The Republican Party is badly split and it did not start with Donald Trump. However, when ideology trumps reality, the result is stupidity.
“It is the theory which decides what we can observe.”- Albert Einstein
In recent elections, Republicans considered marijuana prohibition to be a peripheral issue at best. It is not something that “serious” candidates want to spend any time discussing, or they will cease to be considered “serious.”
In fact, as long as a candidate supports prohibition, it is better that they appear as ignorant as possible on the subject. This protects them from any suspicion of having any latent “tendencies” or secret subversive ideas. In this regard, the prohibitionist ideology resembles the AIDS virus in that it shuts down the immune system by which the democratic process protects itself against anti-democratic nonsense.
Consider these items from very different sources.
- Connecticut Congressman Rob Simmons (R-2nd District) explained his opposition to easing the federal ban on medical cannabis, “The problem is the law enforcement community doesn’t support it. And I take my lead from the state and the police chiefs.”
Never mind that the overwhelming majority of his constituents support medical cannabis. Never mind that the law enforcement community and the police chiefs have no medical expertise. He knows who he really represents, and he is obviously unaware that the Constitution does not begin with “We the Police of the United States…”
- The Guardian reported, “Portuguese police officers will turn a blind eye to England supporters who openly smoke cannabis during an international soccer match, having decided that a stoned crowd is easier to control than a drunk one.
“Lisbon police confirmed that England fans will not be arrested for puffing on joints on the streets of the Portuguese capital, following a recommendation from the Dutch authorities responsible for policing the English during Euro 2000. Portugal decriminalized possession of all drugs in 2001.” See: DRUG DECRIMINALISATION IN PORTUGAL: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
“In 2000, England’s match in Eindhoven, ironically against Portugal, passed off peacefully as many supporters took advantage of the Netherlands’ liberal drugs laws. By contrast, the game against Germany in the Belgian town of Charleroi was marred by violence, much of it fuelled by alcohol.”
- The Los Angeles Times reported, “Some officers believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the behavior of guards (at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq) who have been charged with beating prisoners, stripping them naked, forcing them to masturbate and stacking them in pyramid-shaped piles on the prison floor. At least one prisoner has told investigators that he frequently smelled alcohol on the guards’ breath in the cellblock where most of the abuses occurred.”
4. In March, a Pentagon survey showed nearly one in five members of the U.S. armed forces is a heavy drinker, but of course, they are all pee-tested for cannabis.
5. The journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence reports that that the number of American adults who abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent rose to 17.6 million or 8.46 percent of the population in 2001-2002 from 13.8 million or 7.41 percent of the population in 1991-1992.
Okay, but what does all this have to do with problems for the Republican Party?
Well, consider that Richard Nixon was brought down by the Watergate burglary that was led by G. Gordon Liddy, who had become (in)famous for prosecuting Timothy Leary and had led Operation Intercept, which closed the Mexican border to marijuana, and created demand for Columbian cannabis.
And Ronald Reagan was almost brought down by the guns for cocaine for cash for hostages business run through Mena, Arkansas. The crack cocaine boom began after Reagan/Bush shut off the supply of Columbian cannabis.
And the civilian contractors running the Iraqi prisons were essentially rejected from the booming American Gulag that has exploded during the Drug War.
Thus, from Nixon to Reagan to Bush, the control of the Republican Party by the prohibitionist ideologues in “law enforcement community” – police, prosecutors, and the prison industry and rehab racketeers – has left it continually vulnerable to the most ideological and least intelligent elements on the American right.
“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” – George Orwell, “In Front of Your Nose” – 1946
Nonetheless, most political analysts are not only unable to connect the dots; they cannot even see them. That is why I began with the quote from Einstein, although one need not be “an Einstein” to see the problems the Republicans have brought upon themselves and the world by their commitment to the prohibitionist ideology.
The Republicans will continue to be dragged down by the party of the stupid until they recognize the wisdom of P. J. O’Rourke’s observation:
“No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.”
Now for the “reveal.” Most of the above was written in 2004, including the line “when ideology trumps reality, the result is stupidity.” Really.
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of CBD Vs. Wine: Which Is Better?