Monthly Archives: maaliskuu 2016

Driven to Drink pt. II

Normaali

Viikko 13


 

Motion: THW take drastic measures to fix Finland’s alcohol problem(S)
Role: MP (govt.)
Date: Mar 5th, 2016
(2/2)


Alcohol policies are debated on a regular basis. One strong current is liberalism, meaning that people should be able to behave as they please and have their needs met accordingly, per the laws of any other branch of capitalism and market economics. Others oppose to this, saying that as long as the state is footing the bill for the wellbeing of all of its citizens and the general overseeing of lawful conditions, it can also regulate the purchasing and consumption of alcohol.

I have two solutions for the alcohol ”crisis”, one of which is a one-size-fits-all solution and the other a bespoke, tailor-made, individualising solution. Implementing either would take about the same amount of precious legislation-and-implementation time, so I’m not telling you which alternative to choose but just presenting you with them.

The first solution, solution #1, is to make alcohol a forbidden fruit in the privacy of the home when drunk alone. Most alcoholics drink copious amounts of the stuff alone @ home. We’re talking of mountains of beer cans, plastic bagfuls of recycled liquour bottles and cardboard on cardboard of discarded cardboard. Some outsource the obtaining and recycling processes to other, abstaining people.

The social control that comes with drinking in company is crucial. It controls drinking mannerwise, moneywise, timewise and volumewise. The govt. could reduce the role of ALKO (the national alcohol monopoly) to the sale of alcohol merely for weddings, funerals and baptisms and so on. The rest would have to be drunk in bars, pubs, at restaurants, festivals, concerts and other public events. This would necessitate driving down the price of alcohol on such occasions to maybe a half or a third of what it is now. So, in the future, a GT would cost 4 or 5 euro at a rock concert or a Christmas warm-up party in the workplace (with an open bar licenced for the occasion). Beers could be had at 2 or 3 euro apiece, so that the volume of consumption made up for the losses in retailing. The hopeful idea is that if people ceased to be able to buy for their personal, solitary drinking, hospitality-industry turnovers could potentially skyrocket.

The second solution, solution #2, is to think of alcohol tolerance and alcoholism-risk per an individual. We could be thought of as having a personal tolerance that comes in the size and shape of a T-shirt. That is one of the easier ways to visualise it. Some of us are of the size XL, some L, some M, some S and the rest of the size XS. Personally, I’d be totally happy if my size was the same as my real shirt size has been for a long time. The ”size” of one’s tolerance would be attributable to genotype and phenotype. These are concepts of biogenetics that come in handy here. Alcoholism-related genes are already known to exist to medicine. More and more becomes known every year. They are sequences of DNA that expose a person to alcoholism, and they may be region-specific, family-specific or tribe-specific; in other words, detectable anywhere that inheritance and heritage play a role. If one’s region, family or tribe was alcoholism-prone, that would automatically raise one’s risk status. Also, if one’s social class was a factor, that would be factored in. For example, an unmarried man is liable to drink more than a married woman. This is because his testosterone levels are higher and he has no children to tend to. In consequence, the alcohol-tolerance ”sizes” or T-shirt sizes of married women from Coastal Finland would likely but not necessarily be the biggest, whereas the T-shirt sizes of single men from Eastern Finland would likely but not necessarily be the smallest. And others would fall somewhere in between.

Thirdly, all of this would be handled digitally as fits the times we’re living in. Each citizen would be issued a card of the bus-card type that was swiped every time an alcohol purchase took place in public. The card would allow purchases only up to the point of one’s personal limit (XL, L, M, S, XS). The limit could be overdrawn by drinking alcohol (from) beyond the national borders, but that’d require extra effort on the part of the ”alcoholic” citizen. For one, I don’t have that kind of potential for squirming, but loopholes do exist; let’s be clear about that.

At any rate, I believe people would take pride in knowing their genotype x phenotype = their limit, and begin appreciating how the govt. takes care of its own. Even a fashion fad might result, if people took to wearing their personally calculated T-shirt for real in public. Nice!

Alkoholi 3


Puheen kesto: 6 min 18 sek
Arvio: * * * * ½. Puheessa ei jää aikaa kysymyksille paitsi yhdelle. Aina ne eivät ole tarpeen. Tässä esitetään kaksi ehdotusta, joista toinen on todennäköisesti liikaa, mutta eipähän tule ainakaan haaleaa tai viileää puhetta. Tiedän kyllä, että puhetta on helpompi suoltaa kuin seurata, sillä puhuja voi seurata muistiinpanojaan mutta kuulija ei. Jollakin tavalla puhuja ja kuulijat kuitenkin päässevät edes osin samalle aaltopituudelle. Näistä kahdesta sama-aiheisesta puheesta tämä jälkimmäinen ehkä onnistuu paremmin; ajan kuluminen antaa sille etua.

Mainokset

Driven to Drink pt. I

Normaali

Viikko 11


 

I had written 2 speeches 2½ years apart on the same subject, i.e. changing the alcohol policies in this country, so that I wasn’t aware of the former’s contents while writing the latter. Interestingly, they do not clash, but the latter of them is taking things a little farther, not breaking with the spirit of the earlier one.  Here I’m presenting them back to back, the earlier in this week and the updated version a week later. You can take note of how the narrative evolves… these two did not have exactly the same motion, but here I’m picking one from either and using it for both for the sake of clarity and comparison.


Motion: THW take drastic measures to fix Finland’s alcohol problem(S)
Role: MP (govt. )
(1/2)


An MP was recently interviewed on the radio about several issues. At one point, she admitted to the proposition that ”Wine is the drink of the wise”. This led me to ask myself: ”Do the high-IQ people drink less or more but better than those with a low IQ?” The answer would be NO. Spirits prepare us all for alcoholism in the medium and long run. We crave for that substance not really knowing why. The answers lies in the receptors of the brain and how they react to alcohol. Even the wise succumb to the charms of boozing once they have drunk and been drunk sufficiently many times in their lives. Drinking, therefore, is more of an emotional/hormonal issue than a rational one. Also, those who can take it for longer have different kinds of intellectual, financial, temporal, social and physical capital and buffers at their disposal than the less fortunate. But, more answers have to be looked for elsewhere.

It seems to me that the natural way to drink well (i.e. wisely) is to drink in company. Here I’m listing the various benefits of doing it in company:

  • a point comes after which drinking stops. It can be the bouncer, a midnight curfew, the last-orders flick of the switch, a row, an argument, a banging of the door or some other reason.
  • rare(r) occasions of drinking enable drinking only the best stuff and purchasing also some for the others
  • the situation is leavened by talk and conversation rather than gloom and silence
  • intelligent people and loosening inhibitions can produce memories to cherish (as opposed to trying to create memories alone, together with the bottle or can)
  • people quite seldom endorse an invitation to drink nowadays, as they are relatively busy
  • drinking in company carries some stigma but drinking alone is downright taboo

Drinking socially would produce a virtuous circle, in which people start longing for joint sessions of drinking and talking, since they will represent release (or, an exhaling movement) on three levels: release through an intoxicant, relief with one’s friends, mates or acquaintances and riddance of some money. People want to consume, if they consume only every now and then. They are fearful of taking all of their money to the grave (which would not even happen, obviously.) This doesn’t affect young, penniless people perhaps as much as those senior citizens.

The logical consequence of this reasoning, therefore and thus, should be: The Abolition of Alko* in Finland!
*(state monopoly on selling spirits over 5 % alc. vol.)

This may sound odd, strange and avoidable, but it would also be one form of the classic conundrum and its solution, i.e. ”Eating one’s cake and Having it, too”. Namely, we would put our ”cake” out of sight by not allowing ourselves to buy it from Alko. But, we could eat it, too, by buying it in pubs, clubs; at short- and long-order restaurants, concert venues and bars and on trains, planes, long-haul buses, ships and ferries and other places and vehicles that are licenced by the existing laws to sell and serve alcohol.  We could also tolerate and accept the permission to bring alcohol in one’s luggage from trips overseas and through tourism. That alcohol I believe is only causing minor damage to the system, although the figures are on the rise. Paradoxically, the most major player in the field, Alko, the purported controller of substance abuse in Finland, is also the biggest damage-doer, as the big rivers of booze flow from and through it.

In enforcing this kind of quasi- or semi-Prohibition, the Govt. would certainly incur the people’s wrath and cause a painful period of transition. As a countermeasure, pricing in pubs should be lowered to correspond to continental standards so that people could afford their hard-earned relief this time around (as they don’t at the moment, to a great extent). For example, a GT should not cost any more than €3 or €4 in a standard pub(lic house). Fancier places could charge a few cents more on top of that. Postal codes could determine how much a pub could charge for their drinks and foods. Lest we forget, one could order a drink for €2,5 in sunny Andalucia, Spain. It was fun and it was safe there. There were no disorderly-behaviour disturbances (that I can recall).

In going about the policy-making in this way, we could combine the best parts of both Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties…. just think about the possibilities.

Thanks.


Puheen kesto: 6 min 2 sek
Arvio: * * (* *). Puhe on hyvää kamaa, sillä siinä on käänteentekevä ehdotus, hyvä perustelu ja hyvät jäsentelyt, mutta sen tekee ongelmaiseksi esittäminen vasta III ajo-puolen puheenvuorona. Jos muut puol(ue)en jäsenet ovat vetäneet täysin päinvastaista linjaa ja vaatineet hyvin erityyppistä linjaa nykyisen tilanteen ”rauhoittamiseksi”, tämä puhe saattaa vetää väärään suuntaan ja ”rikkoa” hallituksen linjan. Tähdet tulevat näin vähäisiksi tai isommiksi riippuen siitä, mitä oma puoli tekee tai siitä, sallitaanko ristiriitaiset ehdotukset, jos aloite otetaan kirjaimellisesti.

 

 

On a Green Light to the Red-Light District

Normaali

Viikko 9


 

Motion: THW treat sex offenders/offences rather as a sociological problem than a criminal or a medical problem
Role: MP/Rep. (govt.)
Date: Aug 4th, 2012


I am not in favour of curbing down prostitution. This much I can say now already. While making it go away is the pet project/brainchild of the current Minister of Justice, Anna-Maja Henriksson (RKP/SFP), I’m less enthused. As someone righteously said, ”it’s a well-intentioned but an ignorant attempt to solve a complex issue with too simple means.” Simply banning something outright like this would be as effective as Prohibition was in its day.

A Finnish expatriate originally from Germany, Mr. Roman Schatz, journalist and radio personality, opined thus: ”I would like to give sex vouchers to people, so that they could fulfill their sexual needs effectively. Just like we have lunch vouchers, recreation vouchers and exercise vouchers that can be given to employees in any company that wants to offer them for the staff.” (This was part of his regular column published in the Ilta=Sanomat evening tabloid.) Schatz’s ground idea is that men’s brains could be (re)directed to something more productive and beneficial, if the needs of the ”reptilian”/lower/lover part of the brain could be taken care of first, without too much emotional resistance,  nor moral or political panic.

I’m inclined to think alike. I see prostitution as a ”healthy” part of a big city’s cityscape, where there could be one red-light district to where moneyed, sexually frustrated husbands and bachelors went in the evenings to get a bit of relief in their daily struggle. Lest we forget, even the daily toil creates some kind of need to have a valve of some sort, be it physical, sexual, oneiric or other than that. It would be good if that kind of activity was expressly concentrated in some demarcated area that everyone knew, so that other areas could be spared the stigma of housing facilities meant for such a thing. As the situation is right now, prostitution can be found in any quarters, even the one YOU are living in. If it’s spread evenly and thinly across town, it is everywhere and anyone can be affected.

Other, female voices corroborate what I’m saying here. Anna Kontula, MP; Niina Vuolajärvi and Jaana Kauppinen all say that incriminating prostitution would hurt the whores more than their customers or long-term clients. Kontula also points out that the aim and crosshairs of the banners and haters is moving all the time. Right now they say that they don’t want to alter the statistics with any of their bills and measures, but just alter the attitudes. In other words, they speciously allege to take the hard and long road instead of just writing letters-to-the-editor and reaching their goal in this way. They manipulate the system, or at least try to.

Other issues, such as human trafficking, which aids and abets prostitution, can be battled with other means, but prostitution is older than even migration and therefore it should be handled as its own phenomenon. Don’t let’s mix things up. It has been already confirmed that porn in its own right has cut down the amount of rape around us in society. Wouldn’t it be as likely and plausible that prostitution, if it was more legal than what it currently is, would drive down the figures of that socio-juridical ill even further? Maybe prostitution could erase rape altogether in the very end.

Thank you.


Puheen kesto: 4 min 29 sek
Arvio: * * * *. Tämä alkaa, jatkuu ja päättyy hyvin. Viitteet lehdistöön ja politiikkaan ovat riittävän monipuolisia olematta nillittäviä. En ymmärrä, miksi en anna tälle viittä tähteä. Sanasto on monipuolista ja välillä tuntuu, että puhe vie suoraan ulkomaille ohi kotimaan ahtaiden ympyröiden, missä tämä on vielä pitkään Utopiaa. Kaksi edellistä puhujaa voisivat myös esittää tämän puheen olematta rooliensa vastaisia.