It seems that over the last few weeks governments are to blame for young people dying at music festivals. In an age of increasing collectivism and victim worship, individuals are no longer deemed responsible for their actions. Here we are, in 2019, where there is a concerted and persistent campaign to introduce pill testing in this country.
We should hardly be surprised. This campaign is the latest instalment in society’s long running drama of pandering. Culturally, blame shifting is taking hold. In our schools, students increasingly blame others for performances that may not have lived up to their expectations. Teachers, the school, parents, they are all held responsible. The individual is shielded. The pattern continues into adulthood, catering for every indulgence.
Gambling, consumption, unemployment, financial trouble, all can now be laid at the feet of someone else. Gambling? Blame Sportsbet ads and pokes venues. Consumption? Blame McDonalds and junk food advertising. Unemployment? Blame the government. Financial trouble? Damn those heartless banks that lent the money and called in what is owed. A shift in narrative is not only desirable, it’s essential. Individual responsibility is a prerequisite to a healthy, vibrant society.
The reality check? If you binge on fast food for the better part of your life then you and you alone are responsible for the monolith that stares back at you in the mirror. If you spend the majority of your income on pokies and Sportsbet then you and you alone are responsible for the empty kitchen table staring back at you. If you want to purchase an item, be it a house, a car, or maybe a holiday, make sure you arrange the means by which you can pay it back.
Likewise, if you take a pill and accept the risks you’ve been warned of your entire life, then you and you alone are responsible for the insidious consequences that ensue.
Every time we go down this road we further rubber stamp the idea that it is okay to make irresponsible decisions. Individuals make choices through life, and they live (or die) as a consequence of those choices. Want to take a drug at a music festival? Your choice, but the consequences are yours too.
Yet then we need to tolerate all these emotionally driven arguments about it saving lives and how young people are always going to experiment. Let’s try to understand the logic here. We are basically saying, as a society, that we accept people are stupid and we are going to pander to it. We accept your self indulgent and irresponsible right to ignore your education, your parents, your common sense and the law.
That’s honestly what we are saying. Now, proponents of pill testing like to point out that testing the pill is about education and conversation, but seriously, how much education and conversation do you need before the message gets through?
There’s an interesting phenomenon going on here. On the one hand we are being told by progressives that shrugging your shoulders and saying things such as ‘boys will be boys’ only excuses inappropriate behaviour. We are being told that advertising campaigns are supposed to change male behaviour. People are being asked to be better. To make better decisions. Now, these messages are all good and fine, but it simply does not follow that the same group of people will then brazenly use the argument that young people are going to experiment so we might as well accept it. It appears the left only want people to take responsibility and be their best selves when it suits them.
Let’s be clear: the motivation for most of these people is not saving lives, but the first step toward their ultimate goal: the legalisation of illicit drugs. Talk to most people who support pill testing and I guarantee you that they are for the legalisation of drugs. This is what is missing from this debate. We need to call out the supporters of pill testing for what they are. It’s about the normalisation and acceptance of drug taking. How else are we supposed to receive arguments akin to ‘young people are just going to take drugs so accept it’? Now, if you want to have a debate about the real issue at hand, then let’s have it, but don’t dress it up and disguise your real intentions under the false pretence that you want to save lives.
If that’s not enough, then we get a series of false analogies about where the government has intervened to make people safer, such as seat belts or safety standards for aeroplanes. These arguments are completely disingenuous. First of all, car and air travel serve legitimate social and economic purposes, unlike taking a pill which is just self-indulgent idiocy.
The real shame about this debate is that whenever there is a new death, people are going to be pointing the finger at everyone else except for the person who ignored years of education, years of warnings and years of news stories that serves as lessons not to take a pill.
There comes a point in society where you need to turn around and draw a line in the sand. It just simply does not follow that we have a regulatory framework that bans illicit drugs but then we also have a framework that tests those same drugs. It is lunacy.
And if the desire to experiment with drugs at music festivals is just so overwhelming, then perhaps we should debate the need to provide a platform for people to continue to indulge in such senseless behaviour.