Kathleen Parker

Warning: Living is addictive and causes serious diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, kidney stones and menopause. The only proven way to reduce the health risks of living is to quit.

So might read labels in hospital delivery rooms in order to satisfy the idiot herd out there, which now includes - say it ain't so - alcoholics in Scotland. According to a United Press International story, a dozen alcoholics ages 18 to 60 are suing liquor manufacturers for not warning them that alcohol can be dangerous.

As an American of partly Scottish descent, I think I'm qualified to say: What the hell did you think was wrong with Uncle Rory, you moron?

Some of my best friends are alcoholics and not one has ever considered suing the people who make the brew for not warning them. When you fall facedown in the sand after drinking too much Glenfiddich - but not after a tank of coffee - one might guess something's up.

And of course people do. I don't buy for a minute that anybody with the means to procure liquor doesn't know the risks of alcohol consumption. Or tobacco use. Or the connection between Big Macs and elastic waistbands. We've been here before.

If following the money is the key to most mysteries, this one is solved. Attorneys for the alcoholic plaintiffs plan to study the battle plans used by lawyers who've successfully sued tobacco companies. The goal apparently is to force alcohol manufacturers to provide health-warning labels as is required in the United States.

Huge success story there, eh? How often do I read a warning label on bottles of wine, my poison of choice? Exactly zero. Why? Because I know what's in the bottle and that's why I'm buying it. Flavor, pleasure and healthful benefits - if consumed in moderation.

I realize alcoholism is a serious problem, and I'm sorry for those who choose to abuse substances and for the families who have to put up with them. But no potential alcoholic is going to cease drinking because of a warning label any more than a potential murderer is going to stop mid-crime because of a law against killing.

Meanwhile, litigiousness appears to be a disease of near-plague proportions. Can't hack your life? Blame someone else, hire a lawyer and retire early. The cost? Your lawyer's one-third contingency fee and your pride.

What the public gets for such insults to the judiciary are ads like the one I saw on television the other night. First I heard the voice, Nurse Ratched's twin sister and now a paid spokesnoid for Philip Morris USA, verbally stroking America's moron class with soothing words about the dangers of tobacco.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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