Earlier today, Jennifer talked about her disgusting addiction to Zero Calorie Monster and begged the government not to take it away from her. I’m now going to tell you why the government should not give her what she wants.
Just to be clear, my political identity leans most closely to “libertarian communist” nowadays (with a willingness to entertain European-style social democrat compromises), and I don’t think the government should have the power to make any drugs illegal. But if we must have an all-powerful federal government with the power to make certain things illegal, they might as well be consistent about it.
Five Hour Energy is drugs. There’s no way around it. The Mormons were right! Different drugs affect different people in different ways, it’s true, but when I used Five Hour Energy at my old job, it was like all the bad parts of being on coke (chattering, tooth grinding, feeling fucked up in a bad way) but with none of the good parts (euphoria, feeling like a really good dancer). It helped me stay awake, but I felt odd as hell. Also, I turned red. Like, bright red. (I’m told this is from all the b-vitamins and niacin.)
Another time, 20-year-old me decided to try cocaine for the first time at a party on the Lower East Side. I also drank several Redbull and vodkas. (I know.) The next morning, I thought I was going to die. The next time I went out, I didn’t do cocaine, but I still drank Redbull and vodka. Guess what? I had the exact same hangover the next day. It wasn’t the coke. It wasn’t the coke at all. And adderall, a legal drug favored by many of my peers, makes me feel like I’m on the verge of tears and grind my teeth like there’s no tomorrow. I do get work done, though.
I’m not saying cocaine is good for you (duh, it is bad for you), only that energy drinks are also bad, and the line between “bad enough to be illegal” and “not too bad” is fuzzier than you think. And there are plenty of other illegal drugs that are indisputably better for you than energy drinks. Consumption of Five Hour Energy was cited in 13 deaths last year. How many people died from smoking weed or eating psylocybin mushrooms? ZERO. Zero people died from those things.
While it would be easy to view this legal/illegal distinction as arbitrary, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the drugs people use for unproductive activities like looking at lava lamps and having vision quests in the woods are illegal, while the drugs that help bosses wring every last drop of productivity out of their workers are legal. Not to get too political on you in a health post, but that’s the basis for any capitalist society. If there were no caffeine, bosses would not be able to make people work overtime, get up super early, etc. without running into diminishing returns. I don’t want to sound like a total conspiracy theorist, but I have a tough time believing the government demonized and persecuted the drugs of the 1960s counter-culture because it cared about the hippies doing them; people were getting on some spiritual, or just plain disobedient shit, and starting to develop an alternative system of values, and Nixon and friends realized they needed to nip that in the bud before it got out of hand.
Do I want Jennifer to start throwing cars at people? Heavens no. But if I got to decide which drugs were illegal, I’d make weed and psychedelics the most legal, and then sit back and watch the fabric of modern society crumble. Why? Because I love freedom. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.