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September 2010
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What did you do in the war, Daddy?

I was both busy and out of town the past couple of days, and need to catch up on reading the voluminous comments here. You guys certainly get some good discussions going….

There’s an interesting think piece in today’s Washington Post (thanks, Daniel) by Kwame Anthony Appiah: What will future generations condemn us for?

…Looking back at such horrors, it is easy to ask: What were people thinking?

Yet, the chances are that our own descendants will ask the same question, with the same incomprehension, about some of our practices today.

Kwame goes on to point out that by looking back, you can identify tip-offs that a practice may be a future past horror. Some sounded familiar, such as “supporters engage in what one might call strategic ignorance, avoiding truths that might force them to face the evils in which they’re complicit.” Yeah, no kidding.

He pick the prison system as his first example, and it’s spot on.

He doesn’t actually use the drug war as one of his prognostications, although he does say “Whether a country that was truly free would criminalize recreational drug use is a related question worth pondering.”

However, I think it’s clear that the drug war is one of those travesties that will be reviled in some way by future generations. How is uncertain. Will it be like the horrible disgust we have hearing about the burning of witches? Or will it be like the Hayes code silliness, where we reminisce about how they used to have to show married couples in separate beds on TV?

Will the prohibitionists be considered “a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came,” or will subtly shifting attitudes and political forgetfulness blur the lines causing everyone to come out of it looking good?

How do you want to be remembered for your role in the drug war? Do you want to be one of those who sat in your living room looking out the window at the flashing lights thinking “Well, at least they didn’t come for me.”?

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10 comments to What did you do in the war, Daddy?

  • darkcycle

    Glad you’re back, Pete. We’ve been entertaining ourselves (not THAT way!), but children can only be left unattended for so long…..
    Kwame nails it. His test should be applied to everything we do. Unfortunately, human beings are really good at deluding themselves where self interest is concerned. Even our convienience trumps the needs of our children. Hell, we don’t even want to give up things like paper towels. Cotton towels, people, washable, reuseable, and no trees whatsoever. (OK, off topic)

  • days of future past

    Hopefully future generations will swear off the war nipple and it will be obsolete but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Cliff

    “Waht did you do in the war, Daddy?”

    I stood up,
    drew a line in the sand,
    and made a stand,
    like a man.

    It’s my body and my choice what I choose to do with it.

    If you can’t say that with conviction, then you are a slave.

  • Bailey

    I was in an education hearing in the Washington State House where a man testifying brought up outdated things the state education system had to do. One was recognizing ‘Temperance Day.’ The audience chuckled and/or seemed confused, even the 60+ year old Chairman claimed he didn’t know what that was about. I nearly stood up and told them, but decided to just take their ignorance as a sign.

    I imagine one day such a committee will wonder why schools have Anti-Drug holidays on the books…

  • ezrydn

    “What did you do in the war, Daddy?”

    “Well, I was in TWO. What I learned in the first, I applied to the second.”

  • pvt pyle

    I was wounded in both. Hand grenade hit me in Nam in ’67, a felony conviction for growing 6 females in 2003.

    Love to see some amnesty for the plants one of these centuries.

  • Windy

    Darkcycle, re: paper towels

    If hemp were legal, paper towels would be eminently useful and be easy and cheap to use (not to mention environmentally better than cotton towels and wood-pulp paper towels) especially with children in the house. Actually, I prefer paper towels over cloth towels because they are more sanitary, use once and throw away, I use them in both bathrooms (for hand drying) and kitchen (hand and dish drying as well as cleaning my counters and table).

  • Duncan20903

    How do you want to be remembered for your role in the drug war?

    I’m going to have to respectfully refuse to answer this question invoking the protections of my rights afforded me by the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution.

    I’m not trying to be a smart ass here. How I want to be remembered (if I can’t be forgotten) is standing up for my rights and insisting that the protections embodied in the US Constitution actually be respected. One of the more important distinctions being that these rights are not granted by the Constitution, but are protected by it.

  • Duncan20903


    Daddy’s flown across the ocean,
    leaving just a memory,
    the snapshot in the family album,
    Daddy what else did you leave for me?
    Daddy what’d you leave behind for me?
    All in all it was just a brick in the wall,
    All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.

    —Pink Floyd Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGvkebKlM_4

    It’s kind of strange as in the last couple of months I’ve just come to the realization that my old man never talked about his Navy service during WW2. My old man loved to tell his stories. He flew a lot of missions, killed a lot of Japanese and won a chest full of medals. He must have had stories. But he never said a word. I only figured it out by looking at his picture in full dress and identifying the medals he won. It’s a shame not to know your old man was a war hero until the honor guard shows up at his funeral shooting off 21 gun salutes, having a bugler play taps, folding up the flag on his coffin, the man handing me the flag and telling me George W Bush sent his personal condolences. No, I don’t believe W knew my old man from Adam or that my old man had even passed away. Shit, there were more military guys in the honor guard than family and friends, and my old man had no shortage of either.