Thursday, July 10, 2008

George Will: Survival of the Sudsiest

Beer: a driver of the species-strengthening natural selection process

By Curmudgeon

In these parlous times, when every morning's headlines seem to bring new accounts of Republican skullduggery, it is refreshing to come across a Republican pundit with a healthy grip on common sense and his feet planted firmly in reality. And so let me recommend a column today by Republican/Conservative pundit George Will. An excerpt:

The story asserted: "The [alcoholic beverage] industry's continued growth, however slight, has been a surprise to those who figured that when the economy turned south, consumers would cut back on nonessential items like beer."
"Non what"? Do not try to peddle that proposition in the bleachers or at the beaches in July. It is closer to the truth to say: No beer, no civilization.
The development of civilization depended on urbanization, which depended on beer. To understand why, consult Steven Johnson's marvelous 2006 book, "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic -- and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World...."
Often the most pure fluid available was alcohol -- in beer and, later, wine -- which has antibacterial properties. Sure, alcohol has its hazards, but as Johnson breezily observes, "Dying of cirrhosis of the liver in your forties was better than dying of dysentery in your twenties." Besides, alcohol, although it is a poison, and an addictive one, became, especially in beer, a driver of a species-strengthening selection process....
The gene pools of human settlements became progressively dominated by the survivors -- by those genetically disposed to, well, drink beer. "Most of the world's population today," Johnson writes, "is made up of descendants of those early beer drinkers, and we have largely inherited their genetic tolerance for alcohol...."
So let there be no more loose talk -- especially not now, with summer arriving -- about beer not being essential. Benjamin Franklin was, as usual, on to something when he said, "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Or, less judgmentally, and for secular people who favor a wall of separation between church and tavern, beer is evidence that nature wants us to be.
A sane conservative Republican! Who'da thunk it? Somebody call the Guinness Book of World Records.

Will's full column, well worth a read, can be found here.

10 comments:

Jason W. said...

Will is a profligate plagiarist, Good Old (?) Curmudgeon; I wrote that same column back in 1993.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Wade said...

Beer,

My personal favorites are both local (somewhat). First I would have to go with Full Suspension, great stuff, and then with Squatters' Indian Pale Ale. Just picked up a sixer at the state ran liquor store and sipping on a pint of my own home made brew.

God bless my forefathers for giving me such a tolerance for fermented barley.

Curmudgeon said...

Wade:

I'm prone to Polygamy Porter in the cold months, and good, crisp, clean First Amendment Lager in the hot ones. [Both Wasatch Brewery products.]

In fact, come to think of it, time to set out on the porch, pour a schooner of First Amendment, and watch the clouds over Ben Lomond. [I know, Wade, I know. It's a dirty job. But somebody has to do it.]

Franklin was right.

Puzzled said...

Why is it that we Americans are the only people on earth that consider alcohol and tobacco as a vice?

googleboy said...

Why is alcohol forbidden in Islam?

ingama2 said...

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress today that new regulatory powers are needed to insulate the national economy from damage if a big Wall Street firm collapses.

Of course they know more then we do, the question is who is going to collapse first? I bet it´s Lehman.

And since Curmudgeon mentioned the Guinness Book of World Records, I believe I'll reflexively head down to my local pub, and consume a few pints of what all good Irishmen refer to as "liquid bread."

Monotreme said...

It's all in Bernanke's head. And Paulson's.

Global credit crunch? Falling home prices? Falling dollar? Dow plummets? Rising oil prices? Food shortages, to the point of riots? Global warming? Peak oil?

It's all in our heads, Phil Gramm says.

Personally, I'll have a stout on a day like today, or maybe a Black and Tan.

Senator Greiner said...

Balderdash, Monotreme. Phil Gramm is an ecomomist, an expert, for God's sake. He has access to all the important figures. We haven't yet had two straight quarters of negative growth, just as he said, and that's the final answer.

I read what you posted above; and you certainly seem like a "whiner" to me, just as Senator Gramm suggested.

If you'd been smart, and "married well" like me, there's no friggin' way you'd be complaning.

Otherwise I'd suggest you get a second job.

We don't tolererate whiners here in America.

Get a clue.

You're a commie. Admit it.

Curmudgeon said...

Mr. Gramm is also, or recently was, a registered lobbyist for UBS, a German mega-bank under investigation on two continents for major fraud... the same bank that has advised its senior execs not to travel to the US for fear they will be arrested upon setting foot here. And Sen Gramm is also generally recognized as the author of the "Enron Exception" and the waiving of other regulations that made possible the Enron disaster. Back even further, Sen. Gramm was an enthusiastic supporter of S and L deregulation..."get the government off the backs of business" being his mantra for all occasions. What followed was the S and L crisis and what was, at the time, the biggest public bailout [with taxpayer money] in modern history.

With a record like that, is it any wonder that the Republican candidate for the presidency thinks Gramm is a fount of wisdom and sound economic adivice?

Curmudgeon said...

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