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August 30, 2008

The Silence of the Canines (Personal)

NYT columnist Bob Herbert’s metaphor for latent American racism applies equally well to the drug war, a chronic policy failure the nation seems equally loathe to admit or even discuss.

The central stupidity supporting the world’s drug policy is one of phony morality: because certain drugs are “bad,” all commerce in them must be illegal. If only we humans were honest, that argument might have some validity, but all attempts at prohibition, from the Opium Wars of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries through the drug wars of the Twentieth and Twenty-First, have been disastrous failures.

Drug war die-hards even cite the dangers of alcohol and tobacco as reasons pot must remain illegal; some by invoking the discredited “gateway” theory, and others with the even more absurd logic that we can’t afford to add to the health problems caused by the two legal agents. Ironically, the “gateway" theory turns out to be a canard that grew out of biased interpretation of inadequate data. The oldest long term users in my study were troubled adolescents who began trying all three agents as Baby Boomers in the mid Sixties. Significantly, those eventually opting for pot have consistently reduced their consumption of both alcohol and cigarettes, a finding that both policy supporters and detractors are finding convenient to ignore for their own unstated reasons.

The most likely explanation for the reductions noted is that all three drugs treat the same symptoms, but cannabis does so more safely and efficiently, with fewer side effects; an explanation that’s also consistent with the “substitution effect” first noted by Tod Mikuriya.

The dog that isn’t barking probably explains why alleged “experts” in the Behavioral “Sciences” have yet to comment. Whether they’re part of a conspiracy, or simply following their own best interests (my preferred explanation) is moot.

It may not matter much in the long run. We’ve been lucky thus far, but the longer we are unable to acknowledge or discuss— let alone deal with— our own dishonest competitive behavior, the more likely is a catastrophe from which recovery will be difficult.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 30, 2008 07:35 PM