Monday, July 02, 2012

The English and the Catholics

With the latest news that Bill English is pushing for drug testing as a condition of social welfare,  what better time to compare the current persecution of cannabis users with the old Penal Laws that the English used to try and crush Irish Catholics? As I understand it, most of the South Island's vanilla ancestors emigrated to avoid this historic abuse. Now the Mainlanders are dominant, can they avoid the same monocultural malice?

Wikipedia has this to say about the Penal Laws:
The term Penal Laws in Ireland (Irish: Na Péindlíthe) were a series of laws imposed in an attempt to force Irish Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters (such as Presbyterians) to accept the reformed Christian faith as defined by the English state established Anglican Church and practised) by members of the Irish state established Church of Ireland.
The Drug Laws in New Zealand, originally designed to minimise harm, have become a multi-million dollar industry for Baptists and Bootleggers alike. Cannabis, MDMA and LSD bad; Booze, Prozac and Coca Cola good. There's big dollars to be made for a savvy few, while everyone else pays the price.

Here's a select few of the Ascendancy Laws of 1691 - 1778, compared with the closest relevant Drug Law of today:

AL: Exclusion of Catholics from most public offices (since 1607), Presbyterians were also barred from public office from 1707. Bar from membership in either the Parliament of Ireland or the Parliament of Great Britain from 1652; rescinded 1662–1691; renewed 1691–1829. Exclusion from the legal professions and the judiciary; repealed (respectively) 1793 and 1829.

DL: Being a dope fiend in public offices today is unheard of. Coming out of that closet is still fatal, no matter who you are. Although there are no obvious witch hunts, it is as effective as blackmail fodder as Alan Turing's sexual orientation was back in the "good old days".

AL: Catholics barred from holding firearms or serving in the armed forces (rescinded by Militia Act of 1793)

DL: Drugs and armies go together like napalm and mornings, yet dope fiend behaviour is a fireable offence. Not only is it a man's army still, it is a drunk man's army.

AL: Disenfranchising Act 1728, exclusion from voting until 1793.

DL: Paul Quinn's Private Member's Bill was picked up by John Key's Posse last term, making any convicted and imprisoned dope fiend lose the right to vote. For those users not imprisoned, John Key's $50 Victim Tax still applies.

AL: Ban on Catholics buying land under a lease of more than 31 years; repealed 1778. Prohibition on Catholics owning a horse valued at over £5.

DL: The Proceeds of Crime Act that the Clark Labour government introduced effectively made every cannabis consumer's home and property liable to be seized by the state. No guilt beyond reasonable doubt needed. Probable dope fiends will do.

AL: Ban on custody of orphans being granted to Catholics on pain of 500 pounds that was to be donated to the Blue Coat hospital in Dublin.

DL: Cannabis use can get your children taken off you by Child Services. And now, social welfare benefits can also be removed from you.

The accoutrements of deviancy have changed from incense and popery to bongs and dopery, but the malice of the vanilla majority goes on.