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September 17, 2008

More on Denial; how pot’s anxiolytic properties led to a perfect storm in 1968

Regular readers of this blog (I’ve met a few) will recognize that I’ve become preoccupied with denial; especially in the context of what is never admitted about American drug policy: that it’s been an abysmal failure almost no one will discuss truthfully and its tax-supported propaganda is being produced by the Behavioral Sciences under duress from the federal government.

Lately, I’ve also been stressing that drug policy isn’t the only thing we don’t discuss truthfully; in fact we humans tend to avoid a whole range of potentially embarrassing subjects, especially those that require admitting a mistake. One of the more obvious results of that mass denial is the current fragmentation of media markets which is further encouraged by new technology allowing simultaneous publication (broadcasting) of several different flavors of truth (“spin”).

A logical consequence in a world where time and the need for sleep have remained unchanged is that the reasons behind unpopular rival opinions are rarely discussed, let alone seriously considered.

To return to my study; its original objective, that of defining the medical use of marijuana, was accomplished fairly quickly once I understood why pot had become so popular with American Baby Boomers as they began coming of age. In essence, pot’s unique anxiolytic properties made it a favorite with troubled youth. Unfortunately, the sheer size of their generation and the assertiveness with which they were rejecting their parents’ values also led to the disastrous election of Richard Nixon in 1968.

It can now be appreciated that whereas World War Two had been accepted as a necessary evil by their fathers, the prospect of being drafted right after High School and sent to fight in a poorly understood war wasn’t seen in the same light by their boomer sons. 1968 became a watershed; the Tet offensive in February prompted Lyndon Johnson to withdraw from the presidential race in March, the assassinations of MLK in April, and of RFK in June, were seen as progressively chaotic events by a majority of conservative elders and rebellious young people were seen as the cause. It also became logical to blame the counterculture for the police riot broadcast on national television during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The summation of events combined to give Nixon an early lead that might not have lasted had Eugene McCarthy chosen to speak out before Election Day.

Another unforeseen consequence was that, thanks to Harry Anslinger’s malign influence at the UN, the drug war had been internationalized in advance and served to jump-start individual global criminal markets for whatever items would listed on Schedule one by a medically ignorant Attorney General.

Although Nixon was driven from the White House by his own malfeasance, the drug war remained intact until the DEA and NIDA could be created under the caretaker Ford Administration. Next, Jimmy Carter’s political ineptitude and the first stirrings of what would eventually become a frightening cocaine market set the stage for the Reagans and “Just say No.” Finally, the irrational fear inspired by crack stampeded the Democrats into becoming drug warriors.

Thus there are several misconceptions that will have to be undone before we can contemplate a rational drug policy. Unfortunately, the human penchant for denial, along with our preoccupation with more pressing errors, may keep us from realizing that our own competitive nature and innate dishonesty are key elements we will have to deal with first.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at September 17, 2008 07:33 AM