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Commercialism and drugs

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hush
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since 05-27-2001
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Ohio, USA


0 posted 05-25-2003 04:02 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Okay, so the "Big Tobacco Likes Kids" banner ad on this site has me thinking... if drugs were legalized, would liberal groups who are actively trying to have them legalized attack the big business that would surely spring up around it?

I mean, there seems to be this attitude that greed (in the form of cigarettes) is killing people... and, I mean, that's essentially true. (Actually, the people who choose to smoke are killing themselves; it doesn't change the fact the companies manufacture a harmful product and sell it at an enormous profit.) But I know plenty of people who are under the impression that marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes are... I'm sure pot dealers don't do much to discourage this wishful (and inaccurate) thinking.

Is it simply okay to profit off of harming another's body because you're doing something anti-establishment? Is it a rebelliousness thing?

If Marlboro made joints, would the ganja-smoking hippies smile and accept capitalism? Or would they just as soon spurn their drugs and say "Big Marijuana Likes Kids?"

Because it's not like "little marijuana" such as high school dealers or neighborhood burnouts don't like kids... it's not like drug dealers ID fifteen year olds.

What makes the practice (in and of itself, without considering issues of market control, employee mistreatment, globalization, and all the other issues that come with big business in general) any more moral to do on a small-scale than on a large scale?

If I grow tobacco on my own farm, and process it myself, and sell it at a profit, with the full knowledge that it will most likely cause health problems in my customers, am I any less morally objectionable than Phillip Morris or R.J. Reynolds?

Just something that occured to me...

[This message has been edited by hush (05-25-2003 04:04 AM).]

Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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1 posted 05-25-2003 09:45 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

You're a true genius hush. It's taken people a lot longer than you have lived to discover the hypocracy of political ideology -- and most of them still don't get it.  

Welcome to the unpopular territory of centrism.  Your brain will be required at all times though -- that's the hard part.  
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


2 posted 05-25-2003 08:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This is great!
JP
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since 05-25-99
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3 posted 05-25-2003 10:36 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

why would centrism be considered unpopular?  It seems to me that the majority of the populace are truly centrists, they just happen to be the quiet ones.  I feel we hear more about the left and the right (or far left and far right) because they have to shout louder to get themselves noticed and they mistakenly believe volume equates to acceptance of their ideals.

Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
Nil Desperandum, Fata viem invenient

Local Rebel
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4 posted 05-25-2003 10:53 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Why should they be unpopular?  They shouldn't JP... but they are...

About 30% are yellow dog democrats.  That is to say -- they would vote for a yellow dog if it was a democrat before they would vote for a republican.

About 30% are hard core republicans and are about the same as the yellow dogs.

the other 40% are either farther left or farther right -- in the center -- or nowhere because they can't make up their minds -- or -- you may have seen some of them on the Tonight Show in the Jaywalking segment.

That leaves a very small number of true centrists -- which is why we don't have any on Capitol Hill or in the Whitehouse and only a few make it to the bench of the Supreme Court
Ron
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5 posted 05-26-2003 01:35 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Is it simply okay to profit off of harming another's body because you're doing something anti-establishment?

Who said it was okay?

I think if the comparison were shifted to like groups, the questions being asked would disappear. The people who attack Big Tobacco, I strongly suspect, do NOT use tobacco themselves. I think if those people were compared to people who do NOT use marijuana, you would likely find very similar attitudes prevailing. And if you looked really hard and could find one or two people who didn't use alcohol, they would likely feel the same.
hush
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6 posted 05-28-2003 10:23 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Actually, Ron, the people who smoke pot seem to think it's okay. I know a lot of people who smoke marijuana who believe the myth that pot is better for you than cigarettes.

For example, one of Ani DiFranco's most recent songs basically ridicules the government for 'outlawing a plant' and for its 'supposed authority over nature is a dream...'  

I saw an interview with her once, and she became upset when the interviewer asked her how it felt to be a young female entrepreneur... she spurned the title because of its associations with capitalism... and yet, the woman runs a record company.

Now, anyone who has paid any attention to what I write, especially in music threads, knows I'm a huge fan of hers, but it's impossible not to notice the huge discrepency between ideals here.

Some people are against big business no matter what... they are against it as a concept, not just for certain unfavorable side effects... Think beat generation... biggest bunch of druggies you ever read... also the biggest bunch of socialists and communists.

I think you're right that people who campaign to keep kids off of cigarettes probably don't smoke... I guess I just wondered what the liberal reaction would be to the marketing that would ensue.
jbouder
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


7 posted 05-28-2003 12:33 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Hush:

I imagine the ganja-smoking hippies (and Ani DiFranco, for that matter) would probably shift their attention to the government, which would, without a doubt, see legalization of drugs as an opportunity to impose a Joint Tax.

Ya know ... I wonder if Ani DiFranco is an existentialist ... that might explain her aversion to slipping into the social role of "entrepreneur."  Labeling her with a social role she doesn't like (regardless of how accurate the label is) becomes an attack on her authenticity.

Interesting post.

Jim
Ron
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8 posted 05-28-2003 01:28 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Amy, I guess I was responding to a different aspect of your question. Those who don't smoke pot and consider it unhealthy are against it regardless of whether the grower is small or big business. Just as it is with cigarettes. Alternatively, I'm suggesting that those who don't think marijuana is unhealthy would be unlikely to protest even if it was marketed by big business. Just as it is with cigarettes. In short, I see a bit of human stupidity in the situation, but no hypocrisy.

Uh, by the way, I was born in 1950 and grew up in the beat generation. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your assessment, though.
hush
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Ohio, USA


9 posted 05-28-2003 09:49 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

The first book of poetry I owned was Allen Ginsberg's selected poems (unless you count my copy of Poe's collected works, but there are more stories than poems in there anyway)... I was something of a late bloomer, got it for Christmas during my junior year of high school. He was the only beatnik I ever really got into... placement was probably an issue. I only managed about two-thirds of Naked Lunch (although I'm going to go back at it again... I have some trouble with how abstract it is...), and I do have some poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Diane DiPrima, and Amiria Baraka that I quite like... never quite got into Kerouac... but the thing was that even if I didn't especially like some of their literature, I found their lives absolutely fascinating (that's actually what got me through On The Road).

I remeber reading Kaddish for the first time, just after my grandfather died (I figured it was pretty appropriate) and reading the frankness with which he discussed communism... and I was blown away. I thought people couldn't even say that word in America and it was the first time it was actually presented to me as an actual concept, rather than just an Archie Bunker insult.

I guess it was this archetype I had in mind when I set out with this post... the idealism of people who like free drugs with their free love, people who think wealth (and likewise, pot) should be evenly distributed, and that the profit system, to borrow another quote from DiFranco, "follows the path of least resistance and the path of least resistance is what makes a river crooked, makes it serpentine; Capitalism is the Devil's wet dream" (can I say that in an open forum?)

It's more the ideaology than the drugs I'm questioning here... my belief that there has to be a happy medium between rampant white collor crime and an Atlas Shrugged dystopia makes it impossible to see things in black and white either way... not that most people do... but I just wonder if there will ever be any kind of compromise between the two extremes...

See, Jim, to my way of thinking... hell, impose the joint tax. Why would a communist or a socialist complain about taxes? They're for the common good.

Obviously I know that's not as simple as it sounds, and I doubt any pacifist hippy (here I go with the generalizations, but there's a reason it's there) is going to want his/her pot money spent on a war they don't agree with...

Better yet, why not allocate all tax money from the sales of drugs (cigarettes, alcohol, pot, even caffeinne if you want to take it that far) to do something decidedly positive for the community? That way, the possible damage being done to society is being paid for by those responsible for whatever "moral decay" is in progress... Use it to improve city parks, or to rebuild schools (that's what the big tobacco settlements of a couple years ago are being used for in Toledo), or buy books for libraries...

and if all the taxes are going to non-profit (and non-violent) causes such as this, nobody can accuse the government for pushing people to buy more drugs so it can reap more tax dollars.

Interesting side note... I read an article in Mother Jones a couple months ago regarding an international effort to phase out public tobacco use and tobacco advertising, much the way it is in the U.S. now. (this was in 2001, BTW). Apparently the delegate from the U.S. (Thomas Novotny) had endorsed this idea as beneficial to public health, but was told at the last minute by William Steiger, director of U.S. office of Global Health Affairs (and Bush Sr.'s godson) to reverse his position.

Now I agree that it stinks to high heavens... but could it also be a free speech issue? Could tobacco companies have an inherent right to market in other countries without international interference?

I don't know. The question, however, was never asked... because Mother Jones is a left-wing magazine and it seems to me that they assume that all liberals will unanimously agree... and that this accord will silence the issue of free speech.

Micheal Moore pulled many similar assumption in Stupid White Men, the most notable (and disturbing) to me being the bit about abortion rights. He lashes out at the U.S. policy of not funding reproductive health clinics overseas that discuss abortion as an option or perform them. He used that policy as an accusation without even explaining to the reader why that should be a bad thing... because hey, I'm reading Micheal Moore's book, therefore I am liberal; I am liberal, therefore I believe in abortion rights.

I've been reading some of Gloria Steinem's older stuff. She does the same thing... only back in her day it was reproductive freedom.

Well, I've been typing longer than I meant to, and it's all become a rant anyway... I think I'm just bitter because nothing's about what's right, it's about partisan politicans and scoring one for the team and raising campaign funds and it just disgusts me.

Is it something you learn to accept with age?

Apologies for any above lack of coherence, typoes, misspellings, etc.
Stephanos
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10 posted 05-29-2003 12:58 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

" I think I'm just bitter because nothing's about what's right, it's about partisan politicans and scoring one for the team and raising campaign funds and it just disgusts me."


exactly my sentiments.  

Often though such groups don't mention what is really wrong with whatever ideology or action they are criticizing, because that would be the hard way, and require thinking.  Also the idea of some overarching standard of right and wrong must be at least pondered in such discussion, else it's all political anyway.  What "works best" can easily  become what works best for me and mine.  And "What's right" most often becomes what's right for me and mine.

Stephen.
jbouder
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11 posted 05-29-2003 01:20 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
Better yet, why not allocate all tax money from the sales of drugs (cigarettes, alcohol, pot, even caffeinne if you want to take it that far) to do something decidedly positive for the community?


A caffeine tax!?!  Good God, Hush!  The horror!  

Seriously, even your rants produce substance.  Recently in Pennsylvania, the State imposed a $0.50 per pack tax increase on cigarettes to, in part, supplement the public health costs attributed to smoking.  The flurry of letters to the editor and political activism that ensued was pretty impressive.  Smokers are not necessarily Communists or Socialists, or liberal or conservative for that matter, and, arguably, the cigarette tax hike was "for the common good."

The reaction of smokers (and non-smoking Libertarians, naturally) I think demonstrates why Socialism and Communist Marxism are difficult political models to implement ... those who comprise the social community are individuals, and every individual person I know lives their life with some degree of self-interest.

Shifting to your discussion regarding the frustrations of partisan politics, I hope you don't accept it as you grow older.  Rather, I think it is better to understand that partisan politics is part of the terrain and, if you believe strongly enough about an issue to advocate for it, you are better served by figuring out how to navagate that terrain.  It is easier to appeal to the various interest groups in the language they understand than it is to change the terrain (in the short-term anyway).  "Moving dirt" is a laudible goal, but not something that can be accomplished overnight.

For example, if I believe proposed education legislation will helpful to children with autism, I might approach the liberal by saying that the new legislation will prevent children who cannot speak for themselves from falling through the cracks and deprive them of a happy, productive life.  When speaking to a fiscal conservative, I might emphasise the long-term cost savings to the tax payer that will result from higher standards of accountability and service quality and give him a spreadsheet supporting my assertion.

It is kinda like Survivor (frightening thought) ... playing the game well is important ... protecting your credibility is important ... being patient and persistent are crucial.  Play the game well, and you win.

Incidentally, one of the great things about Capitalism is that greater tax revenue is generated when people make more money.  Without that tax revenue, it would be very difficult to fund social programs or appeal to businesses to contribute to important charities.  Are some people greedy?  Of course.  Will people give chunks of their wealth to charities to avoid paying higher taxes?  They will and they do.

Back to work for me now.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (05-29-2003 01:21 PM).]

hush
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since 05-27-2001
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Ohio, USA


12 posted 05-29-2003 06:27 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Yeah, Jim, playing the game is important, no doubt about that...

'Smokers are not necessarily Communists or Socialists, or liberal or conservative for that matter'

Right... and the same, of course, goes for pot... like I said earlier, I guess I was focusing on one particular group... most of the liberals I know (and most of the people I know are at least moderately liberal) either do or have smoked marijuana.

But I also know plenty of people who smoke pot who don't even have political views on the subject... they just don't want to get caught. (I wonder if being high all the time affects their capability to have a political position...just maybe...)

Still... if a lot of liberals want, at the very least, more regulation in big business, and a lot of liberals smoke pot, or at least want to see it legalized, I just wonder whether they would pitch a fit at the business that would inevitably ensue.
Stephanos
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13 posted 06-03-2003 04:45 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"I wonder if being high all the time affects their capability to have a political position...just maybe..."


What was Timothy Leary's rallying cry for the drug revolution of the 60's?  

Turn on, Tune in, and Drop out.


Stephen.
 
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