense of brotherhood. Look at the beer evolution in Belgium or Holland: communities developed a sense of togetherness around monasteries, which then developed very creative beer brewing methods and flavors.

2. Promotes acceptance of different views during social gatherings. If you go to a wedding, say, and discuss -after a few drinks- about politics you get 'black listed' from ever going to weddings so you have an incentive to 'behave'.

3. Removes some opportunities from too much introspection. The results is that you do not need to worry about what you do not think about.

4. Quite possibly, changes perception of what matters at 'the deepest levels'. Young people are very easy to be influenced and the influence of alcohol overtakes the influence of any other indoctrinating thoughts.

5. Promotes the creation of knowledge paths/tracks indifferent to indoctrination. Knowing how to make beer (or whiskey or wine or brandy) and being able to do so can lead to financial independence. Who needs religion when they are self and fully sufficient? Taxation of alcohol has much more to do with -financial and thought- independence than with it being considered a 'vice', for sure.

We cannot discount the thought that alcohol production and consumption in Western societies (Europe) has led to more tolerant people. Alcohol and education, that is...

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