« A Line in the Sand | Main | Getting it (All) Wrong »

April 01, 2010

California’s Legalization Initiative in Historical Context

As the last quarter of the Eighteenth Century began in 1776, an improbably successful rebellion was launched on a flourish of rhetoric promising government based on equal treatment of all citizens. The ensuing Revolutionary War not only led to a new nation that soon attracted freedom-seeking immigrants from all over the world, it also marked the beginning of the end of absolute political power based on heredity at a time when the flowering of scientific technology was about to produce a cornucopia of agricultural production and consumer goods that eventually became known as the Industrial Revolution.

Unfortunately, the Constitution adopted just eleven years following America’s Declaration of Independence betrayed its lofty ideals by secretly protecting the institution of chattel slavery, a decision that would critically shape the new nation’s early development and eventually lead to a corrosive Civil War. Slavery was ended, but American federal power was enhanced to a degree that soon encouraged imperialist expansion based on military power. In essence, the nation that represented the planet’s first potentially viable attempt at Democracy has instead played a pivotal role in enabling its present volatile state of overpopulation, unsustainable consumption of resources, and violent political instability.

Within that context, America’s war on drugs is also UN policy. Although not a prime cause of our species' current malaise, it can easily be seen as both metaphorical and contributory. In a narrower context, the coming ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in America’s most populous and progressive state can also be seen as an important indicator. Simply stated, a global policy of arresting and incarcerating people for self medicating with “marijuana” betokens a degree of hypocrisy, ignorance, and denial incompatible with long term solution of our species' most pressing problems.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 1, 2010 04:54 PM