Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hypocrisy of the Highest Order

So Michael Phelps was caught on camera filling his super lungs with illegal smoke. And panties all over the two hemispheres bunched in unison. I actually feel sorry for whoever's stash he is hitting. With those lungs, I am sure he could suck down a dime bag in one or two pulls.

Another sports icon shows his humanity. Another "kid" proves his willingness to live in the moment without regard to anything other than that moment. Many of the mostly useless sportswriters out there now have some grist for their gristmill. Sponsors all over the place who cave to the one nasty email they might get are shuffling around nervous over the potential heat that one emailing customer might bring to bear. Holier than thou types are shocked. Politicians eye the situation as a great self promoting scheme and will possibly demand action in amateur sports to keep this type of loser from setting all the wrong examples. They will form committees, issue subpoenas and gladly get on their high horses. Pot smokers will sit back and chuckle. Many I am sure are glad it was not their stash he was hitting.

Who do we think we are fooling? Just what planet are we on when we think that drugs in general and certainly pot use is going to go away by deeming it's use and possession a criminal act. We have established a set of rules that by their very nature make any law against any substance hypocrisy of the highest order. And I mean that literally, figuratively, and metaphorically.

As long as alcohol and tobacco remain legal, then any law restricting the use of any other drug fails to have any idealistic, moral, or ethical beef. Some are okay, but some are not? More people die from alcohol and tobacco use than all the other drugs combined. The difference between the numbers affected is astounding. According to this site at least 100,000 deaths a year in this country are alcohol related. According to this other site, the rate in 2000 is lower at 85,000. But that site also notes that tobacco killed 435,000 people that year. Drugs other than pot killed 17,000. And Pot was blamed for ......wait a minute.......drum roll please............No deaths whatsoever. None, Zilch. Nada.

Of course we do not know the true long term effects of long term pot smoking. The Baby Boomers who have never quit and are still alive tend to not advertise their guilty pleasure to anyone but a select few. I read one piece that doctors would love to do definitive studies, but they are not coming up with many pot smokers who will admit to more than, "Oh I smoked years ago and now I don't" or "I'll hit a joint at a party now and then, but I don't smoke anymore as a rule." Of course anyone who pays any attention knows this is bullshit. Pot is one of the World's largest cash crops. Someone, no, a lot of someones have to be smoking it. Either that or there are a lot of collectors out there.

The simple reason in my opinion that illegal drugs are kept illegal is money. Too many people and organizations depend on that illegality to make the money they make or to justify their existence in the first place. The drug cartels would hate to see legalized drugs. The banks would hate to see legalized drugs. And at least one federal agency would cease to have a reason to be if drugs were de-criminalized. It's a racket first. Concerns over the the public's well being running a distant second or third.

This obvious hypocrisy in our laws also helps to nurture and feed the tendency of Americans to be scofflaws. We are not stupid. Many Americans have decided that for the most part, most laws are only there to be broken. With this kind of attitude it is no wonder we find it has saturated every part of our culture. Nobody respects laws if they sense selective punishment. "It's the Law" does not have the impact it should. In order for a law to work, the population needs to agree to it or the state needs to build lots of prisons or start offing people who disobey that law. The cost of enforcing the law becomes an issue then. In terms of money and in terms of lives ruined. Is the law there for our protection or is it there as a form of population control?

The Drug War is a farce. If the authorities were really serious about trying to legislate our behaviour for our own good, then all substances deemed unhealthy would be banned. That a select group has been chosen to pillory indicates that our well being is the furthest thing from their minds.
(803 / 2289)



Randal Graves said...

As the young people say, word.

When they ban mercury and various other streams of toxic runoff, then get all puritan about marijuana. Of course, we'll still laugh at you.

Legalize this, decriminalize everything else, and treat it as a health issue, not a crime. Yeah, some people might OD on heroin. Guess what? Thousands die in car wrecks. Sheesh. If there's a civilization where drug use didn't exist, I haven't heard of it.

BBC said...

I've tried pot a few times and just didn't get it. Besides, these days it's expensive, I'll stick to my light beer.

I just need to find a supplier of small but power pumps I could attach the drive to.

Get a Grainger's catalog, or go to their website. I think you will want a positive displacement pump.

I would just scrounge things up around here and make one. Pumps and compressors (low pressure ones) are not hard to make.

I have a vane pump here out of a hot tub, the electric motor is bad, but I think it could be mounted on a bike.

Yeah, I think that a bike mechanic could figure out how to make his own on scrounged parts. At least make one very cheap.

Any idiot should be able to make one, I'm living proof of that.

Trukindog said...

All I can say to this post is...BROTHER YOU SAID IT !

MRMacrum said...

Randal - Freedom, true freedom is about being able to choose freely. That we have decided to limit our choices by law in my mind detracts and negates the noble notion that we are the land of the Free and the Brave. Freedom is a double edged sword. We should have the right to make poor choices as well as good ones. We will anyway. The freedom to be stupid cannot ever be legislated away. Only punished.

BBC - Now see. You tried it and found it didn't do it for you. Smart man. The law did not have any affect on your choice did it?

And thanks for the mind goose on the pump. I may just look into an old washing machine pump. I know where I can get a couple.

Trukindog - Well howdy. Thanks. It all seems so obvious to me. But then well, I don't wear a suit and wing tips.

Demeur said...

OMG they discovered Phelps is a member of the human race. How shocking.

As for drugs nearly everybody in this country is on some kind of drugs legal or otherwise. I say as long as you don't get behind the wheel of a car what you do is your business. They should include/make using a cell phone while driving illegal. They're worse than drinking or drugs while driving.

Anonymous said...

I saw you at Trukindog's place and stalked you over... You have a nice site and your posts are very well thought out.

I'm actually fatally allergic to weed and I can't be near it in any shape or form so I don't want it on the streets because it IS incredibly dangerous for me but who am I to say what people do in their homes?

Utah Savage said...

I'm so glad you're blogging about this. This is an issue near and dear to my old adolescent heart. Like Randal said, word.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Crum, what is the world coming to? I agree with everything you've written in this post. :-D

You hit the nail on the head in your comment to Randal: "Freedom, true freedom is about being able to choose freely. That we have decided to limit our choices by law in my mind detracts and negates the noble notion that we are the land of the Free and the Brave. Freedom is a double edged sword. We should have the right to make poor choices as well as good ones."

Amen to that.

A number of years ago, I was at an informal gathering of political types and the topic of conversation turned to a Canadian government report on the topic of marijuana. The report from the Senate's Special Committee on Illegal Drugs recommended that Canada regulate the sale of marijuana and wipe clean the slate of those convicted of pot possession. (Trafficking would still be prosecuted.)

We went around the room, and each of us offered our thoughts. I hadn't thought much, if anything, about the issue. I listened to the views being offered by the others, one of whom was a police officer, another of whom was a Crown prosecuter (Cdn equivalent of an Assistant District Attorney). Almost everyone in the room was in favour of the legalization of drugs on libertarian grounds, and the cop and the prosecutor were especially in favour of it, citing the enormous amount of time spent (wasted, in their opinion) by the criminal justice system on drug offenders who were overwhelmingly of no harm to anyone but possibly themselves. When my turn came, I scrapped my previous prejudices against decriminalization and stated that I had neither read the Senate's report nor had thought much about the issue, but that the opinions of the people in the room - many of whom I knew and respected - had got me thinking.

Since then, I've taken a job that has put me much closer in touch with "street" issues, like drug use and addictions. And even though I have seen people near death from drug addictions, I cannot in good conscience state that the illegality of their drugs of choice had any bearing on their behaviour. Nor do I believe making their possession legal would increase their overall use. I used to think that, but I don't anymore. I personally avoided drugs because I knew they could be harmful to my health, and I believe the same can be said of most people.

If you think about it, the illegality of drugs may actually prevent a person from seeking help when fighting an addiction. The addict may be under the control of a dangerous and unscrupulous drug dealer, and may fear the consequences of both the police AND the criminal underworld if they seek assistance.

The folks I know who have beaten addiction problems did so without the help of any laws. They succeeded because they had enough self-respect to want to change their lives. Those that have failed at it lack the self-respect needed to ask for help or take the right steps - not because the laws aren't tough enough.

Great post, Your Crummitude.

MRMacrum said...

Demeur - I don't know why, but every time I type your name I have to come back and straighten it out. Anyway to me the law should be concerned with things it can actually control. Not wasting time, money and manpower stupidly trying to keep us from the personal choices we want. Pre-emptive measures always seem to run counter to the idea of real freedom. Freedom should not necessarily be safe.

jGirl - An aspect of this I never considered. As always, there is generally a point of view not considered when coming to a conclusion. Thanks.

Utah Savage - Yeah I figured you would like this one. You old pothead you. AN interesting op ed by a doctor on the US News site indicated that pot adds to the effects of depression in teens. Since their brains are naturally all mixed up, maybe she is right. But from having my own experience with depression back in the day when I smoked pot, when I was depressed I would not smoke pot. Once I took a toke, that usually meant I was snapping out of it. Odd.

El Cerdo Ignatius - You are hands down the most interesting conservative I know. Maybe it's that laid back Canadian thing. But I really think that you are not so dug into your mindsets that you shut the door on listening and giving everyone their fair shot at making their case. I really really admire that.

Addictive personalities will not let a law stand in the way of what they want. I know. I have one. The Drug War is a failure. No way around it. No way to gussey it up. It flat out is not working.

Snave said...

Wow, guess what got me interested in drugs in 1971 when I was an 8th grader... It was an anti-drug assembly where they handed out all kinds of information about what all the drugs did! It was like a menu for the curious. Hmmm... non-addictive, creates sense of euphoria... whoa, that sounds pretty good! Think I'll go out and get me some!

I think it's like all the abstinence-only sex "education" stuff. Kids are going to have sex anyway, and probably more so if some puritanical adult is telling them they shouldn't do it. If what they want is fewer teen pregnancies, they need to leave the puritanism out of it and teach kids to have sex responsibly. But this is about drugs... Heh!

I think the same goes with pot. I rarely run into someone my age who still smokes it, but I also rarely run into someone my age who hasn't smoked it at least a few times. Curiousity seems to be what started people trying it in the first place. Something mysterious, something taboo, something people who have tried it tend to rave about...

I may be pretty far to the left politically, and I tend to think that the U.S. government should guarantee all Americans the right to food, shelter, medical care, dignified retirment years, and probably secure jobs as well... but when it comes to the government protecting us from ourselves, I simply get sick and tired of it sometimes. Come on... what people put into their bodies, just like what they do in their bedrooms, should be their own business.

This is an excellent rant, Mac.

I'll comment more on it in your more recent post!

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Thanks, Crum. Actually, you might be surprised by the amount of overlap between conservative and libertarian political thought.

And I'm not laid back because I'm Canadian. It's actually from all the pot smoking.

All right, I'm just kidding about that.