The author’s great merit is his honesty. “Drug-taking,” Hitchens writes, “is the purest form of self-indulgence,” for it severs the link between hard work and reward, making “deferred gratification appear a waste of time and a foolish rejection of readily available delight”.
He regards all forms of self-stupefecation as morally wrong, and unlike others who make the case against drugs on legal or medical grounds is quite candid: this is ultimately, he says, a moral argument. The downside is that once he has stated this position, there is not much more to say. It would barely sustain a column, let alone a book; you either agree with him, or you do not. So he is drawn into making all sorts of arguments based on health, science and judicial statistics, none of which stands up.