The Right StuffrnDrugs and Democracyrnby Tomislav SunicrnMorphine is said to be good for people subject to severerndepressions, or even pessimism. Although the drug hrstrnsurfaced in a laboratory at the end of the last century, its basis,rnopium, had been used earlier by many aristocratic and reactionaryrnthinkers. A young and secretive German romantic, Novalis,rnenjoyed eating and smoking opium juice, probably becausernhe had always yearned to alleviate his nostalgia for death.rnProbably in order to write his poem Sehnsucht nach dem lode.rnEarly poets of Romanticism rejected the philosophy of rationalismrnand historical optimism. They turned inward to their irrationalrnfeelings, shrouding themselves in the pensive lonelinessrnwhich opiates endlessly offer.rnOnce upon a distant time we met Homer’s Odysseus, whornwas frequently nagged by the childish behavior of his peskyrnsailors. Somewhere along the shores of northern Africa,rnOdysseus and his sailors had strayed away into the mythicalrnland of the lotus flower. As soon as his sailors began to eat thernlotus plant, they sank into forgetfulness, and immediateh’ forgotrntheir history and their homeland. It was with great painrnthat Odysseus succeeded in extracting them from artificial paradises.rnWhat can be worse for a nation than to erase its pastrnand lose its collective memory?rnUnlike many modern wannabe conservatives and televangelists,rnGreeks and Romans were not hypocrites. They frankly acknowledgedrnthe pleasures of wine and women. Sine Cerere etrnBacco friget Venus—without food and wine sexual life withersrnaway, too.rnThe escape from industrial reality and the maddening crowdrnwas one of the main motives for drug use among some reactionaryrnpoets and thinkers, who could not face the onset ofrnmass society. The advent of early liberalism and socialism wasrnaccompanied not only by factory chimneys, but also by loneliness,rndecay, and decadence. If one could, therefore, not escapernTomislav Sunic is the cultural counselor at the CroatianrnEmbassy in Brussels.rnto the sunny Mediterranean, then one had to craft one’s ownrnartificial paradise in rainy and foggy London. The young EnglishrnTory Thomas De Quincey, in his essay Confessions of anrnEnglish Opium-Eater, relates his Soho escapades with a poorrnprostitute Anna, as well as his spiritual journeys in the aftertasternof opium. De Quincey has a feeling that one life-minute lastsrna century, finally putting an end to the reckless flow of time.rnThe mystique of opium was also grasped by the mid-19thrncentury French symbolist and poet Charles Baudelaire. Herncontinued the aristo-nihilistic-revolutionary-conservative traditionrnof dope indulgence via the water pipe, i.e., the Pakistanrnhuka. Similar to the lonely albatross, Baudelaire observes therndecaying France in which the steamroller of coming liberalismrnand democratism mercilessly crushes all esthetics and allrnpoetics.rnWhen studying the escapism of postmodernity, it is impossiblernto circumvent the leftist subculture and its pseudointellectualrnsycophants of 1968. The so-called sixty-eightersrnhollered out not only for liberty from all political authority, butrnalso for free sex and drugs. Are these leftist claims not part ofrnthe modern religion of human rights? At the beginning of thern60’s, the musical alter egos of the Western left, the RollingrnStones and Bob Dylan, called out to millions of young peoplernthroughout America and Europe, telling intruders to “get off ofrnmy cloud” and concluding that “everybody must get stoned.”rnPredictably, the right-wing answer to the decadence of liberalrndemocracy was nihilistic counterdecadence. The main difference,rnhowever, between these two is that reactionary andrnrightist addicts do drugs for elitist and esoteric purposes. Byrntheir temperament and literary style they reject all democracyrn—whether it is of a socialist or liberal brand. When in thern20th centur)’ the flow of history switched from first gear intornfifth gear, many rightist poets and thinkers posed a question:rnWhat to do after the orgy? The French right-leaning authorrnJean Cocteau answered the question this way: “Everything thatrnwe do in our life, even when wc love, we perform in a rapid trainrnOCTOBER 1996/21rnrnrn