Re: Why are people drinking more (Jan. 16, PNR).
This is really barking up the wrong tree. Our B.C. drinking problem, of which the drinking and driving problem is a dangerous component, is the result of our own Anglo Saxon isolationist cultural history.
The English Channel, a correctly described geographical wall of protection around the British Isles from which a large proportion of our early settlers stemmed, was not only a protection from the European continent but also a barrier to the dissemination of beneficial habits. Amongst those habits was the drinking of wine and beer as a commonplace, often daily component of happy social behavior.
The puritanical ‘thou shalt not’ syndrome of the evils of drink in particular was one of the results.
Prohibition was an attempt to give legality to this misguided and sterile attitude and the result is well known.
In 1985 my wife and I retired to sunny Spain and embarked on a house restoration.
Our builders arrived at 8 a.m. every day and for lunch had lots of fruit, fish, wonderful bread and a bottle or carafe of wine. This was followed by a one or two hour siesta.
Work resumed in the early afternoon and went on until about 7 or 8 p.m. Wine and spirits were available at every grocery store, hotel and market and in the five years we were there we never once saw a drunken Spaniard.
Our attitude to drinking is anti-social and unrealistic. A glass of wine or beer, perhaps just the opportunity to taste some (best of all with a meal and in a family atmosphere) should be a normal event.