The other day in Physics my teacher gave a brief lecture and then held a discussion debating whether or not alcohol is inherently immoral. Don’t ask me why this was occurring in Physics – I think it’s because my teacher has a penchant for philosophy – and I was simply thankful that we were talking about this rather than impulse and momentum.
Now, alcohol. Personally, I abhor alcohol. I will never drink it. I know it may be difficult to carry out that claim, but to be frank, I am staunchly against alcohol, and for many reasons that I will discuss.
However, is it actually wrong? Is the act of consuming alcohol – merely that act, on its own – immoral? I had to think tremendously hard on this one and force my brain to get past my own bias, and after doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, alcohol is not inherently immoral.
This is because people possess the willpower to control their consumption of alcohol. People who restrict their drinking to social events, and do all the right things, such as choosing a designated driver, calling for a cab when one of their friends is intoxicated, etc. show that merely drinking alcohol is not a basically bad thing. In fact, if all people drank responsibly, limited their desires, and behaved virtuously, I would be all for alcohol.
But they don’t.
Statistics show that an abundant amount of people abuse alcohol. Some individuals become so depressed and angry and cannot seek a healthy outlet for these enervating or exacerbating emotions that they resort to drowning their sorrow in sake. Others who drink not only hurt themselves but hurt others – a myriad of innocent individuals are damaged irrevocably or killed due to others who were driving while drunk (she is one of the many examples, but be warned, the images are graphic).
Throughout the nineteenth century people fought for Prohibition, which would cause the sale, making, or transportation of alcohol to become illegal. These people believed that alcohol acted as a bane in society, and cited reasons such as how men tended to abuse their wives and children after consuming alcohol at saloons. They achieved their goal when the eighteenth amendment was passed in 1919, but due to corrupt crime bosses illegally selling alcohol and the fact that people were still in possession of alcohol despite the ban, the twenty-first amendment was passed in 1933, repealing the eighteenth amendment and putting people back where they started.
My Physics teacher stated that as long as people are able to be independent of their desire to drink – meaning that they would be fine if they stopped drinking altogether – then it is not a bad thing. While in some cases that is true, in most, it is not, which is shown through the what happened after the eighteenth amendment was passed. As an idealist and an optimist, I would love to believe that everyone can effectively exercise caution when it comes to alcohol consumption, but that’s simply untrue.
Even science exemplifies why people should not drink. This source and this source reveal how harmful alcohol is to the brain, and the reason why the legal drinking age is 21 is that the adolescent mind is especially vulnerable to the damage alcohol inflicts, as the brain is still developing while one is a teenager. This is one of the most major reasons why I have decided not to drink, because I value every brain cell and association area I possess.
So, is alcohol inherently immoral? Maybe not. But the pleasure people experience because of it is not nearly worth the lives people lose to it.
Thoughts? My apologies for not posting a lot lately, I’ve been busy (as always, I suppose) and school has been tough lately – but I’m hanging in there! Hope to hear from you guys, and hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the weekend!