As a spliff fan, myself. . .
At a dinner party a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be sat near one of my heroes, Roger Scruton — like being a couch away from Socrates at a symposium. But then, halfway through, the great man began sounding off on one of the two things he is completely and utterly wrong about (the other one being pop music): drugs.
By ‘drugs’, of course, dear, brave, brilliant Roger didn’t mean to include the alcohol he had been quaffing all evening nor yet the highly addictive yet legal nicotine death sticks of which the Fawn and I had partaken before dinner. What he meant was yer proper, actual, tabloid horror drugs: cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, heroin, and the deadly, evil ‘gateway’ drug they call ‘spliff’.
As something of a spliff enthusiast myself I thought this was a bit much. Especially coming from a man whose philosophy generally springs from the most rigorous logic and the soundest libertarian principles. And I was about to speak my mind when an elegant, distinguished fellow with a double-barrelled name sitting opposite did so for me. ‘When I was in the City I used heroin for ten years,’ he said. ‘It never did me any harm. Rather enjoyed it actually.’
Britain has a serious drug problem. The world has a serious drug problem. And the serious problem is this: we have collectively decided to make criminals of the billions of otherwise law-abiding citizens who wish to pursue the perfectly natural human instinct to seek occasional chemical or herbal escape from reality. We imprison people who shouldn’t be imprisoned. We waste money which would be better spent elsewhere. We increase crime, corruption and violence. We deny cash-crop farmers a living. We finance narco-wars. We enrich criminals. We destroy lives. The drugs ‘problem’, in other words, is almost entirely of our own making.
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