An article in Mother Jones recently exposed the “dark, not-so-eco-friendly, energy-sucking, toxic side” of the agri-pot industry in the United States. But trust me, the earth-worshiping hippies will reject their Mother Gaia for the high any day.
As potheads from across the fruited plain congregate in Denver and the smaller burgs throughout Colorado, I can’t help but wonder, “what the hell happened to our culture?” A majority of Colorado voters opted to legalize pot in November of 2012, many swayed by the argument: “Well, why is alcohol legal and pot isn’t? Alcohol gets you high and trillions of people die each year in drunk driving crashes!”
The answer is pretty simple, but it’s also logical, so if you’re a champion of cannabis, you might want to step out of the room so your head doesn’t explode. Let’s take a stroll back in time…
The first bender probably took place beneath a fruit tree where early man overindulged on some rotting fruit, and felt happy. Early man’s early wife tried it too and found that it made her forget, for a time, about the insects living in her hair. Peach Schnapps was discovered.
Jump ahead to 5,000 B.C. and Pyramid Pale Ale. The Mesopotamians and Egyptians became more sophisticated in their quest for the best brew and they began to distill alcoholic drinks from grain and other starchy staples.
The Dark Ages were also the Beer Ages. Life in the open sewers of Europe made it a little dangerous to drink from common water sources. Beer, having been distilled and containing anti-bacterial ethanol, was the preferred beverage. It didn’t enhance your functioning, but it didn’t kill you either.
Alcohol has been around since humans first developed the concept of cause and effect. I consume this or that, it makes me feel happy, I want more, can you drive me to the liquor store? Humans have had tens of thousands of years to learn how to assimilate alcohol.
Human tradition, especially Western tradition, is the point juncture at which alcohol and pot diverge. Alcohol is found everywhere, and virtually every culture has a set of traditions which dictate its use. Even the Mormon Church, which prohibits the drinking of alcohol, finds value in its use as a cleansing agent and disinfectant. The green energy industry will even turn feed corn into booze and sell it to you at inflated prices to put in your gas tank. Because alcohol, with its many uses, is so a deeply rooted in Western culture, the culture itself has a developed a framework entrusting its management to the personal self-control of its users.
This implicit self-management of alcohol arrives through religion, social norms, and laws set forth to protect the public from those who abuse it, the most important of which is family tradition. This makes sense since families are the best agents of personal habit, but a variety of studies further prove that values taught early in life have great staying power. Adult patterns of alcohol use begin in homes of origin, so alcohol abuse is often an inherited trait. But if his parents applied strict limits and protocols pertaining to alcohol use, the adult drinker is more likely to have good self-regulation. If alcohol was prohibited by the family because of faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for example, or because of a simple desire to avoid its bad effects, the adult is likely to reflect those same values and abstain completely.
Teenagers will often stray from the patterns and rules of alcohol use set forth by their families before making a determination about what their life courses. It is a statistical fact that more often than not, that once in adulthood those errant teens will return to the standards with which he was raised. Families, not government, are the best regulators of alcohol consumption. The West inculcates family traditions which deal with booze at the most personal levels. Regardless of how government attempts to legislate alcohol, it is a permanent fixture in Western society and it best regulators are parents.
Pot is not the same as alcohol. American society has no norms for the open social use of pot and other drugs. Whereas alcohol has been with mankind for thousands of years, drugs have either destroyed the populations who used them, or they are so new to the mainstream that there exist no norms for their socially acceptable use. Across the Atlantic, permissive European drug laws have done more to harm culture and erode national identity on that continent than the prior centuries of alcohol consumption.
There are tribes scattered throughout the world, from the Amazon to Southern Africa, that use drugs for healing or religious rituals. They often employ ancient traditions that regulate the use of the drugs for specific uses in rituals and social exchanges. However, looking at these egalitarian cultures one has to wonder, “Would they be building hospitals and sports stadiums instead of scratching their subsistence out of the earth and living in mud huts if they weren’t burdened by superstitions and the hallucinogenic rituals that adorn them?”
If pot is legal, why not cocaine, meth, heroin, LSD, and all their ugly counterparts? Giving a legislative wink and nod to marijuana as a socially acceptable substance would increase abuse of other, harder substances, domestic violence, property crimes, and since Americans are reluctant to allow people to languish in the gutters of their broken lives, it would also, of necessity in a compassionate society, increase the size of government.
By Marjorie Haun 10/28/14