Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One month to go: 4/20/2013

4/20, which should in a just world come to be remembered as Cannabis Freedom Day, is the day I have set for when I go on strike (namely, ceasing publication of this blog and withholding any further products of my mind from public circulation) unless the eminently reasonable demands I have set forth here are met.

I want also to reiterate the point I made here, concerning this nation's monumentally stupid (i.e., in the terms I used there, fucking ridiculous) and anti-American drug policies.  We have a head of state who has unashamedly sold out his own youthful party base, for no explicitly stated reason, since no reasons are being so much as offered these days by the anti-American, freedom-hating prohibitionist segment of this nation.  All the good ideas in circulation are on the legalization (for adults 21 and over) side, and what's more, any sober and honest observers of today's political scene know this beyond any reasonable doubt.  It's a goddamn shame that the head of state, a former University of Chicago lecturer in constitutional law, hasn't either the decency to voice a bully-pulpit opposition to these disgraceful drug policies or the courage to come out and explain himself to the American people when his drug czar says he's going to continue enforcing the idiotic federal drug policies in those states where majorities have voted for sensible legalization.

And this is one of only several no-brainer issues (see my list of demands) that the political Establishment - save for a few good apples in a rotten, rotten bunch - is either too ignorant or too malicious to so much as lift a finger to address.  Anyone with a lick of sense knows that Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine wouldn't stand for this disgraceful state of affairs for a single minute, that what we have now is a bastardization of the nation's founding ideals - and a thoroughly pointless and unnecessary bastardization at that.  It defies common sense (a favored ideal among the Framers and supporting authors).

Many signs point today toward a crumbling republic.  We now have a gross federal debt meeting or exceeding the nation's Gross Domestic Product, a situation seen only once before in the nation's history - at the end of World War II, when the U.S.'s position of dominance in the world was locked in for decades to come.  We don't have that today.  We have a population falling behind in global competitiveness, due to a decadent culture which fails to convincingly promote intellectual values.  This is due in good part to an intellectual class that has - in a way that is quite self-aware, I'll add - made itself all too irrelevant to the "mundane" concerns of the people, and which has failed to achieve even in the modest task of incorporating Aristotelianism squarely into the curriculum.  We have a political Establishment corrupted by money and ignorance.  We have a ticking fiscal time bomb to the tune of $107 trillion (present value) that our politicians have no idea how to defuse.  There's a looming retirement crisis to go along with that $107 trillion time-bomb in the old-age-insurance schemes.  We're pretty much at the mercy of whatever climate change happens in the coming decades, with too many global-warming-denialists and downright lazy sonsofbitches around for there to have been intellectual energies directed toward contingency plans by now.  We have the Chinese already choking in their own smog, which is sure to have ripple effects that will hit home one way or another.  We have theocratic regimes hell-bent on getting nukes, in an age when theocracy and dictatorship as such should easily have been relegated to the dustbin of history.  And so on.

Our potential saving grace will be the wonders of technology, but we can only be best assured to win the race with the coming Cluster Fuck if we actualize the human potential that makes such wonders possible: the human intellect.  Aristotle had some choice things to say about that subject, words which we as a culture ignore or overlook at our own peril.  There are modern-day neo-Aristotelians that have been shouting this theme from the rooftops, only to be marginalized and shunned by the very intellectual class that's supposed to be promoting the interests of the people, to be serving as the guardians and integrators of human knowledge.  Whatever else people of all different creeds believe and/or disagree about, there can be no reasonable disagreement with or disbelief in something all true wisdom-lovers would agree with, and that's the vital need to maximally actualize our intellectual potentialities.  It's the key to everything else of positive value in human life, the basic principle of a defensible ethics, the underlying solution to socio-political challenges, the basis for cultural flourishing.  From the standpoint of this philosopher, it's a no-brainer, the basis of all received wisdom ("common sense") throughout human history, a principle that should permeate ethical, social, cultural and political life like it's second nature.  Jefferson and Franklin grasped it (what would this nation's history be like without these two?); philosophers as such pretty much endorse it implicitly if not explicitly as a way of life; educators grasp it well enough to grasp the importance of their profession; scientists, inventors, and visionaries grasp it well enough to be in the line of work they're in.  Cultivating human intelligence should be our highest priority, whatever other admirable priorities we have.  And yet, where and when do we ever hear this theme being broadcast loud and clear, affirmed loud and clear by individuals of our acquaintance, and so on?  If it were a widely-received cultural norm, I think we'd know about it - and experience its life-enhancing effects - by now.  So, whence this disconnect?

For the next month, I will make it a task to diagnose, to uncover the source of, this disconnect, for therein lies the way to a sweeping solution.  Who knows what I'll uncover by then, or what is to happen after that calendar date.  One can only hope that cannabis will be minimally available to me during this period of time, to expand the range of cognitive opportunities - just as Jefferson (and, in all likelihood, Thoreau) would have wanted, of course.

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