Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mad at MADD

Don't let the name fool you. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is just another faceless, self-perpetuating lobbying agency, determined to separate you from your civil liberties.

In the beginning MADD, really was women who had suffered loss from drunk driving, but that was a long time ago. In the beginning, they did fairly obvious sane stuff, like educating people about the dangers of drunk driving and lobbying the states to increase and enforce drunk driving laws.

They crossed the line pretty quickly though, and started pushing to prohibit the sale of alcohol by pushing back the legal drinking age and empowering vulture and pirate personal injury lawyers by making everybody but the person actually doing the drinking financially responsible for whatever damages the drunk causes.

Because people are not young very long, there was no substantial counter-lobby to MADD's efforts to raise the drinking age. Besides, who would dare go against them when they had positioned themselves as the wrathful, bereaved mothers of bloody, dismembered children--when in fact they were just another lobby, ran by professional lobbyists and professional fund-raisers with the bulk of their support coming from, you guessed it, the reactionary far right.

Recently, over one hundred American college and university presidents (including Francis Lucas from our own Millsaps College) sent a letter to congress asking that the legal drinking age be, again, lowered to eighteen. Called "The Amethyst Initiative", the letter suggests that problem drinking and the problems associated with drinking are easier to deal with if drinking is legal.

Lets be clear here: the statutory prohibition of intoxicating substances does not work, never has worked, and never will work.

In the first part of the twentieth century we tried to prohibit alcohol sales by constitutional amendment and it was a horrible failure, not only failing to deal with the issues of alcoholism, but also giving rise to national and international organized crime that still exists today, long after the original amendment was repealed. In other words, it was a colossal screw-up.

When the drinking age was raised to 21 back in the 1980's, MADD couldn't get the states to go along with it, so their lobbyists conspired with congress to extort state support for MADD's initiative by making the twenty-one drinking age a requirement to receive federal highway funding. How crappy is that? MADD extorted their will on a nation of free people, and we let it happen.

MADD's tactics haven't changed much over the years. In response to the Amethyst Initiative letter, MADD sent out a letter of their own, listing those who signed the letter and suggesting to parents that their children might be better off going somewhere else to school if the signers didn't withdraw their name--again, MADD uses tactics of extortion to enforce their will.

Even now, MADD lists all the signers on their website with easy to use forms so you can harass them by email into withdrawing their name from the list. Their claim is that the signers are using the initiative to rid themselves of the responsibility to police campuses to enforce drinking laws.

That's just bullshit. It's not the legal drinking age that forces college and university presidents to patrol the campuses to prevent drinking, it's the threat of civil litigation empowered by MADD and their vulture and pirate personal injury lawyers who look for the deepest pockets they can find when a student causes problems by their own decision to drink.

No college or university in this nation facilitates an atmosphere conducive to irresponsible drinking. That's an invention of the personal injury lawyers looking to make a buck off the situation and empowered by MADD.

The kids do this themselves--and the only way to deal with it is by dealing with the kids with honesty and integrity which you cannot do when you take away their legal right to drink.

People over the age of twenty-one are still just as likely to have problems with drinking and cause problems by drinking, but the deep pockets are no longer there since they are out of college and on their own, usually not making very much money. So, with nobody left to sue, MADD has most graciously allowed us to start drinking at the age of twenty-one.

Yet again, MADD does not seek to change public policy by intellectual discourse or education, but by bald-faced aggression and extortion.

Don't get me wrong. I HATE alcoholism and alcoholics. It has caused real problems in my life and in the lives of people I care about--but, right is right and what these people are doing is just wrong. There are better ways of dealing with alcohol than the MADD Gestapo.

The Amethyst Initiative is correct. The problems of alcohol are much easier dealt with when the consumption of alcohol is legal.

So, what can you do? How do we fight these people?

You can start by supporting the Amethyst Initiative here.

I know most of my readers are graduates and students at Millsaps College, so contact Dr. Lucas and let her know you support the Amethyst Initiative.


Sandi said...

Excellent post ... I'm forwarding the link around.

Stacey said...

Great great great post.