The Pipes Are Playing Us

     The following comes from an old novel: Robert Sheckley’s The Status Civilization. I believe it will be illuminating to persons struggling to understand why the Usurper Administration is effectively promoting the consumption of the most dangerous recreational drugs:


     “Let the prisoner rise,” a voice said from behind the screen. The voice, thin, flat and emotionless, came through a small amplifier. Barrent could barely understand the words; tone and inflection were lost, as had been planned for. Even in speaking, the judge remained anonymous.

     “Will Barrent,” the judge said, “you have been brought before this court on a major charge of non-drug addiction and a minor charge of religious impiety. On the minor count we have the sworn statement of a priest. On the major count we have the testimony of the Dream Shop. Can you refute either of these charges?”

     Barrent thought for a moment, then answered, “No, sir, I can’t.”

     “For the present,” the judge said, “your religious impiety can be waived, since it is a first offense. But non-drug addiction is a major crime against the state of Omega. The uninterrupted use of drugs is an enforced privilege of every citizen. It is well known that privileges must be exercised, otherwise they will be lost. To lose our privileges would be to lose the very cornerstone of our liberty. Therefore to reject or otherwise fail to perform a privilege is tantamount to high treason.”

     There was a pause. The guards shuffled their feet restlessly. Barrent, who considered his situation hopeless, stood at attention and waited.

     “Drugs serve many purposes,” the hidden judge went on. “I need not enumerate their desirable qualities for the user. But speaking from the viewpoint of the state, I will tell you that an addicted populace is a loyal populace; that drugs are a major source of tax revenue; that drugs exemplify our entire way of life. Furthermore, I say to you that the nonaddicted minorities have invariably proven hostile to native Omegan institutions. I give you this lengthy explanation, Will Barrent, in order that you may better understand the sentence which is to be passed upon you.”


Read and reflect.

All my best,

1 comment

    • Margaret Ball on February 9, 2022 at 1:19 PM

    If we were living in a novel, the current government initiatives to encourage drug use would be part of a plan to kill off all the people who are likely to overdose.

    But then, fiction has to make sense.

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