Someone with greater skill and interest in sociological research might well write a book, telling about the fragataggle involved in some particular sociological patterning of our time, exploring the "two things one does not want to know: how laws are made, and how sausage is made." The book would delve into how a peculiar law is made, and its effects resulting.
Possibly the most interesting one would be about the laws regarding hemp currently on the books. Exploring this in depth might provide important insight about our own workings. No doubt lots of uncomfortable insights along the way; and yet just for that reason, it might provide understanding so that we are less likely to repeat the same kind of mistakes.
Such a book might instead also go back into prohibition and its results. But the subject of hemp's suppression is still alive and well on planet earth and thus potentially able to provide more valid data.
The subject of hemp would provide much lively data, since it is an agricultural crop valuable throughout mankind's history, and only relatively recently got banned by the powers that be. So documenting the "what happened?" ought to be very illuminating about some significant aspects of our contemporary inner workings.
The pieces of this fragataggle, in my mind right now, are like a jigsaw puzzle that is still in the box, all shaken up and messy, yet I know that the pieces can all be put together and make an interesting picture, upon being put together in the one reality pattern.
Some of the pieces in my own memory, surely a tiny fraction that a sociological researcher ought to be able to discover in the wider picture now existing, include the following:
A. As of at least the 1950's, a time formative in my life, graduating from High School in 1954, hemp was an almost unnoticed subject, but most everybody intimately knew hemp in the form of rope, since at the time, it was the strongest material for its density that existed, even more than the finest of steels. It was scratchy to the hands, and very flexible and enormously strong. That was what one bought when buying rope or strong twine. I don't remember hemp being a subject otherwise, back then.
B. Somewhere, in the half century since then, something changed. It is currently a subject that has ruined the lives of huge numbers of people; not because of hemp's nature, but due to sociological things going on about it. Huge numbers of people lives have been ruined through incarceration for having the plant growing nearby, or smoking a particular part of some strains of the plant. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Mexico in the process of getting the smokable part into America to satisfy the market for the smoke. How did we get from A to B? Something must have caused it all, and discovery of that sociological story would be a major part of such a book being suggested here.
C. Hemp growth and usage goes way back. The Swedish Vasa ship, when pulled back up to the surface in the 1960's, was found to carry rolled up sails made of hemp cloth, an illustrious ship that went down back in the 1600's. No doubt hemp cloth was the strongest cloth for its weight that could be made, back then; and it also stood up to the rigors of the maritime environment. Was a material critical to survival on the seas in the days of sailing ships.
D. The cowboy's rope of the Old West was made of hemp. The only rope material in use back then other than hemp, was the soft to the touch cotton rope used for clotheslines, since it did not have the strong scratchy ends sticking out along its surface. Use of any other material for rope, other than hemp, because of the outstanding strength to weight ratio of the material; and it came from a common agricultural plant, that was easy to grow and did not have the pest control problems of cotton.
E. The growth of the hemp plant now is a federal offense, inviting imprisonment if cultivating hemp. Yet the growth of hemp was the primary agricultural product of George Washington's plantation; nowadays, he would be thrown into prison, under the present legal system. No George Washington, and thus maybe no America, if today's laws were in place back then.
F. Back then, the hemp plant's qualities were critical for America's fighting the war for independence. Since England was the only supplier of paper to the American colonies, and since paper was critical in war such as for delivering commands during war, paper made of hemp was used. The Declaration of Independence was written on such paper. Without that home-grown paper capability, we doubtless would not have even considered striving for independence.
G. Some of my ancestors fought in the War for Independence, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. One of them grew hemp as a crop to get started in agriculture. It was economically a very important crop.
H. In the Civil War, sometimes rolled bales of hemp were used as rolling fortifications in infantry battles, no doubt even able to stop cannon balls, thus saving lots of lives.
I. Archaeological explorations of the American Southwest show that hemp was used extensively as a structural material by Native Americans in their daily lives, important to their survival. Hemp was a native plant of America and grew like a weed on its own; that is probably why is had the nickname "weed" back in the 1960's.
J. Besides the hemp plant's fibers being extremely useful for making sails, baskets, rope, paper, and clothing, more recently its seeds were found to provide one of the finest blends of proteins needed by the human physiology, even providing the brain-essential Omega-3's oils, and easily digestible in the digestive tracts of people suffering from digestive damage from parasites and immune system problems. This protein nutritional supplement made from ground up hemp seeds, provides perhaps the finest and most assimilable proteins nowadays, and is easily produced - by other countries, since America currently says it is against the law to grow the hemp plant here.
K. The pivotal sociological event apparently was the discovery that some parts of a sub-species of the hemp plant, if smoked like a cigarette, temporarily provided a peaceful feeling and even expanded some mental powers. It was non-addictive, but appreciated, especially by a population under lots of sociological stress. Somehow that infuriated the powers-that-be.
L. One of the key sociological issues to be discovered by the subject hypothetical sociological book, is how item # K above, triggered the law against not only smoking that peace-bringing, mind-expanding, compassion-providing part of the hemp plant, but also the banning even of the hemp plant itself as an agricultural crop, even the strains of hemp which were not particularly able to provide the relaxing qualities of smoking the plant's particular parts, I think it was called the bud of the flower, that was smokable to provide comfort and ability to have greater insight into some things.
M. Economic business competition often makes thing happen sociologically, and may have been a cause of the illegalization of hemp. One is that people would have to pay huge amounts of money to the medical system and pharmaceutical makers to get the very common tranquilizers, so widely prescribed nowadays, a billion dollar system that would not exist if people were still freely able to grow the particular variety of the hemp plant in flower pots or their back yards. Thus the illegalization enabled some people to make huge fortunes, through such things as making and prescribing tranquilizers. Yet, why would Americans tolerate such a rip off? Part of the social research results would involve discovering that aspect.
N. Law enforcement often cites smoking the "pot" substance as causing traffic accidents; yet, there were no scientific experiments to confirm that or not. I recall reading about an experiment set up by a police department to prove smoking pot would cause significant impairment of a driver, by setting up a heavily swerving back and forth driving course, to be used as a before and after test; the article was written by the guy who was to smoke the pot and then drive the course, presumably to knock down more of the pylons after smoking, than he did before smoking. The article said it would report next on what happened. But, I never saw such a follow-up report; I suspect that is because it was found no significant increase in number of pylons knocked down after driving the course, thus refuting the justification of the police's claims for its suppression of smokers of pot.
O. Somehow the overall growth of the hemp plant became rightful target by assault rifle carrying, flame thrower carrying, enforcement agents, despite that only a particular strain of the hemp plant was able to produce the peaceful mind-enhancing qualities of smoking "pot." Apparently such enforcers were either incapable of learning how to distinguish between the plants, or merely were not taught to do that before going into violent mode.
H. What sustains the continued oppression of hemp and its many benefits to America? Perhaps it involves the highly lucrative prison industry, being paid to lock up the otherwise peaceful people who had been caught smoking or possessing pot, non-violent people easy to control and make lots of money at it. It makes a way to utilize enforcers who are of the type who can use flame-throwers to burn down people's hemp crops without remorse, and gun down people who grow the material, or to grab them, ruin their lives, and get paid well to do such exciting things so necessary for esteem of the bully type of people. It gets them a bit under control and "off the streets" and supervised to some extent, and paid well enough that they do not need to resort to illegal crime to do their natural thing.
I. If hemp and pot were to cease being illegal, what would happen, and what would best be done to compensate? For one thing, the enforcers of item # H above, would need to be found other jobs to do, although perhaps ones that are not so easy as stalking and assaulting peaceful and non-violent harmless pot smokers. Maybe get them to do something actually helpful to the nation, yet still pays them well, keeps them supervised, and satisfies their egos. Another thing, would be the need to release the folks now in prison for smoking or possessing pot; this would also involve coming up with the money to compensate them for the disruption of their lives and probable loss of all their possessions. It would cut way down on the income of the prison industry businesses and thus income of their investors, something not very tolerable to investors. And the sudden loss of income in Mexico re supplying pot to America, would heavily reduce the stimulus for the drug wars down there, which has caused tens of thousands of lives to be lost and countless others to be ruined, in our neighbor country.
J. Somewhere in this hypothetical sociological book, it will be necessary to delve into the actual making of the sausage. How did the hemp plant get from being an important agricultural crop in America and throughout history, to being an excuse for righteous lawful violence and oppression of American people? Usually there are landmark law cases that set the trends. One would have to go back to the records of law, to find these court rulings, and the actual events that that caused them to happen. This would need to be done as candidly as possible, to provide honesty in the finding of the making of this legal sausage-like thing.
K. What could we learn and benefit by such a sociological research and book writing, gathering the fragletaggle jumble and making it into a coherent writing? Well, it ought to be plain that something happened. Lots of clearly big mistakes through the criminalization process gone awry. Some aspects no doubt similar to the not-that-long ago about prohibition of consumption of ethanol alcohol beverages, a subject of a substance utilized even in beer at the very dawn of civilization, and as wine throughout history, clearly long a beneficial substance to mankind; yet prohibition happened, gangs formed to supply it anyway, The Untouchables and the not-so-untouchables warred against them, much hurt to people all over the place, and eventually was taken off the law books, yet still kept under control by the powers that be, taxing the important alcohol previously a freely grown and processed commercial and personal appreciated material. Thus something seems analogous to happen, in that the growth of hemp and its many competitive products, would get "regulated" with the powers-that-be raking in a percentage of the profits, and gaining power by being able to say who gets to grow and distribute and utilize those highly useful and low cost natural products. But most of all, such a sociological researched book hopefully would provide very illuminating insight about the real workings of American culture in our time. And that might, just might, enable us to make wiser choices in the future.
L. What would likely oppose this? Right now, too many powerful and wealthy folks are deriving major benefit from the system just as it is, to make it likely to get corrected very soon. That kind of people do not give up power voluntarily, and they are real tough guys, with much wealth available to manipulate events. So, the proposed book might get blocked - somehow legally - by such folks, unless the book also shows how they too could gain a better life through the exploration of the realities of the multiple situations involved. Civilization progresses by the gathering of true knowledge and making sense of the knowledge, and letting it guide us in making our future better. If we choose to do so.
Labels: hemp, law enforcement, laws, pot, prisons, prohibition, sociological principles, structural materials