The Conspiracy Conspiracy

 

What is a conspiracy? Well to use the first definition that Google displays it’s: “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful” or “the action of plotting or conspiring”. However, we are all familiar with how the word is used today. If you get the label of a conspiracy theorist, then it means you wear a tinfoil hat because you’re worried that the aliens who shot JFK and planned 9/11 are using their base at Area 51 to read your mind. Keep in mind that the term “conspiracy theory” doesn’t directly refer to someone believing some crackpot theory. It’s simply a theory related to a group’s secret plan.

As such, I want to use this post to explore this idea that perhaps we need to view conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists in a different light. Similar to how the blanket term of “drugs” is often used as if all drugs are equally as dangerous or equally as addictive or remotely the same substances whatsoever. Yes, we have class systems for these drugs but just keep in mind that weed is in the same level as amphetamines, ketamine and barbiturates. But this isn’t a drug post.

So what will I be looking at today? I’m going to look at some of the extremes: the conspiracy theories that really do deserve to be up there on the “tinfoil hat required” list while also looking at some of ones that turned out to be very factual despite being mostly ignored today. I’m also going to cover an area that seems to be avoided or seen as the “no-man’s land” in every single aspect of life: the middle ground. For some reason you’re either down the rabbit hole or you’re not. There’s never an opportunity to stick your head in to take a look.

Get the Tinfoil Hats Out

I’m going to keep this section fairly short and light-hearted (all to build you up for the later sections). The truth is there are a million if not billion random conspiracy theories out there that I’m sure we’ve all heard. The Elvis one is always a go-to option but rather than explore that one further, let’s warm up with another musical icon: Paul McCartney.

 

Paul is Dead

What about the idea that Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1969 and The Beetles covered it up and replaced him with a look-a-like? This is one that I only heard about recently and it’s certainly an interesting one. Apparently, at the end of the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ you can hear John Lennon saying the words “I buried Paul”. People have even interpreted the album covers as being signs as well. The famous Abbey Road cover being a nod to the funeral which is why Paul is barefoot. This theory was put to rest pretty quickly when Paul McCartney took part in an interview with Life (I’m sure the pun was intended) magazine in which he acknowledged the rumours as being ridiculous…sounds like something a Paul McCartney look-a-like would be paid to say…

 

From Bombs to Tsunamis

I’m sure we all remember the horrific tsunami that took place on Boxing Day 2004 in Indonesia. The scientific explanation is that the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that took place triggered the tsunami and everything that followed. However, there are those who believe that the US government (or at least some section of the US military) detonated a 5-10 megaton bomb in order to trigger the tsunami as a way of sending in “relief support”: All in an effort to claim oil fields. Apparently the type of waves in the area were indicative of an underwater explosion. Combine that with the fact that the US had aid there incredibly quickly and you have a fishy situation. Out of all these slightly crazier conspiracy theories, this is the one I view as being most likely…not that I believe it but I just think that the US government is capable of literally anything!

 

The Moon is a Hologram

Yup, you read that title correctly. The moon it seems is a hologram and the Illuminati or some other secret society has pulled the wool over our eyes for decades. It’s hard for me to go into this one with an open mind, mainly because the entire conspiracy doesn’t make a great deal of sense. From what I can tell, this theory began when an amateur photographer observed the moon for a year and noticed ripples of some sort. He then came out and expressed the idea that the power system was failing which is what caused the ripples. He notes that while doing this he spotted an unlisted satellite that is one of many that projects the moon into our sky.

If you’ve never heard of David Icke, he’s an intelligent man who has bought into what seems like every conspiracy that has ever existed e.g. Saturn is the home of the lizard people who run this world in their human costumes. I first encountered Icke several years back when a talk about the nature of reality, the governments of the world, the holographic universe theory ended with him butchering by favourite Bill Hicks moment: “Just a Ride”. I have nothing against Icke as a human but I do get the feeling that he peddles a lot of nonsense in order to gain from it financially. If you make a theory crazy enough, there will always be people who will hop on board.

Anyway, Icke suggests that the moon being a hologram is all part of the Illumanati’s control over us. By presenting a fake moon, they highlight their power. It doesn’t end there. Oh no, sir! Apparently, the real moon could still be out there and could even be home to a population of alien colonisers. We will be looking at the moon landing further on in the article, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear.

 

The Reptilian Conspiracy

In case you’ve managed to avoid hearing this one: The Earth is home to shapeshifting lizard creatures who rule the planet. These aliens are known as the Annunaki (which is based on ancient mythology from the Sumerians, I believe) and the Royal Family are actually lizard-people. Of course they are just the low level lizard people. We once again visit the opinion of David Icke, who claims that the bible references these lizard people (of course when you look at the mentioned passages, you don’t get that impression at all).

Apparently this species arrived on Earth via flaming UFOs and manipulated the human race into being their slaves. Only then did they realise that to truly rule, they would have to use their shape shifting power to become human. I’m all for believing in ancient aliens and civilisations but this one definitely requires a tinfoil hat to be a part of.

 

From Downright Crazy to Downright True

Of course not all conspiracy theories are quite as out there. There are many, many examples of governments creating shady plans in order to benefit their own agenda. Some of these are just downright terrifying to imagine but will also set us up for the final section. This section won’t cover anything that isn’t factual. I might share my opinions on them but the cases themselves are all completely true.

 

Operation Northwoods

This is an incredibly interesting yet also terrifying report. It’s suspected to be one of the reasons that JFK was assassinated (more on that in the next section) Operation Northwoods was a proposed false-flag operation. Who proposed it? Certain groups within the US Department of Defence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that’s who. The proposal called for the CIA and several other agencies to commit acts of violence and terror against US civilian and military targets while under disguise as Cubans.

Some examples of these acts included: hijacking planes while dressed as Cubans with Cuban identification; attacking Guantanamo Bay in order to kill military targets while again, being disguised as Cuban soldiers; blowing up US ships and finally, planting bombs and carrying out attacks in US cities. The purpose of this was to create a strong public opinion that invading/going to war with Cuba would be necessary.

 

MK Ultra

Ever worry that the government might be poisoning you or brainwashing you? Sadly, Project MK Ultra is a true example of this. The CIA (an agency we will be referring to A LOT!) carried out highly illegal tests on both US and Canadian citizens (all unwitting). What was the aim? Well, they wanted to find the most effective techniques for interrogations and brainwashing. So they tested a wide variety of drug methods such as dosing people with LSD. They also tried hypnosis, sensory deprivation and a wide variety of other techniques including verbal and physical abuse.

Ultimately, while an investigation was carried out to determine all the shady shit the CIA had been doing, very little was done in relation to the MK Ultra project. Most of the files were destroyed at the command of the head of the CIA at the time, Richard Helms.

 

The Snowden Files

We all remember the relatively recent breakthrough that the NSA and the GCHQ had been spying on not only enemies but also allies. Both organisations right under our noses had carried out illegal and certainly shady mass data collection and if not for Edward Snowden, we would be none the wiser. Once again, very little has happened as a result of this and the US’s reaction to a whistle blower has been made quite clear which doesn’t bode well for any future releases of this nature.

Of course this won’t have stopped there. The CIA uses Snapchat to collect facial recognition data and Mark Zuckerberg is still all too willing to supply any information he can to any paying buyer, especially government bodies. People like Theresa May want us to have less privacy and if the Snooper’s Charter had gone through, apps like WhatsApp that use encryption to keep messages private, would have become illegal unless they supplied governments with backdoor access.

It’s safe to assume that most of our data is still being collected, they’re just finding more and more ways to do it.

 

I could write about so many more but I don’t want people to get bored but at least you’ll have seen a glimpse of some of the shady acts that our governments have been very willing to do. If you’re interested in these sorts of historical moments, then I suggest you read up about the WTC bomb of 1993 (I think) and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. This brings us on to the final section.

 

The Middle Ground

One thing that needs to be addressed in terms of conspiracy theories is the middle ground. Why can’t I believe part of a conspiracy theory but not the whole thing? We view them as being one extreme or the other. The reason I’ve named this post The Conspiracy Conspiracy is because I think part of the reason people ignore the middle ground is that they simply don’t want their bubble to be burst. If we can agree that the above example are factual then are the following ones really so hard to believe? I’m going to basically give you an overview of my beliefs on the following well-known conspiracy theories. I personally can’t see any reason why it’s such a stretch to believe them.

 

The Moon Landing was Fake

Ok, hear me out. I believe that we went to the moon. I’m not about to deny that we did. However, I think that while we did go to the moon, fake footage was also shot. I’m inclined to believe the Kubrick conspiracy version of this i.e. Kubrick was brought in to film the fake version and left clues to this throughout other films such as The Shining. My belief is as follows: NASA and the US were about to make history by being the first to send men to the moon. Were people just going to accept that as fact? Of course not. If someone claimed today that we had men on Mars but didn’t provide proof, we’d label them a crackpot conspiracy theorist.

As such, I think a back-up was created just in case there were any issues. In the event that the mission as a whole failed or the footage wasn’t available, then this back-up version would have been used. I’m not even against the possibility that some of the fake footage was added to the real footage. I just think we need to be open minded about the whole situation. There are many examples of Neil Armstrong and the others clearly hiding details. Don’t believe? YouTube and the Internet will be your friends!

 

JFK Assassination

I am a strong believer in the idea that this wasn’t just the work of Oswald or Communists or whatever other official explanation was given. Everything about the assassination screams “conspiracy” and yet for the most part, people ate up the official story. You only have to look as far as the autopsy photos changing, bullets changing, footage being destroyed, files being set for declassification and then delayed.

Is that not enough? Well, what about the ridiculous number of eye-witnesses who died within a few years of the event? Not that their individual deaths were suspicious (although cut breaks surely are) but the sheer number that have died in that time is certainly bizarre and an anomaly. It is said that the odds of them all being dead by 1969 is one hundred thousand trillion to one.

A YouTuber whose channel is Bright Insight led me to the idea that George Bush Senior may have had a direct involvement in JFK’s assassination. He was working for the CIA at the time (one of the agencies seen as most likely to have carried out the assassination) and since he became president (followed later on by his son) it’s no real surprise that keeping this under wraps would be essential. Especially since that leads to a whole bunch of questions about other times the CIA and the Bush family may have joined to commit illegal activities.

 

9/11

Truther is a word often thrown at someone who doesn’t agree with the given narrative about the 9/11 attacks in New York. Am I a truther? No…well, sort of. If you viewed it as a scale with believing the narrative being 1 and believing Bush himself piloted the planes via remote control as 10, I’m probably in the middle: Somewhere between 4 and 6.

Everything about the event just seems off. If you ignored everything else and simply focused on how the Bush administration handled the event that alone would raise suspicions. It just so happens that that isn’t the only evidence. Just to be clear here, I don’t believe that explosives were planted in the buildings or that the CIA organised the attacks (although if you read up on the WTC bomb several years previous, it certainly raises some suspicions).

However, I do believe that it is completely possible that the attacks were allowed to happen and were closely monitored as the day went on. I do believe that the US government received countless warnings that such an attack would take place. I do believe that the attacks were used to fuel public opinion and mount an unnecessary invasion in order to take control of oil and opium. I also believe that the 9/11 Inquiry was great at avoiding any real answers or investigation and that thousands of people had their lives torn to pieces and got a mumbling moron President making everything worse.

 

In Conclusion

So what is the conspiracy conspiracy? Perhaps it’s a plan from a secret society to turn anybody who questions the official narrative into a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob…or perhaps it’s just a title that has no real meaning that to sound catchy. I’m not genuinely implying that the word conspiracy is in itself a conspiracy…but I think that as a society, we’ve attached connotations to the word that ought not to be there.

The point of this post isn’t to debate conspiracy theories. The point of it is to highlight that sometimes, your government and my government are responsible for some extremely shady shit. Yet we let them get a pass over and over again. It’s like letting your dog shit on your pillow and then just shrugging your shoulders because fuck it! I think we all need to take a step back, look at the evidence and decide whether something is believable or not. Just because someone suggests an idea that goes against everything the media or your teachers or your parents are telling you, doesn’t mean that you should rule it out.

I’m not saying believe every crackpot theory you hear. I’m saying that you should look at all the evidence and come to your own conclusions. Government conspiracies are probably in motion right now so don’t go down the path of saying “a government could never get away with that”. They have and they will again. When a red flag is raised with an issue but a group of the people believing it also believe that the Earth is flat, don’t assume that your point of view is wrong or that theirs is…

…And when it comes to the CIA, assume the worst.

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with writing I do outside this blog. If you have a taste for conspiracy theories, check out one of my older posts that looks at how the petition system in the UK is simply there to make you feel like you tried and failed to make a change.

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Drugs: A Logical Step Towards Legalisation

I’ve written a few posts on this blog relating to drugs and my opinions on them and for those who have read them before, you’ll know that I stand very much on the side of legalisation. Very little infuriates me quite as much as being categorised as some gutter-living criminal just because I think drugs have many potential benefits (physically, mentally and spiritually) while these same people binge cheap alcohol and smoke cancer sticks while practically injecting high concentrations of Starbucks coffee directly into their heart. That being said, this post is not meant as a rant (although there certainly will be some of that) but more as a proposal or suggestion that looks at reasons why I believe drugs should be legal as well as a potential solution to get this ball rolling. This post is NOT like my other ones where I heavily reference statistics, peer-reviewed scientific papers or books. Instead, this post is nothing more than opinions and ideas which should hopefully make it a bit more interesting to read than my essay versions.

 

So let me start off by admitting several things in order to remove any presumptions that you may have already. First of all, I am fully aware that many drugs are harmful, addictive, destroy lives, drive people insane etc. If you think harming people physically is enough to make a drug illegal then why are cigarettes still legal? If you think any drug that can impact you mentally should be illegal then why is alcohol legal? The reason I HATE these drugs is because they act as a reminder of how hypocritical our society truly is. One day we’ll look back in sheer disbelief at the fact that our species used to poison itself for entertainment and out of boredom; that we ignored figures, statistics and evidence because taxable products are more important and that nature itself was branded illegal. I mean nobody drinks alcohol or smokes tobacco for their physical or mental health other than to end the addictive cravings that they may have. Following on from that, the drugs that I’m mainly going to be referring to here include weed, MDMA (including its various forms such as ecstasy), LSD, magic mushrooms (specifically psilocybin), DMT and Ayahusca. You may have noticed a pattern or two forming in terms of my drug choice and we’ll get to that later.

 

So why do I take drugs? At this point, that would be a very fair question…but first let me ask you one: why do you (or people you know) drink or smoke? In my experience people might drink for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are bored and need a source of entertainment, it’s someone’s birthday and that’s how we celebrate, it’s Christmas and that’s how we celebrate, it’s New Year’s Eve and that’s how we celebrate, it’s sunny and that’s how we celebrate, it’s a social norm and therefore if most people are doing it then the rest of us feel out of place and in many cases are even belittled for choosing not to poison ourselves. Want to know what that sounds like to me? Peer pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some incredibly fun and entertaining times with alcohol but I’m using it as my example here simply because it is legal while still being a psychoactive substance. I view alcohol as like a stepping stone that allowed me to turn off my brain to interact with people in a manner that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Now I barely drink because that feeling of losing control or becoming someone that isn’t me is just no longer fun. I often hear people making claims such as “everyone is more truthful when they are drunk” but I find this not only to be moronic but also completely wrong. I mean alcohol can turn you into any sort of person depending on a wide variety of variables. I’ve seen lovely people become angry, bitter and violent just as many times as I’ve seen the opposite event take place. I’ve seen shy people become confident and confident people become Gods (at least in their eyes). I mean alcohol after a certain amount changes who you appear to be, it changes this outer version of you to anyone who is there to witness it. Why is “sorry, I was drunk” now an acceptable excuse for most acts that would otherwise not be so easily forgiven? I’m going off topic here…the point is that you have to keep in mind that alcohol is still a psychoactive substance and it alters the way you think, sometimes drastically. I mean alcohol accounts for most of the violent crime in Scotland (at least in 2011/2012) and nearly half of violent crimes in England and Wales during the same time period. In many cases it removes the need to think all together and turns your evening into nothing but darkness that leaves you waking up the next day with questions that you don’t entirely want to know the answers to. So why do I take drugs? (To get back to the point I was trying to make) Well, in some cases I take them for the same reason as anyone else drinks…I’m bored. For the most part this is only true of weed with the exception of one summer when I’d first accepted the thrills of ecstasy and went a bit crazy…but I view it as a learning curve. Since then weed is the only drug that I’ll take simply because I can. The reason I take any other drug now is for a purpose. For example, the ideas for many of my posts have come to me while smoking weed. I have somewhere between 10 and 20 posts on this blog (I believe). These are only half of what I’ve written which is only a fraction of the ideas that I’ve originally come up with. The notes pad on my phone is full of folders and pages relating to film theories or rants or just random ideas. MDMA can be used to improve a typical night out but it can also be used for exploration of your own mind and consciousness. Taking some MDMA and meditating is incredibly peaceful and spiritual and you can often find yourself in areas of thought you’d never even have imagined. I won’t go through all the drugs I mentioned one by one but ultimately what I think it boils down to is this: Why do I take drugs? I take drugs because in many cases they provide an experience that may not be possible to have otherwise. I think that when used correctly, drugs can make us see ourselves, others, the world or even the entire universe in a whole new light. I take drugs because I’ll never be an astronaut or a sailor, I’ll never be the first person to reach the top of a mountain or plant my flag onto undiscovered land. Yet my need for exploration drums away in my mind as a reminder that there are places that literally nobody else has explored: the deep, dark pits of my consciousness.

 

 

So what is my idea? Well, I agree with the claim that the war on drugs has failed spectacularly. Isn’t it funny that the anti-drug campaigners appear to be the paranoid and delusional ones of us all? At the end of the day, people are always going to find a way to take the drugs they want to take. We saw it with the prohibition when moonshine and other such spirits became available to those who felt their freedoms and rights had been taken from them unfairly. Same thing happens now with other drugs. The issue is that most people realise early on that all those anti-drug campaigns the schools run are bullshit and that when the police and your educators are lying or misleading you that something is up. It dawned upon me that legalisation of drugs might not happen in my life time. Even the legalisation of weed is looking more and more doubtful. The issue, however, is not the drugs themselves, but the education of said drugs and the reasons why people take them. I mean anything can be dangerous depending on whose possession it is in. A hammer can be used to build but it can also be used to bludgeon someone’s skull until their brain leaks out. People use cars every day and yet at any given moment someone could drive one metre to the left and hit 10, 20 or 30 people with a speeding, metal death machine. Maybe we just need to look at drugs for what they truly are and stop viewing them as either holy, lifesaving plants or tricks by Satan that lead to an eternity of suffering. Drugs can be positive and negative. So why not educate people in such a manner that as an adult they can choose whether to take them or not? I mean I can choose to eat McDonalds for the rest of my life or smoke until I can’t breathe or drink until my organs fail. How much money would be saved if after a certain number of hospital visits for binge eating food, drowning your sorrows with alcohol or smoking like a chimney the police got involved and made it actually illegal for you to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or eat shitty food? I guarantee that these people wouldn’t be labelled criminals. They would be seen as sick individuals who required help. That doesn’t mean that nobody else should be able to go buy a happy meal just because some people have never heard the term “moderation”. I mean if our health is really the main issue then what’s the deal with all these other areas that cause such suffering and death? When you see the statistics for alcohol-related deaths, it’s actually insane! I seriously advise you to go and look for yourself. (There is a link to some of these on my weed legalisation post but you may find more recent statistics through ONS). What if drugs were legal but similar to a gun or a car, you needed a pass or licence in order to legally use them? And that, ladies and gentlemen, leads us onto what would be involved in gaining access to this pass.

 

In order to be granted access to drugs, I think it would be important to view the risks. With some drugs there is a risk of addiction. I mean if we allow people to use meth then we run the risk of them becoming addicted to a highly destructive drug. So how do we show people the effects of drugs? Well, we arrange talks or interviews with people who have taken them. I mean how many people would come forth and claim their lives had been destroyed by weed? Not many I’d imagine. Would every single person who has taken DMT be lining up to scream “BEWARE!” at all those would-be trippers? I doubt it. Like any form of education, I think the first step would be attending a lecture or seminar which would look at the specific drug(s) you planned to take. It would run through some basic information such as what the drug was, how it affected you, how it’s taken, etc. It would of course also explain some of the risks but not in a “YOU TAKE THIS, YOU DIE!” sort of way but more in an err on the side of caution manner. For example, with MDMA it would be explained that your body could overheat causing your brain to swell up…BUT that by drinking water throughout the night in small doses you can help to keep your body hydrated. These lectures would also discuss what situations are best for certain drugs. I mean you’re probably not going to take DMT with a large group of people but you might smoke a joint in one. Ultimately you would then be tested in some form to see if you were aware of basic safety measures to take and understand the risks. These tests would also attempt to understand why you want to take the drug. Perhaps you have to submit an essay of some form explaining your reasoning and motivations. This way, we rule out anyone taking them just for the sake of it or out of boredom or because they are being forced to. I mean sure, drugs would still be available in the same manner that they are today but I know plenty of people who don’t take drugs now but would if they could do so legally. By creating this hurdle or wall that would have to be passed, you would immediately exclude a large number of people who perhaps shouldn’t be taking drugs in the first place. Of course the important aspect of this process would be that it wouldn’t be controlled or monitored by solely anti-drug people but rather by those who see the dangers of drugs but also acknowledge that they have potentially beneficial uses as well. I mean if you had the current government in charge of such a process then nobody would get one of these passes/licenses and the entire endeavour would be pointless. Similarly, for the process to have any validity, we couldn’t just be handing passes out to everyone (although that would essentially be the end goal).
I think the best way to look at it is like this: people who want to take drugs are going to take drugs, regardless of the law or potential consequences of being caught with an illegal substance and more often than not they will do so either unaware of the dangers or just ignore them completely. Is it not a much smarter solution to educate any would-be drug users so that they can decide whether they still want to participate in such activities after being given all the necessary information but also so that if they do take drugs, they are better equipped to do so safely? I mean the dangers of alcohol are known but people still go to schools to explain how to drink alcohol as safely as possible and what precautions can be taken to reduce risk. I mean you can’t buy a packet of cigarettes without seeing photos of black lungs or throat cancer, yet you still have the right to smoke them. Not only would education serve a tremendously beneficial purpose but alongside it, we could have the same organisation supplying drugs that have been tested and are as safe as can possibly be. These would be taxable and as we have seen from areas where weed is not legal, this taxable income is incredibly beneficial for the whole society. We already have many communities set up to offer such guidance because the drug-taking community isn’t a grim, dark place where dreams go to die. For example, Pill Report supplies user-reviews of ecstasy pills and gives other information such as strength, effects, what ingredients are included, not to mention whether there are any warnings for a certain pill. Leafly, a site for weed, supplies information on different strains and includes information such as the levels of paranoia or dry mouth you are likely to experience from smoking it or whether you are likely to get the giggles.

 

Of course this would only be the first step. Legalisation (or semi-legalisation) would be the beginning of a new era of human spirituality. Imagine what it would be like if you could go to a nearby city within the Western world and stay at an ayahuasca retreat for 10 days. People who regularly go on ayahausca trips have higher levels of serotonin than the average person. Basically, they are producing more happiness neurotransmitters than the rest of us. If some huge pharmaceutical company created the exact same benefit with a pill, it would be seen as revolutionary and ground breaking but because it’s ancient and involves hallucinations, it’s immediately ruled out as dangerous and negative.

 

I believe that as an adult, I have the right to choose what I do with not only my body but also my mind. Nobody stops me from getting tattoos or piercings that I could come to regret in later life. I can risk my life in the army from the age of 16 where my legs could be blown clean off or I could return with PTSD that makes my life unbearable. I mean did you know that more US soldiers have killed themselves than have died fighting in Iraq? Something like 22 veterans commit suicide every single day! Yet that trauma is seen as more acceptable than enjoying what nature created? Even then, MDMA has been shown to be hugely beneficial alongside therapy for soldiers suffering from PTSD and even they can’t use it. So you’re literally telling me that our governments view it as acceptable to enter a warzone where you could die at any moment, where your morality is tested and your faith in humanity destroyed, where you might see your friends be blown to pieces and even injured in such a way yourself…but that a drug that could potentially help you cope or recover from that very same conflict is too dangerous for you? In some countries you can get less time in jail for violently attacking someone than you would for being caught with weed. So a victimless crime is now as bad, if not worse than assaulting some stranger? If I can choose to go to war or choose to get so drunk that I fight my friends or choose to smoke 43 packets of cigarettes a day, then should I not have the same choices for drugs that can actually positively influence not only my life but the life of those around me? Isn’t happiness the main goal for every single thing we do in this life?

 

So there you have it! My idea for how we can best tackle the current drug dilemma that is facing our countries. Education, education, and education are the main components for how to reduce drug-related deaths and as a way of encouraging potential drug-users to take their drug of choice for the right reasons. Of course in our current political climate, it is unlikely that anything of this nature would ever make it through the doors of parliament but it’s a nice thought all the same. Until then, I guess we’ll have no choice but to jump on the bandwagon and make our way to the nearest watering hole in order to overindulge in alcohol for the third time in one week. As always, I love reading any feedback or comments!

Controversial Questions: Our Survey Said…

So this post is going to be very different to my usual posts. I had planned on discussing the human population and the direction it is taking us in but I had an idea after my first paragraph that seemed far more interesting. The paragraph below is how I started and the rest is what I ended up doing with my time:

As a species it seems we are facing an ever increasing number of threats which can range from climate change to wars to our gradually depleting supply of fossil fuels. Many of these issues that we face have one very obvious cause that seems to be viewed as a taboo topic: our population. When we hear a discussion about global warming taking place it is very rare to hear a solution to be ‘limiting our rapidly growing population’. In fact if you were even to suggest that we limit how many children one person can have (or more accurately: the number that a couple can have) you’d probably be chased out of your village with pitchforks or burnt at the stake.

Unlike my other blog posts, I decided to do a little “research” in the form of asking random people the following question: “Is it immoral to suggest that we start limiting how many children any one person can have? If so, why?” I was asking this because I was curious about what people thought. I’m in two minds about it (which was originally going to be the focus of this post but it’s now a discussion for another time I think) but I decided to keep track of the responses so that I could get a sort of overview. Here is what I found:

When asked the previously mentioned question 38% of people believed it was immoral to control the number of children people can have, 59% didn’t view it as immoral and 3% were undecided. This was out of a sample of 100 people. Since I wanted to look at why people viewed it one way or the other, I also kept brief notes (as well as some direct quotes) of what some of the responses were. I found there were two main reasons that people viewed it as immoral: the first one was to do with freedom while the second one was largely to do with the nature of such a proposal. In regards to freedom, I found that many of those questioned viewed it as a human right to choose how many children you have. One individual stated:

“The United States is philosophically built on the idea that people get to live their lives their own way without government coming in and interfering, as long as that person is not materially harming another person. The government’s job is to prevent people from hurting one another, not to come in and coddle citizens and tell them what to do.”

With others saying: “Yes it is immoral. You have no right to interfere in another person’s lifestyle and reproductive choice.” and “Because what other people do is none of your fucking business!”

Those who had been concerned with the overall idea had mentioned the political aspect of it. Aside from how blatantly oppressive and authoritarian a move this would be, the issue of the societal effects were also raised i.e. that there would be too many children and elderly people in comparison to the working adults of the country after a generation or two. One person even described such a move as a “slippery slope” which of course it would be because if the government can control your reproduction, then what is next?

Considering that the majority of people asked did not view it as an immoral move, there were surprisingly few comments on why this was the case. Many were aware that air pollution and climate change in general were largely due to the rapidly increasing population. There were even a few people who pointed out that in fact it is immoral NOT to go ahead with a plan like this due to the damage our species is doing to each other, other animals and the planet itself as a result of our reproduction rate. One person even took a more personal angle (which may have been an insight into his own childhood) and stated that having lots of children in itself is immoral because each child gets less and less attention as an individual and instead becomes part of a larger group. I found that China’s one child policy was seen as too strict and was in general a flawed idea but that allowing two children would be the perfect amount.

 

So after this first little survey, I got a little carried away. As you may or may not have noticed from my other posts, I don’t exactly agree with the current drug laws and I view the war on drugs (if you can call it that) as a complete failure. So when I found many people responding to my questions with statements like “people get to live their lives their own way without government’s coming in and interfering, as long as that person is not materially harming another person” and “Yes it is immoral. You have no right to interfere in another person lifestyle” or even “Because what other people do is none of your fucking business!” I couldn’t help but wonder if people would apply this same view about freedom of choice to drug use. I decided that I’d start off with something a bit more in the middle so rather than asking about drug use, I merely asked the following question to a different set of 100 people:

“Should it not be a basic human right to explore your own consciousness by whatever means you choose? Provided you don’t bring harm to others”

You’ll notice that I left this question fairly open. While I was asking with drug use in mind, I didn’t say it specifically and the question remained open enough that it could include such things as meditation or praying. Again, I asked 100 people (purely to make the percentages super-easy to work out) and I got the following results: 80% answered ‘yes’, while 18% answered ‘no’. There were also 2% of people who were undecided or didn’t really know how to answer the question. I also decided that I would once again keep track of any general statements or in some cases, direct quotes.

In terms of the opinions the ‘yes’ group had, many were immediately aware that I was referring to drugs. I have to say that I enjoyed reading some of the responses, some of which were as follows:

If you take LSD you will become peaceful and non-conformist which will tear down the very fabric our society is built on”, “Exploring your consciousness through any outlet – whether it be drugs or an activity is acceptable. Like obviously, you shouldn’t go around raping kids to release your inner consciousness but what the fuck is smoking a little weed going to do.” And “Actually, I could live with a controlled drug use system. Unfortunately socio-political conservatives exist.” Many simply viewed it as a victimless crime and even those who knew that drugs can cause harm, seemed to be for the idea of some sort of retreat or something where an individual could go to take drugs. The reason I worded the question in such a way was because I wanted to stay away from the idea of recreational drug use and stick closer to a more spiritual aim from taking such substances. Before I move on to some interesting moments I had with the ‘no’ group I’d like to point out that quite a few of them started out by answering ‘yes’ but as the idea of drug use slowly dawned on them, their answer swiftly changed, usually followed by some form of statement that condemned anyone who touched drugs. While there were some well-formed answers such as “Most humans lack self-discipline and even the willpower to do anything. If you give people the easy route, they will destroy themselves.” Or “Just because it doesn’t hurt someone doesn’t make it a basic human right. Suicide isn’t a human right!” (to which someone interestingly replied “it should be!” There were also a high number of just plain ridiculous responses which certainly added to my entertainment: “Yeah join ISIS for that”, “Go to rehab, druggie!”, “Taking drugs isn’t exploring one’s consciousness” and last but not least “Go away, hippies!”

 

This led me onto my third and final little survey. I decided to stick with the drug topic after my many interesting responses from those I asked in the previous question. I initially started off asking people which group of drugs was more dangerous: alcohol and tobacco or weed and MDMA. After a couple of responses I decided this was too vague a question as I don’t think anyone would dispute that tobacco is dangerous, whereas all the others are largely up for debate depending on who you ask. So instead I changed the question to the following: “Which of these 4 drugs is the most dangerous to the individual: alcohol, tobacco, weed or MDMA?”

I’m going to approach this from the opposite direction this time and instead show you some of the wonderful and not so wonderful comments that came attached to these responses. I’ll try and split these up into the categories they relate to as best I can but many were comparisons.

Let’s start with the world’s favourite legal drug: alcohol. I found many of the responses to alcohol quite disturbing. Unfortunately I didn’t keep count of how many time “alcohol is not a drug” was mentioned but if I had to guess, I’d say at least five times. Many people did in fact seem rather shocked that I’d even included alcohol in with the other three with one person asking “alcohol? Really?” Not to mention areas where people were just misinformed: “…alcohol packs a punch but it leaves your body after a day, even if it does do damage.” This of course is a very untrue statement as it depends entirely on how much you drink and ignores the fact that a heavy night of alcohol consumption can leave your body recovering from the dehydration for weeks. I mean it is a poison after all. This final one is a suitable link to our next drug: “Weed destroys lives. Alcohol doesn’t.” I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw this statement. Clearly this individual had never heard any stories about alcohol…ever. He/she certainly hadn’t seen any up-to-date statistics of alcohol related illnesses or the percentage of people affected by alcohol dependency (I mention this in one of my weed posts).

Speaking of weed, the Devil’s lettuce, Mary Jane, Cannabis…whatever you want to call it. The overall response to weed didn’t really surprise me but there were certainly some interesting comments that I’d be a fool not to mention: “All drugs should be illegal. No one in this household smokes weed. It literally causes death!” While the idea of making every drug illegal is certainly something I might discuss later on, I couldn’t help but feel the sheer impending doom that this individual believed weed would cause. The anti-weed propaganda sure had taken its toll on some of these poor souls who were coming out with statements like “weed…you can overdose on it!” Said no one…ever. We could always go for the even more dramatic one: “weed: it’s too addictive, it causes cancer and you could overdose on it.” While I didn’t expect everyone to know everything about each of the drugs, I was somewhat surprised when asked “what’s the difference between MDMA and weed?”

This seems like the perfect moment to switch onto the infamous Methylenedioxymethamphetamine which before I go on to discuss, I’d like to point out that I did keep track of how many times “What is MDMA?” was asked and I can tell you that it was thirteen times. Unfortunately for the results, many of the people asking this question had already given me their answer. MDMA did seem to provide the most mystery to those I was asking. Of those who did know of the drug, many viewed it simply as ecstasy (which I’d argue is not the case). Here is a quick summary of some of the questions I was asked in relation to it: “MDMA, is that like LSD?”, “MDMA, is that like meth and shit?”, “I don’t even know what MDMA is. I’ll go for the strange sounding one.”, “What’s MDMA? I think it’s a hallucinogen.”, “MDMA. I don’t know what it is but it sounds strong, like DMT.”, “Probably MDMA because I have no clue what it is.” There were of course some slightly more conclusive responses such as “MDMA cuts off oxygen to your system”, “MDMA can fuck you up fastest especially since its usually just meth and your dealer is lying to you cause you are fuckin dumb” or “MDMA because most of the time it isn’t pure and contains shit.” Speaking about containing shit, let’s move onto the infamous cancer-causer.

Tobacco didn’t really receive a huge response in terms of comments. I was kind of shocked to see “Tobacco isn’t a drug” but that was really the only comment that stood out. Before I share the results with you, I’ll share this one comment which an individual had attached to their response:

No matter what you do, you die. So just do all the drugs you can and don’t give two shits!” While I don’t agree with this statement whatsoever, I did enjoy reading it. Anyway, there were 200 responses for this little survey and I’ll reveal the results to you in ascending order, just to build up suspense or whatever: In fourth place with 8% of votes for the most dangerous drug is…weed; In third place with a surprising 24% is tobacco; In second place with 28% is MDMA and last but not least with a staggering 40% of the votes is alcohol.

 

So that sums up my little ‘social-experiment’ that wasted several hours of my life. Before anyone feels the need to comment, I do understand that this is largely unscientific. If I were writing a report I’d point out the many flaws such as the questions themselves, the mode of carrying out the survey, the lack of participants etc. However, since this is not meant to be a scientific paper or article, I don’t have to do that. I will probably carry out similar things in the future but keeping the topics more closely related and actually writing it up a bit better. If you have anything you’d like to see asked/discussed just let me know and if it interests me I’ll happily do it. I haven’t touched on religion yet so I’d enjoy venturing through that valley sometime soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The X-Files: I Do Believe…Kind Of

My only experience prior to today regarding the X-Files, was watching the movie that came out in 2008 starring Billy Connelly. Considering how little I remember about it, I can’t claim it to be incredible. Yesterday, a new mini-series of The X-Files premiered on Fox. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of alien-related TV shows but boredom kicked in and I needed something to watch. I can now say with some certainty that I’ll be watching the rest of this series as it airs. If you haven’t watched the first episode and plan to, be warned that this post will be ridden with spoilers. It may be worth mentioning straight off that I do not believe in aliens. That is to say, I don’t believe that intelligent life has travelled to Earth in order to vandalise crop circles and anally examine unintelligent rednecks. I think it is completely possible that there may be life out there somewhere, I mean it would be crazy if there wasn’t given the sheer size of the observable universe. Anyway, now that that is out the way, it’s time to grab your tinfoil hat! We’re going for a ride!

As I already mentioned, I haven’t really watched The X-Files before but this new series essentially opens with the idea that the entire X-Files division of the FBI (where the two main characters: Mulder and Scully used to work) was its own conspiracy. As the episode unfolds, characters begin to explain that supposed alien abductions where actually orchestrated by the government in an attempt to keep tests and plans a secret. This is a rough summary of Mulder’s explanation of the grand conspiracy:

After Germany had been defeated, the hydrogen bomb posed a new threat to human life on Earth. This threat of extinction caused advanced alien species’ to become concerned for our survival and as a result, the skies of the US became home to regular UFO sightings. In an attempt to save our lives (while risking their own), crashes such as that at Roswell led to secret government divisions being created to allow both technological and biochemical studies to be carried out on the crashed ships/aliens. Classified studies were carried out at secret government bases which involved extracting alien tissue and experimenting with it on unwilling test subjects in an attempt to create alien-human hybrids. This was done by staging elaborate alien abductions on innocent civilians using the remnants of the crashed spaceships or in some cases they would use ships built on Earth based on the designs of crashed ships. Some experiments involved the forced implanting of alien embryos into women. When asked why their own government would do such a thing, Mulder replies “our own government lies as a matter of course, a matter of policy”, before giving some examples such as the Tuskegee experiments and Henrietta Lacks.

This is where Joel McHale’s character Tad O’Malley steps in, explaining that the overall goal is to conquer America before setting their sights on the whole world, by any means necessary. No matter how violent or cruel or efficient. He then gives an example of them using droughts as a tool, brought on by using secret, aerial contaminants and “high altitude electromagnetic waves”. He then goes on to explain that wars have been fuelled to keep them continuously going. He mentions that this is done to create problem, reaction, solution scenarios in an attempt to distract, enrage and overall enslave American citizens by using tools such as the Patriot Act and the National Defence Authorization Act. These acts allows areas of the constitution to be overlooked all in the name of “national security” such as the militarization of police forces in cities all across the US and the building of prison camps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency without any stated purpose. The manipulation of the food and pharmaceutical industries in an attempt to fatten, dull and control a populous already consumed by consumerism (they then throw in Bush saying “I encourage you all to go shopping more”). O’Malley then goes on to mention some of the more recent developments, mentioning the government tapping phones and collecting data/information, monitoring our whereabouts; a government ready to use this data against you. Of course this whole conspiracy would not be complete without mentioning the “well-oiled and well-armed, multinational group of elites” who are behind the whole thing.

This is where my interest in this show pretty much peaked: aliens are one thing but dodgy government cover-ups of human activities? That I can believe. When the episode first begins, we see O’Malley hosting his show, mentioning that 9/11 was a false flag operation. I’ll avoid getting into the whole “truther” debate right now because that just becomes exhausting. I will however point out that for those who think that the US government wouldn’t do that to its own people, guess again. Ever heard of Operation Northwood? Well without going into too much detail, Operation Northwood was a proposed false flag operation that would have involved areas such as the CIA committing acts of terrorism against the people of the US. Ultimately the proposal was shot down (much like the planes would have been had the proposal been accepted) by the Kennedy administration: Kennedy, who was assassinated the year after this proposal was put forward. The purpose of Operation Northwood was to create a public hatred towards Cuba, enough to justify going to war with Cuba without going against the wishes of the public. One proposed method was sending US soldiers dressed as Cuban soldiers to Guantanamo Bay and have them attack other US soldiers who were defending the area. Moving on…

Of course other areas within the X-Files conspiracy shine through as being unfortunately accurate: If the war in Vietnam didn’t highlight how warfare has become never-ending, then the war in Iraq certainly has. On the lead up to the Vietnam War, a major escalator known as The Gulf of Tonkin incident took place. This involved two separate engagements of North Vietnam ships and those belonging to the US. These events took place on the 2nd and 4th of August 1964. Since then, it has come to light that the “incident” that took place on the 4th was falsified. The outcome was the passage of the ‘Gulf of Tonkin Resolution’ by Congress, which allowed President Johnson to assist any Southeast Asian country who appeared to be under threat from communists. An NSA historian has since been quoted as saying “The parallels between the faulty intelligence on Tonkin Gulf and the manipulated intelligence used to justify the Iraq War make it all the more worthwhile to re-examine the events of August 1964.” When you look at Vietnam, soldiers couldn’t attack certain targets without express permission from higher ups which has often been used as an example of how the war was dragged out. I mean anyone with common sense knows that as long as war is profitable, there are going to be people happy they take place. I mean the people selling these weapons aren’t fighting with them; even their families won’t be involved. Instead they’ll be living off the interest that their billions or trillions of banked money creates for them. The Bush family sells weapons and we all know how the infamous George W turned up late for the war. Fun Fact (or not so fun): The US (or at least citizens within the US) copying a system developed by the Rothschild’s, bypassed the terms of Versailles Convention in order to build an oil refinery that would ultimately supply Goring’s division of the Luftwaff.

Another horrific example, this one mentioned by Mulder, is the Tuskegee experiments. Here, a large study spanning 40 years saw 600 African-American men being monitored in exchange for free health care and meals for participating in the study. Of the original 600, 399 had previously contracted syphilis. Despite the lure of free health care, none of the men were treated for syphilis. Of the original 399 men, 28 died from the illness, 100 died from syphilis-related complications. Not to mention that 40 of their wives had been infected with it, this led to at least 19 children being born with congenital syphilis. While this is a true example of something mentioned during the X-Files conspiracy rant, it was implied to have alien objectives which is of course fictitious (or is it?)(It is). It doesn’t for a second remove how unethical and disturbing this experiment was. Sometimes doing thing in the name of science requires leaving your humanity and morality at the door with your coat and shoes.

I’m sure I don’t need to delve into discussing the manipulation of the food and pharmaceutical industries in the US. As someone viewing it from the outside, I can’t help but compare the prescription system in the US to a giant cage full of mice in a science lab with the white-coated experimenters simply dropping assortments of pills into the food bowls and recording the results that follow. Of course this problem is slowly developing in other Western countries as well. GlaxoSmithKline would be one of my biggest examples: they were taken to court fairly recently for bribing GPs to prescribe their drug. To whom, you may be wondering. Well, not only was it wrongly prescribed to adults (it was an anti-depressant I believe) but it was also prescribed to children under the age of 18. Apparently the GPs were offered fishing trips and holidays in exchange for this hugely immoral act. It seems that any and every slightly abnormal behaviour requires some sort of mind-numbing combination of drugs in order to treat it. Where being easily distracted or too energetic was once brushed off as kids being kids, you will now see the ADHD diagnosis being flung around like…well…prescription drugs in America. Of course only the boring drugs get used as any of the remotely fun ones would be wildly unpredictable, regardless of their potential uses within our society *cough* weed has many medical uses *cough* MDMA can help treat PTSD *cough* studies suggest that LSD can treat other addictions while not poisoning the body whatsoever *cough*. You’re right, how dare I imply that illegal drugs can actually be beneficial in some way and actually cause more positive outcomes than being homeless on a corner somewhere with 12 aids-ridden needles sticking out of various veins while you suck cock for drugs.

Of course how could I even mention government conspiracies without bringing up the NSA and other forms of spying that the US and UK governments have been responsible for over the last few years; not just on enemies or even other countries, but actually on its own citizens. Of course many rationalise this criminal act as being “for our safety” or the famous “I have nothing to hide so I don’t mind”. Well people of the US, let me quote one of your own “They that give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. The whole “nothing to hide” comment is a different matter entirely A) Everyone has something to hide. You might not be selling drugs or searching for bomb schematics but there will be things on your phone, laptop, camera that you do not want the world to see and B) Saying such a moronic thing in response to being spied on, is like saying you don’t need the right to free speech because you have nothing to say (I read that comparison somewhere and take no responsibility for it). It’s even more irritating when you find the US acting all hurt and betrayed when it comes to light that the Chinese were doing the same thing to them but just at a lesser extent. Keep in mind that while this is all sold as being “for your own protection” the collecting of data hasn’t prevented any terrorist attacks or anything similar. I mean the NSA has been operating since before 9/11; it’s just that they became a lot more popular after such a massive attack due to the shift in public opinion. It seems much more likely that this data is being used to profile and study citizens. I mean the government’s reaction to the Snowden leaks was like a man catching his wife cheating by walking in during the post-sex cigarette. I mean talk about getting caught with your pants round your ankles. Yet this revelation caused very little response. Nobody is going to voice outrage against the US, it just won’t happen, especially when countries such as the UK are run by pig-molesting ass-kissers such as Cameron.

One thing to remember is that just because something is a conspiracy, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Are there elites planning on taking over the world with alien technology? I won’t hold my breath. If you want to see the real slimy, inhuman monsters that are taking over the world, you need only follow the money to the richest families in the world. Power is their goal but money is their weapon of choice. Does that make me a paranoid conspiracy theorist? Perhaps…but I’d argue that I’m still a whole level below creationists or people who believe politicians are actually interested in the opinions of their country’s people.

 

UK Politics: The Petition Delusion

I recently fell victim to the latest scam put forward by the UK government; I believe they are copying a system already set up across the pond in the US: A petition system. Here in the UK, this new system claims that by collecting signatures, you can cause great positive change within parliament. What should be a forward-thinking idea to help our democracy is more like one of those games that are common now in pubs where you have to earn a certain number of points to win a prize.

However, once you get those points it is revealed that you have to do a second task (one which has the same difficulty level as finding the Holy Grail) to actually win your money. The simplicity of starting your own petition only adds to its appeal as a wondrous new toy for wannabe revolutionaries to play with. If you collect 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to your petition with a statement. 100,000 signatures and your petition will be discussed in parliament. Sound good? Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

 

You see, when I say I fell victim to this petition system, I mean it. As an avid supporter of weed legalisation, I was ecstatic at how many signatures a petition for that very topic received. I even had the page constantly open on Google on my phone and I checked that page more regularly than anything else in my life. By the time I signed it, there were already over 100,000 signatures and it didn’t take long for than number to double.

Each time I checked, I would look first at how many signatures we were up to, then down at whether the government had A) Responded and B) Set a debate date. I can’t remember exactly how much time passed before the government issued a response, I do remember that I had already sent the petition link to everyone who knew I smoked weed (you can’t really send a link such as that while still acting as if weed is worse the meth) and most of them were as excited as I was.

We discussed how easy it would be to get weed, all the different strains we could try, how nights out would change so dramatically to accommodate this marvellous drug…sadly, this was all very short lived and as the government issued their response, my heart sank at how doomed this petition already was. Take a read:

 

“The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue (‘Cannabis Classification and Public Health’, 2008).

 

Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. Legalisation of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families.

 

Legalisation would also send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs. 

 

Despite the potential opportunity offered by legalisation to raise revenue through taxation, there would be costs in relation to administrative, compliance and law enforcement activities, as well as the wider costs of drug prevention and health services.

 

The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities; help dependent individuals through treatment and wider recovery support; while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply and tackling the organised crime that is associated with the drugs trade. The Government will build on the Drugs Strategy by continuing to take a balanced and coherent approach to address the evolving challenges posed.

 

There are positive signs that the Government’s approach is working: there has been a long term downward trend in drug use over the last decade, and more people are recovering from their dependency now than in 2009/10. The number of adults aged 16-59 using cannabis in the last year in England and Wales has declined over the last decade from 9.6% to 6.7%, with cannabis use amongst young adults aged 16-24 and young people aged 11-15 following a similar pattern.”

-Home Office

 

I discuss this topic in more depth in one of my other blog posts so I won’t poke holes in this response (although I would like to point out that the fact they think the drug war is working, shows just how misguided they really are).

The next stage in this petition process is the debate. On the run up to the debate, I began to become hopeful again. Maybe, just maybe we can create a compelling enough argument for something to change. Polls from various newspapers and websites showed a clear winner. I mean even the Daily Mail (which I don’t read for oh so many reasons) showed a poll results of 80% of people being in favour of legalising it. Reading through comments on different news sites, I realised that the biggest reason people were against weed, was due to the government.

One comment I saw stated “I don’t think people should smoke weed because it’s illegal for a reason.” As my anticipation of a positive result grew, I e-mailed the MP for my local area (who will remain nameless despite the fact he replied with a generic e-mail that a) referenced outdated studies and b) didn’t actually acknowledge any of the points I raised) asking him to attend the debate, because here is yet another issue with this system: MP’s have no obligation to turn up.

That’s right! This means that issues that don’t appeal to MPs can just be ignored if they feel like not going shows their lack of interest in the topic.

Finally, the debate date arrived and I sat eagerly waiting the Parliament website to begin streaming the video. The majority of those discussing the topic appeared to be in favour of revising the current drugs laws in relation to weed…this was largely due to the fact that only 5 or so people actually turned up (not including the small audience…and funnily enough my MP was not one of them) and while they did put forward great arguments in relation to weed, these were ultimately meaningless as the fear mongering by one of the opposing MPs (who also used outdated studies and mentioned statistics that have already been shown to be inaccurate representations of damage caused by weed) was enough for the debate to end with no plans for revision.

Now you are likely imagining that I’m viewing this from a bias point of view because obviously if I’m supporting weed legalisation, I’d be annoyed with such an outcome. So let me sum up the debate with one single moment. The guy who was arguing against weed legalisation was asked one simple question “why should cannabis be legal when alcohol, a drug considered more dangerous, is perfectly legal?” (this is unlikely to be exactly how it was worded but it was the same general question) and the man responded with possibly the most naïve statement I’ve ever heard on the topic “Well I don’t believe there is actually any evidence to suggest that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis”. I wasn’t the only one who found this response ridiculous, the entire room burst into laughter at his reply. I believe this was largely due to a study released just last year that suggested that alcohol is 114x more dangerous than weed (if you’re interested in reading it, there is a link on my other weed post).

 

So you may be wondering what all this has to do with this petition system being a clever tactic thought up by the government. Well, that leads me to today. A petition had been started not too long ago to discuss the idea of banning Donald Trump from the UK based on a comment he made about Muslims. Now, I’m sure none of us actually believed that Donal Trump would get banned. I mean if we banned everyone who made a controversial comment; the UK would lose half its population. I mean keep in mind that England is home to the EDL (English Defence League) which is essentially just a group of bald, racist thugs. We have the right to free speech and that right still stands, even when people make comments that we may not agree with. Anyway, I decided to take a quick skim through the transcript from the “Ban Donald Trump” debate, just out of curiosity. Reading the final paragraph caused the lightbulb above my head to explode. Two parts of this final paragraph are what led to me typing this rant:

Firstly: “The triumph of today is that we have had a debate, that has been seen by many people outside, including in the United States, and they have seen Parliament at its very best. We have had a diverse debate from a diverse Parliament.”

Secondly: “I believe that all that has been said today will enhance the standing of this Parliament and reinforce our relationship with our great ally, the United States”

So let us take a quick look at that first point: “we have had a debate.” This is where I realised the cleverness of this petition idea. I’d maybe go as far as to actually congratulate them on just how clever it actually is. I mean it’s bordering on genius and I’ll explain why: You see this is a great way of getting people involved in politics. You see a petition you like or you start one of your own and slowly you gather signatures. Obviously by signing a petition, you are trying to show your support for the idea it discusses and you hope that by signing it, you are pushing your government one step closer to changing their minds on the topic.

After all, the government is there to serve the people, right? The thing is you can tell after 10,000 signatures whether Parliament will change anything or not. Their response will reflect the overall opinion of Parliament and express their reasons as to why they don’t think the petition is in the best interests of the people, because it appears that it is not the people who decide what they want, but Parliament. So even if you then get 500,000 signatures or more, going into the debate is almost a pointless act.

Sure there will be people there to support both sides, but at the end of the day it is nothing more than a discussion and once the debate is over, regardless of how great the arguments were in favour of change, they have now debated that topic and can claim to have done so. You see once a topic has been debated, that is it. Parliament have fulfilled their obligation to debate the topic (even if they go into it with a completely closed mind) and now your topic won’t need to be discussed again in the near future.

 

Looking at the second point, I realised that regardless of how many people sign a petition, Parliament aren’t going to change anything that might affect them in the future. The level of ass-kissing displayed in the debate as a whole was enough to make my stomach churn but the blatantly obvious nod to potential US listeners/watchers (probably Trump out of all people) shows that while this topic was being discussed, it was not being discussed openly. Rather it was being discussed as if all the people in the room were standing on thin ice that could break at any moment.

I mean we wouldn’t want to offend the potential future president, would we? Another thing was made very clear by the overuse of the word “diverse”. Those discussing the topic wanted to make sure that they appeared just that, diverse. I mean if there was the slight hint that they were supporting a white, Christian male over Muslims, there could be reasons for people to act outraged. So in case you were worried that the debate wasn’t diverse enough, they decided to tell you over and over again just so you were aware of just how diverse it really is.

 

I’m not implying that there is any sort of race or religious bias within parliament, not at all. I wouldn’t hesitate to point out the obvious class bias though. Just listen to them argue in parliamentary debates. They are like a bunch of private schooled children who are arguing in the playground over who owns the rarest breed of fucking parrot or who has the oldest butler!

 

I mean the conflict of interest that takes place within the UK government is actually phenomenal. Recent statistics have shown that on average, something like 50% of each party are land lords (it was something like 70% within the Conservative party). I’m not one to restrict anybody’s rights…but if it were up to me, working within Parliament would be your only job. No renting out houses on the side, no advising oil companies on how to spend their money. No…do your job and if you want to skip into the sunset to become a landlord, that’s fine. Just give up your seat in Parliament first!