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Radical Incline

Call to Arms

Beating the drums for a different kind of war

Do you know why we have a recession?
      F               C
   We got out of Viet Namn!
Do you know why we have the inflation?
          Bb             F
   'Cause nobody gives a damn!
Do you know why our cities are dying?
   No one's int'rested anymore!
       Dm                        F
Do you know what is good for the nation?
      Bb      Am      D
   We have to fight a war!
Do you know how to get the money?
   Our Congress must decide!
Do you know how to raise the army?
   Grab the men before they hide!
Do you know what we have as weapons?
   Our good humor and our skills!
Do you know how to rouse the people?
   Let righteousness light their wills!
Mindful Webworks | Radical Incline | Call to Arms, page 2
   3. [first ending]
Do you have a choice of enemy?
       F             C
   Starvation and disease!
Do you recognize the hostiles?
   They're doing as they please!
Do you care about the Future
   and what we can become?
    F            C
The total of our efforts
      F       Em   Dm  C
   is greater than the sum
[Repeat from first verse]
3. [second ending]
Do you have a choice of enemy?
       F             C
   Starvation and disease!
Do you recognize the hostiles?
   They're doing as they please!
Do you care about the Future
   We have to win the fight!
    F                C
So, write in to your Congressman
       F    Em   Dm   C
   and go enlist to - night!

Radical Incline

God and Pot

Defining evil, sin, and iniquity for the sake of discussion.

The question was asked, "Does God consider it a sin to smoke pot?"potleaf

Unless you're speaking within a circle of like-believing religionists, you're apt to have some problems with jargon here.. like, what do you mean by "sin"? or "think"? or of course "God"?

The complexities of evil, sin, and forgiveness can be profound, yet can be simple enough for any child past the approximate age of the integrated self-willed self-aware personality's first moral choosing (three to six, generally). Presuming monotheism, one person at the center of the universe and of every individual, our One Parent, here's some definitions for enlightened discussion's sake:

"Evil," that which is cosmically wrong, wrong in God's plan, the ultimate view. You might do evil, probably do frequently and daily, and don't even know it because you're ignorant and partially evolved spiritually. Evil in and of itself is utterly forgivable. Someone confused enough to disbelieve in gravity may pay the ultimate mortal price but any understanding Father would without doubt forgive such mere mental confusion.

"Sin," on the other hand, is knowingly doing wrong. Here you get into a problem of subjectivity. You might be really doing right but believe you're doing wrong because of doctrinal confusion — Huck Finn helping a runaway slave, but feeling guilty about it because he comes from a slaveholding culture. But generally, if you have any sense of real right and wrong, like you clearly know you're stealing and it's wrong and do it anyway, that's real sin. Sin is forgivable, too, most especially once you quit sinning.

When sin becomes a habit, when one is so fouled up as to consistently choose to do that which is really understood to be wrong, then that person could eventually reach the point of utter "iniquity," at some point becoming dead in the sense of irredeemable personality breakdown. "The wages of sin is death."

But too much emphasis is paid to evil, sin, and iniquity in most religion. Preachers spend more time on the Devil than they do on God when they should know that the universe is Unity, not polarity. From our perspective, shadow, cold, hunger, and evil can seem "real," but they are only relativities. What we quantify is light. Heat is what's real and what we miss when "cold" is the absence of heat. Real hunger is the absence of what is supposed to be normal, a regular meal. Evil is likewise a measure of emptiness rather than the reality, being the absence or usually only partial realization of the Good in the evolving universe, fear but the absence of faith.

Radical Incline

A Run-In with Officer Green

"WHAT'S THAT SMELL??" scowled Officer Green, and ordered me out of my car.

Yes, I play the Lottery8-ball

I have a secret vice. For decades now, I've played the Lottery. I place one dollar on every one of those big interstate jackpots and one dollar on every one of those state jackpots, every drawing. That adds up to about $100 a year for each drawing. That's the extent of my gambling, and has been for years.

When we used to live in Chicago,[*] I bought my tickets at a little corner drugstore in a not-very-wealthy neighborhood near our apartment. I would get in line with folks who were, I'd estimate, never going to be worth what I'm worth, and these not-rich people were playing the three-digit lottery and four-digit lottery with what seemed even to me to be vast amounts of money. Being no gambler, it looked like insanity to me. My mere $200 a year looked downright pikerish.

I know there's not much chance of winning the lottery, especially those huge jackpots, and especially playing it the way I do. There's good reason they call the lotteries a tax on people who are bad at math. I used to call it my regular voluntary tax contribution to (allegedly) the Illinois school system. Now, of course, I buy my tickets up in Kansas.

There is nearly no other value to playing the lottery, but every five weeks, wife Mary Jo and I drive the distance of about twenty-five miles to Caney[*] to purchase my tickets. This way, at least, for the money, we get to enjoy a very beautiful drive and some time off from the rigors of our daily life. It's become a nice ritual, an excuse that almost is worth the price.

Which brings me to last Saturday, 2004 May 8. My tickets had expired the previous Wednesday, but Mary Jo and I had not made it up to Kansas. We had a concert scheduled on that night at us75.com/,[*] and by late Saturday evening, we saw we were too busy for both Mary Jo and I to go to Kansas.

Thus arose one of those minor dilemmae. I could skip going and miss the Saturday drawings, since I'd probably lose my $2 anyway (and in fact did). But in the extremely unlikely possibility that my numbers did come up and I hadn't bought tickets (the Murphy's Law[*] possibility), I would never get over it. I decided to go up to Kansas about 7pm, even though the concert was scheduled to start at 8pm.

I had a very pleasant drive. Being without Mary Jo, I took the time to commune with God.[*] Having some private time on the road, I turned off the radio and tried to train my brain to hold in consciousness the presence of the Almighty. I don't know about yours, but my mind sure does wander! In any case, I felt pretty peaceful by the time I got to Kansas.

I collected my winnings from the previous tickets ($1), bought my new tickets, along with some sunflower seeds and a fruity beverage, and headed back home.

The drive back home was as uneventful and enjoyable as the drive up to Kansas. I had the windows rolled down at least part of the time, enjoying the sights, the wind, and the smells (okay, some like squashed skunk can be less enjoyable) of late Spring in north-eastern Oklahoma.

My name is Don Tyler

Both the main street of Dewey, Oklahoma,[*] and I, were named after my grandfather. Yes, my name is Don Tyler Avenue.

Seriously, Donald M. Tyler[*] was the manager of the Dewey Portland Cement Company[*] for many decades of the 20th Century, and in his honor, the main street of Dewey is named after him.

I have a special affection for Dewey, naturally. I also have had the perverse amused idea of being stopped for some minor traffic infraction on Don Tyler Avenue, just to see what reaction my name might cause.

On Saturday, I had a chance to find out what impression my name made on Dewey police. (None.)

The ordinary traffic stop

As I entered Dewey, I carefully decelerated with the rest of the traffic. Forty-five MPH. Thirty-five MPH. To my left, 'way across the highway, I see a Dewey police car, waiting to turn South onto the highway with us.

As the officer joins traffic, everything was moving smoothly and legally, and I thought to myself, isn't this a nice thing. Everybody's doing the speed limit, driving safely, and there's nothing for the officer to do. As it really ought to be.

Very shortly after this comforting reflection crossed my mind, there were squad lights in my mirror.(flashing) At the first available turnoff, a car wash, I pulled in. Dusk was coming on and I had just turned on my lights with the officer behind me, so since nothing else was going on, I presumed he must have stopped me for something like a burned-out taillight.

Close. An expired license tag. Very expired. More than the one-month "grace" period usually granted, the officer explained to me. I told him it wasn't lack of money, just ignorance and incompetence at getting our bills paid on time. No excuses, as he reminded me. He was supposed to give me a ticket, but said he would let me off with a warning.

So I went back and sat in the car, with the driver's-side door open, sipping my beverage and listening to the ball game on the radio, waiting for him to write out the warning.

Suddenly the world goes surreal

Officer Green approached me with the warning for me to sign, and as I reached out to sign it, he drew back, with a look of particular disgust on his face.

"WHAT'S THAT SMELL??" scowled Officer Green, a look of repugnance on his face. I'm not sure what I looked like, but I know I was surprised, as I hadn't any idea what he meant. Then he ordered me out of my car.

Now, I'm not a TV watcher for many years now, and never was a fan of serious cop shows or real-crime shows. I have gathered however that things have changed over the thirty years in the way police and communities interact. I don't think of myself as guilty, or know how to act in today's "dangerous" society, and also I suppose I'm a little slow on the uptake, which is why Officer Green had a little problem with me understanding how to obey his orders.

He ordered me to stand back, and took a cursory look in my car. Now, I can't remember the sequence, but I know he did these things. He looked in the car. He had me put my hands on the car and frisked me. He told me something to the effect of, "In a minute, I'm going to tear this car apart, so why don't you just save me the time and tell me where it is." I gathered at some point that he was talking about marijuana.pot leaf

In frisking me up and down, he took my billfold out of my pocket, checking under the brim of my hat, inside my socks and shoes (ick!). I have to admit there were not one but a couple of moments where I presumed he was done frisking me, and I started to stand up and he had to bark at me to put my hands back on the car. Call me dumb, but I just don't have any experience with all these serious criminal-mentality procedures.

Likewise, when he was first looking in my car, he had to tell me not just once but a couple of times to stand back. Like a dumbass, I'm thinking I can be more helpful, and heard better, a little closer to the door. The second time, when he barks, "take two steps back," it finally sinks in. I stand at Rest. (Never was in the military, but Dad taught me a few things.)

Another Dewey officer drove up. I'm sorry to say in all the excitement I've forgotten his name; I'm pretty sure it began with a C. Officer Green had him watch me, and frisk me again. Again, my hands on the car, my hatband, my shoes, my socks, my pants pockets turned inside out, that was different. Officer C. was more rookie than Officer Green, I gathered, or in any case was much less excited and stern with me. When Officer C. asked me to put my hands on his car, I'm by now a little paranoid of maybe not doing it right for him. Maybe I'm supposed to spread my feet apart, or I don't know what. I told him, just tell me what I'm supposed to do, I'm not familiar with all this. He was very nice, saying, just put your hands on the car.

After that Officer C. and I stood there and talked while Officer Green searched my car. A couple of times Officer Green would come out and say something accusatory. He asked, at least twice, "Did you eat it or throw it out?" At another point, when he was searching the passenger side of my car with the back door open, he said something to the effect of, now he couldn't smell it any more which he said meant I must therefore have just been smoking!

Officer C.

Officer C. and I had a nice talk, I thought, despite my nervousness. A fresh-faced young blond officer, seemed to me, uncorrupted.

I had been about to hand Officer Green a couple of flyers for us75.com/ when his nose went off, and I had left the flyers on the dashboard. One had blown out of the car. I was starting to talk with Officer C. about our place, us75.com/, and at one point started to head off to pick up the flyer on the ground, before I realized I had to ask permission to move. Officer C. not only said okay, but went with me and thoughtfully moved the other flyer that was about to blow out. I took that and handed both of them to him, pointing out our Acoustic Stage shows especially.

I talked with Officer C. slightly about their job, you guys do this a lot, that kind of thing. I told him, a bit sheepishly, that when Officer Green exclaimed, "What's that SMELL?" my first thought was, had I farted? You know, no one to offend but the angels, so to speak, a man traveling alone can fart proudly like Ben Franklin[*] suggested. I had been having some digestive rumblings lately!

I lamented to Officer C., I was just going up to buy my lottery tickets, and this is what I won! I asked him what time it was, about 8:20pm, and told him I was concerned I might not be back in time for the show.

I talked with him about how I remembered once back when our daughter Majic had been a wild teenager, she took some kids home and afterward I found a foot-long steel pipe (of the smoking variety) in our car. Although I didn't tell Officer C. this, another time I found a tiny bag of pot seeds (very clean, I noted, nothing to smoke, just seeds.) Our car is still used a lot for carting youngsters home or giving them rides. There's no telling what some kid dropped in our car. I told Officer C., what if Officer Green did find something? I'd be in deep shit! Getting back in time for the show might become the least of my problems.

Our car is used for everything, and being a country family vehicle over a decade old, we really don't clean or vacuum it very well or very frequently. This is not one of your Bartlesville[*] upscale BMWs, it's a Chevy suburban from the years after lead paint was prohibited but before they found out how to make the new paints stick to the car, so it's old, gray, peeling, battered, and dirty. As I watched Officer Green looking through the overhead map compartment, the glove box, under the seats, under the dash, and finally in the back seat, I began to think about what he was encountering, and I felt sorry for him. I knew there was a load of crap in the back of the car. Baskets and bags and litter galore. For example, when I got back to the car, I discovered there was a big bag of my son Mike's dirty laundry. (Talk about "what's that smell"!!)

The Evidence

Finally, Officer Green seemed to be finished with his inspection of my car. He walked up to us, and held his hand up, thumb and forefinger pinched together, claiming to have found "a burned marijuana seed," announced it seemed to me with a combination of triumph and frustration. I frankly couldn't see anything at all in his fingers. He told me there were a couple more "in between the seats." All I could do is shrug and, so I presume, look as dumb as I was.

He told me now, I was going to get a ticket! Still a dummy, I thought he meant that a ticket was the fine for having a marijuana seed. I have no idea. He appeared frustrated in his efforts to find any evidence more satisfactory than whatever particle he plucked from between our seats. While he was writing up my ticket. I got the flashlight out of my ever-nearby backpack, and inspected between the front seats. I couldn't believe the awful litter of pebbles, leaves, food crumbs , animal hair and general gunk that he must have seen! I sure couldn't see anything as innocuous as individual burned seeds, myself!

As it turned out, what he was writing me a ticket for was the expired license tag! Plainly frustrated, acting as if he was sure he almost "had me" except I had outsmarted him somehow, save for the alleged burned particle of something or other that he found, Officer Green decided to take it out on me, as I see it, by writing me the tag ticket instead of the warning.

Officer Green told me, when he smells pot, ninety percent of the time he finds it. Again, all I could do was shrug. I was, obviously, relieved that I was going to be able to go on with my life without being any further embroiled in the war on users of some government-disapproved substances. Again, being a bit innocently dumb, I started to talk to Officer Green about our place, about some of the wild things kids will sometimes do that we have to handle. Talking about smells, I started to tell him the one about the kid who hid out by the dumpster behind our building to smoke a joint, but the back door was open and the wind was out of that direction, and suddenly our whole place stank of pot! But suddenly I thought, Officer Green was just convinced that I was pulling something on him, still thinks I'm guilty and just got away with it, and to him I'm basically the enemy. As he said of catching pot-smokers, "This is my passion!" O-kay. I decided to just stop in mid-story, probably seeming like a dumbass... or stoned... and shook his hand and said good-bye.

Thinking about it afterward…

I of course can't possibly know what, if anything, Officer Green smelled, fart, dirty laundry, a nearby sewer, or actual pot blowing out of a passing car. I likewise can't possibly know what if anything he found in the car.

I really doubted he had found a burned marijuana seed. It did occur to me, after he held up his seemingly empty pinched-together fingers, that he was attempting to appear threatening, as you might say, "put the fear of God" into someone he presumed guilty. Authority types do that. I probably had to at a few points with my kids.

When I told my experience to friends later that night, someone suggested I had been typed, or as they say now, profiled. Such a thing didn't occur to me until then. In the profiling scenario, Officer Green saw the old fellow with the long gray hair driving by, pulled up behind me looking for a pretext to pull me over, which of course there was a very real one, made up this story about smelling something, and proceded to do what he'd intended to do from the moment he saw me going down the highway.

Now I'm not saying that's the case with Officer Green. I don't know. Cops do that, it's sure. We all know shady cops plant evidence when they think a person's guilty enough. There are also cops who are straight-arrow guys who believe in what they're doing and play by the rules. I have no reason to think Officer Green is anything but the latter, but you never know. His behavior certainly would just as easily fit the curve of the profiling rogue, and his remark that this is not just his duty but his "passion" could likewise be seen in that regard. Another friend remarked that I was lucky I wasn't arrested. I have no real reason to think that Officer Green was lying about what he thought he found, I can imagine that a seed very well might have ended up in the car over the years. I do presume that Officer Green was smart enough that if he had wanted to plant evidence in my car, he would have planted something more substantial than the alleged burned seed. Then again, the whole thing of being frustrated in his ardent search, claiming to have found some tiny evidence, giving me a ticket ($87!!) instead of the warning for the tag, I must admit it all certainly could fit the modus operandi of a hassling, profiling cop out of control.

I've recently had my son Mike get sucked into our so-called justice system, dragged through jails and courts and ultimately copping a tiny plea for something he never did, just to avoid the dragged-out expense and dice-toss of a jury trial, the only other option. I saw how the system is designed to keep the lawyers paid and the courts going, but not to dispense any kind of real justice, certainly not to the actually innocent. I also saw police claims on reports of Mike's alleged crime were mysteriously changed. So things simply aren't always on the up-and-up. Getting involved with the legal system at all is a horrible nightmare with no justice in any of it. Considering especially the drug-frenzied mentality today, I suppose I should count myself very lucky that I didn't meet a cop who was any worse, or I might be going through the injustice system for more than a car tag fine.

But it still seems that, if an officer stops you, accuses you of something, searches you, diligently searches your car, finds nothing, there should be some apology for the inconvenience and error. I suppose you could say that his seeming surety that he had found something illegal in that microscopic tidbit of supposed carbonated vegetation precluded an apology, but I doubt I would have received one in any case.


I talked with some Dewey citizens about my encounter, and they asked me the officer's name. When I told them, I heard a round of groans of recognition; he was known to them by his reputation, and it wasn't a good one.

Frequently, I read about a drug bust that begins with an alleged ordinary traffic stop. Minor things like an expired license tag, or alleged weaving in traffic. When you read about it, it's because they found something. But how many times does it happen that people are shaken down, and up, by these arrogant and invasive "drug warriors," but they find nothing, and so it doesn't make the news? For the profiling and shake-downs to work, they have to stop many times the number of people they bust; I even doubt Officer Green's "90%" claim is anywhere near that high. I never read about such cases of random traffic infractions leading to busts without thinking that the cops involved are likewise following their "passion," and looking for excuses to bust folks, that they are more likely to stop certain types for these minor infractions than stop others who don't fit the profile. Whenever I read about such busts now, I say, cynically, "yeah, sure!"

Like all aspects of Prohibitionism, such invasion of privacy, wanton hassling of random citizens by cops, is one more deterioration of freedom in the name of obscene social control of private behavior. The corruption of the forces of law to enforcement of taboos instead of tackling true transgressions leads to a horrible distancing between the citizenry and the law.

Whenever I'm going through Dewey, now, I'm on the watch for Officer Green. I wonder if I'll have to go through it all again. He (or any other cop) can pull me over on any trumped-up infraction, or none at all, and interrupt my life based on some goofy or imagined evidence. Before it was just something I read about, but now that it is my experience, I realize more than ever that any cop at any time can shake down anyone, and bust them for anything. We put a lot of power in our police, and with that power goes enormous trust. I'd still like to think that most of them are decent people, doing their job. Most of the police encounters I've had in my life have been positive. I respect that theirs is a hard and dangerous job, but it's a job made harder and more dangerous, as well as much dirtier, by Prohibition. It's not the fault of the police that our society has these insane regulations, but the kind of people who like to become passionate taboo police are not the kind of people who you want, but they're the kind of law enforcement a prohibitionist society gets.

A significantly related link:
[*]Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at leap.cc

Related Mindful Webworks:
Prohibition fuels gangsterism —It's not drugs but PROHIBITION which provides the fuel for the modern equivalent of rum-runner profits and Al Capones.
Independent Religionist's Liberty — Are USA Constitutional liberties not being extended to non-aligned religionists?
Repeal! / Repeal Heals — not only is the so-called war on drugs utterly unwinnable, it is in its very conception a perversion of the important purposes of good government. The way to personal or social health is positive.
The Golden Rule and Prohibition — Countering common erroneous arguments for prohibitionism and applying the Golden Rule
Head Shop — Cartoons, songs, and more regarding the appeal of indulgences and the consequences of desire.

Radical Incline

Winning with Liberty

America has actually been emphatically un-imperial. Rather than making nations our serfs, we would have them as our friends.
Cruising the web led me to "Freedom through force" by Alex Massie, reviewing The Dominion of War by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton[*]. I have not read the book, but very much enjoyed the review. Pivotal in the reviewer's analysis of the United States, from this Oklahoman's view, is this: "the ideas of the American Revolution were and remain as revolutionary as they are universal." The reviewer understands that in one sense America is just another government among humans, with human evils, yet that Federalism is confronted constantly by the "Spirit of '76." The reviewer mentions a Scottish historian's view that "the Americans have built an empire while avoiding the 'e' word pretty consistently, and that's always disastrous. There have been successes, but if you look at all the countries in which the US has intervened, the majority have not been success stories." Or, another possible way of looking at the sometimes "failure" of American foreign policy has been that America has actually been emphatically un-imperial. Rather than making nations our serfs, we would have them as our friends. If the idea is that free countries are defending ourselves by "exporting liberty and democracy," then to be a bit simplistic about it, only when the overwhelming majority of disparate peoples place the modern and necessary principles of universal equality above primitive tribal and sectarian divisiveness will they (not we) "succeed." People don't change like that overnight, although they may in as little as a generation.

Radical Incline

Revolution of Principle

We need a revolution of legal and social appreciation for human liberty, for the Human Right in all its facets.

Email sent to: lettertoed@thestar.ca[*]

I write to the Toronto Star, whose website carried "an excerpt of an editorial from the Calgary Herald." I tried to access the Herald online to read the original editorial in its entirety, but (Star publishers please note) the Herald requires "registration," an unfortunate but increasingly common reader-losing practice among online periodicals, which tedious and invasive practice I refuse to encourage.

I write from Oklahoma, smack dab in the middle of the USA. Please excuse me if in the following, in the occasional tendency of my countrymen, I sometimes seem to universalize my country's culture or otherwise smudge national and cultural borders.

Regarding the editorial, href="http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1087251010097&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795" target="_blank">Taxing marijuana compounds problem[*]:

Pragmatism v Principle

The editorialist is correct to point out the flaw in the pragmatic argument for legalization of pot, or likewise other substances. Contrasting the material gain argument with transgressions like shoplifting is the correct way to point out a logical error of the argument from pragmatism. Many of the arguments for repeal of modern vice prohibitions are similarly logically flawed: emotionally appealing, rhetorically propagandistic, or sometimes even to some degree disingenuous, like the back-door hemp-product or medical approaches to cannabis legalization. (I don't mean to suggest that those supporting hemp or medical uses are insincere potheads; but those supporting these movements, if they are thoughtful, would acknowledge their efforts — duh! — innately, inherently, and inevitably weaken recreational criminalization.) Humans being frequently less than entirely reasonable, legalization propaganda is frequently just as flawed as Prohibitionists' paralogisms.

In comparing pot use with shoplifting, however, the editorialist unintentionally compares apples with handguns, so to speak. Shoplifting, theft, threat, murder, force, fraud, these are true transgressions, and just cause for society to govern the transgressors. Gambling, beer-drinking, smoking one plant or another, and other so-called vices, these are personal (for good or ill) actions, not inherently interpersonally transgressive. Society may rightly govern public intoxication, public motor-vehicle operational impairment, public lewdness, public second-hand smoke, public littering of syringes, the poisonous meth lab next door, whatever the public and social consequences of people who can't hold their whatever or really threaten or harm others.

But what could possibly give Society just cause to govern the private bet, the private beer, the personal joint?

Prohibitionism = tyranny

The editorialist rightly notes that "Unless the government is willing to legalize all drugs, the effect on organized crime [of marijuana legalization alone] would be minute." This sad fact of vice laws underpins the very way modern USA pot and drug repression got started, with former alcohol prohibition agents like Anslinger callously trying to keep their jobs by getting new prohibitions passed with racist and cultural scare tactics.

The editorialist is further correct to lament the hypocrisy and ironic self-defeating nature of disincentive taxation that arises wherever vice is legalized. (As if when pot were legal and the profit motive of bootlegging were removed the government could still collect black-market level prices as taxes.) A black market in otherwise legal items, like cigarettes, arises just as surely as completely prohibited items, because under exhorbitant taxes, especially combined with relatively open borders and the matter's elsewhere general legality, a smuggler's profit-to-risk ratio is still high. The punitive tax "to dissuade use" or punish or "pay for social consequences" is just the same taboo-minded Taliban-like thinking upon which outright prohibitionism is based. The very tyrannical thinking behind dissuasive taxes and Prohibitionism in all its forms is the real social problem, the scourge, which must be addressed.

The Puritan and Taliban give us similar religion-based taboo-law culture. To be fair, such religious extremists are also to be associated with Godliness, devotion, and duty. The Puritan Work Ethic is still something to be admired and emulated. But such cultures leave us also with a heritage of taboos regarding personal appearance, behavior, and lifestyle and practices. Often today, these taboos are no longer so much religious as cultural. Dancing after midnight? "We just don't do that." But in all cases, the codification of taboo is an aberration, a cancer even, of governments which otherwise Constitutionally protect liberty.

The idea of Prohibitionism inevitably justifiies any tyranny. The Prohibitionist, logically, must control not just alcohol, drugs, gambling and prostitution, but also tobacco and marijuana, and we may soon throw in those minor villains caffeine, sugar, and taken to its logical extremes, even carbohydrates, or alternative herbal or homeopathic medicines... and what if dancing is medically proven to be dangerous for old people? Better prohibit that. Beard length, women's attire, private bedroom behavior of married heterosexual couples, there is historically and logically no barrier to the idea of Prohibitionism, taken to its logical extremes. However, the futility of prohibitionism is best illustrated with Alcohol. The deadliest and most abused drug of all time and all cultures should logically always be the Prohibitionist's first target, yet the most resounding historic disproof of the path of Prohibitionism is the USA's 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition.

Liberty & Responsibility

In extreme contrast, true ideals of liberty inevitably drive one to complete repeal of blue laws, vice laws, and all those barbaric taboos which do not concern true transgressions. Society, plainly, is unready for pursuing the ideals of liberty. Concern about the "consequences of sin" is generally reasonable, but we don't have to be scared of real freedom — where legal and well-governed, vices lose much of both their inflated gangster-attracting profitability and their socially corrupting illicit allure. People who turn to prohibitionism generally lack faith — expecting to eradicate the degradation and self-destruction of individuals through generalized social oppression, when these goals can only really be accomplished when strong, self-regarding, devout families and communities abound.

Some public regulation is entirely just. We can't have the rotgut or the cancer sticks out near where the kiddiess can grab it, and so on. We may allow titty clubs (pardon the expression but the new one that opened up in our town has added this to my current lexicon), but we no more have to permit them in plain sight of our schools than we need permit choking factories to go up next door to our residences.

Abandoning our heritage of taboo enforcement for truly free government is not the same as permitting transgression nor any more a sign of social endorsement of general debauchery than is legal booze. General repeal would actually mean exorcising a great devil in the purposes of government. The pragmatic arguments are not only ultimately correct in material terms, but also accord with the ideals of liberty: We are better off today treating alcoholism and the dangers of alcohol openly than we were under the gangsterism and corruption of American Prohibition. We don't punish one beer drinker for the transgressions of another person who gets drunk. We have stores stocked with a world-wide selection of beers and fine wines, not speakeasies serving bathtub-brewed poison. Without Prohibitionism, those who have problems with substances or habits, we will deal with as we deal with the alcoholic or tobacco fiend or others with debilitating dependencies. Logically, Prohibitionism taken to its conclusion, unless you absolutely eradicate virtually all taboo-breakers from society, interdiction and repression is futile. In practice, with prohibition, control becomes actually less possible — kids can get pot and ecstasy easier than they can get alcohol or cigarettes. Our prisons groan under the strain of encaged non-transgressive taboo-breakers yet drugs flood across the border daily. The war on users of some substances was eviscerating Constitutional protections long before the war on terrorism and its Orwellian Patriot Acts. Much of the major woes of drug source countries derive from the inflated black-market profits due to drug taboos. Worldwide, those resources which we currently vainly employ in interdiction, criminalization of harmless users, and cheap scare-tactics would be far more effectively spent on serious education and personal intervention efforts… but all the practical benefits of liberty are just the inevitable result of correcting a great pattern of terribly tyranny and injustice throughout humanity. Prohibitionism itself must be ended, looked upon as surely as we now look upon slavery.

Rather than the tyranny of the taboo, rather than the flawed logic of rationalists or the tedious machinations of the incrementalists, we need a revolution of legal and social appreciation for human liberty, for the Human Right in all its facets.

Above all, government which is consistent in its principles of liberty and just in its enforcement of only the social contract will be most highly regarded by the populace. Law must govern transgression, not taboo. In the contest between individual right and majority opinion, non-transgressive behaviors of all sorts must be Constitutionally protected, just as surely and importantly as the rights of speech, press, and worship, of person, property, and security, or of any right of non-transgressing artistic, political, and religious practice or expression.