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.