Montréal, 4 août 2001  /  No 86  
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David MacRae is a software consultant who works out of his home in St. Laurent, Quebec.
by David MacRae
          I have long known that the furor over drinking and driving was overblown. As one who has been known to indulge in the evil practice, I have never been able to see any difference in the way I drive with a couple under my belt and the rare times when I'm cold sober. When I point this out to friends they always answer, that because I'm under the influence, I can't judge. Maybe. But somehow, I'm not convinced. It seems to me that I should know my mental state better than anyone else. After all, I'm the one who has to depend on the poor de-synapsed neurons.
          The headline statistic cited to prove the problem raise even more questions. Forty one per cent of fatal accidents involve alcohol, defined as at least one person having a measurable blood alcohol level. What does this have to do with the increased likelihood of an accident being caused by a drinking driver?  
          A proper analysis would require statistical regressions over a series of variables including day/night, urban/rural, distraction levels and so on. It would also need to look at the effects of other intoxicants such as caffeine and prescription drugs. And, of course, the analysis would require examination of the amount of alcohol required to render someone a dangerous driver. Certainly such a level exists. Certainly, it is more than the definition used, .01% blood alcohol. Is it less than the legal limit? More? 
          This « statistic » is not intended to do anything to shed light on the question. Rather it is deliberately chosen to frame drinking and driving in the worse possible light and to demonize the innocent guy heading home after Happy Hour after having had a few with his buddies. Notice how it takes a tipsy pedestrian stumbling off a curb into traffic and turns him into a crazed idiot, barely able to stand up, who runs a stop sign and wipes out some innocent little moppet. 
          In a remarkable new book, Drinking and Driving – The Real Problem is the Lying Propaganda, Stephen A. Beck makes the case against the hysteria. He uses the misbegotten government statistics themselves to prove that the whole issue is nothing more than hysteria. Drinking drivers are a non-problem. What's more, according to the government definition, they are actually safer than sober ones. 
          Why shouldn't this be the case? The vast majority of so-called drunk drivers are responsible people who have had a couple of drinks, not lushes swerving all over the road. They know that their capacities are somewhat diminished and so are extra-careful in their driving. Besides, with all the hysteria around, they certainly don't want to get caught. In Ontario, regaining your driver's license after a DWUI conviction can cost well over $10 000, by the time the powers-that-be have jacked up your insurance rates and forced you to pay for re-education camps. In Quebec they are planning to force you to install some silly keypad in your car. 
No monster 
          So what, you ask, does this have to do with Slobodan Milosevic? 
          Like drinking drivers, the former Serbian strongman has been demonized by the government with the willing help of their sycophants in the media. Yet Milosevic is far from being the raving monster that he is made out to be. In fact, by the standards of the Balkan wars, he is a fairly mild figure. He was democratically elected and his opponents, until recently, have been stronger nationalists than he himself. When he lost power, he conceded. It is quite likely that his attempts to force a run-off, instead of immediately admitting defeat, were due to his strange notion that defeat would lead to a lynching. In that, he was right.  
     « The vast majority of so-called drunk drivers are responsible people who have had a couple of drinks, not lushes swerving all over the road. They know that their capacities are somewhat diminished and so are extra-careful in their driving. »
          Franco Tudjman, the former Croat strongman, ordered the biggest act of ethnic cleansing of the war – the expulsion of more than 100 000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia. Bosnian Serbs, under the direction of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were responsible for almost all of the war's principle atrocities, including the murder of more than 7000 Moslem men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 – by far the greatest massacre in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Karadzic and Mladic are still at large. Milosevic, who tried hard to use his influence to restrain them, is in The Hague in their stead. 
          Then there's NATO. 
          Two months of bombing Serbia, of murdering civilians in Serbia proper, of methodically destroying the country's infrastructure, of shooting anything that moves, and engendering refugee trains in Kosovo. NATO is now letting armed bandits run free in breakaway province, forcing Serbs to flee the province. These same thugs are now menacing Macedonia. Meanwhile, in Bosnia the Satraps have refused to recognize the legitimately-elected representatives of all three mini-states, preferring instead to tell them to go back and get it right. In other words, to select compliant little Rois Nègres who meet the approval of the NATO colonial officials.  
          In the midst of all this mayhem, Milosevic has gotten singled out to be the scapegoat. To get their hands on him NATO offered a billion dollar bribe to the Serbians, money which will go far to help them repair the country which NATO itself destroyed. To bring him down, the UN Security Council has created an illegal court in The Hague to which it delegated powers that it does not itself possess. He will be found guilty and history will judge him to be solely responsible for the chaos in ex-Yugoslavia. 
The health of the state is war 
          Government cannot create wealth, produce goods or innovate new technologies. Throughout history, such things have invariably been the constructs of individual people, or of groups of people working together voluntarily to achieve a common goal. While government is incapable of generating wealth, it does understand how to extract the product of others and to divert it to its own uses. In more simple terms, government lives by theft of other people's property.  
          Since people would not accept this theft without a reason, government must find pretexts instead. The modern state often uses the language of social justice, fairness and equity as a cover under which it can confiscate people's belongings. It may also use other concepts such as « fiscal stability », a need to protect people from common criminals, etc. In the end, any notion that can justify the theft is grist to the mill. 
          But throughout history, the State's favourite ruse has always been war. War is truly the speciality of the State, the only thing it is really capable of doing well; identifying an enemy, rallying the troops to the cause, and  organizing the resources required to defeat the adversary. 
          It is revealing that the minions of the State talk in terms of wars. The war on drugs. The war against poverty. The war against pollution. The war against rape. The war against crime. The war against communism. Always war. 
          Wars today tend to be moral, rather than military. Of course, the traditional kind never quite goes out of fashion, as Milosevic and the Serbs found out.  
          In either kind of war, the first step is to objectify the enemy, to depict him as something less than a human being. The adversary must be converted into a one-dimensional caricature. His evil side must be magnified and emphasized to the exclusion of all others. He will be misrepresented and demonized until his humanity has been thoroughly squeezed out of the public eye. 
          A whole mythology is constructed to achieve this. Slogans help to focus the image. Milosevic was dubbed the Butcher of the Balkans. Germans in World War I were transformed into Huns, as the Vietnamese later became Gooks. Similar things happen in the moral wars too. Husbands become batterers. Honest businessmen become polluters or exploiters.  
          Once the enemy has been destroyed, his crimes are held up to the world, while those of the victor are forgotten. These crimes are used to perpetuate the myth that the vanquished enemy deserved his fate. Thus the Germans were forced to confront the Holocaust after WWII and the American Confederate South has become irremediably associated with slavery. Meanwhile we forget the firestorms that ravaged Dresden and Atlanta, neither of which had any military purpose. Yet the Allies went to war to save the French, not the Jews. Similarly the North's objective was to preserve the Union, not to free the slaves. 
Another assault on our freedom 
          Milosevic has not been charged with any specific crime, but rather is vaguely accused of being the evil mastermind behind the heinous actions of the Serbian nationalists. He has become the casus belli that explains the entire Balkan quagmire. Meanwhile Croatian ethnic cleansing and Kosovar Albanian terrorism are forgotten. Even more remarkably, the 500 000 refugees who fled Kosovo after the NATO attack on Serbia are somehow used to justify the attack itself, neatly inverting cause and effect. 
          Similarly, when we see the carnage on our highways, the meaningless statistic « Forty one per cent of fatal accidents involve alcohol, defined as at least one person having a measurable blood alcohol level » is transformed in the public mind into a belief that a bunch of irresponsible drunks cause half of all accidents. Other possible causes are ignored. Drugs like caffeine and tranquillizers or distractions like crying children. Night-time driving or dark rural roads. Not to mention the pathetic state-run road system. 
          Ultimately all wars serve only to aggrandise the power of the State. Innocent travelers are stopped randomly on the road and forced to submit to humiliating examinations. Should they fail the test, their lives could be ruined. Meanwhile, the carnage on the roads continues unabated. Grist for another assault on our freedom. Next time I bet the target will be something really bizarre. Like cell phones, maybe. 
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