Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bill O'Reilly v. Jacob Sullum on Drugs

This is another one that's been sitting around for awhile. Check out Bill O'Reilly interviewing Reason's Jacob Sullum about his wonderful book: Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.

I generally don't agree with Bill O'Reilly, but for whatever reason I often find him entertaining. This is not one of those times, probably because he not only yells, argues, and is unreceptive to other points of view, but because he doesn't seem to comprehend what Sullum's point actually is.

Rather than spend any more time on this, I'll let you enjoy the video, and read my comments that I left on the video page.

I think far too many here are missing Sullum's point and should probably take the time to read Saying Yes, which is just a brilliant, brilliant book.

O'Reilly uses language - "intoxication" - that supports his point of view, but ignores the complexity of what drug use is really all about. The bipolar distinction of responsible use and intoxication ignores the fact that the point of all drug use is to alter our mental state and to change the way we feel. And all drugs include caffeine, cold medicine, alcohol, pot ... whatever.

Sullum has brilliantly pointed out what should be quite obvious. Drugs are neither good or bad in and of themselves - it's how we use them that make them good or bad.

Alcohol is an easy example because we're all familiar with the buzz we get after a drink or two. That buzz is an example of altered consciousness, but we don't call that altered consciousness "intoxication" until we've had more to drink. Of course, being out for the night, having a few drinks on an empty stomach, and having to drive home is probably a tad bit more irresponsible than having 4 or 5 drinks on a Friday night at home.

Sullum's argument is that altering one's consciousness is part of the human condition and that the vast majority of people who engage in such behavior are responsible. O'Reilly's a narrow minded idiot.


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