For, oh, 8,000 years or more people were able to freely obtain drugs from apothecaries, shaman, medicine people, doctors, wizards, priests, padres, monks, adventurers, traders, pirates, housewives, flower girls, knobby miscreants with dancing monkeys, sailors, inkeeps, carpet baggers. That’s because people take substances to change their condition. You can create biologically beneficial reactions from breathing, from eating lentils, inhaling vapors from burning medicinal plants, rub salves on your skin, put things up your butt, in your nose, on your lips, dunk yourself in baths of it, bury yourselves up to the neck in things that make you feel good. People want to feel good.
Drugs just became a way of discriminating against groups of people during the industrial era. Cultural divides manifested in large cities with segregated neighborhoods. Uncritical of the needs of minorities, the cashflow gentry sought to subjugate and dehumanize groups they needed to shit on in order to get a better view of hell on earth. “Climb up on the backs of the bruised. Money’s not one to choose.” – to quote Nine Inch Nails.
Blame it on their dress, the way they smell, the way they talk, whoever “they” were. Insidiously, groups were routinely herded into churches, into guilds, then into neighborhoods in industrial centers, people pitted against one another like so many competing classes. The drug you used said something about your background, gave you a sense of belonging within a group. It’s like a Roman Sumptuary law, but with the modern, Calvinist twist. Deny pleasure. Deny neighborly inquisitiveness. Deny curiousity, hell, shun it in every form. Act like sheep and stay quiet. Obey.
But science. To suggest a different way of applying metrics to the movement of the celestial objects seen with the naked eye at night was heresy. You could get burned at the stake, your family exiled, called a sorcerer, a practitioner of the black arts. Meanwhile, double standards of every conceivable kind existed to allow, once again and eternally, that if you were of the “noble” class in the sense of rarely mixing with the weird and the unusual, you could do what you wanted. Corruption leads people astray, power employs the holders of the moral compass to divide and subjugate the socius into distinct groups of laborers with distinct skills, rights and customs. Color of dress, manner of address, it was all…tyranny. But science.
In the 1930s we had the emergence of the radio. Never before had the world been able to synchronize sentiment, to mobilize vast populace with feeling of urgent unrest, to inflame the ignorant with fear and turn them on one another. Like two farmers fighting over a cow, a lawyer sits at the milking pail, shouting encouragement with both ends. So, carried across great distances, entire towns and cities could get the kind of propaganda and avaricious bullshit needed to move them to do the dirty work the rich so graciously afforded them. But science.
How often do you actually test the theories in your science books. How often do doctors verify the biological changes that occur with the use of substances? Are they able to create and distribute reproducible systems to measure and validate theory? No. They are shoe salesmen, paid to push shoes. “Here, wear these, they’re fucking trendy as shit”. Do scientists remap the night sky? Nope. To a lesser degree, the great bureaucracy of science helped to carry the egos of a few bright souls, the corpus et animus divided into the camps of the heroic laureates and the vast unwashed. See: high priests and snake oil salesmen.
When people are colonized, their culture ripped away, their sanctuaries defiled and razed to support churches built upon their foundations, their gods co-opted and rebranded, like the United States did/continue to do, you have to disrupt their market share, eliminate it. Teepees? Fuck that, let’s clear a forest to build a house for a scrivener who can’t even grow a bushel of winter squash. Extensive knowledge of medicinal plants? Obviously black magic. Ignorance + fear = hatred, and hatred motivates the oppressed to project the tragedy we call history forward, to turn the millstone, crushing the bones of the weak into meal to feed the toothless and craven.
Ok, a bit much.
But, seriously. Hitler was grateful “that men do not think”. As individuals, we have the power to do tremendous things, but groups are stupid and can be lead like cattle. So the idea is to exclude oneself from a larger percentage, to hold power over resources and rights in order to create dearth and girth where needed. I grew up in the southern United States watching naked racism continue to ruin the lives of people darker than the porch-sitting white bread cretins to eager to take the credit (and money) and none of the blame (and mistreatment) that filled the taxman’s pockets. History is a tragic wheel that seems to keep turning faster and faster. But science.
When people become critical of their social group, they can apply tools of reason, methods of measurement in order to predict, observe, report actions and results, and adjust the scope and quality of pressure upon a social group to exact certain results. So, say I need to jail all the Chinese people and deport them after making them build the railroads and dig out all the tin and iron and gold from the mines. I just declare their medicine to be bad. I declare the methods they use unsound, but i don’t have to prove a fucking thing because to the receptive ears of the cowpeople lowing in the fields, to most nitwits, you just tell them that’s the way it is and hand out the paychecks. They’ll shut up and get in line.
But, the erosive effects of social inequality begin to draw more than the dark-skinned into the trenchant horror of the American DOJ system, it colluded with industrial interests in Europe to outlaw certain commodities and use laws of interdiction (of custom, of cultural importance and therefore historical value) not unlike the way Sumptuary Laws were used to get people to know they’re place. To stay within their class, their group, their neighborhood. Pit them against one another and milk it. To not blaspheme the magic incantations and rituals needed to convince someone or someones that the veil placed over their eyes did not obscure the view of the mind inside. it’s customary. Like public hangings. It’s customary, like stocks. It’s customary to act like a territorial animal and prey upon the weak. Unless you are the prey, the weak. Then it’s customary to tell the disengaged effete noble classes wrapped up in the march of technical nomenclature that defines and IDs their group that their brand of bullshit is no longer tolerable. There’s always someone able to help create revolutions that give back to people control over their own time, their own bodies, but keeping that notion of freedom and liberty, that pursuit of liberty alive, because by degrees, like leprosy, corruption tends to be most thorough when it rots away the entire host with seemingly glacial slowness. If Germany hadn’t been ass-raped in WWI there would’ve never been a Hitler. Nazis were a response to the central banking system sticking their blood funnels into their faces for twenty years. And the Germans obeyed. They were encouraged to turn against one another, and that’s a weakness.
Uncritical acceptance of tyranny is an exploitable commodity. It’s lie doublespeak. Whenever I hear the phrase “drugs and alcohol” I want to just shit dead popes over and over, just have them parade from my dirty rectum like an All Fool’s Day parade. We build our prisons like an expanding nautilus, a spineless creäture feeding on the detritus of lost hopes.
God damn stupid Drug War clock is ticking. The numbers on the clock mean nothing. History is an illusion.
So I hope my home state of Pennsylvania legalizes weed this weak because we’re about to go broke subsidizing the tyranny of our own commonwealth, incarcerating our neighbors and yoking them to an untenable way of life consuming processed industrial foodstuffs, working for less and less, rotting inside spiritually, hoping to be told it’s all okay. And everyone knows things are not okay.
Things are fucked up and bullshit. The Liberty Bell is cracked. Time to make some fucking noise, already. Ride the lightning!