The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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Alcohol IS a Drug

November 1, 2010 , , , ,


Today’s post is a supplement to an article from last month entitled Semantic Manipulations of the War on Drugs. In that article I critique the misuse and flagrant manipulations of pharmaceutical terminology in order to achieve a desired political effect or social consensus of opinion. That semantic investigation was intended to expose the false and cynical misuse of the language involved in the war on drugs whose sole intent is to get people to view drugs in a discriminatory manner which has nothing to do with clinical or scientific veracity, but instead has everything to do with socio-political conditioning which is desired by leery vested interests. The other salient reality of this situation which I tried to illustrate in the aforementioned article is in regards to the historicity of these semantic manipulations with their ensuing political effects and to show that they are fairly recent activities.

What today’s article hopes to add to this argument is to point out the fatuous way in which alcohol is discussed within our social dialogs. What malapropism am I speaking of? If you pay attention to the way alcohol is discussed, especially if the discussion is being conducted in a critical manner, you will notice readily the usage of the putative phrase Alcohol and Drugs. Within this syntax, it would appear that this discrimination between alcohol and other drugs is suggesting to us that alcohol is not a drug, or at the very least that alcohol deserves separate consideration from other drugs. In order to maintain the essence of my argument I will focus on the comparison between alcohol and illegal drugs for convenience, but even if we were to include prescription pharmaceuticals in our analysis I hope it is plain to all how pleonastic the phrase alcohol and drugs self evidently is.

It may seem a bit pedantic but I feel that the inclusion of the clinical definition of alcohol will help to keep any ambiguities out of this exercise. The following definition comes out of Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Under the main heading of alcohol, you will find the inclusion of Ethyl alcohol which is the basis for our drinks. Ethyl alcohol is described as, “a colorless, volatile, flammable liquid of the formula C2H5OH. Its molecular weight is 46.07; boiling point 78.5 degrees Celsius. It is a product of fermented or distilled liquors, and is obtained, in its pure form, from grain by fermentation and fractionation distillation.” The definition continues on into actions and uses and it is here where we see that alcohol is grouped into the drug class of nervous system depressants. As stated in the previous article, for ease of understanding my use of the word drug will be defined as any substance that has a psychosomatic effect on human biology.

Now that we see that alcohol is by definition a drug, we then have to consider why is it the case that all of our social dialogs (especially in the media) treat alcohol as if it were a separate consideration when discussing drugs? What is the vested interest behind this semantic declension? With out going too deep into these queries, the most obvious answer would be found in the fact that alcohol is the oldest and most universally socially imbibed drug of our species. It is in point of fact the sociability of alcohol use in tandem with the mood enhancing qualities of the drug that enlivens it to our senses. In that light, I would have to agree that alcohol has some special consideration but not in comparison with other drugs. This becomes a more pronounced observation when one considers alcohol’s social acceptability juxtaposed with illegal drugs. It is the fact that alcohol is socially accepted that we as a society feel that we can ignore the reality that alcohol is by far the most destructive drug on the human body. And when I say destructive I mean in totality, psychosomatically.

This may seem counterintuitive to some, but I would argue that that has to do with the blind social acceptance that so many people have when its comes to the clinical truths about drugs and their use and or abuse. Remember, the supposed need for the illegal status of some drugs over others comes out of purported insalubrious effects that the Government feels it must make amends to protect you from. This puts the Government in the position of making the decision for you of what you can and can not put in your body. Talk about Big Government. But do you think for one second that you could find any conservative reactionary who would support a moratorium on the drug prohibition? Since there is no scientific or ethical argument for maintaining the illegal status of some drugs over others, we must be constantly aware at all times of the manipulation of the media by the ruling elites to elide the truth. This is why I support the legalization of all drugs. If there is an unethical byproduct of the war on drugs, it comes from the black market economy that is created by this illegal status. We all will continue to suffer as a society until we can own up to the truth and demand not only an end to the drug prohibition but also the end of the continued existence of the fascist and demurrable DEA. If we as a society are unwilling to attempt this cultural project, then we have no right to take umbrage with the endless obsequies that leave our border with Mexico so sanguine and which have direct lineage to the war on drugs.

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