Dave Sim's blogandmail #419 (November 4th, 2007)
See one of the things that you tend to figure out about vice when
you've been an actual participant rather than a theoretician like
the sociologists who are making the calls upon the Downtown Eastside in
Vancouver is that it really does replace your personal will. It
doesn't do it immediately and it doesn't do it all at once, but
whether it's pot or alcohol or fornication or whatever it can, over
time, without you noticing it move from "something I like to do" to
"something I need to do".
The problem with the way non-participants are looking at the Downtown
Eastside is that heroin, which is the biggest problem, is the KING of
that effect. The only thing that has a higher recidivism rate than junk
is cigarettes, so I think I can speak from experience about addiction
having quit cigarettes and gone back to cigarettes dozens of times.
So, with all the best of intentions in the world, they look at these
people who are destroying their lives because the monkey on their back
is the one running the show and they say, "Well, what they need is clean
needles." No, I don't think what they need is clean needles. What
they need is to be put into a room that is really cushion-y so they can
go cold turkey and inescapably find out what sort of a situation
they've put themselves in and gradually get out of it.
At least theoretically, if you have to go through hell coming out of
there, you'll think twice about going back in. But you have to stay
in the cushion-y room for a long time because if you've gone a long
way in, you have to come out a much longer way than you're going to
try to persuade the guy with the key you need to come out.
But, for the sociologists, they look at someone who is being run by the
monkey on their back and they say, "Oh, they have mental issues.
It's a psychiatric thing. They just need some love and
understanding." Well, again, I don't think they need love and
understanding. They have no more awareness of love and understanding
than they have of particle theory if they've been doing junk a
while. All they know is junk. All they want to know is junk. If playing
the psychiatry game will get them a fix, they'll play the psychiatry
game. They'll tell you whatever you want to hear.
Now, when you compare that to the Muslim world (as in trying to see it
from the Muslim side) the psychologist or the sociologist has the same
problem the junkie does. The psychologist or the sociologist is just
doing the junk in a different way. The junkie has moved from the normal
person square to the junkie square and the longer they're on the
junkie square, the more likely it is that they will end up on the junk
square. When you're a normal person and you haven't done any
junk, there's no danger in being on the junkie square. It's just
the square next to the square that you're on. It looks like the
square that you're on but it's actually tilted almost upright.
The moment you step onto it you are going to slide towards the junk
square. And the psychologist or sociologist has moved from the normal
person square to the junkie square. The psychologist or the sociologist
is addicted to the junkie. They start out wanting to help the junkie and
then they needing to help the junkie so they adopt the junkie's
frames of reference. The junk is a given for the psychologist because
the junk is a given for the junkie, so the junk can't be dealt with
except in the junkie's frame of reference, so the issue becomes
See, to a Muslim, this is lunacy. What are you doing way over there with
the junkies? What are you doing adopting the junkie's frame of
reference? You are dragging your entire society over onto the junkie
square and the next square is the junk square. To save your society, you
have to eliminate the junkie. The junkie knew what he or she was doing
and he or she knew that what she was doing was wrong. If you don't
execute the junkie, what you are doing is making being a junkie normal.
Which is what has happened and is happening in the Downtown Eastside of
Vancouver. There is no place on the planet where they talk more freely
about junk and where junk as a controversial subject is neither hidden
nor repressed (to return to Victor Davis Hanson's view of the
West's Highest Attributes).
But I don't think it has made for a better society. All it can do is
But if your guiding vision of a good society is one that is open and
free about everything and where nothing is hidden or repressed, then
there is really nothing to keep the entirety of North America from
turning into the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. It's the logic of
the next step. If it's okay for junkies to shoot up out in the
streets and drop their syringes wherever they want (hey, they can get a
clean one easier than they can buy a phone card) and for prostitutes to
ply their trade in the middle of the street in broad daylight (because
they really don't care: the only thing that they're interested
in is junk. If you don't want to watch them giving somebody a blow
job out on the sidewalk, you're the one who's being judgemental,
you're the one with the problem) in this ten-block section of
Vancouver, why can't they do it out in the suburbs if they want? Why
can't they do it on your front lawn if they want? Why can't they
do it in front of your kids if they want? If you stop anyone from doing
anything, you're being judgemental and that's wrong, right?
From the Muslim standpoint you have to be judgemental. You have to
decide what it is that God wants people to do. There is no question that
the Taliban and al-Qaeda go way, way overboard with that, so that no one
can do anything unless it's specifically mentioned as being okay in
the Koran. Cutting people's hands off for stealing a loaf of bread
and flogging adulterers. I am 100% in agreement that that is no way to
run a railroad.
But, to me, being so scrupulously non-judgemental that you get fished
in, one step at a time, into deciding that it's okay for anyone to
shoot up junk anywhere and anytime that they want to because it's
wrong to judge someone else and to pursue that theory to the extent that
people are actually living that way…well, to me that's just as
crazy in the other direction and, at least in loony-leftist British
Columbia, I don't see any awareness of that. I mean, none. Zip.
Nada. What they want is more safe injection sites all across Canada,
more free syringes for junkies, wider geographic areas where shooting
heroin in public is the new normal and we'll all just have to get
used to it in the interests of multiculturalism.
I don't think that, either, is any way to run a railroad and if you
believe that talking freely about everything and that nothing should be
hidden or repressed, that is, indeed, the kind of railroad you're
going to have.
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