Among the useful tasks accomplished on the Christmas visit to my mother’s house was dealing with (i.e. disposing of) most of my old correspondence. They say that the difference between a radical and a conservative is 20 years. So what should I make of this?
Saxmundham, Suffolk. 14th March 1987
If, as your profile today suggests, the tabloid papers have rehabilitated Boy George as a symbolic “victim of the pushers” then they do drug-users, and the rest of us, who have to support the costs of drug abuse, a great wrong. For they hold out to the user the most powerful and deceptive of excuses: “It isn’t my fault; he made me do it.”
Pushers only supply someone’s demand, and taking a new drug is still a positive decision, even if the first one is free. Continuing a habit requires a long series of decisions to take one’s poison rather than to do other things with one’s time and money. It may feel like a forced choice, but the first step to freedom is to recognise that there is a choice involved. [We might elevate that to a general principle – GH, 2006]
The child’s excuse can still apply: “But I didn’t know… He lied to me. He made me do it.” No pusher is under an obligation to be honest, no in-crowd to evaluate and announce the risks of an essentially exciting-because-surreptitious activity – why believe the authorities about this when it is palpably part of their desire to control you, and they lie about everything?
The greater the repression of drug-use, the more ruthless and dishonest will be the surviving suppliers. (Far from being the Mafia’s enemy, the Drug Squad is its greatest friend, cutting down the competition and making control easier.)
No, the Great and the Good (and the tabloids) have it wrong. The cycle, of horror stories leading to unjustified fears, leading to repression, to ignorance, to gangsterism, more horrors, fears… obscures the relatively simple danger for the user, and vastly inflates the problem for everyone.
There is a step – and a difficult, but the only one – which can reduce in the long run the ignorant bravado, addiction, mess, disease, expense, accidental poisoning, purposeful deception, and organised crime stemming from heroin; the one which throws back all responsibility to the user, who must be able to say, “my decision,” and “I made a mistake.” Legalise it.
Though there are some ways my opinions have evolved (I no longer accept, even for rhetorical purposes the mirror-magic conception of “organised crime”, for example), I am still making the same point to a deaf establishment 20 years later. So, very nearly, is George.
Is there no mellowing path for a libertarian? Am I a singualar case of arrested development? Or is the generational reversal thesis sense when applied to musical and fashion-sense, nonsense on social and political questions?
The OR may not be exclusive, folks.