|Montrï¿½al, 4 aoï¿½t
2001 / No 86
<< page prï¿½cï¿½dente
is a software consultant who works out of his home in St. Laurent, Quebec.
THE CONTRARIAN OF DRINKING AND DRIVING
I have long known that the furor over drinking and driving was overblown. As one who has
been known to indulge in the evil practice, I have never been able to see any difference
in the way I drive with a couple under my belt and the rare times when I'm cold sober.
When I point this out to friends they always answer, that because I'm under the influence,
I can't judge. Maybe. But somehow, I'm not convinced. It seems to me that I should know my
mental state better than anyone else. After all, I'm the one who has to depend on the poor
The headline statistic cited to prove the problem raise even more questions. Forty one per
cent of fatal accidents involve alcohol, defined as at least one person having a
measurable blood alcohol level. What does this have to do with the increased likelihood of
an accident being caused by a drinking driver?
A proper analysis would require statistical regressions over a series of variables
including day/night, urban/rural, distraction levels and so on. It would also need to look
at the effects of other intoxicants such as caffeine and prescription drugs. And, of
course, the analysis would require examination of the amount of alcohol required to render
someone a dangerous driver. Certainly such a level exists. Certainly, it is more than the
definition used, .01% blood alcohol. Is it less than the legal limit? More?
This ï¿½ statistic ï¿½ is not intended to do anything to shed light on the
question. Rather it is deliberately chosen to frame drinking and driving in the worse
possible light and to demonize the innocent guy heading home after Happy Hour after having
had a few with his buddies. Notice how it takes a tipsy pedestrian stumbling off a curb
into traffic and turns him into a crazed idiot, barely able to stand up, who runs a stop
sign and wipes out some innocent little moppet.
In a remarkable new book, Drinking and Driving The Real
Problem is the Lying Propaganda, Stephen A. Beck makes the case against the
hysteria. He uses the misbegotten government statistics themselves to prove that the whole
issue is nothing more than hysteria. Drinking drivers are a non-problem. What's more,
according to the government definition, they are actually safer than sober ones.
Why shouldn't this be the case? The vast majority of so-called drunk drivers are
responsible people who have had a couple of drinks, not lushes swerving all over the road.
They know that their capacities are somewhat diminished and so are extra-careful in their
driving. Besides, with all the hysteria around, they certainly don't want to get caught.
In Ontario, regaining your driver's license after a DWUI conviction can cost well over $10
000, by the time the powers-that-be have jacked up your insurance rates and forced
you to pay for re-education camps. In Quebec they are planning to force you to install
some silly keypad in your car.
So what, you ask, does this have to do with Slobodan Milosevic?
Like drinking drivers, the former Serbian strongman has been demonized by the government
with the willing help of their sycophants in the media. Yet Milosevic is far from being
the raving monster that he is made out to be. In fact, by the standards of the Balkan
wars, he is a fairly mild figure. He was democratically elected and his opponents, until
recently, have been stronger nationalists than he himself. When he lost power, he
conceded. It is quite likely that his attempts to force a run-off, instead of immediately
admitting defeat, were due to his strange notion that defeat would lead to a lynching. In
that, he was right.
ï¿½ The vast majority of so-called drunk drivers are responsible people who have had a
couple of drinks, not lushes swerving all over the road. They know that their capacities
are somewhat diminished and so are extra-careful in their driving. ï¿½
Franco Tudjman, the former Croat strongman, ordered the biggest act of ethnic cleansing of
the war the expulsion of more than 100 000 Serbs from the Krajina
region of Croatia. Bosnian Serbs, under the direction of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko
Mladic, were responsible for almost all of the war's principle atrocities, including the
murder of more than 7000 Moslem men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 by far the greatest massacre in
Europe since the end of the Second World War. Karadzic and Mladic are still at large.
Milosevic, who tried hard to use his influence to restrain them, is in The Hague in their
Then there's NATO.
Two months of bombing Serbia, of murdering civilians in Serbia proper, of methodically
destroying the country's infrastructure, of shooting anything that moves, and engendering
refugee trains in Kosovo. NATO is now letting armed bandits run free in breakaway
province, forcing Serbs to flee the province. These same thugs are now menacing Macedonia.
Meanwhile, in Bosnia the Satraps have refused to recognize the legitimately-elected
representatives of all three mini-states, preferring instead to tell them to go back and
get it right. In other words, to select compliant little Rois Nï¿½gres who meet the
approval of the NATO colonial officials.
In the midst of all this mayhem, Milosevic has gotten singled out to be the scapegoat. To
get their hands on him NATO offered a billion dollar bribe to the Serbians, money which
will go far to help them repair the country which NATO itself destroyed. To bring him
down, the UN Security Council has created an illegal court in The Hague to which it
delegated powers that it does not itself possess. He will be found guilty and history will
judge him to be solely responsible for the chaos in ex-Yugoslavia.
The health of the state is war
Government cannot create wealth, produce goods or innovate new technologies. Throughout
history, such things have invariably been the constructs of individual people, or of
groups of people working together voluntarily to achieve a common goal. While government
is incapable of generating wealth, it does understand how to extract the product of others
and to divert it to its own uses. In more simple terms, government lives by theft of other
Since people would not accept this theft without a reason, government must find pretexts
instead. The modern state often uses the language of social justice, fairness and equity
as a cover under which it can confiscate people's belongings. It may also use other
concepts such as ï¿½ fiscal stability ï¿½, a need to protect
people from common criminals, etc. In the end, any notion that can justify the theft is
grist to the mill.
But throughout history, the State's favourite ruse has always been war. War is truly the
speciality of the State, the only thing it is really capable of doing well; identifying an
enemy, rallying the troops to the cause, and organizing the resources required to
defeat the adversary.
It is revealing that the minions of the State talk in terms of wars. The war on drugs. The
war against poverty. The war against pollution. The war against rape. The war against
crime. The war against communism. Always war.
Wars today tend to be moral, rather than military. Of course, the traditional kind never
quite goes out of fashion, as Milosevic and the Serbs found out.
In either kind of war, the first step is to objectify the enemy, to depict him as
something less than a human being. The adversary must be converted into a one-dimensional
caricature. His evil side must be magnified and emphasized to the exclusion of all others.
He will be misrepresented and demonized until his humanity has been thoroughly squeezed
out of the public eye.
A whole mythology is constructed to achieve this. Slogans help to focus the image.
Milosevic was dubbed the Butcher of the Balkans. Germans in World War I were transformed
into Huns, as the Vietnamese later became Gooks. Similar things happen in the moral wars
too. Husbands become batterers. Honest businessmen become polluters or exploiters.
Once the enemy has been destroyed, his crimes are held up to the world, while those of the
victor are forgotten. These crimes are used to perpetuate the myth that the vanquished
enemy deserved his fate. Thus the Germans were forced to confront the Holocaust after WWII
and the American Confederate South has become irremediably associated with slavery.
Meanwhile we forget the firestorms that ravaged Dresden and Atlanta, neither of which had
any military purpose. Yet the Allies went to war to save the French, not the Jews.
Similarly the North's objective was to preserve the Union, not to free the slaves.
Another assault on our freedom
Milosevic has not been charged with any specific crime, but rather is vaguely accused of
being the evil mastermind behind the heinous actions of the Serbian nationalists. He has
become the casus belli that explains the entire Balkan quagmire. Meanwhile Croatian ethnic
cleansing and Kosovar Albanian terrorism are forgotten. Even more remarkably, the 500
000 refugees who fled Kosovo after the NATO attack on Serbia are somehow used to
justify the attack itself, neatly inverting cause and effect.
Similarly, when we see the carnage on our highways, the meaningless statistic ï¿½
Forty one per cent of fatal accidents involve alcohol, defined as at least one
person having a measurable blood alcohol level ï¿½ is transformed in the
public mind into a belief that a bunch of irresponsible drunks cause half of all
accidents. Other possible causes are ignored. Drugs like caffeine and tranquillizers or
distractions like crying children. Night-time driving or dark rural roads. Not to mention
the pathetic state-run road system.
Ultimately all wars serve only to aggrandise the power of the State. Innocent travelers
are stopped randomly on the road and forced to submit to humiliating examinations. Should
they fail the test, their lives could be ruined. Meanwhile, the carnage on the roads
continues unabated. Grist for another assault on our freedom. Next time I bet the target
will be something really bizarre. Like cell phones, maybe.