19 Comments

This is great. This isn't my area, but I used to read Mate a lot (I think he once had a column in the Globe and Mail) and even read at least one of his books. Maybe around early 2000s time frame. I thought his ideas made sense, and considered myself a fan, however more recently I have been to reconsider his ideas and assertions. I totally agree with your comments in this article. I especially appreciated your question to the panel of years ago about the risk to the moral fabric being torn. And as you say 'harm reduction' is a framing designed to shame anyone opposing its precepts, just like BLM. Harm reduction, as you say, is a seduction into poor thinking.

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A few more thoughts - I personally attended AA ten years ago or so, as I had developed a mild drinking problem and wanted to explore it. After attending for maybe six months, it became clear to me that many of the people attending DID have genuine problems, that drove them to drink, although I don't know if I would call it 'trauma' per se. I my case, I would never say I have suffered any 'trauma' really, my issue was being older, single, and no real responsibility, with too much money and too much free time. And lack of meaning I suppose. Once you resolve that, the drinking stops. As a parent now, and keen observer of our dysfunctional Ontario school system and board, I see that the word and concept of 'trauma' is abused. Life is not fair, difficult and sometimes cruel (its also beautiful). Trauma may be real in some cases, but more often its now an excuse. Time to suck it up, buttercup. And get on with it.

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"But if addiction is instead viewed as a rational response to life circumstances brought about by the social determinants of health, then the problem is not so much the drugs, but the society that stigmatizes their users." Thanks so much, Anonymed, for this excellent article -- and thanks also to the commenters here who have further remarked on the abandonment of personal accountability.

An example from yesterday: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/drug-users-have-legal-right-to-use-anywhere-says-bc-harm-reduction-nurses-lawsuit/ar-AA1jO0s7

<< [The claim says] Health and Indigenous organizations and community groups have “vocally opposed” the act because of concerns it will put people who use drugs under “extreme risk, especially given a dire lack of safe, legal places to use drugs” in B.C. >>

This is in-group myopia and entitlement at its most absurd. The claimants don’t (or aren’t willing to) acknowledge that the use of drugs ITSELF is what is putting users at risk. They expect society to bend over backwards to mitigate the risk on their behalf, but without inconveniencing them in any way.

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Nov 21, 2023·edited Nov 21, 2023

Mate pretty much loathes Jordan Peterson. The "clean up your room" approach is about as much an opposite one could think of. I do think the "realm of the hungry ghosts" is an excellent even powerful phrase that could have a Zen-like jolt to pick up and put that first sock. Personal agency is kryptonite to pharma. A healthy person is a lost customer. How bout that for a T-shirt.

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