More terrifying than monsters, murderers, snakes, and rats: politicians. They create horror stories that go on for decades. And their tales are real.
It is not just the likes of Hitler that destroy generations. Countless much more subtle politicians have exerted influence on hundreds of millions of lives for decades after their stint in government. Yet most people don’t even blink an eye at that kind of power. They shrug it off. And that is truly terrifying.
Case and point is research that laid the foundation for half a century of drug policy.
This video summarizes Psychologist Bruce Alexander’s research. Information the government used concerning drug addiction came mainly from experiments in the 1950s and 1960s. These experiments isolated rats into small cages, placed a syringe into their blood stream, and gave them a dose of heroin every time they pushed a petal.
Nearly every rat become addicted to heroin. Some pushed the petal to get so much heroin that they forgot to eat and died. The U.S. government said, see, this shows that if drugs are available in society, they will be used and abused until society collapses. This supposedly proved the need to harshly regulate drugs.
But Bruce Alexander had a different theory. Since rats are social animals, he wanted to see the results if happy rats had the same access to drugs. So he built “Rat Park” which included rats of both sexes, wheels for running, cans for hiding, walls for climbing, and wood chips for digging.
Other rats were placed in solitary confinement as a control group. Both sets of rats were given the option of morphine-laced water and regular water.
The rats in “Rat Park” tried the morphine. You could say they used it recreationally. But the isolated rats consumed many multiples the amount of morphine that the “Rat Park” residents consumed.
Then, Alexander made certain that every isolated rat was heavily addicted to morphine. He moved them from isolation to “Rat Park.”
Did the rats remain addicted? No! They generally chose to drink the regular water, and even voluntarily went through painful withdrawal symptoms to kick their habits.
Even though the experiments were replicated by Alexander, and then replicated by other scientists at other universities, the findings never caught on.
Maybe the government was never truly interested in the facts. Maybe it was always about control.
Did Prohibition Work?
President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, which consolidated all federal drug laws and scheduled drugs into different levels to more easily sentence violators.
Since 1970, the rate of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population rose sharply.
And the trend continued after 2007.
Despite–or because of–the war on drugs, drug overdose deaths increased nearly tenfold in the 40 years following the 1970 Controlled Substance Act.
President Nixon created the DEA in 1973. Years later, Nixon’s Domestic Policy Cheif, John Ehrlichman said:
We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
Government policies create isolation.
Environment, feelings of hopelessness, poor social bonds, and isolation all play important roles in what leads to addiction.
Government policies create these adverse conditions. They divide, corral, push, and coerce people into what politicians imagine is a good society. In the process, time-tested institutions like the family, community, and religion are destroyed.
The government’s coercion makes people go crazy. The environment created by the government may not be a literal cage, but it is all too often a mental cage. One way to cope is to respond how the rats in tiny cages responded–take massive amounts of drugs.
But the government ups the anti. They prescribe kids in government schools legal drugs from an early age.
So the government identifies kids and says, you are not normal and you need drugs to act normal. Some kids are told they are dumb because they don’t fit into the public school system. Others feel hopeless in such an unnatural environment. If they don’t fit a clique, they are isolated.
Bruce Alexander went on to study indigenous populations oppressed by invading governments and found a stark difference in rates of addiction and addictive behavior before and after conquests.
Is it any wonder the drug problem has only increased with government coercion?