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Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, whom some critics have called America's finest living essayist, believes that it is possible to stop drug addiction in the United States in a very short time (Vidal 382). The way to do this is to make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Each drug would be labeled with a precise description of what effect--good or bad--the drug will have on the user. This must be done with total honesty. For example, according to Vidal, it should not be stated that marijuana is addictive or dangerous, because most people know it is not. However, drugs like heroin and "speed" are dangerous and addictive and should be labeled as such (Vidal 382).

While Vidal has tried every illicit drug and liked none of them, disproving the popular theory that "a single whiff of opium will enslave the mind," he believes many drugs are bad for certain people to take and they should be told why in a sensible way (Vidal 383). According to Vidal, if reasonably sane people are warned about the bad effects of some drugs, most will choose not to become drug addicts.

Of course, some people will choose to become drug addicts, just as some people will choose to become alcoholics. Gore Vidal answers this argument by stating that the Bill of Rights gives a person the right to do what he wants with his life--as long as he does not interfere with his neighbors' pursuit of happiness. Vidal takes this to mean that people have the power and the legal right to kill themselves--by taking dangerous drugs if they should so choose.

Gore Vidal cites the Prohibition era, a time when Congress tried to legislate morality, as a period having the greatest crime wave in the history of the country--and one causing many deaths from bad alcohol. It also created a general and persisting contempt for the laws of the country (Vidal 384).

According to Vidal, during a more recent time when the U.S. government curtailed the supply of Mexican marijuana, drug dealers g...

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Gore Vidal. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:06, November 29, 2021, from