Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh Lord

The Majesty of the Law:

I've read a lot about prohibition, but I never read about the government's deliberate effort to make industrial alcohol undrinkably poisonous. Thousands of people seem to have died as a result.
Thousands of people die from drinking an industrial solvent and it's the government's fault.

It's called denaturing, Megan. We still do it!

BONUS FUN: From the article:
Poisonous alcohol still kills—16 people died just this month after drinking lethal booze in Indonesia, where bootleggers make their own brews to avoid steep taxes—but that's due to unscrupulous businessmen rather than government order.
So, in Indonesia, selling industrial solvents for human consumption is the sellers fault. In America, it's the government's.

God bless the reasoned discourse at Slate.

9 comments:

Clever Pseudonym said...

Now the Atlantic makes you sit through an advertisement for the privilege of reading Megan's dreck. That is officially the last time I will knowlingly click on a link to their site.

And what the eff is "undrinkably poisonous"? Something has to be drinkable before it can poison you.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Something has to be drinkable before it can poison you.

I have vague memories of my bright collage daze and bourbon that was dispensed from half gallon plastic bottles.
~

NutellaonToast said...

Oh lord. They do have click-through ads, now.

WTF.

Morbo said...

I take it that Megan has never read A.B. Guthrie's "Bargain."

Lurking Canadian said...

I used to work in the stores department of a major national research lab. We dispensed two classes of 95% ethanol. We had 95% ethanol that was entirely drinkable (the other 5% was water), and which we kept very careful track of (because if we didn't, large quantities of it tended to be requisitioned near holiday weekends). We also had 95% ethanol that was poisonous (the other 5% was benzene).

The poisonous stuff was used in experiments that could not tolerate the presence of water in any amount.

I would be very surprised if both forms are not available to American labs as well.

NutellaonToast said...

They are, though I think we usually denature ours with methanol. You can also get 100% ethanol but it's hella expensive on account of the azeotrope and certain taxes. I've never seen anyone use it.

You can get something called Everclear, here, which is pretty much a 95/5 mixture of alcohol and water for consumption, but it's illegal in some states.

Susan of Texas said...

For the first time I can see an advantage in being a woman. You don't have to find alcohol when you're young. It finds you.

Bill Rutherford, Princeton Admissions said...

"You can get something called Everclear, here, which is pretty much a 95/5 mixture of alcohol and water for consumption, but it's illegal in some states."

Yup - it was illegal to sell in VA, so when I lived in Arlington, I'd have to drive across the Key Bridge to the (now-defunct, RIP) liquor store that sat right at the DC end to buy it.

Great stuff, used to use to make Jello shots.

intotheveld said...

It's the government's fault that we have denatured alcohol - a substance found in most homes that would otherwise not be poisonous. And the reason? Initially, it was Prohibition and probably led to the deaths of thousands that committed the "crime" of wanting a drink. Now, we have it because the government wouldn't want those dirty capitalists trying to get out of paying their taxes. So, instead of decrying the unnecessary death of thousands during the Prohibition era and beyond, you'd rather mock McArdle. You are a mockery. You have no life. You are a small, sad man.