My new commentary is up over at the mothership; it attempts to draw a parallel between Congressman Paul Ryan\’s attempts to repeal the new health care law with former Wisconsin Senator John J. Blaine\’s successful attempts to repeal prohibition in 1932. (Although, as the last paragraph points out, prohibition prevented individuals from doing something they wanted to do – drink – while the current health care bill forces many people to do something they don\’t want to do – purchase health insurance.)
In my research for the piece, I ran across an awesome old Milwaukee Sentinel column from 1932 by a man named Gunnar Mickelsen, who vigorously defended the benefits of drinking. And it may not even fit in well with my column, but it was too awesome to leave out. I couldn\’t help myself. Here\’s his logic for why drinking is necessary to society:
\”Now, it is our theory that Milwaukee was happy because it talked. The urge to hold conversation, to communicate ideas and experiences is one of man\’s major motivations. It is behind most of his endeavors and his works. Deprive him of the privilege to talk and you rob him in no small measure of his ambition to do.
What use are actions if he can\’t talk about them later? The man\’s ego who is satisfied at the mere doing, without telling others or hearing their praise or criticism, is a rare fellow. The happiest persons are those who have something to say, know how to say it, and are given the opportunity to do so.
Beer and wine make for conversation. There is in liquors of mild alcoholic persuasion that which quickens the flow of the thoughts in a man\’s cranium, loosens a notch the belt about his reticence, and releases upon his tongue the fruits of his meditations. It is for precisely this reason that men have resorted to alcoholic drinks as a means to make their companionship more vivid and happy.\”
There you have it – people only do important things so they can brag to friends about them. And liquor makes people talk more. Ergo, without alcohol, nobody would really do anything, since they wouldn\’t be able to boast about what they did. Simple as that.
I, personally, think it\’s air-tight. In fact, I had a couple beers just now, so I could brag to you about my column. Only reason I wrote it, really.
March 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Blaine also has the distinction of having been the only U.S Senator to vote against the Kellogg-Briand Pact. While we’re on the topic of parallels, maybe this is somehow akin to Feingold being the sole no vote against the Patriot Act.