The uppers and downers of life

Posted on January 31, 2012 by

We here at Traditional Christianity aren’t fond of making up religion on our own. Christianity is hard enough without adding to it. For that reason, and because no topic is taboo here, this is one of the few Christianity-oriented websites where there is any discussion of the joys of imbibing. Although many Serious Christians frown upon levity (especially of the chemically-induced variety), we generally subscribe to the idea that it’s alright to have a drink or two, but swigging vodka right out of the bottle might be overdoing it a bit. Likewise with nicotine, caffeine, sugar, or any other mind-altering substance.

For, as it is written in Proverbs 31:

6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

And serve their Irish coffee with extra whipped cream and a piece of chocolate cake, as few things cheer up like that particular combination.

As Gawker has noted, this might have something to do with the number of Catholics and atheists here, as we tend to drink more alcohol. But it also might have to do with the high average IQ of our readership. It is a general statistical truism that, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to drink alcohol.

It is also the case that alcohol and tobacco usage corresponds to testosterone levels, as is evidenced by the fact that “women in managerial or professional jobs drink more alcohol overall and at a sitting than do women in lower-paying jobs” (their testosterone levels are also higher). My own anecdotal experience backs that up, as you’ll rarely see as many boozers as in a research and development department. Hardly any business evening went by without ending with whiskey and Cuban cigars, as it’s the only way to calm down enough to sleep after all of the fighting, plotting, and brainstorming. Financiers stumbling around blind drunk on their way to brothels has become a popular meme in our time, for a similar reason.

So our emphasis on harder topics like theology, economics, and politics is bound to draw in the seedy intelligentsia that rarely frequent places like Boundless or Catholic Answers. The same prenatal testosterone surge that makes us more intelligent (yes, I have a long ring finger), also makes us more inclined to risky behavior, which is why revolutions tend to start with revolutionary thinkers.

I was pondering this recently, while responding to a post at In Mala Fide concerning the purported opiate usage of Newt Gingrich’s latest wife (click at your own risk, as usual). So I decided to dig around a bit. It turns out that, not only does alcohol usage correspond to higher intelligence, the same also applies to the use of psychoactive drugs — including opiates. The British data has a much higher correlation than the American data, perhaps because of the War on Drugs and the American habit of self-medicating with food, sex, and sport.

The most intelligent women have the highest usage of drugs, which doesn’t surprise me a bit, even if I’m not snorting anything myself. We have to deal with the most intelligent men on a regular basis, with all of their introversion and neurosis, which would drive anyone to a bit of chemical alleviation. Although researchers have long been hoping that correlation equals causation, and that it’s the habit that makes us so intelligent, the truth is that it’s the intelligence that leads to our habit.

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