Friday, July 1, 2011

An Issue of Liberty

This is a guest post by Eva from Into the Infinite. She's a wonderful writer-- check out her stuff!

There are many good reasons to legalize drugs. There is the fact that most hallucinogens are non-toxic and non-addictive, that drug addicts should be treated like patients and not like criminals (granted that they didn't commit any violent offenses), and that the "War on Drugs" puts billions of dollars directly into the pockets of organized crime. Each of these reasons on their own should be enough to make anyone change their mind about the legal status of drugs. In this post I want to talk about the issue of liberty and of freedom over your own consciousness. Taken with all the other points, it should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that there is something seriously wrong with drug prohibition.

You should have the right to decide if you want to change the state of your own consciousness. You should be allowed to explore your inner self and the amazing worlds and ideas that can be opened up through the use of hallucinogens. And even though I prefer to use such substances for more spiritually inclined purposes and have certain ideas about the best set and setting for their use, you should have the final choice in taking them how and where you want to take them, even if you just want to simply have fun.

Are people going to make mistakes? Are they going to use drugs and have bad experiences, or maybe take them when they are not in a proper mindset? Yes, the truth is that they will. But just because people make mistakes and don't always make the right choices, doesn't mean that those choices should be stripped from them and that the government should have the final say on what is and isn't right for you.

Are there going to be addicts and drug abusers? Yes, just like they exist, and are never going to go away in the current system. And the crazy thing is that while we treat alcoholics as patients and not like criminals, victimless drug addicts can expect to face the same, or worse punishments as convicted rapists. (And not only drug addicts, cannabis smokers and dealers can find themselves in the same boat).

Another thing to consider is that if the drug laws were to change, everyone won't suddenly run off to do heroin just because it is legal, as Ron Paul says here:

The idea that the government should get out of people's personal lives is one that I can not stress enough.

It needs to stay out of people's bedrooms, out of their personal choices, and out of their consciousness. You, as a smart, rational, thinking person are much more qualified to decide what sort of substances you are going to put in your body than some elected official who knows nothing about you and believes the propaganda of the War on Drugs.

Now, is everybody a smart, rational, thinking human being? No, of course not. It doesn't take much looking around to realize that. But do we take away people's freedoms and control their mind just because they aren't very intelligent? Do we take away the freedom of everyone else who happens to know how to use drugs responsibly?

People can also be stupid with alcohol, and with a whole host of everyday things from forks to baseball bats. I could smack someone over the head with my laptop. I probably fry my brain more staring at my laptop screen more than I ever do by using cannabis or taking LSD.

For people to have let their liberty and control over their own consciousness be taken away like this is astounding, and I am convinced that they would never have let it happen were it not for the propaganda surrounding drug prohibition. It is quite telling that the people who started the War on Drugs never actually told the truth, because if they did, they knew they wouldn't get away with it. They painted cannabis as this super dangerous drug that made you go insane. When the sad truth is that the history of cannabis criminalization is riddled with racism.

And while I do like to think that the war on drugs would have never started if people knew the truth, I get this sense when I look around now that the sheep-like people wouldn't care even if they did. They would just keep eating up new lies told to them by those in power, who would just scramble to find new reasons to continue the War on Drugs and keep big pharma happy. In this following video, while not completely about drugs, Ron Paul does a good job at outlining how complacent people are while they lose their liberty.

You don't have to agree with everything he says, but I think no one can argue that people nowadays seem too complacent and uncaring about what is done with their rights. The fact that there is not mass outrage over the War on Drugs illustrates this perfectly, and taking back the rights over our consciousness would be a great first step in affirming our rights and liberty.
"There can be no more intimate and elemental part of the individual than his or her own consciousness. At the deepest level, our consciousness is what we are - to the extent that if we are not sovereign over our own consciousness then we cannot in any meaningful sense be sovereign over anything else either. So it is highly significant that, far from encouraging freedom of consciousness, our societies in fact violently deny our right to sovereignty in this intensely personal area, and have effectively outlawed all states of consciousness other than those on a very narrowly defined and officially approved list. The "War on Drugs" has thus unexpectedly succeeded in engineering a stark reversal of the true direction of Western history by empowering faceless bureaucratic authorities to send armed agents to break into our homes, arrest us, throw us into prison, and deprive us of our income and reputations simply because we with to explore the sometimes radical, though always temporary, alterations in our own consciousness that drugs facilitate."- Graham Hancock
You may not agree with the legalization of all drugs, and several nuances and arguments may surround the issue. I for one would have no qualms about taking certain deadly pharmaceuticals off the shelves. We can get into discussions about which drugs should be legalized verses which should just be decriminalized, but the bottom line should be one of liberty and the fact that you should have sovereignty over your own consciousness. If you are not hurting others, then you should not be treated as a criminal because of your personal choice to ingest a substance and change your state of consciousness.
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1 comment:

  1. Eva, I find myself resonating with everything you wrote here. I really like the libertarian thrust of your argument. Like the "war on terror", the "war on drugs" is an obvious cover for ulterior motives. They're both as phony as can be. Thanks, Minna, for posting this. I look forward to reading more here from both of you :)


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