Edward Snowden, the man who opened himself up to charges of treason by revealing to the world that the National Security Agency was engaging in questionable surveillance tactics on American citizens, believes if the United States ever expects to emerge from the stranglehold of prohibition, a continued uprising is necessary.
Earlier this week, the NSA whistleblower came out of the shadows to participate in a Reddit AMA session in connection with the release of the HBO documentary “Citizenfour,” which details what happened after Snowden ratted out Uncle Sam for eavesdropping. During the digital Q&A session, Snowden was asked a multitude of questions ranging from his most shocking discoveries about NSA practices to living the life of an expatriate in Russia.
Although the topic of marijuana’s forward progression into the American mainstream was not brought up directly, a question about the 2016 presidential election spawned an articulate response from Snowden about the necessity for revolution to facilitate reform.
“When we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law,” Snowden wrote. “America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews.
“But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples,” he continued. “How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana? Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers? Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren’t just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determining our futures.”
Essentially, Snowden is suggesting that in order to chip away at any disregard the federal government has for what is right and good for the citizens of the United States, we must continue to break the law for the greater good and capitalize on every available resource to force radical change. In the case of marijuana, the war against prohibition has been fought for decades, and now all of the young stoners, hippies and freaks, who first questioned Uncle Sam’s claim that weed is a dangerous substance, have guided four states and the District of Columbia to legalize the leaf for recreational purposes. In other words, never allow the smoke to clear.