Let's Commend Fact-Based Thinking: Except With Alcohol

Kurt Anderson commends rationality and science (except for alcohol, of course).

Posted Jan 17, 2018

I have to tip my hat to New York magazine writer and public radio host, Kurt Anderson, for passionately detailing how America has descended into irrational and magical thinking ("How America Lost Its Mind"), since I wrote about this idea ("America, Land of the Irrational") in PT in 2008.

Why, Andersen even pointed out that Oprah Winfrey, a potential American president, is one of our country's greatest purveyors of magic and superstition: "Oprah Winfrey Helped Create Our American Fantasyland." That guy's got guts! (That's Kurt Andersen. Gillian Anderson, star of the X-Files, is 100 percent behind Oprah.)

However, that same Kurt Andersen became as mad as a hatter when discussing alcohol (this is America, after all), claiming that George W. Bush quit drinking without going to AA and was thus in denial, which is why he invaded Iraq. See his argument here, to which I objected:

He (Bush) quit out of his love for his family? Could anything be more ridiculous than that?

See this clip from his interview where he explained quitting: "I didn't like the person I was." (Mr. Andersen, is that denial?) 

Science be damned, you can't quit drinking on your own without being crazy—no matter what the data show.

(By the way, I love Gillian Anderson, who overcame a rebellious youth that included drugs and alcohol without going to AA, to become a positive life force, in both her acting and charitable work, according to Wikipedia.)

In the meantime, the President's doctor explains why Trump has good heart healthhe doesn't drink alcohol. However, as I explained here (bear with me, this is a complex concept), abstinence from alcohol is a risk factor for heart disease and premature death.

To quote the U.S. Dietary Guidelines:

According to the experts charged with creating the alcohol section, strong evidence indicates that "the lowest mortality risk for men and women [occurs] at the average level of one to two drinks per day, [and] is likely due to the protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CHD [coronary heart disease], diabetes and ischemic stroke as summarized in this chapter."

As a result, I see Trump's abstinence somewhat differently: as a sign of a personality disorder.

But, remember, if you object to this, I don't want you to drink. After all, if you believe something contrary to the facts, you should be willing to die for it, as you would for God and country.