Yes, Junkies

Jul 22 2013 @ 10:22am

Maria Popova digs up Hunter S. Thompson’s warnings about the dangers of being a political junkie:

Not everybody is comfortable with the idea that politics is a guilty addiction. But it is. They are US-TAX REFORM-NORQUIST-ALLENaddicts, and they are guilty and they do lie and cheat and steal — like all junkies. And when they get in a frenzy, they will sacrifice anything and anybody to feedtheir cruel and stupid habit, and there is no cure for it. That is addictive thinking. That is politics — especially in presidential campaigns. That is when the addicts seize the high ground. They care about nothing else. They are salmon, and they must spawn. They are addicts. …

Anything that gets the adrenalin moving like a 440 volt blast in a copper bathtub is good for the reflexes and keeps the veins free of cholesterol … but too many adrenaline rushes in any given time span has the same effect on the nervous system as too many electro-shock treatments are said to have on the brain: after a while you start burning out the circuits. When a jackrabbit gets addicted to road-running, its only a matter of time before he gets smashed — and when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand.

(Photo: Mike Allen of Politico, by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)