Gore Vidal's Visionary Case For Marijuana Legalization 40 Years Ago
Aug 2 2012

Visionary author, playwright and political activist Gore Vidal passed away yesterday. Millions around the world are remembering his life's work. If you don't know much about him, you can learn a lot just by reading the obituaries and commentaries that are emerging in the wake of his death.

Visionary author, playwright and political activist Gore Vidal passed away yesterday. Millions around the world are remembering his life's work. If you don't know much about him, you can learn a lot just by reading the obituaries and commentaries that are emerging in the wake of his death.

Apparently, though, there's one political issue that Vidal wrote about that has been overlooked: his opposition to the insane war on drugs. This morning, I just came across what Gore Vidal had to say about the need to legalize marijuana and the ineffectiveness of drug prohibition. This really drives home the point that he was way ahead of his time.

Here are a few excerpts from a column he wrote 42 years ago in the New York Times - just one year prior to President Nixon's launch of the war on drugs.

New York Times
Drugs: Case for Legalizing Marijuana
By GORE VIDAL
In the Long Run It Would Save Lives And End Hypocrisy
September 26, 1970

It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect--good and bad--the drug will have on whoever takes it. This will require heroic honesty. Don't say that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions of people know--unlike "speed," which kills most unpleasantly, or heroin, which is addictive and difficult to kick.

For the record, I have tried--once--almost every drug and liked none, disproving the popular Fu Manchu theory that a single whiff of opium will enslave the mind. Nevertheless many drugs are bad for certain people to take and they should be told about them in a sensible way ...

It is a lucky thing for the American moralist that our country has always existed in a kind of time-vacuum: we have no public memory of anything that happened before last Tuesday. No one in Washington today recalls what happened during the years alcohol was forbidden to the people by a Congress that thought it had a divine mission to stamp out Demon Rum and so launched the greatest crime wave in the country's history, caused thousands of deaths from bad alcohol, and created a general (and persisting) contempt for the laws of the United States.

The same thing is happening today. But the government has learned nothing from past attempts at prohibition, not to mention repression. - Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal
October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012
At the time of his death he was the last of a generation of American writers who had served during World War II, including J. D. Salinger,.Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer and Joseph Heller. Perhaps best remembered for his caustic wit, he referred to himself as a "gentleman !%$**" and has been described as the 20th century's answer to Oscar Wilde.

Vidal was strongly critical of the George W. Bush administration, once describing Bush as "the stupidest man in the United States"

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm a conspiracy analyst. Everything the Bushites touch is screwed up. They could never have pulled off 9/11, even if they wanted to. Even if they longed to. They could step aside, though, or just go out to lunch while these terrible things were happening to the nation. I believe that of them.

Gore Vidal by Paul Pot on Aug 4 2012
Gore Vidal co-wrote the "Palermo connection" starring James Belushi as a New York politician standing for Mayor who believes in legalizing drugs. During the campaign he returns to his family home of Palermo to be confronted by the mafia don and tells him what the drug war is really all about and why he can not be allowed to end this very profitable industry. He sticks to his principles and dies for it. Worth watching if you can find it.

Ganja Commonalities

Vidal versus Buckley

After Buckley's death on February 27, 2008, Vidal summed up his impressions of his rival with the following obituary on March 20, 2008: "RIP WFB — in hell." In a June 15, 2008, interview with the New York Times, Vidal was asked by Deborah Solomon,

"How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year?" Vidal responded:

"I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred."

"Don't say that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions of people know."
-- Gore Vidal.
New York Times, September 26, 1970
Drugs: Case for Legalizing Marijuana
In the Long Run It Would Save Lives And End Hypocrisy

"The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents."
-- William F. Buckley,
Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

Marijuana: the law vs. 12 million people
Life magazine Oct 31, 1969. 25-35

“One's condition on marijuana is always existential. One can feel the importance of each moment and how it is changing one. One feels one's being, one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of nothingness -- the hum of a hi-fi set, the emptiness of a pointless interruption, one becomes aware of the war between each of us, how the nothingness in each of us seeks to attack the being of others, how our being in turn is attacked by the nothingness in others.”
Norman Mailer on Marijuana

Vidal vs Buckley : Battle Begins

Norman Mailer on Marijuana and Whiskey

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Gore Vidal Requiescat In Pace

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