They Want To Cause Suffering To People They Hate
The latest cannabis referendum poll suggests that 54% of New Zealanders will vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum on September 19. According to the poll, there are significant differences in levels of support for the referendum between supporters of the various parties. Some people have found this hard to explain. For their benefit, this essay elucidates.
Paul Manning, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics, asked the question “What do they want?” in response to the news that many elderly and conservative voters plan to vote against the cannabis referendum. He points out that these people understand that cannabis is widely available and that cannabis prohibition is not working. So why do they support it?
The reason why most elderly and conservative voters intend to vote ‘No’ is because they hate the sort of person who uses cannabis and they want to cause them suffering. This might sound uncharitable, or even cynical, but it has to be understood that most elderly and conservative Kiwis are twisted creatures of hate.
For their entire lives, this generation of New Zealanders has been exposed to propaganda inducing them to hate cannabis users. Ever since the 1930s, when Reefer Madness came out, popular culture has normalised the idea that cannabis users are depraved, anti-social maniacs. This propaganda has had the intended effect on the elderly of the West, who mostly swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
This anti-cannabis propaganda stems from two main sources, both of which hate cannabis for its ability to induce free thinking.
The first is the Church, who have always hated freethinkers because freethinkers question religious dogma. For centuries, the Church has relied on the acquiescence of its subjects in order to brainwash them. Freethinkers were the enemy because they threatened this acquiescence, and thereby Church control – this is why the Church has always persecuted them, going back to the murder of Hypatia and beyond.
The second is the Government, which wants a compliant population of submissive worker drones. Their ideal citizen is one with an IQ of 90, who goes to work everyday and produces widgets or basic services without ever complaining. As far as the Government is concerned, they are running a tax farm, and their chief concern is to milk the livestock as profitably as possible. The last thing that want is someone rocking the boat with free thought.
The elderly have internalised almost a century of this propaganda. As such, they genuinely believe that cannabis users are dangerous radicals who threaten to destroy the foundations of society itself, and who therefore deserve all the abuse they get. This hatred, in their minds, justifies cannabis prohibition.
In America, it was admitted that the purpose of the War on Drugs was to smash people they hated. John Ehrlichman, aide to Richard Nixon during the latter’s presidency, admitted that the purpose of the War on Drugs was to target anti-war hippies and black people. In an interview with Harper Magazine, Ehrlichman is quoted as saying:
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
Although it hasn’t been admitted, the same calculus applies in New Zealand.
There are almost no blacks in New Zealand, but elderly and conservative New Zealanders hate Maoris just as much as their American counterparts hate blacks. Elderly and conservative New Zealanders also hate hippies, who they associate with Communism and with the free and honest sex lives they wish they had had.
It’s well known that Maoris are strong supporters of cannabis law reform – the correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 was a whopping 0.91. The reason for this immensely strong support is because Maoris are adversely affected by cannabis prohibition to a much greater degree than other New Zealanders.
However, this disproportionate harm is considered a good thing by many elderly and conservative New Zealanders. They see Maoris as the enemy anyway – a thieving, bludging, ungrateful, violent enemy – so if cannabis prohibition harms them, that’s a good thing.
These elderly and conservative New Zealanders also hate other cannabis using demographics, such as young people, artists, hippies and freethinkers. Elderly and conservative New Zealanders do plenty of drugs, but their drugs are sedatives, alcohol and opiates. Cannabis prohibition doesn’t target them.
This hate is why arguments appealing to the suffering caused by cannabis prohibition often have no effect. Most elderly or conservative voters think “Cannabis users are suffering? Good! Smash them, crush them, destroy them. Ruin their lives with a criminal conviction. Imprison them so their kids can’t see them. They are the enemy and should be obliterated!”
The psychiatric damage caused to cannabis users by arresting and imprisoning them is considered a bonus by these people. Appealing to the cruelty of it makes as much sense, to elderly and conservative voters, as appealing to the cruelty of shooting the enemy soldiers on the other side of the battlefield. Of course it’s cruel, that’s the point.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to the presence of this malicious streak in New Zealand’s elderly and conservative voters. Hatred is a deep emotion – usually too deep to be influenced by reason. The sight of intelligent young people like Chloe Swarbrick speaking eloquently merely aggravates the elderly and conservative, and further entrenches their prejudice.
At the end of the day, young Kiwis and Maoris can take solace in the fact that the old bastards who hate them are dying off. No amount of hate can stop the aging process, and the old bigots will lose their ability to influence the law once Time puts them in the ground. Absent measures such as forcing the elderly to surrender their voting rights in exchange for a pension, that will have to do.
Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for ending cannabis prohibition.
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