Peter Hitchens is a regular critic of the anti-prohibition movement. He writes for the highly respectable (?) ‘Mail Online’: a commercial news-source renowned for its unbiased and open-minded journalism, its intellectual rigour, and its progressive values.
Hitchens recently published an article, ‘The Cannabis Cult‘, in which he expresses horror at the notion that drug-prohibition is a civil liberties issue.
Firstly, humanity has been free to use cannabis and magic mushrooms for thousands of years. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that humanity has always used mind-altering substances for a variety of purposes, there is also a great deal of evidence linking them to some of the earliest creative endeavors.
So the freedom over our own minds is a freedom we have long enjoyed: drug prohibition is just a hundred years old, it has been hysterically imposed on people by the state for about fifty years. It is still in its infancy, and I hope to God that I never see it grow to be an adult.
Secondly, of course this is about civil liberties: people are being locked up by the thousands. In America there is an entire industry in locking citizens up for harmless drug offenses: thousands of people are making their livings by locking up drug-offenders. In the more savage parts of the world: executions.
Of course this is about civil liberties: the state is telling you what you can and cannot do, with your own mind!
Hitchens obviously thought he should attempt to bolster his article by referencing a respected literary figure. It is curious that Peter chose Aldous Huxley: a man simultaneously known for his use of psychedelics (mescaline and LSD), for his superior intellectual and creative capacities, and for his goodness of character. A man whose key works were inspired by mind-altering drugs. But wait, didn’t he just write:
“Drug-taking makes its victims passive, fuddles their ability to think and makes their speech incoherent. It is , in those ways at the very least, the ally of authority and the enemy of thought and speech.”
I wonder if Aldous Huxley could be described in such a way? Was his mind passive and fuddled? No, his mind was enhanced.
Science is showing us that LSD & mushrooms mushrooms can have therapeutic properties. LSD has even been termed ‘The Problem Solving Drug’. How can the people who benefit from these drugs be called victims?
Any way: the best thing about his article is the web backlash that ensued. There’s a lot of good writing in there by people from all over the world so I hope you’ll check it out.