The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Anti-alcohol campaigners should either put up or shut up

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,581 times Debate No: 12286
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




If someone abstains from alcohol, that's fine, nobody is going to force him or her to drink.

However, some teetotallers have a problem with other people enjoying alcoholic drinks, probably because they feel they are missing out some fun.

These envious prudes disguise their jealousy of the enhanced social lives that most drinkers enjoy and pretend to be concerned about public health issues in order to get the consumption of intoxicating beverages banned by law.

If anti-alcohol campaigners wish to live in a society where alcohol is prohibited there are plenty of countries they could move to. They include: Afghanistan; Iran; Libya; Mauritania; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia and Yemen all of which ban the consumption of alcohol.

But that's not good enough for some of these spiteful, priggish teetotallers. No, they want to force people in their own countries to sit at home sewing or making model aeroplanes instead of going out and having fun. That's right, they want everybody else to stay at home and drink hot chocolate while listening to gramophone records, just like they do.

Unbelievably, over the years these stuffed shirts have had considerable success in forcing their will on their fellow citizens.

For example, due to fierce objections from anti-alcohol residents, the conservative seaside town of Frinton-on-Sea on the East Coast of England didn't get its first pub until 2000 and it is still the only one in the whole town to this day!

But this is nothing compared to the success of the temperance movement in America where alcohol is banned or severely restricted in many parts of the country. To give you some idea about how repressive alcohol legislation is there, here are some examples of the more draconian anti-drinking laws in the United States:

There are no ordinary drinking establishments in Utah; full alcohol service is available only to dues-paying members of private social clubs and a limited number of restaurants. It's illegal in Utah to advertise drink prices, alcohol brands, to show a "drinking scene," to promote happy hour, to advertise free food, or for restaurants to furnish alcohol beverage lists unless a customer specifically requests one.

Almost one-half of the counties in Mississippi are "dry" with their own prohibition against the production, advertising, sale, distribution, or transportation of alcoholic beverages within their boundaries.

An Attorney General of Kansas issued the legal opinion that drinking on an airliner was forbidden by state law while the plane was in airspace over "dry" Kansas. He said: "Kansas goes all the way up and all the way down."

Of Texas' 254 counties, 79 are still completely dry. Furthermore, Texas state law prohibits taking more than three sips of beer at a time while standing and the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a recipe for making beer that can be used at home.

An award-winning adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood was withdrawn from a recommended reading list by the school board in Culver City, California, simply because the heroine had included a bottle of wine in the basket she brought to her grandmother.

Nebraska state law prohibits bars from selling beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.

Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky, where a Baptist minister first produced it in 1789. Nevertheless, a person can be sent to jail for five years for merely sending a bottle of beer, wine or spirits as a gift to a friend in Kentucky. Yes, even if it's a bottle of bourbon.

There are 83 dry towns and villages in Alaska. In addition, Fairbanks is a dry town for moose. Apparently moose can't hold their booze so it is illegal to give them alcoholic drinks.

Now, please take a moment to review this old picture of women from the temperance movement threatening to withhold sexual favours from men who drink:

Although I don't suppose the men of the day were unduly concerned about not getting a snog off one of those old munters, this is the sort of protest that the anti-alcohol campaigners should confine themselves to.

To lobby lawmakers to restrict the freedom of responsible adult citizens to drink alcohol is an attempt to restrict their freedom of choice.

That said, the kind of harsh and repressive anti-alcohol legislation temperence campaigners are seeking does have its place of course, and that place is an authoritarian country that is subject to Shari'a Law.

In conclusion, if anti-alcohol campaigners cannot put up with their fellow citizens enjoying an occasional drink they should shut up and move to Saudi Arabia.

Thank you.


Thanks to brian_eggelston for one of my two simultaneous first debates on this site.
First, I will present my own case, then move on to address my opponent's case.

Since my opponent has defined no clear, debatable thesis, I will attempt to derive one from his statements so that the topic is as clear as possible. The thesis, as I understand it, is as follows: "Those who oppose alcohol consumption should either change their views or not speak of their views." My opponent is free to amend and clarify this thesis if he feels this one does not accurately reflect the issues in the debate.

The following definitions may help clarify the round:
"Alcohol" is any drink that contains ethyl alcohol, especially for the purpose of intoxication.
"Should" is an auxiliary verb indicating that the verb is obligatory, especially morally obligatory.

It is because I value liberty that I must stand in negation of the resolution. Liberty is the ability to do what one wishes as long as the wished action does not infringe upon the rights of others. What are these rights? I quote John Locke: "The state of nature hath a law of nature to govern it, and reason, which is that law, obliges all who will but consult it, that, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, and property." As one may do as one wishes as long one does not harm another in any of the four conditions.

I find specific fault with my opponent's case in that in would limit free speech. Free speech is the liberty to say whatever one wishes to say, be it flattering or offensive. While it may be extremely uncharitable to say certain things about certain people, these things are much better dealt with through reasonable refutation rather than oppression of liberty. There are certain exceptions, such as inciting a mob to immediate violence, but these are disallowed not because they cause offense but because they are a direct attempt to infringe upon the right to life and/or health of others, same as pointing a gun. George Orwell once said, "If liberty means anything at all, it is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear." It is one of the truest statements ever said.

It is for this reason that I negate the resolution: "Those who oppose alcohol should either change their views or not speak of their views." This is nothing short of a flagrant violation of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. It would suppress liberty for no good reason at all. My opponent claims that advocates of prohibition by morally or even legally oppressed.

Now, on to my opponent's arguments.

First, I'd like to note that my opponent constantly uses extremely loaded language. Please look at the facts and not baseless rhetoric.

Here are his points, as best as I can decipher them, with each point followed by my response:
1) Teetotalers actually have no public health concern, but are merely envious of the better social lives enjoyed by drinkers.

My Response: Please give me one piece of evidence that this is true. I highly doubt that they would go to the lengths they do out of envy. Unlike you say, there is a legitimate public health concern. I've heard too many stories about fathers and mothers who get drunk and beat kids, spouses, etc. Do you support this? How about thousands of DUI accidents? Do you support keeping legal a substance that is toxic to the liver and kills thousands each year due to liver cirrhosis?

2) Prohibitionists want everyone to sew and make model airplanes rather than have fun.

My Response: This is a completely baseless assertion. I highly doubt that most prohibitionists are against people having fun. Again, it probably has a lot more to do with the public health hazard presented by alcohol that sparks their interest. Instead, I would imagine that they oppose this for the same reason that so many people opposed the widespread use of morphine in the 1800s: it's detrimental to your health and doesn't improve you as a person. I have met very few people who are more fun drunk. Does the following sound fun to any of you? You go into a bar, sit down and drink foul-tasting beverages with people you've never met. You do this, laughing at increasingly absurd things, until said beverages make you sick. You stumble into the restroom, hopefully find an empty toilet bowl, and throw up whilst putting your face where...

The best part? You don't remember any of it the day afterwards! This certainly doesn't sound very fun or very wholesome to me.

3) There are many laws that restrict alcohol consumption.

My Response: Why is this bad? Considering the severe alcoholism that many suffered from (especially Alaskan Eskimo tribes), it's also not very surprising, and the laws are often meant to protect villages from the devastating previous episodes. Utah's population is mostly Latter-Day Saints. Would you prevent a legally elected state government (or any legally elected state government) from making laws in accordance with its constituency's beliefs? So now my opponent, in addition to free speech, apparently also opposes democracy.

4) Prohibition is a restriction of freedom of choice.

My Response: I don't recall there being a freedom of "choice" listed in any part of the United States Constitution, or in the writings of any natural rights philosopher. So I ask my opponent: What is this freedom of choice? What limits does it have? Should one be able to decide whether to do drugs? How about whether or not to punch someone one doesn't like? This "freedom of choice" is a senseless phrase of rhetoric only used when one needs to justify an action that otherwise would be seen as completely groundless.

5) Anti-alcohol campaigners should move to societies where others agree with them.
My Response: Why should they do this? I won't force you to move anywhere because of your beliefs. Moreover, what is wrong with trying to change the society one lives in, if there are genuine wrongs committed in it? This is simply an illogical jab, and an attempt to associate prohibitionists with terrorists.

I hope my opponent will forgive me for not looking at any pictures of anyone giving or withholding sexual favors. Because I have much better things to do with my time than look at ethos appeals that hold absolutely no water whatsoever.

In light of all these things, the ballot is clearly for the negative.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to extend my thanks to Valtarov for his comprehensive and informed response.

I should just make it clear at the outset that it is the anti-alcohol movement's attempt to impose their set of moral values on the rest of society that I object to and I fully support the principle of free speech, even if I do not agree with what is being said.

That is why I am opposed to the anti-alcohol movement's attempt to close free discussion about alcohol down.

To illustrate this point, in the United States an organisation known as The Amethyst Initiative, which is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States, is supporting informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age.

However, anti-alcohol extremists such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) are fiercely opposed to students having the freedom to discuss this issue.

Confronting John McCardell of the Amethyst Institute, WCTU's Bunny S. Galladora screeched "We do not work extra hours, take second jobs, scrimp and save, or mortgage our homes to send our children to college to learn to drink alcohol."

These malicious matriarchs' slogan is "Agitate - Educate – Legislate". This goes well beyond free speech. These malevolent meddlers are not content with abstaining from alcohol themselves; they want to force, by law, everyone else to abstain as well.

With this in mind I should like to respond to my opponents' rebuttals as follows:

1. Teetotalers {sic} actually have no public health concern, but are merely envious of the better social lives enjoyed by drinkers.

The anti-alcohol movement's professed "concerns" for public health is indeed a cover for their real agenda: that is; to create an ultra-conservative, far-right, authoritarian state where fun and frivolity are banished and are replaced with stern austerity and total abstinence from hedonistic pursuits.

Why else would an anti-alcohol organisation supposedly concerned with public health headline the following quote:

"American citizens from all around our country are beginning to wake-up to the fact that the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, has, in less than one year's time, slipped down the slope of Red Socialism under the regime of President Barack Hussein Obama.

Our president, with help from his czars, has imposed national healthcare leading us down the road to national economic decay and destroying the best medical system in the world. He has split this country to its core with racial discord and eliminating decades of progress. He has created a welfare country with open borders to anyone…taking jobs away from citizens and creating a financial drain to everyone."

Why would an organisation supposedly concerned with alcohol abuse be so angry about the cost to the taxpayer of providing free healthcare to the needy or worried about how many foreigners there are in the country? What have they got to do with the adverse health affects of alcohol?

2. Prohibitionists want everyone to sew and make model airplanes rather than have fun.

My assertion was tongue-in-cheek, of course, what I meant was that anti-alcohol campaigners demand that everybody joins in their "wholesome" activities rather than go to bars and clubs where mood-enhancing drinks are served.

It is a myth, by the way, that the consumption of alcohol is unhealthy. Indeed, the human body produces it's own supply of alcohol called endogenous ethanol.

Indeed, alcohol consumed in moderation is thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

3) There are many laws that restrict alcohol consumption.

I disagree that existing legislation is not too strict in the US. For example, the minimum drinking age is 21 in most states. Although Sri Lanka, Fiji and Palau also set the minimum age for drinking at 21, every other country in the world sets the minimum at a lower age or has no minimum at all.

Furthermore, America is famously known as the "Land of the Free" but her people are not free to drink alcohol in authoritarian states and counties that have introduced draconian and repressive laws at the behest of the anti-alcohol movement.

Let's put this in perspective: can you imagine being allowed to buy a beer at a McDonalds drive-thru in Utah? No? Well you can in Europe! Of course, if a motorist orders a Big Mac and two-dozen beers, consumes them and then drives off he will be prosecuted for DUI if caught. But that's all about free societies allowing adults to make responsible choices and paying the consequences if they make mistakes.

4 Prohibition is a restriction of freedom of choice.

The freedom of choice should apply to all citizens, no matter where they live. However, freedom of choice is universally denied in authoritarian regimes such as North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Conversely, it is universally applied in liberal regimes such as the European Union and Japan.

However, in certain countries such as Pakistan and the United States the freedom of choice is selective. In Pakistan you can't drink alcohol if you are a Muslim but you can if you aren't, and in America you can have a drink in Red River County, Texas but not next door in Bowie County, Texas.

It is not about constitutional law – it's about liberty, and with respect to the freedom to drink alcohol, many Americans are denied that liberty.

5) Anti-alcohol campaigners should move to societies where others agree with them

The age of consent for sex in Britain is 16. In the most of the US it's 18. However, in the Philippines the age of consent is 12.

That's why so many Western paedophiles move to the Philippines - that's the sort of society they want to live in. If the anti-alcohol extremists want to live in a society free of alcohol they can go and live in a country where it is banned. It's a matter of choice, not coercion.

In conclusion, it is fine to abstain from alcohol if you choose. It's also fine to highlight the dangers of alcohol abuse. However, it's not fine to impose your views and lifestyle on other law-abiding citizens.

Thank you.


Thanks to my opponent for the debate.

I'll begin with my opponent's points, then move on to my own.

1) Teetotalers [sic] actually have no public health concern, but are merely envious of the better social lives enjoyed by drinkers.

My opponent re-asserts his claim that the anti-alcohol movement has an ulterior agenda of creating an authoritarian state. He then gives a quote from the Women's Christian Temperance Union that criticizes the actions of our current President. My opponent would have you believe that this proves his point...but it doesn't. Sure, it shows that this particular organization within the anti-alcohol community is conservative, but the WTCU may or may not be representative of the political leanings of the anti-alcohol movement. Also, conservative in any modern sense does not mean authoritarian. The WTCU's quote does not indicate any wish for authoritarian policies. The quote argues against socialist/welfare tendencies the USA has taken; socialist governments are by definition more authoritarian than free-market governments. So if anything, the quote is ant-authoritarian. My opponent has failed to prove that the anti-alcohol movement, in general, has an agenda to "create an ultra-conservative, far-right, authoritarian state where fun and frivolity are banished and are replaced with stern austerity and total abstinence from hedonistic pursuits." This point falls.

2) Prohibitionists want everyone to sew and make model airplanes rather than have fun.

I acknowledge the fact that the anti-alcohol movement would restrict people's access to certain substances that are "mood-enhancing". But governments restrict all sorts of non-wholesome substances (drugs) that are not at all enriching to society. Alcohol is no different, if you reference my first rebuttal.

My opponent also claimed that alcohol, in moderation, is not detrimental to one's health. The key words here are "in moderation". It is the sheer amount of over-use and abuse that has sparked these movements. While not as addicting as many drugs, alcohol still has an addicting effect to many. The government, when restricting or banning alcohol, is attempting to protect those most at risk from this addiction (in the 1920s, one alcoholic parent in a working class family could easily impoverish a family) from themselves. My opponent has advocated "protecting the needy". How is this any different than something like universal health care? Both have the same ultimate goals.

The effects of alcoholism are well-documented by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The main effect is severe and often lethal liver damage.

3) I never said that the US legislation is too lenient. What I did ask is what made it bad. My opponent responded that it restricts freedom. This is true. But the US and British governments often restrict people's freedom to protect their citizens (think: universal health care). Governments have a duty, under John Locke's social contract, to protect the natural rights of their citizens i.e. to protect their life, health, liberty, and property. Since liberty is so little diminished and life, health, and property are so greatly increased by such legislation, it is perfectly fitting for the government to ban alcohol, just as it has banned other addicting substances.

4) Prohibition restricts freedom of choice.

My opponent responded to none of my argument here. He has failed to define what freedom of choice is, and why it is important and should be upheld. Without positive proof of this point, my responses flow through and this point falls.

5) My opponent brings up the completely irrelevant topic of ages of sexual consent. The parallel between prohibitionists and paedophiles is obviously flawed. Paedophiles wish to break the law; prohibitionists wish to make more laws. My other responses here, unreasoned to, still stand, and thus, this point too falls.

The crux of this debate is the flagrant violation of free speech and/or free thought it attempts to propagate. Remember the topic: "Those who oppose alcohol consumption should either change their views or not speak of their views." My opponent voiced no objections to this wording of the topic, so this thesis stands as the thesis for the debate. My opponent failed to respond to any of my points other than to say that he advocates free speech, and that some prohibitionists try to restrict it. My case, which was not responded to, proved that his position violates both free speech and free thought. I oppose any attempt to restrict free speech by prohibitionists; this does not change the issue at hand's violations.

Because the Affirmative has proved no points, and the Negative's case has clearly stood, I can only see a Con vote in this round.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by LaLaLa 7 years ago
Its funny, I just remembered something: "The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited". So all those state laws technically don't exist, and I'm surprised that they haven't been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
Nothing wrong with abstaining, You don't need to drink to have fun. Plus, drink can get you into a lot of trouble.

Also, it's expensive. I reckon I spend about £40 / $60 a day in the pub (I don't drink that much but the pubs I go to are very expensive).

Furthermore, drinking alcohol in excessive amounts is bad for your health, no doubt about it.

Even so, I avoid visiting dry counties in America because I don't like other people dictating how I should live my life.
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
Haha. I'm a teetotaler and I don't force my lifestyle onto others. :P
Posted by LaLaLa 7 years ago
So would it be ok if strict restrictions to the limit the amount consumed were put in place and the drinking age were raised to 45 (the start of middle age according oxford dictionary) when the benefits of moderate drinking become present?
Posted by Yvette 7 years ago
Is it not possible to form an argument without...tossing ad hominems at a /strawman/ these days? Man.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
The consumption of alcohol in moderation is actually beneficial to health.

Irresponsible drinking can be unhealthy and should be discouraged, or even prescribed by law, but there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater and ban alcohol altogether.
Posted by LaLaLa 7 years ago
What about people who want to do away with alcohol, but want to legalize cannabis? Do these people also not want you to have a good time? Do their concerns about the health effects of alcohol not legitimize the concerns of the people you talk about in your argument? And isn't it possible that the reason these campaigns you talk about are so successful be that there is overwhelming evidence that alcohol consumption is in fact bad for you? Please respond, I am curious to see your answers.
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