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Monday, August 11. 2014
Was the "War On Drugs" mostly political? I will not defend drug use morally, spiritually, or otherwise, but the fact remains that you can buy anything you want on almost any selected street corner in the US. All that war seems to have done is to create gangs, enrich drug cartels, add lots of government employees, and put a lot of people in jail.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:49 | Comments (15) | Trackbacks (0)
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The War on Drugs could have a political element. Certainly the radicals who were doing drugs promoted that view, but I think it makes more sense to call it a law (or collection of laws) designed to support a morality that had overwhelming support in the society.
Like you, I won't defend drug use. I'd go further that I fear some of the consequences of legalizing drugs - both those we expect but there will be unintended and unknown consequences (Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns). After all, Denmark is backing away from their drug legalization. But I am currently more worried about the consequences of the War on Drugs. The strength of Islamic terrorist groups who sell opium and Central American cartels who sell marijuana and cocaine would be much less if they were legal.
The problem at the moment for a more complete drug legalization regime is that we also have socialized programs to "help" those with drug problems or addictions. The people who have not considered drugs should be able to see the full results of that kind of life. If the law allows you to do something stupid (and it should as long as you don't hurt anybody else), it should not require those who aren't stupid to subsidize you.
Drugs weaken and destroy a country. And they will destroy the United States. But America has declined to the point where it no longer has the willpower to stop them. That includes such things as requiring and ruthlessly enforcing the death penalty for drug dealers. This is how Asian nations deal with the situation. But America is a weak and sick country.
We have hundreds and hundreds of brain-damaged drug addicts roaming the streets of my town, euphemistically called "the homeless." It is overwhelming the ability of our municipal government to deal with them. As I was out running Saturday and yesterday, I ran into a number of them wandering across the streets and disrupting traffic, fighting with each other, and openly doing meth on the sidewalks. But again, law enforcement has just given up dealing with it. So we have these folks assaulting people, breaking into homes and businesses, and there is little we can do.
Aren't those mostly consequences of the prohibition? Given what you observe, what good do the laws do?
BTW, I'd move away from there!
Bird Dog, I hate to tell you this, but it's coming to YOUR neighborhood too. You guys won't realize how evil drugs are until they are on your doorstep, destroying families, vandalizing neighborhoods, never knowing when you leave your house whether it will be broken into by the time you get home. At some point, in a couple of years, around here everyone will have to be carrying, and then guns will settle the issues when there are confrontations.
At this point, I still live in a nice neighborhood, on a hill with a view, but the drug addicts and derelicts are steadily increasing to where they are a problem anywhere at the bottom of the hill and beyond. And we've had the police shut down a meth lab less than a quarter of a mile from my house. They are all over the shopping centers and markets, hassling people for money and starting fights.
Prohibition doesn't work, never has, never will, until you start by locking everyone up.
Education can work but it's far from a complete success - look at tobacco.
I'd rather treat it as a medical problem (even as screwed up as that system is) than a criminal problem. Think of all the unintended consequences of putting a drug user in the finest criminal schools in the world - which is what prisons have become. They create racist, professional criminals. Sure not all of them come out racist, but most of them come out more knowledgeable about their craft than when they went in.
Think about the effect it's had on families, short term poverty and long term poverty and gangs. Thats a just more breading ground for the same thing.
We've been at this since Nixon coined the term (or speech writer did) and drugs are cheaper, higher quality, greater assortment, and more available than ever.
If the drug turns a user into a their - well that's covered, and there is NO WAY to stop them from becoming a user if that's were they're going.
No prefect solutions - we're humans - we're not perfect and never will be.
We lost that war - time to try something else.
“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” -GK Chesterton, 1935
Prohibition gave us the mafia and the Kennedys.
The war on drugs gave us the Crips and the Bloods.
Formulated by yours truly about 40 years ago.
The problem with the War on Drugs is that it claims that all drugs are equally bad and dangerous. Anyone that has dealt with tweakers and stoners knows that is simply is not true. Drugs like pot really are not a lot different from alcohol, with the same types of abuses. Drugs like meth and crack are another thing, the type of drugs that turn users into thieves.
We have legalized pot use in WA state, but they decided to use the Liquor Board to set things up. (We also recently got the state out of the liquor business). They have bungled it badly. Not enough growers, not enough supply, buyers at the stores get offers from illegal sellers when the store runs out. We won't be able to see what the effects are until we give the state a few more years to get their act together.
They have bungled it badly.
Did you expect anything else?
There are more than enough growers and suppliers. This is going to be like Christmas for the black market. Once you remove the stigma and possible legal consequences for users the black market turns gray. The "tax and licensing cheats" will vastly undercut the prices of the legitimate market because of much lower overhead and no taxes. See cigarettes in New York - more than half are black market.
Don't get me wrong - I heartily approve. But it's not going to be the tax bonanza the politicians are anticipating.
Indeed, not all drugs are created equal.
Marijuana legalization is long overdue but hard drugs like cocaine and heroin and meth still need criminal deterrents - which are really artificially high prices.
There is a eye-opening work on Netflix called "Weed Wars" that I can recommend. I will give California credit for setting up a basically workable decrim system built around "medical" uses. Of course, 80% of medical uses is really recreational (my guess) but there many people with medical problems that can be ameliorated with pot.
A grey market will develop only when taxes are too high. As "Weed Wars" shows, a legitimate business can provide services that customers appreciate, like quality control, assured supply, and convenient fixed location and hours. Corner liquor stores are much better for drinkers than moonshine from a pickup, aren't they?
Imagine a U.S. without illegal drugs. Your children are safer, your streets are safer, live births and healthy babies exceeds every nation, people live longer and healthier, etc. Then someone introduces drugs. Children are sexually abused, deaths from accidents and homicides skyrockets, hospitals are going bankrupt dealing with the indigent, formally productive people drop out to take drugs and become the indigent. Minor and major crimes skyrocket (about a 500% increase). 50% more children drop out of school, child pregnacy increases by 200%, rape and murder are commonplace in the inner cities where coincidently drugs are also commonplace. So one has to ask why not a war on drugs? No doubt we are doing it wrong but seriously with drugs being responsible for most of our social and criminal problems why not a war on drugs. Perhaps we should secure our border as though that mattered to us. Adopt a law like Singapore has where you sell/deal drugs and you are convicted and put to death. You use drugs and you are publicly whipped. Something serious that might actually turn it all around. Or we could parrot some tripe about rights and free will and allow our children to be exploited and our cities to be taken over by criminals and our society bankrupted. The choice has always been ours but we choose instead to use half measures and failed policies.
The "war on drugs" is essentially a war on freedom.
While I won't promote drugs, and won't use them, IMO a government of a country that stands for freedom of choice should not decide for its population what it's allowed to do with their own bodies.
If you want to poison yourself, go right ahead.
Regulate it, work it the same way that there are quality standards for tobacco and alcohol. Have the FDA watch over it. Tax it even, like alcohol and tobacco are taxed.
Quality will improve, the trade will come out of the criminal circuit, reducing crime dramatically.
Drug use is a serious social problem not unlike so many of the social problems we legislate against. Should we force unwed fathers or fathers who abandon their children to support them? Why? Should we prevent consensual sex between teens and adults? Why? Should we pass laws criminalizing theft, assault, crime n general? Why? Does society have a “right” to take our freedoms in this way? Why should there be any limitations at all? Let each person protect their own lives and property and if they can’t then too bad. That would be “freedom”. But in fact it doesn’t work. When the heinous acts of a few negatively affect the lives and freedoms of the many then the “many”, the society, has a perfect right to demand that certain acts cannot be committed, i.e. they are illegal and will/should be punished. I suppose in some purely philosophical argument you could argue that using dangerous and harmful drugs is a “right” but at what point does that right negatively impact the rights of others? And when that happens what is the correct remedy? With the hard drugs they always or almost always negatively impact the rights and freedoms of the rest of society. It really cannot be any other way. The crack or heroin user cannot function and the usual result is they harm someone, they don’t take care of their children, they have more children that society must take care of, they steal since they are unemployable, they destroy families, relationships and society in general. So what it the philosophical answer to this problem? The same philosophy that wants to tell us it is free will and if someone wants to have 16 children and society must take care of them then that is her/his right. If they need to steal and sometimes kill to keep their habit then that is their right. In fact there is no philosophical answer to what society’s response should be. The closest thing to an answer is that when the drug user breaks a non-drug law then they should be punished. But the philosopher seems blind. Did the philosopher not think that every drug user will/must break laws, hurt people and cost society billions that could be used to help all of society? Of course they didn’t because philosophy is about winning an argument and has no relationship to reality. So those who want to allow free use of all drugs also want society to pay the costs including failing as a country. Why? What is the philosophical answer to the problem the philosophical argument created? When your children are in jail or dead in their 20’s and your grandchildren are in foster care, wards of the state what philosophy makes this right? Please help me here because I’m sure everyone who is in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs has considered this. Don’t tell me that without the anti-drug laws that the crimes will just disappear because then you will appear hopelessly naïve/stupid. The children will still be born to drug addled adults. People will still be harmed/killed when the drug user needs money/drugs/food/whatever. Young children will still be offered drugs by friends/strangers/perverts.