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As Liquor Prices Rise, Consumption Stalls

Public health afficiandos are well aware that when you raise the cost of something, access is decreased. So raising the price of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages is one way to decrease use/abuse because it decreases access or makes access more difficult.

An article in the Wall Street Journal on July 16th, reports that Diegeo PLC the distributers for Smirnoff's Vodka, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Captain Morgan Rum as well as other brands raised it's prices on some of its products. While Diegeo's revenue went up with the raised prices, the amount sold decreased.

Turns out that prevention science based on the public health model has further evidence that it's hypothesis about the relationship between cost and access is correct.

As Liquor Prices Rise, Consumption Stalls

Mental health is about good values

If you want to know how a person will behave figure out what they value. If you want to figure out what a person values, watch how they behave. When people behave in ways that they say the don't value they are either crazy or coerced.

How do we as a nation behave? We are living in an age that privleges private interests over the public good, extravagant military spending over health care for its citizens, tax cuts over funding for schools for its children.

While the divorce rate for heterosexuals is 50%, those same heterosexuals would deny marriage to gay couples. While almost 80% of Americans say they would support higher taxes for universal health care, our government gives tax cuts to the wealthiest citizens, and fewer lower class people, working people at that, have health care. We say we are for freedom and democracy, and then invade another sovereign nation in a pre-emptive war based on false accusations. We occupy it attempting to force our espoused beliefs on them and call it freedom.

There appears to be a disconnect between what we as a nation say that we value and our behavior. How can this incongruency be explained?

One possible explanation is the false self concept which we have as a nation. Perhaps we are not the people that we like to think we are. Perhaps we are motivated more by greed and fear than generosity and love. If we were to say that the upper leaders of the governmental-corporate complex were symtomatic of what we value as a people, it is sobering to consider the likes of Ken Lay, Martha Stewart, and our President, Vice-President, and congress who with a grandiose sense of entitlement pursue imperial policies which are disastrous around the world and bankrupting us here at home.

What has this to do with mental health? These policies create an environment for all of us to live in together which is screwed up. It doesn't work well for us as human beings on this planet.

When Robert Kennedy announced his run for the Presidency in March of 1968, he said something then that seems just as applicable today, "These are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary election."

While not wanting to be melodramatic, it seems to me that what is at stake currently is not just politics, but a struggle over different visions of what America means. Who do we want to be as a nation? What do we value? Based on our values how should we behave?

We need to set aside our greed. We need to set aside our fear. We need to take care of one another and the other people, living things, and environment of this planet, not just for ourselves, but for ourselves and our posterity.

To think only of our short term gain, only our own bank account, only what's best for our nation, only what's best for our generation, only what's best for people of my class, is nuts. How could President Bush have gotten it so wrong about Iraq? How could Martha Stewart, who is already a millionaire many times over, practice insider trading for relatively insignificant amounts of money? How could Ken Lay bankrupt a company like Enron, screw his employees out of their retirement, and say that he's not aware that he did anything wrong. How could Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, disenfranchise thousands of black voters in Florida by just eliminating them from the voter registration roles? Are these folks just "ignorant" as they profess, are they devious and malicious, or are they crazy?

I vote for crazy because they certainly knew what they were doing. They seem like nice people. They don't strike us as "criminal types". But there is a disconnect between espoused and professed values, and behavior, and therein lies the rub. That these people are often looked up to, emulated, catered to as rich and powerful by ordinary citizens is of concern.

Perhaps we the people know better all along, and will clean all this up in due time. We deserve better, and we will get it if we demand it and work for it. Mental health is like physical health, it takes exercise and good nutrition. We need to feed out minds with positive thoughts and our hearts with healthy sentiments, and when we have erred we need to promptly admit it and correct the deficit.

We are a nation that can provide health care to its citizens, a good education to its children, safety to its citizenry, equality of opportunity, and hope for the future. We have to find leaders who will articulate our hopes and dreams and aspirations and help us create an environment in which their pursuit is possible.

Quote of the day

"Together we can make ourselves a nation that spends more on books than bombs, more on hospitals than the terrible tools of war, more on decent houses than military aircraft."
Robert F. Kennedy, March 24, 1968


I was taught that what distinguishes us human beings from animals is that human beings have the power of reflection on our own consciousness, we know that we know.

Freud said that a person can either talk things out or act things out.

The process of becoming conscious, of raising our consciousness is one of witnessing.

These ideas have manifested in every day life in cliche's like "hasn't got a clue", "being in left field", "is in denial" on the one hand to "being with it", "being tuned in", "hip to what's happening", "having it together" on the other. As Phil McGraw points out in his book, Life Strategies, one of the most important things that make people successful is "getting it." As he points out, some people just don't get it.

Do you have a witness to your life? Is there somebody in your life who "get's it", who understands what's going on with you, who understands your struggles as well has your hopes and dreams, and your successes. One of the things that make life satisfying is having a witness. Also, being a witness to the life of another may be one of the most precious gifts we can give to another especially when that person is in pain.

What we as humans want most of all is validation, the idea that someone understands and cares.

Check out the link below if you are interested in more information on witnessing. I will discuss this topic futher in future articles.

witnessing resources

Quote of the day

"Art, in my opinion, is the only hope to bring us together as a world. It definitely isn't religion and it definitely isn't government - those things have not accomplished what they preach - but art does bring us together."

Angelo Ciotti

Goat: A Memoir

Goat: A Memoir by Brad Land tells the story of Brad's assault by 2 hitchhikers and then his experience pledging to Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Clemson University. It is tender, honest, and very readable. It makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with people that they would want to sadistically be cruel to people "to see how much they can take".

What is the point of hazing? Is it a mentally healthy activity for anybody to participate in? Every year it seems that we read about the deaths that occur as a result of hazing activity. It is a stupid way to die.

Brad wonders about it, suffers through it because he wants to be a part of the group, but then seriously questions whether this is the kind of a group that he would want to be part of anyway?

This is a difficult book to read, but I recommend it. Books: Goat: A Memoir