Sunday, October 28, 2007

Narcissists-on-Drugs

"Progressive rhetoric has the effect of concealing social crisis and moral breakdown by presenting them as the birth pangs of a new order." (Lasch)

Christopher Lasch, now mostly forgotten, wrote some interesting essays comparing the authentic tradition of the 60s to the inauthentic and bogus tradition of the 60's. The authentic tradition implied certain political and ideological viewpoints, such as opposition to the violence of the Vietnam war. Whether one agreed or not with the protesters, 'Nam was a defining event. The protesters consisted not only of hippies on drugs, but included some fairly serious intellectual heavyweights--say JKGalbraith, Bertrand Russell, Chomsky. Quite a few "mainstream" religious people protested the actions of Nixon and Kissinger as well. Obviously there was a certain liberal perspective to the 60's counterculture, but that perspective did not equate to marxist orthodoxy, usually, though marxism was a part of it.

The inauthentic related to the flash, the noise, the excess, the drugs. Perhaps some of the escapism was needed. The novelist Ken Kesey, for instance, one of the brighter members of the counterculture, wasn't the most sinister person who ever existed (his "Cuckoo's Nest" could be read as anti-statist left, really), and one likes to think that some good came out of the rock and roll gonzo. Nonetheless some definite Bad came out of the 60s counterculture. Drug abuse itself in a sense seems to symbolize the 60s'--and 70s-- excess and narcissism (if not the contemporary form): the proverbial American stoner might have vaguely protested the 'Nam war, but that was not his central concern. He was concerned, with, well, Drugs (or in 70's-Speak, "sex, drugs, and rock n roll"--Porno, Inc. arguably one of the swampflowers of 60s-style politics).

Lasch asserted that sort of druggy narcissism was not really progressive or even liberal in say the FDRish sense, but indicative of a type of shallow, libertarian type of escapist. Lasch, sort of an Adorno-lite for American consumers, may be too much the social realist for contemporary cyberia, yet he seems mostly correct in regards to narcissism, and his points, say in regards to drug use, still have some force. (He thankfully avoids the politics via character assassination preferred by contemporary PunditBots of left or right as well).

Drug abuse, especially of crack and meth, remains as much a problem as it did for the 70s era of Lasch. While we oppose the Nancy Reagan sort of approach, and agree that there are some grounds for legalizing marijuana (say a type of licensing for sane, intelligent citizens), legalizing hard drugs would be, like, a really dangerous stupid policy. Gangsters do not require easier access to hard-drugs to fuel their violent crime, or to keep them illiterate (for that matter, they don't need booze either-- given a "slippery slope" of booze, and its causal relation to crime, legalized narcotics would most likely increase crime as well). Additionally, those people, even some "liberals", who have been exposed to drug-fueled gang-violence (whether via crack or meth) generally change their mind about the "peace and love" schtick of the 60s, and their naive views of the drug culture.

One blogger-narcissist aka Demonweed often waxes at length about his desire for legalization of ALL drugs. Apart from his windy, fact-less, self-indulgent prose (and the wannabe-"Barry Goldwater-radical" has yet to learn to avoid the 1st person), DW has little or no concern with the facts of narcotics abuse, and its relation to crime and violence. Contingencies has neither time nor interest for a full-scale DrugCrime research project, but merely some familiarity with the facts of drug-abuse and its relation to crime will demonstrate the stupidity of a decriminalization policy.

(Here's some of Demonweed's pop-moral relativism: "I believe murder should be illegal because living in a society where it was legal would put a real damper on happiness, productivity, et al. The fact that most religions condemn it is a happy coincidence, not proof of infallible wisdom." Yes, serial murderers--say Cho--- are not really wrong or evil, they just interfere with the par-tay! Demonweed of course overlooks the basic objection--brought up by any semi-bright Joe Varsity type at the Kegger BS session--- to this sort of subjective, stoner-humanism: what if people actually approve of a Cho, and get off on his acts? (or for that matter, Stalin, or Hitler, etc.). Some deviants are pleased by Cho's or Columbines. So those acts are acceptable, according to DW's own lightweight utilitarian code, at least if approved by consensus (tho' it's unlikely Demonwind knows Bentham from his bong)).

The Demonweed sort of escapist doesn't concern himself overly much with the societal ills resulting from drug use, of course. He wants his dope, like he wants his MTV. So he can summon up some trite "Don't tread on me" libertarian-baptist-schtick, and thereby think he has proven something: it's all about Freedom, man!---of course, gangstas on crack are not too concerned with the Freedom of the old ladies or white kids they rob at the mall (nor is Demonweed, a freeper-on-drugs, really). The Demonweed sort of "hedonist rightist" should be required to reside in say South Central LA where hard drugs such as crack are a normal way of life. Demonweed would unlikely be representin' too much in his Uncle Tom fashion following a few weeks in some 'jects run by Crips or Vineland boys.

3 comments:

Phritz said...

What's lower than a typical protestant? The typical protestant who pretends to be an atheist on drugs.

Lower than that? Cowboy-actors on Steeroids, working towards their CPA exam...........

Darlin' said...

I'm not sure whether the "on/off the bus" comment was an acknowledgement in agreement of something, or a response to my "windy, fact-less, self-indulgent prose" -- in the first person, no less.

I think we agree. Do you?

J said...

In agreement of something, Darlin'. I'm in AA: Anarchists Anonymous. Was on the bus, until kicked off a few years ago--can't recall by which Bus driver: maybe by that beardo-weirdo Karl, or maybe a member of SCUM. Tant pis. It wasn't Neal Casady, that's for sure (your high-powered beat-prose reminds me somewhat of good sections of like Kerouac or Celine).


Serio, I have seen so many humans phucked up by so many drugs that I no longer am on that bus. You or I smoking pot should be legal--even legal opium is jakes by me: but
homies, thugs-- or skin's, etc. should not be granted access to legal meth, crack, heroin, etc. Animals are animals. Take it from one who used to par-tay with the Berdoo Angels.

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