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.”?