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Tag Archives: boston
Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm
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Posted: November 25, 2016 at 10:19 am
In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous themecollectivism. Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: The Fascist New Frontier (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).
The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state.
Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism). Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as socialism for big business. Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism. As Rand put it in Conservativism: An Obituary (CUI, Chapter 19):
The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankinds history. The names change, but the essenceand the resultsremain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.
The placement of socialism and fascism at opposite ends of a political spectrum serves a nefarious purpose, according to Rand. It serves to buttress the case that we must avoid extremism and choose the sensible middle course of a mixed economy. Quoting from Extremism, Or The Art of Smearing (CUI, Chapter 17):
If it were true that dictatorship is inevitable and that fascism and communism are the two extremes at the opposite ends of our course, then what is the safest place to choose? Why, the middle of the road. The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, moderate middlewith a moderate amount of government favors and special privileges to the rich and a moderate amount of government handouts to the poorwith a moderate respect for rights and a moderate degree of brute forcewith a moderate amount of freedom and a moderate amount of slaverywith a moderate degree of justice and a moderate degree of injusticewith a moderate amount of security and a moderate amount of terrorand with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those extremists who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality and who refuse to compromise.
In both of her major articles on fascism (cited above) Rand distinguished between fascism and socialism by noting a rather technical (and ultimately inconsequential) difference in their approaches to private property. Here is the relevant passage from The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus:
Observe that both socialism and fascism involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates the vesting of ownership and control in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.
Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means property, without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.
In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say more honest, not betterbecause, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects.
Contrary to many conservative commentators during the 1960s, Rand maintained that America was drifting toward fascism, not socialism, and that this descent was virtually inevitable in a mixed economy. A mixed economy is an explosive, untenable mixture of two opposite elements, freedom and statism, which cannot remain stable, but must ultimately go one way or the other (Extremism, or The Art of Smearing). Economic controls generate their own problems, and with these problems come demands for additional controlsso either those controls must be abolished or a mixed economy will eventually degenerate into a form of economic dictatorship. Rand conceded that most American advocates of the welfare state are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property. These welfare-statists want to preserve private property while calling for greater government control over such property. But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.
A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies.
Rand gave us some of the finest analyses of a mixed economyits premises, implications, and long-range consequencesever penned by a free-market advocate. In The New Fascism, for example, she compared a mixed economy to a system that operates by the law of the jungle, a system in which no ones interests are safe, everyones interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it. A mixed economy divides a country into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense. Although Rand did not invoke Thomas Hobbes in this context, it is safe to say that the economic chaos of a mixed economy resembles the Hobbesian war of all against all in a state of nature, a system in which interest groups feel the need to screw others before they get screwed themselves.
A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one anothers expense by an act of governmenti.e., by force.
Of course, Rand never claimed that America had degenerated into full-blown fascism (she held that freedom of speech was a bright line in this respect), but she did believe that the fundamental premise of the altruist-collectivist moralitythe foundation of all collectivist regimes, including fascismwas accepted and preached by modern liberals and conservatives alike. (Those who mistakenly dub Rand a conservative should read Conservatism: An Obituary [CUI, Chapter 19], a scathing critique in which she accused conservative leaders of moral treason. In some respects Rand detested modern conservatives more than she did modern liberals. She was especially contemptuous of those conservatives who attempted to justify capitalism by appealing to religion or to tradition.) Rand illustrated her point in The Fascist New Frontier, a polemical tour de force aimed at President Kennedy and his administration.
There is no such thing as the public interest except as the sum of the interests of individual men.
Rand began this 1962 lecture by quoting passages from the 1920 political platform of the German Nazi Party, including demands for an end to the power of the financial interests, profit sharing in big business, a broad extension of care for the aged, the improvement of public health by government, an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education, and so forth. All such welfare-state measures, this platform concluded, can only proceed from within on the foundation of The Common Good Before the Individual Good.
Rand had no problem quoting similar proposals and sentiments from President Kennedy and members of his administration, such as Kennedys celebrated remark, And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for youask what you can do for your country. The particulars of Rands speech will come as no surprise to those familiar with her ideas, but I wish to call attention to her final remarks about the meaning of the public interest. As used by Kennedy and other politicians, both Democratic and Republican, this fuzzy phrase has little if any meaning, except to indicate that individuals have a duty to sacrifice their interests for the sake of a greater, undefined good, as determined by those who wield the brute force of political power. Rand then stated what she regarded as the only coherent meaning of the public interest.
[T]here is no such thing as the public interest except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all menall rational menis freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of the public interestnot what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundationand cannot exist without them.
The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of the public interest.
I shall conclude this essay on a personal note. Before I began preparing for this essay, I had not read some of the articles quoted above for many, many years. In fact, I had not read some of the material since my college days 45 years ago. I therefore approached my new readings with a certain amount of trepidation. I liked the articles when I first read them, but would they stand the test of time? Would Rands insights and arguments appear commonplace, even hackneyed, with the passage of so much time? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Rand was exactly on point on many issues. Indeed, if we substitute President Obama, for President Kennedy or President Johnson many of her points would be even more pertinent today than they were during the 1960s. Unfortunately, the ideological sewer of American politics has become even more foul today than it was in Rands day, but Rand did what she could to reverse the trend, and one person can only do so much. And no one can say that she didnt warn us.
Republished from Libertarianism.org.
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Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:15 am
Atlas Shrugged: Part I is a 2011 American political science fiction drama film directed by Paul Johansson. An adaptation of part of Ayn Rand’s controversial 1957 novel of the same name, the film is the first in a trilogy encompassing the entire book. After various treatments and proposals floundered for nearly 40 years, investor John Aglialoro initiated production in June 2010. The film was directed by Paul Johansson and stars Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden.
The film begins the story of Atlas Shrugged, set in a dystopian United States where John Galt leads innovators, from industrialists to artists, in a capital strike, “stopping the motor of the world” to reassert the importance of the free use of one’s mind and of laissez-faire capitalism.
A sequel film, Atlas Shrugged: Part II was released on October 12, 2012. The third part in the series, Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt? was released on September 12, 2014.
It is 2016 and the United States is in a sustained economic depression. Industrial disasters, resource shortages, and gasoline at $37/gallon have made railroads the primary mode of transportation, but even they are in disrepair. After a major accident on the Rio Norte line of the Taggart Transcontinental railroad, CEO James Taggart shirks responsibility. His sister Dagny Taggart, Vice-President in Charge of Operation, defies him by replacing the aging track with new rails made of Rearden Metal, which is claimed to be lighter yet stronger than steel. Dagny meets with its inventor, Hank Rearden, and they negotiate a deal they both admit serves their respective self-interests.
Politician Wesley Mouchnominally Rearden’s lobbyist in Washington, D.C.is part of a crowd that views heads of industry as persons who must be broken or tamed. James Taggart uses political influence to ensure that Taggart Transcontinental is designated the exclusive railroad for the state of Colorado. Dagny is confronted by Ellis Wyatt, a Colorado oil man angry to be forced to do business with Taggart Transcontinental. Dagny promises him that he will get the service he needs. Dagny encounters former lover Francisco d’Anconia, who presents a faade of a playboy grown bored with the pursuit of money. He reveals that a series of copper mines he built are worthless, costing his investors (including the Taggart railroad) millions.
Rearden lives in a magnificent home with a wife and a brother who are happy to live off his effort, though they overtly disrespect it. Rearden’s anniversary gift to his wife Lillian is a bracelet made from the first batch of Rearden Metal, but she considers it a garish symbol of Hank’s egotism. At a dinner party, Dagny dares Lillian to exchange it for Dagny’s diamond necklace, which she does.
As Dagny and Rearden rebuild the Rio Norte line, talented people quit their jobs and refuse all inducements to stay. Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Stadler of the State Science Institute puts out a report implying that Rearden Metal is dangerous. Taggart Transcontinental stock plummets because of its use of Rearden Metal, and Dagny leaves Taggart Transcontinental temporarily and forms her own company to finish the Rio Norte line. She renames it the John Galt Line, in defiance of the phrase “Who is John Galt?”which has come to stand for any question to which it is pointless to seek an answer.
A new law forces Rearden to sell most of his businesses, but he retains Rearden Steel for the sake of his metal and to finish the John Galt Line. Despite strong government and union opposition to Rearden Metal, Dagny and Rearden complete the line ahead of schedule and successfully test it on a record-setting run to Wyatt’s oil fields in Colorado. At the home of Wyatt, now a close friend, Dagny and Rearden celebrate the success of the line. As Dagny and Rearden continue their celebration into the night by fulfilling their growing sexual attraction, the shadowy figure responsible for the disappearances of prominent people visits Wyatt with an offer for a better society based on personal achievement.
The next morning, Dagny and Rearden begin investigating an abandoned prototype of an advanced motor that could revolutionize the world. They realize the genius of the motor’s creator and try to track him down. Dagny finds Dr. Hugh Akston, working as a cook at a diner, but he is not willing to reveal the identity of the inventor; Akston knows whom Dagny is seeking and says she will never find him, though he may find her.
Another new law limits rail freight and levies a special tax on Colorado. It is the final straw for Ellis Wyatt. When Dagny hears that Wyatt’s oil fields are on fire, she rushes to his home but finds a handwritten sign that reads, “I am leaving it as I found it. Take over. It’s yours.”
Wyatt declares in an answering machine message that he is “on strike”.
In 1972, Albert S. Ruddy approached Rand to produce a cinematic adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. Rand agreed that Ruddy could focus on the love story. “That’s all it ever was,” Rand said. Rand insisted on having final script approval, which Ruddy refused to give her, thus preventing a deal. In 1978, Henry and Michael Jaffe negotiated a deal for an eight-hour Atlas Shrugged television miniseries on NBC. Jaffe hired screenwriter Stirling Silliphant to adapt the novel and he obtained approval from Rand on the final script. However, in 1979, with Fred Silverman’s rise as president of NBC, the project was scrapped.
Rand, a former Hollywood screenwriter herself, began writing her own screenplay, but died in 1982 with only one third of it finished. She left her estate, including the film rights to Atlas Shrugged, to her student Leonard Peikoff, who sold an option to Michael Jaffe and Ed Snider. Peikoff would not approve the script they wrote and the deal fell through. In 1992, investor John Aglialoro bought an option to produce the film, paying Peikoff over $1 million for full creative control.
In 1999, under John Aglialoro’s sponsorship, Albert Ruddy negotiated a deal with Turner Network Television for a four-hour miniseries, but the project was killed after the AOL Time Warner merger. After the TNT deal fell through, Howard and Karen Baldwin, while running Phillip Anschutz’s Crusader Entertainment, obtained the rights. The Baldwins left Crusader, taking the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them, and formed Baldwin Entertainment Group in 2004. Michael Burns of Lions Gate Entertainment approached the Baldwins to fund and distribute Atlas Shrugged. A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart was re-written into a 127page screenplay by Randall Wallace, with Vadim Perelman expected to direct. Potential cast members for this production had included Angelina Jolie,Charlize Theron,Julia Roberts, and Anne Hathaway. Between 2009 and 2010, however, these deals came apart, including studio backing from Lions Gate, and therefore none of the stars mentioned above appear in the final film. Also, Wallace did not do the screenplay, and Perelman did not direct. Aglialoro says producers have spent “something in the $20 million range” on the project over the last 18 years.
In May 2010, Brian Patrick O’Toole and Aglialoro wrote a screenplay, intent on filming in June 2010. While initial rumors claimed that the films would have a “timeless” settingthe producers say Rand envisioned the story as occurring “the day after tomorrow”the released film is set in late 2016. The writers were mindful of the desire of some fans for fidelity to the novel, but gave some characters, such as Eddie Willers, short shrift and omitted others, such as the composer Richard Halley. The film is styled as a mystery, with black-and-white freeze frames as each innovator goes “missing”. However, Galt appears and speaks in the film, solving the mystery more clearly than in the first third of the novel.
Though director Johansson had been reported as playing the pivotal role of John Galt, he made it clear in an interview that with regard to who is John Galt in the film, the answer was, “Not me.” He explained that his portrayal of the character would be limited to the first film as a silhouetted figure wearing a trenchcoat and fedora, suggesting that another actor will be cast as Galt for the subsequent parts of the trilogy.
Though Stephen Polk was initially set to direct, he was replaced by Paul Johansson nine days before filming was scheduled to begin. With the 18-year-long option to the films rights set to expire on June 15, 2010, producers Harmon Kaslow and Aglialoro began principal photography on June 13, 2010, thus allowing Aglialoro to retain the motion picture rights. Shooting took five weeks, and he says that the total production cost of the movie came in on a budget around US$10 million, though Box Office Mojo lists the production cost as $20 million.
Elia Cmiral composed the score for the film. Peter Debruge wrote in Variety that “More ambitious sound design and score, rather than the low-key filler from composer Elia Cmiral and music supervisor Steve Weisberg, might have significantly boosted the pic’s limited scale.”
In a lot of ways, this project reflects the ethos of the Tea Party. You had both Republicans and Democrats who felt rejected by the establishment, and the same process is going to happen with Atlas Shrugged: We’re going to build a constituency of people who believe in limited government and individual liberty.
The film had a very low marketing budget and was not marketed in conventional methods. Prior to the film’s release on the politically symbolic date of Tax Day, the project was promoted throughout the Tea Party movement and affiliated organizations such as FreedomWorks. The National Journal reported that FreedomWorks, the Tea Party-allied group headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, (R-Texas), had been trying to get the movie opened in more theaters. FreedomWorks also helped unveil the Atlas Shrugged movie trailer at the February 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Additionally, it was reported that Tea Party groups across the country were plugging the movie trailer on their websites and Facebook pages. Release of the movie was also covered and promoted by Fox News TV personalities John Stossel and Sean Hannity.
The U.S. release of Atlas Shrugged: Part I opened on 300 screens on April 15, 2011, and made US$1,676,917 in its opening weekend, finishing in 14th place overall. Producers announced expansion to 423 theaters several days after release and promised 1,000 theaters by the end of April, but the release peaked at 465 screens. Ticket sales dropped off significantly in its second week of release, despite the addition of 165 screens; after six weeks, the film was showing on only 32 screens and total ticket sales had not crossed the $5 million mark, recouping less than a quarter of the production budget.
Atlas Shrugged: Part I was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 8, 2011 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. More than 100,000 DVD inserts were recalled within days due to the jacket’s philosophically incorrect description of “Ayn Rand’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice”. As of April, 2013, 247,044 DVDs had been sold, grossing $3,433,445.
The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 11% based on 47 reviews, with an average score of 3.6 out of 10. The site’s consensus was: “Passionate ideologues may find it compelling, but most filmgoers will find this low-budget adaptation of the Ayn Rand bestseller decidedly lacking.”Metacritic gives the film a “generally unfavorable” rating of 28%, as determined by averaging 19 professional reviews. Some commentators noted differences in film critics’ reactions from audience members’ reactions; from the latter group, the film received high scores even before the film was released.
Let’s say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, you’re an objectivist or a libertarian, and you’ve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown. It’s not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film only one star, calling it “the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault.” Columnist Cathy Young of The Boston Globe gave the film a negative review.Chicago Tribune published a predominantly negative review, arguing that the film lacks Rand’s philosophical theme, while at the same time saying “the actors, none of them big names, are well-suited to the roles. The story has drive, color and mystery. It looks good on the screen.” In the New York Post, Kyle Smith gave the film a mostly negative review, grading it at 2.5/4 stars, criticizing its “stilted dialogue and stern, unironic hectoring” and calling it “stiff in the joints”, but also adding that it “nevertheless contains a fire and a fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item.”
Reviews in the conservative press were more mixed. American economist Mark Skousen praised the film, writing in Human Events, “The script is true to the philosophy of Ayn Rand’s novel.”The Weekly Standard senior editor Fred Barnes noted that the film “gets Rand’s point across forcefully without too much pounding”, that it is “fast-paced” when compared with the original novel’s 1200-page length, and that it is “at least as relevant today as it was when the novel was published in 1957.”Jack Hunter, contributing editor to The American Conservative, wrote, “If you ask the average film critic about the new movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged they will tell you it is a horrible movie. If you ask the average conservative or libertarian they will tell you it is a great movie. Objectively, it is a mediocre movie at best. Subjectively, it is one of the best mediocre movies you’ll ever see.” In the National Post, Peter Foster credited the movie for the daunting job of fidelity to the novel, wryly suggested a plot rewrite along the lines of comparable current events, and concluded, “if it sinks without trace, its backers should at least be proud that they lost their own money.”
The poor critical reception of Atlas Shrugged: Part I initially made Aglialoro reconsider his plans for the rest of the trilogy. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said he was continuing with plans to produce Part II and Part III for release on April 15 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In a later interview with The Boston Globe, Aglialoro was ambivalent: “I learned something long ago playing poker. If you think you’re beat[en], don’t go all in. If Part 1 makes [enough of] a return to support Part 2, I’ll do it. Other than that, I’ll throw the hand in.”
In July 2011, Aglialoro planned to start production of Atlas Shrugged: Part II in September, with its release timed to coincide with the 2012 U.S. elections. In October 2011, producer Harmon Kaslow stated that he hoped filming for Part II would begin in early 2012, “with hopes of previewing it around the time of the nominating conventions”. Kaslow anticipated that the film, which would encompass the second third of Atlas Shrugged, would “probably be 30 to 40 minutes longer than the first movie.” Kaslow also stated his intent that Part II would have a bigger production budget, as well as a larger advertising budget.
On February 2, 2012, Kaslow and Aglialoro, the producers of Atlas Shrugged: Part II, announced a start date for principal photography in April 2012 with a release date of October 12, 2012. Joining the production team was Duncan Scott, who, in 1986, was responsible for creating a new, re-edited version with English subtitles of the 1942 Italian film adaptation of We the Living. The first film’s entire cast was replaced for the sequel.
The sequel film, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, was released on October 12, 2012. Critics gave the film a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews. One reviewer gave the film a “D” rating, while another reviewer gave the film a “1” rating (of 4). In naming Part II to its list of 2012’s worst films, The A.V. Club said “The irony of Part II’s mere existence is rich enough: The free market is a religion for Rand acolytes, and it emphatically rejected Part I.”
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Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:51 am
The Libertarian presidential candidate is the subject of intensifying ridicule following his latest televised flub when he couldn’t name a world leader he admired during a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. That follows another embarrassing on-air moment last month when, in response to a question about how he would alleviate the plight of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, he responded: “What is Aleppo?”
The gaffes, combined with his failure to make the debate stage and his infinitesimal chance of winning the White House, raise a pressing question: Why is Johnson still in the race?
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ribbed Johnson Thursday by pretending to struggle when she was asked to name a world leader she admired. But she made clear her view that she and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, are the only viable candidates.
“Either Donald Trump or I will be the President of the United States,” she told reporters on her campaign plane, sending a clear warning to disaffected Democrats flirting with Johnson. “People have to look carefully in making their decision. It will be either him or me.”
But Johnson isn’t going anywhere.
William Weld, Johnson’s running mate, said the latest stumble doesn’t leave him with any doubts.
“He’s a deep person in terms of his thinking and he thinks through things in a way that many other people don’t,” Weld told CNN’s Randi Kaye Thursday on Anderson Cooper 360. “Pop quizzes on television are obviously not his forte but depth of analysis and surprising lines of analysis are his forte. I think he just needs time to expound what he’s thinking.”
Johnson’s decision to stay in the race isn’t just an academic question. He and Weld are doing well enough in swing states to pull votes from both Trump and Clinton. In the latest CNN/ORC poll of Colorado a state Clinton must win and which her campaign thought was already safe Johnson is polling at 13% among likely voters while Clinton trails Trump 42% to 41%.
Third party candidates have traditionally had a rough ride in the two-party US election system none have made a significant national impact since billionaire Ross Perot grabbed 19% of the vote in 1992.
But amid the most polarizing election in years featuring two major party nominees with historic unfavorability ratings, there may be a market for Johnson’s character and ideas.
“Something is obviously different this time,” said Kyle Saunders, a political analyst at Colorado State University. “Part of it is the unpopularity of the two major party candidates. The strongest of partisans are behaving the way they always behave.”
He added: “Those other people who are not the strongest partisans are looking for some other places to cast their ballot.”
And the more that the chattering classes disdain Johnson, the more stubborn he seems to get.
“It’s been almost 24 hours … and I still can’t come up with a foreign leader I look up to,” Johnson tweeted defiantly Thursday.
Johnson’s campaign manager, Ron Nielson, blasted Johnson’s critics as being guilty of “gotcha-ism at its worst” in a Facebook post and said that the oversight just proved that his candidate was just like other Americans.
“Gary Johnson is a real person. A pragmatist and the kind of leader that people can respect and trust,” Nielson wrote. “Unfortunately, as most Americans have come to realize, this is not the case with Clinton and Trump.”
It was not the first time that a presidential candidate has stumbled in a world leader pop quiz that raised doubts about their credentials to be President. In 1999, then-GOP frontrunner George W. Bush was stumped when asked by a Boston reporter to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan.
And gaffes don’t seem to derail a candidate in 2016 the way they once did.
After all, Trump has made statements that are far more outrageous than Johnson’s comments — on an almost daily basis — and he is locked in a tight race with Clinton.
It’s debatable whether true Libertarian voters those who support the party because it favors a disentangling from foreign quagmires and a less robust US global role are that bothered that their candidate is not deeply acquainted with the details of the Syrian civil war.
But it’s not just verbal stumbles that are beginning to build pressure on Johnson.
His political position is also eroding because of his failure to hit the 15% polling threshold needed to muscle his way into the debates between Clinton and Trump.
Back in June, Johnson told The New Yorker that if he missed what he called the political “Super Bowl” “There’s no way to win.”
There are reasons — beyond the disdain that a large proportion of the electorate appears to hold for Clinton and Trump — for Johnson to stay in the race.
First, he appears to have the chance to make tangible progress for the Libertarian Party across the nation. In 2012, Johnson ran for President and won just under 1% of the electoral vote. Even if he only cracks 5% this time, that would represent an undeniable step forward for the party.
But there’s a more fundamental reason why Johnson may resist calls to quit.
He explained in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Wednesday that the American political system, by producing such alienating rivals as Clinton and Trump, has failed. That, he argued, means reformers have no choice but to fight.
“Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country. We’re the alternative and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson also appears to be building a significant base of support among millennial voters — a demographic that Clinton needs to dominate to make it to the White House — but which could fuel Libertarian Party growth in future.
A Bloomberg News/Selzer & Co. poll released Monday found Clinton’s 10-point advantage among younger voters cut to a statistically insignificant four points when Johnson and Stein are included in the race.
While some Democrats who abhor Clinton might be tempted by a fling with Johnson, he is also providing a refuge with Republicans who cannot stomach Trump. Antipathy for the billionaire prompted the Detroit News Thursday to do something it has never done in its 143 year history — endorse someone other than the Republican presidential candidate.
Still, Johnson’s resilience is causing genuine concern for top Democrats.
“There’s one message I want to deliver to everybody: If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump,” President Barack Obama said on the Steve Harvey radio show this week.
Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is warning wavering Democrats attracted to Johnson that they risk bringing about an electoral catastrophe similar to the one in Florida in 2000 when Ralph Nader siphoned votes away from Vice President Al Gore. That allowed Bush to claim Florida after the vote count showdown in the US Supreme Court.
“If Gore had been president, we probably wouldn’t had a war in Iraq,” Kaine told Yahoo News’ Katie Couric last week. “Casting a vote, a protest vote, for a third-party candidate that’s going to lose may well affect the outcome. It may well lead to a consequence that is deeply, deeply troubling. That’s not a speculation, we’ve seen it in our country’s history.”
CNN’s Eli Watkins contributed to this report.
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Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:08 am
We’re running the first summer school on blockchains and cryptocurrencies. We welcome students, researchers and professionals with an interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchains to join us.
We have a great program lined up for 2016. We’re excited to welcome the leading experts on blockchains from industry and academia.
Boston University, USA
University of Innsbruck, AT
Stanford University, USA
Coin Center, USA
IBM Research, CH
Carnegie Mellon University, USA
University College London, UK
University of Edinburgh, UK
University College London, UK
ETH Zurich, CH
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Foteini is a postdoctoral researcher in the BU Security group at Boston University.
Aggelos is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh.
Sarah is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Computer Science and Security and Crime Science at UCL.
Bitcoin school is not-for-profit. We are accepting donations in bitcoin to help us run the school.
Thank you for your generosity!
We welcome diversity and are striving to offer equal opportunities to all students. We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion.
All stipends are now allocated. Thanks to NSF, IOHK and INTEL for their sponsorship.
The school will be hosted at the Corfu Imperial Hotel.
Participants that wish to stay at the school venue can book their rooms using the code SUMSCH at the discounted rate of 150/night for double- and 130/night for single-occupancy (taxes and breakfast included).
The best way to reach Corfu is by plane. Aegean Airlines has daily service between Athens and Corfu (3-4 flights per day) and Ryanair flies between Athens and Corfu every Sunday and Friday. Astra-airlines flies from Thessaloniki to Corfu 4 times a week.
Corfu is directly connected to various European cities via charter flights. Ryanair and EasyJet, also provide direct connection with multiple European airports.
By bus and ferry
You could also reach Corfu by bus and boat. The KTEL bus service provides 3 daily connections to Corfu from Athens. The total trip will be around 8 hours.
Corfucoin is the cryptocurrency of the summer school for attendees to play around with, mine and share!
Getting the Corfucoin wallet
If you would like to share your Corfucoin address with the other attendees, you may use the address registry.
Corfucoin is a fork of Litecoin, which uses a scrypt proof-of-work scheme. Corfucoins can be mined by using cpuminer.
Follow this link:
Bitcoin Summer School 2016 – Blockchain Technologies
Posted: July 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Select Departure City Albany, Ny [ALB] Albuquerque, Nm [ABQ] Allentown, Pa [ABE] Amarillo, Tx [AMA] Anchorage, Ak [ANC] Appleton, Mn [AQP] Arcata, Ca [ACV] Asheville, Nc [AVL] Aspen, Co [ASE] Atlanta, Ga [ATL] Atlantic City, Nj [ACY] Austin, Tx [AUS] Baltimore, Md [BWI] Bangor, Me [BGR] Beaumont, Tx [BPT] Bethel, Ak [BET] Billings, Mt [BIL] Binghamton, Ny [BGM] Birmingham, Al [BHM] Bismarck, Nd [BIS] Bloomington, Il [BMI] Boise, Id [BOI] Boston, Ma [BOS] Brownsville, Tx [BRO] Brunswick, Ga [BQK] Buffalo, Ny [BUF] Burbank, Ca [BUR] Burlington, Vt [BTV] Calgary [YYC] Cedar Rapids, Ia [CID] Charleston, Sc [CHS] Charleston, Wv [CRW] Charlotte, Nc [CLT] Charlottesville, Va [CHO] Chicago (Midway), Il [MDW] Chicago (O’Hare), Il [ORD] Cincinnati, Oh [CVG] Cleveland, Oh [CLE] College Station, Tx [CLL] Colorado Springs, Co [COS] Columbia, Mo [COU] Columbia, Sc [CAE] Columbus, Oh [CMH] Cordova, Ak [CDV] Corpus Christi, Tx [CRP] Dallas Love Field, Tx [DAL] Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx [DFW] Dayton, Oh [DAY] Denver, Co [DEN] Des Moines, Ia [DSM] Detroit, Mi [DTW] Duluth, Mn [DLH] Durango, Co [DRO] Edmonton Intntl [YEG] Eastern Iowa, Ia [CID] El Paso, Tx [ELP] Erie, Pa [ERI] Eugene, Or [EUG] Eureka, Ca [EKA] Fairbanks, Ak [FAI] Fargo, Nd [FAR] Flint, Mi [FNT] Fresno, Ca [FAT] Ft. Lauderdale, Fl [FLL] Ft. Myers, Fl [RSW] Ft. Walton/Okaloosa [VPS] Ft. Wayne, In [FWA] Gainesville, Fl [GNV] Grand Forks, Nd [GFK] Grand Rapids, Mi [GRR] Great Falls, Mt [GTF] Green Bay, Wi [GRB] Greensboro, Nc [GSO] Greenville, Sc [GSP] Gulfport, Ms [GPT] Halifax Intntl [YHZ] Harlingen [HRL] Harrisburg, Pa [MDT] Hartford, Ct [BDL] Helena, Mt [HLN] Hilo, Hi [ITO] Hilton Head, Sc [HHH] Honolulu, Hi [HNL] Houston Hobby, Tx [HOU] Houston Busch, Tx [IAH] Huntington, Wv [HTS] Huntsville Intl, Al [HSV] Idaho Falls, Id [IDA] Indianapolis, In [IND] Islip, Ny [ISP] Ithaca, Ny [ITH] Jackson Hole, Wy [JAC] Jackson Int’L, Ms [JAN] Jacksonville, Fl [JAX] Juneau, Ak [JNU] Kahului, Hi [OGG] Kansas City, Mo [MCI] Kapalua, Hi [JHM] Kauai, Hi [LIH] Key West, Fl [EYW] Knoxville, Tn [TYS] Kona, Hi [KOA] Lanai, Hi [LNY] Lansing, Mi [LAN] Las Vegas, Nv [LAS] Lexington, Ky [LEX] Lincoln, Ne [LNK] Little Rock, Ar [LIT] Long Beach, Ca [LGB] Los Angeles, Ca [LAX] Louisville, Ky [SDF] Lubbock, Tx [LBB] Lynchburg, Va [LYH] Montreal Mirabel [YMX] Montreal Trudeau [YUL] Madison, Wi [MSN] Manchester, Nh [MHT] Maui, Hi [OGG] Mcallen, Tx [MFE] Medford, Or [MFR] Melbourne, Fl [MLB] Memphis, Tn [MEM] Miami, Fl [MIA] Midland/Odessa, Tx [MAF] Milwaukee, Wi [MKE] Minneapolis/St. Paul [MSP] Missoula, Mt [MSO] Mobile Regional, Al [MOB] Molokai, Hi [MKK] Monterey, Ca [MRY] Montgomery, Al [MGM] Myrtle Beach, Sc [MYR] Naples, Fl [APF] Nashville, Tn [BNA] New Braunfels, Tx [BAZ] New Orleans, La [MSY] New York Kennedy, Ny [JFK] New York Laguardia [LGA] Newark, Nj [EWR] Norfolk, Va [ORF] Ottawa Mcdonald [YOW] Oakland, Ca [OAK] Oklahoma City, Ok [OKC] Omaha, Ne [OMA] Ontario, Ca [ONT] Orange County, Ca [SNA] Orlando, Fl [MCO] Palm Springs, Ca [PSP] Panama City, Fl [PFN] Pensacola, Fl [PNS] Peoria, Il [PIA] Philadelphia, Pa [PHL] Phoenix, Az [PHX] Pittsburgh, Pa [PIT] Port Angeles, Wa [CLM] Portland Intl, Or [PDX] Portland, Me [PWM] Providence, Ri [PVD] Quebec Intntl [YQB] Raleigh/Durham, Nc [RDU] Rapid City, Sd [RAP] Redmond, Or [RDM] Reno, Nv [RNO] Richmond, Va [RIC] Roanoke, Va [ROA] Rochester, Ny [ROC] Rockford, Il [RFD] Sacramento, Ca [SMF] Saginaw, Mi [MBS] Salem, Or [SLE] Salt Lake City, Ut [SLC] San Antonio, Tx [SAT] San Diego, Ca [SAN] San Francisco, Ca [SFO] San Jose, Ca [SJC] Santa Barbara, Ca [SBA] Santa Rosa, Ca [STS] Sarasota/Bradenton [SRQ] Savannah, Ga [SAV] Seattle/Tacoma, Wa [SEA] Shreveport, La [SHV] Sioux City, Ia [SUX] Sioux Falls, Sd [FSD] Spokane, Wa [GEG] Springfield, Il [SPI] Springfield, Mo [SGF] St. Louis, Mo [STL] St. Petersburg, Fl [PIE] Syracuse, Ny [SYR] Toronto Pearson [YYZ] Tallahassee, Fl [TLH] Tampa, Fl [TPA] Traverse City, Mi [TVC] Tucson, Az [TUS] Tulsa, Ok [TUL] Vancouver Intntl [YVR] Victoria Intntl [YYJ] Winnipeg Intntl [YWG] Washington Natl, Dc [DCA] Washington/Dulles, Dc [IAD] Wenatchee, Wa [EAT] West Palm Beach, Fl [PBI] White Plains, Ny [HPN] Wichita, Ks [ICT] Wilkes-Barre/Scranton [AVP]
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Posted: June 17, 2016 at 5:04 am
The War on Drugs
Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2005. The band consists of Adam Granduciel (vocals, guitar), David Hartley (bass), Robbie Bennett (keyboards), Charlie Hall (drums), Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) and Anthony LaMarca (guitar).
Founded by close collaborators Granduciel and Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs released their debut studio album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. Vile departed shortly after its release to focus on his solo career. The band’s second studio album Slave Ambient was released in 2011 to favorable reviews and extensive touring.
Written and recorded following extensive touring and a period of loneliness and depression for primary songwriter Granduciel, the band’s third album, Lost in the Dream, was released in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim and increased exposure. Previous collaborator Charlie Hall joined the band as its full-time drummer during the recording process, with saxophonist Jon Natchez and additional guitarist Anthony LaMarca accompanying the band for its world tour.
In 2003, frontman Adam Granduciel moved from Oakland, California to Philadelphia, where he met Kurt Vile, who had also recently moved back to Philadelphia after living in Boston for two years. The duo subsequently began writing, recording and performing music together. Vile stated, “Adam was the first dude I met when I moved back to Philadelphia in 2003. We saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I was obsessed with Bob Dylan at the time, and we totally geeked-out on that. We started playing together in the early days and he would be in my band, The Violators. Then, eventually I played in The War On Drugs.”
Granduciel and Vile began playing as The War on Drugs in 2005. Regarding the band’s name, Granduciel noted, “My friend Julian and I came up with it a few years ago over a couple bottles of red wine and a few typewriters when we were living in Oakland. We were writing a lot back then, working on a dictionary, and it just came out and we were like “hey, good band name so eventually when I moved to Philadelphia and got a band together I used it. It was either that or The Rigatoni Danzas. I think we made the right choice. I always felt though that it was the kind of name I could record all sorts of different music under without any sort of predictability inherent in the name”
While Vile and Granduciel formed the backbone of the band, they had a number of accompanists early in the group’s career, before finally settling on a lineup that added Charlie Hall as drummer/organist, Kyle Lloyd as drummer and Dave Hartley on bass. Granduciel had previously toured and recorded with The Capitol Years, and Vile has several solo albums. The group gave away its Barrel of Batteries EP for free early in 2008. Their debut LP for Secretly Canadian, Wagonwheel Blues, was released in 2008.
Following the album’s release, and subsequent European tour, Vile departed from the band to focus on his solo career, stating, “I only went on the first European tour when their album came out, and then I basically left the band. I knew if I stuck with that, it would be all my time and my goal was to have my own musical career.” Fellow Kurt Vile & the Violators bandmate Mike Zanghi joined the band at this time, with Vile noting, “Mike was my drummer first and then when The War On Drugs’ first record came out I thought I was lending Mike to Adam for the European tour but then he just played with them all the time so I kind of had to like, while they were touring a lot, figure out my own thing.”
The lineup underwent several changes, and by the end of 2008, Kurt Vile, Charlie Hall, and Kyle Lloyd had all exited the group. At that time Granduciel and Hartley were joined by drummer Mike Zanghi, whom Granduciel also played with in Kurt Vile’s backing band, the Violators.
After recording much of the band’s forthcoming studio album, Slave Ambient, Zanghi departed from the band in 2010. Drummer Steven Urgo subsequently joined the band, with keyboardist Robbie Bennett also joining at around this time. Regarding Zanghi’s exit, Granduciel noted: “I loved Mike, and I loved the sound of The Violators, but then he wasn’t really the sound of my band. But you have things like friendship, and he’s down to tour and he’s a great guy, but it wasn’t the sound of what this band was.”
The band’s second studio album, Slave Ambient was released to favorable reviews in 2011.
In 2012, Patrick Berkery replaced Urgo as the band’s drummer.
On 4 December 2013 the band announced the upcoming release of its third studio album, Lost in the Dream (March 18, 2014). The band streamed the album in its entirety on NPR’s First Listen site for a week before its release.
Lost in the Dream was featured as the Vinyl Me, Please record of the month in August 2014. The pressing was a limited edition pressing on mint green colored vinyl.
In June 2015, The War on Drugs signed with Atlantic Records for a two-album deal.
Adam Granduciel and Mike Zanghi are both former members of founding guitarist Kurt Vile’s backing band The Violators, with Granduciel noting, “There was never, despite what lazy journalists have assumed, any sort of falling out, or resentment” following Vile’s departure from The War on Drugs. In 2011, Vile stated, “When my record came out, I assumed Adam would want to focus on The War On Drugs but he came with us in The Violators when we toured the States. The Violators became a unit, and although the cast does rotate, weve developed an even tighter unity and sound. Adam is an incredible guitar player these days and there is a certain feeling [between us] that nobody else can tap into. We dont really have to tell each other what to play, it just happens.”
Both David Hartley and Adam Granduciel contributed to singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s fourth studio album, Are We There (2014). Hartley performs bass guitar on the entire album, with Granduciel contributing guitar on two tracks.
Adam Granduciel is currently producing the new Sore Eros album. They have been recording it in Philadelphia and Los Angeles on and off for the past several years.
Posted: at 4:57 am
An entheogen (“generating the divine within”) is any chemical substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context that often induces psychological or physiological changes.
Entheogens have been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including meditation, yoga, prayer, psychedelic art, chanting, and multiple forms of music. They have also been historically employed in traditional medicine via psychedelic therapy.
Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years; their religious significance is well established in anthropological and modern contexts. Examples of traditional entheogens include traditional psychedelics like peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and ayahuasca, psychedelic-dissociatives like Tabernanthe iboga, atypical psychedelics like Salvia divinorum, quasi-psychedelics like cannabis, and deliriants like Amanita muscaria. Traditionally a tea, admixture, or potion like bhang is the preferred mode of ingestion.
With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol. Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD used by the Neo-American Church) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT used by the Temple of the True Inner Light and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Cannabis is the world’s most widely used psychedelic drug, though it is more accurately referred to as a quasi-psychedelic drug, since its effect profile lacks the hallucinogenic and cognitive effects of traditional psychedelics.
More broadly, the term entheogen is used to refer to any psychoactive drugs when used for their religious or spiritual effects, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure. This terminology is often chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials. Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition; however, some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use.
The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of ancient Greek, (entheos) and (genesthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.
Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.
Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:
In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.
In essence, all psychoactive drugs that are biosynthesized in nature by cytota (cellular life), can be used in an entheogenic context or with entheogenic intent. To exclude non-psychoactive drugs that sometimes also are used in spiritual context, the term “entheogen” refers primarily to drugs that have been categorized based on their historical use. Toxicity does not affect a drug’s inclusion (some can kill humans), nor does effectiveness or potency (if a drug is psychoactive, and it has been used in a historical context, then the required dose has also been found).
High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of experiencing auditory hallucinations. A study conducted by the La Trobe University School of Psychological Sciences revealed that as few as five cups of coffee a day could trigger the phenomenon.
Many man-made chemicals with little human history have been recognized to catalyze intense spiritual experiences, and many synthetic entheogens are simply slight modifications of their naturally occurring counterparts. Some synthetic entheogens like 4-AcO-DMT are theorized to be prodrugs that metabolize into the natural psychoactive, similar in nature to how the synthetic compound heroin is deacetylated by esterase to the active morphine. While synthesized DMT and mescaline is reported to have identical entheogenic qualities as extracted or plant based sources, the experience may wildly vary due to the lack of numerous psychoactive alkaloids that constitute the material. This is similar to how pure THC is very different than an extract that retains the many cannabinoids of the plant such as cannabidiol and cannabinol.
Yohimbine is an alkaloid naturally found in Pausinystalia yohimbe (Yohimbe), Rauwolfia serpentina (Indian Snakeroot), and Alchornea floribunda (Niando), along with several other active alkaloids. There are no references to these species in traditional use to induce past memories, most likely because their alkaloid content is too low; However, laboratory extracted yohimbine, now commonly sold as sport supplement, may be used in psychedelic therapy to facilitate recall of traumatic memories in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
L. E. Hollister’s criteria for establishing that a drug is hallucinogenic is:
Most NMDA-antagonist dissociative drugs including ketamine, PCP, and DXM are drugs known to easily cause clinical psychological dependence, but also strengthen narcissism, and induces chemical dependence, and NMDA receptor antagonist neurotoxicity (NAN), when used chronically.
Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use. Perhaps because they could not access traditional entheogens as shamans were very secret with their sacraments who regarded non-visioning sacraments as hedonistic. The drugs mentioned here have occasionally been used by some sh
amans but they are psychoactive drugs that are not classified as hallucinogens (psychedelic, dissociative or deliriant). These drugs are not researched chemicals for psychedelic therapy as they have low therapeutic index.
This means that chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea does not produce the intense high (euphoria, megalomania, depression) people experience with cocaine. However, even if it would produce such effect, the next problem would be cocaine dependence.
Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times.
Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.
The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.” The term ethanol was invented 1838, modeled on German thyl (Liebig), from Greek aither (see ether), and hyle “stuff”. Ether in late 14c. meant “upper regions of space,” from Old French ether and directly from Latin aether, “the upper pure, bright air,” from Greek aither “upper air; bright, purer air; the sky,” from aithein “to burn, shine,” from PIE root *aidh- “to burn” (see edifice).
In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.
Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.
In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.
In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.
Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife. The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).
Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex. For example, Norse paganism considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil. Drunkenness was an important fertility rite in this religion.
Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.
Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.
Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.
Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.
There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca), as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.
Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”), as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.
Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.
One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.
The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga. Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom. There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast. Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).
Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans
Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.
Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazonia. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.
Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.
Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.
The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.
In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.
Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant and (somewhat debatable)[by whom?] entheogenic properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.
Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.
Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.
The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.
A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.
Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.
It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).
Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.
In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava. Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).
Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.
Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.
The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.” Technically, th
is prohibition does not include other mind-altering drugs. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.
Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.
The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis. The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation. The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus. Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament. It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible, although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.
According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts. The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.
The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’, with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.
In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.
Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.
The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity. R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.
The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including so-called “heretical” or “quasi-” Christian groups, and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within “orthodox” Catholic practice.
Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.
According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra. In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.
In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue. Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion. Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I do
n’t see them developing anything”).
R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record. Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.
Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”
Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:
Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…
The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.
According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the Panaeolus genus.
Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.
The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.
Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:
When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.
The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.
The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”. After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an “old” man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause. So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.
Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results. To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.
Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.
Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”. DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this
was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).
In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:
For the individual, the court must determine
If these two elements are established, then the government must prove
This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.
In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.
As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”
Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:
Posted: March 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Any discussion of the right to bear arms has to take note of the Second Amendment. Here’s Anthony Mason:
At the heart of the debate over guns in America is a single, inscrutable sentence: The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, whose wording is unusual.
Simon & Schuster
“The Second Amendment says, ‘A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ What does that mean?”
The most-disputed clause in the Constitution is the phrase about militias, which were a great concern when the Bill of Rights was written in 1792.
“At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, there was a very big controversy about how to allocate military power,” said Nelson Lund, professor of constitutional law at George Mason University. He says the states feared the new government would try to disarm the 13 state militias, which required every white male over 16 to own a musket.
“The anti-Federalists were very worried that the states would be deprived of their power to resist federal tyranny,” Lund said.
“The militia, sir, is our ultimate safety,” Patrick Henry argued. “We can have no security without it.”
While guns were commonplace then, so were gun regulations. New York and Boston prohibited the firing of guns within city limits.
And in the notes for the Constitutional Convention, Waldman says, “There’s literally not a word about it protecting an individual right for gun ownership for self-protection, hunting, or any of the other things we think about now.”
“There’s one side that believes that this amendment refers specifically and only to militias,” said Mason.
“Well, I know people say that, but it just can’t be true,” replied Lund. “If you look at what the words say, it says ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ It does not say, ‘The right of the states’ or ‘The right of the militias.’ It says ‘the right of the people.'”
The debate over the Second Amendment came to a head at the Supreme Court in 2008, in a case filed over the Capital’s gun laws, called District of Columbia v. Heller. In a 5-4 vote, the court affirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, striking down D.C.’s ban on handguns in the home.
‘The inherent right of self-defense,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion, “has been central to the Second Amendment right.”
But, Scalia added, “The right … is not unlimited,” also leaving room for gun regulation.
Lund said, “It is absolutely a continuing grey area.”
Another grey area is how the court might rule on future Second Amendment issues after the sudden death of Justice Scalia in February.
“So, you know, a lot depends on who replaces Justice Scalia,” said Lund.
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Parsing the Second Amendment – CBS News
Posted: March 6, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Ronald Mason (born January 14, 1940) is a Canadian former ice hockey player, head coach and university executive. A head coach of various American universities, most notably Michigan State University (MSU), he was the most successful coach in NCAA ice hockey history between 1993-2012 with 924 wins, until Jerry York (Boston College) become the new winningest coach with his 925th career win on December 29, 2012. Mason was athletic director at MSU from 2002-08. He currently serves as senior advisor for the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks. On December 2, 2013, Mason was inducted into the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame.
Ron Mason was born the son of Harvey Mason, a salesman, and Agnes Mackay Mason, an elementary school teacher. He married the former Marion Bell on June 8, 1963. They have two daughters, Tracy (born 1964) and Cindy (born 1968) and two grandsons, Tyler and Travis. Travis is a sophomore defenseman on the Michigan State University hockey team. Mason has one sister, Marion Mason Rowe.
Mason earned a B.A. in physical education from St. Lawrence University in 1964 and a Masters in physical education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965. Michigan State University awarded Mason an honorary Doctorate in 2001.
Mason played junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey Associations Peterborough Petes and the Ottawa Junior Canadians. From there Mason enrolled at St. Lawrence University in the upstate town of Canton, New York where he lettered in hockey for three years. In his first season at SLU in 1960-61, Mason and the Skating Saints were NCAA national finalists. In 1961-62, Mason and SLU won the school’s first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and made the NCAA Frozen Four. In his final season, SLU won a school-record 20 games finishing 2061. Mason lead the team in scoring twice earning back-to-back first-team all league honors. Mason was St. Lawrence’s only player to earn that distinction until T. J. Trevelyan was named all league in 2005 and 2006.
Mason coached one NAIA program, Lake Superior State, and two NCAA programs, Bowling Green State and Michigan State in 36 seasons from 1966-2002. He won two national titles: NAIA in 1972 with Lake Superior State and NCAA in 1986 with Michigan State. Ron Mason finished his coaching career as the all-time career victories leader in college hockey history with 924 wins. Boston College’s Jerry York surpassed Mason’s win total on December 31, 2012. Mason is also the career coaching victories leader at Michigan State with 635 wins. He is Bowling Green State’s winningest coach by percentage winning over 71 percent of his 229 games at BGSU.
Mason had 33 seasons with a winning record, 30 seasons winning 20 or more games and 11 seasons winning 30 or more games. Mason won ten CCHA regular season championships and a record 13 CCHA tournament titles. He advanced his teams to the NCAA tournament 22 timessix times as the No. 1 seedmaking the Frozen Four eight times. Mason was the CCHA coach of the year six times. He won the Spencer Penrose Memorial Trophy as the national coach of the year in 1992.
On January 26, 2002, a media report stated Mason would step down as coach at Michigan State to take over the athletic director position at MSU. On January 28, 2002, Mason made it official he would leave his post as head ice hockey coach to become athletic director.
Mason started the hockey program at Lake Superior State University in 1966. In seven seasons at LSSU he produced four 20-win seasons and never lost more than 10 games. He guided the Lakers to the 1972 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship.
In 1973 he moved to Bowling Green State University where he won three Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season titles and three consecutive CCHA tournament titles in six seasons. In 1977 Bowling Green State earned their first berth in the NCAA tournament. The berth was a first for a team not from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association or Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in the NCAA tournament’s 30 year history. It was the first of three consecutive NCAA tournaments under Mason. BGSU won the third-place game over defending national champion Wisconsin in the 1978 NCAA Frozen Four. In 1978-79 Mason coached BGSU to a then NCAA record 37 wins. The record would be broken in 1984-85 by Mason’s own Michigan State team.
Michigan State University Athletic Director Joseph Kearney hired Mason to replace the retiring Amo Bessone on April 1, 1979. In his third season at MSU, Mason guided Michigan State to their first NCAA tournament in 15 seasons. Four seasons later in 1986, Mason led Michigan State to the school’s second national title. Michigan State returned to the championship game the following season but lost to North Dakota. On March 12, 1993, with a 6-5 win over Kent State, Mason passed former Boston College coach Len Ceglarski to become college hockey’s all-time winningest coach with 674 wins. While at MSU, Mason won a conference-record 10 CCHA tournament championships, including a conference-record four straight from 1982-85. In addition, MSU under Mason won seven CCHA regular season titles, earned 19 NCAA tournament appearances, and earned seven NCAA Frozen Four appearances.
Ron Mason began his duties as athletic director on July 1, 2002. Before he officially became athletic director, Mason chose Rick Comley as his successor as hockey coach.
On November 4, 2002, after a disappointing season and a series of off-the-field incidents with players, Mason fired head football coach Bobby Williams with three games left in the season. Mason hired John L. Smith as head football coach on December 20, 2002. Mason fired John L. Smith four years later on November 2, 2006 leaving controversy amongst critics over whether Mason had been effective making his first major hire as athletic director.Following that episode, Mason hired Mark Dantonio as head footbal coach on November 27, 2006 and has since redeemed his coach selection capability.
While athletic director, the Michigan State hockey team won the school’s third national title in 2007. Mason is the only person to have won NCAA ice hockey titles as head coach and athletic director.
Mason placed a priority seat licensing program in Spartan Stadium based on years of holding season tickets, contribution to the Ralph Young Fund, and a licensing fee for better seats on top of the price of season tickets. Further updates to increase revenue in Spartan Stadium included a $64 million USD expansion and improvements which include:
In September 2006, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees approved a contract extension for Mason extending his contract as MSU’s athletic director through June 2008. He retired from the post of athletic director at Michigan State University on January 1, 2008, and was succeeded by Mark Hollis.
In addition to his success as a coach, Mason helped the CCHA grow to what it is today. When Mason began coaching in 1966 there were only two major conferences in the NCAA, the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Helping build the ice hockey program at Lake Superior State, Mason was left without a conference. In 1972 Mason, along with Bowling Green State University’s Jack Vivian, St. Louis University’s Bill Selman, Ohio State University’s Dave Chambers, Ohio University’s John McComb and the CCHA’s first commissioner Fred Jacoby, formed the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Mason’s tenure at Bowling Green State produced the CCHA’s first NCAA tournament berth, first appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four and the first national No. 1 ranking.
For his contributions in helping build the CCHA, the conference renamed their tournament trophy the Mason Cup in 200001.
Mason volunteers with the Sparrow Foundation where he established the Ron Mason Fund for Pediatric Rehabilitation which helps children with disabilities. The fund has raised $675,000 for the foundation since 1998. He was also honorary chairperson for the Children’s Miracle Network which has raised $19 million plus since 1989.
In his 36 years, Mason coached a number of outstanding players.
Joe Murphy was first ever NCAA player selected first overall
Many former and current college hockey head coaches can trace their lineage back to Ron Mason as shown below either as former players or former assistant coaches for Mason.
National champion Postseason invitational champion Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and conference tournament champion Division regular season champion Division regular season and conference tournament champion Conference tournament champion