Timothy Leary

Neocons for Leary


While reading an essay collection about Timothy Leary—Timothy Leary: Outside Looking In, edited by Robert Forte—I stumbled across an interesting historical datum. A gaggle of intellectuals on May 10, 1966, issued one of those always-effective open letters of protest regarding Leary's first pot arrest. The letter stated that:

"The infringement of constitutional rights of privacy, interference with religious and scientific practice, excessive enforcement and public anxiety have grown to crisis stage–through the application of irrational marijuana statutes"


"The long imprisonment given to the psychological researcher Dr. Timothy Leary…illustrates the irrationality of present marijuana laws, and is a cruel and unjust punishment."

Among the signers, unsurprisingly, were Peter Fonda, Anais Nin, Gary Snyder, Susan Sontag, and Alan Watts. Also among them were Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. I wonder if those neocon godfathers have changed their minds—and if so, why. Or if they'd sign a similar letter on the injustice of marijuana laws today.