America is drunk

Keith Ablow is a forensic psychiatrist and graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He made national headlines recently with a column titled, "America is Drunk."

By Jim Denison

Ablow cites new data from the Centers for Disease Control revealing that one in six Americans downs eight mixed drinks within a few hours, four times a month. Twenty-eight percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 binge drink five times every month. Thirteen percent of those between the ages of 45 and 65 do the same.

According to Ablow, this is equivalent to news that a quarter of our young people were abusing cocaine or injecting heroin more than once a week. “The psychological/cognitive effects of seven or eight drinks are no less intense, and, possibly, even more dramatic," he warns.

What is behind this trend? His answer: "My theory is that Americans are on a flight from reality" as we face "the precarious state of the economy, the gathering storm represented by militant Muslims, in general, and Iran, in particular, the crumbling state of marriage in this country, the fact that our borders are being overrun, and the fact that our health-care insurance is in shambles (to name just a smattering of the troubles we desperately need to address)."

What are we doing in response? "We as a nation are drinking, drugging, gambling, smoking, Facebooking, YouTubing, Marijuaning, Kardashianing, Adderalling, Bono-ing (as in thinking of Chaz's flight from reality as good), Prozacking, Twittering, and Sexting ourselves into oblivion." 

Then the psychiatrist makes this claim: "The fact that we are doing this as a culture is the single most ominous psychological trend we have ever faced. I am not exaggerating."

What is the answer? According to Ablow, "The only antidote is the decisiveness of individuals to live their lives, to be present and to count -- for real." On his website he states his message: "By harnessing your innate capacity for courage, faith, truth and compassion you will find the power to reach most any goal."

Note that God isn't part of the equation. Self-reliance is the gospel of our culture. Religion is a hobby -- something for you to do on Sunday while others sleep in or play golf. They can't force their hobbies on you any more than you can force yours on them. 

But let's think about Ablow's prescription that we become more self-reliant. Reread his list of the issues that have driven our nation into such a perilous state. What has produced them? How is self-dependence working for us?

OPINION: Views expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.