Sex, drugs and democracy

“If you want to live your life freely as long as you don’t bother other people, then Holland is the freest place on earth.”
If you’ve wondered why people in Holland openly smoke and sell marijuana when the same behavior would get them busted and imprisoned in most other countries, buy the newly-released digital video disc version of a feature film called Sex, Drugs and Democracy.

Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Blank spent two years making the movie in the 1990’s, and from the opening aerial shots of windmills and vibrant tulip fields to kinky footage of Holland’s seething sex industry, he hammers the message that the Netherlands is the freest country in the world.

Blank lives in America and insists it is “more democratic than most countries,” but he admits that marijuana users and other minority groups are victims of America’s “primitive and incorrect perspectives that are rooted in a puritanical culture that bases its opinions on a biblical morality that is focused on vengeance, rather than on the justice, equality, and pragmatism which guide the Netherlands.”

Sex, Drugs and Democracy’s vivid and entertaining montage of startling interviews, archival materials and live action leave little doubt that Blank is correct when he says, “If you want to live your life freely as long as you don’t bother other people, then Holland is the freest place on earth.”

How free is it? Blank’s film includes revealing anecdotes such as:

? A small town that is proud that its brothel is equipped with facilities for disabled customers, some of whom enjoy the services of prostitutes as a government-sponsored health care benefit.

? families with small children strolling through the red-light district as though it were Disneyland.

? the time when a gay nightclub host, who appeared onstage after an act that featured an acrobatic, juggling, sword-swallowing, flame throwing male stripper, told Blank that he had missed the “the really wild show.”

? seeing graphic safe-sex videos on mainstream TV.

? Amsterdam’s police chief saying that marijuana and hashish don’t hurt anybody.

? the professor of gay studies who told Blank that the gay advocacy group Act Up left Holland because “there was nothing to act up against.”

“Holland is a marvelous, largely successful social experiment,” Blank says. “They do everything the US government opposes, but they have lower rates of drug use, disease, and abortion, and extremely high living standards. The Dutch have found that people must be trusted and that behavior modification comes about only through education in a democratic society.”

Blank’s masterpiece originally debuted in 1994. It is available in regular VHS video format, but a better deal is the re-released deluxe DVD set that features extensive liner notes, two US government films (Hemp for Victory and the hilarious classic Reefer Madness), and a compact disc featuring some of the best weed songs of the 20th century, including the funkadelic US Customs Coast Guard Dope Dog song by George Clinton.

Sex, Drugs and Democracy is entertaining, compelling, and funny. It’s a must-have for people who’ve been to Holland or want to go there, for stoners and freedom lovers, and as an educational tool for those who need to see what a truly free country looks like.

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