The drug war: it’s not about drugs

On this blog we often talk about how people cannot think from cause to effect, but are only able to compare effects and like mute fetuses, wave their tiny little hands and shout while their obese bodies jiggle in outrage.

This is why politicians ignore and manipulate you, average citizen: you don’t understand how government works, like you don’t understand even the basics of how your car or computer work, like how you couldn’t successfully run a farm, or even excise an infected appendix. So you get the Saturday morning cartoon version because if they told you the truth, you’d be sure they were wrong.

Republicans, as the party closest to “this is how it works, son” are at a disadvantage because they try to explain more of the truth. “We need a source of income to pay for that or we devalue our currency” can never compete with a Democrat saying “and it’s all free!”

Democrats and some silly Libertarians, Republicans and other armchair make-work do-nothings are warming up their bloviation over legalizing drugs. I’m all for legalizing drugs — in California. The governmental framework to do that lasted from 1776-1789, and later in the South from 1861-1865. That would enable states to define their attitude toward drugs (and other issues) apart from federal law.

If we let California legalize drugs, as they have already de facto done, we get to watch the results. Luckily for California, the internet, defense and media industries produce so much cash that they can carry a huge load of parasites, slackers, fools, etc. The real cost comes in thirty years when these people start retiring or being hospitalized for having lived in oblivion.

From my personal experience, drugs and alcohol are generally bad news. Some people use them casually, but that generally doesn’t last. Soon it becomes part of the lifestyle, and whether you’re the good liberals buying three bottles of wine a week, or the hardcore stoner with ten varieties of Kush, you get a hazy view of life. You conveniently forget or leave out things. You glide over the troublesome stuff you should focus on, and focus instead on pleasant visions. Life imitates drugs.

This is why California is the “we’ll fix it in post-production” state, an overhyped arcology which sells itself hard and then fails to deliver on the details, leaving problems for the next generation like the eddies around the heaving stroke of a powerful swimmer. When California passes, all you see is turbulent water, but while it was passing, you saw a vision worthy of an adventure film. The stoned state is the illusion state.

But in the meantime, they want us all to legalize drugs, so if the experiment goes wrong, at least we all go down together:

According to a report released Friday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the N.A.A.C.P. and led by Prof. Harry Levine, a sociologist at the City University of New York: “In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half-a-million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially men.”

For instance, the report says that the City of Los Angeles “arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.”

This imbalance is not specific to California; it exists across the country.

One could justify this on some level if, in fact, young blacks and Hispanics were using marijuana more than young whites, but that isn’t the case. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young white people consistently report higher marijuana use than blacks or Hispanics. – NYT

I can only handle so many bad logical statements at a time. First, surveys do not compare to real world data. People exaggerate on surveys to impress others or hide dangerous truths. Those who are trying to climb socially probably answer more conservatively than the entitled. At least, I would.

But the main point here is this: Democrats, who see the world as a flat logical construct made up of effects without causes, assume the drug war is about drugs.

Here’s the grim reality: it’s not. It’s about:

  • Morality. People who like to get intoxicated hate life. If your life requires the boost of grape or herb, you’re missing something that you should be getting from a sense of fulfillment in life. You don’t have that, so instead you warp your brain temporarily so you get the good feeling without having achieved the tangible real-world results that give you an honest good feelings. Yes, I know I sound 85 and embittered, but from my experience of watching my generation fuck up on drugs — mostly genteel wine-drinking and pinkie-lifted joint smoking — this is my conclusion.
  • Criminality. The people who can least resist their desires for sex, intoxication and food are those who are most prone to be criminal. Think about this for a moment: criminality is a shortcut to income or having nice things. Drugs, casual sex and insane appetites are a shortcut to feeling good without having much to feel good about. People who don’t have much to feel good about are the ones most likely to roll the dice on crime, and to work in low-income jobs for impulsive people lacking self-control. There’s a causal relationship here: they’re in these jobs because they lack desire/impulse control, and they also commit crimes for the same reason. They take drugs for the same reason too, which is why police departments love to keep drugs illegal. The guy you bust for drugs is more likely to be involved in other criminal activity than a sober one. It gives you a great excuse to bust him, put his fingerprints on file, and keep track of his ass. Same way busting women for prostitution or public lewdness puts them in the file. They can’t admit this in public of course.
  • Secondary costs. The vast majority of people on drugs screw up even their simple jobs. Why: they are on drugs. They’re either up and not paying much attention (who could, with these flying gnomes yelling at me in Japanese) or they’re down and enervated, dragging until they can find another spike. When they drive, this is a problem. They sometimes accidentally throw out functioning objects. They make questionable life decisions, and leave messes behind for others to clean up. Just like winos love to shit on the floor, drug users leave a trail of wreckage strewn behind them because they are by definition schizoid, or divided between drug-reality and sad-cold-hard-reality, and neurotic, in that they end up introspective without any outside referents. Imagine someone afflicted at random by temporary insanity. A wrecking ball for everything around them? Yes. So jail them.

You will not see these reasons in the mainstream media because they are highly offensive. They point us toward our morality: we are not the creators of ourselves, and in fact, we can easily not be in control and become complete disasters. We may need to be protected from some things because the vast majority of us will screw them up.

Sure, there are some people who seem to handle drugs just fine. Hunter S. Thompson and William S. Burroughs come to mind. It makes sense to me that such people just be given access to drugs. Then again, Thompson shot himself in depression and Burroughs fought most of his life to stay off junk, so maybe my examples are poor.

For people who are not high intensity writers like Thompson and Burroughs, namely the 99.999% rest-of-us, drugs are probably a bad idea. This truth is offensive. Doubly offensive is the truth that we bust people for drugs because drug user correlates with other activities that are destructive. Even more offensive is that we consider anything you do with “your body” to have consequences outside of that body. Yet all of the above is true and if you think about it a little while, you’ll see why.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hunter S Thompson didn’t shoot himself because he was depressed. He had ALWAYS planned to kill himself at 50. He held up on it because of family life, but one day he noticed he was becoming a bitter angry old man. You’re talking out of your ass. Stop with the sweeping generalizations such as “Drug users hate life.” Do hang gliders hate life? I’m sure some do, some just do it because they enjoy it.

  2. AllTooHuman says:

    I love it. I have always argued about the stupidity of drug legalization and now I have a great article to link about it.

  3. Lydia says:

    I just had a very interesting visitor from Zimbabwe, now a citizen of South Africa. I have written about it here

  4. Shehzad says:

    Enormous generalizations aside, which this post has plenty of, I fail to see the point of all of this. Is the argument about drug use and its potentially harmful effects, or is it about the legalization of some forms of drug use?

    Firstly, you do somewhat overstate the negative effects of drugs, because in my experience, a much larger proportion of people than you claim are able to handle relatively soft drugs very well, and many of them give up recreational drug use after a few years of doing pot. Many of them also do not develop behaviors that produce significant secondary costs on society. Personal problems yes, but not everyone has personal issues that have spillover effects. If the secondary costs of drug use are a lot less than what is argued here, the call for drugs to remain illegal should be accompanied by legal penalties on the consumption of fast food. Still, the evils of drug use are pretty firmly established, and are acknowledged by more people than not, in my opinion, and contrary to this post, and I will not defend those who argue that drugs do not cause harm to the human body.

    All of this, however, has nothing to do with the legalization of certain recreational drugs, unless one can establish a positive correlation between the removal of legal barriers to drug use and the actual rate of drug use. If you cannot establish that the legalization of drug use will actually significantly increase the rate of drug use, then legalization still makes sense, especially in economic terms, regardless of the harmful effects of drug use. The argument about Criminality is the only convincing one as far as legalization is concerned, in my opinion.

  5. Daniel Schwarzberger says:

    “..we are not the creators of ourselves…” Do we not create our own realities through the choices we make from moment to moment? Drug use is certainly a means of “escaping” reality and consequently puts your life on pause. Just like a movie or any other activity which keeps us from the business of self-actualisation. Sure drug use might give you some insight into your life, but eventually you have to act on it. I would like to quote the writers of South Park here: “The problem with drugs is people forget to stop using them.” The real lesson is to take what you’ve learned from all your experiences and take action or else ten years will get behind you and the person who didn’t tell you to run will be you!

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