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August 28, 2007

“Binge Drinking Culture”, or Selfish Irresponsible Idiot

by Chris

Well, if you’re in the UK, the answer is clear: it’s all the fault of “the culture”

… personally I’m thinking it’s more like Darwin in action

emphasis mine:

Two weeks after a liver swop, girl of 19 was back on the drink
– By JAMES MILLS – Daily Mail

After eight days in a coma and a life- saving liver transplant, Laura Bates was warned that continuing to drink alcohol could kill her.

But the 19-year-old is apparently so caught up in the binge-drinking culture that she has refused to heed medical advice.

Claiming that she would feel ‘left out’ if she gave up alcohol, the student had her first alcopop a mere two weeks after being released from hospital.

She admits to going out drinking with friends at least twice a week – despite the fact that alcohol abuse was at least partly to blame for her liver failing just six months ago.

Her case was held up last night as an example of how deeply entrenched the drinking culture has become, particularly among young women.

Miss Bates, whose parents Caroline, a 51-year-old housewife, and Derrick, a 48-year-old customer service worker, have begged her to stop drinking, said: “My friends told me not to but I wanted to feel normal again so I bought a bottle of WKD” (a vodka-based alcopop).

“At first I did feel bad about the family who donated their relative’s liver to me – I felt it was disrespectful to the person who died. But people buy me drinks and I feel left out if I don’t have one. I’ve decided it’s okay to have a few – I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong.”

Ahh yes, the fact that a person is so irresponsible that they would start drinking 8-10 alcoholic beverages a night, two or three (or more) nights a week at 14, leading to liver failure in a 110lb or so young woman at age 19, and an emergency liver transplant… yes, that’s the fault of the “binge drinking culture”.

It couldn’t possibly be a result of her poor decision making, now could it?

After all, she had a hard life didn’t she… well, no not really; she’s middle class, with two apparently decent parents.

Well she’s poorly educated right? Nope, at least no more poorly than all the other kids in her council school.

Bad media messages? Are you joking? Watch a night of British prime time TV, and you might come back with the impression that drinking an alcopop is worse than smoking crack while having sex with satan.

Then there’s the fact that she felt justified in ignoring doctors orders, and started drinking again (on her now diminished in function transplanted liver) because she “felt left out”; and she “doesnt think she’s done anything wrong”.

Well, yes, it is her life and she can die if she wants to; but the fact that she really doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong here? How about burdening her socialist society with her medical care, and depriving a more deserving non-idiot of a good transplant liver?

I mean, if she preferred alcohol and socialization to life, she should have been allowed to die when her own liver failed in the first place. Then she never would have needed to worry about “feeling left out” again.

Maybe I’m being too harsh here. After all, her “culture” has told her for her entire life, that she wasn’t responsible for her own problems, that the state would take care of everything, and that her “feelings” are by far the most important thing in the world, and override any kind of rational or practical considerations right?.

Nah… some people are just too stupid to live anyway; it’s better that she weeds herself out before she breeds (which is sure to be soon if the booze doesn’t get her first).

This is the consequence of such a morally degenerated society that no-one is held responsible for their own actions or decisions. This is the result of the consequence free society.

It’s just a shame that the subjects of (once) Great Britain will be forced to bear the burden (both directly financial, and the inevitable dimunition of the rights of consenting adults to drink) of this idiots medical care yet again (in fact, most likely over and over again until her hopefully rapid death).

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19 Comments

  1. Seems like another perfect example for policies that make individuals responsible for their own actions. Of course, government loves to take responsibility and will do so, regardless of the detriment to taxpayers or fellow imbibers of alcohol.

    Comment by somebody — August 28, 2007 @ 11:22 pm
  2. Chris,

    I don’t think you’re being too harsh. Kid’s a moron. And the NHS sucks.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 28, 2007 @ 11:30 pm
  3. Thank you socialized medicine… Moral hazard, anyone?

    Comment by js290 — August 29, 2007 @ 3:16 am
  4. What do they mean by “at least partially to blame”? Also, what exactly is “binge drinking” in the author’s definition? There is a lot of ambiguity here that should probably be cleared up for this to be labeled as something other than a largely inflammatory piece.

    Comment by Eric — August 29, 2007 @ 7:54 am
  5. The article mentions the English “binge-drinking culture” as if it’s something completely and totally new. It’s not. Gin just about ripped London apart in the early 18th century. Google “gin lane”.

    No one would suggest England had a social safety net in 1700, yet the country was still wracked by binge drinking. I don’t think the welfare state is the root problem here.

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — August 29, 2007 @ 11:34 am
  6. Joshua,

    “Gin” didn’t rip apart London. “Alcohol” doesn’t cause problems. People who drink alcohol to a degree that they no longer control their actions (a conscious choice) are the ones who cause problems, and blaming alcohol is simply a rationalization for those people to avoid responsibility for their actions. And the NHS’s actions in this case (providing her a new free liver, at the expense of someone else) allowed Ms. Bates to get away with it, thereby insuring that her irresponsible behavior will continue by shielding her from the consequences of her actions (death). That was the point of Chris’ article.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 29, 2007 @ 12:17 pm
  7. That’s one of the many problems of socialized medicine: actions like these which would normally be none of my busniness become my business. As a taxpayer and unwilling participant in such a system, if I can get enough people to join with me, we could demand laws be passed to punish individuals who act irresponsibly with their health. Do we really want to give government this power? I’m afraid we know the answer is yes.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — August 29, 2007 @ 1:54 pm
  8. “Gin” didn’t rip apart London. “Alcohol” doesn’t cause problems.

    I was speaking metaphorically, which should be obvious from the second paragraph, where I said that binge drinking was a problem. The gin doesn’t drink itself, obviously.

    Also, you didn’t even bother to answer the theme of my post – that the welfare state isn’t the root cause of the problem.

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — August 29, 2007 @ 3:32 pm
  9. Joshua,

    I did address the theme of your post, by pointing out that the welfare state causes the problem by allowing stupid, irresponsible to be insulated from the consequences of their actions. Under socialized medicine, Ms. Bates abuses drugs and alcohol, her liver gives out, she gets a new one at the taxpayers’ expense. Under a free market, she abuses drugs and alcohol, her liver gives out, she pays for the surgery to get a new one…each time she screws up. Or she doesn’t get a new liver (because she can’t afford it, or because the doctors choose not to waste one on her) she dies, in which case we no longer have to worry about her. The welfare state of Britain, however, which runs the socialized medicine has passed along the message to her that whenever she does things that are self-destructive there will always be somebody to bail her out and it won’t cost her anything because other taxpayers owe her a living. The lesson I get from this is that while she may not be better off if the welfare state lets her die, the rest of the taxpayers certainly would be.

    As for the binge drinking, you’re right, the gin doesn’t drink itself. Nor does it force you to drink it. If you doubt me, just place a bottle of gin on your table and see whose throat it forces itself down first. And perhaps the problem in the 1700s was that people didn’t realize just how destructive alcohol was. Bottles of gin were certainly no more sentient then than they are now. In any case, they paid the costs for it, judging by the shorter life expectancies, and there wasn’t socialized medicine to bail them out and force us to pay for their stupidity.

    Frankly, I’m a little surprised to hear such apparently collectivist arguments from a self-professed anarchist.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 29, 2007 @ 3:50 pm
  10. It’s too bad the liver can’t go to someone who really deserves it.

    Comment by Aimee — August 29, 2007 @ 11:59 pm
  11. I did address the theme of your post, by pointing out that the welfare state causes the problem by allowing stupid, irresponsible to be insulated from the consequences of their actions.

    The welfare state wasn’t around in the 1700s, yet binge drinking was still a blight on English society and nearly ripped London apart. So, the thesis has poor explanatory power.

    Frankly, I’m a little surprised to hear such apparently collectivist arguments from a self-professed anarchist.

    There’s no collectivist argument here you goof. I’m telling you that the “welfare did it!” argument is lousy. Truth first, then ideology.

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — August 30, 2007 @ 1:18 am
  12. Joshua,

    The author of the post wasn’t saying in the article that the welfare state caused her binge drinking. He was saying that the welfare state shielded her from the consequences of her actions and because the article he linked ignored that fact. He was bothered by the lack of personal responsibility.

    If you’re trying to make another point, I’m just not getting what it is. I’m not trying to be snide, I’m seriously not getting what you’re trying to say here.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 30, 2007 @ 2:42 am
  13. On a bright note, the comments left by people who read the article overwhelmingly blasted the girl’s stupidity and selfishness, not the “drinking culture”.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 30, 2007 @ 3:12 pm
  14. Funny, last time I checked, binge drinking happens all over the world and people get liver transplants because they destroyed their own livers. I think it is neither the fault of “socialized medicine” (that’s the stupidest arguement I think I have ever heard) or “binge drinking culture.” It’s called alcholism, and it is a global issue. People are still burdened by the costs of transplant either via taxes or insurance premiums.

    Comment by DM — August 30, 2007 @ 4:56 pm
  15. Nobody was saying that socialized medicine caused her liver to fail. They were saying that it gave her a free liver (which she’s pissing away), shielded her from the consequences of her actions, and enabled her to continue being a stupid, irresponsible alcoholic at everyone else’s expense. That’s what the author was trying to get across. And I’m all for that…if you stop protecting stupid people from the consequences of their actions, they’ll either use that as a motivation to stop doing stupid things (which is a plus for everyone) or they won’t and they’ll kill themselves off (which is a plus for everyone except the stupid people).

    Comment by UCrawford — August 30, 2007 @ 7:36 pm
  16. Either way it’s a win-win for all the non-stupids of the world.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 30, 2007 @ 7:37 pm
  17. How would you know when you offered the liver or not? She must have been healthy enough to get the transplant and whether or not who paid for it would seem she was next in line.

    If I had been denied a kidney because I smoked 43 years, assuming that put me a risk for losing it; would they have known that I smoked my last cigarette the day of my transplant. (4 years ago)

    I guess what I am trying to say, you would not ever be certain what a person’s behavior would be after a transplant.

    Comment by VRB — September 1, 2007 @ 7:31 pm
  18. VRB,

    You’re correct, and under a free market if someone needed a liver they’d be able to buy one, the donor would be able to sell one, and their behavior after they got it wouldn’t matter. Under the socialized stupidity that is the current organ donation system, however, the state controls the distribution of organs and determines the worthiness of who lives or who dies based on the idea that the state always operates for the “common good”. Clearly, giving a new liver to a degenerate alcoholic and obvious idiot who continues to drink herself to death doesn’t serve the “common good”. Under a free market system, the organs may still go to degenerate alcoholics (who can pay) but at least it would be more likely that they were productive people (being as they had money), and at least they wouldn’t be getting a free ride on the taxpayers’ backs.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 1, 2007 @ 8:48 pm
  19. UCrawford,
    If my transplant were to be dependent on the system you just described, I would be tethered to a dialysis machine, not knowing how long I could survive or be dead. That argument may sound good in theory, but all that tells me that in the free market system my life isn’t worth a damn. I have seen a person beg for the cost of a liver transplant and when they were able to raise enough money, the transplant wasn’t viable and she died. They don’t bill you later, only if you have insurance. Not everyone is eligible for medicare or medicaid. Oh, I can’t mention those awful government programs and of course we must all be defective humans, not to be able to provide our own health care.

    I made a comment on the unpredictability of a transplant patient and I get another lesson of an Utopian theory which has never had any empirical data to support it.

    Comment by VRB — September 1, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

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