Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vocal Drug Defenders

My blog post about drugs and how its not a good thing continues to be among my top ranked post in terms of people doing searches online and finding my blog. A few people who were passionate about their drug usage were kind enough to post a comment. I'm thrilled that my post continues to attract readers and provoke responses. Here's the latest one someone posted:

Dude, you're really judgmental of this friend of yours. Jesus didn't come to condemn the world, remember? You seem to be brain-washed and ignorant, as well. I'm referring to where you spoke about him as being paranoid for believing that our government is the worst tyranny in the world. If you, honestly, believe that the United States government is good and that it's run by Christians, you've seriously been deceived. I don't mean to sound insulting, nor do I intend to be. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to do drugs, but that doesn't make you superior to anyone else. Had it not been for Jesus dying on the cross, no one would have the opportunity to receive eternal salvation.
I felt a need to respond to it on a separate post, rather than post a comment where no one can see it unless they happen to read that particular post.

Okay...perhaps my use of the word "friend" was being charitable. Truth is, the guy is a fellow church member and we're practically family. I'm not "judging" him to be a bad person. He's a likable guy who is destroying his own life. And like a concerned family member, when someone is so wrapped up in delusions, that person needs an "intervention" to help him out of his delusions. That has not happened. It doesn't take a genius or a psychic to understand where this person will end up. He is going down a path of self-destruction and its tragic, because he's a bright, intelligent guy who unfortunately lacks perspective. To say such is not being "judgmental", because I'm not condemning him to hell or making a judgment call on his worth as a human being. Its simply writing about how I view his life choices and how they relate to my personal philosophy. That's all it was meant to be. He, of course, is free to live life as he sees fit. I don't think I'm the only person who knows him and thinks that his life will end tragically.

"You seem to be brain-washed and ignorant, as well..."

Wow. Haven't heard that before. From my life experience, people who've met me have never accused me of being "ignorant" or "brainwashed." Usually, people think I'm a lot smarter than I really am. I'm flattered, but I have no idea why people think I'm intelligent. I don't feel as smart as a lot of people. But ignorant? That's a new one. I'm honoured that you think so! Its nice to be thought of as something different than what I've heard all my life. So, I'm flattered!

No one has ever accused me of being brainwashed, either. I think most people who've had conversations with me find me to be a moderate person, reasonable, and not prone to falling for ideologues with an agenda. I'm a big believer in Hegel's dialectic. This basically boils down to: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Its a constant cycle. This keeps one's viewpoints in evolution towards better and better ideas. Brainwashed people have an emotional investment in their beliefs being the absolute truth and an inability to consider that their views might be wrong.

"...you spoke about him as being paranoid for believing that our government is the worst tyranny in the world."

Well, I've had many conversations with this guy and he is paranoid! He believes that the police and government agents are out to get him and he's had numerous run-ins with the police. Its a case of "Law of Attraction". I don't spend much time thinking about the police or government agents, so I have zero contact with them. I do know an FBI agent who occasionally attends a discussion group that I do. He's a reasonable guy and not some scary boogey-man that a pot-smoker might think of him. The young church member, though, is paranoid and his arguments use hyperbole about our government being the worst tyranny on earth. That has not been my experience. In fact, the federal government of the United States of America has made my life a lot better than it could have been. A lot of my life experiences are directly or indirectly the result of our government. Would I trade my life experiences for that of this anti-government paranoid church member?!? Heck no!!! I feel sorry for him that he is unable to see things from a different perspective than his overbearing ego allows him to.

Since I received my degree in International Politics, I think I have a firm grasp of government (the good, the bad, the ugly). The U.S. government might not be ranked number one in terms of openness and fairness (I believe New Zealand's government was rated number one, the last I heard, followed by Scandinavian countries), but then at the other end of the scale, there's Burma, Zimbabwe, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Cuba, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria... Need I say more? It's hard to take seriously a privileged white American who grew up in relative suburban affluence when he rants about being oppressed and abused by our government! This mindset is obviously the workings of an egotistical mind, which lacks the perspective of the entire world. There might be several billion people who would love to trade places with this guy who claims to be oppressed and abused by government agents! I have little respect for people who lack perspective regarding injustice. Maybe its because I spent my college years studying some truly awful governments and their human rights abuses instead of smoking pot and panicking every time a police siren goes off!!!

"If you, honestly, believe that the United States government is good and that it's run by Christians, you've seriously been deceived."

Well, I'm not a "black and white" thinker, so I can't say if it is or isn't. It is what it is. Politics is incredibly nuanced and a complicated game. You can't really take anything at face value. So much of what goes on happens beneath the surface. One has to look at circumstantials, subtexts, and what's unsaid. As I tell simple-minded folks: "politics is not for amateurs" (which people who merely have a political opinion most certainly are).

Of course I don't believe government is run by Christians nor do I think it should be. I'm a strictly Jeffersonian "wall of separation between church and state" person. I think many of the politicians who profess to be Christian and use it in their platforms to get elected would actually make our government worse. The last thing I want to see for our country is a theocracy or a tyranny of some minority religion (there is no religious majority in our country).

"There's nothing wrong with not wanting to do drugs, but that doesn't make you superior to anyone else."

When someone depends upon a chemical substance to escape the reality of their life experience, then yes...using drugs is a weakness and an indication of an inferior person. Someone I knew as a tweenager (from age 11 to 13) had used drugs as a young man and fried his brain. He's been institutionalized in a mental hospital for more than a dozen years now. He's the same age as me. So that means if he lives to be 75 or so, he will have been a "burden" on our tax system and mental care facility for half a century because of his reckless fascination with drugs. Would a "superior" being cause potential harm to oneself? I'm all for equality and treating people equally. Again, I'm not judging the worth of a person. For whatever reason, he was drawn to drugs and it ruined his life and his behaviour has an effect on our society. How could anyone not see that its an inferior action that someone who lived a responsible life does not do?

"Had it not been for Jesus dying on the cross, no one would have the opportunity to receive eternal salvation."

That's where we disagree. I don't believe that our eternal nature is dependent on a man dying on the cross. We have always been eternal beings and always will be. Jesus' tragic crucifiction has no bearing on our eternal existence. All that was a convenient controlling device by those in power. Who's the brainwashed person now?

Look at the above photograph, closely. Long-time drug use really does destroy the human body. Defend drug use all you want...but someone who is mentally healthy, values one's life, and has an ability to cope with whatever challenges life throws one's way would not feel a need to use drugs. Its an escape from one's problems and ultimately leads to a downward spiral. If drugs were meant to be good for you, one would not experience any negative side effects at all. To each their own, though. I'm committed to a life without drug usage.

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