American Conservatives are convinced that marijuana legalization is leading us more towards a society described in Aldous Huxley’s revered Brave New World. Although I may not personally agree with it, it’s worth exploring as an idea.
A piece published on the American Thinker website entitled America is already the Brave New World argues that marijuana has led to a passive, pleasure-seeking populous. It goes on to suggest that the Left who advocate legalization are perverting marriage, wrongly ostracising prohibitionists and focusing solely on consumption as the number one aim. They feel that the liberal attitudes inflicted from reform has opened up avenues to homosexuality, godlessness and hedonism. Or as Huxley put it: “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today.”
The American Thinker article reads: “In BNW, people were kept content using a drug called “soma.” In our world, the Left is pushing legalization of marijuana, first for “medicinal” purposes and then full throated legalization, as in Colorado. People like Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton are talking about releasing not only drug addicts, but drug dealers from prison, essentially legalizing the drug trade. And this is no more likely to end with marijuana as marriage is likely to stop being perverted after gay marriage is approved by our Supreme Court.”
But Huxley’s Brave New World isn’t even that, it’s much worse. It’s a hyperbolic, dystopian imagining of a futile futuristic society. Nobody is born, but raised from test tubes, farmed, brainwashed and released into a society which encourages consumption, promiscuity, compulsivity and drug use. A version of hell equally from all sides of the political spectrum.
Briefly exploring Huxley’s Brave New World to America through the prism of marijuana legalisation.
The role of media
Huxley argued the overabundance of information and saturated news media would force us into passivity and egotism, the truth would be drown in a sea of irrelevance.
If like me, you read approximately 20 or more marijuana news articles a day, you’ll be familiar with the endless sea of constantly contradictory studies and reports. Seemingly factually accurate, verifiable accounts of marijuana’s curative properties and – equally – indisputable damage keep streaming from the left and right, respectively.
The ceaseless rhetoric and vilification from both camps has to led hard-to-follow narratives. Impartiality is unrewarding in all the noise. You’re forced to pick a side and stick to it. It makes it easier. It’s hard to determine whether the truth is being concealed, or like Huxley thought, maybe the facts have merge seamlessly in the fabric of disreputable stories and conjecture. Reformers are equally guilty as prohibitionists in regards to embellishing the truth to satisfy their agendas. Things are either over-played or under-played, mediocrity doesn’t exist in the world of clickbait. It must only inspire or outrage.
A culture based on over-consumption
In Brave New World, ‘soma’ is the go-to drug. A psychedelic ‘developed by the World State to provide these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run ‘religious’ organisations, or social clubs.’
Soma use is encouraged to keep people busy, disassociated from reality and focused solely on hedonistic pleasures.
Obviously, marijuana isn’t created by the world state to make the populous subdued and manageable, but marijuana’s inherent acquiescence is inevitable. It’s stress-relieving, calming properties discourage conflict and act a catalyst towards passivity. The the loose parallels are there.
Mans infinite appetite for distraction
Huxley feared civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction.”
And this is true of many people people fighting for a specific cause. Often when your priorities follow a narrow ambition, the bigger picture is left by the wayside. You involuntarily neglect injustices in other areas, because you’re working so hard to immerse yourself in a movement. Reading the latest report. Sharing news stories. Attending a rally. Writing. Contributing. Consuming. An endless cycles of distractions.
Obviously we are far from Huxley’s Brave New World, but the key themes which pervade the book resonate with all of us. They are poignant, damning and scarily relatable. We exercise fear against tyranny every day because we have so much evidence from history of man’s fallibility.
Hopefully marijuana legalization will lead to a brighter future, instead of a dark, chilling dystopian nightmare. If only to prove the American Conservatives wrong!