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October 8, 2004 - DrugSense Weekly (US Web)

Supremacy, Taboos, And The Drug War

By Robert Rapplean, political analyst, activist, and director of Parents and Educators for the Reform of Drug Laws

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

If you ask most people the difference between superiority and supremacy, their first instinct is to rely on the technical meaning of the words, or refer to the dictionary. In order to truly understand what we mean when we use a word it is far more useful to refer to a tool such as Google, which pulls up a sampling of English usage as opposed to a standardized definition. Take a moment to try that out with the words Superiority and Supremacy.

What we find is that superiority is the direct reflection of our genetic need for competition. We compete in every imaginable way in our society - work and play, physical, mental and emotional, creative and logical. To the winners of these competitions go the best jobs, food, mating partners - with nearly anything that possesses varying levels of quality, the highest quality will be distributed to those who are superior by some rating scale.

In order to facilitate this, we specifically divide the world into "US" and "THEY" and then spend a lot of time figuring out how U.S. are better than THEY, and thus more deserving of the finest things in life. This comprises the roots of an entire genre of -ism's: racism, creedism, classism etc.

Supremacy takes this concept to its ultimate conclusion. Supremacy is when you believe that you are so far superior to THEY (Jews, blacks, infidels, whatever) that you have the god-given right--or perhaps duty--to persecute, imprison, or even kill all members of the THEY sect, without having to demonstrate harm, and without incurring repercussions. When you type Supremacist into Google, you primarily receive links to Nazi and white supremacist (pro and con) literature.

In its own way, the pursuit of supremacy is responsible for most of the evils that beset mankind. Even the word "evil" reflects this, being traced back to (proto-indo-european) "upelo-", which translates to "uppity, overreaching bounds". Money isn't the root of all evil - it's the pursuit of superiority. Money is just a commonly accepted scoring system.

If you translate "US" as those who don't use or abuse drugs and "THEY" as those who do, then a lot of the motivation behind the drug war starts to make sense. Having laws in place only serve to validate US's belief in their supremacy over THEY. This validation leads to more extreme levels of persecution of THEY, and less thinking about the real details of the conflict.

One of the most telling clues to this may be found in the laws themselves, which are designed to persecute, not to correct. We don't want THEM to become US, because then we'd have nobody to be superior over. The proponents of this system continue to push for harsher laws despite all evidence disproving of allegations of harm.

Eventually this snowballs into our current situation, where even speaking out about the issue labels you as one of THEM, and nobody can admit that it's wrong, because that would be giving up one's superiority and accepting guilt and culpability in addition to persecution.

It is unfortunate that the word supremacist has become a derogatory term. It's frequently tossed around, and many people don't even understand what they mean when they say it. Sadly, supremacy is a very common ailment in the world today. Not being able to use the word is like not being able to use "malnourished" or "infected" - it only allows the problem to worsen.

It is about time that this word was invoked regarding the war on drugs. Not in the sense of name calling, but in the sense of identifying a problem. Not yelled in anger, but stated in context with a full explanation to back it up. Not to create arguments but to create understanding. Not to start something, but to end it.

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