Rorate Caeli has an intervention of Pope Francis concerning drugs, in which he condemns with words of seldom read clarity (and , if you ask me, clearly not written by him) the proposals of their legalisation either as recreational drugs or as “help” to get out of drug addiction.
The Pope’s stance is, in itself, to be praised. Which doesn’t happen often, so when it happens it is a double pleasure to discover that, every now and then, the Pope is at least on the right side.
I have already written my stance about the matter of legalising drugs in a longish two-post reflection (part one and part two). I will not add anything to what I have written concerning the problem in general.
What I would like to observe, though, is the following:
1) Why has Pope Francis never found words of even vaguely comparable clarity concerning the various form of so-called civil partnership, so–called marriage, adoption by perverts, and the the like?
He writes, concerning drugs:
“Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”
If he is a catholic, Francis will know that sodomy is evil, because the gravity of a certain behaviour must be seen according to the way God is offended, not according to the “harm” done to others or oneself.
How can it be that Francis, who finds such clear words about, say, marijuana, does not find them concerning sodomy? If he can say:
“Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that. No to any kind of drug use”
what prevents him, the Pope, from saying: “Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of sexual perversion. It is as simple as that. No to any kind of sexual perversion”?
Or you could rephrase the question in a different way: is the Pope Catholic?
2) The Unholy Father continues on his train of thought, and shows once again how un-Catholic his mind is. I quote:
“But to say this “no”, one has to say “yes” to life, “yes” to love, “yes” to others, “yes” to education, “yes” to greater job opportunities. If we say “yes” to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.”
This is the typical liberal and marxist thinking according to which not the individual, but “society” at large is the cause of drug consumption, and these problems have a purely societal origin and, as a consequence, a purely societal remedy. Also, like all those of his ilk he clearly states the precedence: unless a society does not say “yes” to better education and greater job opportunities, this society is simply not in a position to say “no” to drugs.
Poppycock, and poppycock. The reasons for drug addiction lie first and foremost in the individual responsibility (and stupidity, and self-absorption, and rebellion) of those who choose to take drugs. It is their decision and their responsibility, but their decision is the result of yielding to evil. The problem is not a societal one, it is a religious one. It’s not “society”, it’s the individual, and at the same time it’s not “society”, it’s the Original Sin.
Good and evil fight each other every day and every moment in every individual, and only an atheist or a marxist sees in “society”, rather than in humanity’s fallen nature and the work of the devil, the cause of grave societal problems like drug use.
To Francis, the problem isn’t the idiot who takes drugs, or the devil who tempts them to do so, or the fallen nature who cause their desire to do the wrong thing. To him, the problem is to be found in issues like lack of education and lack of social opportunities.
It’s the same liberal whining all over again; but it comes from a Pope, which is disquieting.
Once again: this Pope is so Christianity-free that he cannot manage to do the right thing even when he defends the right position. His outlook is entirely secular. His answers lie completely on this side of heaven. He apportions the blame for grave individual failures to “society”, and allows the perpetuation of the whining that has been such a comfortable excuse for pretty much everything in the last decades.
Scratch the Pope, and you will find the liberal Protomarxist.
A once successful singer marries a once rather famed TV presenter. Lately, he has reached his fame mainly with a “benefit” initiative that brought him a lot of Bono-like notoriety. His wife is, as said, known on her own.
They have, I think, two children. But husband and children is not exciting enough, and the wife runs away with another, far more famous rock star. The latter is also drug addict, and certainly unstable.
The two – actually, the three – start the usual war for the custody of the children. The wife almost dies of an overdose, but I can't remember if this is before or after the famous rock star commits suicide. Doesn't matter, because the original father manages to take the children anyway. But wait, I think first the mother dies of booze or drugs, too; it could be after losing the children, though, but I am not sure, because these aren't the people who say “let's try to be responsible, we have children”. The children she has – two from the not-so-fanous singer, one from the worldwide famous one – all have names you would give to cats, or rather names that children would give to cats.
The not-so-famous singer then gets the children, and actually adopts child number three, the one of the famous singer who has committed suicide. The famous singer, say his friends, would have rolled in his tomb knowing that his “enemy” got his own child. Could have avoided suicide, you might say. It's not so surprising the only father of this triangle who has not taken his life should get the children, is it now?
Predictably, the children grow up emotionally wrecked. Let us count: two of them had mama and stepfather taking their lives through suicide or excess (note the word, by the way), the third both his natural parents. The percentage of drug addicts at some time or other among the parents is thus never below 50%, with peaks of 100%. You can call this a very “interesting” family background.
The poor children have to cope with the mess, because only the idiots refuse to acknowledge that the sin of the fathers – and the mothers – will be visited upon the sons. At least one also becomes a drug addict; almost dies of an overdose – like her mother – but then recovers. Or says she does. She dies suddenly some days ago, for reason not easy to ascertain, probably simply medical ones because there are no obvious signs of suicide or overdose. She leaves children also named like cats. The sins of the fathers and the mothers have visited the children and, at the same time, grandchildren. You read all the names in the newspapers, and think the articles is about an institution for abandoned cats. No one seems to link the names – and the entirely de-Christianised environment they betray – and the tragedies.
I do. Go on, call me a “holy card face”.
This further tragedy in the family – I almost forgot: at twenty-five the young woman was already at the second marriage; but again the children of drug-addicted, suicides or both together rarely tend to make good marriage material; at least bar a conversion of which there is no trace here, as indicated by the children, all named like cats – leaves more children irrimediably scarred. The father expresses his sorrow, and seems not to have the faintest idea whence all these tragedies come. He seems to live in a planet where bad actions and their consequences are entirely disconnected, and tragedies just happen; mind, the last tragedy might have simply “happened”, but human actions are what caused all the rest.
The public is informed of this Hiroshima-style family, and you don't read anywhere a word of warning; I do not say a warning concerning the obvious truth that the sins of the father – and the mothers – will be visited upon the sons; but not even concerning the immense tragedy of having people taking drugs, quarrelling, committing suicide; leaving behind them people who take drugs, quarrel, and perhaps will, one day, commit suicide.
Not one word of warning. Too “judgmental”, you see. People simply register the facts, and consider them parts of the “lifestyle” of “celebrities”. What hell the life of such people must have been, must still be if they aren't such children that they can't even feel the pain of an adult, the public does not care. This is, most emphatically, not a cautionary tale. An excuse for easy emoting, at most.
It will be weeks before the causes of the death of the young woman will be made known. We can only hope and pray she died of natural causes, and at least, so to speak, halfway in the grace of God.
Looking at it coolly, the chances aren't great.
Let it be a cautionary tale. The sins of the fathers, and all that.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.1Co 6:10
The sad – though self-inflicted; just so we do not get into the whiny V II “tambourine mode” – death of the great actor Philip Seymour Hofmann should, perhaps, be cause for a couple of politically incorrect and very un-V II reflections to the best of my ability. Some of you will be grated by them. So be it. I don't write this blog in order not to grate anyone. Actually, I write it in order to grate the one or other among them. I find this not only sound Catholicism, but even charitable. Imagine that.
Unless the New Testament has deceived us this last 2000 years; or we have not been able to read for the same amount of time; or the Holy Ghost has miraculously changed His mind upon witnessing the wonder of V II, people who gravely poison themselves will not inherit the kingdom of God. I will not insult your intelligence explaining to you that what is true for the drukard is also true for the heroin addict, though St. Paul could not have mentioned heroin. By the way, notice how uncharitable St. Paul is in using this word, “drunkard”. What a self- righteous, judgmental hater, nicht wahr?…
Still, like every other grave matter, the passage mentioned above must be read in the light of Church teaching: the mortal sin entails not only a behaviour that can be considered “grievous matter” (Baltimore catechism), but the subjective elements must be present; to put it again with the Baltimore Catechism: sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.
Now, no one of us can know what went through the mind of Mr Seymour Hoffman as he was injecting himself the fix that was to prove fatal to him; but in the realm of those sober observations we are rather obliged to make on this earth – if we care for our salvation, at least; and if we do not think God will “slap us on the wrist” at worst – the full consent of the will is, reasonably, not present in the heroin addict as to what concerns his very act of injecting himself the fix; at that point, Seymour Hoffman was, reasonably, not able to take a deliberate, free decision to take the heroin; rather, one can reasonably say that very probably such a biological compulsion would have acted on him, that it is at least sound to assume the man was compelled by his altered biological functions to act against his better judgment; so that, to say it with the immortal words of St. Paul, he “did the very thing he hated”.
The V II crowd would probably stop here; declare Seymour Hofmann happily in Purgatory; or possibly even decide he had his purgatory here on earth – a fashionable, often-used statement nowadays, as it allows one to happily remove the reality of purgatory without denying its existence – so no need for that, thank you very much.
I do not think it's so easy.
Very few people (fairly: only the very wicked ones) go through life with the cold-blooded intention of being evil. If God had meant hell only for those the entire Gospel would make no sense, because Jesus very obviously threatens with hell at a far less extreme – or at least: less extreme when measured with the usual human metre – stage of wickedness. For example, not believing in Him is enough, even if one is the most excellent father, husband, and chairman of the local “save the hearth” group. Sin is offence made to God. Taking hard drugs, or drinking oneself to stupor, is a very serious offence. No amount of pussyfooting around facts will ever get rid of this simple truth.
No. If Christianity is to make sense, and if we want to be realistic about our own situation, we must soberly realise that damnation is a concrete possibility for everyone of us, the loving and nice members of our community always ready to defend the Amazonian Forest from imminent destruction, and very concerned about the fate of the red squirrel.
This means that “being a drug addict” is just not enough to get away with it. In the same way that if I fill myself with cocaine before robbing a bank and then kill the teller in my coke-induced madness I am responsible *for having put myself in the position to kill the teller*, the question arises how Seymour Hoffman – and all those who kill themselves with the nail, or with the bottle, or playing russian roulette because of their addiction to bet and danger – can get away with having put himself in that situation of addiction in the first place.
This must be, I am afraid, a very sobering thought, as whilst people can and do at times slip into alcoholism a bit at a time, without noticing and without being able to recognise the point at which the pathology has set in until it is very late, the same cannot be said of substances whose assumption is punished by the law with several years of jail, not to be obtained at all without a deliberate effort, and of whom a child of eleven must know, unless he is gravely retarded, what he is doing.
Again, whilst drunkenness can be involuntary if one does not realise what effect the drink is going to have on him, heroin intake must perforce be a mortal sin in that it requires a Francis-like fantasy to think it can be, in the usual cases, taken without deliberate intent (there are extreme exceptions, of course: I read once Hermann Goering became an addict because they gave him too much drugs in the hospital whilst curing him).
As always in these complex cases, the greatest thinker of all times helps us greatly at Q150 of the summa theologica, answering all our doubts as he deals with drunkenness. As to whether drunkenness (and we can say: deliberate heroin taking) is a mortal sin, the Angelic Doctor states:
“it may happen that a man is well aware that the drink is immoderate and intoxicating, and yet he would rather be drunk than abstain from drink. Such a man is a drunkard properly speaking, because morals take their species not from things that occur accidentally and beside the intention, but from that which is directly intended. On this way drunkenness is a mortal sin, because then a man willingly and knowingly deprives himself of the use of reason, whereby he performs virtuous deeds and avoids sin, and thus he sins mortally by running the risk of falling into sin.”
Note here that drunkenness deliberately induced is a mortal sin qua drunkenness, not only if a further sin ensues. It would be a mortal sin even if the man would get drunk locked alone in a jail cell. Or would inject heroin in himself in his own bathroom, whilst alone at home.
Therefore, we know that deliberate drunkenness (and by logical extension: heroin taking) is a mortal sin by itself, and that one cannot reasonably become a heroin addict without committing a series of deliberate mortal sins; until at some point the deliberation is diminished, and in the end probably ceases, because an addiction has now taken roots which make the deliberate decision not to take drugs an extremely difficult one. Whilst at this point the sin committed whilst “under the influence” can be diminished (and St. Thomas states as much, making the example of Lot), the mortal sin that originated the subsequent sins clearly remains (Article 4).
I can, therefore, not buy the idea that Seymour Hoffman – and clearly everyone who kills himself by drug taking, or by drinking – “will be just fine” because “he was addicted”. Rather, unless I want to sink in a lake of molasses I must admit that he must have been in mortal sin several times as he was in the process of becoming an addict; mortal sins which – unless repented by a suitable perfect contrition before death, or valid confession at any point – would merit him hell.
A different reasoning could also be made as to what Seymour Hoffman's – and every drug addict's, and every drunkard's – attitude towards his addiction was. Did he have a firm resolution not to sin anymore, expressed to a priest in a good confession? Now of course a firm resolution does not mean one will be freed from the addiction, but as far as I know it is simply a requirement of our religion *that the firm resolution be there*. Again, we must soberly observe reality and decide that unless Seymour Hoffman was a *practicing* Catholic – of which I have no information, but is to be hoped – his confessing his sin and firm resolution of amendment was, reasonably, not there.
Is, then, the man very probably screwed? Thankfully for him and all of us, it does not have to be so. By the grace of God, things are not so black and white that we can say that either he went to confession, or he went to hell. We cannot know whether on that day – and certainly not by coincidence; because if it has happened, it was Divine Providence that ordered things so, and gave him the efficacious grace to do so – the man managed a perfect contrition, and gave way to his addiction in a state of diminished guilt, such that the perfect contrition would procure him absolution from his past mortal sins and the now present addiction would (confront Thomas above) allow him to escape from a mortal sin for his last and fateful act.
What do we, therefore, conclude from all this? In my eyes, we cannot but conclude the following:
1. that we cannot simply say that the addiction excuses from the mortal sin; behind the addiction must reasonably stay several mortal sins: mortal sins which many people nowadays do not care to entrust to the mercy of the Lord in a good confession, thus remaining in mortal sin whatever the goodism of the day may suggest.
2. that it is foolish for the addict to remain in his state of mortal sin without a firm resolve of improvement, as this would make his confession's validity questionable at the very least. One thinks of John Belushi – another great actor I really liked and still miss after all these years – and, well, shudders. There can be no doubt that all those who are near such a person, and a priest if he has the fortune of having such a one near him, should feel the need to help him to such a firm resolution of amendment; in which, by the way, is the true charity.
3. that we are always allowed to hope, because it can always be that, unknown to the world, the Seymour Hoffman of the day managed that all-important perfect contrition. As long as there's life there's hope, as they say, and the other one about the ways of the Lord certainly comes to mind.
I would also add this: that a society in which one dies of drug addiction and only a tiny minority of people – who are then accused of being “uncharitable”, of course – wonders in a serious way about what it is with salvation in such cases is a society that has almost completely lost the fear of the Lord and every Christian common sense, and has managed to, well, drug itself with political correctness and the all pervading “niceness” of our times to the point of removing the reality of judgment from their consciousness even when events happen which, in fact, scream alarm. No: the V II crowd will in this case simply remove the problem by saying the fashionable “who are we to judge” or by creating a fantasy Christianity in which neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will be denied the kingdom of God no matter what, because He is so merciful. These people endanger their own salvation, and the salvation of those who listen to them.
If there's one thing for which we should pray, it is the grace of final perseverance. A grace I wish to Seymour Hoffman, to John Belushi, to Amy Winehouse, and – heck – even to Jim Morrison: and to all drunkards and drug addicts of this world; for whom we must pray, without wishy-washing the simple fact that they are – as the saints used to say before the world became so much better than them – drunkards, or today's drug addicts; and immortal souls, in clear danger of damnation and therefore, again, clearly in need of our prayers.
If one throws himself under a train he has not “lost his battle against the train”. He simply chose to throw himself under it.
If one throws himself out of a seventh-floor window he has not “lost his battle against the pavement”. He simply chose to smash himself into it.
If one shoots himself in the head he has not “lost his battle against the bullet”. He chose to plant the bullet exactly where the bullet went.
It is, therefore, rather singular that when Philip Seymour Hoffman dies of the overdose he injected himself, the PC media should report that he has “lost his battle against heroin” as if heroin were something happening to one, and as if he had died of, say, cancer. Heroin just doesn't happen, nor have I ever heard of people injecting cancer into themselves, and being told of having “lost their battle” when they die of it.
Still, in today's oh so tolerant society Seymour Hoffman – a great actor, by the way, whose acting qualities I greatly admired – can die of 100% self-inflicted and self-injected heroin overdose without any major outlet daring to say half a word about the fact of life that this is just what is not unlikely to happen to people stupid enough to drug themselves. Heck, the BBC is even very timid in saying openly he died of overdose. Police found heroin near him. Nincompoops.
This timidity or tolerance in turn gives to drug addiction a character of normality – or, in the case of a famous actor, even “coolness” of sort among the slow of intellect – that will all but cause other people, equally slow of intellect, to drug themselves and die of their own stupidity.
Nor should you hold your breath waiting for Catholic prelates – say, an Archbishop – pointing out that taking drugs is most certainly a grave matter, and it is difficult to imagine one would inject himself into an addition without deliberate intent to, well, drug himself. I am not the one to judge about the internal forum of the man as he was injecting his deadly dose – erm, sorry: losing his battle -, but I very much fear what a good confessor would say of the probable destiny of the man who put himself in such a state as to come to that point. The good and merciful God knows everything, sees in every soul and know how to judge every such situation with perfect mercy and justice; and Seymour Hoffman at this point knows his destiny, too. I wish him from heart he saved his ass, but don't ask me to bet my pint on it. Still, one point must be clear:
Seymour Hoffman did not lose any battle.
He drugged himself to death.
Say a prayer for him, poor man, in the hope he did manage to avoid the worst. But please, whenever you speak of the man in your circle of acquaintance, consider making some reflections akin to the ones above. Every little helps, and the culture of understanding for absolutely everything under the sun will only end when people stop having understanding for absolutely everything under the sun.
Try, then, to make, if the occasion arises, some observations like these ones. It's fair to say Heaven will reward you for the accusations of bigotry, intolerance, hypocrisy – everyone takes drugs nowadays, don't ya know – and general moralism that are very likely to follow.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, of those that reconcile you with life in England. Walking toward the underground station after seeing some friends, I was walking in one of those elegant squares with the cafes/brasseries where most people (including yours truly) cannot afford to eat.
On the pavement in front of one of these elegant brasseries, a shocking sight was attracting the attention.
The most shocking, most disgusting person I have ever seen (read this again: it's not an exaggeration) was talking animatedly on his mobile phone. He was a frightful sight. Extremely thin and extremely pale, his hollow and cadaveric face screamed “drug addict”. He was dressed not only like a faggot, but like a faggot who wants to look as disgusting as possible; an über-faggot, so to speak.The most shocking detail was his hair, that was cut in a sodomitical fashion at the front but extremely short at the back, up to the top of his skull, as if with the intent of looking as repulsive as possible. Thinking back, one believes that there are people out there who eat shit.
I admit that I have lived a rather sheltered life, and am proud to say I saw my first drug addict at nineteen, remaining shocked the rest of the day. But now I am over fifty, and the like of that wreck I had never seen; not in the underground of Frankfurt or Berlin, and not in many years of Greater London.
It was truly shocking. It was like seeing one who was living in the midst of excrements, and insisting in showing all his degradation to the world. He did not see the scared or disgusted faces of the customers of the cafe (most Brits are such that they would look elsewhere if in the sight of him), and I think after a long experience of such faces he probably did not care anymore how people looked at him. As he was talking animatedly, in an alarmed and whining way, people like me (who do “judging” a lot, because they have a brain and refuse to switch it off; macht nichts, I couldn't become Pope anyway) could not avoid thinking this was a male prostitute in a very advanced state of drug addiction suddenly informed that his client was gone, and his fix with him; or something of such like, edifying nature.
As it happens when one sees a shocking sight, my brain started to pose questions: how is it possible that a human being reduces himself in such a state; what would be the trauma of a child confronted with such a revolting spectacle; how many people have seen this man drowning and have said nothing; is he truly responsible for reducing himself in such a state. The answers that kept coming to my mind were “very probably drugs”, “a great one”, “probably very many” and “without the shadow of a doubt”.
Each one of those answers would be, methinks, worthy of a blog post. Here, I'd like to dwell on the third one.
When I was a child, we were not confronted with such people. Drug addicts were certainly there, but the freedom to do and leave whatever one wanted without fear of reprisal was just not there. A person going on the street in broad daylight dressed in such a way would have had children throwing stones at him (the less impressionable ones; those who torture cats, for example), the police stopping and harassing them, and in general a total societal refusal. This chap could obviously reduce himself in that state, because a society that does not dare to “judge” will never have a harsh word for anyone, much less a pervert. The perverted illness of the man also shows the moral bankruptcy of a society that allows (stupid) people to sink in such pits of abjection without offering more than the usual tolerance, inclusiveness, and obligatory niceness.
In a morally ordered society, you don't see such people on the street, shocking even adults. They would be forced to dress differently, to behave differently and, to an extent, to think differently. All this will, of course, never completely eradicate sexual perversion, or drug use. But an ordered society will make what is in its part to at least create unfavourable conditions for such behaviour, and to help the stupid and weak not to stray through a ruthless process of societal control; that is, well, “judgment”.
No, I will not close my eyes to reality and say to myself “perhaps he wasn't a disgusting faggot, just a chap with an extravagant taste”, or “how can you say he was a drug addict? Perhaps he had merely slept badly”, or the worst of them all, the one that helps people to become faggots or drug addicts if so inclined: “who are you to judge?”.
I am so fed up with a rotten society so proud of its illness. I have the pockets full of this “non-judgmental” society positively helping people to kill themselves. I am sick and tired of a world that ridicules one for mentioning the fear of the Lord, but positively helps idiots like the one above to kill themselves slowly, and possibly not even so slowly, and damn their soul in the process.
In pure Un-Francis (the Bishop, not the Saint) style, expect a lot of “judgment” on this blog whenever scandal is given and the stupidity of the modern heathen society must be exposed.
We are all sinners, and this was always so. But in more intelligent times people understood the difference between private weakness and public scandal, took care not to upset the children (and the adults), enforced a code of proper conduct with great energy, and would have laughed at the politically correct crap of our times.
I know, the Bishop of Rome disagrees. Who is he to judge? Well he is a disgraceful, scandalous Pope, and I for one am the one to say it out loud. Feel good with yourselves by insulting me, the reality on the ground remains.
More non-judgmental people means more people helped to become like the human wretch of this post. Their own fault in the end, no doubt, but we as a society must discourage them as forcefully as we can instead of letting them sink, and probably go to hell, because we want to feel good with ourselves.
The things were, though, not so easy as they seemed at first. Some problems, I saw fairly fast; others, only as I went deeper into Catholic thinking.
Italy isn’t an island. The freedom of movement within Europe which started in 1993 means junkies from all Southern Europe would have been tempted to move to Italy. To a junkie, drug is the very first necessity, and reason of life. Heroin on prescription, of extremely safe quality and extremely cheap, would have meant the risk of an army of junkies moving to Italy without a job or prospects, as the drugs would have been prospect enough. Being EU citizen would have given them automatic, non-discriminatory access to the national health service. Today this would, of course, apply so much more to a country like England, where smart but lazy people live at the taxpayer’s expense for a lifetime, and there is an extensive system of guaranteed “welfare”. A roof on your head, basic expenses paid, no fear of the future, first-rate medical service and cheap, safe, high-quality drugs. A junk’s definition of paradise.
Not every drug is born equal. Cocaine, for example, doesn’t really have “surrogates”. You can give a heroin addict methadone (and who knows whether he’ll be content with that) but the cocaine addict will accept no substitutes. This alone would be a market big enough to ensure the survival of a drug dealers’ net. The argument that smart legalisation wipes the industry away doesn’t wash.
Drugs (particularly cocaine, which is why it could never be legalised in the first place) can make people dangerous. You can talk a lot about a controlled environment, but in the end a drug addict will tend to have an erratic behaviour. In Italy, drogato is a word commonly used to indicate not only the actual addict, but also seriously unstable people. Ask yourself whether you want a heroin addict neighbour on methadone. In time, there would be a lot of them. Then try to criminalise drugs again, and good luck to you.
Legalisation encourages lack of self-responsibility. It sends the message that if enough idiots put themselves in a big enough problem, Big Nanny will have to intervene and make their lives easy. Not only is this an extremely bad example for an entire nation, but it produces the drug addicts it claims to eradicate. Make no mistake, if your son is a tad stupid and sees drug addicts have all the fun and a halfway normal life, he will soon draw his conclusions. With the present system your car may be at risk of breaking, but your son will be at risk of becoming a drug addict only if he is a serious moron. I know what country I would prefer to live in. With remarkable soundness, the electorate of almost all European countries see this. This is one of the few issues where political correctness flies directly out of the window. A legal junkie next door? Take a hike, Mr MP.
Legalisation is deeply immoral. The Church does not allow to consent to an evil so that another evil may be avoided. Giving drugs to a human being to feed his addiction cannot be right whatever other advantages may be expected from his action. If it is permissible to give drugs to drug addicts in order for them to avoid killing themselves with drugs, it must be permissible to give condoms to sodomites in order for them to avoid killing themselves with AIDS, or to young girls in order that they may avoid suicide following pregnancy. Actually, the latter argument could be used to justify abortion.
Whatever the advantages of a certain situation, I prefer a country that chooses to do what is right and pays the price of its convictions. If it costs more in police and jails, so be it. There is a moral dimension in our lives that cannot be seen merely in terms of material advantages. Similarly, on attentive reflection the idea that a country may fight criminality by distributing to its citizens those very same poisons that it considers so bad as to make the distribution of them a serious criminal offence reveals itself as logically self-defeating, besides being morally untenable.
On the same vein, I prefer a country that calls people to pay for their own idiocy. Small idiocy, small price; big idiocy, big price. Self responsibility is the salt of life. Unless one learns this lesson one cannot call himself an adult, merely a very heavy baby. God believes in self-responsibility to the point of condemning to an eternity in hell, but some people cannot even accept drug addicts are responsible for their own addiction. One wonders.
To throw oneself from the bridge and then to expect Super Nanny to fly to the rescue whilst one is in mid-air because one didn’t know how gravity works – but thought flying is great fun! – isn’t really how it’s going to work. Rather, it is fitting that the one who chooses to throw himself from the bridge reaps what he has sown and smashes into the ground; the fathers will then lead their own sons to the bridge and show to them the trajectory and the destination. Highly educative, I assure you. In the Papal States, fathers led their sons to executions, that they may see what happens to criminals. Smart fathers, they were.
In the case of the drug addict, of course, things aren’t so brutal. The smashing into the ground happens very slowly, and the possibility of saving oneself in mid-air is still given, if one really wants to – operative words here are “if one really wants to” – . But I am sure you get my drift.
These, my dear and very patient reader, are the reasons why yours truly is on the side of the Bishop of Rome, at least in this matter. Notice, though, that on this occasion it is not yours truly who is being progressive, but rather the above-mentioned Bishop of Rome who is being, semel in anno, conservative.
On occasion of Bishop Francis reiterating his opposition to liberalisation (making freely available) or legalisation (making available in certain circumstances) of drugs, yours truly has thought well to express his opinion on the matter.
There was a time (before I went back to be a practicing Catholic) when I thought a certain brand of legalisation, then pushed rather hard in Italy, was the way to go.
Broadly, what found my approval was the following proposal: light drugs like Marijuana remain illegal, with attentive enforcement; severe sanctions against not only drug dealers and pushers, but drug users remain in place; but those whom a MD certifies to be addicted can get their drugs at usual ticket price, with the normal – and very efficient – controls already in place for already legalised drugs like, say, morphine (whose medical use is common in Italy).
The thinking behind this is brutally simple: making every kind of ingress in the drug world heavily sanctioned (say: screwing hard the one found in possession of drugs), but avoiding to society the massive social cost of those already addicted (if you lived in Italy in those years, you knew the vast amount of small criminality, generally car breaking, caused by drug addicts; criminality that is “small” for the statistics, but directly affects the daily lives of one whose car is broken, or the old woman whose purse is taken away, or the constant threat of attack of one’s property).
Drugs being dirt cheap in the production, this would have had the following effects:
1) cut away the source of income for drugs dealer, whose clients would have been utterly screwed if found in possession of the dealer’s drugs, but once become addicted could have marched to a doctor and obtain a prescription for, say, $6.00 a day in today’s money. Basically, as a drug dealer you work for nothing. The dealer is here like a salesman whose clients can go away any time paying one twentieth of the price for a better product, after he had the expense and the huge risks to build the client base.
2) free the police force from the huge work involved in fighting against drugs-induced criminality and dedicate the resources to other ends (mafia and the likes come to mind; or illegal immigration; take these two away, and Italy is a very quiet country).
3) drastically improve the quality of life of the non drug addicts, whose lives were, at least in all big cities, daily impacted by the invasive, drug-induced criminality.
4) drastically reduce the further societal costs of drug addiction, from the damage caused by all the breaking – and at times vandalising – to the costs for the justice system (at the end of the Eighties in Italy drug addicted and illegal immigrants made around 90% of the jail population).
This was not a good-ist approach. It wasn’t the brainchild of bleeding hearts thinking the idiot who takes drugs is a “victim” (no he isn’t; he is an irresponsible idiot, period). It was a very practical approach to a problem at that point influencing the lives of millions.
The dividends of such a policy appeared reasonable, immediate, directly changing the lives of millions of hard-working, law-abiding citizens (again, the “poor drug addict” rhetoric was just not there: you throw yourself from a roof, you smash yourself into the ground) and promising not only to give the idiots a half-way normal life, but to the non-idiots who were the victims of the first an entirely normal one. All this not only at no-cost, but at a huge net benefit in economic and broad social terms.
Seems fine, doesn’t it?
Well, it isn’t.
To be continued… (Please wait before commenting).
Not many days ago a famous, extremely successful, beautiful, very talented singer and actress died in circumstances which are not yet entirely cleared but will very probably have to be retraced – directly or indirectly – to her crack cocaine addiction. I liked Whitney Houston a lot in younger years, and was saddened (though not very surprised) as everyone of us. I would have written the usual Mundabor-like article with the usual cautionary tale (nowadays called “being judgmental”) but alas, I had better things to do and it slipped.
Reading around, though, I found here and there some very questionable concepts expressed, and at that point I felt a “judgemental” blog post would be rather in order.
First of all, let me say that I know already that crack cocaine changes one’s brain. All drugs do this, and every child knows that. This is the reason why the popular language is full of expressions reminding one of this very simple, easy to observe fact. I am also aware that if I throw myself from the seventh floor my brains will be, after the impact with the sidewalk, somewhat changed. This is one of the very many reasons why I have never tried it. Apologies, but I do not buy the concept the deceased did not know this beforehand. If she – absurdly – didn’t, this can only have been because there was the absolute absence of those cautionary tales, “judgmental” warnings like the one you are reading now.
Secondly, whist I did like the woman, I have some problems with the affirmation that crack cocaine, with its exaggerate stimulation of dopamine production, would make this drug particularly dangerous for celebrities. It’s not about celebrity here, but sheer stupidity. Being a celebrity does not authorise one to be stupid. Ask Amy Winehouse. On the contrary, celebrities with beauty, success, money, and adulation wherever they turn already get a dose of dopamine way above the one of the average guy or gal, let alone of the housewife with four children and unsteady husband who doesn’t know how long will it be before the eviction. I assure you the latter are to be found much more frequently than celebrities of any description.
Thirdly, I though once upon a time there was something called values. The values people give to us, and the value we give to ourselves. Drugs don’t just happen. One is never introduced to drugs (an extremely hypocritical, politically correct, guilt-free expression). No drug ever told me “how do you do”, nor would I have ever answered to such a greeting. The simple truth is that before one touches drugs for the first time, all kind of moral fuses have already blown, and the drugs have been touched exactly because the fuses have blown. To say that a drug addiction is something that “happens” is the same as to say that pregnancy is something that “happens”. Hail “happens”, not crack. One can, to an extent, become an alcoholic very slowly, inadvertently increasing his drinking over many years and without really noticing a problem is being created. But one can’t become a crack addict without a conscious decision to do something very, very bad. Crack goes in when values have gone out, it doesn’t sneak into your life together with your steak.
This is not understood anymore in a world unable to think in term or self-responsibility, let alone coercion to it. These things aren’t done nowadays. What is expected is some slight, sensitive suggestion about the opportunity of avoiding “bad choices” (another extremely hypocritical expression; as if one were talking of chocolate, or vanilla) and nothing more than unrestricted, strictly “non-judgemental” understanding and moral support once the choices have been, well, bad. Strangely enough, I know a lot of people who grew up in an environment where the idea that taking drugs could have been a “choice” was utterly inconceivable; something that wouldn’t make it in the stupidest fantasies of a person, let alone in the vocabulary and everyday language! It’s not a choice, it’s in-con-cei-va-ble!
The political correctness, the refusal of being “judgemental”, the culture of never forbidding anything and never coercing to anything is 50% of a drug addiction. The other 50% is, of course, the stupidity and immorality of the individual, and there is no way of denying that even if the first 50% were to be absent, someone would manage to get to 100% of the recipe purely out of his own stupidity. But a lot of lives would be saved, because even stupid people would be helped to be saved from themselves.
And so here we are, with political correctness continuing to kill people, and everyone so desirous of feeling good whenever an addict dies and thus piously paving the way for the next one, who will let them feel good again. All the while, our brilliant politicians will criminalise all of us for our glass of red wine, a beautiful way to increase nanny-ism and taxation at the same time.
Please, please do not plague me with those stupid messages saying “have you ever had a drug addicted relative”.
No I haven’t. Not among my siblings, my cousins, my chosen friends at school or university.
It was never in the cards. It really wasn’t.
We were raised in the proper way, by people who loved us more than they loved “feeling good” and “non judgemental”.
One really doesn’t know how to start when such things happen.
A drug addict is arrested and given the choice: one year of jail or the participation to a rehab program from a Catholic charity. It doesn’t cost a dime, but you must apply and know what it is about. The lady writes a letter stating that she is aware of the religious nature of the course, and that she wants to change her life through God and spiritual growth.
She is accepted, which incidentally means that she avoids jail.
Not good enough, apparently. Her helper – no, let me rephrase it: those who help her to live drug-free, at the expense of their donors and of the taxpayer, and to stay out of jail – are oppressive fanatics who let her do unbelievable things like….. praying. She is so upset that she goes away crying not one, but – would you believe it – three times. The lady says she is discriminated, and victimised.
She loses, as even the ninth US Circuit of appeals finds that this is too much even for a liberal mind.
Than there is the man who is periodic guest in a Catholic shelter. He is a Mormon and they encourage him – not force, sadly; encourage – to go to Mass. They also tell him that Mormonism is a “sect”, which must surely rank just before water boarding in Guantanamo’s interrogation methods list. He thinks he has a right to live under other people’s roof without having to abide to the rules of the people under whose roofs he lives. One starts to understand why he is in need of a roof. By the way, the shelter receives no government funding.
One of the clearest sign of a corrupted society is when help is not received with gratitude, but with the arrogance of the one who thinks that everything is due to him, and he must have everything according to his wishes.