Tuesday, June 14, 2005
A great man died today. Peter McWilliams - author, poet, libertarian, AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma sufferer, proponent of medical marijuana - died June 14, 2000. He lived in California, where he used California-approved pot to treat nausea, to keep his medication down and stay alive. The Federal Government arrested him, and he pled guilty. He was out on bail, awaiting sentencing, deprived of his marijuana. He died at age 50, on his bathroom floor, choking on his own vomit.
His book Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do turned me on to libertarianism. I discovered Ayn Rand later, but it was Peter McWilliams who really shaped my political philosophy. He believed that as long as you weren't hurting anyone else, the government shouldn't tell you what to do. So if you want to receive money for sex instead of getting drunk picking up a random guy at the local pub, go for it. If you want to buy and sell pieces of the Titanic, go for it. If you want to drink some absinthe, go for it. Just don't steal, break a contract, damage someone else's property, injure someone, or murder. His website is still being maintained. You can read all his books online there, except his published poetry.
Greater minds than I have breached the subject of whether denying people medication, whether to regulate pain or to prevent death via asphixiation, is torture, moreso than showing puppet shows to terrorists. Read here for the argument.
It's ironic that today is the day Auschwitz opened. And that Che Guevara was born today.
Today's also my birthday. I never feel much like celebrating.