I ride the subway a lot. It’s how I get from the East Side to the West Side and all around the town. Lately, I’ve noticed ads promoting “Narcan” (naloxone hydrochloride). At first, I thought it was a treatment for baldness. Turns out it’s for an opioid overdose. I had to look up opioid. It’s actually not a polygon but refers to morphine, heroin, and synthetic drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin. Urban dope and suburban happy pills.
Apparently, there’s an opioid epidemic ravaging the country. However, thanks to our friends at Adapt Pharma in Radnor, Pennsylvania and Kaléo Pharma of Dublin, Ireland, Narcan is now available as a nasal spray and injection. Some believe this will solve the problem, especially with municipalities like New York City setting up neighborhood “health centers” to distribute Narcan and educate the public about health issues.
I’m not so sure. Aldous Huxley once called attention to the Hegelian dialectic that drives public policy like this: create a problem, offer a solution, and then let the chips fall where they may. The chips are the new set of conditions you wanted all along. You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to see this process at work in corporate and governmental life.
In this case, the result is a dependent populace that will barely recognize, let alone resist, the dissolution of Constitutional rights and inherited cultural values. Culture, as Fichte noted, is a branch of liberty, of political and moral freedom.
It doesn’t take much to uncover the truth. For instance, the president and CEO of Kaléo is Spencer Williamson. Williamson served on the board of the Clinton Foundation, which has made 40,000 doses of Narcan available to U.S. colleges and universities. Further, the Akron, Ohio school board has voted, regrettably, to put the drug into middle and senior high schools, noting that it is a “sad sign of the times.” Pharmacies across the state are dispensing it without a prescription, no doubt just as regrettably.
It is sad that schools now spend much of their time just trying to keep students alive. Equally sad is an educational system focused not on preparing students for leadership roles but on producing workers. The available work is nearly all low-paying jobs in service industries. And you don’t need Latin or Greek to perform them. A dumbed-down, drugged workforce is a compliant one.
Worse, the state has supplanted the family as the primary educator of children. Single-parent families have contributed significantly to this. Now, 40 percent of births among Caucasians and 70 percent among African Americans are to single-parent households. This is praised in many quarters as progress.
Divide, conquer, dumb down, numb. Set religions against one another, pit workers against entrepreneurs. Ply those who are left with bread and circuses, which today means unrestricted sex and Vegas-style sporting events. With the legalization of recreational drugs and gambling just about everywhere, who has time to pay attention to real news? To read? To engage in conversation and civic discourse?
Drugs not only numb the soul, they erase history. It’s not about repeating the same mistakes if we don’t know our history, although that is bad enough. It’s about locating ourselves in time so that we know who we are individually and collectively. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, we are all walking graveyards, reflecting those who went before us whether we know it or not.
Knowing who we are as a people strengthens our identity and allows us to claim a common set of beliefs and values. It prevents every interest group and ideology from tearing society apart in the rush to get whatever they can as if in some Darwinian, post-modern dystopia.
Sure, Narcan will save lives, but its widespread distribution and use are moving us closer to the society Huxley warned us about.
We are about to enter Narco World.
Haven’t had enough? Go to Robert Brancatelli. Note to self: Traveling in Belgium, I have discovered that there are no sprouts in Brussels. Is there nothing left to count on?