Chris Caldwell takes on the drug commercials the gov’t ran during the Superbowl. Those irked me beyond words, but not entirely for the same reasons as Mr. Caldwell. He states:
The camera cuts between various teenagers either making outrageous confessions of murder or excusing drug use:
I helped murder families in Colombia
It was just innocent fun . . .
I helped kidnap people’s dads
Hey! Some harmless fun!
I helped kids learn how to kill
I was having some fun, you know . . .
After a crypto-pro-life moment in which Miss Harmless Fun, the most obnoxious of the homicidal druggies, is made to say, “My life, my body!”, it ends with two slogans across a silent screen:
Drug money supports terror.
If you buy drugs, you might, too.
What crap. Teenagers who are buying drugs are not killing families in Colombia. They’re not even “helping” to kill families in Colombia. They are just buying drugs. Oughtn’t that be bad enough for the Office of National Drug Control Policy?
Seems not. The drug bureaucracy appears to believe that no one will take its drug war seriously unless the federal government resorts to propaganda worthy of the Zhdanov-era Soviet Union. Like communist propaganda, these ads assert something that is kinda-sorta-true-in-a-certain-sense-like “Western capitalism rests on the enslavement of the Third World”–as both an unambiguous truth and a call to action. (“The Reagan administration is killing nuns in Latin America.” True! True! All that’s missing is a context!)
The ONDCP is both degrading the public discourse and playing with fire. This may be Chomskyism in the service of right-wing ends, but it’s still Chomskyism. Once you start making assertions that are “in a sense” true, anyone can start playing that game:
Freely available weaponry supports terror–if you oppose gun control, you do, too.
Or, more to the point,
Drug prohibition creates a business opportunity for terrorists–if you oppose legalizing drugs, you support terror, too.
The fact is, we are in a war on terrorism. There will be occasions when the government will, for national security reasons, have to tell us less than the whole truth. That is all the more reason not to engage, unless it,s absolutely necessary, in taxpayer-sponsored lying to the American public.