These days when I’m pretty fully engaged in resisting the Global War on Smoking, I tend to forget that the War on Smoking is part of a wider and more long lasting Global War on Drugs. So H/T Dick Puddlecote’s link tank for this Guardian article by David Nutt.
I tend not to like David Nutt very much, because he seems to be fashionably pro-drugs and anti-alcohol (and probably anti-tobacco as well). I wouldn’t mind if he was pro-drugs, and also pro-alcohol and pro-tobacco, but he’s not.
Why are drugs illegal?
…The truth is unpalatable and goes back to the period of alcohol prohibition in the US in the 1920s. This was introduced as a harm-reduction measure because alcohol was seen (correctly) as a drug that seriously damaged families and children. But public demand for alcohol in the US did not abate and this fuelled a massive rise in bootleg alcohol and underground bars (known as speakeasys) that encouraged the rise of the mafia and other crime syndicates.
To combat this, the US government set up a special army of enforcers, under the command of Harry Anslinger, which became known as “the untouchables”. This army of enforcers was widely celebrated by the newspapers and the acclaim propelled Anslinger to national prominence. However, when public disquiet at the crime and social damage caused by alcohol prohibition led to its repeal, Anslinger saw his position as being in danger.
To enable him to keep his army of drug enforcers, he created a new drug threat: cannabis, which he called marijuana to make it sound more Mexican. Working with a newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, he created hysteria around the impact of cannabis on American youth and proclaimed an invasion of marijuana-smoking Mexican men assaulting white women. The ensuing public anxiety led to the drug being banned. The US then imposed its anti-cannabis stance on other western countries and this was finally imposed on the rest of the world through the first UN convention on narcotic drugs in 1961.
It’s the way the Drug Warriors always seem to work: they foment hysteria, It’s just as true now with smoking as it was with cannabis (and any other drug you care to mention). And if they aren’t scaremongering about one thing, they’re scaremongering about another.
And I think that there was an international conference in the 1920s that called for bans on a whole raft of hitherto freely available drugs. Anslinger was just one of the players, and not the only one.
And I’m not sure what ‘social damage’ was done by Prohibition in the USA . But I can well imagine that it was much the same as the social damage being done by smoking bans now.
Anyway, I learned today that
We have moved to a surreal new world in which the government, through the new psychoactive substances bill, has decided to put an end to the sale of any drug with psychoactive properties, known or yet to be discovered.
I’d not heard of this bill. But it seems fully in line with the Global War on Drugs Not Made By Big Pharma. And since we’ve been recently being told that cheese is addictive, no doubt cheddar cheese will soon be added to the list of banned drugs.
The psychoactive substances bill is the most oppressive law in terms of controlling moral behaviour since the Act of Supremacy in 1558 that banned the practice of the Catholic faith. Both are based on a moral superiority that specifies the state will decide on acceptable actions and beliefs even if they don’t affect other people. Worse, it won’t work…
Nutt’s hatred of alcohol shows through:
As young people seek to find legal ways to enjoy altered consciousness without exposing themselves to the addictiveness and toxicity of alcohol or the danger of getting a criminal record, so the newspapers seek to get these ways banned too. Politicians collude as they are subservient to those newspapers that hate youth and they know that the drug-using population is much less likely to vote than the drug-fearing elderly.
Nutt thinks that it’s all being driven by the media. But I’ll bet that the WHO and the BMA and the RCP and various eugenic outfits are the real drivers.
And are the elderly really ‘drug-fearing’? My impression is that most of the people in my post-war ‘boomer’ generation are not particularly drug-fearing. It’s the previous generation, which seems to include anyone about 3 years older than me, who are the most frightened of ‘DRUGS’, in scary capital letters.
And, at 67, I’m getting pretty ‘elderly’, but I’m unlikely to become ‘drug-fearing’. Which leads me to think that when the ‘drug-fearing elderly’ have passed away, there’ll be a relaxation of drug laws.
Unfortunately, the one drug that my boomer generation seems to be really terrified of is tobacco. So there’ll be no let up there. The ‘drug-fearing elderly’ will simply be replaced by the ‘smoke-fearing elderly’.