I’d been hesitating about publishing this and the entry dated 29th April 2015 but then, during a prolonged Twitter exchange with the Transform Drug Policy Foundation , Peter Hitchens posted his usual ‘anyone who read my book would know [x]’ so I Tweeted to say I had read the book and that meant I knew he was wrong. Hitchens response was a simple ‘I don’t believe you’. So, this post is specifically for Peter Hitchens. I think even you will see that if I can write this and the previous pieces, here and here, then I must have read the book.
As I posted, yesterday, I have now finished reading ‘The War We Never Fought’, Peter Hitchens’ attempt to show that there is no such thing as prohibition of cannabis. It took me a lot longer than I expected partly because I had to stop so many times to make marginal notes about points I wanted to look into further or thought I might want to write about the way I did yesterday and on 3rd March.
But, also, once I’d seen the core of Hitchens’ argument continuing to read the rest of the book became exceedingly tedious. Now, my problem is to try and convey what that core is because I’m not sure I can find the right words.
‘Hypocrite’ was the first word that came to mind but, after looking at a number of definitions, I’ve realised that does not do the job and with people like Hitchens it is important not to allow them wriggle room by misusing language.
In the final chapter, by my count, the word ‘elite’ appears five times. Hitchens case is that there is an elite that has decided that the prohibition of drugs should be brought to an end and this elite is willing to disregard the will of ‘the voting masses’.
You’d think from this that Hitchens would be a people’s champion determined that the will of the public should determine policy. But if you did think that you’d be very wrong. Because Hitchens is an elitist. His problem is not with a small group of people who think they know best how the country should be run. His problem is that the wrong small group of people is determining how the country is run. On page 95 of Chapter 7 Hitchens says;
'The argument about drugs is one of the most important aspects of the moral and cultural revolution. It is not only about drugs, but about the abandonment of a specifically Protestant Christian way of life. (Emphasis added.)'
Hitchens does not condemn government by an elite. He just thinks that elite should be made up of the archbishops and bishops of the Church of England.
Once I’d understood that point there seemed to be little reason to look at every point where Hitchens misrepresents events or ignores evidence that does not fit his case or uses false equivalence.
Hitchens believes in a world where people do as they are told and don’t step outside the tight confines of the proscribed code of conduct.
He is not interested in science or evidence. His whole philosophy can be summed up with my favourite acronym, BISO - ‘Because I Say So’. This means, of course, that it is a waste of time arguing with him unless external observers can witness the argument and reach their own conclusion. I can only assume it was a quiet day in the Transform office.
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