Should we ban roses because they give us pleasure?


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Well, he does say he’s not sure how to rationalize it, mostly because he really can’t. It’s an irrational belief, but as I’m sure you know, we make plenty of political choices through irrational beliefs. And certainly we all have non-rational hunches that probably save our skin more than we realize. They don’t make for such good arguments in debates though.

    As for the criminal record stuff, I can’t tell you how many times I saw well-to-do white kids at my university given a long talking to by the police for being high as a kite in public, only to be let off with a warning because their future was bright and why hurt it over a childish transgression? It’s probably wishful thinking that the same results occur for kids whose prospects aren’t as immediately evident.

    As for pleasure, I am utterly fascinated by the conviction of most human beings that too much of it will cause derangement and death. We talked recently about a moral fabric to the universe, but I often suspect that there is a moral fabric to our psychology. It’s just completely fascinating that so many myths, legends, and beliefs across times and cultures return to this idea that pleasure-in-itself brings madness.Report

  2. Avatar Herb says:

    That’s funny. I posted on this on my own blog and you wanna know the exact words I used to close out my post? “Amen, brother!”

    Yes, I included the exclamation point.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    The point about the potential for a criminal record and who’s more at risk for that is unanswerable. I won’t try to add anything to what’s already been said about it.

    What I find interesting, though, is that I’ve on several occasions heard a similar discussion about religion. If you and I, who are after all intelligent and responsible, have our doubts about the existence of God, no big deal. We’ll do the right thing regardless, because that’s who we are. But we need to make sure there’s a stigma for public atheism, because most people couldn’t handle it.Report

  4. Avatar Bubbaquimby says:

    I don’t get the logic of “it gives pleasure than it must be legal.” Of ll the pro pot arguments, it’s the least persuasive.

    Driving fast does too, yet we put limits on that. Adolescence is filled with not bright yet pleasurable moments. Egging houses, blowing up mailboxes, jumping off big cliffs, etc.

    Now if I could vote to legalize it I would. But I am not convinced by the pleasure argument. Large prison pop, minorities disproportionately effected, low negative health effects and very low addiction rates, increased crime related to pot selling, are good arguments.

    Reason I say this is because it’s too easily used to drugs I do think are harmful and disagree with libertarians that they should be legal (meth, herion, coke, etc).

    Heck one pleasurable drug I think will be banned before pot is legal is tobacco.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Bubbaquimby says:

      It’s counter-point to the idea that pleasure ought only be experienced when something is accomplished.

      There is an undercurrent found in some thought that pleasure is the reward for good hard work and stuff like alcohol, weed, sex is a cheap/easy way to get an inordinate amount of pleasure for doing, pretty much, nothing at all.

      There have been movements (both progressive and reactionary) to limit and make illegal such things.

      Sex is good only when it is in service to baby creation (thus laws making it illegal to have non-procreative sex). Laws making it illegal to drink. Laws making it illegal to smoke weed.

      You feel good after you build a table, after you till a field, after you raise a barn.

      You want to feel good? Maybe you should accomplish something, you lazy bastard.

      The idea that it’s okay to feel that much pleasure for, effectively, free is an idea that many find downright offensive.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Jaybird says:

        “sex is a cheap/easy way to get an inordinate amount of pleasure for doing, pretty much, nothing at all.”

        Just a slow, hanging lob there, waiting to be hit. But do I go with the obvious “Then you’re clearly not doing it right” line, or the even more obvious “Really? Man, I need to go to the bars YOU go to!” line. Neither is that funny, but both are just aching to be said.

        Decisions, decisions….Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to RTod says:

          The third way. Mark Twain.

          “The pleasures of fornication are overstated while the pleasures of defecation go unsung.”Report

          • Avatar Matty in reply to Jaybird says:

            If you have internet access there is no concievable human pleasure (and quite a few inconceivable ones) that you can’t find someone singing about.Report

            • Avatar RTod in reply to Matty says:

              True that. I did a keynote recently on the management concept of “riding the elephant.” After preparing for my slides, I had to caution others about the wisdom of googling the phrase “riding the elephant” under the seek images setting.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    My personal pet hated argument against pot legalization is the one that comes from pot smokers who don’t want “the man” to legalize pot because then “big business” will ruin it for everyone. Goddamn rent seeking hippies, where’s my stick!?Report