The politics of genetics has been used throughout history to create scapegoats and to oppress various segments of humanity. Tremendous efforts were made in Nazi Germany to establish Rassenwissenschaft–race science–as a legitimate science. Tremendous efforts were made to prove that Jews, Gypsies, and others were genetically different, subhuman, and curable only by extermination. All these efforts failed because they had no basis in reality–they were nothing but political artifacts intended to satisfy hate.
The more things change the more they stay the same. Today’s political forces have decreed that the drunkard and the drug addict are somehow fundamentally different from other human beings. These hate mongers have declared that the drug user and the drunkard comprise a subhuman, racially inferior underclass whose basic human rights are not protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.
The “addiction gene” or an “alcoholism gene” is such a hot political prize that its discovery has been announced with great hoopla at least a dozen times in the past couple of decades. The problem was that in every single case the scientists announcing this great discover had to recant–for the simple fact that the evidence did not back up their extravagant claims. Most serious geneticists know that the “addiction gene” is a chimera, a will-o’-the-wisp which does not exist–but an innocent public still sits and awaits the discovery of the mythical “addiction gene”.
The simple fact is that there is no such thing as a “disease” of “addiction” or “alcoholism”. People use what means they have to cope with difficult situations. Sometimes the only means that they have is drugs or alcohol; sometimes it is the case that drugs and alcohol are just so readily available. Anyone can adopt a maladaptive coping strategy under difficult enough circumstances. Genetics has nothing to do with it. Period.
The really sick and diseased people in the United States of America today are the ones who promote the Nazification of science by promoting the idea that drunkards and drug addicts are genetically different from the rest of us. These people are doing nothing short of what the Nazis did in Germany–giving the general public a scapegoat to blame their troubles on–and setting up a new race science and a new racially inferior subhuman subset of humanity–all based on a tissue of lies.
One of the worst results of this new scapegoating has been the consistent stripping of this supposedly “genetically diseased” group of people of their most basic and fundamental human rights under the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States –to wit:
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution protects people in prison in the United States from “cruel and unusual punishment”. However, people in treatment programs for “addiction” or “alcoholism” are not given the same protections as criminals. Therapeutic Communities and “tough love” programs based on Synanon often force adults to wear nothing but diapers and call them big babies. Men are forced to dress as women for weeks at a time for the “crime” of saying hello to a woman. Occupational therapy includes things like scrubbing toilets with toothbrushes for 8 hours a day.
The First Amendment right to freedom of religion is respected in prisons–prisoners in the United States are not forced to believe in God or attend religious services against their will.
However this is not true in drug and alcohol “treatment” programs where inmates are browbeaten and threatened with a horrifying death from drug or alcohol use unless they accept a “Higher Power”–and not just any “Higher Power”–but one that fits the steps of AA. Can a door knob be a higher power? Only if you can make conscious contact with a door knob like step 11 requires. Inmates in 12 step treatment programs are also forced to attend AA meetings against their will–a violation of the first amendment rights of anyone who feels that AA meetings violate their personal religious freedoms.
Then we have the Salvation Army which as a part of their “occupational therapy” makes the inmates in their treatment programs work eight hours a day in their thrift shops and pays them two dollars for the whole day. And I thought slavery was ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. I guess the laws against slavery don’t count if you are one of those “genetically diseased” alcoholics or drug addicts. Like the sign hanging over Auschwitz said “Arbeit Macht Frei”–work will set you free.
It is long past time that we start treating human beings as responsible adults with the basic unalienable human right to decide what they want to put into their own mouths. “No more drug war” means “no more war on drug users”.
No one should be considered subhuman because of what they choose to put in their mouths. No one should be stripped of their unalienable basic human rights based on what they choose to put in their mouths.
The war criminals are those who wage the drug war–not the drug users who are the innocent victims of the war on drugs.
Copyright © 2009, The HAMS Harm Reduction Network