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April 20, 2011

Politics: How did we get stuck here?

Despite the surprising momentum of the "Medical Marijuana" market that has been fitfully unveiled since 1996, cannabis prohibition will almost certainly remain an untouchable federal policy throughout the balance of the Obama Administration and- as now seems likely- he is re-elected; throughout his second term as well. Should his re-election bid fail, it's virtually certain that whatever Republican Administration comes to power would soon try to restrain the momentum of 'Medical' use.

Just how we've reached this impasse is worthy of some discussion; particularly given the hopeful euphoria that followed Obama's 2008 victory. A major reason is that right out of the box, his support for medical use proved much less vigorous than hoped; better described as timid and uncertain. Also, as he settled into his main job of running the country, his obvious desire to create an amicable climate in Washington also worked against him. The GOP has become an extremist Right Wing party and will likely remain that way. Its members tend to see any desire by political enemies to compromise as a weakness to be exploited. Those with a particular interest in drug policy also seem emotionally committed to the idea that a prohibition policy can be made to "work" by the imposition of enough coercive force.

Notwithstanding the 2012 election results, the drug war seems assured of enough Congressional support to survive as a protected policy for the indefinite future. Neither does it lack support from a Supreme Court that's been stacked with a Roman Catholic majority by fundamentalist Republicans intent on overturning Roe V Wade.

Then there's key human characteristic we may have underestimated; one well illustrated by both the survival of faith in prohibition as public policy and the dynamics of the modern pot market that also suggests illegal cannabis is likely to remain a protected policy for the predictable future. It's the pervasive role played by our intrinsic dishonesty in virtually all our interactions ranging from marital unions to international treaties: we cheat to the extent possible.

The major reason the Scientific Method emerged as our dominant tool for studying the environment was its insistence on transparency and intellectual honesty. The best way to understand relative lack of success of "civilization" over the last five centuries may be that the humans who retained control of nations somehow avoided extending the standards to Science other endeavors while, at the same time, devoting the lion's share of scientific knowledge to the age-old power struggles that have always divided us.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 20, 2011 05:56 PM