Sunday, October 16, 2011

Steve Jobs Found Enduring Inspiration With Illegal Drug Use; Yet He Could Have Been Put in a Cage According to America's Barbaric Drug Policy

Fascinating commentary from Salon's Glenn Greenwald about Steve Jobs' illegal drug use:

"It’s fascinating to juxtapose America’s reverence for Steve Jobs’ accomplishments and its draconian drug policy with this, from the New York Times‘ obituary of Jobs:
Jobs told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.
Unlike many people who have enjoyed success, Jobs is not saying that he was able to succeed despite his illegal drug use; he’s saying his success is in part — in substantial part — because of those illegal drugs (he added that Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once”).  These quotes have been around for some time but have been only rarely discussed in the recent hagiographies of Jobs: a notable omission given that he himself praised those experiences as an integral part of his identity and one of the most important things he ever did.  

America’s harsh prohibitionist drug policies are grounded in the premise that the prohibited substances have little or no redeeming value and cannot be used without life-destroying consequences. Yet the evidence of its falsity is undeniable. Here is one of the most admired men in America, its greatest contemporary industrialist, hailing one of the most scorned of these substances as integral to his success and intellectual and personal growth.  

In short, the deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever.  In light of his comments about LSD, it’s rather difficult to reconcile America’s adoration for Steve Jobs with its ongoing obsession with prosecuting and imprisoning millions of citizens (mostly poor and minorities) for doing what Jobs, Obama, George W. Bush, Michael Phelps and millions of others have done.

Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves).  But no rational person can doubt that these substances can also be used responsibly and constructively; just study Steve Jobs’ life if you doubt that.

What about a society that continues to imprison millions of human beings for using substances that vast numbers of people in the nation have secretly used and enjoyed, or which empowers people with the Oval Office, or reveres people like Steve Jobs, who have done the same? Even leaving aside the rather significant (and shameful) fact that drug laws are enforced with overwhelming disproportionality against racial minorites, what possible justification is there for putting someone in a cage for using a substance they choose to use without any evidence that they’ve harmed anyone else or even risked harm to anyone else?"

42 Comments:

At 10/16/2011 9:04 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Why don't we put LSD in the water. So, people can become more creative and productive.

If they die at 56, government can save a lot of money on Social Security and health care too.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:05 AM, OpenID American Delight said...

Oh, here we go.. The comments on this post should be interesting.

Cue predictable arguments for/against drug legalization...

 
At 10/16/2011 9:09 AM, Blogger PFCT said...

Professor - please get a clue. There is NO FREAKIN WAY Jobs could know for certainty the cause and effect here. And, perhaps that's what damage his health!

 
At 10/16/2011 9:21 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Also, I may add, in reply to prior comments on U.S. health care.

The U.S. health care industry is the highest quality and the most advanced in the world, by far.

It's also a heavily regulated industry, which is why it's too expensive.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

Mushrooms. You have not lived until you have eaten mushrooms.

Totally safe. Just be in a controlled environment first time with ready access to the outdoors (you will want to be outside) without any strangers to bother you.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

pfct-

1. how on earth would you know or even feel remotely qualified to describe what he experienced?

2. what business of your (or the government's) is it anyway?

3. if you're going to ban things that harm health, then i suppose you want to ban french fries, beer, cigarettes, and twinkies too?

even it it did harm his health (and there is not a shred of evidence for that), that was his business. ever eat fried food? well, that's your business.

i am astonished how easily people want to give up their freedom.

you really want the kind of nanny state that decides what's good for you and bans everyhting else?

peak, that's an absurd argument. if someone says "hey, taking probiotics helped my digestion" or "aspirin helped my headache" would you then argue we should put it in the water?

there is no logic at all to your argument. you jump from his argument about allowing choice to forcing universal consumption.

hey, you like a beer. should we put booze in the water? nicotine? come on.

then you make this inferential argument that his early death had anything at all to do with his use of LSD. i'll bet you cannot find a single link between lsd and cancer.

i'll bet you could easily find such links with numerous legal drugs, tobacco in particular. the medical effects of cigarettes and alcohol are quite well documented.

to try to infer that LSD causes cancer and therefore should be banned when you support such known killers seems awfully inconsistent to me.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:42 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Jobs told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life"...

Well I think Jobs missed a bet...

You've not lived until you've sky dived from 8500 feet while almost completely out of your mind on window pane...

 
At 10/16/2011 9:46 AM, Blogger Fred Dent said...

I understand Steve from this perspective.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:57 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich my statement is based on assumptions I didn't make.

Also, you say: "i am astonished how easily people want to give up their freedom."

When was LSD legal?

 
At 10/16/2011 10:01 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

And Morganovich you're making an assumption LSD has no effect and perhaps even a positive effect, when you have no proof.

 
At 10/16/2011 10:05 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Have you considered why LSD is illegal?

Maybe, because it's bad.

 
At 10/16/2011 10:25 AM, Blogger Emil said...

"And Morganovich you're making an assumption LSD has no effect and perhaps even a positive effect, when you have no proof."

That's definitely the wrong way around for burden of proof.

 
At 10/16/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger The High Priest said...

PeakTrader wins with the stupidest comments I've ever read -- including all the comments I've ever read on YouTube.

 
At 10/16/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The High Priest, I'll take that as a compliment.

However, my comments are only a reflection of other people's comments :)

 
At 10/16/2011 11:21 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

lsd was discovered in 1938.

it was made illegal in 1966.

prior to that it had been used in psychiatric care and a number of other experimental medicinal roles.

(similar to mdma, which followed a similar path)

psychedelics have been a part of many religions for millinea.

but, hey, if you, in your vast experience and knowledge say "it's bad" well hell, toss em in jail.

i agree with emil on how wrong your ideas about burden of proof are. so everyhting is "bad" until proven good?

wow. we're not going to be able to consume much, are we?

are cigarettes "good"? i notice you are not clamoring for their criminalization. the standards you hold up are wildly inconsistent.

it seems to me that you are speaking here from ignorance. who are you, who i suspect has never tried it to tell steve, who has, that it was not beneficial for him? he has data and experience, you have absolutely nothing apart from supposition and prejudice.

i'm not going to admit to a felony on the internet, but let's just say i have strong personal evidence that LSD can be beneficial.

i'm not saying it's a part of a balanced breakfast or anything, but unlike you, i do have evidence here. i know hundreds of people who have used psychedelic drugs and found them enjoyable and sometimes inspirational.

but when you really boil it down, what business it is of yours (or the government's)? did steve's use hurt you in some way? he says it helped him, then you, without a shred of evidence, claim the contrary and that it's "bad" and should be banned. i really don't think you have a leg to stand on here.

 
At 10/16/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, alcohol and tobacco have been socially acceptable and popular for hundreds of years. There's substantial proof they're harmful.

So, I don't see the connection you're making with LSD.

Are you saying it should be legal?

For example, because you say: "i know hundreds of people who have used psychedelic drugs and found them enjoyable and sometimes inspirational."

 
At 10/16/2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

we have more people in prison as a percentage of our population than most other countries in the world PRIMARILY because drug-use is criminalized.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

and we have a ton of people who use drugs "legally" via doctor prescription or illegally but outside the hands of the law if they are rich enough or celebrity enough.

the folks who get imprisoned are mostly the young and dumb and of course we put them in places where they can learn from hardened criminals.. and then we release them.. and with a criminal record often cannot get a decent job so they recycle ...or need/get entitlements...

on more than a few issues I end up being on the other side of the fence from CD but on this one I'm with many....

 
At 10/16/2011 11:55 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Larry, would you prefer an incompetent police force with fewer people in jail?:

Sweden’s unsolved violent crime rate at 95 percent
15 November 2008

"Robberies and violent crimes made up 75 percent of all reported crimes in Sweden last year, which added up to around 900,000. Police managed to solve 5.8 percent of them.

Bengt Svenson, the national police chief, defended his department saying: “There is often very little of value to work with. When it comes to theft, there are no witnesses, and victims often don’t know when the crime occurred. There’s really not much to go on and that obviously makes it hard to solve crimes.”

Ask feels that part of the problem lies with Sweden’s culture. “I think it has to do with the culture, the idea that there is simply nothing that can be done.” At any rate, Ask says she feels the statistics are rather disturbing and that the Swedish police could do more to clear up these cases."

 
At 10/16/2011 12:01 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@peak -

not an incompetent police force - an incompetent policy that imprisons more people as a percent of our population than Sweden or any other country.

we are taking young non-violent drug users and we are putting them in prison with hardened violent criminals to "learn" how to be much more deadly than a drug user - and then - we release them.

that's not smart.

 
At 10/16/2011 1:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

"So, I don't see the connection you're making with LSD.

Are you saying it should be legal?

For example, because you say: "i know hundreds of people who have used psychedelic drugs and found them enjoyable and sometimes inspirational.""

1. yes, i am saying it should be legal.

2. i am saying that your criteria for why LSD should be illegal are not consistent with your standards for thing like alcohol and tobacco.

you say "it's bad" with absolutely no data to back up your claim, then support the legality of other drugs proven to be harmful and with vast medical and social costs associated with them because you happen to like them.

then you continually duck the key question:

what business it it of yours or the governments whether steve jobs wants to use psychedelic drugs? if he harms someone on them, well, there are already laws about that. if he runs around his yard chasing butterflies, has a great day, and dreams up new kinds of multimedia, what's that got to do with you and why ought it be criminalized?

you seem to engage is some pretty stark double standards here.

 
At 10/16/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"
we are taking young non-violent drug users and we are putting them in prison with hardened violent criminals to "learn" how to be much more deadly than a drug user - and then - we release them.

that's not smart."

exactly. what's more, it's costly and socially destructive. the stigma of having been in jail pretty much wrecks your career prospects.

we could ban speaking out against the government too. then would you say, "YAY! our effective police force has imprisoned 8% of the population!"?

you are totally missing the point and also making a false one.

regarding the former, it's about a bad law, not how effective our police are.

regarding the latter, if our police as so effective in the drug war, then why are drugs still everywhere? they are so easy to get it's laughable. prices are down, quality is up.

there is no way to claim with a straight face that we are winning the drug war.

the only ones winning are the drug lords for whom it provides price supports of staggering magnitude making the wealthy enough to destabilize entire countries.

 
At 10/16/2011 3:52 PM, Blogger AIG said...

I got no problem with the whole "legalize" argument. I just have a problem when its presented as if its some sort of "great" thing to do. If dropping acid made Steve Jobs...than all the monkeys at Occupy Wall Street should be geniuses by now. Steve Jobs made Steve Jobs; 1 billion different things combining to make him.

Its like saying...I really like drinking tea in the morning when I get to the office. Drinking tea makes me what I am today, because if I drank coffee, I'd be too jittery. If Bill Gates had drank tea instead of coffee...maybe he'd be as awesomely cool as me! (casue I'm also kind of a narcissistic pr*ck who likes to sell things to impressionable and dumb young kids for 3 times what they could have bought it for from Bill Gates)

BS. Drugs bring out the BS in yourself by removing your inhibitions. Alcohol does the same. It ain't rocket science. It ain't all that great either. It all depends on who you are.

Legalize it of course, but these stories are pretty pointless.

 
At 10/16/2011 5:03 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

So the Reality Distortion Field does exist, it was just LSD.

 
At 10/16/2011 5:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "Why don't we put LSD in the water. So, people can become more creative and productive."

I'm surprised that you are recommending central planning of this type. Shouldn't people have a choice?

 
At 10/16/2011 5:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "When was LSD legal?"

Prior to 1968.

 
At 10/16/2011 6:00 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, you make so many false assumptions, including about what you think I said, I don't know where to start.

You stated: "there is no way to claim with a straight face that we are winning the drug war."

How do you know the drug war has been ineffective?

Drug Legalization: Myths vs. Reality
January 25, 1990

Myth: Current policies are failing to reduce drug use.

Fact: Drug use fell by 37 percent between 1985 and 1988, the last year for which accurate figures are available, from 23 million regular drug users to 14 million.

Myth: Drugs always have been a part of American society and always will be; attempts to prohibit drug use thus are doomed to fail.

Fact: Drugs have not always been part of American society. Most Americans today can remember a time when drugs were not in the workplace or discussed casually on television, and when schools were free of drugs.

Myth: Current policies and proposals under discussion infringe on civil liberties.

Fact: Concerns about civil liberties do and should influence policy toward drug use. But the government has a legitimate role in curbing the use and supply of poisonous substances. The notion that curbing drug use implies America is striding toward a police state is nonsense.

Myth: Drug use is a "victimless crime." Americans have a right to do what they want with their own bodies.

Fact: Drug use is not victimless. Not only do individuals commit crimes under drug influence, but drug users are involved in 10 percent to 15 percent of highway fatalities, are two to three times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents (injuring others as well as themselves), and give birth to 100,000 cocaine addicted infants each year.

Myth: Current policies are too costly, money would be better spent on education, rehabilitation and economic development.

Fact: The U.S. spends less than 3 cents of every federal, state, and local government dollar on criminal justice of all kinds - of which only a tiny fraction goes for drug law enforcement.

****

Illegal Drug Use on the Rise in U.S.
Survey Shows an Increase in the Rate of Marijuana Use
Sept. 8, 2011

The survey on drug use was released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In 2010, 17.4 million Americans used marijuana, up from 14.4 million in 2007.

Rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs, hallucinogens, and inhalants are around the same as in 2009.

The number of current methamphetamine users decreased by roughly half from 2006 to 2010.

Cocaine use also declined, from 2.4 million current users in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010.

Fewer 12- to 17-year-olds drank alcohol and used tobacco.

Stratyner is concerned that medical marijuana or the legal use of marijuana to treat certain medical or pain-related conditions may further fuel increases in the use of marijuana -- especially among young people.

"The message we are sending to youth is that medicalized marijuana is safe," he says.

 
At 10/16/2011 6:13 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron, between the time LSD was invented and became illegal, it likely wasn't mass marketed.

I wonder why it became illegal?

Maybe, the mental institutions were becoming full? :)

 
At 10/16/2011 6:46 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Is it just a coincidence UFO sightings soared after the invention of LSD? :)

"Another incident was reported by a motorist, who saw a cluster of blue-glowing orbs that zipped closely past his car and then hovered in some nearby trees."

 
At 10/16/2011 7:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "Fact: Drug use fell by 37 percent between 1985 and 1988, the last year for which accurate figures are available, from 23 million regular drug users to 14 million."

You are embarrassing yourself here. What's happened in the ensuing 23 years? At that rate of decline, few people would, by now, even be able to spell "illegal drugs", let alone find any, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

You must also be aware that reliable numbers on drug use may be hard to come by, for obvious reasons.

 
At 10/16/2011 9:36 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

What he did was more illegal than being an undocumented immigrant. Where are the law and order freaks?

 
At 10/17/2011 1:23 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "You are embarrassing yourself here..."

You're the one ignoring volatility. Those drugs are illegal. You don't find them on store shelves everyday.

The data suggest every illegal drug is in decline, except marijuana, which is being decriminalized.

I saw a big billboard for a medical marijuana show. Who knows, marijuana may become as popular as alcohol or liquor stores someday.

 
At 10/17/2011 2:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "I saw a big billboard for a medical marijuana show. Who knows, marijuana may become as popular as alcohol or liquor stores someday."

It already is.

 
At 10/17/2011 8:12 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Speaking as someone just 160 days younger than Steve Jobs, I know what he is talking about. Been there, done that and more. We are the total sum of ALL of our experiences: good, bad, and I can't remember. Some things cannot be explained to someone else.

Watching all these people kick off before 60 makes it easier to decide to retire at this age--maybe it's a sign for me :-) Of course it always helps when some $$$$ are involved to leave.

 
At 10/17/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger Monica said...

Nobody goes to jail for illegal drug use these days. You've got to be a bigtime dealer with a few murders they otherwise can't quite pin on you.

 
At 10/17/2011 9:53 AM, Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/17/2011 9:53 AM, Blogger A.M. Mora y Leon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/17/2011 10:19 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"How do you know the drug war has been ineffective?"

because i have lived in multiple cities around the US and drugs were (and are) widely and easily available in all of them.

prices are down. that's not what you would expect if interdiction was limiting supply.

remember prohibition? that didn't work either.

you have your head in the sand peak. and that nonsense you cut and pasted is a joke.

it's a stack of bad, unreliable survey data that has sample comparability problem, self reporting problems, and all manner of other crap that makes it useless, agenda driven propaganda.

if you up the nastiness of enforcement, people refuse to self incriminate. duh.

your first piece claims reliable data ended in 1988. the second has a raft of alleged data from later.

do you even read this trash before you post it, or just swipe it off the DARE website.

i notice that for the umpteenth time you duck the key question: (i suspect this is because you have no answer, but at least man up and admit it)

so i'll repeat it yet again:

what business it it of yours or the governments whether steve jobs wants to use psychedelic drugs? if he harms someone on them, well, there are already laws about that. if he runs around his yard chasing butterflies, has a great day, and dreams up new kinds of multimedia, what's that got to do with you and why ought it be criminalized?

 
At 10/17/2011 11:31 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I guess LSD is the reason Apple was always for liberals and Microsoft was always for conservatives.

 
At 10/17/2011 2:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

monica-

"Nobody goes to jail for illegal drug use these days. You've got to be a bigtime dealer with a few murders they otherwise can't quite pin on you."

that is totally, outlandishly untrue.

in 2009, 95k people (more than half of all new prisoners) were thrown in jail for drug crimes.

they were not "bigtime dealers".

roughly half went down for simple possession.

 
At 10/17/2011 7:20 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich says: "what business it it of yours or the governments whether steve jobs wants to use psychedelic drugs?"

Why don't you just pick the laws you want to obey?

If you don't like a law, break it, and get caught, just tell the police officer you have your own set of specialized laws. So, it's ok.

 
At 5/04/2012 2:42 AM, Blogger Lightning Scientific, LLC said...

Hey PeakTrader; how about a meta-analysis on using LSD to cure alcoholism? Or how about simply performing a Google Scholar search on LSD instead of making the same type of irrational judgement that Congress made during the Cold War Era mentality? http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Lysergic+acid+diethylamide&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C38&as_ylo=2007&as_vis=0 Have you ever considered that Congress may have acted out of fear (Considering the COLD WAR) and a profound lack of understanding on the complex neurobiological implications of the pharmacodynamics of this very complex molecule?
http://www.west-info.eu/files/LSDvsALCOLISMOJ-Psychopharmacol-2012-Krebs-0269881112439253.pdf

 
At 5/04/2012 2:42 AM, Blogger Lightning Scientific, LLC said...

Hey PeakTrader; how about a meta-analysis on using LSD to cure alcoholism? Or how about simply performing a Google Scholar search on LSD instead of making the same type of irrational judgement that Congress made during the Cold War Era mentality? http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Lysergic+acid+diethylamide&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C38&as_ylo=2007&as_vis=0 Have you ever considered that Congress may have acted out of fear (Considering the COLD WAR) and a profound lack of understanding on the complex neurobiological implications of the pharmacodynamics of this very complex molecule?
http://www.west-info.eu/files/LSDvsALCOLISMOJ-Psychopharmacol-2012-Krebs-0269881112439253.pdf

 

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