Let ’em get High

I have really been digging Mondo Cozmo’s song, Shine.  I have projected my libertarian bias onto the song lyrics.  I searched to see if I could find any insight into what Josh Ostrander really means by the following:

Let ’em get high
Let ’em get stoned
Everything will be alright if you let it go

I had no luck.  I found one interview where he declined to say whether or not he was religious because of the way the song seemed to be resonating with people.  From there, I took it that he was cool with people assigning their own meaning to it.

Normally, I like to try and ascertain what a writer means by his words.  I thought in the lyrics I quoted that Ostrander is talking to someone.  Is he talking to himself?  Is he talking to God? I don’t know.

Since it didn’t look like I was going to find out who was being addressed, I decided that I might as well assign my own meaning to it.

I want it to mean that we, collectively, ought to mind our own business regarding marijuana use.  It is okay if people get stoned.  We don’t have to agree with it, but we have no more business making it illegal than we did prohibiting alcohol use.

I want it to mean, that it is okay to just let people get high because God has got this.  Jesus saves, not us.  We aren’t going to save people by sending the cops after them for smoking a joint, we are going to make their lives even worse.

We all have to go through our own trials and temptations.  It is so often that making mistakes is how we can truly understand why something is a mistake.  If we support pot being illegal, we are supporting magnifying the consequences of its usage.  Pot use already comes with consequences, which in the grand scheme of things, are actually pretty mild.

We do not do any favors for full grown adults by trying to use laws to keep them from exercising their free will, so long as they are not hurting others.  Adults should be treated as adults so they can make their own mistakes and learn from those mistakes.  So… let ’em get high.



Convention and Nature

The Greek Sophists were often known for making a distinction between Convention (nomos) and Nature (physis) in an effort to tease out what was truly beneficial to man.

Antiphon, in Book 1 of On Truth, in a fragment that survived the ages wrote:

For the demands of the laws are adventitious, but the demands of nature are necessary; and the demands of the laws are based on agreement, not nature, while the demands of nature are not dependent on agreements. So if a man transgresses the demands of law, and is not found out by those who are parties to the agreement, he escapes without either shame or penalty; but if he is found out, does not.

If, on the other hand, a man – per impossibile – violates one of the inherent demands of nature, even if all mankind fails to notice it, the harm is no less, and even if everyone is aware of it, the harm is no greater.  For the injury which he suffers is not a matter of appearance but of truth. (Dillon, “The Greek Sophists”)

When I was reading Antiphon, it brought to my mind how a modern day philosopher, in Hans-Herman Hoppe, was still making the convention/nature distinction.  Hoppe, in Democracy The God That Failed, makes a distinction between Monarchy, Democracy, and the idea of the Natural Order.  From Wikipedia:

Hoppe characterizes democracy as “publicly owned government”, which he compares to monarchy—”privately owned government”—to conclude that the latter is preferable; however, Hoppe aims to show that both monarchy and democracy are deficient systems compared to his preferred structure to advance civilization—what he calls the natural order, a system free of both taxation and coercive monopoly in which jurisdictions freely compete for adherents. In his Introduction to the book, he lists other names used elsewhere to refer to the same thing, including “ordered anarchy”, “private property anarchism”, “anarcho-capitalism”, “autogovernment”, “private law society”, and “pure capitalism”

Back when I read the Hoppe book referenced above, it struck me that calling anarcho-capitalism the natural order was weird.  If it was natural, then why do we have no examples of it in our world?  If it was natural, then why has there been states through-out the ages? If man is a natural inhabitant of the earth, then how could his actions and conventions be anything but natural? I have come to think of the distinction more as a literary device to help think out what would occur without the convention of laws and state.  As such a device, it can be used to justify or criticize the state.

As a believer in God, the Creator of our world, it seems to me that all in our world is of a natural order.  Men claiming rule over other men is a natural tendency of human nature.  It is egotistical, to be sure, but it is something we witness over and over.  I don’t see how there can be a true distinction between nomos and physis, since man has a nature inherent to him.  I see the tendency of man wanting to rule others as the result of Original Sin, of wanting to “be like Gods who know”.  I see the remedy in Christ, who admonished James and John (Matthew 20) when they wanted to sit on Jesus left and right:

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Christ calls us to humbly serve one another, not to take command of our brethren.  He calls us to reject the part of our nature that makes us want to act as gods, and to follow his example of service instead, to follow the part of our nature that wants to please our Heavenly Father.