Am I the only one who finds it hilariously ironic that Canadians and Americans trade marijuana for guns? Cost to human life and liberty aside, this is kind of an allegory of how Canadian and American cultures clash on the world stage. A debate, if you will, that began with the war of 1812. A vision of peace and security rubbing up against a vision of power and individualism.
The microcosm is not only apt, but impartial. You can see the advantages and disadvantages of the values represented in these two products. The marijuana is a plant, a natural resource, like what most of the Canadian economy is based on. When smoked, steamed, or eaten, the plant gives of a calming sensation, a sense of well-being. Stress is wiped away and replaced with euphoria. When this plant is taken in abundance however, users experience lethargy and a reduction in cognitive capacity. It’s just like when we hold fast to our resource economy without branching into other areas of commerce, or when we take a back seat to world affairs by cutting back on our military.
The gun is the polar opposite of the marijuana plant. It too, was derived from the ground, as with all things, but it was built with the logical rules of the universe taken to the extreme. It a manufactured good, all measured precisely down to the last bolt. It doesn’t even need to be fired to achieve its desired effect. Pull it out and the ignorant masses cower. The decision to own a gun and learn how to use it paints one as a risk taker. The decision to use it though, puts you in ultimate control, judge, jury and executioner. One can rise up against authority, but one can also be authority. But the problem with the gun is that it is an item and no more. Death rendered inanimate. When a gun is used there’s room for losers. Good can only exist with the finger on the trigger, and rest of the world will be judged by righteous fire. John Lennon was judged in such a manner, 25 years ago today. The world is poorer for it.
I’ve read this and that about world trade over the past few years. The world a complex set of needs and wants where a tree cut down in the Kootenays could end up in a house in Zhenzhou. When we look at our lives, the products we make, and the people we make them for, and it offers a kind of clarity. What are we doing? Where are we going? The answers we find in our commerce are not exactly complete, but they are immediate and worth noting. Why do we import grapes from California to make wine in British Columbia? Why aren’t we making the carless city, or avenues for space travel? We find the answers in what we want, and how much we’re willing to pay for it.