The War on Drugs Was Known to be a Failure Twenty Years Ago

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Much recent media attention has focused on the question of whether the War on Drugs has failed in New Zealand. Amazingly, a review of Ben Vidgen’s 1999 book State Secrets suggests that the War on Drugs was widely known to be a failure since at least two decades ago, even at the highest political level.

One of the arguments that John Key has been rolling out to deny the need for cannabis law reform is that it “would send the wrong message”. Apparently his idea is that if cannabis was legalised in New Zealand many vulnerable people would interpret that as a green light to smoke as much of it as possible.

Leaving aside the obvious point that no-one in New Zealand who wants to smoke cannabis is waiting for permission from the government to do so, it’s interesting how much mileage conservatives have got out of that one bit of rhetoric.

On page 33 of Vidgen’s bestseller State Secrets it says that John Howard back in 1998 used the same rhetoric to stymie cannabis law reform in Australia. Noting that already in the late 1990s it was understood by intelligent people that “by removing the profit incentive associated with drug dealing, decriminalisation would, in effect, destroy the capital base from which organised crime’s influence originates,” the book describes how Howard rejected the idea on the grounds of “the wrong message”.

Perhaps depressingly, Vidgen’s book makes it clear that the Establishment has simply ignored the voices of reason for decades now. Writing that the best way to view drug use in society was as a “social and health problem”, it seems incredible that almost twenty years later it would be necessary to make the same arguments.

Given that the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party won 1.66% of the vote in the 1996 election, it’s a shame that we could so stubbornly remain deaf to the truth, even when doing so comes at horrendous expense.

Vidgen agrees with this column that the failure of the War on Drugs is deliberate. He points out in State Secrets that such talk inevitably gets dismissed as conspiracy theory, but that if an objective observer joins the dots it becomes apparent that the legal status of many drugs – cannabis in particular – affords opportunity for extralegal actors to profit immensely from their trafficking and sale.

Some say that intelligence agencies sell drugs in New Zealand to finance off-the-books operations. Probably most people would be horrified to know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Is Angela Merkel the Yin to the Yang of Adolf Hitler?

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Angela Merkel and Adolf Hitler are in many ways very similar, and in many ways very different. Both have been absolute disasters for Germany, but in entirely different ways, reflecting the 50-60-year cycle of the oscillations of the Great Pendulum of history.

Hitler was a disaster for Germany because of an excess of masculine energy. His time as leader was marked by ceaseless aggression against all enemies, real or imagined. In a world where only those with the will to commit violence were worthy of life, to rest was to die. His hubris was to believe that through an act of genius it was possible to go to war with France, Britain, the USSR and the USA all at the same time and to win.

If the fundamental masculine error is attacking when one should have stayed peaceful, the fundamental feminine error is a failure to act when one should have acted. In our societies today, this manifests as an inability to draw distinctions. It is not fashionable to say that another group of people is in any way different to ourselves. Drawing any distinction is seen as prejudiced – an act of hatred, which is one step towards building gas chambers for the undesirables.

Merkel’s passivity in the face of what amounts to an invasion of foreign, military age men, will prove to have been a disaster for Germany because of an excess of feminine energy. Ample warning was given as to the likely consequences of throwing open the borders. Merkel was told that some Islamists would use this as an invitation to enter Europe and commit acts of terrorism. She chose not to act on these warnings, perhaps naively trusting that the refugees would be good-natured.

After all, yin energy is against the very concept of borders as this necessitates a division of the Earth, which is of course a yang action.

We are currently in a feminine age as a consequence of the fear and shame created by the masculine excesses of World War II. This has been positive and negative. On the positive side, recent decades have been marked by a heightened degree of compassion towards many of the vulnerable in our own societies. On the negative, we have failed to act in time to protect ourselves against environmental and demographic threats.

This column believes that we are in an age of change. It is possible that, in the same way Hitler’s excesses led to a feminine age of tolerance and compassion, Merkel’s excesses may lead to a masculine age of confrontation and division.