, he becomes destructive. Man's inner
being is savage, primitive, and inherently antisocial. This model of man, given its greatest
impetus by Freud, had influenced popular criminology for almost a century. It is
completely inadequate to explain anything, and blatantly false as a description of man and
what makes him tick.
I will conclude this topic by asking a set of questions that any theory of lawbreaking
must answer, which cast doubt on the theory of the lowering of inhibitions as a cause of
crime (and as a reason why marijuana, specifically, is inherently criminogenic). No one
has adequately explained why or how it is that a "loss of control" or a "release of
inhibitions" will necessarily—or ever—result in violent crimes, or crimes of any sort.
Why violence? Why crime? Why, if man becomes less inhibited, does he do harm to his
fellow man? Is the internal life of man intrinsically antisocial? Do we really have such a
gloomy image of who man "really" is, what he "really" wants to do? Are man's most
fundamental and well-hidden desires really of such a destructive nature? How are these
desires generated? Are they intrinsic in the nature of man? Or are they socially generated?
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The Marijuana Smokers - Chapter 9
Or do they exist at all? Why isn't man's internal life more creative, more directed toward
the good of society (however that might be interpreted)? What, specifically, is the
mechanism that translates a "loss of control" into acts of violence and crime? Could it be
that man fears doing charitable acts toward his fellow man because he will be thought a
dupe and a fool? Perhaps any "liberating" mechanism will bring out these philanthropic
tendencies. Are charitable acts rewarded in our society? Perhaps "inhibitions" serve to
restrain man from being generous and socially constructive. Are acts of creativity and
imagination rewarded by us? Perhaps a release of inhibitions really serves to bring out
man's inner being—which is more creative, not more violent, than is apparent in public.
(The Timothy Leary camp, too, asserts that the psychedelic drugs release inhibitions, but
their image of man's essential being is different from the antipot lobby's.)
The "fact" that marijuana releases inhibitions and, therefore, is criminogenic, is a
common accusation. But it is built on a theory and an image of man that is essentially
outdated today. There is no evidence to support the contention that man, disinhibited, is
any more dangerous than man with his protective cultural shield around him. He who
makes the accusation assumes automatically that inhibitions are a wholesome and
protective device that no society can do without. Man, after all, the theory goes, is
essentially evil. Therefore inhibitions are good, because they restrain man's essential
nature. This is an assumption that many informed students of man are not willing to make.
Before we can take seriously the accusation that mariju
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11, Academic Press, London,
1977; (b) Refs
Hepler and I