America Goes to Pot

No doubt you’ve heard about how Colorado now has marijuana for sale over the counter quite legally. No doubt as well, you can imagine cash strapped individuals, cities, and states salivating over the possibilities of making good money off of such sales. Why there are testimonials all over the place about how harmless, or alternately helpful marijuana can be, and not just for medicinal purposes when you are in pain. It’s supposed to unwind your mind, and re-thread your head in good ways, and open you up to a cornucopia of new life possibilities. What is really the case is mostly otherwise. In fact it dulls your cognitive faculties, reduces your natural moral inhibitions, and in general makes it difficult to think straight, drive straight, etc. Here’s a little summary about the drug….from Wiki…

Cannabis is often consumed for its psychoactive and physiological effects, which can include heightened mood or euphoria, relaxation, and increase in appetite. Unwanted side-effects can sometimes include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, reddening of the eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.” Note to self, feelings of paranoia and anxiety are the opposite of relaxing. Furthermore, one out of six who try this drug become addicted to it. While it is not as addictive as say heroin, it is definitely addictive. The legalization of marijuana is much like the legalization of gambling… it’s simply encourage people’s bad and self-destructive behavior…. for fun and profit of course.

I was reading an article by David Brooks, a syndicated columnist, entitled “Smoking Pot: Been there, done that, wouldn’t encourage it”. I’d encourage you to read it for yourself. As he points out, young people who smoke this all too often experience memory loss, and even IQ loss, performing worse on cognitive tests than those who abstain. As he says “Stoned people do stupid things… I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English.” He then proceeds to relate how he was basically incapable of putting coherent sentences together back to back. Smoking weed does not make you smarter or more talented, or more creative, it gives you a sort of high that makes you believe you might be all these things, but sadly the reality is otherwise. As Brooks stresses “the actions you take change you inside, making you a little less coherent….Smoking all the time seemed likely to cumulatively fragment a persons’ deep center, or at least not do much to enhance it.” He adds “In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.”

One of the clearest signs of a decaying or dying society is its need to run from reality, or medicate that reality just to survive day to day. It involves a retreat into the most narcissistic behaviors imaginable…. the pleasuring of self at the expense of normal relationships, responsible adult behavior, and in general a refusal to grow up and be a contributing member of society. If you want to see where this leads, I would encourage you to read the biographies of David Crosby (Long Time Gone) and Graham Nash (Wild Tales), which I read during the Christmas season.

P.D. James once said that Western society is now a culture addicted to the unholy Trinity— sex, money, and celebrity. Had she added drugs, that just about perfectly describes the rock and roll culture sans the music itself, which was often quite good, in spite of everything. As Neil Young once wrote about his friend Stephen Stills— “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done. A little part of it in everyone. But every junkie’s like a setting sun….”.

It is precisely because each one of us are vulnerable, having weaknesses, have tendencies to self-centered and sinful behavior, that no society, no state, should ever endorse or legalize the sale of drugs that mess with one’s psyche and reduces one’s ability to make wise moral choices. The reason the decision in Colorado, which will make drugs even more widely and legally available, eventually at much lower prices, due to competing with illegal forms of weed, is a bad one is because America is already going to pot. It did not need any more encouragement to further grease the skids on our slide down the slippery slope. While the old film ‘Reefer Madness’ of course was rhetorically hyperbolic, nevertheless its message was a good one— avoid drugs which mess with your mind, stir up your worst most self-centered tendencies, and help you to ‘turn on, tune in, and drop out’ of meaningful society.

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