This Guardian article is about a man who was an alcoholic and then got sober through Alcoholics Anonymous; however, he now has a problem with AA because it isn’t secular. The article illuminates what progressive liberalism—the left in general—really has a problem with: consciousness—and they are perfectly willing to hurt people rather than admit that there is more to life than just matter. AA was inspired by an observation by CG Jung that the only people he had seen to be cured from alcoholism were those who had a “religious experience” and then never touched a drop again. Kerouac said that he drunk to experience the “ecstasy of the mind”, and Jung’s observation could be taken to mean that people swapped out alcoholic ecstasy for religious ecstasy.
Hence AA is predicated on the idea that people who participate must admit there is a “higher power” and also commit never to touch alcohol at all. It makes no prescription—in a genuinely non-judgemental manner—as to what you take a “higher power” to be, it could be Jesus or Allah or cosmic consciousness; it could even be nature or reality itself.
So far as I know, AA is about the only proven method to cure alcoholics—although the Guardian suggests there is now a quick fix, a drug you can take to cure you without reference to a “higher power”. Well, maybe so—though count me sceptical. Even though the man who tells his story in the article admits that AA kept him sober for 15 years he is quite prepared to say that it needs to knock out the central strut that makes it work—the higher power. Take that away and AA doesn’t work. “Hm,” says the Guardian reader, “a ‘higher power’, sounds a bit exclusionary and elitist to me—needs to go.”
AA is fortunate in that it is so constructed as to be relatively difficult for progressives to attack. The “higher power” is difficult to attack, being vaguely constructed—if AA had gone for God or Jesus it would have been savaged by the leftists a long time ago. What does this all come down to in the end? Egotism. Leftists cannot admit that there is a force greater than themselves—be that God, Jesus, or just the vaguest commitment the man on the street is prepared to venture, “I think there’s something” (i.e. I think there is something greater than me).
So AA makes leftists angry because it upsets their pride; it upsets them to think there is an organisation that asks people to admit that there is a force greater than themselves—and even though it has been shown to be the only thing that helps people in this condition it must be destroyed because it offends their self-importance. This makes AA anti-humanist; as much as it asks people to submit to a higher power AA tells people to admit that they are powerless as regards their desire to drink—similarly, Heidegger would say philosophers are conduits for ideas that wish to enter the world; they do not create ideas. “Not I, but the wind that blows through me,” said Nietzsche—to admit you are not “in control” is the first step to genuine control; forces flow through you. This is anti-humanism. Leftists also loath the idea that there is more to life than matter; everything has to be completely material and mundane—why, such a grey attitude could almost drive a man to drink…
So this is why the leftists have decided that AA must be destroyed: it is hierarchical, it tells the drinker that he is not the most important thing in the world, and it says there is more to life than matter. Further, it has a quasi-magical aspect that tells people that to be in control you have to admit you are not in control—a paradoxical reversal of opposites. The latter is important because alcoholics are often control freaks and angry perfectionists who cannot let go—they drink because they get wound up too tight.
Leftists would rather nobody was helped than admit to a greater non-material power of any sort—even the most minimal. Instead, they offer an easy pill—just as Tim Leary said he had found enlightenment in LSD, except the problem was he could never make it stick (you take a pill for alcoholism, but what do if it never sticks…?). Leftists also offer CBT, superior to AA because it removes “obsessive thoughts”—superior because, as with cannabis, CBT is designed to stop thought. By contrast, AA lets the thoughts flow through you—it doesn’t suppress a person’s thoughts and feelings, the real objective behind CBT.
AA is an extremist organisation: it tells people not to drink at all. Dr. Johnson famously observed: “Abstention for me is as easy as moderation would be difficult.” AA is right to totally proscribe booze: it is easier to give up completely than to be moderate—people who tell you to be moderate are idiots, literal midwits. Be an extremist.
In an ideal world, nobody would take drugs or drink. Prohibition was a good idea, but the people who proposed it were not extreme enough: if you’re going to do something, do it properly—burn yourself up in it so nothing remains, as the Buddhists say. To decouple Western societies from their deeply ingrained booze habit would require the death penalty to be widely expanded and for Western societies to hang people at a rate higher than even the medievals managed (perhaps 2-3% of the population per year). This would disincentivize boozers and cull out the alcoholic genes—it would also amount to a quasi-genocide against the Irish and Red Indians. America in the 1920s was not prepared to go so far, so they were punished for being moderate and half-assed hypocrites. Before we get anywhere near alcohol abolition we have to reintroduce capital punishment for the old crimes, murder and theft, and apply it consistently.