Category Archives: opium

Revolutionary rehab: the Mao method

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Opium: force-fed by the rapacious, ruthless British maritime superpower: taken away by the merciful, resolute Great Helmsman

Some 20m patients cured

Mao Zedong, says Dalrymple (from 3:10), was

the greatest therapist of drug addiction in world history.

Large numbers of Chinese had become addicted to opium, which had been forced on them, in a vastly lucrative and longstanding racket, by gunboat-backed English traders.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 22.43.47When Mao took power, he did not hesitate to act. He threatened

to execute opium addicts if they did not give up.

Threats to murder

were about the only things Mao said that were believable, and 20m people gave up.

 

Eloquent bilge

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1785-1859

That is Dalrymple’s verdict on De Quincey’s Confessions, with its

intoxicating style.

He recites a passage:

Oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for ‘the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel’, bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure from blood; and to the proud man a brief oblivion for wrongs undress’d and insults unavenged; that summonest to the chancery of dreams, for the triumphs of suffering innocence, false witnesses; and confoundest perjury, and dost reverse the sentences of unrighteous judges; — thou buildest upon the bosom of darkness, out of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and temples beyond the art of Phidias and Praxiteles — beyond the splendour of Babylon and Hekatompylos, and ‘from the anarchy of dreaming sleep’ callest into sunny light the faces of long-buried beauties and the blessed household countenances cleansed from the ‘dishonours of the grave’. Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium!