People come and ask: ‘Is it better not to drink alcohol or is it better to drink it? Is it better to be a vegetarian or to eat meat?’ I never tell anyone whether or not he should abstain from alcohol, or whether he should eat vegetables instead of meat. Instead I explain how alcohol works. I simply describe how it works; then the person may decide to drink or not as he pleases.
I do the same regarding vegetarian or meat diets. I simply say, this is how meat works and this is how plants work. The result is that a person can decide for himself. Above all else, science must have respect for human freedom, so that a person never has the feeling of being given orders or forbidden to do something. He is only told the facts. Once he knows how alcohol works, he will discover on his own what is right. This way we shall accomplish the most. We will come to the point where free human beings can choose their own directions. We must strive for this. Only then will we have real social reforms.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit/ Grundlagen einer geisteswissenschaftlichen Sinneslehre – Dornach, 8 January 1923 (page 227-228)
This translation was copied from the Lecture: The effects of alcohol (published by Rudolf Steiner Press)