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Using weakness to oppress others

By Scott Tibbs, May 23, 2014

I said on Monday that "it is common in our culture for people to use their suffering to oppress others." This was underlined last week in a whining screed by a recovering alcoholic. Starbucks should not serve alcohol, he says, because it will be a temptation to people recovering from alcoholism.

So because some recovering alcoholics find it difficult to be around alcohol, everyone who could potentially enjoy a glass of wine or a high-quality beer at Starbucks must be denied the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. It is the same mentality that has led government to require that everyone buying certain cold medicines to "show their papers" because some people use it as the primary ingredient to manufacture meth.

At least the government is not prohibiting Starbucks from serving alcohol - not yet, anyway.

I understand that alcoholism is a physical addiction as well as a social and psychological addiction, but many recovering alcoholics are capable of being in a place where alcohol is served without relapsing. It is easier to avoid the temptation completely, sure - but part of being an adult is exercising self-control (even when that is extremely difficult) instead of denying other people the opportunity to enjoy something you cannot.

It is good that we as a society are sensitive to those who are hurting or those who face unique challenges, but we have become so perverse that weakness and victimhood are now weapons to oppress others. We have gone too far in the direction of sensitivity, and we should not allow ourselves to be defined by our "victim identity."