Reading a TIME article on Moldova’s drinking problem, this quote jumps out, from about the ¾ mark: 

This perception also exists in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, where corruption and political instability are rife. “It’s a way of keeping the population passive,” says Ivan Lungu, a 38-year-old recovering alcoholic, who quit drinking a couple of years ago. “Drunk people don’t protest.”

Lots of stuff to unpack there. Correlations between poverty, access to education and alcoholism. How a drinking culture can permeate a society (not just nationally). How there’s a general societal push toward drinking as a natural, normal part of daily life. How that can be pernicious anywhere, not just Eastern Europe.

In Ontario in 2019, though, the thing that resonates is the Conservative Premier’s singular focus on making alcohol cheaper and easier to access.

The second is his passion for making education worse and more difficult to access.

One of the cites in the TIME article is Vodka Politics. In this book, Mark Schrad explains how Soviets used alcohol as a means of control.

Vodka Politics by Mark Lawrence Schrad

I don’t think our elected officials are trying to engineer a Moldova to keep the population sedate and under their control.

Well…

Maybe there’s good reason to.

I’m not normally given to broad-scale Matrix-style paranoid government theorizing.

But if you were deliberately trying to create a public that’s distracted, doesn’t understand civics, and reactionary, this is how you’d do it.

If you wanted people prone to support authoritarian leaders without much self-reflection or forward thought, what would you do?

Making alcohol cheap and easy to obtain, while cutting off access to higher education and strangling children’s education in the crib… that’s pretty much the recipe, isn’t it? 

Image: Moldovan (I assume) market. Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash.