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Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Guest Contributor, Society | 8 comments

This Is Your Brain On Propaganda. Got It?

A majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana.

survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17

What’s interesting to me is just how effective the whole “JUST SAY NO/WAR ON DRUGS propaganda war was. Look at the minimum tolerance year on the graph. (And I think it’s insulting to call the post World War II generation the “silent.” )

Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana
Numbers / Pew Research Center for the People

OVERVIEW  —  For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana.  A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

But look at the graph more closely …

mary jane watson

Majority support in the USA

When you think about it, and look at how  generation by generation — with the standard “the older y0u are the more afraid of change you become”  declining levels of support BY generations — the track of opinion is EXACTLY the same. Except that you can see how effective the PROPAGANDA for the war on drugs was, even though the war on drugs has been a complete disaster ON EVERY LEVEL: more addiction, more drugs, longer sentences, the largest prison population on the planet, incredible waste of policing resources to chase plants and voluntary use when murder, theft, etc. are UNDERPOLICED, etc. etc. etc.


We waste billions of dollars and base a HUGE part of our foreign policy and diplomacy just on the Drug War, and it has all but destroyed the governments and civil liberties of the Western hemisphere, Canada perhaps excluded.

But just look how effective the PROPAGANDA was on shaping public opinion … until Reagan/Ailes leaves office.  From 1986 —  when the “War on Drugs” and “Just Say No!” are launched as a national crusade to help the GOP win Ronnie’s last off-year congressional elections* — to 1990 — when George H.W. Bush faced his only off-year election — public disapproval of marijuana (treated as exactly the same as heroin, crack, etc.) was at its absolute rock bottom.

brain on drugs2

Propaganda from the ’80s

[* The “Drug War” was a political failure from the get go (Wikipedia, emphasis added):

Democratic gains

In this Senate election, the Democrats gained a net of eight seats, and recaptured control of the Senate from the Republicans with a 55 – 45 majority. Robert Dole (R-Kansas) and Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia) exchanged positions as the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader.
This was the last election — up through the present — in which the Democrats in this Class of Senators (1/3 of the Senate) amassed a gain in seats (not including special elections held in off-years in some states to fill the seats that had been vacated by Senators due to death, resignation, or otherwise*).

(* WTF??!? sic)

Republican gain

The only win by the Republican Party was for one “open seat” in Missouri. On the other hand, the Democratic Party won the “open seats” in Maryland and Nevada, and the Democrats also defeated seven incumbent Republican Senators, six of them who were first-term senators who had been elected in 1980.

And the “War on Drugs”? Prohibition should have tipped us off. Of course, Vietnam should have tipped us off, too, but we invaded Iraq anyway.]

Since 1991, public approval of ALL generations has risen steeply and steadily.

Which just goes to show how effective propaganda can be.

brain on drugs

What their propaganda did to your brain

Hell: there are some significant number of Americans who don’t believe that the President of the United States was born in the United States and are so dumb that they don’t know it doesn’t matter, since his MOTHER was an American citizen and where she goes, America goes.

columbia gem of the ocean

Hail Columbia!


A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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  • ShannonLeee

    The biggest problem is that the war on drugs, and the propaganda behind it, has been waged against drugs deemed dirty and illegal. We are not differentiated between drugs by their danger, but by their social taboo.

    Weed is demonized, but no one talks about designer drug addiction. We equate weed with meth and people wonder why weed is a “gateway drug”. Decriminalizing weed might actually help reduce the usage of the truly dangerous drugs.

  • dduck

    How about the new “gateway” drugs (get em young) like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse:
    And you are paying for it: Taxpayers assume this cost for children covered by Medicaid, who, according to the C.D.C. data, have among the highest rates of A.D.H.D. diagnoses: 14 percent for school-age children, about one-third higher than the rest of the population.

  • zephyr

    The war on drugs has been a national tragedy in so many ways. I think the only reason it continues is because it’s become highly profitable to ruin peoples lives by busting them. Most of us know it’s as wrong as the Vietnam and Iraq Wars were.

  • slamfu

    The war on drugs is a perfect example of harmful social inertia. This huge program that as stated has failed on every level, and yet any politician that seriously wants to run on coming up with a new plan in their platforms is going to be lambasted. How this isn’t just a no brainer, how society isn’t all the same page looking for an alternative solution, is crazy to me. Weed is practically legal in how many states and the world hasn’t fallen apart?

  • SteveK

    Best Legalize Marijuana Argument Ever: Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray

  • slamfu

    Great find SteveK. He hit so many great, concrete talking points. Why can’t we have more people like him in elected office.

  • zephyr

    Hell of a video Steve. Thanks for posting.

  • ShannonLeee

    great video

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