Wine & Pot? Why not
How ironic is it that, even as California seriously considers legalizing marijuana (to help stanch the budget deficit), anti-alcohol forces are once again attacking the concept that a little wine each day is good for your health.
The “wine isn’t good for you” crowd was reported on in yesterday’s Times (come on, you know there’s only one Times in the country, right?) under the provocative header, Alcohol’s Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It. After all these years (since The French Paradox) of study after study demonstrating that a little wine is good for everything from hearts to diabetes prevention and anti-cancer, there are still some stubborn scientists stuck in the “you can’t really prove it, so nyaah nyaah” camp.
The basis of their objection, the Times writes, is that “No study, these critics say, has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death — only that the two often go together.”
When I was a philosophy major back at good old Clark U. in Worcestor, Mass., we studied the Scottish philosopher, David Hume. I never forgot his metaphor about billiard balls to illustrate how hard it is to actually prove causality. When we hit the cue ball, we see it smash into the six ball, which then moves (hopefully, into a pocket). But we can’t directly observe this causality, which must happen on the atomic level. All we can do is infer that the causality is there.
Hume and Socrates playing billiards
So the anti-wine scientists say, in effect, “Just because people who drink moderate amounts of wine are healthier, we’re not justified in saying that wine causes them to be healthier. It may just be that wine drinkers lead healthier lifestyles (more balanced meals, going to the gym, jogging, staying slim, don’t smoke) and therefore are healthier, regardless of wine.”
On the scale of dumb, self-serving arguments, that one takes the cake. Look: whether it’s wine that makes you healthier — or the fact that healthy people choose to drink wine — either way, the bottom line is that WINE DRINKERS ARE HEALTHIER, not to mention happier! Would it hurt for these scientists to admit it?
Meanwhile, the Associated Press yesterday reported that momentum is building for legalizing pot. Seems that with states and municipalities struggling to pay their bills and keep services, a tax on weed could raise billions — money that Mexican drug lords are now getting instead of our local police and fire departments and public health facilities.
Here in (not so sunny) California, even Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he’s open to the idea of at least talking about legalizing pot. And I recall that the late William F. Buckley and the still very-much alive former Secretary of State, George Schultz, also expressed support for legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, marijuana. So it’s not like a Republican-vs.-Democrat thing.
It’s definitely worth looking into. Not only would this rob the drug kingpins of the source of much of their wealth, it would result in far fewer people being locked up in prisons, which would save the state money.
Think what a nice place California would be if everyone drank a few glasses of wine everyday, went to the gym, stayed healthy, ate right, and smoked a doobie every once in a while. Why, we could almost get mellow again, like back in the Sixties.