Mary Jane

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I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

 If you thought this was about a woman named Mary Jane, you are wrong. Mary Jane is a nickname for marijuana, which has been increasingly legalized in states around the country. In my lifetime, I have watched this drug move from illegal to legal.

It started in the 1960’s, when America was in a rebellious stage. Flower children and free sex became commonplace, along with marijuana. I was in law school and married at the time. But for the fact that I didn’t have time to try it, I suppose I would have.

Somehow, just like cigarettes, I’ve had an intuitive sense of possible dangerous side-effects. Smoking anything can’t be good, and it doesn’t take a PhD in chemistry or a medical degree to realize that the chemical side effects of cannabis (or THC) are complex.

Like many of my era, I smoked cigarettes briefly in college. No one had connected the dots that smoking causes cancer at the time. I stopped early in my career when a secretary of mine,  a life-long smoker, got emphysema, a lung disease.  When she quit, I quit too.

Glad I did. Now cigarettes have this warning label on each pack telling you that smoking can cause cancer. In Europe, the label is a little more direct. In big bold letters on the side of a cartoon is the label: “SMOKING KILLS’.  Not too subtle.

Which brings me back to marijuana. Recent studies  show that more than half of the public favor legalization of marijuana.  Unfortunately, popular opinion often ignores science, which is now developing about the negative side effects of marijuana use.

Instead, much of the policy argument in favor of legalization is that they want to treat marijuana like alcohol which is a legal drug.

Legislators are complicit in their desire to legalize marijuana. Ito them, legal marijuana is source of revenue that they can achieve through taxing its sale. Never mind that it is dangerous as long as it brings in revenue.

Alcohol abuse has always been a problem, too. It is an addictive drug resulting in alcoholism. But the dangers of marijuana haven’t been in the headlines. Until recently, that is.

Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and author of 12 novels, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled Marijuana is More Dangerous Than You Think.  The article is an eye opener.

Berenson cites research going back 150 years that has linked marijuana to mental illness, much of which has been glossed over by the advocates for legalization. Current research shows a direct connection between marijuana use and violent crime.

The statistics are grim and getting worse. Murder rates in the few states that have approved the sale and use of marijuana have increased disproportionately over other states where it is not legal.

Yet,  the beat goes on by those in favor of legalization. It is often “sold” as a means to focus on really dangerous drugs like heroin or fentanyl.

But marijuana is “dangerous”, particularly if you are the object of violence. Marijuana use doubles the amount domestic violence by adolescents based on a 2012 study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.  That’s not a small increase.

Even Motley Fool  has a new investing service called Marijuana Masters which provides “all you need to know to get invested in the marijuana boom.” It publishes the “Cannabis Investor Alert”, and it assumes (as do most others) that the negatives of using marijuana are benign.

Just as the early research on cigarettes started to highlight the health risks, it took years before the direct connection of smoking to cancer was confirmed. Most anecdotal evidence of the effects of cannabis and THC is based on experiences with a much less potent variety of marijuana than what is now being sold.

This is important to all, not to just the millennials who might assume that using marijuana is fine, and they only need to be worried about driving a car when they are high.

Because the legalization of marijuana is still is in its infancy, I suspect that we still don’t know the entire tale of how bad it really is.  The early evidence, however, is frightening, and the policy cost of higher mental health issues and violence are mounting.

Given the recent studies showing a skyrocketing increase of depression and suicide by the next generation, I view them as particularly vulnerable to the possible impact of marijuana on their life and mental condition.

As Paul notes in the above passage, we have freedom as believers, but not everything we can or might do is constructive or beneficial. Marijuana use is one of those things.

The challenge here is to make sure others know that marijuana use is not harmless, and it can lead to serious psychotic episodes and even violence.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Be sure your mentee, if he uses marijuana, knows of the negative side effects.  It is not a harmless substance that is being promoted by those wanting to legalize it.

FURTHER RESEARCH: Connection between Cannabis and mental disordersand schizophrenia.

Psychology Today:  Marijuana Use Increases Violent Behavior

Wall Street Journal:  Marijuana is More Dangerous Than you Think.

WORSHIPListen to Vertical Church Band play I’m Going Free (Jailbreak).

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@gmail.com

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

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PC

pc

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

 “PC” stands for “Politically Correct”.  It has gotten a lot of press, but rarely with a biblical worldview.

Millennials have been indoctrinated by an educational system where “empathy” has been extended on college campuses to mean that anything someone might say could offend another is taboo.

That has led to the creation of campus “safe spaces”,  where students can go to a cocoon-like area where they can be free of hearing anything that might offend their delicate ears. Add to that something called “trigger warnings” and speech codes.

Why all the fuss? The term was first used in a 1793 U.S. Supreme Court decision. Since then, it has had a variety of definitions. Most recently, the phrase pits free speech and free choice against civility and inclusion.

Its modern-day roots come from Marxist ideology in the early 20thcentury when Vladimir Lenin was coming to power in Russia. The Marxist-Leninists placed a strong emphasis on “ideological correctness, both politically and theoretically” according to Frank Ellis, a Professor at the University of Sheffield.

“An [open] forum for discussion”, according to Ellis, “would impede the revolutionary spirit needed to upend the social order.”  That’s chilling to anyone in a country where the Bill of Rights assures freedom of speech.

The result: the creation of a totalitarian regime dedicated to quenching dissent or discussion. Only one ideology mattered: the one that the government wanted. Around 8 million civilians died in this quest in the early 20thcentury.

The current stated goal of politically correct language: to improve multiculturalism and diversity. Being politically correct means that you say nothing that would offend anyone, least of all a minority.  I’m all for civility in language, to a point.

Recent polls by Pew Research and others show that people are too easily offended, and that PC language has gotten to be a problem.

George H.W. Bush, in a 1991 Michigan commencement address warned that free speech was under siege by the PC culture:

Although the [PC] movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away debris of racism, (..) sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudices with new ones.”

Fast forward to today. Instead of the term “PC” describing a culture clash within academia, it has been weaponized as a term of insult directed against any ideological opponent.

Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind in 1987, believed the push for “open minds” in academia was instead a method of offering narrow perspectives. His example was the Black Power movement which replaced the civil rights movement.

Instead of pushing for universal rights, it demanded black identity. Its core view was “that the Constitutional tradition was corrupt and constructed as a defense of slavery.” The result was that education has become “less about history and those who were held to be its heroes.”

Bloom continues: “Nothing has taken its place (on campuses) except a smattering of facts learned about other nations or cultures and a few social science formulas.”  The emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity has displaced “rigorous education and free thinking.”

One difficulty is that everyone can be offended by almost anything. Yet, free speech doesn’t limit speech to that which is non-offensive. You may not agree with what is said, but you don’t have the right to quell their right to say it.

Calling someone “racist”, or one of the many words ending in “phobe” has had a chilling effect on civility, which was the original idea of the PC movement. On college campuses, it has made discourse a one-way street. If academia likes what you are likely to say, you have a free pass to speak on campus.

If not, you may be disinvited, like First Lady Laura Bush or Condoleezza Rice at university commencements.  Almost all of them held conservative views, either on abortion, politics or other positions.

I would hardly call these speakers “radicals”, nor whose views are outrageous. Yet, the PC movement has now become a weapon against dissenting views. Basically, if you don’t think like I do, then you will be disinvited, shouted down or protested. Or even stigmatized if you are a conservative.

Couched in simple terms, the PC movement has an unintended consequence of quelling free speech, the exchange of ideas and has bred its own matrix of intolerance.

As one writer in the Atlantic put it: “The new climate [of PC culture] is being institutionalized on campuses”. The next generation  has been bred on an educational diet of developing emotional well-being which “presumes an extraordinary mental fragility of the college psyche.”

How does this square with Christianity? As believers, we should not go out of our way to offend anyone. Instead, we are to love one another. Christianity itself was offensive to many. Paul references the “offense of the cross” to Jews in Galatians 5:11.

Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. PC is a form of false morality and is not the morality of scripture. If you limit offensive speech, then the next step is to limit your freedom of religion. The Golden Rule has never been limited to a specific audience.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: You can help your mentee understand that the excesses of the PC culture is a danger to free speech, including the expression of our freedom of religion.

FURTHER RESOURCES: Why the Origins of Politically Correctness Should Frighten You.Wash Times.

Washington Post: How ‘politically correct’ went from compliment to insult.(2016).

The Federalist: The Stigma Against My Conservative Politics Is Worse Than The Stigma Of Being Gay

The Staggering Toll of the Russian Revolution. Foundation for Economic Education.

Atlantic Magazine: The Coddling of the American Mind  and Backstory to the Article.

Political Correctness vs. Faith. Crosswalk

Franklin Graham: Political Correctness Gone Amok.

WORSHIPListen to Liberty Campus Band play How Deep is the Father’s Love.

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@gmail.com

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.