Friday, August 15, 2008

Why Drugs Should Be Legalized- Part I

The comments from my previous post on drugs have made it crystal clear that it's time for yet another addition of my "legalize drugs!" posts. Drugs are a watermark issue for myself and for most libertarians, not because we want to smoke pot and shoot heroin, but because it's an issue of government control over our freedom of choice and because hundreds of billion of drug enforcement tax dollars are wasted each year, accomplishing nothing.

Before getting into the why, I'd like to take a minute to talk about the law in general from a philosophical standpoint. Regardless of your opinion as to the proper role of government, I'm sure we can all agree that when the government does take action- particularly action designed to restrict one's freedom- that action should be based upon logic and reason. If a law attempts to combat a perceived evil, the law should be tailored toward combating that evil- Or in other words the response should be proportionate to the infraction.

Our system of drug laws is twisted from the get go when you consider the disparate treatment of marijuana and alcohol. It's not science that separates the legal treatment of these two drugs, but tradition, which is a poor excuse for restricting freedom. By implication, the treatment of these two widely used drugs should make you question the assumptions implicit in all drug laws. If the government's policy on various drugs is based upon some calculation of risk, and the government gets the relative risk factors of marijuana and alcohol so wrong, then why should we assume the government's calculations of the risk factors of other illegal drugs are any more accurate?

The argument for prohibition of certain drugs is based not upon science, but on perceptions of danger and risk factors. Some of these perceptions stem from decades of prohibition and some stem from portrayals in the media. But regardless of where these perceptions come from, my only request to anyone consider the issue is that they come at it from an open mind. TV shows are not science. Second hand stories are not science. Knowing someone- or many people- who've had a problem with cocaine shouldn't be any different than knowing someone who's had a problem with alcohol. Yes people have problems with drugs, but statistics about danger and risk factors based upon first hand and media accounts is not science.

Rather than make this post too monstrous, I'm going to divide the drug legalization issue into several different posts. This one here is a basic introduction, a plea to approach the issue free of prejudice. The next post will be on the individual's right to make decisions about one's own body, the third will be about the failure of the war on drugs, and the last will question the drug narrative itself. Enjoy.

2 Comments:

Anonymous rose said...

I'm divided here. People should be able to do what they want with their own bodies, but people live in communities. How many people out there haven't tried coke, or heroine because it wasn't easily accessible, but would do it given an easy opportunity. How many would become addicted? How many would harm other people? How much lost productivity would there be in society? How many more people who need taking care of? All because there are people who may be inclined to use a drug but don't because its not easily accessible, but whom could become an addict if they used?

Quantify it. Can't. It's a tough issue.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous rose said...

From President George W. Bush:
> Dear Vlad:
>
> Beijing is weird. First of all, you can't breathe the
> air. Second, how 'bout those drummers? Sure, they're
> perfect, but that's the point. A billion Chinese see
> 2,000 drummers in sync and say, "Well done, my little
> emperor son." I see 2,000 drummers all moving with one
> motion and I'm thinking: "Whoa." Can anybody
> say MIL-I-TAR-Y PRE-CI-SION?
>
> Hey, which reminds me. What's up with Georgia? This is
> not good, Vlad. You and I have had our moments. And, OK,
> fine, your dog's bigger than mine. A lot bigger.
> Stronger and faster, too. We got it. But you can't just
> go invading democratically elected countries that are U.S.
> allies. You can't have everything, Vlad. If you
> don't stop, I'm going to have to do something and
> you know I don't want that. What I want is for you to
> not make me look like a fool.
>
> Look, Vlad. Seven years ago, it was you and me in Crawford.
> We had a blast. You loved my truck! We bonded. I went out on
> a very big limb and told the whole dadgum world that we were
> soul mates. "I looked the man in the eye," I said.
> "I found him to be very straightforward and
> trustworthy," I said. Oh, yeah, and, "We had a
> very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his
> soul."
>
> Trustworthy, Vlad. Got soul? Why not just hire the Goodyear
> Blimp and paint "Mission Accomplished" on the
> side? Here's the deal, Vlad. I love ya, man. But you
> gotta stop this. If you don't call a cease-fire and
> leave those Georgians alone, I'm going to have to whomp
> you upside the head. Just kiddin.' But you know how this
> looks. Your invasion of a sovereign neighboring state is
> unacceptable in the 21st century -- blahblahblah -- and
> you're hurting Russia's standing in the world, not
> to mention our relationship.
>
> Oh, and by the way. We're talking 4 million people
> here. Four million, Vlad. You wanna let the big dog eat?
> Fine. Pick on somebody your own size. And yes, your pecs are
> bigger than mine. Whatever. Hey, gotta split. It's Kobe
> time. Take care and give my love to that cute little gymnast
> of yours.
>
> Ciao amigo,
> Bushy
>
> P.S. Did you catch the American women's beach
> volleyball team?
>
> From Sen. Barack Obama:
> Dear (Former) President Putin:
>
> I'm sorry to be writing this e-mail instead of meeting
> you in person, preferably in the Oval Office, where I
> belong. Soon, soon.
>
> Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the foregoing, I felt it
> imperative that I express my deep concern about Russia's
> invasion of the tiny, democratically elected sovereign
> nation of Georgia. It would appear that you are not familiar
> with my platform for change and hope. War does not fit into
> this template and I am quite frankly at a loss for words to
> express my deep, deep distress.
>
> As the chosen leader of a new generation of Americans who
> speak a global language of peace, hope, harmony and change,
> this is simply unacceptable. Quite frankly, your actions
> pose potentially severe, long-term consequences. I'm not
> sure what those might be, but they won't be nice or fun.
>
>
> Please picture me looking very serious when I say that I
> respectfully request you to calm down. Life is but a flicker
> in time and we're but actors strutting and fretting.
> That is to say, we're all on this planetary journey
> together and our karma is interrelated and interdependent.
> Thus, it would seem that our differences are best resolved
> through words, not bombs.
>
> It is said that war is a failure of diplomacy. I would
> submit that it is also counterintuitive. If my Kenyan father
> and my Kansan mother and my multinational upbringing taught
> me anything, it is that we are all One. That said, I am The
> One the world has been waiting for -- and you are, quite
> frankly, blocking my chi.
>
> As soon as possible, I'd like to sit down and begin
> talking about how we can resolve these and other differences
> that threaten peace-loving people, which I'm sure
> includes you. I haven't looked into your eyes and would
> never presume to know your soul, but I do know that we share
> a common humanity and that we can all just get along.
>
> Yours in Global Harmony,
> Acting President Barack Obama
>
> From Sen. John McCain:
> Hey, Putin.
>
> Don't make me come over there.
>
> McCain

1:49 PM  

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