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Madison’s Ben Masel Dead At Age 56, Face Of Political Activism

April 30, 2011

One thing is clear regardless of how one views the position that Ben Masel  took concerning the legalization of marijuana. While I opposed the stand he took one fact was clear.  Ben Masel was the face of Madison’s political activism.  He was smart, outspoken, never intimidated, and never swayed from his principles.  Many could look at Masel and learn something about how to fight for what they believe in.

Today Ben Masel died from lung cancer.

While Ben fights for the end of marijuana prohibition, his activism also extends into mainstream politics as well. He’s a passionate civil libertarian, advocating equally for free speech and gun rights, personal privacy and a return to stronger congressional control of war powers. Ben has run many times for elective office, from a challenge to Governor Tommy Thompson in 1990 to his current candidacy for the US Senate seat held by Herb Kohl. He first caught attention for his radicalism when at age 17 he became the youngest person placed on President Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” and “the man” has kept his eye on Ben ever since.

One Comment
  1. Oliver Steinberg permalink
    May 2, 2011 1:21 PM

    Thank you for posting a kind tribute to Ben Masel, the person and the symbol. I think he would have appreciated the irony that in a blog which exalts caffeine in its title, and is draped with pro-marriage-equality advertisements, still you felt it necessary to declare your personal opposition to the cause with which Ben’s life will be identified–the relegalization of cannabis. Now, I won’t prate about the antiquated 18th-century concept of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Can’t win an argument with those principles in the USA these days. But I inquire, why support same-sex marriage? You’d say it’s simply the principle of equal protection of the laws, wouldn’t you? And if one believes in the equal protection of the laws, then legal access to caffeine, nicotine, alcohol ought to extend to cannabis, which is less harmful than any of those other substances—but then, of course, you may think that cannabis prohibition is a successful and worthy policy, in which case, what’ s sauce for the goose should lead us to suppress all of those other popular psychoactive molecules. Or try to! In summary, your casual dismissal of the cause of cannabis law reform, while exalting your own favorite drug, reminds me of what Mark Twain said: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”

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