Thursday, May 08, 2003

Here's an article from the New Republic via FrontPage on why the Franco-German military plan is a joke, in case you needed to know why.

And here's one from Slate on why drugs are fun. This guy gets a little hippy-dippy about, like, that doors of perception and integrating your consciousness stuff. However, the main problem with the anti-drug juggernaut is that I sincerely do not get the point.

Look. Taking drugs is fun. Smoking pot is fun. There are some other drugs out there I wouldn't mess with, cocaine first of all, and opium derivatives--I was once prescribed Percodan and I can tell you that I'd have taken that stuff as long as they let me, nonstop if possible--and anything made in a lab. That kind of thing seems unnecessarily dangerous to me. There are plenty of fun drugs like pot and mescaline and mushrooms and peyote and all those South American huya cucha tea drinks that are, like, natural substances. I am aware that taking these things probably isn't especially good for you if you do it in large quantities, but I've never heard of anyone overdosing on or dying from or freaking out on or beating somebody up on or having to rob old ladies to get their fix of any of those natural, traditional (people have been using all of these drugs for thousands of years) substances.

That's not quite true. I knew a girl who died in a car wreck, fell asleep at the wheel on I-70 between KC and St. Louis, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was high--she wasn't drunk, they checked that, it was in the paper. She used to smoke a lot, and she might have fired up a couple for the road, I don't know. But if pot was a factor, then this just shows you you shouldn't drive, or for God's sake handle machinery, while under the influence of any drug.

On the other hand, let's see, I once saw a drunk guy fire a shotgun through a closed door. Fortunately there was no one in the room on the other side. I saw three drunk guys pitch a refrigerator out a third-floor window once. I knew a guy who got six years in jail for dealing acid big-time, and he was dealing to support a coke habit. I knew a guy who got ten years for his part in a drive-by shooting; he was all messed up on alcohol and speed when he fired the gun. Didn't think anybody would really get hurt because it was a .22 rifle. Killed somebody. I know a girl who got raped after a Dead show while everyone involved was drunk and on god knows what else, almost certainly speed. Crank is big in Kansas, has been for twenty years. I knew a guy who committed suicide by stealing a '49 Ford or whatever and crashing it into a culvert south of Topeka doing like ninety miles an hour. The paper said that parts of the car were scattered over, like, hundreds of feet, and I assume parts of this guy Dennis were, too. Alcohol was a factor.

I can't see legalizing speed--the stuff is just too dangerous--or cocaine or the opiates. But I have no idea why pot is illegal and alcohol is legal. Seems to me like alcohol does far more damage than any other drug out there, and yet we can't make that illegal. It's too much a part of human culture. We try to regulate it, and some societies seem to be able to handle it better than others--Spaniards don't seem to get nearly as aggressive when they drink as us rednecks do, and they don't get in anywhere near as many fights as they do in Britain on Friday night at 11:05. We know for sure that illegalizing it won't work, because we tried it and we failed. I think that illegalizing pot and the natural psychedelics is much stupider than illegalizing alcohol, because we can all chalk up several human disasters caused by alcohol among those we know. I've never heard of anyone getting divorced because he got crazed and fighting mad every time he got high.

Make pot and the natural psychedelics completely legal. Limit their sale to licenced outlets. Growing your own would be legal, of course, but selling it without paying the excise tax wouldn't be, just like you can brew your own beer at home, and you can give it to your friends, but if you start producing twenty cases a week in your basement and selling them for twenty bucks each Liquor Control will be up your ass, at least in Kansas. Missouri is so much in the pocket of Anheuser-Busch that I'm not sure if they have a state liquor control. That and all those redneck counties who elect their state reps on the basis of whether he's for the revenuers or not. Basically the rule is if there's more Baptists in the county than rednecks, they're for the revenuers, and if there's more rednecks than Baptists, then they're agin' 'em.

Anyway, though, you'd have to be 21 to buy this stuff, and all the tax money would go to the state for, say, the education fund. You can usually get a vice bill past the Kansas Lutherans and Methodists out west if you stipulate the tax proceeds will go to the education fund. That's how we finally got liquor by the drink legalized--it's still county-option, but if you live in a civilized county they have regular bars which can serve any sort of booze and stay open till two. Anywhere in the state taverns are legal, but taverns can sell only 3.2 beer and they have to close at twelve. Used to be you had to be 21 for a real bar or to buy anything but 3.2 beer, and it was 18 for 3.2 and for taverns. See how idiotic and byzantine American state alcohol laws are? The stuff is such a social danger that where you can use it and how you use it and when you can use it have to be very tightly controlled. We learned in about Hogarth's time that if people are allowed to drink gin all day, they will do nothing more than drink gin all day. Anyway, that's how they got the state lottery through, too. Gin and circuses.

Finally, we'd do away with all the time and effort we waste on controlling pot and mushrooms; I'd like to spend at least some of the money we got from legalizing psychedelics to go to alcohol treatment, alcohol being the truly dangerous and highly legally controlled substance it is.

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