Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

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23 February 2010

The Government Poisons Alcohol -- Lessons for Socialized Medicine

Prohibition began on 1 January 1920 and was intended as an act of the Nanny State to bring on an improvement of the human race.  But, Americans were not willing to give up their drinking.  Insurance companies believed that alcoholism increased three-fold during the Prohibition!  By 1930, there were about 30,000 speakeasies in New York City.  The federal government became desperate to force the People to stop drinking.  They had greatly decreased the smuggling trade from Canada and other countries, but by the mid-1920s, the U.S. Treasury estimated that about 60 million gallons of industrial alcohol was stolen each year to be converted into drinking alcohol.  This industrial alcohol became the primary source of drinking alcohol.

Beginning back in 1906, the government had required that industry must denature alcohol or pay the drinking alcohol taxes on it.  But, during Prohibition, the well-paid chemists of the bootleggers became very skilled in removing the poisons from denatured industrial alcohol so they could make it potable.  The federal response in 1926 was to force the addition of still worse poisons into industrial alcohol so that they would be much harder to remove.  They frankly knew that many people would die, but they expected that those deaths would finally force most drinkers to stop drinking.  The social engineering objective of these progressives justified the means.  It always starts with the use of force and to make that force credible, it must be brutally applied whenever anyone gets out of line.

The deaths started showing up at Christmas time in 1926.  Bellevue Hospital in New York City treated 60 people on Christmas day who were desperately ill from alcohol poisoning.  But this was not the usual alcohol poisoning that had become common in the earlier 1920s.  Eight of those people died.  Over the next two days, another 23 people died of alcohol poisoning in NYC.  The doctors came to learn that these deaths were caused by the U.S. government and its new and deadlier denaturing requirements for industrial alcohol.

Deborah Blum tells this story in The Poisoner's Handbook and here.  She describes the new poisons:
By mid-1927, the new denaturing formulas included some notable poisons—kerosene and brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. The Treasury Department also demanded more methyl alcohol be added—up to 10 percent of total product. It was the last that proved most deadly.
Charles Norris, the New York City medical examiner, blamed the federal government for the deaths and did everything he could to publicize them.  In 1926 in NYC, 1200 people were made sick by poisoned alcohol and 400 died.  In 1927, 700 people died in NYC of alcohol poisoning.  Many people were also blinded by the poisons.  The Prohibition Amendment was finally repealed in December 1933 and this evil experiment upon the American People ended.  The death toll due to government-required alcohol poisoning has been estimated to be greater than 10,000 Americans.

At this point, this is an interesting American history note.  But we are supposed to learn from history.  In this case, we ought to relate this Prohibition experience in social engineering and the Nanny State to the present day proposals of the socialist, progressive leaders of the Democrat Party who so badly want to take over all medical services.  There are clearly movements afoot among these elitist progressives to force the People to change their eating habits, exercise habits, and drinking habits.  If they take over medical services entirely, this will lead to promotion of even more social engineering in the name of reducing costs to the government due to the higher health care costs of obese and sedentary people.

If the government was once willing to add ever more deadly poisons to alcohol it knew people would drink as an inducement to get them to drink less, can we be sure that there really will be no panels of bureaucrats and doctors in their grip who will be forced to identify obese and sedentary people as being unworthy of medical effort when they have a medical crisis?  Might the government even resort to poisoning products they do not want people to eat or drink again?  During the Prohibition, the progressives were very cavalier about the deaths of those who bought spirits from those who broke the 18th Amendment.  This despite the fact that the 18th Amendment did not actually make drinking alcohol unconstitutional.  That amendment only prohibited its manufacture, sale, and transportation.

For instance, diabetes is a disease which mostly afflicts people who are overweight and sedentary.  Will a government-run medical services industry in time decide that anyone who has diabetes asked for it and is not worthy of the expenditure of federal tax monies?  Might this not lead to under-treatment of diabetes?  You may think your mother who has diabetes is worthy of treatment, but will the panel of government bureaucrats and their captive doctors who decide how much money will be spent on her treatment and how much limited doctor time and limited equipment time?  Will the government say of those who have stress-related illnesses, "You worked too hard and/or you tolerated a stressful family life, so you do not deserve much of our limited funds for treating your stress-induced illness."?   Of course, we already know that the progressives believe less money should be spent on saving the lives of babies and young children and also on the elderly, both of whom they believe to have less social value and to be of less human capital.

The very fact that the progressives will not let their very unpopular health services takeover plan go and they keep desperately trying to revive it, makes it clear they do not care what the People think of it.  They want badly to force the People to give up control over their own health care and cede that control to the government.  He who controls the money, dictates the terms of the transaction.  With the government controlling the flow of money to pay for all medical services, the government will soon dictate what those services will be and who will get them.  This is a certain fact.

The government will have no pressure to behave reasonably, once the private sector health care and insurance industries are prostrate at its feet and begging for every dollar of their income.  We the People will be nothing more significant than our Social Security number.  Mao wanted to change every Chinese person into a number.  The Democrat socialized health care system will turn every American into just a body with a number identifying it.  That body will be expected to toe the line, or the government just will not offer it any medical services and may even put it out of any resulting pain and misery with drugs.  This is what is already widely being done in the socialized medical system in Great Britain.

Our most fundamental individual right is that to the ownership of our own body.  If government will not respect that right, then it will not respect any individual right.  If we give up this one right, then we have given up all of our rights.  We must fight against the Democrat health care takeover as a life and death issue on which we will make no compromise.  The progressive (fascist) Democrats will not give up on their socialized medicine plan because they have a bloodthirsty hunger for this supreme power over each and every American.  I can see the future.  The amount of medical care provided will be dependent upon the same criteria now used to get into most graduate schools, namely, how much of your life was invested in activities the progressives approve of, such as what they consider to be social services.  How much of your life did you dedicate to sacrificing your interests to others?  The more you sacrificed, the more value they see in your life and the more worthy you are of rationed medical services.  Heaven forbid, you dedicated your time to your private sector profession for income and to your own family!

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