Pot-smoking Babysitters And Freedom Of Association

I was thinking on a range of topics last week, which happens too often when I don’t keep myself busy. One of the things that occurred to me, is that while to me, because of my experiences, I tend to see the range of topics as all threaded together and part of a whole. I don’t know that other people are able to view it the same way.

Let me start: I recall an early memory of being woken up on a babysitting neighbour’s couch by someone blowing smoke in my face, and everybody in the room laughing as I woke up. It wasn’t until many years later, that I guessed it was probably my first experience with marijuana. I’ve spent a lot of my years from my teens throughout my twenties, and off and on again in my thirties and forties smoking it. I enjoy it, but have found in my own personal experience, that it invariably leads me to associations with people engaged in other forms of substance abuse. I mainly keep my distance, these days. I can’t afford those criminal associations in my life, whatever else I think about whether marijuana should be legal or decriminalised or whatever. I can’t afford to start down that path. I know plenty of people who are able to go only so far, and that’s as far as it takes them.

Two things, one, is once you decide to live outside of the law, in my opinion, you’ve decided to put yourself somewhere outside of accepted boundaries of society. There is an extensive network of people who live there, and where they’ve decided to draw the lines of acceptable law-breaking is going to vary from person to person. You have your private system of values, but you have no foundation to criticise theirs; you’ve decided for yourself that the law doesn’t apply to you; just as they have.

The other, is, well, however you look at substance abuse, it affects those around you in ways you are not able to see. The argument that we should be able to do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t affect other people, well, yes. I believe that up to the point where you don’t understand how it affects others. This is part of why I live a pretty lonely existence: I choose not to have associations that historically have led me into bad situations. The other side of that coin, is when I was getting involved with things I shouldn’t have been, I withdrew from society as much as I could. That’s a topic for another day.

Now, one of the other topics I accidentally stumbled onto was getting attacked as a child. You see, most people will not associate that with the first topic I brought up, but to me, they are linked. It was the same period of my life, the same neighbourhood, maybe even one of the same people, who knows. But to me, there is an association between those babysitters blowing pot smoke in my face when I was sleeping, and having a man attack me. This association doesn’t go away by “letting go of the past”, it is a fundamental thing that as a child I was made to understand. This thing, and that thing are part of a larger thing.

So, just to top it off, let’s go to a third topic, that seemingly has no connection to the first two. I am skipping an intermediate step, but that’s just ‘cuz I don’t want to write about any of this, really. I realise that my views are not widely held by society, and that internet bullying is the end result of speaking your mind if it is not in line with the popular commonly acceptable right things to say.

A public figure recently spoke out about the “chosen lifestyle” of some folks, and how “that doesn’t really affect you”. A friend of a friend is living that “chosen lifestyle” and isn’t able to enroll his kids into a school that doesn’t approve of that “chosen lifestyle”. Of course, the internet mob will demonize the school.

Suppose you found something repulsive. I was reading a lot of really bad stuff on the internet, just indulging that weird fascination we as humans tend to have with the truly bizarre, and sometimes horrific. Just to pull an example from the hat, what about that charming looking young couple arrested for bestiality with their family dogs. That clean cut, innocent looking couple did not look like they were capable of hurting anyone, but, well, the humane society came and got their dogs and cats out of that house, and to me, with good reason. How does that affect you or me?

So, to me, again, I can’t help but seeing a common thread between pot blowing babysitters, people who attack children, and a couple of guys living as an unconventional family raising kids. To me, it’s all part of the same fabric. How does it affect me? Well, if I’m not free to not associate with any of these things, if society says “you must do business with people who live alternative lifestyles”, it potentially affects me quite a bit. If I say the wrong thing, offend the wrong internet mob, well, the potential consequences of speaking my mind are being used to silence me.

The main point of this, is, as I said, I tend to see how all of the parts tie into the whole, while it seems to me that most people tend to see isolated, non-interconnected separate issues.

Carry on with your causes, if you must. Just understand that I am looking at things from the perspective of the people who are getting bulldozed under by your social justice campaigns, but you may not be able to see them at all. You may have been taught to hate them and their viewpoints, but to you, you may see them as non-persons, just as you accuse them of treating those of your particular cause.

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