Drug Policy Made Me An Anarch

June 9th, 2013   Submitted by Darryl W Perry

SayNoDrug legalization was one of the first issues that helped me down the path towards the ideas of liberty. Growing up in Alabama in the 1980’s & 1990’s I was taught “drugs are bad.” And I remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no!” campaign. Like most people, I was taught the government propaganda about drugs, especially the dangers of marijuana as a gateway drug.

When I was in high school I always knew that I could find drugs if I wanted, but I never felt the urge (or pressure) to try. In fact, I was 32-years-old before I ever tried marijuana. It was during a public speaking class in my junior year of high school that someone gave a speech titled “Just Say No Is Not Possible.” I can’t even recall the details of that speech, and I haven’t actually thought about it in over 18 years, but I can’t help but guess that in some way that speech lead me toward the truth I learned just a few years later.

During my senior year government class the teacher taught us the standard line about the failures of alcohol prohibition; yet we were expected to believe that drug prohibition was not only good, but also successful.

Some time during college, or shortly after, I saw a documentary on the History Channel titled Hooked: Illegal Drugs about the real history of drugs in America.

I was shocked to learn that in the early 1900’s not only were marijuana, cocaine & heroin legal, but they could be ordered from the Sear’s catalog! In the documentary you can hear Political Science professor John McWilliams from Pennsylvania State University say, “None of the drugs that are currently illegal became illegal before they were associated with what were commonly regarded as ‘deviate groups.'” And by “deviate groups” he of course meant, minorities. I was astounded to learn that marijuana was made illegal because of racism, yellow journalism and propaganda. Cocaine and heroin were made illegal for similar reasons.

I began to question how one substance (alcohol) required a Constitutional amendment to make illegal, while other substances (marijuana, cocaine & heroin) did not. To this day I have found no sufficient answer other than the federal government during the Nixon Administration essentially forced states to adopt certain drug laws. Now, after over 40 years of prohibition, there is some progress being made. Some states are trying to roll back the drug war, at least in regards to marijuana.

Throughout history marijuana and other “illicit substances” have been completely legal to grow, produce, posses and distribute. While I do not condone the abuse of any substance (including tobacco and alcohol) I could never accept that jailing people for use of a substance is a good way to discourage misuse of a substance. Why can’t the people who acknowledge that alcohol prohibition was a failure also acknowledge that the “war on drugs” is a failure?

Seeing through the drug propaganda lifted a veil for me. I remember asking myself, “if I was lied to about the drug war, what else have I been told that was a lie?” Skepticism became my default position.

Around the same time, while attending church in the late 90’s, I heard a deacon say that “we need to have a government that supports traditional values.” Though he was unable to explain in detail what he meant, so I decided to find out what “traditional values” actually were. It was a long process, but it was well worth the effort because I discovered something far different than what I imagine the deacon meant. It can be summed up thus: “traditionally, individuals have had the right to do as they wish as long as they did not cause unjust harm to another person.”

You have a right to consume any substance you wish, as long as you do not cause unjust harm to another person! The more I measured society by this traditional value the more the edifice of the government dissolved. We can’t have a government that supports this traditional value, because governments can only violate it.

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16 Responses to “Drug Policy Made Me An Anarch”

  1. MAMNo Gravatar says:

    I suspect that marijuana is the first drug most people try because it’s so prevalent.

    • JonNo Gravatar says:

      actually I would probably guess that Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol are the first drugs that most people try. I didnt try marijuana till I was like 19, but had tried alcohol, caffeine and sugar well before that. Plus I am not a fan of caffeine or alcohol at all….sugar on the other hand is nearly impossible to completely give up >_< lol

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        sugar? really? That is like saying cinnamon is a drug.

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          I imagine that high levels of sugar in the blood could alter one’s state of conciousness just like a lack of sugar in the blood can. But sugar as a compound is necessary for the human body to survive. So then we could say that a corollary to sugar being a drug, that water is infact a drug?

          Also what is meant by the word “drug”? Is chocolate a drug?

          • JonNo Gravatar says:

            when I say sugar I mainly mean refined sugar that is in stuff like soda and yes chocolate ^_^
            for some people I would say that sugar is like a “drug” in that they have to consume it all the time or they go crazy, like the people who can barely get out of their car to walk 20 feet to buy that diet coke, which I am sure is really the trick to losing that last 100 pounds (sarcasm heavily emphasized)

        • JonNo Gravatar says:

          lol, my main point was how addictive sugar can be, refined sugar I mean, I try and stay away from it when I can but I have my moments lol

  2. DuhNo Gravatar says:

    You dumbass do you know what an anarch is?

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      I imagine anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist, as in Ernst Jünger’s novel Eumeswil.

      Or perhaps a reference to Nirad C. Chaudhuri autobiography, “Thy Hand, Great Anarch” which catalogs his civil disobedience during India’s independence movement.

      Or an anarch is a member of a fictional sect of anarchists in the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade.

      Why, what do you think it means?

    • I prefer the archaic definition of anarch which simply means “an advocate of anarchy”
      from Greek anarkhos ‘without a chief’

  3. Here are few of the countless quotes in Eumeswil regarding the anarch:

    The Anarch is the positive counterpart of the anarchist.

    I am an anarch – not because I despise authority, but because I need it. Likewise, I am not a nonbeliever, but a man who demands something worth believing in.

    The anarch sticks to facts, not ideas. He suffers not for facts but because of them, and usually through his own fault, as in a traffic accident. Certainly, there are unforeseeable things – maltreatments. However, I believe I have attained a certain degree of self-distancing that allows me to regard this as an accident.

    As I have said, I have nothing to do with the partisans. I wish to defy society not in order to improve it, but to hold it at bay no matter what. I suspend my achievements – but also my demands.

    Although I am an anarch, I am not anti-authoritarian. Quite the opposite: I need authority, although I do not believe in it. My critical faculties are sharpened by the absence of the credibility that I ask for. As a historian, I know what can be offered.

    The Anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist.
    —Ernst Jünger

    The term “anarch” had been used for two years (1963–64) by students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon to designate the official representative of their living units. The position of Anarch rotated every two weeks, and the new Anarch was selected by the drawing of cards from the deck. The Anarch was presumed to be all-powerful during his term of office; in practice, it generally meant that one might get listened to slightly more often. This is an instance of independent invention of the term, which was not pursued at the time.[citation needed]

  4. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Perhaps anarch is to Anarchist what agnostic is to Atheist. A word that someone identifies as because they don’t want to be indentified with the other word. There are people who don’t want to say that they are an Atheist so they say that they are agnostic. Yes I am aware that one can be a theistic agnostic but generally those who say that they are agnostic are non-theists which means that they are in fact Atheists. Perhaps those who identify as anarchs are Anarchists and just don’t want to indentify as Anarchists.

    • RagnarNo Gravatar says:

      No, Hank, (like your name, by the way. Remember the time I gave you a gold brick?)

      There is a significant difference between an agnostic, who admits he simply doesn’t know, and an atheist, who is certain without proof, exemplifying a kind of… Reverse blind faith.

  5. RagnarNo Gravatar says:

    Darryl-

    Good article. I experienced the reverse. Libertarianism led me to re-examine my position on drugs, before I ever thought of myself as an anarchist. What got me started was guns. Why the Hell should my neighbor care what guns I own? If I’m not threatening or harming him, and I want to collect Thompson submachine-guns, how is that his business? That’s what first got me questioning what I was taught, twenty years ago. It’s been a long, strange trip since then.

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