Tuesday, May 22, 2012

on a more mundane note.

 Why I think being stoned and being drunk is wrong. 
I think it’s wrong to be stoned and I think it’s wrong to be drunk.  Being stoned and being drunk are synthetic (fake) states of “feel good” consciousness and hence make one miserable. (Yes, I think one can be miserable without feeling miserable in the same way one can be guilty without feeling guilty; read Plato (specifically the Gorgias and the Republic) if you’re confused about this.) Having a fake feeling of “happiness” is the epitome of misery and anyone who pursues it on a regular basis is in that respect miserable and pathetic.
N.B.:  My reason for thinking this has nothing to do with the adverse health effects (or lack thereof—alcohol is clearly worse) of either substance.  Nor has this anything to do with the social problems (or lack thereof—again alcohol is worse) created by either substance.  Let it be that both substances are equally harmless to one’s body and community as drinking water—my principal reason for thinking that being high and being drunk is wrong would still go through unscathed.  
N.B.: Smoking pot for *truly* medicinal reasons (e.g., chronic / excruciating pain) isn’t wrong for the same reason that using opiates medicinal reasons isn’t wrong.  The junkie injects heroine in order to take a normal/healthy state of mind into a synthetically altered state (or sadly, a synthetically normal state), but the chemo patient uses morphine to take an unnaturally altered state of mind (excruciating pain) to what would otherwise be a (relatively) more healthy/normal state.  The same chasm of a difference divides the pothead from the pot smoking hospice patient. 
Why I think pot should be illegal and why I think alcohol shouldn’t be. 
(though I would support increased restrictions on the sale of alcohol). 
Though it’s true that alcohol can alter one’s state of consciousness much more violently than pot can (or so I’m told—I wouldn’t know), the fact remains that one can drink without intending to get drunk or even buzzed but one cannot smoke without intending to get high or at least buzzed. To say the same thing, one can sip on 1.5 ounces of whiskey over a half hour period for the sake of its taste and its (non-mind-altering) effects without intending to get buzzed and without getting buzzed.  The same cannot be said for lighting up a joint, and anyone who tells you that she smokes a certain strain of cannabis purely for its flavor profile is lying.  If alcohol got no one drunk it would still be readily available.  If weed got no one high it would only be known by its binomial nomenclature (that is, by no one who isn’t a botanist or stoned out of her mind looking up random wikipedia articles).  Anyone ever hear of Epiphyllum phyllanthus?  Didn’t think so.  I’ll sell you an eighth, though, for 40 bucks. It’s just as skunky as Snoop Dogg Master Kush and it will make you feel like you just sprinted up two flights of stairs.  Any takers? Didn’t think so. 
“But,” (I hear my Legalize It Now! students protesting), “most people drink to get drunk!”  
Right.  So most people should be more temperate or not drink. What’s your point?  Furthermore, that’s a really good reason to seriously restrict the sale of alcohol.  (We can start with a two drink maximum at bars and 2 six pack / ½ bottle of liquor / 2 bottles of wine per week maximum wherever alcohol is sold. To quote John Mark Reynolds, mickey mouse rules for mickey mouse behavior.)
So in a word:  Because the consumption of alcohol can be moral and pot cannot, I support the legal status quo of both substances. (However, I do not support medical marijuana [sic] statutes akin to those in California, for they pretty much make pot de facto legal.)


Blogger Unknown said...

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9:58 AM  
Blogger JustMe said...

"alcohol is clearly worse" physically and socially?
what the heck?
Those statements are a bit too unqualified for me. I believe that inhaling any burning material and the particles it releases are worse for my lungs and me physically than if I had an ocasional red wine with dinner.
But aside from that I loved hearing a refreshingly different point of view.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

Hi JustMe,

When I made that point I had in mind the pothead equivalent of a heavy drinker. And with that qualification in mind I think that alcohol is worse for one's body and worse socially. (Perhaps if we include the the typical psychological effects of chronic pot use (e.g., laziness, loss of motivation) maybe they're equally harmful physically- but I'm also tempted to categorize these effects as social as opposed to physical.)

But aside from all of that, I was sloppy with the qualification in the first place because I'm willing to concede to the stoner crowd all of their usual points for sake of argument to show that my principal reason why I think smoking pot is wrong still stands.

I appreciate your encouragement! Perhaps you should start a blog!

9:31 AM  

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