Report The Morality of Alcohol in Ethics Posted March 31, 2005 I still don't understand the argument for never drinking an alcoholic beverage. These are the grounds I've seen so far: 1. Drinking is harmful to your physical health. a. It attacks your liver. b. It can cause you to be overweight 2. Drinking is harmful to your ability to focus, in any quantity: a. One drink has a noticeable effect on the ability to focus of all people. b. Since man must keep his mind focused on reality at his 100% potential, drinking, which acts as a detriment to his ability to focus, is immoral. My thoughts: Certainly #1 is an issue. First, let's put aside the fact that there is a large body of evidence that drinking small amounts of certain types of alcoholic drinks can have beneficial effects on one's health. Now, I think we can all agree that people who drink in excess expose themselves to the health risks in a. and b. However, I'm going to need to see significant evidence before I buy into the proposal that drinking in small amounts (what we are talking about here) can pose serious health risks. Now, #2. In the Ayn Rand Lexicon, it states "'Focus' designates a quality of one's mental state, a quality of active alertness." It then goes into depth explaining that being focused is not synonomous with thinking or concentrating. Being focused is a prerequisite to thinking/concentrating. If it was true that drinking one drink destroyed your ability to focus, that would mean that after one drink, people would not simply be finding it hard to think, they'd be unresponsive to reality (which of course would make drinking immoral). But, I simply have never observed this. I can drink a beer or two (spaced out appropriately) and be 100% fully aware of reality - reality at that time usually being my dining experience or the good conversation that I am having with a buddy of mine. Since I disagree that any quantity of alcohol lowers one's ability to focus fully, i.e. to remain fully aware of the facts relevant to the context that person is in, I do not agree w/ the "drinking alochol is immoral" argument #2. Also, given that alcohol does provide value to people (as a tasty beverage, etc.), I find it perfectly moral to drink for the proper purposes. On a side note, if one could smoke marijuana in small amounts without it acting as a detriment to their ability to focus, and if smoking marijuana wasn't as physically unhealthy as it has proven to be, I'd say that smoking it wasn't immoral. However, I doubt that marijuana can actually be smoked without producing a high (except for stoners, who have built up a tolerance).