Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A primer on Drug War panic for morons in journalism

Via Colby Cosh:

IF A RECREATIONAL DRUG:

# promotes drowsiness or lassitude: you can frighten people about it by warning that legalizing it will create impaired drivers, impaired pilots, impaired helmsmen of Viking ships, etc.

# prevents drowsiness or lassitude: you can frighten people about it by warning that prolonged use induces lack of sleep and hence psychosis.

# is expensive: you can frighten people about it by arguing that the crippling costs of addiction ruin human lives.

# is cheap: you can frighten people about it by emphasizing its "availability" to the young and the impoverished.

[..]

# occurs in nature: you can frighten people about it by warning that manufacturers will steal energy from neighbours and utility companies to grow it.

# must be synthesized chemically: you can frighten people about it by talking about the poisons, waste products, and/or dodgy thermodynamics involved.

# is easy to make: you can frighten people into believing that their neighbours might secretly have a truckload of it in their basement.

# is difficult to make: you can frighten people about it by warning them that only organized crime is sophisticated enough to organize its production. (N.B.: the same product can simultaneously be described as easy and difficult to make if the general public doesn't know any better.)

[..]

# can be made readily in your home country: oh shit, it's turning our kids into drug manufacturers!

# must be imported from a different climate: oh shit, look at all these evil foreigners who are profiting from our misery and boredom!

# is used chiefly by the well-to-do: you can frighten people about it by describing it as "trendy" and pointing to celebrity lives ruined by it.

# is used chiefly by lower-class scum: you can frighten people about it by merely pointing in the general direction of said lower-class scum. (Hint: phrases like "poor man's cocaine" come in handy here.)

# is often used as an ingredient in, or companion to, other drugs: you can frighten people about it by talking about all the other bad stuff users are taking.

# is never used as an ingredient in, or companion to, other drugs: you still have the option of describing it as a "gateway" leading to worse substances (don't worry about contradicting yourself by admitting tacitly, for the moment, that there are worse substances).
HT: Little Tobacco

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