So, 58% of Americans now think we should legalize Cannabis. So let's stop wasting time and energy and legalize Pot! On the federal level. Let's now put that money into something useful. The War on Drugs has failed. So now what?
Consider that with the end of Prohibition against alcohol, Harry Jacob Anslinger (who held office as the assistant prohibition commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, before being appointed as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics on August 12, 1930), replaced alcohol as the drug to war against, with pot. After all, he had to do something for those poor agents now pretty much out of work with families to support. Right?
So? Where does that leave us now? Don't we now have to replace warring on pot with something else? So what do you want to be the prime target now in our eternal war on whatever, I mean, drugs (and Americans) now?
Look, if you want to continue your wasteful "War on Drugs" then you've got to find a new drug to attack. A new group of people, new users, new addicts to attack, to ruin their lives like we have for so many pot smokers and their families (for no apparent reason or end purpose). And just what should be the new, nefarious, and most highly dangerous drug in History to attack and destroy? Well, I think I've got it. But it's not a drug, per se, though the symptoms are pretty much the same.
At least, extremism in ideological views. I'm all for extreme sports (within reason), as much as the next guy. Then again let's face it, extreme anything at some point, just becomes stupid. And we've seen a lot of that in recent times. The lesser of the evils, is still evil nonetheless in the form of trying to decide other's lifestyles, as in being antiGay, and needs in life, as in making abortion illegal and taking away women's rights, trying to force them into roles right out of the 1940s.
It would seem that conservatives in this country can't have a progressive thought without first leaning on their childhood fears of Hellfire and brimstone. But these are the least of our worries as there are far more ridiculous people out there. Not just people standing behind the counter-intuitive banners of ProLife, but those who out right murder people. Like abortion clinic Doctors. Or worse.
Yes, extremism has brought us suicide bombers, the destruction of the twin towers in NYC, mass murders, genocide, abuse, rape, child slavery, and on and on. It has recently even brought our government to a shut down (thanks GOP extremists), or to a slim down or whatever you want to call it. Whatever you label it, it was bad. Stupid, and bad.
Extremism is where you take something based in a truth, twist it with a half truth, then intelligently shove it down the throats of the less educated, the ignorant, the stupid, and those who are more rather than less, narcissistic. See you can't con an honest man. Conservatism and extremism, are like kissing cousins. As is Fundamentalism. It's all an attempt to decrease things to their simplest elements and let's face it, Life ain't simple. And whenever you try to make it so, people get lost in the shuffle. And a select minority find power.
Maajid Nawaz, is cofounder of the world's first counter extremism think tank, Quilliam, a campaign organization where they do "counter messaging", where they try to popularize counter narratives against extremism. They are looking for ways to "inoculate" extremists against extremist messages. Maajid was recently put on the Al Shabab hit list, so he must be doing something right. He is also author of the book, "Radical - My Journey out of Islamist Extremism", and he is one of those out there fighting the good fight, trying to squelch Islamic extremism.
Like the eleven year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, who stood for education in her country against the Taliban, and who in 2009 was shot in the face by them for her efforts. She is now touring and continuing to speak out. Sam Harris called her, "The best thing to happen to Islam in 1,000 years."
One group engaged in this, in the arena of Women's Rights is AON. On this order of things, Valarie Plame (author of the new novel, "Blowback" and previously the non-fiction work, "Fair Game"), said recently that you can tell that "the trouble spots in the world, it is no coincidence, are places where women are treated as second class citizens."
Christopher Hitchens once said in a July 2011 Vanity Fair article, in speaking about Islam before the Talibanization of Afghanistan and Pakistan and on repression in the Islamic republic, "Let me try to summarize and update the situation like this: Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumor of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk. In such an obscenely distorted context, the counterpart term to shame—which is the noble word “honor”—becomes most commonly associated with the word “killing.” Moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter."
Try to name some famous opposites of the Islamic extremist leaders who are on the other side of the table, as Democratic leaders in the Muslim world. Far harder to think of, isn't it? You remember Bin Laden, right? But who is his opposite number on the other side? Extremism is alive and well around the world, and here at home.
We can't keep trying to simply take out these extremists with raids and drone attacks and so on, as it works about as well as the drug war had. It's not stopping. We need to treat Islamic extremism like the ideological phenomenon that it is. As any extremism is. We can't simply remove the heads of these movements and organizations and expect them to simply go away. It just doesn't work.
They will just be replaced. Extremism needs to be nipped in the bud. It becomes as a drug to them, an addiction that they need to be extracted from, weaned off of. And because of it, they won't listen to reason. They are much like a drug addict of a real drug. Not pot for reason's sake, but we're talking your heroin or meth of the theistic type. The change needs to come in a fashion more insidious to them. They can't see it coming, because no matter how much sense the opposing argument can be, they will refuse to hear it. Spoken with an extreme American Conservative lately?
People are afraid of clarity in these things because it forces them to think, and have to avoid reason and they don't want that. They don't want it because it forces them to face that they aren't using reason, they are rationalizing what they want emotionally. And the world seems to be going that direction, more and more.
Whenever we are clear about a position, then people are forced to have to go up against it and either agree with it or more typically, disagree with it. But at that point they have to KNOW something. They have to know either that they don't know what they are talking about, or that they are avoiding dealing with it rationally. And that pisses people off. Not appropriately at themselves, but at others who are opposing them. No matter how correct those others are. Since mostly people don't know something, they then become fearful.
Richard Dawkins said that in the struggle of his Atheism against Theism, that this was exactly what he had come up against, time and time again. And it is very much how it is today in our own nation.
Since about 1980 Christians have taken over our national agendas. And that has got to stop. We need to have a secular government back to make secular decisions. Ones based in Humanity and not religious tomes. But we have been steeped in extremism ourselves in order to further these right wing religious agendas against secularism and sanity. We are in a death throw with theism around the world, and at home.
But at a more base point, it isn't just an issue with theism, Christianity, Islam, etc.
Again, it is the drug of Extremism.
Extremism, that easy drug to swallow, to become addicted to. It doesn't require much thought. But the thought it does require is easy and fun, emotionally satiating. Regardless who else out there gets hurt by it. Because it is a very narcissistic addition. It is for the "Me" generation. It is a kind of, "put your head down and ram it into the wall repeatedly" kind of thought format. It is both dangerous and holding the world back from advancing, from evolving. And it warps compassion for our race and justifies things, in the Islamic terror organization as example (and there are other religions doing this), such as killing of innocents and their own Islamic brothers and sisters.
Finally in Catholicism with Pope Francis, some sanity is coming into play. He is putting down all the avenues of extremism available to Catholics. Stop picking on Gays, stop being so focused on the concerns of birth control. Love one another, have compassion. Basically, he is turning the largest religion in the world, Buddhist, albeit with different rituals and texts. And, I am good with that.
So in the end we need a new drug. My vote as you have seen, is for a war on extremism. Or no war at all. Because the way we are really going to get a handle on things kinds of things, that keep popping up, is to treat all people of the world with compassion and not just corporate and national interests as primary concerns. But in the well being of all of Humanity, even those not of your country, or personal belief system.