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Re: you are the perfect drug

Apr 28, 1998 12:15 PM
by Bart Lidofsky

Darren wrote:
> constitution protects the freedom of religion. This is how the Native
> American Church is enabled to continue peyote ceremonies.

	USED to be enabled. It has been decided by the Supreme Court that the
so-called "War on Drugs" is more important than the Constitution, in
particular the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendments. 

	Sigh. I was not planning on getting political, but I see an
involutionary trend, here. Now please note that I believe that one
should not blame on a conspiracy something that can be explained by the
existence of large numbers of people, each one acting independently in
his/her own selfish interest. I believe that what I am about to describe
is the latter, rather than the former, although it has the apperance of
the former.

	Note how the feudal system in medieval Europe got started. You had a
powerful empire (the Roman) theoretically in control of things. But
outside "barbarian hordes" were more than the empire's soldiers could
handle. So the people had to band together themselves. Those who were
good at fighting and leading others agreed to protect those who were not
or could not, at the price of the freedom of the protected. Only the
masters were allowed to have weapons, which kept the descendents of the
serfs (a misspelling of "slave") from being able to effectively do
anything about their condition, which perpetuated their slavery long
after the dangers were gone.

	In the United States, the original concept was that every man was a
nobleman; all were expected to defend themselves and those who could not
defend themselves, at no price. In addition, groups that later evolved
into police forces were also formed, in order to capture the human
predators who got away from the individuals. Eventually, the police
forces were also expected to provide the basic protection, as well,
although officially and legally their duties were still solely to catch
criminals after the crime was committed. This has continued to the point
where the legal system paradoxically prevents people from defending
themselves based on the fact that this is the job of the police, yet
fails to require that the police defend anybody (the latter shown by the
universal failure of innumerable lawsuits against individual police
officers who failed to even attempt to protect victims of crime in spite
of the individual police officer's physical presence on the scene and
knowledge that the crime was being committed). So-called "gun-control"
laws give relatively minor penalties to career criminals using guns,
while giving relatively draconian penalties to otherwise law-abiding
citizens using guns, even in self-defense. (Note: this is not to say
that gun control is, in and of itself, wrong. What I am against is laws
called gun control laws that actually ENCOURAGE criminals to use guns,
knowing that the penalties if caught are offset by the smaller chance of
being caught, and being ensured that their potential victims are almost
certainly unarmed).

	So now we have a small class of people allowed to carry weapons (the
police, security guards, people in government, private security agents
and the well-connected), with the majority prevented from doing so. As
long as as society remains civilized, then there is no real encroachment
on freedom. Unless the barbarian hordes come. And, if barbarian hordes
do not exist, it becomes necessary to create them.

	In the 1920's, in the United States, during Prohibition, the governemnt
enjoyed unprecdented power to stomp on people's rights. In the meantime,
in order to deal with this, crime became more organized. When
Prohibition ended, both groups were in a panic. Without Prohibition, the
Prohibition agents would be out of a job. And without a crime which
required organization, the individual criminals would oust organized
crime. However, among the legitimate industries that had been bought up
by organized crime was the wood pulp industry. The problem was that
paper produced from hemp was far superior to the paper produced from
wood pulp, and not much more expensive. In addition, the leaves from the
hemp plant were commonly smoked, especially by members of hated minority
groups, for the purpose of intoxication. So organized crime, using the
Spanish name for hemp, or "marijuana", came out with a major
anti-marijuana campaign. The government agents, seeing a way of keeping
their jobs, possibly not aware and certainly not caring about the
origins of the campaign, jumped on the bandwagon.

	And then came the "War on Drugs". A war fought in rather strange way.
It was fought in such a way as to whittle away the rights of the honest
citizen, in the name of "protection", while doing as little as possible
to actually stop drug use. It did, however, drive the price of drugs so
high that drug addicts used powerful and concentrated forms of the
drugs, to save money and to be able to hide the drugs more easily. This,
of course, also sped up the cycle of addiction. In addition, by using
the relatively expensive tool of jailing the end user for long periods
of time, it made the use of drugs a more major crime than use of a gun
in a robbery. Since sentencing for multiple crimes is usually
concurrent, it meant that gun control laws were pretty much meaningless
to the drug addict looking for money for another fix. 

	So now we have our "barbarian hordes", against which the average
citizen cannot (both in a physical and legal sense) protect themselves.
We have a heavily armed government taking away more and more of the
rights of the citizens to protect them from the "barbarian hordes". Yet
the governemnt has no obligation to do so. So we head, slowly but very
surely, to a new feudalism.

	On top of that, we have a growing number of people who have decided
that the only solution is to prepare to take up arms against the
government. They call themselves the "militia movement", and are
characterized as being made up largely of right wing gun nuts.
Unfortunately, that characterization is becoming increasingly incorrect
as more and more otherwise political moderates are joining up. And THAT
is something to be scared of.

	Drugs are certainly bad for many people; an excellent source on why is
Dr. Andrew Weil's FROM CHOCOLATE TO MORPHINE. But the war on drugs is

	Bart Lidofsky

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