Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ideas that take a long time to die

Even if the media pundits saw the econopocalypse coming they were unable to report it. Libel laws in the UK, and self-interest and commercial pressure in the USA are sufficient to ensure that certain stories NEVER get published, and in addition, a particular tone of boosterism is rigorously enforced.

Consider, if there are forty routes from here to where I am going, but my vehicle is only capable of negotiating 30 of those routes, then I am limited by the tool I am using. Software works the same way. There are always more options available to the imagination than the software can accommodate. Where this becomes a problem, is when force of habit leads to a failure of the imagination. The externally imposed restrictions become internalized. And this is basic to the way humans learn, so it is not possible to transcend these limitations.

Only the birth death cycle allows the shedding of certain kinds of ideas. Our current situation has come about, in part, because an increase in life expectancy has provided us with an elderly leadership cadre with an irrational attachment to outdated and inaccurate ideas. This dislocation in turn is further compounded by the exponential increase in the rate of change (See Toffler, Alvin "Future Shock"). Hence we careen towards unprecedented crisis.


What is with the President? He has polled the country on four occasions since his election, and on every occasion legalization of marijuana has been the most strongly supported issue. And yet the President continues to dismiss the idea out of hand. Is this stupid? What would it cost? Legalization would gain the fierce loyalty of an otherwise marginalized, and very vocal minority, as well as meet with the approval of the vast majority of the American public. So why not do it?

As with anything in Washington, various interests combine to support the status quo. Overcoming these interests seems to be beyond the capacity of three quarters of the population. This is true for health care, where the vast majority support the single payer model, yet this option is barely discussed in the media, and it is true for marijuana. Why is that, and what interests are we talking about, that are so powerful, they can blithely ignore, and even ridicule, the vast majority with impunity?

Obviously the drug cartels. All the other big players in illegal drugs - banks, intelligence agencies, police and other law enforcement, prison guards, prison owners and investors, supporters of police state apparatus and SWAT team deployments, alcohol and tobacco companies, religious extremists, big pharma, the American Medical Association, the stock markets, weapons and surveillance equipment manufacturers, tinpot dictators with a desire for US supplied weapons. The Skull and Bones secret society. The Clinton and Bush crime families.

No surprise that this is proving a bit difficult.

Still, anyone who is sticking up for that lot deserves no quarter. Once more into the breach..

1 comment:

  1. "in fact there are credible experts who contend that it was drug use that led to the evolution of the human species" - Shrapnel

    Thanks for the excellent summary of the forces behind cannabis prohibition. Certainly the drug cartels, intel agencies and the large banks whose accounts are buttressed by the flow of illegal drug money are the major drivers behind the scenes, with the tobacco and alcohol interests and the medical cartel funding the more visible propaganda efforts.

    About that quote - thhe second chapter of the book Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and the Cannabinoids (by Guy and Whittle) devotes a whole chapter to the coevolution of the cannabis plant and the human cannabis receptor. The arguments are rather technical, but the gist of it is that newer gene mapping and homology techniques suggest that the hunam receptor and the plant ligands (cannabinoids) show a parallel genetic drift indicating an active "collaboration" over the last ~100k years.

    Taken together with the fact that the distribution of cannabis receptors in the brain is densest in areas related to communication and related skills, this genetic linkage suggests that the cultivation and use of cannabis played a major role in the rapid development of human language and society over this same time frame. So, yet again, our deeply dysfunctional culture has declared war on human nature, and against a profoundly useful plant that appears to have have played a key role in our having become "human" in the first place.

    To the extent that being human is about communication, understanding and empathy, it is not surprising that this war on our own deepest nature (and the plant ally that has allowed it to unfold) has led to such widespread violence, social isolation and general stupidity. Only by looking closely at who benefits from this state of affairs can we understand how we got where we are today.

    Jeff King

    The above from Raw Story comments.