The state of Australian politics is truly amazing. Political commentators don’t concern themselves with important issues, such as the introduction of anti-bikie laws that threaten the fundamental rights of each and every South Australian (and if Rann gets his way, every Australian). No, last week saw political commentators up in arms regarding whether there should be an increased tax on, ‘Alcopops’ — sugary, alcoholic beverages that are colourful and popular among youths out on the town.
It was everywhere, in the news people couldn’t believe that these drinks were going to be sold cheaper to young drinkers who will proceed to get themselves drunk. Only problem is, they forget that these same people are going to get themselves drunk no matter what — they’ll find something else to drink and it will be harder than ‘alcopops’.
Like me, any rational reader right now is going to be thinking, ‘So what? Who gives a fuck?’ That is, until I read other articles, watched interviews and began noticing the total number of public service announcements. It’s amazing, in one day I had to suffer multiple anti-smoking ads, anti-obesity ads, anti-binge drinking ads, anti-speeding ads, anti-driving while stoned ads, anti-binge drinking ads aimed at teenagers, anti-drunk driving ads — and these were all funded by you and me. Then there were the rants about the culture of binge drinking.
It’s incredible nannyism.
Apparently, a group of wrinkly old men, whom you have never met and probably never will, living in Canberra know what’s best for your body than you. And are willing to decide upon the finer details of your lifestyle; if not through direct legislation than by recruiting a vast number of zealots to do their bidding.
Worse yet were the rants against the Australian culture of binge drinking which flared up once again. Again and again it was chanted that we need to break this binge-drinking culture and that the government has failed in its duty to care for its citizens by failing to initiate taxation on a popular drink. Never mind that the minimum drinking age is completely arbitrary, along with the age of consent.
Well, it all reminded me of a thought once expressed by the wise Shawn Wilbur somewhere; maybe we need to focus on making life bearable, on making it so people don’t have to drink to escape the reality of their life. These are the people who drink to excess and wind up killing themselves in some accident, fight or from some other affliction. And when you think about it, this makes sense; high school is a prison, work for many is a constant struggle to pay bills, pay the mortgage/rent, fill mouths and placate the taxman in an economy that is increasingly (some might say inevitably) going to shit with every scrawled letter of the parliamentary pen. That’s certainly a reason to drink if I ever did hear it. It’s then little surprise that anxiety and depression are common among our cities and that people are so willing to piss away their hard-earned cash on, well, the piss so that they may forget life for about 12 hours.
But mention this to any statist and they’ll immediately tell you that’s why we need new legislation to do x, y, z and hence solve these problems. It’s an impossible battle against busy-bodies that wish to tell you what to do with your corpse.
The worst thing about it all is that people accept it. They fall to enforcing the latest government instigated health initiative with the passion of the gestapo. Someone else once remarked that if government were to ever tax beer, hence making it more expensive for the masses, then there’d certainly be revolution. Somehow, I seriously doubt it.