Law School Discussion

Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2005, 02:38:55 AM »
He might have been a coke head, but he def. wasn't nothing but a coke head.

of course he wasn't nothing but a coke head; he was gay as well. however, i don't get why the thread starter has labeled him "campy" - just because he might have been gay it does not necessarily mean he was camp - he could have been butch, e.g., while gay ,

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2005, 07:05:51 PM »

[...] i don't get why the thread starter has labeled him "campy" - just because he might have been gay it does not necessarily mean he was camp - he could have been butch, e.g., while gay ,

the convential wisdom is that when you hear "gay" you imagine right away someone who goes with a man, just like a woman does, hence that person is presumed to be anatomically woman-like, hence "camp".

As to all this:
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2005, 12:22:47 AM »
A poverty-stricken 28-year-old Freud was suffering from depression, chronic fatigue, and other neurotic symptoms. "I have been reading about cocaine, the essential constituent of coca leaves, which some Indian tribes chew to enable them to resist privations and hardships," Freud wrote to his fianc馥 Martha on April 21, 1884. "I am procuring some myself and will try it with cases of heart disease and also of nervous exhaustion...." The account of Freud's experiences which follows is drawn largely from the three-volume "Life and Work of Sigmund Freud," by Ernest Jones.

Freud "tried the effect of a 20th of a gram [50 milligrams] and found it turned the bad mood he was in into cheerfulness, giving him the feeling of having dined well 'so that there is nothing at all one need bother about,' but without robbing him of any energy for exercise or work." In addition to taking cocaine himself, Freud offered some to his friend and associate, Dr. Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, who was suffering from an exceedingly painful disease of the nervous system (which was later to prove fatal), and who was addicted to morphine. Freud also prescribed cocaine for a patient with gastric catarrh. The initial results in all three cases were favorable. Freud decided cocaine was "a magical drug," and he wrote his fiancee, Martha:

"If it goes well I will write an essay on it and I expect it will win its place in therapeutics by the side of morphium and superior to it. I have other hopes and intentions about it. I take very small doses of it regularly against depression and against indigestion, and with the most brilliant success.... In short it is only now that I feel I am a doctor, since I have helped one patient and hope to help more. If things go on in this way we need have no concern about being able to come together and to stay in Vienna."

Freud even sent some of his precious cocaine to Martha, "to make her strong and give her cheeks a red color." Indeed, Dr. Jones writes, "he pressed it on his friends and colleagues, both for themselves and their patients; he gave it to his sisters. In short, looked at from the vantage point of our present knowledge, he was rapidly becoming a public menace." In a subsequent letter to Martha, Freud wrote more on his personal experience with cocaine:

"Woe to you, my Princess, when I come. I will kiss you quite red and feed you till you are plump. And if you are froward you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle little girl who doesn't eat enough or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body. In my last severe depression I took coca again and a small dose lifted me to the heights in a wonderful fashion. I am just now busy collecting the literature for a song of praise to this magical substance."

Freud's haste in publishing his findings may astonish twentieth-century readers. On April 21, 1884, he was still only planning to secure some cocaine. On June 18, his essay was completed; and the "Song of Praise" to cocaine was published in the July 1884 issue of the Centralblatt fur die gesammte Therapie. This essay, Dr. Jones writes, had "a tone that never recurred in Freud's writings, a remarkable combination of objectivity with a personal warmth as if he were in love with the content itself. He used expressions uncommon in a scientific paper such as 'the most gorgeous excitement' that animals display after an injection of cocaine, and administering an 'offering' of it rather than a 'dose'; he heatedly rebuffed the 'slander' that had been published about this precious drug. This artistic presentation must have contributed much to the interest the essay aroused in Viennese and other medical circles... He even gave an account of the religious observances connected with its use, and mentioned the mythical saga of how Manco Capac, the Royal Son of the Sun-God, had sent it as 'a gift from the gods to satisfy the hungry, fortify the weary, and make the unfortunate forget their sorrows.' "

More to the point, Freud described in detail the effects of small doses of cocaine on his own depression. These included "exhilaration and lasting euphoria, which in no way differs from the normal euphoria of the healthy person... You perceive an increase of self-control and possess more vitality and capacity for work... In other words, you are simply normal, and it is soon hard to believe that you are under the influence of any drug.... Long intensive mental or physical work is performed without any fatigue.... This result is enjoyed without any of the unpleasant after-effects that follow exhilaration brought about by alcohol... Absolutely no craving for the further use of cocaine appears after the first, or even after repeated taking of the drug; one feels rather a certain curious aversion to it." Cocaine, Freud concluded, was useful for "those functional states comprised under the name neurasthenia" "末 Freud at this time had diagnosed his own depressions as neurasthenic 末 as well as for indigestion and for the withdrawal of morphine.

Some of Freud's findings on cocaine as a psychoactive drug were amply confirmed by subsequent research. "The subjective effects of cocaine include an elevation of mood that often reaches proportions of euphoric excitement," Dr. Jaffe reported in Goodman and Gilman's textbook (1965). "It produces a marked decrease in hunger, an indifference to pain, and is reputed to be the most potent antifatigue agent known. The user enjoys a feeling of great muscular strength and increased mental capacity and greatly overestimates his capabilities. The euphoria is accompanied by generalized sympathetic stimulation. As is the case with amphetamine, a disturbed personality is not a prerequisite for cocaine-induced euphoria, and the drug is quite effective in relatively normal personalities."

Freud continued to praise cocaine as late as July 1887, when he published a final defense of the drug. But soon thereafter he discontinued all use of it both personally and professionally. Despite the fact that he had been taking cocaine periodically over a 3-year span, he appears to have had no difficulty in stopping. His abandonment of cocaine was no doubt influenced in large part by the experience of Dr. von Fleischl-Marxow, the patient with whom Freud had shared his initial gram of cocaine. After a year on cocaine he was taking a full gram of it daily 末 twenty times the dose Freud himself took from time to time. Indeed, Freud noted, Fleischl bad spent $428 for a three-month supply of cocaine, an enormous sum in Vienna in those days. On June 8, 1885, Dr. Jones adds, "Freud wrote that the frightful doses had harmed Fleischl greatly and, although he kept sending Martha cocaine, he warned her against acquiring the habit." Thereafter Fleischl developed a full-fledged cocaine psychosis, "with white snakes creeping over his skin." Freud and other physician friends nursed Fleischl faithfully, often throughout the long nights, but to little avail. In June 1885 Freud estimated that Fleischl could live six more months at most; he actually survived for six more painwracked years.

Why was Freud, unlike his friend Fleischl, able to use modest doses of cocaine 末 30 to 50 milligrams injected under the skin 末 from time to time for 3 years without developing either a craving for the drug or a need to escalate the dose? At least three alternative explanations are available. Dr. Jones, a psychoanalyst, believed that it requires an "addictive personality" to establish an addiction; Tricking an addictive personality, he declares, Freud did not become a cocaine addict. (He did, however, become addicted to cigars) The other two explanations are pharmacological. One holds that there must be some biochemical difference 末 perhaps a difference in enzymes 末 between people like Freud who can take a particular addicting drug without becoming addicted and people like Fleischl who escalate the dose and become addicted. This hypothetical difference in enzymes may (or may not) be hereditary. The third explanation relates the addiction (or lack of it) to dosages and frequency of use. Because Freud took cocaine only occasionally, according to this theory, be had no need to escalate his dose. And because he did not escalate the dose, he did not become addicted. Some other explanation, of course, may ultimately prove true.

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2005, 01:07:35 AM »
Freud "tried the effect of a 20th of a gram [50 milligrams] and found it turned the bad mood he was in into cheerfulness, giving him the feeling of having dined well 'so that there is nothing at all one need bother about,' but without robbing him of any energy for exercise or work."

Cocaine is not to be portrayed as a reinforcer of compulsive behaviour as it is often presented from the perspective of pathology. In contrast, one has to make room for the perspective of the majority of users in which it often appears as one of the hedonistic entities of everyday life. The importance of taking drug related pleasure as a research topic can be illustrated by the serious attempt to understand controlled drug use.

For example most cocaine users do not lose control. Apparently some "control mechanisms" exist and they are not restricted to cocaine. This conclusion has been reached by a growing number of drug researchers. A full understanding of control mechanisms is still lacking as well as a a thorough theoretical investigation of this concept itself. But, assuming the validity of such a concept, one of the regulators of drug use might very well be a relative change in drug related pleasure when drug use exceeds certain limits. A cocaine study has showed for instance that when a level of use of 2.5 grams of cocaine per week is exceeded, the number of reported unpleasant negative effects rises steeply. This could very well be one of the explanations of why levels above 2.5 gram per week are so rarely maintained over longer periods in experienced cocaine users, even though many respondents are very well able to financially support such levels of use.

In many psychological and sociological views on drug use both the concepts of drug related pleasure and controlled use are of little or no importance. Heroin and cocaine allegedly cannot be used in a controlled and pleasurable manner because the concepts of control and pleasure conflict with ruling notions. Loss of control and extreme misery is what the use of these drugs will yield. Empirical verification from an epidemiological point of view of such ex cathedra notions is still rare.

If one realizes that much of our knowledge about the use of cocaine has come from studies done by clinicians, one also comes to realize that there is a sampling bias with the data that clinicians use in their generalisations. This problem is similar to the problem one would have if our knowledge about the use of alcohol would be derived solely by the knowledge gathered by clinicians working in alcohol treatment. Alcohol users not seen by these medical professionals of course do exist and are indeed the great majority of the users of alcohol.

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2005, 02:24:08 AM »

Well, In a society that's addicted to identifying addictions, some -- "Internet addiction," for instance -- are obvious targets for valid criticism. But identifying drug addiction as a choice? It seems ridiculous, even blasphemous; isn't it scientific fact that drug addiction is an involuntary medical disease? According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, it is: "Chronic, hardcore drug use is a disease, and anyone suffering from a disease needs treatment."

Drug addiction is not a disease. Instead it's a scapegoated behavior that has been incorrectly identified as a physical or mental illness, a victim of bad science and misguided policy. Like homosexuality, masturbation and other behaviors once thought to be physical or mental illnesses -- the idea that drug addiction is an uncontrollable affliction can and should be "swiftly discredited."

If addiction is a choice, what is it not?

It is not a disease. And it is not involuntary. And it is not a thing that causes people to engage in certain behaviors. The conventional wisdom is that the availability of drugs causes people to use them. That's one of the big arguments that is used to support "the war on people,"="the war on drugs." And the conventional wisdom is also that if you use "addicting drugs," you will not be able to moderate your use of those drugs [or] stop using those drugs. The conventional wisdom is that there is some power in the drug that makes people keep using the drug. Another part of that argument is that once you use the drug, something changes in your body. And that change -- which has never been identified, only hypothesized -- causes you to keep using the drug.

Yet, people use drugs as a way of avoiding and coping with certain existential experiences. They don't want to do what is necessary to change their experience. I'm not saying that's not difficult -- it can be very difficult. For example, Native Americans -- who are the victims of literal and metaphorical genocide -- have major problems they have to contend with; I'm not saying that those are small by any means. But instead of doing what they need to do to change their experience, they may tend to rely on drugs as a way of making themselves feel better so they don't have to cope with those problems.

Don't drugs have significant physiological effects on people? Yes, and this is a point that serves as a red herring for people who maintain that drugs are dangerous. There are two ways of looking at this. We can say, "Do drugs have a certain effect on the body?" Of course they do, and the people on my side who go against the grain [admit that]. However, drug use and addiction doesn't have to do with what drugs do to the body, but how drugs get into the body. If you take a drug like cocaine, obviously something changes in your body. Every time you think any thought, your body changes. There's always a physiological change associated with whatever you do. Now the question is, "Does that physiological change make you do what you're doing, or do you choose to do that?" If you have epilepsy, and you have a seizure, of course there's a physical change in your body that makes you go into convulsions. I'm not saying that you have a choice as to whether you convulse or not -- that's clearly not a volitional act. But whether you're going to reach for another cigarette or not is a volitional act; it's not the same thing as an epileptic seizure.

What about heroin??? You may say that even if that's a conscious choice at the beginning -- once you get "addicted" to it, there's a point at which you might die from the effects if you go off of it; you could have a seizure and die. So, you may say, the drug actually has a sort of control over your body...Well, there are situations in which you may need to be medically detoxified. And by that same reasoning, we could say that "crack babies" aren't really born addicted in the way we talk about addiction, but they've been poisoned. The mother has been taking the drug, and it's obviously caused something physiological in the infant, and that infant may need some care to antidote the toxic effects of that drug. The same thing with heroin, the same thing with alcohol. There's lots of evidence that shows that people who have been "addicted" to heroin for a long time give up heroin once their environments change. The act and the behavior of using or consuming a drug -- regardless of what it is -- is a choice, and people engage in those kinds of behaviors for reasons. There isn't some power in the drug or in their physiology that causes them to do it. Because by that reasoning, if people committed crimes while they were on drugs, then we'd have to exculpate them; we'd have to say they weren't responsible for their behavior because they were under the influence of drugs, and that isn't the way the law works.

People have always had an investment in scapegoating some group or thing as a way of easing their existential anxiety and as a way of boosting their self-esteem. So to persecute people for using illegal drugs is like persecuting any minority -- blacks, Jews or gays -- because they've been blamed for the problems that the majority experiences. People have always done it; they'll always do it. What's different is that, in the past, people had a clearer sense that they were scapegoating blacks, or scapegoating Jews, or scapegoating homosexuals for their problems. But today, under this charade of science and medicine, we're "not" scapegoating drug users and addictions for our problems -- we're instilling public health. I think that it's human nature to try to find some blame as a way of easing anxiety. If people don't look to religion, then they look to persecute a minority or a substance. Who benefits from persecuting people for being addicts or who benefits from persecuting illegal drug users? I think it's clear: The drug enforcement agents benefit because they earn a living doing that. Politicians benefit because they look like they're getting rid of or getting a control on evil in our society. But I think there's a subtle group that people don't really want to pay attention to -- those who build prisons to house lots of people for consensual crimes. Of course, the others that have a deep ideological and economic investment in the "disease model" of addiction are the treatment providers because they make money treating a mythical disease.

Alcoholics Anonymous. What a cult, a religion! Well, AA should be free to exist just the way any religious group should be free to exist. My concern is that it has become a tool of the state. The state arrests people for drunk driving and orders them into Alcoholics Anonymous. That to me is a violation of the First Amendment, and the separation of church and state. I'm all for people who want to go to AA. I think it's great -- they should be able to go to any group just like they should be able to go any church, synagogue or Islamic temple. What I object to is people are being misled that AA has the truth about addiction, which is absolutely false. It would be like saying that Judaism has the truth about addiction or Christianity does or Catholicism does. What concerns me about what AA teaches is that it goes against scientific research that has focused on the concept known as self-efficacy. That is, if you believe you can do something, you're more likely to try to do it. What AA and similar disease-model groups say is that you can't control your behavior; you can't control your addiction. I think what we should be doing is teaching people that they can control their addiction. It's a choice. And then they're more likely to prove that to be true. And that idea has really been supported by psychological research; the AA idea has not.

People have the right to destroy themselves, as upsetting as that may be. That doesn't mean that private groups -- myself included -- might not try to talk these people into getting some help or talk them out of destroying themselves. But ultimately the choice rests with the individual, and I don't think we are ever justified in a civilized society that values freedom in coercing people into any kind of program, whether it's called treatment or conversation or psychotherapy, against the person's will. I think that people should be held responsible for any harm that they do to anyone else, and I don't think that we should excuse them because they're using drugs. One of the problems we get into here is what constitutes harm? It gets kind of fuzzy. If you engage in a behavior that upsets me, is that harm? You have a right to engage in behaviors of your choice as long as you don't infringe upon my freedom. I think the libertarian dictum that one should be free to do whatever one wants as long as it's not at the expense of someone else is one we should abide by. My right to swing my fist ends precisely at my neighbor's nose; whether I'm using drugs or alcohol is essentially irrelevant. If some family member or friend is self-destructing using drugs, does that cause you harm? It causes you psychological and emotional harm, it's upsetting to you. But is that the same thing as some kind of criminal act? I don't think it is. I think that's part of the price we have to pay in a free society.

I don't think drugs should be legalized -- I think we should repeal, in total, drug prohibition. "Legalize" connotates government regulation, and I think that people have a right to drugs as property as guaranteed by the constitution. I don't think they should have a right to marijuana, for example, because it qualifies as medicine -- certainly, they should be able to use the drugs for any purposes that they want, whether it's medical or recreational.


Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2005, 04:55:18 AM »
caress, much medical and social science when applied to drugs seem to be unable to describe and explain the phenomenon of drug use without an unusually strong bias. This bias is produced by a cultural dependency on concepts of much larger significance than drug use itself. As a result the object is almost completely blurred from view. One could not help but seeing much of what happened around oneself in the drug arena as "social constructions", realities created by a myriad of relationships between persons who used concepts to understand a reality that would adapt them for their survival within these relationships. And since the inequality of power is one of the structural characteristics of interpersonal (or for that matter, inter-organisational) relationships, much of the so called scientific analysis of drug use would tend to be most instrumental to the survival of the most powerful. Power, of course, is not only connected to wealth or decision making, but also to the construction of morality and ideology.

Science is one of the fundamental instruments of political and ideological conflicts. The determination of which branches and concepts of science will be developed or applied is dependent upon economic and political power. Because power cannot be evenly distributed in a community those in power will develop science according to their interests and taste. One should not look upon this as dishonesty or exploitation per se, but in most cases, as honourable and quite inescapable. The concepts used to attain a detailed understanding of the relation between concepts and power were the "I", the "Ego", and the "individual". The social psychologist for example, would critically investigate many psychological and sociological theories in order to come to grips with the use of social science for the conceptual construction of the "ego" and "the individual". To summarize, in present Western society, dominated as it is by entrepreneurial activity, persons have to very often find their way against or without others. Therefore, generally a person will learn to "experience himself alone, in the centre of things for whom everything else exists outside himself, separated by an invisible wall from him, assuming as self evident that other individuals experience the same". This specific historical construction of the individual, of course, is not the intentional product of some office or ideologue, but a by-product of people in their mutual and socially structured relationships. It goes unnoticed, like breathing. In this way psychiatry, psychology and sociology are tools of a class of people who interpret, influence and try to shape others and society from this dominant perspective on the individual.

One must simply not take seriously the reasons for the use of drugs that are often mentioned in scientific literature. It's more efficient to look for motives behind the words, and search for these motives in the field of power inequalities. One discovers that the so called "reasons" why people take drugs are convenient conceptual constructions that are fitted to a predetermined, mostly psychopathological model of explanation of drug use and "dependence". However, it might very well have been the emergence of a new class of professional medical men at the end of the last century that helped to socially define illegal (often so called "non-medical") drug use. Professionals related to the maintenance of physical or mental health and the management of pain have throughout history been very powerful people. The tools and concepts of these professionals may change in history. The modern power to mediate between (a large majority of) drugs and the use of drugs is a new and tremendously important instrument. In contemporary Western society drug use is not left to the individual responsibility of the consumer. It is assumed that the consumer is not able to exercise this responsibility. Every consumer of drugs is therefore forced to first consult a "drug broker", which produces in turn an almost total monopoly of the drug broker class. Total prohibition of certain drugs is the focal point of the assumption that drugs should be excluded from the realm of consumer freedom. In this sense the existence of "illegal" or "non medical" drug use is a vital concept for present day legitimizations of medical power. This particular concept has been internalized by all categories of the public, although it has been attacked by theoreticians such as Szasz. And as long as the definition of "illegal drug use" helps medical professionals to retain their power, a large majority of them can be expected to hold to it.

Power also plays a role in the management of minorities. Management of minorities does not only relate to the opportunities of economic exploitation, but also applies to the warding off of fear. If mainstream groups develop fear of minorities for whatever reason, there is a small likelihood that scientists belonging to these mainstream groups will not share these fears. Science can then be used to translate popular and crude verbalisations into an "objective" scientific discourse of warding off policies that legitimate the use of physical force against the feared minorities. One of the most common legitimizations of the use of physical force is the redefinition of drug use as crime or "crime generating". Once this has been accomplished the social institutions that will care for drug users can be defined as the police, prison personnel or, in extreme cases, the army. The redefinition of illegal drug use as pathology is on first view completely different from its redefinition as crime. The difference, however, is mainly in the selection of control institutions. The violence of health institutions towards the users of illegal drugs is often less outspoken than the violence of criminal justice institutions. This is a difference that can be very important for individuals that are subject to this violence. But both medicalization and criminalization are techniques to control defined deviant groups and in this sense they are identical.

For example, it is to be concluded that the conventional combinations of behaviour we define as heroin dependence are mainly a product of society's reactions toward a frequent heroin user, not of the effects of heroin itself. We are so conditioned by medicine to think in terms of the pharmacological effects of a substance that drug-use related behaviours are automatically associated with the substance. But the effects of a substance are almost always mediated by the user and the social context in which use takes place. A failure to understand this interaction gives rise to an invalid emphasis on the pharmacological dimension. This distorted emphasis is often connected to narrowly conceived psychiatric models of explanation. Investigation of the concept of addiction itself, as an expression of "central cultural conceptions about motivation and behaviour" would have been a logical extension of this reasoning. Conceptually shifting away from the incorrigible association between frequent use of illegal drugs and pathology, a drug use career with all its secondary social effects can be researched in a completely different way. Once on this road (coupled with the view of the instrumental function of science for drug political status quo) one quickly recognizes "realities" that have been excluded as an object of scientific inquiry. A good example is the pleasure that drugs provide. Drug-related pleasure or other non-negative functions of drug use cannot be easily investigated within a political structure that is committed to the prohibition of drugs as a defense against evil. Imagine a high officer of the Inquisition in the late Middle Ages allowing for the possibility that a large proportion of heretics were "non evil"! This would have been impossible.

Thus, in conclusion it can be observed that the specific ways in which psychology and sociology have looked upon drug use and selected topics for research are often purely instrumental in not endangering the existence of the a priori's of the present "drug problem". On the other hand, both disciplines yield notions that enable us to clarify and identify this instrumentalism. Where an individual scientist will stand might be a matter of chance, but most probably it is a result of his attachment to conventional perspectives and prejudice on drug use or drug dependence. And the chances for developing a non-conventional scientific outlook on illegal drugs become slimmer as financial support for drug research is regulated by drug policy institutions whose aim is to support conventional drug politics. This works also the other way round. No doubt this way to look upon matters of drugs can be very much influenced by the simple circumstance of living somewhere where drug policy is deviant when seen from a global perspective. Finally, let's accept that a neutral view on drugs is highly improbable in a world that translates the drug issue in war metaphors. One has to be convinced that only the abolition of drug prohibition might ultimately create the conditions for a maximum of independent scientific involvement in the issue.


Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2005, 04:56:55 AM »
Drug warriors have established and maintained a national consensus that American must become free of drug use. By accepting an impossible goal and by accepting the idea that it must be achieved through police power, citizens relinquish more and more rights and revenue to police upon demand by Drug War leaders. Continued acquiescence to these escalating demands should create a police state. I believe authoritarians are manufacturing and manipulating public fears about drug use in order to create a police state where a much broader agenda of social control can be implemented, using government power to determine what movies we may watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them, determine whether we may or must pray to a deity. I believe the war on drug users masks a war on democracy. After all, what is the vision of a Drug-Free America? Millions in prison or slave labor, and only enthusiastic supporters of government policy allowed to hold jobs, attend school, have children, drive cars, own property. This is the combined vision of utopia held forth by Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Bennett, Daryl Gates and thousands of other drug warriors. News media and "public interest" advertising tell us this is the America for which all good citizens yearn.

Although the use of psychoactive drugs has risks as well as benefits, and there have been casualties, the "war on drugs" (like previous attempts at prohibition) has caused (and continues to cause) far more harm than drugs themselves. This "war" is a cover for a vicious persecution of people who have been made into criminals for the exercise of their natural right to modify their consciousness in a manner which they deem worthwhile (which humans have been doing for thousands of years). And this, basically, for the sake of financial gain by a few at the expense of the many.

The "war on drugs" is in part a propaganda war. The techniques of propaganda were first raised to an art by the Bolsheviks, and were refined and used by fascists of various colors from the 1930s in Europe to present-day America. The political scientist Leonard Schapiro, writing of Stalin, said:

The true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.

To the extent that the "drug warriors" (the metaphor of a "war on drugs" is itself one of their propaganda techniques) are successful in their propaganda campaign, any support for the decriminalization of drug usage (not to mention any suggestion that some kinds of prohibited drugs may actually have great potential benefit) will be received by the general public as an opinion obviously deranged, deriving clearly from someone of unsound mind (resulting, of course, as the propagandists would have us believe, from their prior drug usage). This propaganda war must be exposed and defeated before there can be any change in the social and legal status of drug usage. It is also important to understand the real motivation for this "war on drugs", which is not moral righteousness but simply the desire for financial profit. There is nothing "holy" about this "war". Speaking out in a rational and civil manner (or simply talking to one's friends) to point out the benefits of some drugs which are now illegal (such as cannabis) and to draw attention to the enormous harm to society resulting from the criminalization of drug usage is a way to defeat this propaganda campaign, even though it will require sustained effort by numerous people.

The U.S. government propaganda about the "war on drugs" disguises the fact (if we must speak of "war" at all) that this is a war on people people who (responsibly or otherwise) choose to use drugs or rather, drugs whose use authoritarian governments actively discourage in contrast to their encouragement of the officially-condoned disease- and death-causing drugs alcohol and tobacco. In a civilized society, war is a response by the government to a military attack from a hostile power. In a civilized society, the government does not make war upon its own people. Viewed from the perspective of the "war on drugs" the United States is no better than some tin-pot dictatorship in which those whom the government disapproves of regularly disappear and the rest live in fear of the same thing happening to them.

In America the "war on drugs" is big business. Lots of people make a lot of money from it police, judges, lawyers, probation officers, prison guards, companies that build prisons, companies that provide "security", hand gun manufacturers and many others including those supposedly "rogue" elements in the government itself (which are hardly "rogue" if they originate from the highest levels of government) that import heroin and cocaine to supply both the inhabitants of urban ghettos and the inhabitants of corporate boardrooms (more cocaine goes up the noses of affluent whites than of poor blacks). This is one reason why development of a saner drug policy is so difficult in the U.S. there are too many people in positions of power profiting from prohibition. Another reason is that any major revision of the government's prohibitionist position would require it to admit it has been wrong all these years, that it has in effect lied to the people while claiming to provide reliable information and guidance, and that its policies of encouraging the use of dangerous drugs and prohibiting the use of drugs which have few (if any) harmful effects have resulted in enormous suffering and loss of life. A government which prides itself on being a superpower and (according to its view of itself) practically infallible is unlikely to admit voluntarily that it has made a mistake of this enormity.

t s

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2005, 06:35:28 PM »
I think liberty resides in its exercise. It is preserved in the actual spouting of those odious views. It is maintained, and always has been, by brave and lonely cranks. Lately it seems though that our necessary cranks have been falling silent, struck dumb by a general assault on libery in America. This is no right-wing plot from the top. Like most totalitarian impulses, it has arisen among the people themselves. Terrified of virtual bogeymen we know only from the evening news, we have asked the government for shorter chains and smaller cages. And, market-driven as ever, it has been obliging us.

This is what is now taking place in our conduct of the War on Drugs. In this futile jihad, Americans have largely suspended habeas corpus, have allowed government to permanently confiscate their goods without indictment or trial, have flat-out discarded the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and voluntarily crippling the First, at least in-so-far as any expression might relate to drugs. In my gloomier moments, I wonder if the elimination of freedom in America is not what the War on Drugs was actually designed to accomplish. Certainly we haven't engaged this campaign because the psychoactive substances we are so determined to eliminate are inherently more dangerous than those we keep in plentiful and legal supply. Indeed, the most dangerous, antisocial, and addictive drugs taken by people -- the ones they should really be afraid to touch in any quantity -- are all legal. Alcohol, nicotine, and prescription sedatives do more American damage every day than LSD has done since it was derived in 1942. Each year, alcohol kills 100s of 1000s of Americans, many of them violently. Alcohol is a factor in most murders and suicides in America. It is a rare case of domestic violence or abuse where alcohol plays no role. Yet we don't hear people calling for its prohibition, nor would we support such an effort. We know it won't work.

It's not working for LSD either, and it's even less likely to. You have to be pretty high on acid before anyone's going to notice you being anything but extremely alert. Does this mean I think LSD is safe or that I am recommending its use? Hardly. I consider LSD to be a serious medicine, strong enough to make some people see God or the dharma. That's serious medicine. There are two points that need to be make: First, by diminishing the hazards inherent in our cultural drugs of choice and demonizing psychedelics, we head our children straight down the most dangerous path their youthful adventurism can take. Second, LSD is dangerous but not in the ways generally portrayed. By dressing it up in a Halloween costume of fictitious dangers, we encourage our kids to think we were also lying about its real ones. And LSD is dangerous.

It is dangerous because it promotes the idea that reality is something to be manipulated rather than accepted. This notion can seriously cripple one's coping abilities, although I would still argue that both alcohol and TV advertising do that more persuasively than LSD. And of course, if you're lightly sprung, it can leave you nuts. But LSD is not illegal because it endangers your sanity. LSD is illegal because it endangers Control. Worse, it makes authority seem funny. But laugh at authority in America and you will know risk. LSD is illegal primarily because it threatens dominant American culture, the culture of Control. This is not a sound use of law. Just laws arise to support the ethics of a whole society and not as a means for one of its cultural factions to impose power on another.

There are probably 25 million Americans who have taken LSD, and who would, if hard pressed in private, also tell you that it profoundly changed their lives, and not necessarily for the worse. I will readily grant that some of these are hopeless crystal worshipers or psychedelic derelicts creeping around Oregon woods. But far more of them are successul members of society, CEOs, politicians, Buddhist meditation teachers, ministers, and community leaders. This is true. Whether we want it to be or not. But the fact that so few among these millions dare utter this truth is, in a supposedly free country, a symptom of collective mental illness.

u c

Re: Do You Think Freud Was Nothing Else But A "Coke Campy Thing"?!
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2005, 07:39:31 PM »
But LSD is not illegal because it endangers your sanity. LSD is illegal because it endangers Control. Worse, it makes authority seem funny.


The "War on Drugs" Farce
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2005, 08:23:53 PM »
War on Drugs is an instrument of population control.

You could control people in a number of ways. One way was just by terror and violence, napalm bombing and so on, but they also worked on developing other kinds of population-control measures to keep people subjugated, ranging from propaganda to concentration camps. Propaganda is much more effective when it is combined with terror. You have the same problem domestically, where the public is constantly getting out of control. You have to carry out measures to insure that they remain passive and apathetic and obedient, and don't interfere with privilege or power. It's a major theme of modern democracy. As the mechanisms of democracy expand, like enfranchisement and growth, the need to control people by other means increases.

So the growth of corporate propaganda in the United States more or less parallels the growth of democracy, for quite straightforward reasons. It's not any kind of secret. It is discussed very frankly and openly in business literature and academic social-science journals. You have to "fight the everlasting battle for the minds of men," in their standard phraseology, to indoctrinate and regiment them in the way that armies regiment their bodies. Those are population control measures. This engineering or manufacture of consent is the essence of democracy, because you have to insure that ignorant and meddlesome outsiders -- meaning we, the people -- don't interfere with the work of the serious people who run public affairs in the interests of the privileged.

How does the War on Drugs fit into this? Well, one of the traditional and obvious ways of controlling people in every society, whether it's a military dictatorship or a democracy, is to frighten them. If people are frightened, they'll be willing cede authority to their superiors who will protect them: "OK, I'll let you run my life in order to protect me," that sort of reasoning. So the fear of drugs and the fear of crime is very much stimulated by state and business propaganda. The National Justice Commission repeatedly points out that crime in the United States, while sort of high, is not off the spectrum for industrialized societies. On the other hand, fear of crime is far beyond other societies, and mostly stimulated by various propaganda. The Drug War is an effort to stimulate fear of dangerous people from who we have to protect ourselves. It is also, a direct form of control of what are called "dangerous classes," those superfluous people who don't really have a function contributing to profit-making and wealth. They have to be somehow taken care of.

In some other countries you just hang the rabble. Yes, but in the U.S. you don't kill them, you put them in jail. The economic policies of the 1980's sharply increased inequality, concentrating such economic growth as there was, which was not enormous, in very few hands. The top few percent of the population got extremely wealthy as profits went through the roof, and meanwhile median-income wages were stagnating or declining sharply since the '70's. You're getting a large mass of people who are insecure, suffering from difficulty to misery, or something in between. A lot of them are basically going to be arrested, because you have to control them. Marijuana use was peaking in the late '70's, but there was not much criminalization. You didn't go to jail for having marijuana then because the people using it were nice folks like us, the children of the rich. You don't throw them into jail any more than you throw corporate executives into jail -- even though corporate crime is more costly and dangerous than street crime. But then in the '80's the use of various "unhealthy" substances started to decline among more educated sectors: marijuana and tobacco smoking, alcohol, red meat, coffee, this whole category of stuff. On the other hand, usage remained steady among poorer sectors of the population. In the United States, poor and black correlation -- they're not identical, but there's a correlation -- and in poor, black and hispanic sectors of the population the use of such substances remained steady. So take a look at those trends. When you call for a War on Drugs, you know exactly who you're going to pick up: poor black people. You're not going to pick up rich white people: you don't go after them anyway. In the upper-middle class suburb where I live, if somebody goes home and sniffs cocaine, police don't break into their house.