Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Andrei Shock horror the liquor industry has a dog in this fight

The Headline: Liquor companies bombarded minister

Get a grip, all sorts of wackos bombarded the minister in the lead up to the so called "Alcohol reforms". Its just Calvinism without the softening elements of Christianity to moderate it.

And the press "bombarded" us with their advocacy for these changes.

We should be surprised that those who have a stake in the outcome should want to have a say?

Not if the press can help it.

17 comment(s):

muerk said...

Well I think the question is - is the Government avoiding legislation that would have the most benefit for its citizens in order to allow industries to continue making maximum profits?

Obviously there is nothing wrong with a business making money, but not at the expense of people's lives. I'm sure tobacco companies would be overjoyed if the Government allowed it to be bought by anyone and removed the tax on the product and allowed advertising. Profits would shoot up, but at what social cost?

Andrei said...

Muerk;

I think it is a mistake to assume that more rules and regulations are the answer to any problem, particularly social ones and I also think it is a huge mistake to look to Government to solve all problems - they can't deliver!

muerk said...

I think there is a place for legislation around social problems. For example I think public drunkeness should be illegal and I agree that drunken people should not be served alcohol in bars. I think lowering the drinking age was a failure - it has increased problems with teenage drinking.

Clearly we live in a society that does not police itself in regards to problem drinking, hence we resort to the heavy hand of legislation. When people abdicate their own responsibility we can't just shrug our shoulders and hope that we will gain it back somehow.

Legislation sends a signal that this behavior is unacceptable. What other ways should we be using to effect control over our problem drinking?

Andrei said...

For example I think public drunkeness should be illegal and I agree that drunken people should not be served alcohol in bars.

Agree with all of that Muerk;

Those measures target the people causing the problems.

Its when you hit the non problem drinkers for the sins of others that gets up my nose and its wrong as collective punishment always is.

Frank Ritchie said...

So your argument isn't that legislation doesn't have a place in dealing with social ills, it's just that the legislation has to be well targeted.

In that case, would you have been happy with the Bishop to wade in and support legislation targeted to an area such as hitting the people causing the problem and thereby putting the Bishop's faith in government to help in that area?

Andrei said...

Do we go to Church for a party political broadcast Frank?

Or to hear the Gospel?

And what do the scriptures have to say about customs duty on Alcohol?

All the wowsers want to do is to reduce the access the poor have to any pleasure in life and for the responsible poor it will work, another simple pleasure denied by pompous middle class twits who think they know better.

And for the problem people both rich and poor it wont achieve anything at all except for to give the government more money to misspend.

Brilliant!

KG said...

"Its when you hit the non problem drinkers for the sins of others that gets up my nose and its wrong as collective punishment always is."

Exactly. Continue far enough down this road and every person will be treated by the law (and our political and bureaucratic masters) as the the equivalent of the drunken promiscuous layabout thugs who infest every society. Penalising the law-abiding is not fair or just and breeds resentment and contempt for the law.

KG said...

Perhaps--using the same logic they're applying to drink laws--the gummint should triple the sales tax and rego fees on motor vehicle, since some hoons behave badly behind the wheel?

Psycho Milt said...

I think there is a place for legislation around social problems.

We already have legislation against the kind of social problems drinking tends to encourage - excessive noise, vandalism, fighting and so on. What you're arguing for here isn't legislation against a social problem, it's legislation against a product you don't like. There's a big difference, and it would make sense to concentrate on actually enforcing the legislation we have, rather than adding new layers that won't be enforced any better than the old ones. If the liquor industry is promoting the making of sense, their motivation for doing so is of little interest.

mojo said...

Aha ... sometimes being a little psycho is clearer, enables greater vision, than being muerky.

Frank Ritchie said...

Andrei,

I'm not arguing that these legislative measures are any good - I'm taking issue with the idea that a Christian leader has no place in discussing legislation or urging government in a direction regarding it (whether we agree with the specific directive or not), which you have insinuated. You've taken your disagreement with this legislation, connected it to the Bishop's statement and then insinuated that he has no place discussing legislation and urging government to do something - that he should stick to changing the hearts and minds of people exclusively, as if doing so is disconnected from speaking to government.

What happens within a church service specifically is an entirely different issue from what a Bishop says in the public sphere.

The bible has plenty to say about drunkenness and since I would imagine you would argue that the government should seek to restrict activity around other things you would argue the Bible urges us against (homosexuality being one) why should a Bishop not speak up about legislation around drunkenness? Whether or not the legislation proposed is effective or not is another issue.

Do you believe the Gospel has nothing to say to our politics and what we do or do not support in terms of legislation - that our faith is disconnected from politics and legislation?

Andrei said...

Frank;
This whole business is about the well heeled comfortable middle classes disapproving of the poor and taking a dump on them by trying to put the price of alcohol outside of their reach (for their own good of course).

Will it solve any problems- No!!! Actually it will create then for problem drinkers who will cut back on more essential things to get their booze - I've seen this happen.

OK the Bishop can make his pronouncements and I'm sure they will go down well in Remuera Drawing rooms where they will be doubtless be toasted in Mo√ęt et Chandon.

Frank Ritchie said...

I agree with that wholeheartedly, but the business of the headline "Bishops should put their faith in God not government" and the article were not about what you just stated - it was about what domain a Bishop should be speaking in.

On the problems of this legislation and where it bites, I agree with you.

Andrei said...

My point was the Bishop should be trying to reach the people for whom alcohol is problematical not going to the ruling elite and getting them to do it by legislation - which wont work.

muerk said...

"This whole business is about the well heeled comfortable middle classes disapproving of the poor..."

How then do you regard the Slavation Army's take on the regulation of alcohol? They are hardly the 'well heeled comfortable middle class' but a group that works directly with the most poorest and vulnerable in society.

Frank Ritchie said...

Andrei,

The problem with that is the assumption that he isn't working to try and reach the people for whom it is a problem.

Just because he has done one doesn't mean he isn't doing the other.

And once again, the argument about going to the 'ruling elite' to discuss legislation being something that he shouldn't bother doing comes full circle to the points I have been making - if you truly believe that then you need to ask all clergy to step out of any discussion about legislation to do with anything.

If you truly believe what you're saying and want to be consistent then if the government were to lower the drinking age again, take all tax off alcohol and thereby make it more easily accessible, remove all restrictions on the consumption of alcohol in public places, raise the alcohol limit while driving and open it up so alcohol can be sold anywhere anytime - thus reducing the penalties on those who drink responsibly (since that's one of the central elements of your argument) then would you still say the clergy have no place to speak to the legislation with the 'ruling elite'?

Legislation has a place. Arguing about the effectiveness of certain legislation is another discussion, but to argue that a Bishop should not go to the political powers to influence their decisions denies a whole gamut of what the scriptures call us to and some very clear tradition present in the challenges of the prophets of the Old Testament.

I'm fine with you disagreeing with the Bishops specific approach and what will or will not be effective, but I think you betray a strong part of what Christianity is by saying there is no space for the clergy to speak to the 'ruling elite'.

Would you have been happy if he had done the same thing (spoken to the 'ruling elite') but instead criticized the government for hurting those who drink responsibly and adding more legislation to the issue?

Frank Ritchie said...

There must be a problem - my last comment has disappeared :(

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