Gateways to competition


thalidomideTaxi drivers are receptive to any arguments that lead to men with guns robbing their customers of the right to choose Lyft or Uber. It matters little whether the appeal is to purported health hazards, passenger safety, union authority, regulatory ambitions, taxes and fees or Revealed Faith. Any old pretext will do once any collective has made up its mind that competition is a bad thing. Any contrary argument premised on freedom of choice and competition being bearable becomes, ipso facto, ridiculous.

So it is with sellers of beer, wine, marijuana, cocaine, christianity, mohammedanism and LSD. Just as Uber competition is alarming to some as a gateway to having to work harder, so beer, painkiller and whiskey merchants look on other enjoyable drugs as added competition for their customers’ disposable income. Hence the expression “gateway drug” to describe anything liable to be cheaper, safer or more enjoyable than what they themselves are accustomed to selling.

Hidden persuaders want you to imagine that the “gateway” meme refers not to competition against their product, but rather, to something more akin to Demonic Possession of the Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here kind. I’ll give you an example.

In 1960 an elder Robert Heinlein novel protagonist said of a youth he admired “I’d rather see him smoking marijuana” (than joining a holy roller sect). Big Tobacco and Anheuser Busch already feared marijuana as potential competition. Barbiturates were marketed in 1912 as a (worse, it turns out) alternative to opium, and organized mysticism had for over a century feared competition from psychoactive drugs. But the most direct competitor of marijuana in 1961 was thalidomide, marketed as DISTAVAL.

The ads were the precursors of the political “daisy commercial,” and showed a blonde girl-child tampering with a medicine bottle of a sedative and hypnotic drug to ease morning sickness in pregnant women. Queen Victoria had taken an elixir of Indian Hemp to ease female discomfort, but that natural medicine ran afoul of U.S. efforts to increase beer sales and excise revenue during America’s slow, partial recovery from the disastrous effects of the (surviving) personal income tax and (repealed) prohibition amendments.  The U.N. is the usual mechanism for forcing our prohibitionist politicians’ errors on the rest of the world.

The result was that women all over the world were forced at gunpoint to bear and raise limbless babies. Why? To please the lobbyists of American Organized Mysticism, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma in their furore to crush out “The Killer Weed.” So where are the grateful thanks to prohibitionist Republican President Herbert Clark Hoover’s 1930 creation of a Bureau of Narcotics to provide employment for Harry Anslinger? To Anslinger for forcing out natural hemp remedies and creating a market for thalidomide?

If you are not feeling a burning sense of gratitude for the wisdom of entrenched looter politicians, consider joining me in voting the Libertarian Party ticket.

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