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Tolstoy's "On Why People Stupefy Themselves"

  • Broadcast in Education
Ethics Talk

Ethics Talk


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   In his "Why do People Stupefy Themselves," Leo Tolstoy writes "men drink and smoke, not to keep their spirits up, not for gayety's sake, not because it is pleasant, but in order to stifle conscience in themselves."  Written at the time when the U.S. was awash in the temperance movement (but about 30 years before the passage of the 18th amendment), Tolstoy claims that even moderate drinking is profoundly harmful.  This week's episode of Ethics Talk, focuses on Tolstoy's 1890 essay, its applicability to college life, and its relevance (if any) to today.