Thanks for the thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post. As you may have suspected, my argument yesterday was a bit of a red herring. After all, living in Manhattan, I can see quite plainly that the non-drivers all around me do not, as a rule, become helpless alcoholics.
On the other hand, every Friday and Saturday evening, MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village is inundated by young women and men from nearby car cultures. They arrive by bus and by train, and they drink. And drink, and drink, and drink some more. There seems to be an entire “tourist” industry built around getting alcohol into these young out of town weekend visitors as fast as possible. At the end of the evening, they stagger back to their bus or train, and hopefully end up safely at home.
So I wonder — perhaps we here in Manhattan don’t tend to drink excessively precisely because it is all so easy. There is no air of forbidden fruit surrounding the consumption of alcohol. It’s always there, with no particular penalty for having that third drink. So we just don’t bother having that third drink.
Rob’s comment about legalizing marijuana resonates in more ways than one. After all, if a vice is legal and easily available, then there is no psychological — or theatrical — benefit to running out and abusing it.