Monday, April 21, 2008

Drug War Straw Men

Whether you buy all of them or not, those in favor of ending the war on drugs and legalizing drugs tend to employ solid arguments. You can disagree on certain arguments or certain trends, but the arguments are all relevant. Not so the drug warriors, which is yet another reason why I come down in favor of legalization. I figured I'd post some of the nonsensical arguments of drug warriors, so everyone can see what sorts of arguments I don't need to see here.

1- "Drugs destroy families."

So does alcohol. So does infidelity and divorce. There are certain subjects we don't feel comfortable legislating about (a married man leaving his wife and kids) and certain substances that are steeped into our traditions (alcohol). But that doesn't make them any less destructive.

2- "It's for the kids."

Ask any high school kid if it's easier to get marijuana or alcohol. Legal drugs are sold by legitimate businesses with age restrictions. Illegal drugs are sold by other high school kids.

3- "Drug use is drug abuse."

No it's not.

4- "Drug users make bad decisions and put the lives of others at risk."

So do those who drink alcohol.

5- "It's the job of government to protect people from their own bad decisions."

I don't think so, but fair enough. But if that's what you really think, how to you distinguish drugs from alcohol? And more importantly, where do you draw the line on interfering in people's private lives and turning the government into a police state? (I'm going to disagree with whatever line is drawn, but if you support the drawing of such a line you should at least be able to articulate where such a line should be drawn and why. If you can't even do that, do you really have any business telling other people how to lead their lives?

6- "Drugs would still be sold on the street if drugs were legalized."

No they wouldn't, or at least not typically. They'd be cheaper at a local pharmacy. Additionally law enforcement would have a much easier time dealing with the street level dealers and those selling to underage kids because the large criminal infrastructure currently involved in the drug business would vanish as black market profits dried up.

7- "Alcohol's not dangerous. Drugs are dangerous."

Explain, scientifically.

8- "Drug legalization means a government stamp of approval."

I suppose sort of like smoking, huh?

9- "Drug legalization means moral approval."

No it doesn't. See above. And remember that father that left his wife in kids. That's legal, but anyone want to tell me that such a man has societies moral approval?


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