From a Libertarian point of view, this is not an issue at all, for one might just as well declare, "Go ahead, legalize everything! At least if we do that we can get rid of all of the seedy underbelly, and then tax the hell out of it. And besides, who wants a nanny state anyway?" Well, I can certainly agree with the latter sentiment! All the same, unless we prefer complete anarchy, the purpose of having laws in the first place is to safeguard virtue and protect the common good (which is necessary for any healthy society). Freedom is wonderful, but if freedom simply amounts to license to do whatever you want, then you will not have liberty for long. Consequently, certain (limited) social restraints are necessary in order to promote the common good and to discourage social rot. This does not mean that I think it is worthwhile to track down people who smoke pot, or to treat pot heads like a bunch of crack dealers, but I do think it makes good sense not to enshrine "pot cookies" as something worthy of the average citizen.
|The connection made here between gaming and pot smoking really does make sense|
1. Captain Jack - Billy Joel (The Argument From Arrested Development)
2. Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground (The Argument From Apathy)
3. Brain Damage - Pink Floyd (The Argument from "Brain Damage")
4. Ripple - The Grateful Dead (The Argument From the Type of Culture it Engenders)
And so you come away feeling like you actually made it to a higher ground, but you didn't. It is a placebo, or the blue pill of Morpheus, allowing you to passively stare at existence, all while convincing yourself that you are virtuous simply because you did so in a pleasant state of mind. That is the very definition of what it means to be virtuous from a stoner's point of view (or a Taoist's); "Ripple on still water. When there is no pebble tossed, no wind to blow." Indeed, "what a long strange trip its been," especially when you've never even left your couch. All of these disciples of the "Fat Man", are not some group of revolutionary neo-Franciscan hippies witnessing to a higher love. They are an entire race of pot-zombies, treating their lives as if it were a lab experiment, believing that because they feel good, they are good. When evaluating the worthiness of endeavor, how can you not evaluate the subsequent culture that attends it? Does the culture that surrounds it not say something about the drug itself? Yes, it is true that very few of these individuals actually commit heinous crimes (intentionally), but this would be true of anyone who happened to be under heavy sedation. Docility and meekness are wonderful things, but I am not so sure about the kind that results from being a burn-out, or the kind that stems from losing any clear sense of purpose or direction in life.
5. Sleepyhouse - Blind Melon (The Argument From Self-Medicating)
One of my favorite bands from high school was Blind Melon. Sleepyhouse was the first song I ever heard from them (long before "No Rain" was out), and soon afterwards I bought their album. From start to finish it is still one of my favorite albums. Anyhow, the title of the song comes from the fact that the band wrote the album in a "sleepy" little neighborhood home in Durham, NC; "No time frame for what I need to do today, here at the yellow house. I think that I'm gonna play with some free livin' lads down the street aways away." As is often the case with musicians, unless they are very disciplined, there is a certain lack of structure to their work day. "OK, so we have to write some songs for this album, but there is certainly no '9 to 5' time frame to it. After all, you can't force art..." This may be one of the reasons artists tend to experience so much melancholia, for as human beings we are made for "time frames", and so it is understandable then that a lack of one might provoke a feeling of aimlessness. However, what Mr. Hoon cites as his reason for "getting high" has nothing to do with combatting artistic melancholia, rather what he seeks to do (via the medium of drugs) is to return to a more innocent time in his life; "And in my head I sometimes pray... I'll be feeling fine, as I was as little child. And I'm feeling better when I'm high…" Yes, whatever convoluted reasons people cite in their effort to legalize recreational marijuana, the motivation is probably much simpler than all that. We want heaven on the cheap. Feeling emotional and psychological pain is unpleasant, feeling good is nice. The end. Or as Ryan Adams once put it; "When you're young you get sad, and then you get high". When everything in your world seems to be falling apart, it is more than a little tempting to go down a self-medicating route, not only with something like alcohol, but also with something a little stronger and mind altering, something that might help to permanently (and more effortlessly) numb the pain. It is true that marijuana is not physically addictive in the same way that something like cocaine is. Yet what is fundamentally addictive is the prospect of feeling high on a permanent basis, particularly when a good portion of your life is spent feeling low. For this reason, it is dangerous to smoke pot even once, for if you successfully find a way to become "comfortably numb", as it were, why would you not want to return to that place ceaselessly?
To be continued...