Benjamin Keyworth

Supplemental - Transcript of Congressional Hearing


Extract, Transcript, Congressional Hearing, August 1974
The Effects of Mood and Mind-Altering Substances on Superhuman Abilities.”

<Committee - Senator Arthur Conway (R)>

Conway: “…the impact of alcohol… remains one of the biggest concerns to this Investigation, especially in light of the number of lives lost and the scale of property damage during the period after the Aurora Nirvanas-“

<Floor – Professor Jeffery Morrison>

Morrison: “You are referring to the ‘Year of Chaos’?”

Conway: “I believe that’s the colloquial term, yes.”

Morrison: “That period was an outlier in terms of superhuman history – the world had changed, everyone was still coming to terms with it – I would attribute the death and destruction to instability, coupled with a certain degree of ignorance that I believe is no longer applicable.”

Conway: “And what makes you so certain?”

Morrison: “Well Senator, at the risk of invoking slightly… Darwinian theories…”

Conway: “We’re all adults Professor, there’s no need to be coy.”

Morrison: “Yes Senator well, to put not too fine a point on it, during the Year of Chaos many less… thoughtful citizens, finding themselves endowed with superpowers, engaged in, shall we say, less than intelligent behaviour. [Pause for gallery laughter]. This, coupled with the high rates of capital punishment our - at the time - woefully unequipped justice system was forced to doll out, seems to have somewhat ‘pruned the tree’, evolutionarily speaking.”

Conway: “You’re saying we’ve gotten smarter?”

Morrison: “Not individually no, but as a society yes. Through the efforts of those with less foresight in removing themselves from the gene pool. [Pause for gallery laughter].”

<Committee – Congresswoman Ruth Fines (D)>

Fines: “As fascinating as that may be Professor Morrison, it does not answer the question of whether the emergency restrictions placed by Congress on intoxicants should continue. Notwithstanding the fierce opposition these prohibitions have invoked from our constituents-”

Conway: “[Laughing] I’ve never seen them so united in my life – who knew all we needed to do was ban beer? [Pause for gallery laughter].”

Fines: “Yes, thank you Senator Conway. The near-universal opposition notwithstanding, the question remains; is it safe for we, a superhuman society, to allow the sale of mind-altering chemicals?”

<Floor – Professor Elizabeth Tsang>

Tsang: “I believe I can answer that Congresswoman.”

Fines: “Professor Tsang, please.”

Tsang: [Pause for arrangement of notes] “Although research into the exact mechanisms behind superhuman abilities remains in its infancy, one thing our tests have concluded is the direct causal link between activation and sentient consciousness.”

Fines: “In layman’s terms, Professor Tsang.”

Tsang: “In layman’s terms, Congresswoman, our powers are linked to our thoughts – our clear and conscious thoughts, not our reactions or unconscious urges.”

Fines: “Continue.”

Tsang: “It’s why you never hear of a pyromancer burning down his house when he has a bad dream, or someone with super-strength breaking their bed while they sleep – they lack the conscious thought which our tests have shown our powers need to activate. Indeed, there are some individuals born with severe mental handicaps or trapped in persistent vegetative comas who have never demonstrated any kind of ability, although we believe the potential is still there, genetically.”

Conway: “What does this have to do with drink and drugs?”

Tsang: “Everything Senator. If abilities require a clear and conscious mind then substances which impair clear thinking impair those abilities. Essentially, an individual’s level of intoxication is inversely proportional to the accessibility of their powers.”

<Committee - Senator Julianne Lowe (R)>

Lowe: “So you’re suggesting the ban be lifted?”

<Floor – Mr Martin Weltman>

Weltman: “If I may Senator. The Treasury Review Commission has, in conjunction with the research provided by Professors Morrison and Tsang and their associates, analysed the available data and concluded that the sale of alcohol is feasible, provided those sales attach sufficient duties to pay for increased insurance premiums, police, and public works programs.”

Conway: “Taxes?”

Weltman: “Excises, yes, both to moderate consumption through economic forces and to fund the State’s ability to cope with the inevitable… incidents.”

Fines: “What about marijuana?”

Lowe: “Tell me we’re not seriously considering this.”

Tsang: “Actually Senator, all our tests have demonstrated that marijuana poses a significantly lower risk in terms of aggressive or anti-social behaviour. Even putting aside THC’s generally positive mood-altering affects, the drug also seems to weaken concentration to the point where the danger posed by a user’s powers is essentially negligible. In our assessment, alcohol poses a substantially greater risk.”

Weltman: “Sale of regulated marijuana to adults, with proper oversight, could provide a significant source of State revenue at it would seem very little public cost.”

Fines: “Interesting. Could be hard to get through Congress.”

Conway: “At least it might provide a silver lining for the overpriced beer.”


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About the author

Benjamin Keyworth

  • Australia

Bio: Born and raised in Newcastle, Australia, Ben is a lifelong writer currently studying his Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney. An avid fan of the weird and wonderful, he has wanted to be a writer since he was five years old (before which he wanted to be a dinosaur).

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