If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Monday 19 November 2012
Read gnomica 1-150 here!
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Any change is resisted because bureaucrats
have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.
Richard M. Nixon (9 Jan 1913 – 22 Apr 1994)
Whatever one may think of the man’s presidency (and on my view it was not – in the calmer light of distancing history — half as bad as it was made out to be at the time), this statement opens up a lot of areas for discussion. But let’s begin by reminding ourselves how ancient the idea is that, for all that, change is a terminal condition, always has been, always will be.
Where to start?
So many paths to go, so little time to explore!
Let’s see … how about a change in the grass laws? [For the record, I do not and never ever have even ‘not inhaled’ – of course, high-ranking pols we all know the illustrious names of have by their own admission done much worse than just ‘not inhaled’.] One source from 2007 suggests that something like 45,000 people are in jail or prison on m.j. charges, costing society a billion dollars a year. As with many issues, there are pros and cons with this one too. I do ask myself, however, when was the last time I read about somebody high on jane being involved in a fatal traffic accident? And ditto for alcohol. Admittedly, my answers to myself are not much more than anecdotal, and they suggest that the once very illegal drug alcohol is today far more salient in this connection than marijuana. I’ve been around people who are drunk and I’ve been around people who are stoked, and the latter group (within my limited experience) in their silly idiocy lacks the often aggressive bluster and general belligerence of the former. Hence I have little difficulty believing that at least in the case of fatal traffic accidents booze is something society should be wary of, not grass – yet, what are the big ads shilling for in the latest glossies?
Having apparently learned nothing from earlier America’s disastrous flirtation with (alcohol) prohibition [1920-1933], the country now has these draconian laws about marijuana prohibition and its enforcement … and the consequent escalation of violent criminality associated with making the proscribed substance available to everybody who wants it appears, not surprisingly, to be following a trajectory very similar – if not even more intensely so – to that experienced with alcohol prohibition in the twenties.
Even if ‘morality’ were the ostensible driving force behind this criminalization, I find it absurd (as, apparently, is more and more becoming the case). But ‘morality’ is hardly the issue, in my view.
OK, since this is America, cherchez l’argent!
The substance in and of itself is HUGELY profitable – and even more so, I would guess, because of its current illegality. And imprisoning the cannabis world of dealers and users is HUGE business (I mean, why else would people risk prison and very violent competition if grass were not profitable?), and as long as the execrable government policy of outsourcing the imprisonment industry to private enterprise … well … let’s face it, empty prisons simply aren’t profitable. What if instead of pouring money down an incarceration hole society just taxed the stuff, as it does with other ‘harmful’ substances like alcohol and Hershey bars that people insist on wanting?
My not unreasonable concern here is that the criminalization of the sale of large sodas “for your own good” in New York City may be just the beginning of more Prohibitions. It may just open the flood gates of American crime and close even more gates behind a ballooning population of addicted dealers and users enslaved to the illegal products provided by the hyper-violent accommodations of the Mexican ‘sugar cartels’.
Finally, to trope Nixon’s opener above, it’s not so much the bureaucrats we should charge with protecting vested interests as all the profiteers up and down the line who want the stuff kept illegal for financial reasons – I believe!
Invest in prison stock now!