Hmmm - question is - what is "good"?
Is giving Rags some pleasure bad?
You are presuming, of course, that alcohol actually gives Rags pleasure. But what if Rags's preferred form of pleasure is actually bad
for Rags. Considering that Rags may not be in the best position to judge his own best interests, is Rich necessarily justified in taking the attitude that "it's his life, he can do with it what he will?"
Well, I don't have a lot of access to Rags' internal workings - but, since he apparently pursue alcohol assiduously, I would deduce that it holds an attraction for him - I have acknowledged that it is likely deleterious to his physical health, but, since he is an adult who appears to have been doing this for years, I bow to his decisions. I am not in a position to judge his best interests, either.
Ok, his pleasure is not "good" for him in the sense of enhancing his physical health. One assumes that he is drinking himself to death, in fact. However, who has the right to decide that his chosen means to happiness, or numbness, or whatever it is, is wrong for him? if it causes him to hurt other people, then I accept it is "bad" - however, I think it rather puritanical to say drink=bad while food, or investment on the stock exchange, or paying for a bus to get to church, or whatever is your personal definition of what would be "good" for Rags = "good".
I find this a rather curious position. Who has the right to decide that alcoholism is bad? Well, I suppose all the people who insist that alcoholism is a disease, that's who. You might as well ask who decided that cholera was bad.[/quote]
As it happens, I am very sceptical of the opinions of the people who insist that alcohol is a "disease" - this is certainly a current piece of pseudo-medical chatter and hence of folk wisdom - who knows if it is true?
However, whether it is a "disease" or not, I accept from long observation that, for many, the cluster of behaviours known as alcoholism is deleterious to their physical health - for some it also appears to have a "bad" effect upon their relationships, work success and ability to keep themselves tidy and well-behaved.
However, Rags appears well set upon his alcoholic course - I have no evidence that he will harm others with his drinking, I suspect he has few pleasures, and that he is unlikely, at present at least, to change. Let him enjoy what he can.
However, the people who DO work effectively with Ragses here strongly advocate assisting them with sleeping, eating and food when they wish - and making rehab available - but respecting their decisions as to whether they take them up or not. Interestingly, that is where government policy in my state is going re homeless folk - similarly to harm minimization strategies re drugs.
I suppose they take the same approach with people who suffer from all other potentially fatal diseases?[/quote]
Well, they do not chase people down the street with medicines and lifestyle changes, but these are offered to them - pretty much how homelessness and alcoholism is treated, yes. What are you saying should be their approach? What is you rpoint? (Even if we accept the "disease model" for alcoholism.)
I think giving Rags a drink is fine. If it increases Rags' happiness, even temporarily, I see that as a good - I would temper that by saying I am talking about confirmed Ragses - I would hesitate to give a nouveau Rags the means to increase his chances of becoming a confirmed rags - I would rather give that money to a proven program for prevention or rehab.
Foolishnes, probably. I distinguish between habitual Ragses, and people on the brink - whose behaviour is much more susceptible to intervention, and whose situation is often much more flexible.
In the actual event, I prolly might well give them some money - but my belief is that I do more "good" by funding those who might be able to offer an alternative life to such folk, than I do by giving them a drink - at this stage of things .