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Memories of the 28th Century

Alcohol and Equal Rights for All

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Humans have been consuming alcohol for at least as long as there have been humans, and there are good reasons to believe that the desire for more alcohol was the driving force behind the development of agriculture. Humans probably got their first tastes of alcohol from fallen fruit that naturally fermented. There's no way to tell for sure, but there are signs of ale, sort of, having been made from seeds about twenty-five thousand years ago, and it is generally accepted that agriculture developed between five and ten thousand years ago. The some of the earliest known crops were wheat and other grains that could have been used to make ale. Real grape wine appears to have been made about eight thousand years ago in Georgia, which is the homeland or vinifera grapes (see link below)

There has been along running argument about whether bread came first or whether ale did. If a batch of ale fails and stops fermenting, then it can be baked and eaten. And ale can be made from bread dough that accidentally gets soaked. Until I get the time machine running, I won't know which came first. It is also possible that bread was first in some places, while ale was first in other places.

The earliest industrial making of ale was in Mesopotamia, where it was made more than seven thousand years ago; that was before writing or accounting.

We don't know exactly why any particular group of people made ale or wine, but even back then surface water was usually polluted, and it was difficult to dig useful wells, but ale could be started in water that was not good to drink, and the alcohol would end up killing bacteria and making it potable. In addition, there is a mood elevating effect that alcohol has on most people. We also know that wine was used medically in places where it was made, and it is more effective than beer at making spoiled food edible. Scavengers can eat partly spoiled food and adequate wine will prevent sickness from it (that is not something to do if you can avoid it).

Some of the positive effects of alcoholic beverages are obvious, while others are less so. Even ten thousand years ago, people would have noticed that people who drank alcohol were generally healthier than people who drank water. Alcohol drinkers also would have gotten over colds and minor diseases faster, and that would include infections. Over the long run, drinkers had longer runs; they tended to live longer.

These and other common advantages of drinking happen whether one drinks a lot or a little, but there are problems inherent in drinking to the point of inebriation, and clumsiness is just one of those. In ancient times the custom of mixing water with one's wine was practiced in some places, that had the effect of providing a delicious beverage that wouldn't make one sick with limiting the amount of alcohol consumed to avoid inebriation. There were laws against becoming drunk and disorderly, but they were as widely ignored as they are now.

It is ironic that something so healthy is also dangerous when consumed in excess. In excess even some of the positive effects of alcohol are reversed. For example, in moderation alcohol is healthy for the heart and leads to healthy blood vessels also, but in chronic alcoholics heart muscle cells can be damaged, and the same if true of blood vessels. Instead of living long, healthy lives, as moderate drinkers do, heavy drinkers. As a general rule the dividing line comes at the same level of consumption that tends to make one inebriated to the point of being unsteady on one's feet and beginning to speak less than correctly.

Here in the U.S.A. there was a period of more than decade, when alcoholic beverages were outlawed. That taught the country that prohibitions of that sort lead to crime as people evade the law. To eliminate the criminal activity, Prohibition was eliminated, but it wasn't completely eliminated. The states restricted the access of younger people to alcohol, and such an age based ban in clearly discrimination in violation to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Before Prohibition children had bought bottles of liquor when they wanted to and could find the money, but it became more difficult when it was no longer legal. It had been common for parents to give their children beer or wine with meals, but that changed after Prohibition, and that led to changes in attitudes toward drinking. It used to be that drinking was an ordinary part of life, but the prohibition changed beer and wine from being beverages to being intoxicants that were used only for getting drunk. That attitude still exists, and even after they can dink legally many people binge, getting as drunk as they can, and the kind of drinking is not healthy, but the age based prohibition that still exists pushes the young to act that way, and tends to create life-long drunks, rather than people who drink reasonably.

This would be a better place, if everyone could consume alcoholic beverages legally, and if children were shown how to drink responsibly and allowed to do so from any early age, they might develop better attitudes toward alcohol. There still would be people who would drink themselves to death, but restrictions haven't eliminated that problem; they have only made life less convenient for normal people.

Let's all support this.

good, bad, and ugly

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