This month the Supreme Court upheld the Federal government’s longstanding tyranny over its citizens’ right to decide for themselves how to manage their pleasure and their pain. Who would have thought, back in the ’60s and ’70s, that the thoroughly demonized herb, marijuana, might someday stage a comeback as “medical marijuana” and as a pain manager
Back then, after all, the issue was pleasure. But back up even further for a moment. In the ’40s the people’s government caved into the bullying tactics of a fanatical bureaucrat named Henry Anslinger, and put marijuana on the controlled substance list. They couldn’t stand his nagging anymore, and ended up giving him what he wanted–a newly prohibited drug to replace the recently liberated drug, alcohol.
The profoundly asinine substance of Anslinger’s case against marijuana has been enshrined in the camp movie, Reefer Madness. Though we look at that movie as a comedy, the truth is it represent an American tragedy–a drug war that has ruined more good and decent lives than all of our real wars combined. Compared to the legal drugs, alcohol and nicotine, marijuana is about as harmless to human health as baloney. Yet it remains the drug of choice for DEA enforcement, representing the lion’s share of arrests, imprisonments, and tax dollars squandered against a sadly misbegotten ideological demon. Marijuana is a virtually harmless herb.
You shouldn’t drive under its influence. But hey! The same is true with alcohol, right? Reasonable laws can protect us against stoned driving without criminalizing the safe and pleasurable feeling that this herb imparts for harmless activities like listening to music. As for harmful effects on “our” bodies, it has been connected to breast enlargement in men. Is this the reason that tens of thousands of truly non-criminal people have had their lives uprooted and virtually ruined by a government that is as fiercely ideological as the old Soviet Union, and just as adept at inventing enemies in order to maintain its inordinate hold on power?
Americans today live in a bizarre atmosphere of loony toon morality that rivals anything Franz Kafka conjured up in his book, The Trial, in which virtually all citizens are subject to a knock on the door and incarceration. Nothing cements power like that kind of ubiquitous government control. But I drift. Perhaps today’s Supreme Court decision will help to crystallize the picture of what’s going on here in Kafkaesque America. Eros Rising will leave you with this thought: Your body is your castle, and your castle alone.
They can take everything else from you, all your belongings, your savings, your social dignity, even your sons and daughters. But your sacred body should be your own business, your one sovereign claim to freedom. If you have no freedom over your own body then you have no freedom at all. Period.
Posted on Eros Rising, June 6, 2005