Monday, February 12, 2007

On "Normality"

Several bloggers have been trying to spin the Cannabis Cameron story by claiming that taking drugs is "normal".

And it's not just bloggers. Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, got in the act, saying:

To be quite honest, most of our generation did (smoke cannabis). I mean it was kind of the odd ones out who didn't

(Hat-tip: UK Daily Pundit )

I object to people trying to use the word “normal” to justify drug-taking. “Normal” is a loaded word. Everyone wants to be normal, so to describe any behaviour as normal is to promote it. Society also never punishes the normal, it’s always the abnormal that is punished.

Two-thirds of adult Brits have never taken any drugs, including myself - are we, the majority, not normal? I've been accused of being "petit bourgeoisie" about this. And you know what? I am petit bourgeoisie and so are a lot of Labour voters. Not for us the elitist Cameron-style casualness towards drugs. Labour mothers do not want their children told, "you're not normal unless you take drugs" or "you're a weirdo/oddball if you refuse". Drug taking destroys lives, destroys braincells and we don't want it glamourised. I guess this means I belong to the puritan wing of the Labour party.


Scrybe said...

while I agree that kids shouldn't ebe told they're weird if they don't take drugs, I would make two observations...

a large number of people do/have take(n) drugs, so we shouldn't be too critical of it or we'll lose some good contributors to society (DC not included)

and if, when I was a yuth, a Tory had told me I was not normal unless I did drugs, it would have had a much stronger effect on my decision to refuse drugs than any political campaign about it, school warnings, parental warnings, the effect of peer pressure, etc., etc., so perhaps those comments should be taken in that context?

personally, I couldn't give a rat's arse whether someone has or hasn't taken drugs - but I would care about why they chose the path they chose. I'm as critical of those who refuse without giving a considered argument as I am of those who took drugs for dumb reasons.

Tom said...

Labour puritanism rocks.

personally, I find that drugs detracts considerably from time used to pursue sex and rock n' roll.

snowflake5 said...

Scrybe, the reason I never took drugs is because my parents would have had a fit, and I just couldn't bring myself to go against them. Plus, none of my friends were into it either.

I was in a state school throughout the eighties, and the only "drug-taking" I recall happening was a few people glue-sniffing because this was cheap. None of us had any money to spend anyway. We couldn't even afford much alcohol - aged 18, we'd go to the pub with a fiver in our purses and sit trying to make a rum and coke last all evening!

My gut reaction is that for people in school or early twenties in the 80's, only the public school strand had money to waste on drugs. When they say "everyone" took drugs, they mean, "all public school people".

jams o donnell said...

You’ve been tagged Well tagged of sorts.

Danivon said...

Well, I personally don't have a big problem with it, and I did inhale when I was younger (but by the 90s it was not just rich kids who could afford cannabis).

Most people I know did not go from a few spliffs to full-on junkydom. Sure, it might not be the best choice to make - but then again neither is smoking tobacco, getting ratted on beer or ridiculous promiscuity. Should we condemn anyone who made a bad choice at a young age?

But then I suppose I'm on the 'libertarian' wing of the Party.

wozza said...

i was in a circle, still am sometimes that partakes of the weed (old style weaker stuff)...... my parents are from the sixties (they'd have been worried if i hadn't tried it.

would you prefer "common" to "normal" - cannabis use is common place, which makes it (in this society anyway) by extension normal behaviour among young people.

If i didn't do something because i thought my parents would disaprove i wouldn't be living my own life, i'd be living theirs vicariously.


dizzy said...

Spin? You're having a laugh. As for only public school taking drugs, I didn't go to public school nor did any of the people I used to go to raves with.

dizzy said...

oh yes, and I live in the poorest postal district in London and I am the only tory amongst all my friends. All of them said "at least Cameron is normal".