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Peter Hitchens is completely right… in his own mind

We’ve followed Peter Hitchens’ anti-marijuana screeds in the past. This one, for example was a real classic.

Well, apparently the discussion has been continuing and now Peter answers his critics in Resting My Case. It’s a doozy.

I believe myself to be descended from some of the Puritans who were Cromwell’s Ironsides, and I’m proud of that. When I listen to the excuses made for the culture of self-stupefaction, I can feel the scorn of those sober old Psalm-singers in my blood, and I’m with them. They looked the world full in the face, fought against what they thought was wrong, and also knew what they fought for and loved what they knew.

This country would not be what it is, if it fell into the hands of people who lay down, shrugged and giggled, rather than people who rose up and fought. I cannot make people care about this who don’t, especially those who have already altered their brains by taking such drugs. But I hope there are enough of the old sort to see that changing your perception rather than reforming reality is the road to slavery.

How sad that the only thing about modern Britain that makes the cannabis lobby angry is the continued existence a few individuals like me, who wish to deny them their dope.

And yes, he has a plan to “deny them their dope.”

Most cannabis users don’t find it such a marvellous experience that they’d be prepared to risk six months at hard labour for a second offence of possession (my suggested minimum penalty, the first offence being dealt with by a genuine ‘caution’, whose condition would be that the cautioned person never subsequently committed the same offence). Permitting premises to be used for its use would also be treated in the same way. This ( as with the smoking ban) has the effect of turning every householder or owner of commercial premises into an ally of the law.

After a brief flurry of convictions and imprisonment, during which the actual unyielding severity of the new law would be demonstrated, use would fall with amazing rapidity. My opponents know this. They know they would be too scared to carry on possessing under those circumstances. That is why they get so cross with me. Because my plan would work, and deprive them of their pleasure.

I have no doubt that, among dope-smokers as in the rest of society, there would be quite enough informers willing to earn money or favours from the police to ensure that all users had a lively fear of being caught and prosecuted.

Of course, in addition to being dead wrong about pretty much everything he says, he has no power. He’s become anachronistic, somewhat amusing, and, really, sad.

Some good comments in response, including this one from “Responsible Choice,” although there are also some Peter Hitchens supporters, of course.

Although I am essentially pro-cannabis, specifically in terms of harm minimisation when compared to alcohol, I would NEVER, EVER think for a second that I have the right to deny or dictate what another human should or should not put in their bodies. As far as I’m concerned it is a fundamental human right. This is not to say that I am blind to the fact that many things people put into their bodies have repercussions for them individually and those around them, rather I see this area as being one that belongs strictly within the jurisdiction of health professionals.

Even suggesting that six months hard labour is an appropriate consequence, completely punitive at that, highlights the fact that your concern lies solely in proving that what you think is right is in fact right, and that in your mind a belligerent and aggressive law enforcement approach can forcibly stamp out what you consider to be wrong. Fortunately what others choose to do with their own bodies has absolutely nothing to do with what you think they should be doing, or not doing in this case. However it still remains concerning that your professed method of dealing with people who use a substance that has been classified illicit, whilst a legal equivalent reaps a death toll of around 5% of the world’s population each year, is extreme incarceration. It reveals a distinct lack of empathy, compassion and understanding of the nature of substance use throughout history, and in the present day.

Your views, whilst you are free to express and hold them, as they rightly should be, are cruel, simplistic and violent in my view. Prohibition has failed miserably, your novel spin on an archaic, although admittedly puritanical law, is nothing but that, a rehash of views from the past, that have been thoroughly proven to be flawed, and extremely damaging to all societies of the world. Do I think my fellow man should be punished for seeking release and/or pleasure from substance use? NO, I don’t. Do I believe people should toughen up and follow a stricter doctrine of pure living based on historical religious ideals? Who cares if I do, it’s beside the point, and has little bearing on the way people will freely choose to live their lives, and it should not be any other way.

The comparison of cannabis with Thalidomide was the only memorable part of your whole article, and only because of the extreme ignorance it portrays. That is the only thing I will take away of any value from what you have stated above, in the sense that it grants me a glimpse inside of the world of a closed minded and misinformed individual. My thanks for that.

Good comment.

It’s baffling to read someone like Peter Hitchens. He’s an anomaly – a true believer who is fully convinced his opponents have been addled in the head, thereby allowing him to dismiss criticisms quite easily.

He’s convinced (likely through a “moral” argument) that all marijuana users are automatically damaged (as opposed to casual alcohol users), that their damage ends up making them less productive to society, so that society is therefore damaged as well by marijuana use, and that he is bound to attempt to protect civilization from that damage.

It doesn’t matter that his premises, conclusions and moral judgements are completely wrong. He’ll adjust his absorption of information to fit his worldview.

(Note: remember that Peter Hitchens and Christopher Hitchens are brothers, but have distinctly different views.)

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55 comments to Peter Hitchens is completely right… in his own mind

  • Peter

    Perhaps he should have a word with Christopher about his drinking.

  • Matthew Meyer

    Hitchens, it seems to me, articulates what many people feel, and he is pretty straightforward about it. I appreciate about him that he at least recognizes the moral / religious nature of his hate of cannabis users. My understanding is that the moral force of drug prohibition comes–surprise!–not from a rational analysis of the available evidence, but from linking drugs to the Christian matter / spirit dichotomy. Drugs are bad because they use material means to an “artificial paradise,” a simulation of the grace that only God can give.

    Hitchens’s view is exactly that lampooned in the bumper sticker that reads, “Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.” In the secularized version of the “artificial paradise” scenario, drugs are bad either because they interfere with the “natural” functioning of the sensorium, or because they reveal a desire to experience pleasure without working for it. Of course, these ideas reveal more about the drug critics than the drug users, although it’s my view that part of what we fight about when we do drug politics are the parameters of subjectivity, so that such understandings can become things against which people have to invent counterdiscourses, lest they fall into self-recrimination.

  • darkcycle

    While I often find myself agreeing with Cristopher, Peter is just smug and insufferable. I find both Hitchens’ difficult to take. They are so self righteous and certain of their own intellectual and moral superiority. I have a low tolerance for pompous.

  • David

    There’s just no stopping him: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2020583/PETER-HITCHENS-One-mass-killer-drug-addled-mind.html

    I’ve put up comments on his articles several times challenging him to explain why he thinks drug use in the absence of harm to others is the kind of behaviour that people deserve to be punished for, which is a completely different question from whether punishing them is effective at deterring them from doing so, but I don’t think he’s ever had a serious go at answering that question. I’d love to get him and Douglas Husak in a room together.

  • Servetus

    British journalist Peter Hitchens would be labeled a dominionist in the U.S. In fact, he’s just another pinup boy for Anders Breivik. He’s also a former Trotskyite-socialist-turned-radical-conservative who now advocates a Dark Ages form of Christian oppression be imposed on everyone; himself excluded of course, if he’s like any of the others who spew similar ideals.

    P. Hitchens wants to replace secular government with a Christian theocracy, while failing to acknowledge that theocracies are all alike. Christian and religious intolerance toward drugs, its predilections for stigmatizing punishments, all have a history of failure that he willfully ignores. Anyone wanting to view the kind of morally dysfunctional society Mr. Hitchens champions might want to check out what’s happening in Iran with the local Basij, Iran’s morality cops:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr23r7cPIHw&feature=relmfu

    Comments at the end of the Basij YouTube segment are heated enough to melt steel, perhaps even hot enough to overthrow a corrupt and totalitarian republic of the type Mr. Hitchens promotes within his puritanical and true-believer-style little bubble.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Say, isn’t Israel a theocracy? The very same Israel which is the only place in the world that actually treats medicinal cannabis as if it is a valid medicine? If you ever need to go into the hospital and have a need for medicinal cannabis you really need to book a trip to Israel. That’s the only place in the world that will allow hospital patients to use that medicine if indicated.

      I might not even have become an atheist had I been born into a Jewish family.

      • darkcycle

        Naw, Isreal is nominally democratic. Rabbi’s only run the synagogues. That doesn’t prevent religious nutbags from dominating their government (much like it doesn’t keep ’em out of ours).

  • undrgrndgirl

    someone should tell him that cannabis was brought to north america with those puritans.

    (see United States Department of Agriculture. Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential. Washington, D. C.: GPO, 2000. page 3.)

    • DdC

      Tim Wilkinson v Peter Hitchens on Cannabis and the Law
      Neither of us is in favour of the status quo. I support full legalisation and regulation; he – I hope this is a fair characterisation – supports harsher penalties and stringent enforcement aimed at near-eradication of recreational cannabis use.

      Cannabis has been with us since we started growing our own crops. Other than prohibition each human bodies cannabinoid system has been nourished by Ganja. Putting buds on hot rocks or in chiloms. Ganja may well be the guilty party behind the invention of religion. Other than this flat out business arrangement, keeping cannabis products off the market by prohibition. It seems those suffering from cannabinoid depravation loose the ability to think for themselves and desperately spend their days searching for answers. Plenty of Hickens to gladly do their thinking for them. Such vile lowlife parasites feeding on the downtrodden. Disgusting how his pompous gossip only perpetuates the dysfunction, thus giving job security to the co dependent church. Typical shame and blamer. Like his brother afraid of catching Jesus, happily in bed with Junior Boosh on to the lie in Iraq. Maybe these abused children opinionists brothers could write about Congress routinely spouting lies to pass their partisan legislation. Kyl was blatantly obvious, then as a defense claimed it wasn’t supposed to be taken factually. Maybe Barry Bonds could use that defense over lying to Congress. Or Boosh Cheney lying about Iraq. Where is the moral outrage murdering 4000 American soldiers? More than Bin Laden allegedly did in NY. Now for Hitchins to continue this racism on a population of tokers and still get published. The dumbing down of the established press says much more than his silly rumors and gossip. Stop feeding the beast. Boycott all piss tasters and drug worrier businesses. Profit seems to be the only thing they understand. ~DdC

      The Scythians were a barbaric group of pre-Common Era nomadic tribes who are a fascinating example of an ancient cannabis using group. The Scythians played a very important part in the Ancient World from the seventh to first century BC. They were expert horsemen, and were one of the earliest peoples to master the art of riding and using horse-drawn covered wagons. This early high mobility is probably why most scholars credit them with the spread of cannabis knowledge throughout the ancient world. Indeed, the Scythian people traveled and settled extensively throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Russia, bringing their knowledge of the spiritual and practical uses for cannabis with them.

      The ‘Virtues’ of Ganja
      The Politics of Pot

      High on Hemp

  • Paul

    He’s right in saying that an iron police state would reduce drug use. Although even the most savage police state could not end drug use, it would certainly reduce it. What really amazes me about his argument is that he’s saying punishing drug use so severely is morally superior to supporting a frightening, soul crushing police state.

    Anyone who supports such a thing marks themselves as, dare I say it, a fascist. We know what lies at the end of that road.

    • Duncan20903

      Only if you don’t include drinking alcohol as a drug. Since it most certainly is a drug, you’d better believe you’re incorrect when you make that claim.

      http://shanghaiist.com/2009/08/25/shanghai_is_swimming_with_drunk_dri.php

      Have you ever heard of 4 people arrested for drunken driving of a single vehicle in a single incident in the US?

      http://shanghaiist.com/2011/03/09/around_shanghai_drunk_driving_instr.php

      At least the Chinese offer drunken driving training. So many people are unaware that the cure for drunken double vision is to simply close one eyelid. I’m certain that bein g public knowledge would certainly cut down on drunken driving tragedies in the US.

      I think if I could read and write Chinese I could dig up some really great stories of drunken mayhem and carnage in that place which so many people claim has done away with drug use.

      Perhaps the solution is to declare cannabis not a drug, just like we’ve done with drinking alcohol.

    • Duncan20903

      Only if you don’t include drinking alcohol as a drug. Since it most certainly is a drug, you’d better believe you’re incorrect when you make that claim.

      http://shanghaiist.com/2009/08/25/shanghai_is_swimming_with_drunk_dri.php

      Have you ever heard of 4 people arrested for drunken driving of a single vehicle in a single incident in the US?

      http://shanghaiist.com/2011/03/09/around_shanghai_drunk_driving_instr.php

      At least the Chinese offer drunken driving training. So many people are unaware that the cure for drunken double vision is to simply close one eyelid. I’m certain that being public knowledge would certainly cut down on drunken driving tragedies in the US.

      I think if I could read and write Chinese I could dig up some really great stories of drunken mayhem and carnage in that place which so many people claim has done away with drug use.

      Perhaps the solution is to declare cannabis not a drug, just like we’ve done with drinking alcohol.

  • Steve

    Wow. It’s kind of a best-of for him. This is manifesto-level ranting and paranoia.

  • DdC

    Nukes could wipe out sin altogether…
    Nukes could wipe out sin. doh!

    “Is there any point in public debate in a society where hardly anyone has been taught how to think, while millions have been taught what to think? Sometimes I wonder”

    “The middle classes are not good because they are better off.
    They are better off because they are good.”

    “The British ‘poor’ of today do not starve, do not freeze, do not go without medical treatment—as truly poor people across the world undoubtedly still do.” He argues that the claim that absolute poverty continues to exist in Britain is “a lie the Left uses to destroy the middle class”.

    Treating addicts as criminals might just have saved Amy (Winehouse).
    ~ Peter Jonathan Hitchens

    ‘Relax Your Muscles as Much as Possible’

    In January 2011 Hitchens announced he was working on a new book entitled The War We Never Fought, about what he sees as the non-existent war on drugs.

    The Neoconfederacy like its predecessors siding with England over Americans. The same lineage of slavers and racism teachers and rulers by the lynch mob. Quick to condemn and quick to punish. Like today’s DA’s shunning Justice for Trial wins and another rung up the political ladder. When innocents are Jailed, the Guilty go free. Remnants of vengeance permeating throughout the mindsets molded on liquor to serve. The Christians or the GOP or Tea Party, as long as it is in opposition to certain Americans sharing the dream. Strong supporters of Adolph Hitler and the American Nazi Party in step with the KKK and now Supremacists gunutz and limbog dittio’s. As their fathers praised Mussolini Fascism for its efficiency no different than Insurance dictating health care, Big Ag and Big Pharma. Their agenda hasn’t changed. The south will rise again in their subordinate minds. Just rattle that flag and they’re mustered and ready. Is there any issue they profess that doesn’t require a victim and profit? Is there anything they profess that anyone can do outside of their narrow tunnel of vision. I still don’t get why they believe clean air and water is against God? Why killing God’s creations and worshipping man’s is the proper way to act.

    Instead of this constant tongue-lash of what others are doing in their bedrooms or living rooms. That has no victims or even legitimate complaints. An act no one seems to even know about unless someone uses deceit and the anti Christian act of befriending people and their families to do them harm. Arrest them for doing something not bothering anyone. Taking their homes, cars, money and giving their kids to dysfunctional sober religionists. Half the people telling the other half how to live while the other half doesn’t seem to have a problem with either side. Except the constant attacks and physical reality of abuse the drug worriers put on their victims. Another hypocrite hiding behind the church. If it’s Neurotic to build castles in the sky and Psychotic to try and live in them. Drug worriers are into some very deep psychosis’ forming policy on lies that don’t exist in reality. Then enforcing the policy. Not only building castles but then they try filling them with us. I can’t see the reasoning behind worrying about me smoking a joint. Are their lives so perfect they have no room for improvement? They have their chores done so they want to make sure I do mine? What can motivate someone to pass gossip that continues a practice that is ignorant, and obviously ignorant as any past segregation. Behind every good Oppression is a bad Government representative serving a Corporation instead of We the People. The Hicky Bros are blemishes on society, a rash of distractions to perpetuate the status quo profits on misery. The solution is still pretty simple. Eat the Rich. DdC

    One more mass killer, one more drug-addled mind
    ~ Peter Jonathan Hitchens

    Bushit: Timeline of Treason
    Property Seized–Trading with the Enemy

    One more mass killer, one more drug-addled mind
    ~ Peter Jonathan Hitchens

    Sen. Joseph McCarthy: Unrepentant Junkie

    One more mass killer, one more drug-addled mind
    ~ Peter Jonathan Hitchens

    Conservative Addiction Good, Liberal Addiction Bad!
    Money Laundering Charges Eyed Against Limbaugh

    One more mass killer, one more drug-addled mind lurking with DEAth.

  • strayan

    If he hates cannabis and people who use cannabis, why in God’s name isn’t he campaigning for it to be taxed?

  • JDV

    The puritans were enthusiastic drug users: they brought enough alcohol to the new world to fill the grand canyon.

  • ezrydn

    Dear Mr. Hitchens,

    I’m pro-cannabis and have a question. I carry a Combat Infantryman’s Badge over my heart and a 7th US Cavalry patch on my RIGHT shoulder. Is your only claim to fame that you THINK you have a Puritan connection? Have you “bled” for your country? I have. As have many who sit in on this board.

    Get a clue before you get a soapbox!

  • darkcycle

    Please. Allow me to paraphrase:
    Puritans scorned lots of stuff. I channel that scorn from dead people and it’s aimed at a ‘culture of stupefaction’ that I will not define any further.
    This country is great because nobody shrugs or giggles, and people who don’t care about shrugging and giggling are drug users. I hope there are enough people pissed off at all the shrugging and giggling going on that we can go back, because shrugging and giggling are the road to slavery.
    How sad that the only thing that Cannabis lobby in Britain is upset about (besides the existence of laws against cannabis, and draconian sentences applied to it’s possession)is me, and the fact that I will not condone either giggling or shrugging.
    I don’t think there will be any giggling or shrugging going on at all- if we lock up anybody caught giggling and shrugging for a very long time. And while we’re at it, we should lock up anybody who owns the premises where the gigging and shrugging took place. Just to show everybody how serious we are and to make sure that anybody who owns property will be very vigilant to prevent any giggling or shrugging going on in their homes or establishments.
    And I think people should be paid to inform on gigglers and shruggers. Then we’d have a perfect world.
    How’s that look to you guys…’bout right?

    • Duncan20903

      …and you don’t even offer to share?

      • darkcycle

        Share? I just passed you a bowl, and share? Who ate all Pete’s peanut butter the last three times he left us alone on the couch?
        Seriously, chime in anytime! It’s fun-for-all-Hithcens-lampoon time!

  • Chris

    From the comments: How on earth is not legalising cannabis on the same level as the Holocaust?

    Indeed.

  • Emma

    Peter Hitchens is a troll.

    He doesn’t actually “believe” anything. He’s just trying to provoke and get attention.

    There is no purpose in trying to argue with him personally.

    Instead, when making a comment or in a debate with such a person, speak directly to the audience and 1) calmly repeat the main arguments for drug reform, 2) give people authoritative facts and links that they can use in conversation, 3) correct whatever misinformation the prohibitionist is putting out.

    Remember that most people, especially health care workers, support drug reform – but they don’t say or do anything because prohibition has been seen as the “responsible” position. Tell people that Kofi Annan, LEAP, or whoever else they might respect supports drug reform – then they might feel more comfortable bringing it up to their peers.

    There is always going to be a minority who strongly support prohibition for whatever reason. Basically ignore and marginalize these people. Instead, focus on convincing the large marjority of people that drug reform is sensible and necessary.

    Same applies to Mark Kleiman and most other professional apologists for drug prohibition.

  • BrunsSteve

    Even if marijuana is as dreadful as he claims, that still isn’t any argument for continued prohibition as a way of dealing with it. Prohibition doesn’t work. It makes drugs more readily available and creates a crime and violence problem on top of any actual drug problem. Legalized regulated sale would get rid of the crime and violence and allow our drug problem to be treated for what it is — a medical and social problem.

  • darkcycle

    Aw, phooey. They moderated my comment off. I was very nice.

    • Duncan20903

      It’s why I don’t bother commenting in GB any more.

      • darkcycle

        They don’t like it when you make sense. They like it even less when you make them look stupid by making sense. That’s why I was deleted. I left a short one first that it looks like they left up, though.

  • stevester

    Peter H is a nazi , if you dont think his way then you shouldnt exist ! He will not listen to one argument against what he states and is never wrong in his own mind, and when he does get put under a bit of pressure he goes down the road of childish insults .

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    What’s really amazing is these clowns seem to be either unaware of, or have just plain forgotten the penalties for petty possession of cannabis in the US before Oregon became the first State to decriminalize in 1973.

    For example, Virginia had a mandatory minimum of 20 years with no eligibility for parole.

    I’ll never forget about reading about a fellow who got a 20 year sentence for possession of a single joint. In San Francisco in 1969 for the love of gawd.

    Edward L. Downey v. E P Perini, 518 F. 2d 1288 (1975) might have been a landmark case had Ohio not reduced it’s typical (for the time) penalties which saw Mr. Perini sentenced to 30 to 60 years in the penitentiary for possession and possession w/intent. The 6th Circuit held that sentence to be an 8th Amendment violation as cruel and unusual, but the SCOTUS sent it back to Ohio for sentencing under the newly reduced penalties.

    None of the penalties which I’ve noted above were at all unusual during the 1960s. Yet we saw the incidence of people choosing to enjoy cannabis skyrocket by well over 1000%. Still people like Hitchens the Clown seem to think that sniggling little penalties like 6 months “at hard labor” are going to make a difference? What idiots like Peter don’t seem to grasp is that it isn’t the severity of the penalty that makes a difference, it’s the gross lack of certainty, and that’s an incurable defect. I’d go as far as to say that 10 days served on weekends would make people decide to put aside the cannabis were they certain that it was going to happen.

    It’s really a sad thing that morons like Mr. Hitchens are given any credibility rather than being laughed at and ridiculed as their stupidity rightly deserves. We’ve got a list of today’s State by State penalties for cannabis law violations. Is there anywhere that we could find a list of the ridiculous barbarism of the penalties in the 1960s that we might show people to demonstrate just why they should laugh at pathetic clowns like Mr. Hitchens? This man fantasizes that 6 months will make his fantasy land into reality when 20 years in the penitentiary didn’t work?

    Prohibitionists, sheesh. You can’t live with them, and you can’t murder them.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      OK color me confused. A little further digging into Perini seems to say that the SCOTUS overturned the 6th Circuit decision into Perini but it was moot because of the changes in Ohio penalties for cannabis law violation.

    • Chris

      ten for two, what else could the bastards do?

  • Richzich

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2020583/Anders-Behring-Breivik-One-mass-killer-drug-addled-mind.html

    Peter Hitchens’ is so blinkered and deluded by his undoubtedly ideologically based views, he fails to make the obvious connection between legal alcohol use and violence, even mass murder.

    It’s ludricous for him to suggest drug users should be criminalised. Passive smoking kills 300,000 people in the UK each year, far far more than any other drug; surely there’s a stronger argument – if you were to follow Peter’s logic – for criminalising smokers??

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Careful with that train of thought. The idiot Hitchenses of the world can’t tell the difference between one kind of smoke and the other, and think smoking is the only delivery method available to gain the benefits of cannabis.

  • Peter Hitchens

    It would be a step forward if those who rail against me here would actually read the arguments they dismiss. Few show any sign of having done any more than visit to find someting that shocked them, and then hurriedly depart for fear of being seen somewhere so unfashionable.

    I especially recommend the multiple postings from both sides in my debate with Tim Wilkinson, also posted at his site ‘Surely Some Mistake’. Give it a try. You might learn something you didn’t know. I gain a lot from debating with people who disgaree with me.

    • Peter,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I really do appreciate it — we enjoy hearing from those who disagree with us, and I’m hoping the readers here will treat you with respect, particularly now that you have commented on the site.

      I also appreciate your interest in us hearing the entire conversation. I will get the links to the Tim Wilson postings and yours and share it with the crowd so they can get the whole picture.

      On the other hand, there are certain fundamental aspects of your arguments that clearly are rejected by many of my readers, such that it seems unlikely that hearing further discussion would make a significant difference…

      For example:

      1)– Many of the readers here come from a philosophical view that liberty is the default position. Under that viewpoint, there is no excuse for such a heavy-handed approach to cannabis as you propose — certainly not some vague “protection of society from sloth” argument. For the liberty as default crowd, it takes a huge leap to justify government stepping in and curtailing liberty. Not anything like a “correlation” with mental illness for a small portion of the population, or the view that some people are not living up to their full potential.

      2)– Pretty much all readers on this site have a lot more direct knowledge of cannabis use than you do. Most of them have used it and most of them know a lot of others who have. The stereotypical appellation of cannabis users as a culture of self-stupefaction is clearly at odds with reality – both the direct knowledge reality of the readers and the more general scientific studies. Many of them personally use cannabis in exactly the same way that a moderate user of alcohol drinks a glass of wine with dinner or drinks a beer while watching a football game.

      3)– Most of the readers on this site approach drugs regulation as a balancing factor — from whence come the greatest harms? They understand that, particularly with cannabis, all rational evidence shows greater harm from prohibition than the drug itself, which, even supposing that prohibition worked (which it doesn’t), would mean the argument goes to the legalizer.

      4)– The notion that some harsh penalty would actually work as opposed to our current approach flies in the face of reality, as people are executed for drug offenses worldwide without ending the availability of drugs in those countries, and because cannabis use is far too widespread for any government to effectively imprison enough users to make it a certain punishment.

      Again, I’ll be happy to make the full discussion available to my readers so we can further discuss the issues, and make sure your arguments are fully represented.

    • filosofem666

      As a patient of chronic pain who gets nightly relief from cannabis, I am disgusted by your condescending attitude. You are essentially telling me that my suffering doesn’t matter and only you goddamn know what’s good for me. It’s precisely because of the insane paranoia about everything “mind-altering” propagated by prohibitionists like you, that many patients are denied their human right to access to effective medication and as a result have to resort to unregulated herbs and/or street drugs.

      As I happen to have tweeted today, “Prohibitionists are right that #cannabis activists’ eventual goal is full legalization, but #MMJ is no red herring – it’s a priority issue.” It’s a priority issue because it’s a humanitarian one, and activists know this well. Scientific evidence and real-life stories abound about the medicinal use of cannabis, yet you choose to brush them off as some potheads’ propaganda just because they don’t fit into your Puritanical worldview. Do you have any compassion?

    • Chris

      I use cannabis daily and am considered very intelligent by everyone I know and just got a new career job making more money than anyone in my close family, including my father. I read up on global, federal, state, local drug policy daily. My views on drugs come from experience, second hand reports, and extensive research. My views on drug policy come from all the world’s news, reports, and scientific studies, filtered through my own logic and reasoning. My view on the morality comes from the idea that all people have the right to liberty, provided they do not directly cause harm to others or their property.

      Criminalizing drug use makes no sense to me, and I’ve been studying it and experiencing it for two years now. I’ve suffered no ill consequences from using any drug because I do so responsibly, cautiously, and safely at all times and educate myself beforehand.

      You should write up an argument that acknowledges the reality that millions use all kinds of drugs responsibly every day with no ill consequences and will never be removed from society. Everything you wrote is contrary to my experience and research, and that of others.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Well I do feel that I need to apologize Mr. Hitchens. I had you pegged as a Know Nothing prohibitionist when you stated that “so what” was your answer to people that notice that drinking alcohol and tobacco are both legal despite being even moreso of every perceived deleterious trait of cannabis was “so what?” Perhaps that nonsense flies under the British system but here in America we’re supposed to have a system that’s fair and that treats everybody equally.

      I don’t really know how stuff works in GB, and I really don’t particularly care. But one thing I know about the British, at least the mainstream press is that they have no interest in hearing or allowing discourse from a person who refuses to toe the party line.

      I wonder, did you read my post published on July 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm?
      http://www.drugwarrant.com/2011/07/peter-hitchens-is-completely-right-in-his-own-mind/comment-page-1/#comment-86255

      In it I explain exactly why proffering the idiotic idea of 6 months at hard labor as being some kind of deterrent is utter poppycock. I’ve been enjoying cannabis since 1977 and have yet to get arrested for possession. Aside from the 4 1/2 years I spent in Oakland, California that possibility was and is there. But in truth only in the fantasy land of the minds of the Know Nothing prohibitionists. The law simply can’t be enforced efficiently enough to cause me any worries. It has something to do with the fact that I live in America and do have a list of civil rights protected by the Constitution albeit shorter than it used to be, but would apply equally as well to Red China and North Korea were I a citizen of either. But the basic fact that during the 1960s in the US the penalties were significantly more draconian than the little pussy penalty of 6 months at hard labor that your brain dead “reasoning” has told you that would succeed. You really need to face the fact that you’re just not a very smart man.

      One significant piece of fantasy land “reasoning” engaged in by Know Nothing prohibitionists like yourself is the fantasy land “reasoning” that heavy handed penalties would stop people from enjoying cannabis, and nothing could be further from the truth. Something that you’ve completely missed is that you’ll need to convince mothers everywhere that their children should be sent to prison and forced into hard labor in order to satisfy your stupidity. Good luck with that.

      Yes Mr. Hitchens I knowingly tossed gratuitous insults at you above, I’ve done so before, and unless you inexplicably stop issuing stupidity on this subject I’m sure I will do so in the future. I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate every one of them, and I’m sure you can come up with a bunch in your own mind. Please apply them from me to you as well. Your arguments are puerile hogwash and can be advanced only by a petty herbert that thinks that what I do in my home which includes only consensual participants is any of his business. You call yourself a “conservative” and that’s just more hogwash.

      I started this screed noting that I feel a need to apologize, and upon further reflection I do feel need to apologize for calling you a clown. I’m on my way over to the Clown College to file that apology. You’re definitely not a clown. Clowns are supposed to be funny, not pathetic. It was definitely wrong of me to insult them by including you in their ranks.
      http://www.clown-school.com/

      I also feel a need to apologize to Pete for being unable to Emily Post my reply. But the fact of the matter is that people like Peter have been disturbing my life since 1977 for public policies which have almost a century of evidence supporting the assertion that cannabis prohibition is nothing other than a fool’s errand. If the people that back the epic failure of public policy which we call the war on (some) drugs think that prohibition is limiting supply or even keeping some people from getting high they’re living in fantasy land. In the year ending June 30, 1969 the US Border Patrol intercepted a grand total of 57,164 pounds of pot, and there was no significant domestic supply. In the last week or so the Campaign Against Marijuana Plants (CAMP) has “eradicated” 460,000 plants in Northern California. If we assume for the sake of argument that each plant is equal to a half of a pound of finished product, that represents a seizure of 230,000 lbs, or more than 3 times the total amount seized in the US over an entire year in 1968/69. In the meantime there hasn’t been even a glitch in the retail supply chain caused by LE interdiction in the US in over two decades to the best of my knowledge. The plain fact of the matter is that the position that you support is a proven failure. Just how many more decades of failure would you subject our society to before you will be able to admit your failure, a failure that’s as plain as the big red nose on a clown’s face? By now, there are only a few people left that can’t see that failure, so really you shouldn’t let embarrassment over people seeing that you’re incompetent stand in your way. You, a few of your friends, and people who’s IQ doesn’t exceed the average room temperature are the only ones left who haven’t grasped the utter stupidity of your position.

      I certainly don’t see you as a threat Mr. Hitchens. Just as a sad, pathetic attempt at a very poor joke of a human being who’s so insecure in his own sick, twisted brain that he can’t even mind his own business.

      We’re not going anywhere Pete old chap.

      We’re not going to stop enjoying cannabis, nor are we going to stop getting it to as many people who need it as medicine as is humanly possible.

      In the US, California was the first State to criminalize cannabis in 1913. That means in a couple of short years we’ll have a full century of evidence supporting the assertion that your small minded mission is nothing more than a fool’s errand. BTW, I’m certain that I speak for my fellow cannabinoidians in Britain as well. You just can’t stop us. Feel free to have at your idea of 6 months at hard labor. We’ll ignore that just like we ignored 20 years with no parole for petty possession in Virginia, USA in the 1960s. Sic Semper Tyrannis indeed.

      Toodles!

    • darkcycle

      Mr. Hitchens. If I thought for a moment that 1, you were amenable to changing your position based on facts, and 2, capable of honesty when it comes to cannabis use and the social costs of it’s prohibition, I would welcome the chance to debate with you. I am hopeful, though not optimistic, that you may abandon your entrenched position to survey the battlefield sometime soon. This drug war is not going well for your side.
      If you’re really, really feeling frisky, you could enter the debate here. The Drugwarrant regulars, myself included, while not unfailingly polite, will give you an education in the effects of drug policy that will change your perspective. If, that is you are willing to engage in honest debate.
      Welcome. Glad you stopped by. Hope you liked my humor.

    • David L Marsh

      Mr. Hitchens, I wonder what you think we might learn? It is presumptuous of you to assume that if your arguments were read it would be a step forward. There are more than a few who have read them and find them less than shocking, or relevant. If you have something to say to us, say it here. You have a lot to gain.

  • kaptinemo

    Prohibitionists and illegal drug dealers are like Siamese Twins joined at the wallet. The prohibs’ actions provide the necessary foundation for the dealer’s lucrative enterprise (which many prohibs then seek to sustain themselves with, courtesy of civil forfeiture, thus opening themselves to legitimate charges of corruption and moral turpitude only slightly better than that of their ‘opponents’).

    And still the prohibs feign ignorance of this fact and rail all the louder for their version of chemical jihad, a comparison with Muslim extremists which, of course, the prohibs would become apoplectic should the screamingly obvious be voiced. But the enormous amount of money involved trumps their belief in their own moral supremacy completely.

    Every year, in a kind of sick ceremony worthy of some dystopian sci-fi movie, the Chinese very publicly murder several drug users and dealers. And they have one of the strictest prohibition policies around…that is, so far as it doesn’t interfere with their banking operations in Hong Kong.

    So, every year they ritually slaughter people. Every. Single. Year. And they still have a ‘drug problem’. All this intentional viciousness on the Chinese government’s part does is increase the ‘risk tax’ on the goods the dealers sell, leading to local increases in price. And ensures that there will be a steady supply of ‘recruits’ for the ‘position’…thanks in no small part to the enthusiastic support of drug prohibition by people like Mr. Hitchens. While the dealers laugh all the way to the bank, thanking his ilk profusely for their support.

  • TrebleBass

    I”ve read several of Peter Hitchens posts on why marijuana should be illegal and I think it’s accurate to say that his two main points are this: 1)marijuana is horribly detrimental to society because he thinks so and 2)even though there is not as of yet enough evidence to conclude that marijuana causes schizophrenia there might be in the future so we better imprison people intensively just in case.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      The claim of cannabis causing schizophrenia is so easy to disprove it makes me wonder how anyone who suffers the stupidity requisite to fall for that nonsense can be alive. But every time I see it I double my investment into the production of loafers and flip flops because they’re certainly bereft of the native intelligence required to master the disciple of tying shoelaces.

  • TrebleBass

    Btw, I’m still waiting for my post on his page to be posted. Maybe the moderator hasn’t gotten to it yet, or maybe for some reason it was not accepted. I think it was under 500 words, i know it didn’t have any links, and it didn’t use any offensive language. I felt I addressed his points pretty well. If it didn’t make the cut that seems suspicious to me about his fairness in allowing things to be posted. I don’t remember exactly what i wrote but it was something along the lines of this:

    It’s refreshing that a prohibitionist says explicitly that they are against legalization for purely moral reasons. Also, I agree with Hitchens in that neuropsychopharmacology is more subjective than commonly said. Taking into account the subjective nature of the topic, Hitchens concludes that marijuana is bad for mental health. I, taking the same into account, conclude that it depends. I think marijuana can be harmful to anyone depending on the amount used, the circumstances in which it is used, and the type of marijuana (the ratio of thc to cbc and other cannabinoids), but only a small percentage of people need to be concerned about the possibility of suffering seriously from its use (those more prone to psychosis). I think it can be beneficial to anyone (including those prone to psychosis) depending on the same variables, not only for medical reasons but also for psychological/spiritual/overall enjoyment of life/whatever you want to call it reasons. This is my subjective but informed view just like i believe he has a subjective but informed view. He thinks subjectively that marijuana is detrimental to society and I think subjectively that it might be beneficial. He thinks we will discover in the future that marijuana is extremely harmful and I think we will discover in the future that it is a miracle drug (or at least that the discovery of the endocannabinoid system will prove to be extremely beneficial to the development of medicine including psychiatry). I accept the likelihood that negative things about marijuana will be discovered that are not known so far. Also, I wrote that i think criminalization of marijuana is extremely detrimental to the psyche of the population (and by that i didn’t mean only users but the population as a whole). I think I wrote it better the first time.

  • pyramid

    Nothing of lasting value or importance would be lost if self-righteous moralizing busybodies disappeared from our society.

  • there’s a reason we call ’em sado-moralists…

    And “debating” with likes of Mr Hitchens would be like “debating” Linda Taylor… totally of no redeeming social value. Nor is it any fun, any longer, to waste breath on those on the very fringes of the issue. Hitchens, like Ms Taylor, comes from the Calvina Fay School of Hysteria.

    I do appreciate however that Mr Hitchens took the time to stop by. I would have you note Mr Hitchens, that there is no moderation here (save for Pete’s occasional use of the delete button on some who go beyond reasonability). We’re very wysiwyg here. Address us here sir, if you will. Pete will keep you safe from the evil dope fiends sitting on his couch. And do you get the “Pete’s Couch” thing, Mr Hitchens?

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Doggone it Allan I had just concluded that no one in the world could be as dimwitted as Mr. Hitchens and you have to go and mention Ms. Taylor. Mr. H is at least a very articulate dimwit.

      BTW I’m not 100% sure I get the Petye’s couch thing. Is that because there was a (nominal) PSA from the Partnership for a Truth Free America that featured potheads sitting on “Pete’s Couch”?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYC9L24t1c8
      (jesus god get a sense of humor people, that was d-r-y!)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCRjEEhh6cc
      (now that’s just disgusting, I said humor, not slapstick!)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K73ysYqm_w
      (allright, that’s a little better)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7KB3uz2row
      (now why didn’t the ERA get ratified, I axe you?)

      • darkcycle

        I’m not sure I get the whole “couch” thing either, Duncan. I mean, what is it about couches that causes them to accumulate potheads? Is there some sort of pothead gravity that comes into play? Ive seen this phenomenon on my own couch, as well as the couches of others.
        I haven’t had to go and “score” for a very long time, but as I remember it, the first thing you see when you walk into the guy’s house is a couch. A couch just crusting over with potheads.
        And just look at this couch! Pete! c’mon! It’s eight years old but it looks like a hundred! I think Allan’s glued in that position over there. Pete’s remote control fell into this thing years ago and the T.V.s set permanantly to re-runs of family feud (I love Richard Dawson, don’t you?). It’s starting to get a funny smell. Maybe we should all chip in and go buy him a new couch. After we smoke this bowl….
        Check out the song, it says it all:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1r_QIePM3Y

  • kaptinemo

    “”Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better,’ is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.” CS Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment (emphasis mine – k.)

    Mr. Hitchens would no doubt have us believe that his efforts and those of his prohibitionist kind are valid because, in their minds, we cannabists ‘ought to have known better’ and thus are deserving of their censure. That, of course is, in turn, based upon their rock-steady belief in their own moral superiority, for, from what other wellspring can their convictions arise…save from a much darker, less compassionate part of their souls?

    Nietzsche had the drug prohibitionists pegged perfectly:

    “But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves ‘the good and just,’ forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but- power!” (Thomas Common translation)

    Or, as I read a long time ago: “Justice is what we deserve; mercy is in not getting it.” Meaning that those who are hot to wield the sword of justice may someday, because of their misguided zeal causing injustice, feel that sword’s edge against their necks. The injustices done to those whose choice of intoxicants are not on some sado-moralist’s approved list may someday be answered by that sword. (Wolf’s grin) Oh, speed the day!

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Speaking of television game shows, doesn’t everyone agree that the pothead that took the reigns of “The Price is Right” from Richard Dawson is doing an excellent job? Now everyone does know that Drew Carey is a lifelong fan of cannabis, right?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwK65D2UmmA

    DC, I’d love to learn how to be polite to total assholes, particularly the ones that add nothing of value to our society, but I fear it’s just not something that’s within my ken. You might find it hard to believe but I honestly am toning down my animosity when I address “people” like Mr. Hitchens. If I were any more polite I fear that I would vomit, and possibly even implode.

    • when sensing an impending implosion, it is imperative to get one’s thumb into one’s mouth. Such a move allows one to reinflate almost immedjiately after imploding.