PUBLIC INEBRIATION - in Alaska and Elsewhere

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Public Inebriation - In Alaska and Elsewhere

October 26th, 2009

The NY Times features a video report on efforts of officials in Anchorage to ameliorate the problem of chronic public inebriation through an involuntary committal process – Title 47.

Another excellent resource focused on this issue is the documentary
Drunk In Public, which chronicles the sad life of Mark David Allen, a man who has been arrested over 480 times (at last count) for public drunkenness and related offenses.  The documentary effectively manages the balance between pathos and analysis, while maintaining a genuine respect for its subject.

It also demonstrates the limitations of what Willard Gaylin and Bruce Jennings have aptly termed “autonomy gone bonkers,” whereby an excessive focus on individual rights paradoxically destroys individuals and extracts huge costs from society in the bargain.

Reference: Gaylin, W. & Jennings, B. (1996).  The perversion of autonomy: The proper uses of coercions and constraints in a liberal society.  New York:  Free Press.

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