of City Hall in Santa Cruz. How has marijuana helped you to deal with the symptoms of post-polio syndrome, and what are your thoughts about the political debate over medical marijuana?
Bob: First of all, I’ve had “post-polio syndrome” (PPS) ever since I recovered from the polio. Most of my life, from age 5 to 60, the symptoms remained minor–annoying foot spasms at times, leg pains when standing in long lines. After 60, the pains got worse, not just on the long lines at airports, but even on comparatively short lines in banks or markets. At 68, the pains got more frequent and more intense, even when I didn’t have to stand on lines. Then I started falling down at unexpected times, and the pain became even more excruciating.
This happens sooner or later to most polio survivors and often hits some in their ‘40s, so I feel lucky to have had 60 good years. Current theory attributes PPS to muscle damage during the polio; I evidently walked around with only half of my muscles for over six decades. My doctor recommended mega doses of vitamins and nutrients, to repair the damaged muscles as far as possible, and marijuana to stop the pain. I get the marijuana free from WAMM, a group of neighbors and friends with other medical problems that pot seems to help—muscular sclerosis, AIDS, cancer and a few others.
It has worked wonders for me. Not only does it kill pain, but the High also increases general good humor and optimism. I sincerely believe that optimism– or “faith healing” or “Christian Science” or “mind over molecules” or “spontaneous remission” or whatever you call this–works better with pot than without it.
The political debate? To my admittedly simple mind that fines down to: do I trust my doctor, and my own brain and my senses, or do I trust a Tsar 3000 miles away who can only know better than us if he has direct guidance from God? Well, I don’t believe in mystical Tsarism; I prefer constitutional democracy. The Tsar does not seem any more infallible to me than the Pope, and I refuse to let him sentence me to a life of continuous agonizing pain. The Tsar’s goon squad keep trying to shut WAMM down, and if they succeed, I’ll just buy my weed from back-alley dealers.
Meanwhile, I’ve worked at learning to walk for the third time, and at 72 can report considerable progress….which the pessimists will call wishful thinking, I suppose. At least, I’ve gotten to a point where I only spend part of each day in a wheel-chair. At the worst, three years ago, I spent the whole day there.
David: Who is the TSOG, and why do we need to keep this “thing” from eating the U.S. Constitution?
Bob: I coined the term TSOG to mean “Tsarist Occupation Government” and to sound like a monster from a Lovecraft horror story. In a constitutional democracy, decisions concerning your health depend on your own judgement and that of your doctor. When such life-and-death matters get decided not by you and your doctor but by an allegedly omniscient Tsar, we have neither constitution nor democracy anymore but blatant and brutal Tsarist tyranny.
Look at America today: we not only have a Tsar but he has more spies and informers working for him than Russia had in the days of Konstantin Pobedonostsev, who served as an advisor to Alexander III and Nicholas II. Pobedonostsev managed such an army of snoops that they called him “the Grand Inquisitor.” Read Turgenev and Dosteovksy and you’ll see how much America in the early 21st century has become like Russia in the 19th.
David: Tell me about your decision to run for governor of California, and about the Guns and Dope Party.
Bob: After I had written several articles and a whole book on the TSOG, my friends kept asking me to run, and I kept refusing, until it seemed every other nutcase in California had gotten into the act, so I finally made the leap. The Guns and Dope Party represents my attempt to unify the libertarian right and the libertarian left, not on a theoretical or ideological basis, such as Norman Mailer once tried, but just on the rule all horse-traders understand: give me something of value and I’ll give you something of value.
I want the dopers to fight for gun rights and the gun people to fight for medical and recreational rights, because together we make a majority in the Western states, and especially in California. Besides, I agree with the gun people about this government. If only the police and the army have guns, we have a de facto totalitarian state that can do anything it pleases. The War on Some Drugs seems like an overture or dress rehearsal for such a totally Tsarist nightmare.
A few decades ago, Henry Kissinger said, “Anybody in Washington who isn’t paranoid must be crazy.” Under Dubya, I feel that anybody outside Washington who doesn’t feel paranoid about what’s going on in Washington must be crazy. First they take our money by force to do with as they please [the accursed IRS] , then they want to disarm us, and they dare call this democracy? I don’t think Jefferson or Adams would agree. They’d call it tyranny, and so do I.
David: Why do you think Hannibal Lector would make a better president than George W. Bush?
Bob: I started the Lecter for President write-in campaign to make people think about style in politics. Look: Dr. Lecter doesn’t kill for money. He has some standards, however egregious. Dubya seems to have none at all. Besides, Hannibal has a decent education and a sense of humor. He frightens me much less than Dubya. If we must have a serial killer in the oval office, and most Americans east of the Rockies seem to think we must, I’d prefer one with some class and panache. Dubya has as much of those as the stuff you step in and scrape off on the curb, hoping it’s not as bad as it smells.
David: Where do you think the human race should be focusing its scientific efforts right now?
Bob: Bio-technology. I’ve said and written for 30 years that the health and longevity researchers seem on the outskirts of major breakthroughs. These breakthroughs now seem less than 10 years away, maybe only five. Of course, Bush has banned the most promising areas of research, but he can only enforce that Tsarist infophobia in the U.S. The research will continue in the civilized, or non-Tsarist, nations.
David: What is your perspective on telepathy, psychic phenomena, and synchronicity?
Bob: That whole area seems enormously intriguing but badly in need of heavy doses of maybe logic. I find most of the debate weary, flat, stale and unprofitable, because both sides seem overly dogmatic. If they took every “is” out of every sentence and replaced it with a “maybe” they might begin to make sense. Of course, the dogmatic deniers seem much sillier to me than the believers, because the believers at least use probability theory with some skill. They also do scientific investigations which the deniers shun “as the devil fears holy water.” Have you ever heard of any scientific investigations by the Commitee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal? I haven’t. They rely entirely on abstract monkish logic, innuendo, invective, smear and outright libel.
David: What are your thoughts regarding the possibility that people can communicate with extraterrestrial or extradimensional intelligences while in certain altered states of consciousness?
Bob: I estimate a ninety-nine percent probability that we can, in such states, communicate with intelligences seemingly not our own. I’ve done it. I still remain unsure, however, if the Higher Intelligences contacted dwell in outer space, in other dimensions, or in circuits of my own brain not identifiable as “me” or “my ego.” I’d love to live in an open democratic society where research on this became legal and widely published. Creating such an open society remains a major goal of the Guns and Dope Party. We favor total freedom for orgonomic medicine, LSD research, cloning and every other alternative that the Tsarists have made illegal.
David: How has your use of psychedelics influenced your writings and your view of the world?
Bob: Well, I’ve moved from atheism to agnosticism, with somewhat pantheistic leanings. I just don’t want to sound too pretentious about it. I don’t claim to know anything about any gods or goddesses, but I suspect a good deal. I suspect that some form of “divinity” probably exists, but it