Richard Reeves is one of a few writers who seem to get it on the alcohol issue. He understands that booze does bring significant benefits to society in the form of employment and taxation. He understands that prohibitionist policies always hit the working class harder than anyone. And he rightly identifies the media meme of a ‘binge drinking epidemic’ as just the latest in a sorry line of moral frenzies, influenced not just by puritanism but by certain Victorian ideas of a woman’s place. (As Juliet Nicolson shows, conservative newspapers were complaining about women smoking in public and going to dance-halls as late as the 1920s.)
Finally, Reeves understands that some things in life simply can’t be quantified in terms of health or wealth. Read the whole thing and know the threat posed by contemporary puritanism.
‘Who does not love wine, wife and song/Will be a fool for his lifelong!’