Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

An Idle Followup

HonEB's points in response to "An Idle Query" are well taken--it's rather hard to imagine any politician spending his capital and almost certainly ruining his career over the legalization of drug-use. This despite the fact that you would think, really, that the Republicans would be all for it, since it fits squarely into their "keep the government small and uninstrusive" and "don't spend money on worthless social causes" agenda. Oh, wait, I forgot that this platform kinda fell by the wayside with the whole "let's legislate sexual activity between consenting adults" thing. If I was anything less than truly lazy/distracted, I'd bother to learn how in the hell the 21st Amendment ever got discussed, much less passed--I do know Fiorello LaGuardia testified before Congress about what a flaming crock Prohibition was, for which he gets a doff of my imaginary hat--but then, the liquor industry already had deep roots in the American economy before the 19th Amendment, so it's easy to imagine that those who still had an interest in restoring the ability of America to booze it up might have paid a few politicans to speak up in defense of the demon rum. Narcotics, alas, have no such place in the economic infrastructure--we prefer to leave controlling authority to foreign nationals whose business methods make the Cosa Nostra look like the Ladies' Rotary. (Kind of like our national energy policy, really!)

Plus, of course, there's the issue of race. I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, and God knows, I hate to place myself in the same camp as the truly lunatic Rep. Maxine Waters (a fixture of an almost wholly black Congressional district who maintains her position in pretty much the same way folks like Jesse Helms maintained theirs--appealing to the racist bigotry of her constituents), but the fact is, the real 'victims' of drugs are minorities, because of course they're far more likely to do viciously hard time for possession/distribution. Plus, of course, Marx was wrong. Religion isn't the opiate of the masses. Opiates are the opiate of the masses. So the miserable underclass (a disproportionate number of which are, surprise surprise, of the non-lily-hued variety) are perversely encouraged to numb/revitalize themselves with narcotics, which, kept illegal, ensure that they will live their lives forever on the borders of society. I'm not saying "it's a plot"; my problem with most conspiracy theories--like, say, the Oliver Stone version of Kennedy assassination, which apparently involved everyone in the Western hemisphere except for Lee Harvey Oswald and Jim Garrison--is that they require large numbers of people to behave in a consistently intelligent, discrete, efficient manner. A small amount of reflection on the limits of human character will reveal this to be an unlikely if not impossible state of affairs. I just think this is one of those state of affairs that developed largely of its own accord, nudged now and then by those in power--like those who created mandatory sentencing guidelines that made crack (used by vastly greater numbers of African-Americans than whites) punishable by a much harsher standard than powder cocaine (used by whites as their stimulant of choice.)

So let's see: the Drug War ensures that men of evil will rule small, terrified local communities, that minorities will suffer disproportionate amounts of prison time, that vast amounts of money and man-power and the lives of federal agents will be lost in the futile attempt to prevent the importation and production of narcotics--and which, despite all this, has done essentially nothing substantial to prevent the availability and consumption of the very thing it was determined to stamp out. Meanwhile, we have models of nations--thank God for you, the Netherlands--who show us that relaxed drug policies do not yield the fall of Rome to the Visigoths. So we're doing this because...WHY, EXACTLY???

Of course, thanks to crank--is that what they're still calling crystal meth?--I suspect something will have to be done about drug policy. I mean, marijuana has to be grown--and the good stuff has to be grown under special environmental conditions. Cocaine, heroin--these things have to be imported with all the trouble involved with the Coast Guard and swallowed condoms that break mid-flight and whatnot. But meth? Shoot, it's easier to make than moonshine. There's a HUGE demand for it. And anybody, anywhere, can make it--because the ingredients are all legal. This I like. This I love. A drug that proves conclusively that you cannot control drugs. A drug that forces even the stupidest of authorities to confront the fact that prevention is impossible, and that the only hope is treatment and dissuasion. A drug that forces peace, because it cannot be fought. Yes, I've praised the French, and now I'm praising crystal meth. What's next, pornography? (Hint: Yes.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Crank" is still acceptable. "Tweak" is more commonly used. Say "crank" to the average young person and you'll see his/her brow furrow for a moment while he/she digs up the meaning of a word approximately on the same level of obsolete ex-coolness as "rad."

Not that I know this from personal experience or anything.

1:45 PM  

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