Monday, July 2, 2012

Looting The Dragon: Prohibition And The Real World

Looting the dragon’s treasure before the adventure begins (How the Saskatchewan and Band governments are allowing Draconian Measures before fully considering what leads to the problems.)  Alcoholism is not so easy to defeat as a simple swipe of the hand, there are far deeper problems to take into account, and laws that have been dictatorial and heavy-handed often hurt as much as they help.

I’ve had some heated debates recently with some who think that b/c of the problem with alcoholism on reserves it is good that a local one has approved this.  I call this in terms of D&D or your favourite FRPG of choice “looting the dragon’s loot before doing the adventure and even knowing there is a dragon or monsters involved”.  The monsters of course being the problems on the road to a solution.  Simply saying “you can’t drink” and passing a law does not solve anything.  Even if the law was followed, which doesn’t make sense to an alcoholic with transportation, and denying the constitutional challenges which could easily come of it (as these measures were never fully supported in Saskatchewan).  People don’t drink because it’s legal or illegal they drink because they are depressed.  They go to parties and continue drinking, realizing they are momentarily happy, and got something of what they were looking for, however short term the “bliss” may be.  Then they continue drinking later.  This however misses the point, in a fashion similarly short-sighted to the draconian laws being instituted on reserves today.

Let’s write up some characters, and open up the adventure then.  Stealing the loot from an unseen dragon will be our doom, but nevertheless let’s attempt this fool’s quest!   If you deal with the “goblins and ghouls” ( otherwise known as problems) in a normal order and the experience needed to finally defeated the “lord of the dungeon” in this case a dragon, it will not only make so much more sense it will prevent said dragon from eating each and every member of the party (not saying there will be no losses along the way).  Anything worth doing in life is risky.  It’s a packaged deal.

The problems on reserves are multifold: lack of good year-round work and education, intolerant social attitudes, and rising costs are barriers to people living full lives.  Gangs, and drug-use are also an issue.  There are frequent news reports of poor and unsanitary water quality, mines leaching into the ground, lack of full health care, frequent solvent and gas abuse, climate change, and such.  Of course there are many plus sides: it doesn’t have to contend with urban squalor, its scenic, there is less discrimination on a reserve.  Federal funding has been reported as improving prior to the current government, if slowly.

Why prohibitionism never works:

Recently I’ve had some heated debates about dry states, and counties, and reserves etc.  Did you know Jack Daniels main plant is in a dry state?!!   I’ve had some years to research, and debate with others the pros and cons of prohibition-style idealism.  Not hard to come up with this kind of topic of discussion , when you leave a stone’s throw from from Moose Jaw, which provided Chicago, and much of the Northern “dry” US with alcohol during the original prohibition era 100 years ago.  A time that had been heatedly debated and argued over, and is widely considered a total flop, and has been for a century for history enthusiasts.  The US FDA spends over a billion US a year on efforts to curb drug use.  And drug use is on the rise.  Although I don’t have the pertinent Canadian numbers I think it would be fair to say that our government has been similarly effective in putting an end to the problem by skipping out on the 27 dungeon rooms in the adventure.  Which is to say: not at all!

So even if alcohol was not being smuggled in, and was not available a hop skip and a jump away… it seems a lost cause.  Yet, all is not for naught intrepid adventurers: since you have come this far on your journey, then you may get to at least gaze upon those buried treasures available only after killing the dragon.  If you are careful enough you may sneak up on the dragon in its sleep, thus getting a surprise attack, with all the cumulative bonuses accrued.

If we can bring people closer together, and ignore the simple rules of servitude that kept our forefathers down, and fighting wars forever we can realize that with better access to modern tech, as well as a strong social structure and backbone about defending Indian, women’s and peoples rights in general.  If we stand up to big business and big government gluttony and put the power back into the hands of the people who build our society, we will conquer much in the end.  It is a hard and a dark path being a human, but with our intrepid and dedicated spirit we will move on into the future more aware and self-realized.  And not having given into the simple lust to govern without any semblance of sensibility that is so often lacking in the sorry social and political climate of the day.

In this day and age of great tech, and big government it is easy to forget the original goal of all these institutions: to keep people, free, and happy, and living life productively.  If our rules don’t help these, these are pacts with demons not to be entered into, in my opinion.  I think prohibition is a bad idea, all told, and only leads to illegal, and unconstitutional laws, with a great tendency toward fundamentalism.  More private and public spending on real issues, not on things no one gives a damn about should save the day.  Even if it is a wild path, strewn with difficulties.  It is the only sensible path in the end.

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