For years neo-wowsers against all types of sinful consumption have claimed that arguments of a slippery slope are baseless and misleading attacks by those who prefer individual choice and responsibility. It seems health sociologists have now decided to remove the facade.
The most notable shift has been the movement by the health sociology community toward imposing their agenda on food and alcohol through incremental proposals for more legislation, regulation and taxation.
A fascinatingly bad article has been published by health sociologists about the divergence of views between their colleagues. The “study” argues that a key problem in imposing their agenda on the public is that people have different views and there is a plurality of voices who do not all agree.
The “study” of 21 individuals assessed the state of their group think about WHAT, not IF, alcohol consumption should be further regulated. According to the paper’s “results”:
Twenty one alcohol policy experts agreed that pricing policies are a top national priority and most agreed that “something should be done” about alcohol advertising. Volumetric taxation and minimum pricing were regarded as the most important price policies, yet differences emerged in defining the exact form of a proposed volumetric tax. Important differences in perspective emerged regarding alcohol promotions, with lack of agreement about the preferred form regulations should take, where to start and who the policy should be directed
at. Very few discussed online advertising and social networks.
Of even more importance is the clarity they provide in response. Apparently differences of opinion and a diversity of voices are a problem. The answer – more group think:
Despite existing policy collaborations, a clear ‘cut through’ message is yet to be endorsed by all alcohol control advocates. There is a need to articulate and promote in greater detail the specifics of policy reforms to minimum pricing, volumetric taxation and restrictions on alcohol advertising, particularly regarding sporting sponsorships and new media.
This “study” is a reminder that so much research done by health sociologists is introspective work assessing their own performance, and makes little meaningful difference to promote a healthier society. In the meantime they collect millions from government to perpetuate their existence and advocate for more regulation that is rarely supported by credible research.