TSA in the sky with diamonds

An anti-drug article [1] was written and published by some IIT Kharagpur students in one of our campus newspapers. I think the article is rubbish and here’s why.

I think the article should, in principle, offend any self-respecting individual due to its tone and any rational person due to the “facts” it presents. From this point on, I tacitly assume that people reading this anti-(anti-drug-rant) rant posses both rationality and self-respect to some extent.

One interesting thing about the article is that after replacing “drug use” with “gay marriage” the reasons still remain “valid”, and become strikingly similar to what anti-gay lobbyists routinely come up with. The illegality of two men loving each other, the separation from normal society, “underground” gay groups and “the gateway effect”. One of the reasons routinely cited in support of anti-gay laws is that if we allow two women to marry, men will start sleeping with dogs and sisters will engage in incest. Needless to say, such fears are as baseless as the gateway drug theory [2] the authors talk about.

Perhaps the most objectionable aspect of this article the way the authors instruct their reader on the “right” way to lead their lives. Whether someone spends their free time reading Shakespeare or worshipping bananas is entirely for themselves to decide. Advice can only be given conditionally, “If you want to be an astronaut eating zombie then do the following … “, or in this particular case “If you’re giving advice to self-respecting people …”. Unconditional advice speaks poorly of how the author view people around them even more poorly of TSA for publishing such an article.

Getting down to the factual aspects:

It is true that most nations ban drugs, but more and more countries are taking steps towards legalization. London [4] is re-thinking their drug laws and Portugal decriminalized drug use [5] over a decade ago. In our own country we have licensed Bhang Shops [3]. Cocaine and heroin were both legal for several decades — does it mean it was “okay” to use them back then? The issue is, legality isn’t always a good indicator of whether a particular activity is harmful or not. Even practically, the only country I have heard of where such drug-laws are strictly enforced is the US of A, and I don’t think the reader will need to be told that their notion of what to “fix” and what not to is a bit skewed. Personally, no one in my social circle ever got into any legal trouble for smoking up once in a while.

The authors mention legality again, and their argument is flawed for the reason already mentioned. Going by this logic, DC++, anything but regular sex, homosexuals (in West Bengal) should all be avoided.

Keeping secrets from some people is not the same as getting disowned from society. Moreover, people choose friends and social circles based on their opinions, not the other way around

You can’t vote in this country if you mind sponsoring corruption. šŸ™‚ Plus, at least in West Bengal, marijuana is grown locally by extremely poor people. If anything, by buying pot you’re ensuring they have enough to eat for a day.

I agree with the authors on one thing and one thing only — presenting a distorted picture of drug use, mentioning the good while leaving out the bad and risky is never ethical. In fact, I find this article unethical for doing the exact opposite, which is just as bad.

Fact is, however the authors try to pretend to be omniscient beings who transcend time and space, they’re are just like the readers they’re trying to advise and I don’t think they know any better. People have a right to choose what they do with their lives; giving out unsolicited advice is vulgar and revolting.

Does this mean I condone drug usage? Well, it doesn’t matter what I think. Drugs can ruin your life, be the most meaningful experience you take out of this phase of your life or just something you do once in a while. Your life is yours to make and destroy, and I don’t get a say in it.

PS: This isn’t a personal attack against anyone.

PPS: I don’t contribute to any multiple-continent-spanning newspaper.

[1] http://www.scholarsavenue.org/2012/03/17/an-open-letter/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhang
[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/4581743/Now-Home-Office-drugs-adviser-wants-to-downgrade-LSD-from-A-to-B.html
[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/03/portugal-drug-laws-decriminalization-_n_889531.html

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4 Responses to TSA in the sky with diamonds

  1. Well said šŸ™‚ The same-sex marriage analogy was very apt I thought. And of course, you’re right— I should have gone about writing it in this way rather than going narcissistic and generally being an asshole šŸ™‚ (Did you read my second note btw?) Nice to know there are people on this campus who see the bigger picture, and are willing to voice their opinions.

  2. Samar says:

    Well, the article does indicate the falling standards of ScholsAve but I have to inform you that there is hope still. I have conversed with a (x) year member (x<5) and he indicated that the articles published in the ScholsAve are motivated very much by personal vendettas and opinions. I will not post the details of the conversation, obviously. But if you can believe me, do believe that the things are as bad as you imagine over there. And the member came across as apologetic and sensitive. Hence, I am hopeful for the future.

    • Sanjoy says:

      This wasn’t an appeal for TSA to return to its senses, frankly. I personally am not very concerned about the well-being of the newspaper.

      I wrote this article because I was bored. I had a chance to read the druggie several days before it was published on their website — if my reply was a infuriated response at TSA’s callousness I’d have published my post then. But it wasn’t and I didn’t.

      Honestly, I don’t think the article will have any effect at all — people who smoke up will continue to smoke up and people who don’t won’t. They’ll just have one more thing to bicker over.

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