The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers
6. Opium and Orientals: The Model American Scapegoats
...Soon Congress stepped in and, in 1887, enacted a law prohibiting the importation of opium by the Chinese, but not by Americans! In 1890, a law was passed that restricted the manufacture of smoking opium to American citizens! In 1909, the importation of smoking opium was prohibited altogether. Henceforth, the opiates used and "abused" were morphine and heroin-habits in which the Chinese had no further interest.
...In short, God lies to man, whereas the Serpent tells him the truth.
There is a hint here of a profound insight into the relationship between power and deceit, and independence and candor.
To maintain his domination over his subject, authority will resort to both force and fraud. In contrast, he who lacks the power to oppress but possesses instead independence-a gift neither the superior nor the subordinate enjoys, as each depends on the other-can afford the luxury of seeing and saying the truth.
7. Drugs And Devils: The Conversion Cure of Malcolm X
...Malcolm X had a burning passion to be noticed and admired, feared and respected. Before his imprisonment, he tried to achieve respect and recognition in the only ways he knew: by using drugs and selling them; by abusing white women; and by outright violence. These methods still have severe limitations in our society, especially in the hands of poor Negroes. In abstinence from pork Malcolm glimpsed a whole new repertoire of ways to impress and control others; and so he discovered self-control. Moreover, being the supremely ambitious and energetic man that he was, he not only discovered self-control, but cultivated it and became as good at it as Joe Louis had been at boxing. He out-self-disciplined everyone around him, including, in the end, Elijah Muhammad. This, probably, was one of the reasons why he was assassinated. I shall, however, confine myself here to Malcolm X's conversion from self-indulgent drug user to stoic Black Muslim.
The two next most crucial steps in Malcolm X's personal metamorphosis-which, of course, was not nearly as great a change in his moral values as it was in the social consequences of how he acted on them-were his discovery that the greatest joys of self-indulgence can come from self-denial, and that the greatest prop for one's self-esteem is to be able to degrade, vilify, and make a scapegoat out of one's fellow man. So, abruptly and apparently effortlessly, Malcolm stopped smoking cigarettes and using drugs, and ate no more pork. And, most importantly, he learned, from the Muslim religion, to which first his brother and then Elijah Muhammad himself had converted him, that "the white man is the devil." This may sound silly, or serious. Malcolm X took it as the most literal and important truth he ever possessed. And he acted on it.
...If only they didn't hate the whites so much, and vice versa, Muslims and white Puritans of the clean1iness-is-next-to-godliness school would obviously get along just fine. The trouble is that each has found the devil and is sure who he is: the other.