People have been consuming alcohol for longer than their ancestors have been human. Prior to modern sanitation most people consumed only alcoholic beverages from teat to grave, because mostly water was not safe and drinking it would give you cholera sooner or later.

I knew that the rise of temperance led to cholera outbreaks in the nineteenth century, killing thousands. I did not learn until more recently that since beer and ale are good sources of calories that temperance contributed to malnutrition in the poor and vulnerable at that time. And it is likely that temperance increased mortality by starving people experiencing food insecurity as much as alcoholism did.

Yes you can do yourself harm by drinking too much, but that is true of salt, and indeed even water. And like most things, drinking is safer by a long shot than driving or riding in a car. But ffs don’t mix drinking and driving.

It is not reasonable for a public health body to state, “When it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.” This is objectively false by any reasonable statistical standard.

On the other hand, temperance is a controlling behavior based in ideas of sin and the possibility of persecuting people for non-compliance. It is a terrible concept with a terrible history. So, I would rather say that, “No amount of temperance is safe.”

No amount of temperance is safe.

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I am an experienced freelance graphic artist and sometime canoeist. I feel strongly about the quality of professional work and like sitting by a remote lake on a sun-warmed rock.

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