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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

The Moderation Fallacy

The Moderation Fallacy.

This thought leads me to add a word on what is called the practice of moderation in the use of alcohol. I believe the Church of England Temperance Association is divided by two lines, one of which marks off total abstainers, the other moderate indulgers. I am one of those who have once been bitten by the plea of moderate indulgence. Mr. Worldly Wiseman, with his usual industry, tapped me on the shoulder, as he dees every man, and held a long and plausible palaver on this very subject. If I had not been a physician he might have converted me. But side by side with his wisdom there came fortunately the knowledge, which I could not, dare not, ignore, that the mere moderate man is never safe, neither in the counsel he gives to others, nor in the practice he follows for himself. Furthermore, I observed, as a physiological, or, perhaps, psychological, fact, that the attraction of alcohol for itself is cumulative. That so long as it is present in a human body, even in small quantities, the longing for it, the sense of requirement for it, is present, and that as the amount of it insidiously increases, so does the desire.

On the other hand, I learned that the entire freedom from the agent controls entirely the desire. That he who is actually emancipated is free. But that he who has a single link of the tyrant on his sleeve is page 15 still a slave, on whom more links are attached with an ease that gives no indication until the limbs are bound.