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Monday, April 21, 2008

Dissenters from the drug war: a 420 tribute

420_libertybell_flyer_2 Today is April 20th (at least it is for another 7 minutes); it’s the annual international day of protest against marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana legalization rallies and smoke-ins were organized across the globe today to mark this occasion. But since placards, protests and pot are not normally part of my weekend, I thought I would show my personal solidarity by sharing this Western Standard exclusive by Pierre Lemieux.

In "Dissenters from the drug war,” Lemieux writes...

Journalist H.L. Mencken characterized Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Whether some drugs help or hinder happiness should be for each individual to decide for himself. Nineteenth-century economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign." Who are the statocrats to decide that alcohol, tobacco, this or that drug, sex, or whatever, is good or bad for me, and to arrest me if I don't agree?

Read the entire article here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on April 21, 2008 | Permalink


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Someone should tell H. L. Mencken that Puritanism was a simplified offshoot of the newly-formed Anglican religion, not a universal declaration that the image of the future should consist of a boot stamping on a human face forever. The Puritans were actually persecuted in their early years, which is one of the reason so many came to the eastern United States--they were fleeing oppression in Europe.

Even if one grants the opposition the point that puritanism can be equated with the militant and obnoxious promotion of straitlaced virtue, it still isn't really a valid comparison. Because being addicted to drugs, in general, does NOT make one happy. And unlike alcohol, which can be taken in moderation without addiction, and tobacco, which is extremely addictive but at least won't fry your brain, most illicit drugs are highly addictive and wreak an extremely corrosive effect on both the individual and those around him.

Marijuana is in a grey zone. It's not physically addictive, but it does ultimately numb your brain and fry your lungs, especially the potent strains available today. (It also stinks to high heaven.) Pot advocates would get a smoother ride if most of them weren't such scruffy-looking vagabonds concentrated on one end of the political spectrum. Such a narrowly defined group is easy to dismiss, particularly when they allow a shameless media whore like Marc Emery to speak for them.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-21 7:29:37 AM

I'll be sure to bring the fire hoses, attack dogs, clubs, and lots of handcuffs. One great thing about stoner punks is that they're much more pliant and hence easier to arrest. Once they sober up they're in for a giant surprise: hard labor.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-04-21 12:58:14 PM

Agree with Pike.
Just a bunch of adolescents and ageing hippies.
Turn loose the hounds!

Posted by: atric | 2008-04-21 3:20:27 PM

Shane is correct that as long as Emery is allowed to represent them they will have little credibility. Isn't that the problem with most movements? They die on the vine because the leaders can't inspire people to join, even if they support the cause.

Sort of reminds me of federal politics. 35 million Canadians, and this is all we can muster up to lead us?

Posted by: dp | 2008-04-21 5:24:18 PM

I have the perfect solution, albeit one openly plagarized from the episode "Die Hippie Die" from South Park.

Cartman: All right, everyone listen up! The hippie jam band festival is now fourteen miles in diameter and five hundred thousand hippies thick.

Randy: [closes his eyes] My God...

Cartman: In less than three days, all of South Park will be completely consumed. My only hope is to fight our way to the center of the crowd, and reach the heart, here. [points to the stage] If we can reach the stage, we can upload this Slayer CD into their music system. [shows off a CD-R of Slayer music] Hippies can't stand death metal. If everything works, they should disperse just before they consume us all.

Jimbo: Nice plan, kid, except there's one giant flaw. That hippie crowd is massive! How the hell are we supposed to get through it and reach the stage?

Cartman: We drill. [flips the page and a blueprint appears.] I've designed a vehicle that can bore its way through even the densest hippie crowd. They pilots inside will be safe from the pot smoke and the crappy music outside.

Steven: Yuh... actually suggesting that somebody drives right into the heart of that mob?? It's a suicide mission!

Cartman: Not just somebody. I need a complete team to operate this vehicle. Along with me I'm gonna need a scientest, an engineer, and of course, a black person who can sacrifice himself in case something goes wrong.

Randy: I'm the... only scientist in town.

Linda: I'm your engineer.

Steven: Honey, no!

Linda: I have to do it, Steven.

Cartman: All right, then we just need a black person who can sacrifice himself in case something goes wrong. [he looks around, panning by Chef once] Lessee, anyone would do, anyone who meets the qualifications, let's see... [his gaze passes Chef again] Oh, I know. How about- [his gaze falls upon Chef and stays there]

Chef: Yeah, yeah! I get it! Fine!

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-04-21 9:39:18 PM

Since 4/20 is the day of Columbine and Hitler's birthday, I can see no better reason to observe this day than by getting high.

I don't smoke cannabis myself, but on a day like this, I might make an exception next year.

Posted by: Titus | 2008-04-23 4:29:01 PM

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