Prediction: Stories Like This Will Be Compared To “Reefer Madness”

ReeferMadness_04

Because elite potheads love their weed, nobody has the guts to stand in their way, and consequences be damned.

The CNN story describes a new study that suggests that smoking a lot of pot, especially if you are young, makes you dumber.

It’s not conclusive, of course. Research seldom is. It also doesn’t matter, since a combination of relentless pro-stoner advocacy, resulting contempt for the law and the fact that a disproportionate number of minorities and poor are getting caught with the drug and going to jail—making the prohibition itself racist in today’s “race trumps everything” political culture—has assured that marijuana will join tobacco, alcohol and legalized gambling as socially destructive—but lucrative! Profits! Taxes! Yum Yum!—forces in our society. Lives will be ruined, shattered and lost, real costs in money and productivity will be huge, and little positive will be gained in exchange.

It just seems so obvious that we should know how harmful these kinds of things are before we legalize them, and not start looking into it after the horse is gone, the genie is out and Pandora’s Box is open and lying on the floor.

It just seems dumb to…Hey! Wait a minute…

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Pointer: Fark

Facts: CNN

“How Can People Consider Voting For Candidates This Unethical?”: New York State Assembly Candidate Charles Barron (D) and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis (R)

Barron (top); Ardis (bottom). Do your civic duty and vote: cyanide will be handed out when you leave...

Barron (top); Ardis (bottom). Do your civic duty and vote: cyanide will be handed out when you leave…

(“How Can People Consider Voting For Candidates This Unethical?” or HCPCVFCTU for short will flag the worst of the worst, the really awful politicians  whose lack of ethics should be a source of humiliation to all who support them.)

I have pledged to keep this category balanced between Republicans and Democrats, and since the first candidate featured was a Democrat and the utterly horrific candidate who came to may attention this morning also belonged to that party, I am featuring two politicians this morning to avoid the inevitable accusations that I take my orders from Glenn Beck and Fox News:

  • Charles Barron (D)  Barron is a New York City Councilman who is expected to coast to an easy victory after winning a Democratic primary for an open seat on the New York State legislature. He is an outspoken fan of Third World military dictators, Communist thugs and murderers, among them the late Libyan leader Muammar el-Quaddafi and former Cuban President Fidel Castro. “All my heroes were America’s enemies,” Barron proudly told the New York Observer in a recent interview. One of his favorite role models is Zimbabwe’s repressive President Robert Mugabe, whom he compares to Nelson Mandela. “I would love for him to come to Albany. I would love for him to come anywhere in the United States, really,”  Barron says. “I think he’s a shining example of an African leader on the African continent.”

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “US Priorities: Make War On Cheese, Not On Drugs”

smoking_weedThe articulate squid commenter, Extradimensional Cephalopod, weighed into the contentious discussion over the wisdom of pot use and government approval there-of with this thought-provoking piece.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post: US Priorities: Make War On Cheese, Not On Drugs.

I’ll have a few comments at the end.

Full disclosure: I have not used marijuana, but I have had its effects described to me in detail by people who have. My understanding of it is that it has at least two separate and notable effects, which can vary based on the particular strain. One of them is a relaxing effect, although some strains actually increase anxiety at some point after use. However, the relaxing effect makes it suitable for medical purposes such as treating seizures. The other effect I am aware of is an increase in the brain’s divergent thinking patterns; that is, it increases random association, enhancing creativity and making experiences more vivid. A user can increase this effect deliberately by increasing the quantity inhaled or ingested to the point where coherent thought is difficult, but this requires very high levels of intake. I am told that it is not chemically addictive, or toxic except inasmuch as inhaling smoke in general is toxic, but more on the level of incense rather than cigarettes.

In my opinion, people have a right to use the substance provided they do not take actions that put others at risk by doing so, such as driving. I see no reason to ban the substance, but one can certainly ban taking actions that become dangerous under its effects. As a transhumanist, I see nothing inherently wrong with using a form of technology to alter one’s mental state artificially. Marijuana does not seem like a harmful or dangerous way to do so, as long as one is responsible. I agree that people who use marijuana, or alcohol, for that matter, can become very boring and less able to have interesting conversations, although sometimes the opposite happens; it depends on who the person was to begin with and how they react.

On the other hand, the ethics system that I subscribe to and through which I come to the above conclusions is based on promoting consciousness. One of the root problems with this world is that humans get very easily addicted to mindsets, experiences, or control. Addictions are blind spots, limitations that a consciousness has picked up that allow it to be manipulated by the world instead of being its own master. An addiction occurs when a mindset, experience, or form of control automatically becomes a person’s first priority in certain situations even where the person would intellectually judge it to be subordinate to a more important goal. It is possible to get mentally addicted to pretty much anything: alcohol, marijuana, candy, sex, adrenaline, attention, solitude, et cetera. To a certain extent we all have addictions in that when our lives are changed we feel uncomfortable and stressed, but toning addictions down is part of empowering ourselves.

That being said, my ethics system leads me to disapprove of the use of marijuana (or other drugs, for that matter) as a means to induce apathy to escape the stress that would otherwise lead a person to self-improvement. My worldview draws a distinction between joy and well-being. Joy is a positive feeling towards one’s current circumstances. Well-being, however, I define as regularly developing new abilities or improving one’s point of view, or any sort of change that results in a person having a more harmonious relationship with the world and being able to promote harmony for other individuals. Here is where the “it’s the journey, not the destination” cliche comes in. Joy may be the destination that people try to reach because it is associated with a state of increased harmony, but consciousness, the process by which people try to reach asymptotically-increasing states of harmony, is what makes us people in the first place, with all the associated awareness and abilities, and it is consciousness that I prioritize.

Long story short: it’s okay to use drugs to augment one’s ability to improve oneself (especially if one has a disability that requires the use of drugs to bring mental functions within human normal), as a tool (yes, sometimes a crutch) to access mindsets you want to use but can’t invoke at will, or as a neutral form of recreation. Using drugs as a substitute for self-improvement so that one can stagnate without feeling bad about it is pathetic and not empowering at all.

I hope this post has been coherent, but I have an internal vocabulary that has developed in partial isolation, so if there is any confusion that you want resolved, please let me know.

It’s me again. Just a few notes:

  • One thing I always appreciate about EC is that he never makes a typo. I am awash in envy.
  • I have been shocked at how many commenters on the main post never have used pot. Either I am not as strange as I always thought I was, or this blog does not attract anything close to a representative cross-section of America.
  • I should have mentioned in the original post that the Federal government still regards pot as illegal. However, with its first confirmed former pot-head as President ( Clinton didn’t inhale, remember), and the “base” of the Democratic party as well as most reporters clearly in favor of Stoned America, I think the eventual legalization is a certainty.
  • Alcohol is not chemically addictive either, except for the minority of the population that doesn’t metabolize booze properly, those we call alcoholics. However, there are many alcohol addicts who are not alcoholics, and they are psychologically addicted, and seriously so. Psychological addiction to a drug can be and often is both indistinguishable from the physical kind, and just as destructive to them and those who depend on them.
  • I am dubious about the substantive beneficial effects of pot, John Lennon and Timothy Leary notwithstanding. The use of marijuana for genuine palliative purposes is obviously valid; it is also obviously being abused.
  • I endorse the Squid’s penultimate sentence, but I think that this kind of drug use should never be discussed without the adjective “irresponsible” prominently displayed. For this is why discouraging such use is a legitimate, indeed crucial, government function, and a function the government cannot perform while approving the conduct, and, as we all know is coming, profiting by it. The government has to promote responsible conduct from its citizens, because irresponsible conduct does material harm to society.

US Priorities: Make War On Cheese, Not On Drugs

wisconsin-cheese-headsUSA Today reports that the increase in state-approved marijuana use is being accompanied by an increase in pot-related auto fatalities.

Gee…who could have seen that coming? Well, I did, among others, but never mind: far worse lies ahead. The consensus of American society is now that being able to get stupid for recreation is worth more death and addiction, and our cowardly political leaders have neither the wit nor the fortitude to swat away the lame rationalizations that have driven that position–“Hey, alcohol is worse, so why not add another destructive, useless drug to our societal pathologies?”—that have led to the dawning of a perpetually stoned America.

But not to worry: when the threat to our health posed by other non-essential pleasures looms, the government nannies are on it like piranha. The FDA, for example, has moved to make sure American can’t buy and eat cheese aged on wooden boards, because it, well, there really isn’t a good reason. Because they can, I guess. It couldn’t be because board-aged cheeses cause automobile accidents, workplace deaths and kids to fail at school, because we know our culture no longer cares about any of that.

Cheese-heads are out, pot-heads are in.

Cool.

It’s comforting that we have our priorities straight.

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Sources: USA Today, Overlawyered

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunce: Columbia, South Carolina Police Chief Ruben Santiago”

A few quick points, before I present Chris Marschner’s excellent Comment of the Day:

  • You know you’re posting too much when a you’ve completely forgotten an essay less than a month old, like this one.
  • Why didn’t someone tell me that I left the “l” out of “Columbia”?
  • I’m going to have to start working on my proof-reading again, clearly. There were a couple more typos in this post.
  • Chris just started commenting, and this is the third carefully written, well-reasoned substantive piece he has produced. I am grateful; such debuts raise everyone’s game.
  • I liked this post, and not many people read it or commented on it. I am increasingly worried about the trend in law enforcement and in government generally, especially the schools, to brush off free speech as an inconvenience. I’m grateful to Chris for raising the issue again.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Dunce: Columbia, South Carolina Police Chief Ruben Santiago”: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Columbia, South Carolina Police Chief Ruben Santiago

The face of police power abuse in Columbia, S.C.

The face of police power abuse in Columbia, S.C.

If our culture did a minimally competent job communicating the essential right of free speech in the United States, people like Ruben Santiago wouldn’t think as the do—as they do being best described as ignorantly, censoriously, arrogantly and stupidly. Both the Left and the Right are to blame for the message not getting out to the public, and, consequently, members of the public who acquire governmental authority: the government can’t threaten you or harm you for mere speech…the Left through its attempts at political correctness, mind control and indoctrination in the schools, the Right in its efforts to use laws to curb expression involving sex and violence in the arts and entertainment.

In Columbia,Police Chief Ruben Santiago took to the Columbia Police Department Facebook page to announce that his officers had seized  $40,000 in marijuana from an apartment after a successful drug investigation. Citizen Brandon Whitmer, on his own page, took note of the arrest and opined, “maybe (police) should arrest the people shooting people in 5 points instead of worrying about a stoner that’s not bothering anyone. It’ll be legal here one day anyway.” Santiago replied ominously to Whitmer, saying, “(W)e have arrested all of the violent offenders in Five points. Thank you for sharing your views and giving us reasonable suspicion to believe you might be a criminal, we will work on finding you.”

Somebody  in the department with a working knowledge of the Constitution quickly got that post deleted, but Santiago defended it in a double-down post, writing, Continue reading

Annals Of The Ethics Incompleteness Theorem: The Snuggle House And “The Dress Code Effect”

Awww! Who could object to a little snuggle?

Awww! Who could object to a little snuggle?

Almost any rule, low or ethical principle can be deconstructed using what I call border anomalies. The first time I was aware of it was as a Harvard freshman in the late Sixties, when all assumptions, good and bad, useful and not, were considered inherently suspect. The college required all students to wear jackets and ties to meals at the student union, and up until my first year, nobody objected. But that fall, my classmates set out to crack the dress code, so they showed up for meals with ties, jackets, and no pants, or wearing belts as ties, or barefoot. (Yes, there were a lot of future lawyers in that class.) Pretty soon Harvard gave up, because litigating what constitutes ties, jackets and “proper dress” became ridiculously time-consuming and made the administration look petty and stupid. Of course, there are good reasons for dress codes—they are called respect, dignity, community and civility—-but never mind: the dress code couldn’t stand against those determined to destroy them by sending them down the slippery slope.

If any rules are to survive to assist society in maintaining important behavioral standards, we have to determine how we want to handle the  effects described by  the Ethics Incompleteness Theory, which holds that even the best rules and laws will be inevitably subjected to anomalous situations on their borders, regarding which strict enforcement will result in absurd or unjust results. The conservative approach to this dilemma is to strictly apply the law, rule or principle anyway, and accept the resulting bad result as a price for having consistent standards. The liberal approach is no better: it demands amending  rules to deal with the anomalies, leading to vague rules with no integrity—and even more anomalies. The best solution, in my view, is to regard the anomalies as exceptions, and to handle them fairly, reasonably and justly using basic principles of ethics, not strictly applying  the rule or law alone while leaving it intact. Continue reading

The Worst Sting Of All

Not funny, not clever, not necessary. Just cruel.

Not funny, not clever, not necessary. Just cruel.

The combination of the 24-hour cable news glut and the internet causes some significant  distortions in public perception. The public periodically thinks that sharks are mounting an organized assault on humanity, for example, which is bad for sharks. The public believes that gun violence is suddenly worse than ever in the U.S., when it is in fact dropping dramatically, which is good for hysteria-based gun control efforts.  It believes that storms like the recent tornadoes are more frequent and more deadly than they have ever been, leading ignorant news reporters and Congressmen to link the deaths to global warming. This good for Al Gore. In my case, stories like this one, which I would have blissfully been unaware of earlier in my life, come across by computer screen every day, leading me to contemplate moving to Pago Pago, or Mars out of despair for the decline of fairness and intelligence in the human race. I will steady myself and presume that without more detailed evidence, it is foolish to conclude the police and the schools are not, in fact, in league with Satan.

Only some of them are.

In Temecula, California, an undercover cop masquerading as a student orchestrated a drug bust in a Temecula Valley Unified School District high school by befriending and manipulating an autistic boy into obtaining small amounts of marijuana. You can read the whole awful tale here (the boy’s family is suing). Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Everybody Connected With This Ridiculous Story

 

"Just remove that offensive bumper sticker, sir, and they'll be no trouble."

“Just remove that offensive bumper sticker, sir, and they’ll be no trouble.”

USA Today, NBC, Yahoo! and other news outlets are snickering as they report the story of an elderly couple pulled over by two police cars in Tennessee because a Buckeye leaf decal on their car, signifying their fealty to the Ohio State football team, was mistaken for a marijuana leaf by the men in blue. “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” one of the cops asked the Jonas-Boggionis, the occupants of the vehicle. It was all a big misunderstanding! Boy, are those Tennessee cops dumb, not to be able to tell a Buckeye leaf from pot!

In classic “what’s wrong with this story?” fashion, not one of the news media reports, in their hilarity over the cops stopping the couple out of official botanical and sports ignorance, noted  that the police would have been just as wrong if the decal DID portray a marijuana leaf. It’s called the First Amendment, guys—perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s the same Constitutional amendment that allows you media reporters to do the rotten, incompetent job you do covering the news without  being declared by law to be the menace to a free and informed society you are. You know, it might be helpful, when the police engage in a blatant First Amendment violation and abuse of state power, for reporters to recognize and explain it to the public as such, rather than make the news story about how the police stopped the Jonas-Boggionis for the “wrong reason.” Even if they had stopped it for what the stories say is the right reason, it would be the wrong reason. Continue reading

Carla McKinney, Proud “Naked Teacher,” A.K.A. Ethics Dunce

This isn't Carla. But it's not far off, either...

This isn’t Carla. But it’s not far off, either…

The ever popular “Naked Teacher Principle” category is almost completely filled with school instructors who either placed their naughty bits online before teaching became their calling, had others do so without their knowledge or permission, or took some measures to ensure their embrace of questionable modesty and conduct would not come to the attention of their students. Not 23-year-old math teacher Carla McKinney, though! The Overland High School (in Aurora, Colorado) role model is a wild child and proud of it. Her Twitter page contained half-naked photos, and her tweets were filled with sexual innuendo, approving comments about drug use ( “Naked. Wet. Stoned”),  and even a boast that she had pot with her on school grounds.

“Watching a drug bust go down in the parking lot. It’s funny cuz I have weed in my car in the staff parking lot,” she tweeted happily. Another tweet reported that McKinney was high while grading her students’ class work. Yes, she is an idiot, and one who lacks the common sense, responsibility and character to train terriers, much less children.

The school has placed her on administrative leave, and if she isn’t fired, the administrators there fit my description of McKinney.

Again invoking and paraphrasing the immortal words of Faber College’s Dean Wormer, I say, “Naked, wet and stoned is no way to go through life, Carla.” But if that’s your choice, you have to do it as something other than a teacher.

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Facts: Daily Caller