Sunday, July 14, 2013

Karl du Fresne: Gender, booze and drugs

ONE OF THE most interesting aspects of the recent upheaval in Australian politics was the way in which sexual politics intruded on media coverage.

High-profile female commentators such as Anne Summers and Kerry-Anne Walsh conspicuously lined up on the side of the deposed Julia Gillard. It was hard to avoid the conclusion that they saw Gillard’s overthrow by Kevin Rudd as part of a gender war.
As with the 2011 media coverage of Alasdair Thompson, the Auckland Employers’ Association chief who was mercilessly savaged because he made a politically incautious remark about women workers, it seems that some women journalists abandon all semblance of objectivity the moment gender issues crop up.

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DON’T YOU LOVE the way sanctimonious academics and health commissars demonise alcohol while sanitising, and even promoting, cannabis?
The head of Australia’s Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education – yet another of those tiresome taxpayer-funded anti-liquor groups with grandiose names – popped up on Jim Mora’s radio show a couple of days ago, essentially arguing that dope causes less damage than alcohol and should therefore be decriminalised.

This highly debatable proposition is frequently heard from smug, middle-class baby-boomers who are safely insulated from the pernicious effects of habitual cannabis use.
Such people are typically well-educated and have high-paying jobs, usually in the public sector. A spliff at the weekend does them no harm. They are far removed from the pestilential effects cannabis has among unskilled workers and those on welfare.

The pro-dope, anti-liquor evangelists still buy into the 1960s-era delusion that cannabis is grown and sold by harmless, dreamy hippies, whereas alcohol is foisted on a helpless populace by bloated, rapacious beer barons. Hostility to capitalism is often at the heart of anti-liquor lobbying.
“Dope harmless, booze wicked” is the wowser’s equivalent of the robotic chant “four legs good, two legs bad” from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Their propagandising is highly effective, entrenching myth as truth. Only this week my fellow columnist Dave Armstrong, an intelligent man, fell for the familiar wowser line that “we live in a binge culture as far as alcohol is concerned”. But anyone who remembers the 1960s and 70s knows that binge drinking was far worse then that it is now.
Karl blogs at This article was first published in the Dominion Post.


Brian said...

Gender and other.
Karl struck the right note on how easy it is to degrade a subject and at the same time promote ideas and dangerous products under the guise of media “ openmanship”.
One might add to that list with the constant degrading of our first colonists, who stepped ashore and hacked their way through a wilderness to establish a civilisation, which we all now benefit from! With the advent of our liberal revisionists we are constantly regaled with “How Maori were deprived of their civilisation thru this wicked colonisation”. Hence then never ending recompense.
How anyone can describe Maori as being a civilisation is a moot point. The corner stone of any civilisation must be the written word, the wheel, and some central organisation to institute a common law for all. These are conspicuously absence pre colonisation; and to those who relish the idea of a primitive society able to function as a nation is blatant nonsense.
The idea that cigarette smoking is harmful and dope or cannabis use almost beneficial shows quite clearly that logic has long deserted a good percentage of our population. As Karl rightly points out the basis is of course political. A caseof using the convenient social engineering, to promote an ever increasing anti- capitalistic lobby.
Comparisons they say are odious, but the New Zealanders of today bare a very similar resemblance as a nation to the English under the administration founded by Cromwell after the death of King Charles 1. Indeed some of our more punitive laws are also a copy, while others could not be further way.
One might wonder if this stems from a feeling that minorities should be encouraged, whatever the cause they espouse, and simply that it is great fun in degrading society, and lowering our levels of morality. But that is, as they say, very dangerous ground.


Anonymous said...

I'm not an apologist for cannabis or a public servant. I do think we should legalise cannabis and all the other drugs. The reason for this is that prohibition is a total failure as a policy. We'd be much better off to control the distribution as we do for legal drugs as well as to tax the products than hand over billions to criminal gangs.
Cannabis is not good for you but I believe adults should be able to use things that are not good for them if they choose to and these do not harm others.

Anonymous said...


None of the pro canabis lobby ever mentions the fact that you have 10 times more chance of becoming mentally unwell fron canabis use than from consuming alcohol or that aprox 80% of mental health patients are in mental care because of drug abuse.