A high of hypocrites

Following the sacking of Prof. Nutt, the government’s drug advisor, I have had a few conversations about drug legalisation.

I discovered a category of people I hitherto had not noticed. People who (a) regard themselves as politically very liberal, (b) take drugs themselves or have taken drugs and (c) don’t agree that drugs should be legalised.

These people are, not to put to fine a point on it, hypocrites, and I have decided to call a group of them a ‘high of hypocrites’.

To me the argument for legalisation is so strong that I feel almost silly having to explain my reasons: that government intervention should only ever stop people hurting each other, not ourselves, and that the harm done to ‘society’ by drug usage is nowhere near as bad as the harm done to the world by the war on drugs – gang culture sustained on drug money, contaminated drugs, theft to support habits, criminalisation of ordinary people, overflowing prisons, devastation of peasant populations in poor countries.

When faced with these arguments – arguments I would not have thought necessary with these people – the high of hypocrites came up with one and only one defence of their position: people cannot be trusted. The logic seems to be ‘Look, I take drugs and only just manage to stay in control of my usage – all those other people can never be trusted to manage it.’

But who are these ‘other people’ who can’t be trusted? Poor people? Then let’s get rid of the circumstances that create their poverty. Fucked up people? Then let’s ask ourselves why we have so many fucked up people around us. Greedy people? Then let their fate be dictated by their greed.

Meanwhile of course all those ‘other people’ can all get drugs anyway, illegal, contaminated, and tainted with the blood of the war on drugs.

To the high of hypocrites I say: these ‘other people’ are you too, as spoken by those others you don’t trust. Your fear of other people’s lack of self control is based on a myth, the oldest myth perpetuated by those with authoritarian dreams – that the people must be guided with a firm hand for their own good.

If you believe it, your liberalism is only skin deep, and since you don’t believe it about yourself, you must secretly be convinced of your own superiority.

The Sheikh of Alamut


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