[LMB] Goalposts and relativism of society, was adjectives

beatrice_otter beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com
Mon Mar 2 22:51:09 GMT 2015

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On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 3:34 PM, Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com> wrote:
> A case in point is the old Temperance movement.  It started out with
> excellent intentions and ideas---reading about _how much_ people drank in
> Colonial and early 19th-century America absolutely amazed me, and as the
> son of two alcoholics, I _know_ how much harm drinking can do.

Ann wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that fresh water was often unsafe to drink in
those times, so cider, beer, etc. were actually safer (and even drunk by
children.)  I do wonder how "coincidental" it is that the Temperance
movement arose as more people were moving into cities that (sometimes at
least) had safe fresh water -- and also a higher population density making
drunks more obnoxious to more people.

Beatrice Otter:
Well, that and the fact that industrialization changed demographics, employment patterns, and drinking habits. Before the industrial revolution, most people lived on farms and made their own alcohol which was mostly drunk at home with your family. And you didn't have to pay cash for it, it wasn't taking away from your ability to feed your family. 

Factory workers, however, couldn't make their own alcohol. They went to the saloon on Friday, after work, and drank away their paychecks. No family around, and it's no longer just a couple of drinks with dinner but a binge that destroys the drinker and drains the family's resources. All of a sudden it isn't just a few families here and there with a problem in the family, it's whole classes of people. It wasn't just the working class that was affected that way, either. 

Beatrice Otter 

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