Pizza from Scratch, 19

... 9 February, 2006

The old ship's cat begins a story

© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

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I got the starting idea for this cartoon from stories of "cargo cults" on Pacific islands. During World War Two, the U.S. used "the rich man's recipe," which meant huge supply dumps, with more than enough of everything. On a small island, this would amaze natives who saw huge cargo planes landing, with tons of supplies undoaded from each.

After the war, the bases emptied. The planes stopped coming. Hoping to bring them back, natives would use materials at hand - wood, bamboo, extra runway plating - whatever they could find, to make replicas of the planes, hoping to make the planes feel welcome to come back. Perhaps it was the same thinking that goes into duck decoys.

The other starting idea was from a poster that showed bails of marijuana floating in the ocean, with this caption: "Save the bails." Then I realized I had the cat using drug humor on kittens - hardly appropriate. What to do?

Any honest history will say that alcohol Prohibition was understandably tried once, but alcohol consumption had been going down, already. That's what gave the temperance people the feeling they were on a roll. Sadly, as one wise old man said "You can't legislate mores." You can tell people "No," but it doesn't make them stop wanting it.

We didn't have interstate organized crime until Prohibition opened a market opportunity for anyone who could bring in alcohol from Canada and Mexico. Even John Kennedy's dad (then ambassador to England) used his control of the Diplomatic Pouch to bring in Scotch. Interstate movement of moonshine, international movement of Canadian whiskey and Mexican tequila provided the seed money to found criminal family empires.

Drug prohibition has fostered internationally organized crime. Even Milton Friedman, Nobel-prize-winning conservative economist, says the war on drugs is doomed to failure, and would cause collateral damage. That's pretty much what's been happening to Mexico.

I have friends who immediately say legalization of drug use would only encourage people to use drugs. "You want the government to tell kids it's okay to use drugs?" In many states, the government has a legal monopoly of the sale of hard liquor, but they also enforce laws against alcohol-influenced bad behavior. It will be much easier to enforce laws against bad behavior, as it's much harder to hide "driving under the influence."