Yesterday I knew my own mind. I went to bed with firm views on marijuana, bullion speculators and filling out census forms. But by the time I woke up today, I wasn't sure about anything.
Perhaps this is just part of the growing up process. I could be going through a phase. On the other hand, the problem could be environmental. I am surrounded by an administration that demonstrates its ability to make up its mind by doing it twice a day.
Nelson Bunker Hunt, who already owned Texas and part of Nevada, made more billions by betting that the price of silver would rise. After silver soared to almost $50 an ounce, it turned around and went straight down. Hunt lost most of his silver profits. There were rumors he might have to sell Nevada, but apparently he just sold off parts of Texas instead.
As these events took place, I tried to form an opinion about them. Was I glad to see Nelson Bunker Hunt get his lumps or did I feel sorry for him?
Last night, I was sorry for him. This relatively poor billionaire had almost struck it rich, but missed. Too bad.
However, today I am glad Hunt lost those additional billions in silver profits. Joe E. Lewis used to ask night club audiences, "can a man with $6 million be as happy as a man with $7 million?" The consensus was "No." At the million level, seven is better than six. But I have a feeling that two or three billion is enough for anybody, even a Texan.Ten or 20 billion could appear gauche.
But please don't quote me on that. I have no first-hand knowledge on the subject, so I can't be sure what my opinion is.
Marijuana also has been giving me trouble, possibly because it makes me a member of another minority group. I don't buy pot. I don't sell pot. I don't use pot.
Having gotten the tobacco monkey off my back, I certainly don't want to replace it with an orangutan.
At bedtime, I was against legalizing marijuana. But when I woke up, the police chief in Prince George's County was catching all kinds of hell for saying we might as well legalize the stuff, and I felt sorry for him.
Chief John McHale is a policeman. A policeman takes an oath to enforce all the laws that apply in his jurisdiction. In Prince George's County, there are 987,654,321 of such laws.I know; I counted them.
It can be said factually, with no intent to praise or criticize, that McHale thinks like a police chief. He thinks marijuana transactions breed other crimes, and are too numerous to control anyhow. So perhaps police officers could be used more effectively to protect the public against more serious crimes.
McHale said it might be a good idea to legalize marijuana. He didn't endorse the stuff. He didn't suggest that it's good for you, or that you should use it. He merely offered what he considered to be a practical suggestion. And brother, did he get clobbered for it!
I don't know whether his suggestion is wise or unwise. Perhaps the only way to find out is to try it, as we tried Prohibition. Or perhaps we ought to go in the opposite direction and make tobacco smoking as illegal as marijuana smoking now is.
Times change, public opinion changes, moral concepts change. A law that works well in one place may not work well in another. A law that works well in one time frame may not work well in another.
Is gambling good for us? Shall we ban gambling, legalize gambling, or rule that gambling is immoral except when the state profits from it? When "charity" profits from it?
Attempts to inject logic and consistency into legislative policy are often futile. That's one of the reasons you can go to bed sure of your position and awaken to find that Carteritis has set in and you've changed your mind.
For me, the least troublesome of today's problems was the long-form census blank that was delivered a few days ago. Letters and phone calls from readers indicate there is widespread resentment of "this invasion of my privacy," "The great amount of time it will take to dig out my records, especially on gas, electric and water bills for the year," and "the sheer length of the thing, and the time it will take to do the paper work." The most frequent complaint is that many of the questions are "unnecessary." One woman resented the need to reveal her income and her husband's.
When I went to bed, none of these points of criticism seemed worth making a fuss about. That form is indeed an inconvenience, but inasmuch as we are required to fill it out only once in 10 years, it can hardly be termed a great burden upon us.
However, when I awoke the next day I did rebel on one point. They want my home phone number, but I'm not going to give it to them.
I have a right to sleep at my convenience rather than at the government's. If this be treason, make the most of it.