Friday, August 22, 2008

Laws

Today we were searching a newspaper for articles we could use for our class, and there was one about the current debate to lower the drinking age to 18. My general opinion is that it's not a good idea. I've heard arguments such as other countries doing fine without a drinking age. Stupid comparison! How many times have Americans tried their policies in other countries, and failed because the culture was totally different? You can't just export fragments of societies thinking they will work elsewhere. Even if it's a bad idea to have the drinking age be 21, it's an even worse idea to suddenly lower it a few years and see what happens.

The main problems in the U.S. with the drinking age are binge drinking and drunk-driving. An argument I hear a lot is that the binge drinking would stop if the drinking age were lowered, since it's mainly college students who take part. Okay, so what are college students going to do now, sit around and play Scrabble? What about the fact that the whole U.S. university set-up is based around taking young adults away from the family structure and placing them in an environment where they have close to zero supervision for the first time in their lives? I read a few editorials suggesting "responsible drinking" classes for youth. Let's be honest, is anyone going to take that seriously?

But the thing that actually bothers me isn't the idea to lower the drinking age. I think it's fine that people are looking for ways to solve the incredibly tragic problem of binge drinking. I think what bothers me is the mentality that the law is the problem when in fact it's the people. If you take the law away, there will be no crime...does something sound a little wrong with that logic, or is it just me? Sounds a little like "without the law, there would be no sin." Which is only possible through Christ. Without Christ, if it's not binge drinking, it will be something else. I'm sure of it.

7 comments:

  1. Истреблен будет народ Мой за недостаток ведения...(Ос.4:6)
    Людям не говорят, что пьянство - это грех, не говорят, что алкоголь может сделать и их жизнью.
    Сначала устраняются заповеди Божьи, потом рушатся законы, которые были на них основаны. :(

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  2. Oh, please, you frigid Americans.

    I work in a setting where I have to deal with all kinds of upset customers. I can tell you, that the sin of America is not excessive drinking. It is overeating and anger. Americans have this neurotic obsession with food (read C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters". There he describes that kind of neurotic obsession with food to a "T"). You do not have to be overweight to be obsessed with food by the way. Also, Americans tend to be very narcissistic. Just an observation. You do not have to go berserk on me here for saying these things.

    So, let me get it straight. It is ok for someone to start driving when they are 16? It is ok to work for a minimum wage when they are 16?. It is ok to become really wealthy when they are young? It is ok to go and defend your country when you are young, but NOOOOOO you can't be a responsible individual when it comes to alcohol! Is it what it is?

    The reason we have these issues in the US with the binge drinking is the young people here are not exposed to anything while maturing and when they are on their own they go nuts simply because every experience is so new to them.
    To me drinking is not even sin. Eating like pigs is (gluttony). Being angry and petty is (wrath).

    Keep in mind what the 7 deadly sins are (according to some dudes that I think kind of knew what they were talking about):

    1 Lust (Latin, luxuria)
    2 Gluttony (Latin, gula)
    3 Greed (Latin, avaritia)
    4 Sloth (Latin, acedia)
    5 Wrath (Latin, ira)
    6 Envy (Latin, invidia)
    7 Pride (Latin, superbia)

    By they way, where did the Lord say that people can't or shouldn't drink? Jesus himself said that he will drink the new wine in heaven. He converted water to wine at the wedding. The jewish people back then and now have been drinking wine/beer as part of their diet.

    Oh, sure Paul said that we should not get drunk with wine because from it comes all kinds of sins... But you know, he also said, that Christian women should wear a covering on their heads. Does it make them sinners? Wow...

    Between Paul's and Jesus' advice, I'd choose Jesus' every time.

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  3. Vitali, you misunderstood, it was not my intention to start a debate on American culture. I was merely using the issue as an example of human beings trying to avoid responsibility for their sinful actions.

    From the practical side of things, whether the drinking age should be lower or not doesn't change the fact that to get there would involve a risky transitional period.

    There is nothing about drunkenness that bothers you? Part of the problem is I don't really see introduction to alcohol as a rite of passage, unlike driving and working, which in many societies help an individual to become a responsible adult. To avoid those skills could have a harmful effect on adult life, but no one is going to starve to death because he/she hasn't been introduced to alcohol.

    I don't see how Paul contradicted Christ, but I'm not going to get into a long discussion here.

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  4. I wish my husband were here to give me the facts, but he teaches Health and found statistics that show that the rate of alcoholism is higher in countries where people start drinking younger. This is not because drinking younger causes alcoholism, but because the younger those with the genetic predisposition to alcohol start drinking, the more likely it is that they will become full-blown alcoholics.

    Vitali - On one hand, I tend to agree with you. It struck me funny when I noticed in Russia that people drink and smoke - but on the other hand get lots of exercise and eat very healthy meals. So many vegetables!

    On the other hand, I have two children who nearly panic when I have a sip of beer. I have NEVER been anything like drunk around them, in fact a glass of beer about three times a year is the extent of it, but these two are so traumatized by the effect that alcohol had on their previous mothers that they are terrorized by it. I never know whether I ought to assure them I don't drink - and give up any bit of alcohol....or make sure they see me drink just rarely and lightly, so they see it is OK.

    BUT - due to their genetic background, they will be more likely to have a predisposition to alcoholism....so far better if they never try it. Therefore, I pretty much have given it up. More frigid all the time, I'm afraid... in that way, anyhow!

    Also, Vitali - Jesus did clearly enjoy a drink of wine with His friends! That was one thing that first drew me to the Catholic Church, the Church's recognition that we are physical beings, with bodies and that it is GOOD! I was quite stunned when I went to a breakfast to celebrate the Feast of St. Dominic (the parish's patron) and they were serving frozen daqueris! I was stunned, but delighted....It said a lot more than what might first be seen.

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  5. Vitali - I didn't really respond before to your "gene pool" analogy, not because it upset me too much, but rather because I just didn't have time.

    OK - maybe it did upset me. Not because you are "wrong" exactly looking at the "big picture", but because you are wrong regarding my children. [That sounds like someone with blinders on, doesn't it? But not really.] We had the great blessing to adopt from the Ivanovo region. I have come to understand that the regions may do things very differently. I get the distinct feeling that some regions use adoption as a way to rid themselves of their most difficult children (probably, even, as you imply the ones who will grow up to be criminals). In Ivanovo, they put forward for adoption the most gifted, emotionally balanced and well-behaved children. Two of my boys were at a school for gifted children, for example.

    And, you are entirely correct about those first three years. Fortunately, though two of my children had alcoholic mothers, the mothers did not become alcoholics until my children were over the age of four. Until then, their fathers were alive, and they had comparatively happy families. It is a strange coincidence that their situations were so similar: in tact, happy family, until the father passed away (one in an accident, the other from TB). Then the mothers began to drink, and eventually the children were in one case abandoned at the gate of the Red Cross building, in the other removed from the home by a concerned neighbor. But, because of those first four years they are intelligent, happy, sweet-natured people. Yet, they see alcohol as the great monster that nearly ruined their lives.

    I do agree that there is a mix of genetic issues, substance abuse issues, and this creates the sin that passes from one generation to the next. Primarily because of the trauma that comes into these young lives in those first three years. I have connected with some adoptive parents who have brought home children who suffer greatly and cause their families to suffer under these afflictions. But, you are right. Patience and love can help even these children.

    Liz - I sometimes feel that Vitali and I have ambushed you and stolen your blog. I hope you do not mind these side conversations. If so, please say so and I'll hold my peace.

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  6. I don't mind discussion as long as it's respectful and relates to the topic at hand. If you want to preach a sermon or start a new topic, you are welcome to on your own blogs, and I'll be happy to read it.

    Annie, thanks for sharing about your children. I have heard that before about Russian adopted children. Being around Russian orphans makes me never want to have anything to do with alcohol, because in a lot of cases that's what made them orphans in the first place. In the States it doesn't seem as much of a problem, but my family does have a history of alcoholism.

    In Russia people do exercise a lot-if you count walking a lot when you don't have a car. And they eat a lot of vegetables... since meat is so expensive!

    I think it is very hard to create a situation where alcohol isn't a temptation/traumatic to either yourself or others, unless it's just like a glass of wine at dinner or something. Then alcohol isn't the main attraction.

    Which is precisely why binge drinking is such a problem... alcohol is the main attraction and getting drunk is the goal!I don't think anyone will argue with me on that one.

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  7. Vitali, you didn't have to delete your follow-up comments!

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