I really don’t like the Lancet

‘course, I’ve never read it, but any time I hear about a study in it, it causes high blood pressure and blunt force trauma. Because I have to start headbutting the desk.

Standard fig leaf applies: before anyone starts accusing me of anti-doctor-ism, I should say this: some of my closest friends are doctors. Hell, quite a few of my family are. So obviously I’m not including all doctors in this.

Case in point:

‘Ban under-21s buying alcohol’

Under-21s should be banned from buying alcohol to curb Britain’s binge-drinking crisis, doctors are demanding.

Alcohol causes one in four deaths among 15 to 29-year-olds but the country is only just waking up to the dangers of drinking, they claim.

Britain’s response should be to follow the example of the US and raise the legal limit for buying alcohol from 18 to 21, say experts writing in The Lancet.

No. No. No. No. No. And no.

At 18 you are allowed to fight for your country; you are allowed to vote in elections; you are required to pay tax; you can drive; you can smoke; you can be tried as an adult; you can marry; you can raise children; you can enter legally binding contracts.

Is the consumption of alcohol somehow more serious than these? And even if it is, what fucking right do doctors have to be making such demands?

This is what really, really, really annoys me about the pronouncements that journals like the Lancet adn organisations like the BMA make: they take their observations and automaticially assume that the law should be changed to take them into account. If everyone else did that, then I’d be calling for american date formats to be illegal. Which would be no more or less valid than calling for everyone’s freedoms to be curtailed because a study says that people who have drink problems tend to drink earlier.

Doctors do hugely important work, yes. They save lives, they ease suffering, they tidy up after accidents. They loose sleep and work under huge stresses. But that doesn’t make them any more qualified to demand new laws than the next person in the street. So why do journals think differently?

2 thoughts on “I really don’t like the Lancet

  1. “Alcohol causes one in four deaths among 15 to 29-year-olds…”

    So the current limit of 18 is working well then. What magical property is it that 21 has that 18 doesn’t?

  2. I can think of none, excepting that 21 is one small step on the road to prohibition.

    Considering that the effects of prohibition in the States are still being felt ninety years on, perhaps we should just avoid going down that road. At all. Ever.

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