The USA, “land of the free,” incarcerates a spectacularly high number of its citizens. This is, in great part, a result of the never-ending always-losing American War on Drugs. At link below, Dave Safier of the Explorer News says it’s time to rethink absolutist policies that can never win. It’s always a good time to reverse mistakes. Mister Safier thinks folks, including legislators, may finally be ready to listen and act on ideas directed toward sane drug policies. We hope this is true, but have to say, the movement toward making the mere smoking of a cigarette into a crime suggests that fanatical Puritanism is by no means waning. That applies to the USA and most of the world today as well.
Of course, in consequence of the synaptic dysfunction of contemporary society, the possibility exists that potent intoxicants may become legal at the same time that possession of tobacco becomes a crime. The psychotic situation that now exists in Holland’s famous marijuana cafés is an early symptom of such madness. You can smoke dope, but not tobacco, in these oh-so progressive cafés. You are supposed to reason that the smoke from marijuana leaves is benign but that from tobacco leaves will kill everyone in the room: as ridiculous as thinking the odor of a roasting beef sirloin was innocuous while that of roasting tenderloin was equivalent to a mustard gas attack.
There are always idiots who reason along such lines. They call themselves "we." They blame "them." For instance, Jews were periodically burned alive during outbreaks of the black plague, when it was reasoned that the scourge was never spread by "we" the Gentiles, but only and insidiously by "them." More recently, the Nazis blamed the Jews for positively everything, very "scientifically" by the way, being so fair as to give persons with just one Jewish grandparent status as being unfit for becoming lampshade material, though also unfit to own farmland. Contemporary antitobacco, however, is not so liberal. Though it’s customary in Holland to cut one’s joints, half grass and half tobacco, no single shred of tobacco may be used in joints burned at those enlightened cafés.
The tobacco madness surpasses all others today but the War on Drugs is madness too. The ebb and flow of reason and tolerance can be strangely unpredictable. Sanity must always be encouraged in all spheres and bad laws must always be fought against. In his 1849 essay “Resistance to Civil Government”, Henry David Thoreau told us, “That government is best which governs least”. Since then the USA has gone through alcohol Prohibition without learning much. In the all and all, today’s regulation and “political correctness,” in the USA and elsewhere, recall conditions in China under Mao Tse Tung. Dave Safier is right to encourage thinking. Lots of bad laws have to change. Lots of folks are fed up to the teeth with institutionalized madness. There had better be a better day coming. We all have to fight to make it come.