Supporting the decriminalization of pot does not mean supporting its recreational consumption.
Monday, February 17, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com
(NaturalNews) Supporting the decriminalization of pot does not mean supporting its recreational consumption. Let's be honest about pot's effects on people who smoke it regularly: first it makes them dull, then apathetic, and finally stupid. With enough repeated use, recreational pot use turns intelligent, productive people into unmotivated stoners.
That doesn't mean it should be illegal, however. And that's the point of this article: I am wholehearted in support of marijuana decriminalization, yet at the same time I strongly encourage people to avoid smoking it. That's the difference between me and a police state government, by the way: I believe in your right to choose what you wish to do with your body, while the police state government would far prefer to shove a gun in your face, slap a pair of handcuffs on your wrists and throw you into the prison system which is little more than a modern-day slave labor camp that benefits corporate interests under the guise of fighting the "war on drugs."
What should a free society really look like?There's no question that pot possession should be completely decriminalized in a free society where individual choices are respected. At the same time, anyone who agrees with that philosophy must simultaneously agree that the selling of safely-produced raw milk from farms to consumers must also be embraced as perfectly legal.
While we're on the subject of milk, the sales of human-produced liquid substances must also be considered legal, too, including the sale of human breast milk and even human sperm. Yet all of these have been repeatedly and aggressively attacked by federal regulators. We have now entered a strange era of twisted federal law where it's easy to buy a joint in Colorado but selling raw milk can get you raided at gunpoint (like happened with Rawesome Foods in California).
Continuing down the path of libertarian thinking, a society that truly respects the free choices of individuals would, by definition, have to also embrace the legality of personal behaviors like prostitution, gambling and gay marriage. All of these involve individuals making their own private choices, even if somebody else doesn't agree with the substance of those choices.
As a practical example, consider the fact that I am opposed to the recreational use of marijuana. I'm also opposed to casinos and prostitution rings. I think they're bad for society, but what right do I have to tell people they can't enter into voluntary agreements with other consenting parties? By extension, if an individual has no right to tell other individuals how to live their lives, then no government should have that right either.
In a truly free society, in other words, no government would have any philosophical basis from which to restrict people from buying and drinking alcohol, buying and smoking pot, paying other consenting adults for sex, marrying people of the same sex, or even attempting their own suicide as long as no one else is harmed in the process.
Most people hold striking contradictions in their beliefsYet in society today, most people carry absurd contradictions in their heads about such topics. On the political left, the "pro choice" people are anti choice when it comes to a law-abiding citizen carrying a concealed firearm for self defense, for example. On the political right, the "pro freedom" people are anti freedom when it comes to gay marriage. They say, "Get the government out of our lives" but then they are very selective about the areas in which they want that principle to apply.
If you are going to be an honest, ethical, responsible adult, your beliefs must be applied with consistency. Either you believe in individual liberty in all areas or you don't believe in it at all. You can't pick and choose in which areas you want to support freedom while condoning oppression or tyranny in other areas just because you disagree with certain groups of people.
Getting back to pot, then, you might wonder whether ALL drugs should be legalized in a truly free society. Should decriminalization also be applied to meth, crack and heroin?
The philosophical basis for keeping hard drugs illegalWithout question, shake-and-bake drugs like meth are destroying rural America with frightening speed. Nearly everyone with a still-functioning mind agrees that meth, crack and heroin should be illegal. But have they ever considered WHY this is the case even if we support marijuana decriminalization?
The answer is found in the definition of individual liberty: You are free to do whatever you want as long as it does not harm someone else. Individual pot consumption cannot easily be linked to any direct harm to another person not involved. People who smoke lots and lots of pot, after all, are not violent, angry people. They tend to be lazy pathetic stoners who mind their own business and present no real threat to society; especially if they are purchasing pot legally through state-regulated dispensaries (and therefore not funding drug gangs).
But meth users are in a different category. Meth users become violent very quickly after becoming regular users. They routinely engage in criminal acts such as breaking and entering and property theft. Because this pattern is so consistent, meth can never be consumed on a purely private basis. A person who takes meth today in his own private basement will sooner or later be out on the streets stealing cars, stereos or jewelry from innocent people in order to fund his insatiable meth habit. Meth makes people as crazy in the way those old marijuana propaganda videos depicted pot users. But those propaganda films ("Reefer Madness") were lies, of course. Pot never made the masses crazy. But meth truly does.
So even in a "free" society that respects individual liberty, it is still ethically consistent to criminalize certain substances which exhibit a near-complete takeover of the human mind and result in a pattern of violent behavior that threatens the safety and livelihoods of others. That's why the DEA isn't going away anytime soon. Even with pot legalized everywhere, the DEA still has plenty of meth labs to shut down. And that's a full-time job, considering how easy it is to cook meth in an RV as depicted in the popular TV series "Breaking Bad."
Question philosophical arguments for or against gay marriage for the same reasonsContinuing our discussion of consistent philosophies when it comes to what society legalizes vs. criminalizes, consider the issue of gay marriage. Many people on the political right argue that gay marriage should be illegal because, they say, "gayness" harms society by eroding the typical family structure that holds America together. Regardless of your or my personal position on this particular issue, that argument is very, very difficult to support with any consistent philosophical underpinnings, especially given that nearly all Christian families feed their own children cancer-causing junk foods and deadly chemicals in processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and sausage.
Have you looked at the obesity problem in any given church recently? Most of these people clearly need to get their own houses in order with health and nutrition before they spend time trying to tell other people how to live. I'm just guessing on this point, but if God is opposed to gay marriage, he's probably also opposed to parents poisoning their children with aspartame. But how many mainstream churches serve Diet Pepsi as part of the lunch menu? It seems inconsistent to point the finger at a lesbian couple and call them "sinners" when you are quite literally feeding your own children cancer-causing dietary poisons on a daily basis.
This example, in fact, points out something very important in all this. Many of the laws in society really come down to one group of people in society trying to tell some other group of people how they should live their own private lives. In some extreme cases, this seems justifiable based on principles of human dignity. For example, laws against the sexual abuse of children are generally accepted as a justifiable intervention of the state into the personal behavior of adults. No one would argue that adults should have the "liberty" to sexually abuse children just because it's their choice.
But that example clearly involves a victim. What about cases where there is no victim? If two men or two women choose to live together, have sex together, and even -- gasp! -- share a bank account together, then there is no victim. And so the state has no moral foundation from which to intervene, regardless of whether the majority of the population agrees or disagrees with this private, victimless, personal behavior choice. For the record, my position on gay marriage is consistently pro liberty; and when I speak of liberty, it encompasses liberty for all, including people of all genders and sexual orientations, even if I don't share their particular persuasions.
Principles of beliefBy now, the more astute readers of Natural News already realize this article isn't about marijuana legalization, or drugs, or prostitution or any such topic. It's about consistency of belief.
The minute someone says to you, "I don't believe X should be legal" -- regardless of what "X" really is -- you should turn around and ask, "Based on what underlying principle?"
For example if someone says, "I don't believe murder should be legal," then the underlying principle might be something along the lines of, "Because in a society that functions with any degree of personal safety and freedom from fear, no individual should be free to harm another person except in self defense."
That explains the underlying principle.
Many people have very firm beliefs -- on the surface -- about what they think is good or bad or socially acceptable, but most people have never considered WHY they hold those beliefs. Nor have they ever intelligently questioned them.
Only the most intelligent people ever take inventory of their own beliefs (and, by definition, distortions). For one, the process takes real courage. What if you come to discover that some of your beliefs have no legitimate basis at all? Then you might have to change those beliefs, and that's scary!
Or what if your new beliefs turn out to exist in contradiction to those held by your circle of friends? It's very difficult to interact with zealots of any kind, and "zealots" is a term properly ascribed to people who hold firm beliefs that lack any philosophical underpinnings.
Most beliefs are shaped by social pressureIt's important to understand that most beliefs are shaped by social pressure, not by a personal examination of philosophy and ethics. Most of your own beliefs, in other words, were handed to you by someone else, and you chose to believe them because it was consistent with the social influences you experienced at the time.
Technically, nearly all common beliefs are delusions because they cannot be traced back to real evidence observed firsthand. They are, in essence, "mental viruses" which have been repeated and replicated from person to person, attaining the critical mass necessary to be considered "fact" within that particular social circle. Most Obama supporters, for example, have never even met Obama. The entirety of their beliefs about the man have been acquired through indirect sources which are inherently less reliable.
As another great example of this, consider the issue of vaccines and neurological damage. Within the peer groups of scientists and conventional medicine advocates, vaccines are always and forever perfectly safe, with absolutely zero risk even though they still contain mercury, formaldehyde and MSG -- all three potent neurotoxins. The belief that "all vaccines are perfectly safe" is a delusion based on social memes, not a scientific conclusion based on reason and evidence.
You can also find similar delusions on the other side of the coin. I've known some raw food followers who have taken their belief in raw foods to a cult-like extreme, practically worshipping raw food innovators as if they were gods. This, too, is based on sheer delusion, just like the vaccine-pushing doctors above.
What keeps these delusions in place? Social pressure, of course. The vaccine-pushing doctors KNOW vaccines are perfectly safe because that's what is repeated again and again around their social group. Similarly, the raw food cultists also KNOW that raw foods are the answer to everything because that's what their circle of friends keeps repeating, too.
As another example on this, I've also found that some "fringe conspiracy people" create their own false delusions by repeating their paranoia back and forth among themselves until they convince themselves it is real. A particularly great example of this was the 12/12/2012 "end of the universe" event which millions of people came to believe was the end of reality because of something to do with the Mayan calendar. The entire thing was a total hoax, of course, and there are many more hoaxes yet to be revealed in certain conspiracy circles where paranoia and substance abuse runs rampant.
You can probably come up with yet more examples of all this, as you'll find similar delusional thinking across nearly every profession, every industry and every class of people. For example, right now I'm exposing many so-called "superfoods" as being heavily contaminated with heavy metals. Yet both manufacturers and product consumers have, for years, convinced themselves they are eating the most "high vibration" superfoods in existence. Why do they believe this? Because they all kept telling each other the same falsehoods over and over until those ideas seemed "real."
Question everything, starting with your own mindThe point in all this? I hope to encourage you to question everything. But don't make the mistake that most people make who automatically assume only their own mind is clear while everyone else is delusional. Instead, start your questioning by challenging your own beliefs first. If the world is not making sense, the first place to start, in other words, is with the mass of neurons between your own ears.
When you find yourself stating something based on a belief, do an internal audit of why you possess that belief. Where did it come from? Is it based on anything real, or was it handed to you by someone in a position of authority (a parent, for example) or someone with social influence? Can you even remember how you acquired that belief?
All intelligent, mature people question their beliefs on a regular basis. And that's why their beliefs evolve and (hopefully) become more philosophically consistent over time.
Personally, I'm questioning everything these days, and the more I dig into issues, the more falsehoods I find from every corner. Much of the natural products industry, I've come to discover, is based on pure deception and falsehoods. Much of the fringe conspiracy industry is based on sheer paranoia perpetuated by the mentally unfit. Much of modern medicine, as you already know, is based on pure corporate profit, where science is utterly abandoned in the ultimate quest for the almighty dollar.
Most of what you are told today from popular sources is complete fiction at best; and wild delusion at worst. Unless you are dissociated from the internet and all the insane noise it generates, you have not achieved genuine clarity of mind. More and more, I'm coming to realize why "wise men" become hermits and disappear into nature, totally isolated from human civilization. That's the only place where truth can be consistently found without interference from the insanity of human distortions.