Monday, May 14, 2012

QotD: ...And Then You Win Edition

Sebastian's trying his hand at a wine-making project using Welch's white grape juice concentrate as a starter. The irony comes, of course, from the fact that Dr. Welch was an ardent Prohibitionist.
What the body politic did to prohibitionists is a wonderful lesson for our cause. To the extent there even are prohibitionists these days, they are viewed as out of the mainstream and quacky. We almost have the opponents of gun rights there, provided we keep pushing. I’ll drink a toast to Dr. Welch, and his company, and hope in our current struggle, our opponents suffer the same political fate.
Sadly, the urge to Uplift will always be with us and sour-faced crusading busybodies seem to be part of our political DNA. Cut one head off the Prohibitionist hydra and two more spring up; they ban because they can.

The problem is never about objects: it's about actions. Specifically, the actions of ill-mannered louts with poor impulse control and nothing you could describe as a moral or an ethic. But it is impolite to say so, and so we allow ourselves to believe that if we outlaw _______, we will Uplift the whole human race into some blissful future utopian paradise, when we know damn well that there are those among us who would push other kids into the rivers of milk and honey, eat the lamb, and set the lion's mane on fire.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some men just want to see the world burn . . . and I've worked for a few of them.

Shootin' Buddy

perlhaqr said...

The more the busybodies meddle, the closer I get to joining those who just want to see the world burn.

Making numbers up out of whole cloth, I'd guess at a minimum 90% (and probably more like 99%, hey, maybe OWS is onto something there) of the population of the world would find some habit or desire of mine odious, and would vote to prevent me from doing it if they were given the chance.

It gets a bit frustrating, to be honest. Almost nobody even has any idea what the phrase "Constitutional Republic" means, anymore. How are you supposed to get along with people who think nothing of turning the combined LE might of the United States on you so casually, just to stop you from doing something that's no harm to anything other than their sensibilities?

Nathan said...

Personally I blame the people who couldn't accept that the plain Hebrew and Greek words for "wine" in the Bible actually mean, y'know, "wine".

You tell me that they were drinking grape juice at the wedding at Cana; I don't believe you. Because it was a Jewish wedding, and we sure didn't forget the alcohol at ours.

Woody said...

Hmmm, Welch's grape juice? I'll be interested in knowing if it ferments. Store bought grape juice is often stabilized with potassium sorbate which does a nice job of preventing fermentation.

Bram said...

The Prohibitionists never went away. They just pursed their lips and moved on to other things people enjoy.

Guns, drugs (including beneficial ones), drinking and driving (while not drunk), tobacco, tasty foods, even automobiles have all caught the attention of the Prohibitionists to some extent.

rickn8or said...

"You tell me that they were drinking grape juice at the wedding at Cana; I don't believe you.",

Wow. Deja vu all over again. It was that exact conversation with my Sunday school teacher (at the age of twelve or so) that started me down my road to apostasy. (Stranger in a Strange Land didn't help any either.)

Will said...

People forget, or maybe never knew in the first place, that alcohol in it's various forms was consumed because it was SAFE. Alcohol was how you made water safe to drink, mostly as beer.

Kristopher said...

Woody: Welch's website has potassium metabisulfite listed as an ingredient.

He may be waiting a long time for that to ferment.

Kristopher said...

That and polysorbate 80 are the bane of zymurgists.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah, busybodies, prudes, prohibitionists, pecksniffs preachers in string ties, Carrie Nation, and all that.

The temperance movement doesn't have a well-remembered legacy today, but reading about the circumstances of alcohol use leading up to it can sort of curl your toes. No age limits for service, at all, average consumption that makes Ozzy Osbourne look like he sticks to a glass of white wine with dinner, a whole raft of pretty rough crap like child and spousal abuse that people didn't seem to want to let slide at the time. Along with this was all of the other really fun substances took a lot less effort and hazard to acquire. There never were any good old days, and life was never simpler and easier. A Golden Age for the addicts, harsher consequences for their loved ones. It's possible to understand how temperance gained traction.

For all that, it looks from this distance in history to be a better country to live in. From this distance in history. David MacKinnon, the protagonist from the Heinlein story "Coventry" springs to mind, reading the comments.

I wouldn't repeat prohibition, and I think it's time to do something besides a War on Drug Mules and Guys Caught with a Baggie of Weed. I just can't bring myself to laugh or sneer at the historical prohibitionists or the temperance movement. They were grappling with some pretty grim stuff, things we aren't much faced with in our times.

(Full disclosure: I write the above living in a town where the Designated Driver is the guy with the fewest warrants, and confess there were a couple of times when I myself was the Designated Passenger.)

Mike James

docjim505 said...

Mike James - I just can't bring myself to laugh or sneer at the historical prohibitionists or the temperance movement. They were grappling with some pretty grim stuff, things we aren't much faced with in our times.

While I argue against the idea that things were somehow much worse Way Back When (they didn't have crack babies, for example), I do think that you've got a point when you stick up for the prohibitionists: their hearts were in the right place. Nobody wants to see women and children beaten by a drunken father or have to go hungry because he drank his paycheck.

However, blaming the substance (and denying it to people who DON'T abuse it) is the wrong solution. If people want to pass a law mandating tougher sentences for wife beaters and child abusers, I'm all for it, but I fail to see how denying me the right to indulge in a finger or two of Tennessee whiskey helps anybody one iota.

Anonymous said...

No crack babies, but they did have soothing syrup.

The day I turn against Tennessee whiskey is the day someone needs to take me to the vet and tell him to hook me up and push the pentobarb.

I'll agree with anyone here that we're botching the Liberty thing. More and more these days, I think of Jerry Pournelle's definition of a Dark Age, such as when I watch election news:

"A dark age is defined not as when we have forgotten how to do something, but have forgotten that we ever could do it."

Mike James

Anonymous said...

Answer: yeast. did this years ago w/Welch's purple concentrate. Was a.little rough, but it worked. JohninMd(help?)

Critter said...

Welch Trivia for the day:

before prohibition spead across the land, the Methodist church, like most churches, used wine in the service of communion. witht he passage of prohibition they, like other churches, struggled to find a way to worship and obey the law at the same time. while the Catholic church (for example) got a dispensation from the .gov to import wine for their religious services, the Methodists went another route. a very prominent bishop was named Welch and he suggested using grape juice instead. after much soul searching and editing of doctrine the church adopted Welches Grape juice for used during Holy Communion, a practice they retain today.

Ragin' Dave said...

Kristopher nailed it - Welche's white grape juice as potassium metabisulfite, which will pretty much end any chance of fermentation. Their normal grape juice doesn't have the potassium metabisulfite. Don't ask me why one has it and one doesn't; I'm not that much of a chemist.

When homebrewing, always always ALWAYS read the ingredients.

Tam said...

Y'all, I'm not the one doing the winemaking; don't tell me this stuff, go tell Sebastian. ;)

Anonymous said...

>Hmmm, Welch's grape juice? I'll be interested in knowing if it ferments

@Woody

HOW TO - make homemade wine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opNrEpu-D34

(I know they make frozen apple juice w/ just vitamin C as the only preservative, can grape be that different? anyway, people can and do make wine at home with the stuff.)

-SM