Civil Disobedience

Here’s the last paragraph of a long email from Billy, sent 1:30 a.m. his time.

>     I’m probably going to try to blog this.  I’m not going
> to put your name on it.  You can jump in if you want
> to, if I get it up.

This morning, I replied. "I appreciate the courtesy, but it’s always my policy to hang myself out there so I think twice next time I start to go and say something stupid."

Yep, that’s right. I was Billy’s "interlocutor" in this exchange. You can go read the gory details, but in short, he’s right and I’m wrong. I had a flash of thought and put my fingers in gear without really thinking it through.

Had I stopped to think this through, I might have recalled why I’ve
never had the slightest interest in the "medical marijuana" movement.
Whether or not there’s medicinal value is beside the point. The point
is, it’s nobody’s business if you do. Period.

Those behind that movement are, as Billy points out, simply trying to fix the problem of having to evade
the law. They aren’t trying to do away with the law because it’s wrong,
i.e., immoral. Any exercise in civil disobedience would involve long and loud proclamations of the moral wrong behind all drug laws are their enforcement.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on June 26, 2007 at 11:16

    I'm glad you put this here where I can comment on it. I think what Billy is getting at is that the difference between, for instance, the civil rights movement and the marijuana people, it that the civil rights marchers expected to be arrested – or to at least have the fact that they weren't very obvious and public – where the marijuana folks try not to be noticed at all.

    The former is aiming at a high profile, while the latter are aiming at a low profile. To make a statement, to put the concrete reality in the public's face, as Billy says, the law must be challenged, not avoided. Successfully hiding your activity by definition means the public at large is not aware of anything going on, and not forced to face the consequences of their official reaction to it. Nothing is challenged.

    It's the difference between *civil* disobediance and just plain disobediance. Plain old disobediance, as worthwhile and necessary as it may be, does *not* aim at fixing anything.

    I know (hope) I'm just restating what Billy said, but I had to parse it out to get at it, so either I'm dense, or he was less than fully clear.

  2. Billy Beck on June 27, 2007 at 18:07

    I don't know which it is, Kyle, but it does concern me that the point appears to have been that obscure… that it should take so much effort to grasp the point I was trying to make.

  3. Kyle Bennett on June 27, 2007 at 20:11

    I dunno. I think when I first saw the title, I was thinking of 'evasion' in the objectivist usage, rather than in the 'tax evasion' usage. And, you made several related points, so this one seemed a bit buried. In any case, it was a distinction I'd never thought explicitly about, and putting in my own terms helps me integrate it better.

    Did I get the gist of it, anyway?

  4. Billy Beck on June 27, 2007 at 22:06


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