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The Case for Taking Psychedelics Seriously

Added 05-24-19 06:04:02pm EST - “If we can get past their undeserved cultural stigma, we'll find that these drugs have the potential to greatly benefit society.” - Nationalreview.com


Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nationalreview.com: “The Case for Taking Psychedelics Seriously | National Review”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Mention magic mushrooms to a social conservative and expect a patronizing stare. Magic is for wizards; fungi are for stews. Mixing the two leads teenagers to jump out of windows.

Such skepticism has its merits. In the 1960s, Harvard Psychology professor Timothy Leary famously led the charge for a psychedelic nation. After losing his professorship for allowing undergraduates to be test subjects in his experiments, he took the drugs from his laboratory and offered them to baby boomers across the country. “Turn on, tune in, drop out” became a hippie rallying cry; taking psychedelics became a way to give the establishment the finger.

The result was catastrophic — for the kids and the drugs. Irresponsible usage caused young users to put their safety at risk, while psychedelics became tied to the hippie movement in the public imagination. Acid became a metaphor for anarchy; psilocybin became synonymous with sex. Flower-child pacifism and sexual revolution came to dominate the psychedelic narrative.

Hence, the case for decriminalization is usually made to conservatives on libertarian grounds: What right should government have to dictate what people put in their bodies?. It is a strong case, particularly when we consider the fact that the state has allowed pharmaceutical companies to peddle opiates, now the most commonly abused drugs in the America, for years. We accept that a prison sentence is not the appropriate response for self-inflicted harm of that sort. We consider prosecuting it at public expense an unjustified attack on personal autonomy. Why should we treat psychedelics, which are far less dangerous if used properly, any differently?

But this does not mark the case closed, because the argument comes with consequences. If magic mushrooms can be decriminalized, why not cocaine, heroin, or crack? If our bodies are off limits, why don’t children have the right to get high? Evidently, government has at least some say in what people place in their bodies. You can reject the legitimacy of that say, but you won’t be backed by an unwavering principle.


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