Nora Volkow, the new director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, sounds very much like a scientist and very little like a drug-war propangandist in her interview with the New York Times. [*] She is even appropriately equivocal about the dangers of cannabis. Like many scientists who do brain imaging, she has what seems to me an excessively reductionist view of drug addiction, which she wants to treat as a phenomenon almost completely unconnected with more familiar instances of imperfect self-command. Still, the Bush Administration deserves major credit for not finding another Alan Leshner.
That Volkow turns out to be Trotsky’s great-granddaughter simply proves that the universe is really much stranger than it has any good excuse for being.
Update What Kevin Drum sees [*] as an instance of communists infiltrating our government could equally well be seen as something far more nefarious. Perhaps the Trotskyist element that was never far below the surface of Reagan-era neo-conservatism (the neo-cons tended to love Djilas’s The New Class, which was fundamentally Troskyist in its analysis of the degeneration of Leninism into oligarchy) has begun, in the Bush era, to infect domestic policy as well. If a literary critic with a bias against Neruda’s poems is put in charge of the National Institute for the Humanities we will know the Trots are back in force.