The most serious criticism I have of the President, who declared a war on drugs, is that he gave a gratuitous opening to those, who with equally asinine simplicity, assert it a failure. Restrained by wiser counsel, perhaps reflecting on a long tradition of similar endeavour, the religious leaders of the world do not declare their war on sin. Having had their Crusades, Inquisition, innumerable massacres and suicide bombings, some at least seem to have learned something from experience. Cool reflection brings the recognition that the battle with drugs and sin never ends. Both have too much going for them, for some the ultimates in pleasure. The critical endless campaign sets the limits that maintain the balance between pleasure and chaos (see Chap.4 in “Welcome to the Loony Bin“).

Yet each return of this argument offers some wry twist, some amusing reflection and not a little reason for concern. Gone April Fool’s Day 2012 the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia added a new dimension to his portfolio, declaring the war lost. He claimed to have earned the credit for decriminalising the possession of marihuana during his earlier incarnation as Premier of New South Wales. Having lived through that reform, I have no sense of gain. The very day he hit the headlines, the same newspaper deplored how a main street of his previous capital, a once bustling avenue of restaurants, had come “to the verge of extinction” because of drug-induced licence and violence. At work in a psychiatric hospital just around the corner I had grim familiarity with the increasing toll marihuana exacted during the ascendance of his ilk, all high minded “reformers”. We should not forget to pray God to save us from do-gooders and to thank those who keep us safe.