Art Linkletter and Richard Nixon: Alcohol vs. Pot

Art Linkletter and Richard Nixon: Alcohol vs. Pot

Art Linkletter and Richard Nixon: Alcohol vs. Pot

What’s the difference between drinking alcohol and smoking pot?  The president wants to know!

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Art Linkletter, who died May 26 at 97, was important not only for getting little kids to say the darndest things, but also as a crusader against the counterculture of the 1960s, and especially against drugs. Nixon appointed him an adviser on drug policy, and on May 8, 1971, Linkletter went to the White House and met with the president.

The transcripts show Linkletter telling Nixon, “There’s a great difference between alcohol and marijuana."

Nixon replies: “What is it?” The president wants to know!

“When people smoke marijuana,” Linkletter explains, “they smoke it to get high. In every case, when most people drink, they drink to be sociable.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” Nixon says. “A person does not drink to get drunk. . . . A person drinks to have fun."

Then Nixon turns to the global history of drinking and using drugs. “I have seen the countries of Asia and the Middle East, portions of Latin America, and I have seen what drugs have done to those countries,” he says. ”Everybody knows what it’s done to the Chinese, the Indians are hopeless anyway, the Burmese. . . . they’ve all gone down.”

Nixon continues, “Why the hell are those Communists so hard on drugs? Well why they’re so hard on drugs is because, uh, they love to booze. I mean, the Russians, they drink pretty good. . . . but they don’t allow any drugs.”

“And look at the north countries,” Nixon continued. “The Swedes drink too much, the Finns drink too much, the British have always been heavy boozers and all the rest, but uh, and the Irish of course the most, uh, but uh, on the other hand, they survive as strong races.”

Linkletter says "That’s right."

Nixon comes to his main point about the “drug societies:” they “inevitably come apart.”

Linkletter adds, "They lose motivation. No discipline."

Nixon gets the last word: "At least with liquor, I don’t lose motivation.”

The next year, 1972, Linkletter announced that he had changed his position on marijuana. According to the New York Times, “After much thought and study he had concluded that the drug was relatively harmless.”

 

 

 

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It takes a dedicated team to publish timely, deeply researched pieces like this one. For over 150 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and democracy. Today, in a time of media austerity, articles like the one you just read are vital ways to speak truth to power and cover issues that are often overlooked by the mainstream media.

This month, we are calling on those who value us to support our Spring Fundraising Campaign and make the work we do possible. The Nation is not beholden to advertisers or corporate owners—we answer only to you, our readers.

Can you help us reach our $20,000 goal this month? Donate today to ensure we can continue to publish journalism on the most important issues of the day, from climate change and abortion access to the Supreme Court and the peace movement. The Nation can help you make sense of this moment, and much more.

Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Ad Policy
x