Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories often contained cryptic references to Sherlock Holmes’ even smarter brother, Mycroft. If the main character in his stories had been Christopher Hitchens, the author would have needed to refer to his incredibly dull brother Peter.
Faced with the undeniable fact that governments all over the world have lost the war on drugs — that is, the war on personal freedom — Hitchens doubles down and demands ever harsher penalties for marijuana use.
Most cannabis users don’t find it such a marvellous experience that they’d be prepared to risk six months at hard labour for a second offence of possession (my suggested minimum penalty, the first offence being dealt with by a genuine ‘caution’, whose condition would be that the cautioned person never subsequently committed the same offence). Permitting premises to be used for its use would also be treated in the same way. This ( as with the smoking ban) has the effect of turning every householder or owner of commercial premises into an ally of the law.
After a brief flurry of convictions and imprisonment, during which the actual unyielding severity of the new law would be demonstrated, use would fall with amazing rapidity. My opponents know this. They know they would be too scared to carry on possessing under those circumstances. That is why they get so cross with me. Because my plan would work, and deprive them of their pleasure.
I have no doubt that, among dope-smokers as in the rest of society, there would be quite enough informers willing to earn money or favours from the police to ensure that all users had a lively fear of being caught and prosecuted.
It’s just a question of will, a thing our governing class has lacked for many years.
By the way, I’m not, as Mr Wilkinson characterises me, an ‘opponent of nannying, interfering government action.’
He must have mistaken me for someone else. I’m not a ‘libertarian’, whatever that is. I’m a conservative. I’m just an opponent of the *wrong sort* of nannying, interfering, government action.
No, you clearly are not an opponent of that sort of nannying; you’re blatantly advocating it. To make things worse, look who he compares himself to:
I believe myself to be descended from some of the Puritans who were Cromwell’s Ironsides, and I’m proud of that. When I listen to the excuses made for the culture of self-stupefaction, I can feel the scorn of those sober old Psalm-singers in my blood, and I’m with them. They looked the world full in the face, fought against what they thought was wrong, and also knew what they fought for and loved what they knew.
This country would not be what it is, if it fell into the hands of people who lay down, shrugged and giggled, rather than people who rose up and fought. I cannot make people care about this who don’t, especially those who have already altered their brains by taking such drugs. But I hope there are enough of the old sort to see that changing your perception rather than reforming reality is the road to slavery.
Rarely has eloquence been put to use defending a position so inane.