Forums > Social Discussion > alcohol/tobacco vs. dope/mushrooms

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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:


This post is in connection with the often quoted view that legal drugs (alcohol/tobacco) cause more problems than many illegal ones (marijuana, 'e', mushrooms).

It is true that the legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco) are responsible for far more suffering tham marijuana, 'e' and mushrooms.

Alcohol fuels the friday/saturday night casuality 'carnage'/street violence that is rife in the UK; tobacco is responsible for 4,000,000 smoking related deaths per year worldwide (that's more than all other drugs put together.

And this fact is often brought up by those who are against legislation for marijuana, 'e', mushrooms etc.

-----------------------

Just to put a different slant on this; is it not possible that a contributing factor to the devastation caused by the legal drugs, is precisely the fact that they are legal, and thus easily obtainable and usable in public?

If so, is that not good reason to not legalise the other drugs?

(I am aware that, for the past couple of years, potent mushrooms have been legally available in the UK/USA and sold openly, so they are technically legal; I would still differentiate between that and the legality of tobacco/alcohol because it hasn't been particularly well known by the general public, and it is currentlybeing seen as more of a 'loophole' in the law).

I anticipate that 'hypocrisy' will be brought into this ie why should alcohol/tobacco be legal and not marijuana- the main thing I'd ask people to reflect on with this is that alcohol/tobacco have been legal so long that-

1. they are (sadly IMO) accepted, seen as the norm, and prohibiting them fully would seem to be impractical

2. if they were freshly discovered today, they would be banned

3. in the case of tobacco, efforts are being made to gradually scale down use, by, for example, it being made illegal in increasing numbers of countries, to use it in public places

Obviously this is a wide ranging topic with lots of avenues for discussion; I would appreciate it if people do give their opinion on the point raised above (that the fact that alcohol/tobacco are legal, is one of the factors in their destructiveness).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
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Posted:I disagree Dave. Legislation to restrict choice is not going to protect future generations in this case. Ill take this in two teirs...

First off, when someone choses to smoke or drink, Ill agree they dont usually think long term. They think "One time wont hurt" and that turns into more and more until they are addicted. OR they have self control and they don't become addicted but use it socially/responsibly. I know this is off topic, but this is the same issue with gun control. The thing is, when your addicted you can slowly ween yourself just like you slowly got addicted. One might argue that addiction is in our nature, and self-control / regulation is a higher order function that one develops as they mature... which of course would explain why use of drugs and alcohol goes down as one exits the early adulthood stage. This is the general idea behind age limits.

The thing is, we are trying to train people to "Just say no" instead of educating them and trying to make them responsible. Legislation making it criminal to possess them does not protect people from them: it just raises the price and difficulty of getting them. Economics will help here. Supply and demand. There WILL always be a demand, because in general I would argue that we are experience seeking. We seek out new and different experiences, and as such people will always want to try these substances to see what they really do. Good things CAN come from proper drug treatments (hallucinagens are great for minor mental issues if the proper guidance is used as well... of course not everyone is EDUCATED in these things...). There will always be a supply.

Now lets look at social contract theory, that is that all law is a social contract between the rulers and the ruled. We give up certain rights to maintain life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness or something similar, ie the right to kill someone for stealing your Eggo Waffle. Should we give up the right to our own bodies to protect us from ourselves? NO! That just sounds rediculously scary, and negates the "liberty" idea completely. Now as sad as it is that people who abuse sometimes "hurt" the people that care about them, the fact is that their loved ones are completely able to turn their back on them for using them. I know that seems cold, but its true.

What Im surprised about most here is no one has brought up China at all. Opium, shipped in from India and other places by Western influences, crippled their nation and some rediculous percentage of their population became addicted. It seems like the perfect poinant EXAMPLE of drug use on society for those of you who are anti-drug...


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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Again there's a huge presumption that legislating against drugs does not work, in your post.


Given that that question (does legislation work) is pretty much the central one of this whole thread (the first post of which put forward the proposition that part of the reason alcohol/tobacco cause more destruction than illegal drugs is precisely because they are legal);

and that virtually no-one who is saying 'legislation does not/can not work' has put forward any evidence for their viewpoint;

then, IMO it is presumption, and unsubstantiated.

So, I maintain, not that legislation definitly will protect future generations from the huge drug problems the present one has; but that no-ones yet posted any good reason that it will not do so.

And, if it does become established that legislation will protect future generations from those drug problems, then that is grounds for justifying such legisalation.

There's not a single piece of legislation that does not impinge on someones choice, whether it's the choice to murder others, the choice to have sexual intercourse with underage teens, or the choice to drive your car at 150 mph in a built up area...etc, etc..

When it comes to cases like that, we simply don't care that the choice of an individual is restricted; why should we feel differently about drugs?

(Acknowledging of course that one reason put forward is that drug legislation is ineffective, yet remembering that this is why I put 'if' in the sentence above).

I'm not saying that legislation would be effective; rather I'm saying-

1. There's been no convincing arguments to show it can't be

2. If it is effective, then it's justified, even though it limits the choice of some individuals.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:offtopic for Dunc:

will send a pm tomorrow, I'm too tired now!

I've also decided I'll probably come to Play with my new man who wants me to teach him poi, he's doing well so far biggrin bounce

[/messing up discussion threads]


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:re: OWD's:

2. If it is effective, then it's justified, even though it limits the choice of some individuals.

Not so. The effectiveness of legislation would consitute some justification, but that doesn't mean that legislation would be justified, all things considered. There might be a case for thinking that just as prevention of harm is important, so is preserving some degree of liberty. In the limit, you might think that complete regulation of people's lives is the best way to prevent harm to future generations; but, presumably, this isn't an attractive option.

There are other grounds required for legislation to be justified, such as practicality. But what I'm saying should hold even *if* these grounds are covered: namely, prevention of harm to future generations should not be the only determining factor in deciding whether or not legislation is justified. Freedom of speech is a prime example, I suppose.

Or, closer to what Dave is talking about, one way to protect future generations might be to ration everything - food, water, drugs, energy, the lot. This would ensure that future generations had an adequate supply; but, again, they would fall under the same restrictions.

Now I'm not sure about our responsibilities to future generations (for instance, how can we have obligations to people who don't exist?), nor do I have a set idea as to what constitutes justification for legislation. Consensus may have something to do with it, though i'm not sure that invoking 'social contract theory' is a good move. Political philosophy ain't my area of speciality smile

Rant time:

Beefy: 'Now as sad as it is that people who abuse sometimes "hurt" the people that care about them, the fact is that their loved ones are completely able to turn their back on them for using them. I know that seems cold, but its true.'

You're displaying a worrying lack of human understanding here, mate. Most loving human relationships don't allow you just to 'turn your back' on people.

/end rant. that was a quickie.


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Posted:Examples of number one? How about prohibition? The Drug War?

And then there's the argument from civil disobediency. If a law is unjust, should it be followed, or should it be fought against? On things like drugs, abortion, etc. (grey area items that are around 50/50 for political support) legislation will never eliminate these things, because the market just goes underground. Its like Cuban cigars in America. We can't have them... but if you talk to the right people you can get them with little trouble. Thus it is for drugs as well. Proof? How about no prohibition has ever worked one hundred percent? That in the ten years of the "American Drug War" no progress whatsoever has occured, except to help expand the prison industry and make a good percentage of lower echelon individuals registered criminals. And it wont work without severely limiting civil liberties. Evidence to the contrary of prohibition legislation's effectiveness is abundant, and easily accounted for by basic economic theory of supply and demand.

Your argument seems to be that we can't know if legislation will be better or worse for children, so lets legislate everything and hope for the best. I feel that legislation limiting our choices on these grey items sets a dangerous precedent.

So basically, I feel its bad because it impinges on choices that should be beyond the reach of law. I do not feel that its a good idea to allow such precedents. I prefer more freedom than protection.

Now come on, my comment wasn't meant to really endorse such actions. What it was meant to demonstrate is that the individual does not hurt you, but rather you put yourself into suffering out of compassion. Now Im sure many will disagree about this, but it is their life to live. Arguments from this perspective seem weak to me... it seems similar to someone beating their child and blaming them for making them do it. "How dare you make me help you!" kinda reasoning. THAT sounds weak to me.


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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:Beefy: prohibition and the drug war don't show that legislation CAN'T work, only that it has not worked in the past. Although I grant you that it's not a good sign . . .

'Your argument seems to be that we can't know if legislation will be better or worse for children, so lets legislate everything and hope for the best. I feel that legislation limiting our choices on these grey items sets a dangerous precedent.

NO - this was NOT what Dave was saying. Dave's point was that IF you knew that legislating would prevent harm, THEN legislation would be justified.

//

'What it was meant to demonstrate is that the individual does not hurt you, but rather you put yourself into suffering out of compassion.

This is absolute rubbish, beefy. Have you *ever* been in a relationship? Do you think that compassion is a deliberate action, under your control? Do you think that the grief of parents whose child has killed himself is entirely self-inflicted?

You've also entirely missed the point of Dave's post, which was that 'harm to others' is the dividing line between choices which should be beyond the reach of law, and choices which should be legislated over: and, importantly, you might consider drugs to fall into the second category.

Do you really think that the ability to smoke pot is an important civil liberty which needs protecting? [I take important civil liberties to be things such as free speech, freedom from discrimination, the right to vote, etc . . . but maybe we differ on this]

You've even come close to contradicting yourself: you argue first that legislation is ineffective, and then you argue that legislation restricts freedom. Which is it? Legislation that is completely ineffective cannot restrict freedom, surely?

*sigh*.

beefy, you just didn't read dave's post before you replied to it, and i think that that's a mistake. particularly this bit:

'2. If it is effective, then it's justified, even though it limits the choice of some individuals.'

he even summarised it for you, and you didn't bother to check it.


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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:interesting reading people smile

just one co0mment from me:

Written by: dave

There's not a single piece of legislation that does not impinge on someones choice, whether it's the choice to murder others, the choice to have sexual intercourse with underage teens, or the choice to drive your car at 150 mph in a built up area...etc, etc..

When it comes to cases like that, we simply don't care that the choice of an individual is restricted; why should we feel differently about drugs?




i agree that legislation impinges on choice but there are levels to it dave and you seem to want to make them all equal to further your argument.
is the choice drive past a school at 150mph comparable to the choice of whether to park in front of the cinema on a saturday (those double yellow lines are infringing on my personal liberties again dammit! wink).

so, this line of reasoning seems skewed to me since it is only the mis-use/abuse of drugs that (indirectly) affects other people.

the three things you listed have a certainty or at the least, an extremely high chance, of causing physical or psycological damage to others.
my choice to smoke a spliff or not cannot be compared to the moral issue of whether or not as humans we should have the choice to murder.
if anyone thinks these choices are even close to being parallel, i'd love to hear the reasoning.

also, having read the thread again, it seems very biased towards nicotine, ignoring that alcohol was presented in the first post as the parallel legal drug.
but in spite of this, there has been lots of arguing for the banning of one so that the sale of another can increase (less smoky pubs = more drinkers)...?

anyone fancy suggesting alcohol legislation in similar terms to the cigarette suggestions?


cole. x

p.s. i heard someone else's opinion on all this at the weekend and thought some of you might appreciate it smile

Written by: bill hicks

I think it's interesting the two drugs that are legal - alcohol and cigarettes, two drugs that do absolutely nothing for you at all - are legal, and the drugs that might open your mind up to realise how you're being [censored] every day of your life? Those drugs are against the law. Coincidence? See, I'm glad mushrooms are against the law, cos I took 'em one time, you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going, 'My God, I love everything.' Yeah, now if that isn't a hazard to our countries...How are we gonna justify arms dealing if we know we're all one?




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i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
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Posted:smile

Getting to the other side smile

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: coleman


Written by: dave

There's not a single piece of legislation that does not impinge on someones choice, whether it's the choice to murder others, the choice to have sexual intercourse with underage teens, or the choice to drive your car at 150 mph in a built up area...etc, etc..

When it comes to cases like that, we simply don't care that the choice of an individual is restricted; why should we feel differently about drugs?




i agree that legislation impinges on choice but there are levels to it dave and you seem to want to make them all equal to further your argument.
is the choice drive past a school at 150mph comparable to the choice of whether to park in front of the cinema on a saturday (those double yellow lines are infringing on my personal liberties again dammit! wink).

so, this line of reasoning seems skewed to me since it is only the mis-use/abuse of drugs that (indirectly) affects other people.

the three things you listed have a certainty or at the least, an extremely high chance, of causing physical or psycological damage to others.
my choice to smoke a spliff or not cannot be compared to the moral issue of whether or not as humans we should have the choice to murder.
if anyone thinks these choices are even close to being parallel, i'd love to hear the reasoning.




I deliberatly chose examples that the majority wouldn't dispute. Less extreme examples which are debatable would have distracted from my main point, which is that all legislation in some way impinges of the choice of some individuals.

Concerning your 'it is only the mis-use/abuse of drugs that (indirectly) affects other people.'- that's something which is highly questionable- many would argue that 'normal' use of some drugs affects others as well.

I myself have argued that use of cigarettes affects future generations. 'Normal' use of alcohol makes alcohol seem harmless and acceptable, thus ensuring that those with a predisposition to alcoholism get a good start on their alcohol misuse career.

Written by: coleman

p.s. i heard someone else's opinion on all this at the weekend and thought some of you might appreciate it smile

Written by: bill hicks

I think it's interesting the two drugs that are legal - alcohol and cigarettes, two drugs that do absolutely nothing for you at all - are legal, and the drugs that might open your mind up to realise how you're being censored every day of your life? Those drugs are against the law. Coincidence? See, I'm glad mushrooms are against the law, cos I took 'em one time, you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going, 'My God, I love everything.' Yeah, now if that isn't a hazard to our countries...How are we gonna justify arms dealing if we know we're all one?






If hicks hadn't been a substance victim he may well have been around today.

Do drugs open/free the mind? They have the reputation of doing so- in my experience (having once used and now no longer doing so) I would say that reputation is greatly exagurated.

IMO, a clear mind and a mind free of need for substances is best suited to both seeing the truth, for living a life of freedom, AND, for seeing and dealing with any insiduous aspects in society around you (ie, if the government is involved in drug legislation conspiracies, it's best tackled by clear minded individuals, not stoners).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: quiet


NO - this was NOT what Dave was saying. Dave's point was that IF you knew that legislating would prevent harm, THEN legislation would be justified..........

.............................beefy, you just didn't read dave's post before you replied to it, and i think that that's a mistake. particularly this bit:





Cheers Quiet;

I suspect that the idea of actually reading a post before replying to it may be a bit radical for many here, but it would be great if it caught on smile


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
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Posted:I've just done a search and found a more complete version of the Bill Hicks quote-





Written by:


Ive had some killer times on drugs, he once told an audience. After ingesting a heroic dose of psilocybin mushrooms, the Baptist-baiting comic understood why this fungus in particular is against the law:





"I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going My God, I love everything. The heavens parted, God looked down and rained gifts of forgiveness, acceptance and eternal love from His unconditional heart, and I realized the true nature of my existence, of all our existence, is Gods perfect and holy sunship, that we are spirit, we are not bodies, we are mind, we are thoughts in Gods mind, his beloved children, and that has never changed, and anytime that you look through the bodys eyes you are seeing illusions Im glad theyre (mushrooms) against the law, because imagine how that would censored up this country.







My first thought is that, since ceasing to use drugs (nicotine, weed, alcohol) five years ago, I feel that way far more frequently than I ever did as a user.



i.e. spontaneous upwellings of gratitude for the sheer fact that I am alive, glimpses of the perfection underlying reality, feelings of extreme peace etc.





My second thought is about how such a vision is only of much use if it involves a deep realisation.



ie if you take a drug (mushroom for example) and have a vision of beauty/inner peace/perfection, then that's an amazing experience. If you then continue with your life in pretty much the same way as always, with no improvement of how you live your life, and no increase in freedom from the addictions/ties that bind you; then the realisation was obviously limited.



Hicks for example, despite the intensity of his vision, remained a slave to nicotine and the other substances he used/abused. The fact that he remained snared by them may also suggest that the vast peace he experienced did not carry over into his everyday life (because I believe that people who are truly at ease with themselves and their life, do not feel the need to numb/alter it with substances).



I read his account and it saddens me- IMO he missed out.



He was obviously a deeply spiritual man- my feeling is that his use of drugs, far from, as he seemed to assume; facilitating his spiritual growth; was in fact the prime hinderance to it.



If one wants to experience these spiritual feelings, then there are ways to bring it about- traditional ways that have stood the test of time and which produce deep and long lasting results; IMO using drugs as a short cut produces only superficial imitations that do not integrate themselves into ones being (unless the other factors are also there, in which case the drugs could be dispensed with anyway).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:[edit: that's not a more complete quote dave - its an entirely different version from a different performance.

the one you found was performed in america - mine was from his show performed in the uk in 1992.



and to make a further small correction, hicks gave up cigarettes in early 1992 before dying in 1994 so he did release himself from his 'slavery' that is the basis for your pity.



lastly on the mr hicks view, you seem to have completely ignoring the point that he abhored the legal drugs and his addiction to nicotine but embraced the drugs that, used occasionally, had the power to bring insight - not an insight guaranteed by any means, but one that is available to those in a suitable state of mind, something that is not possible with the legal drugs.

note he only states he ever took mushrooms once.

and that was kind of his point...]



Written by: onewheeldave


I deliberatly chose examples that the majority wouldn't dispute. Less extreme examples which are debatable would have distracted from my main point, which is that all legislation in some way impinges of the choice of some individuals.





i understand why you chose those extremes.



but i think that proposed drug legislation, even as it stands, is not at all like the examples you gave.



new drug legislation would be one of those 'less extreme examples' of legislation that is highly debatable since it is *not* agreed on by anywhere near a majority of the society it is imposed upon.



hence the popularity of this thread i guess smile



[these are the most recent changes to drug legislation.



this makes interesting reading too...





cole. x

EDITED_BY: coleman (1115131612)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:As I said before, my intention was not to find examples that are 'like' proposed drug legislation- it was to demonstrate that all legislation impinges on the choices of some individuals.

Hopefully we're now all in agreement on that?

My interest after that does not particularly lie in promoting drugs legislation, or finding examples of drug legislation that are 'like' my previous examples.

Instead, it is, as it as always been, in demonstrating that many of the usual 'knee-jerk' arguments that claim to dismiss the validity of legislation, are flawed.

I do not feel the need to promote drugs legislation- there's plenty doing that already- I'm focusing on flaws in the arguments that claim to dismiss legislation.

One of which is that legislation that impinges on the individuals right to choose is wrong- the examples Igave above show the flaw in that reasoning.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:umm maybe i didn't explain myself properly...



i am not arguing against the fact that all legislation impinges on certain individuals' rights in some way.



but rather that legislation that is not agreed upon by the majority of society is a lot less likely to be adhered to than legislation that expresses the views of the society at large.



yes, your example of murder shows that there are always some people that cannot do what they want because the law says so.



but the effectiveness of any legislation has much to do with the 'moral majority' (i hate that term - apologies for using it), in this case, that nearly 100% of our society would agree that 'murder is wrong'.



a much smaller majority would agree that 'drugs are bad'.



as such, any legislation regarding the restriction of use of drugs is far less likely to be supported than legislation that discourages murder.





so again i say, i don't think the argument is 'legislation that impinges on the individuals right to choose is wrong' as you have presented it.



i think the argument is that 'legislation that impinges on an individual's right to choose is wrong if it does not represent the general concensus of the society at large'.



the fact that so many people choose to use drugs in spite of the masses of current legislation gives us an excellent case in point - that legislating against choices that primarly and directly affect individuals is very likely to fail.





cole. x

EDITED_BY: coleman (1115135021)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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onewheeldave
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Posted:So we agree that all legislation does impinge upon the choice of some individuals.

And you are going on to say that legislation not supported by the majority is less likely to succeed than legislation that is supported by the majority.

Seems reasonable; I'd go along with that.

However I'd also be thinking that ease of successfully applying a law is not the only factor when it comes to the decision of whether or not to install that law.

Other factors include-

1. justice- in times when it was legal to own slaves of certain racial minorities, a substantial portion of the population would have been against making slave owning illegal (because they themselves did not suffer from the effects of slavery, in fact they benefitted from it).

Despite a lot of opposition against anti-slavery legislation, it would still be right to pursue such legislation.

2. Misunderstanding- specifically the impression that people 'choose' to habitually use drugs.

An alcoholic who believes they 'choose' to drink, a smoker who believes they 'choose' to smoke etc, are under an illusion.

The word 'choice' in those contexts is at worst, a misunderstanding, or, at best, used in a totally different context to the normal meaning of 'choice'.

A long term smoker who has decided on multiple occasions, to quit, yet years down the line is still smoking forty-a-day, is clearly under a 'compulsion'- not a 'choice'.

On those grounds, IMO, something bad is happening, and, if legislation can help preserve the rights of individuals to make genuine choices (as opposed to the 'compelled 'choices' involved in drug taking), then such legislation is justified, even if it's not supported by much of the population.


------------------

This has been a rambling reply- let me focus on this: -

Written by: coleman

the fact that so many people choose to use drugs in spite of the masses of current legislation gives us an excellent case in point - that legislating against choices that primarly and directly affect individuals is very likely to fail.





If you show me a long term habitual user of an addictive substance who claims to be 'choosing' (in the purest sense of the word 'choice') to use that substance; then I will argue that he/she is either a liar, or, more likely, sincere but deluded.

No smoker chooses to be complelled to smoke 40 cigarettes a day and die horribly from cancer; no alcoholic chooses to have their family and life trashed by a compulsion to drink- they are victims.

Legislation is justifiable on those grounds.

3. Another factor is how effectively the legislation is applied- American prohibition is a prime example of legislation that was doomed from the start purely because of gross establishment corruption.

One way to balance out the negative effect of legislation being not as popular as it may be; would be to go to great lengths to ensure that it is applied justly (without corruption), and that it is well explained (eg in conjunction with educating users that their belief that they are 'choosing' is distorted).

Lastly, it's worth pointing out that, despite the fact that many people do use drugs, and are opposed to legislation, there are also plenty who don't use illegal drugs, and who do support legislation.

Admittedly, their reasons for doing so are often as confused as the reasoning of drug supporters; I'm simply pointing out that anti-drug legislation is not as unpopular as you seem to think.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Posted:No quiet, I am not saying smoking pot is an important civil liberty. That's like arguing for free speech so I can yell obsenities at my pleasure. Rather, as I said, I think government regulation of what we do with our own bodies is a dangerous and scary precendent, as much as I find government censorship of news to be scary for free speech (as an example).

I was trying to explain why I disagree with dave's basic statement that "IF legislation will prevent harm, THEN it is justified". This is saying the ends justify the means, and that is a mistake. Its also why despite the fact that Iraw got Saddam out of power, it was still the wrong thing to do. It sets a dangerous precedent that Im not comfortable with.

As has already been pointed out, locking everyone in a padded cell and regulating everything in their lives will make people safe, but it is the wrong thing to do.

I offered several reasons why legislation will not work, and examples of WHEN it has not. Your right this doesnt mean it CANT work, but hey communism works in theory too. We dont live in a perfect world though, only in one where we can point at attempts that worked or failed.

My point with the compassion bit was that abusers arent doing it to hurt you. There is no malicious intent. It is a weak argument.


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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: i8beefy2


I was trying to explain why I disagree with dave's basic statement that "IF legislation will prevent harm, THEN it is justified". This is saying the ends justify the means, and that is a mistake.



I disagree- I do not support the blanket assertion that 'the ends justify the means'.

I do believe that in some scenarios, ends can justify means; but not in all.

I would also say that the assertion in question-

"if legislation (against some drugs) will prevent harm, then it is justified"

is not a case of ends justifying means; it is more a question of assessing a balance (of harm) and acting accordingly.

To use a concrete example- cigarette smoking, with regard to the next generation: -


If they are brought up in a world where cigarette smoking is seen as normal, legal (everywhere), a matter of personal choice, and is a common practice; then a fair proportion will (as they have done in previous generations) sample cigarettes and become addicted.

If they are brought up in a world where cigarette smoking is seen as abnormal, a result of chemical addiction, as being undesirable, illegal in most public areas and a uncommon practice; then the problem of cigarette addiction will be very nearly over.

And yes, some cigarette smokers will feel put upon by the necessary restrictions as to where they can indulge their habit, and some will resent the fact that they are increasingly seen as addicts.

But the positive part of the balance is that future generations will be spared becoming victims of an addiction that kills more people than any other avoidable cause.

Perhaps most important, is the fact that if we follow your proposition (to not legislate), the consequences of that cannot be brushed over and ignored.

ie you seem to be assuming that you can just take into account the drug users, and by not troubling them (with legislation) everythings OK.

It's not- going back to the assertion in question-

"if legislation (against some drugs) will prevent harm, then it is justified"

quite clearly, not legislating would cause great harm- even though it's harm brought about by inaction (not legislating); it is nonetheless harm.

Written by: i8beefy2


As has already been pointed out, locking everyone in a padded cell and regulating everything in their lives will make people safe, but it is the wrong thing to do.




Clearly no one is saying that.

To a degree, some forms of legislative intervention in the lives of individuals is desirable (examples being under-age sex legislation, seat-belt laws and smoking bans in workplaces/public buildings).

It's a matter of finding the right balance- no one here is suggesting going to the extreme extent suggested by the phrase 'padded cell'.

It's just a matter of not having everyone doing whatever they want.

Neither of those extremes is good- the solution lies somewhere in the middle.


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Posted:I agree that the solution lies somewhere in the middle. Where exactly we draw that line however I am in great disagreement about. I am using extreme examples to demonstrate my point because they are analogous and paint the picture in my favor. Simple politics, see? smile

The thing is I dont see this infringement on freedoms to be necessary. I feel its dangerous because governments should not have power over your body. Should they be able to say "No tattoos" or "No earings", or how about "No assisted suicide" or "No suspension of LST (Life Sustaining Treatment)"? These grey item areas I do not feel should be taken out of the realm of choice.

I do NOT see lack of legislation being a cause of harm at all in this case. I also don't think that legislation has the effect you are seeking here. For example, you painted a picture in that last post like legislation will change the minds of everyone to your side because it will suddenly be in law. If laws are made to make things right, and not made BECAUSE they are right, thats dangerous. As dangerous as giving government the ability to say what we can do with our own bodies.

Now Im not saying smoking bans aren't ok or something like that... they are annoying and such but I understand not wanting to be trapped in a bar with a bunch of smoke. And then walk outside into smog filled choking air that is the equivelent of smoking a pack a day anyway and not complain... but I digress since that only applies to certain cities, and was only a slight joke. smile

But I feel my analogies are accurate enough to prove your blanket statement mistaken somewhere: Legislation is not justified simply by preventing harm.

Also, legislation DOES cause harm, just of a different form. Drug wars are awfully expensive, the tax money involved is rediculous because your fighting a culture war / propoghanda war. The legislation in question is NOT going to be "harm reductive", but rather "punishment" based, so your jails are going to start filling up, as is evidenced by the number of non-violent criminals in jail here (America) on drug charges. In addition, this causes more money being spent on courts, legal proceedings, prison costs, etc., while shortening the time spent in jail by other offenders because they have to make room for the drug people. It also creates a growing sub-culture of probation / ex-con status that gives the government right to take away a good deal of your civil liberties if they should ever chose to. The people thrown in jail won't get help, they will get punished which does little to help the addiction problem that is causing the harm in the first place.

The only harm-reductive legislation was done away with here by Clinton a long time ago... really a shame. Treatment options always seemed a much better option than the punishment based legislation I outright reject.


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quiet
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Posted:re: OWD's: 'On those grounds, IMO, something bad is happening, and, if legislation can help preserve the rights of individuals to make genuine choices (as opposed to the 'compelled 'choices' involved in drug taking), then such legislation is justified, even if it's not supported by much of the population.'

This is a) a good point, and b) nicely ad hominem against i8beefy. Beefy, you seem to value 'choice' over 'harm prevention'; but, if Dave's point holds, then you must admit that such legislation would protect choice, and hence be justified.

An analogous case: should we be permitted to sell ourselves into slavery? You might argue that we *should*, since 'what we do with our own bodies is our own business'; then again, I'd suggest that we shouldn't, since that decision would radically restrict our future capacity for choice.

Put another way, if what you value is freedom, that doesn't mean that we should be free to render ourselves unfree. [c.f. slavery, tobacco, etc]

re: beefy's:

'Should they be able to say "No tattoos" or "No earings", or how about "No assisted suicide" or "No suspension of LST (Life Sustaining Treatment)"? These grey item areas I do not feel should be taken out of the realm of choice. . . I feel my analogies are accurate enough to prove your blanket statement mistaken somewhere: Legislation is not justified simply by preventing harm.'

Again, you've missed the point. The claim wasn't that all legislation is justified on grounds of harm-prevention, nor was it that all harm-prevention justifies legislation. Furthermore, what Dave was talking about (and what most harm prevention theorists are talking about) is HARM TO OTHERS. Tattoos, earrings, assisted suicide, suspension of LST, don't fall into this category; tattoos and earrings aren't harmful, assisted suicide is still suicide (rather than murder), suspension of LST - if done to prevent suffering - may be considered a case of harm prevention.

So your analogies completely fail to rebut Dave's suggestion: they aren't counterexamples, because they don't involve harm, and, specifically, they don't involve harm to others.


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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: i8beefy2




The thing is I dont see this infringement on freedoms to be necessary. I feel its dangerous because governments should not have power over your body. Should they be able to say "No tattoos" or "No earings", ............





In some cases yes; and they do- by making it illegal to tattoo minors, and rightly so. There's a lot of people who, at a young age, thought it would be really cool to have a spiders web tattooed across their neck- by the time it hits them that it was a really bad idea, it's all too late.



I'm inked myself, and I'm very glad I wasn't getting tattooed when I was a teenager!



Most tattooists themselves fully support laws that make tattooing minors illegal- and, in states where facial tattoos (for any age, including consenting adults) are permitted, most (reputable) tattooists will refuse to do them.



Should Govt.be allowed to stop a consneting adult being tattooed? IMO, no.



Like you I agree that there's a line to be drawn- I suspect that we'd also agree that in tattooing that line would permit adults to receive ink, but not minors.



I totally disagree with your blanket assertion that 'governments should not have power over your body', as I disagree with most such blanket statements.



IMO, my example above disproves that blanket statement, as my previous examples have also acted as counter examples to pretty much every other blanket statement posted in this thread.





Written by: i8beefy2


Also, legislation DOES cause harm, just of a different form. Drug wars are awfully expensive, the tax money involved is rediculous because your fighting a culture war / propoghanda war. The legislation in question is NOT going to be "harm reductive", but rather "punishment" based, so your jails are going to start filling up....









You've got a good point there- if legislation does increase harm in the ways you mention, then it is indeed a bad idea.



What I would dispute is the if part.



The drug violence from gangs trafficking class 'a' heroin, coke, crack etc, and the officials trying to stop them; is very messy- but, is it messier than the consequences of legalising those drugs?



That's debateable- it's certainly not a case of 'yes, definitly'.



My feelings are that the drug violence is bad, but I prefer it to having heroin sold openly and used freely by anyone who wants it.



I feel that the problems of heroin being illegal are considerable, but that they're probably preferable to it being legal.



Lastly, I want to point out that legalising class a drugs will not stop the gangsters; in the UK where tobacco is 100% legal, it's estimated that up to 40% of all tobacco sold is smuggled, black market produce.



There's a trade because it's sold cheaper- being black market there are all the problems normally associated with illegal drugs ie 'cutting' the product (often with toxic materials), violence amongst competitors etc.



The thing I'd like people to reflect upon is that, yes, there's a lot of bad stuff happening in the effort to legislate against drugs, and, whatever the legislation, there's always going to be people using the stuff anyway.



I'd ask you not to conclude from that, that legislation is necessarily failing- it could well be that it's shoring up a mess that, without legislation- would be a whole lot worse.



To put a spinning analogy on this- as a newbie learning BTB, you spend weeks and months practising and practising, and, two weeks in, you're in a mess- the BTB is not happening.



Do you conclude at that point that practice is ineffective? Or do you realise that, yes, the practice has not sorted out your inability to pull off a BTB, but, you're not going to give up and say 'practice doesn't work'- you're going to say that your BTB is admittedly far from perfect, but it's a damn site better than it would have been without the practice.



If your grounds for saying that legislation doesn't work is the fact that the world doesn't suddenly become perfect; that the stuff being legislated against is still around and causing problems; then yes, you're never going to see any effective legislation.



IMO, the grounds for legislation being considered 'effective' are that it reduces the problem.



And, as I posted before, there's a lot of effective legislation that impinges on some peoples choices-



* bans on smoking in public places

* A whole lot of bans on stuff that's OK for adults, but not for minors

* seat belt laws

* drink driving laws

* (arguably) prohibition of heroin, crack etc




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quiet
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Posted:and another inconsistency in i8beefy's view:

'Rather, as I said, I think government regulation of what we do with our own bodies is a dangerous and scary precendent . . . legislation DOES cause harm'

So it looks like you think that harm can determine whether or not we should legislate. [Dangerous, after all, can be glossed as 'likely to cause harm'].

And that's completely at odds with:

'I was trying to explain why I disagree with dave's basic statement that "IF legislation will prevent harm, THEN it is justified". This is saying the ends justify the means, and that is a mistake.'

So you're trying to argue both that considerations of harm impact on justification of legislation, AND that that kind of consequentialist argument is flawed. Which is it to be?

p.s. double yellow lines: justified or not?


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i8beefy2
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Posted:Ill take quiet first here...

I disagree with that point, largely because I disagree with the model of addiction your using here. I dont think you are compelled to take drugs by addiction. Now of course your gonna go and accuse me of being cold and insensitive and all that again every time I make a point, but hear me out. Compulsive behavior (addiction for all intents and purposes) is the culprit involved here, and that is an underlying problem. A lot of people can use drugs without any problem. They aren't as prone to compulsive behavior. Now perhaps this is an inbuilt feature of human beings to some degree with some survival value (doing what is known to work, or is expected to work from previous experiences). But ANYTHING can be addictive. Video games and sex can become addictive to the point of disfunction. So can athleticism (though this is of course, usually a good thing instead of bad).

So I disagree that it justifies legislation. In pure utilitarian terms, the choice to choose either bad or good is better than a protracted choice of only good or only bad. (Of course, I am NOT a utilitarian, but the term fit) Should we be able to sell ourselves into slavery? Well if you could change your mind as easily as you could about things you do to your own body, sure. But you are giving up your freedom in a way that is fundamentally different (in my view) from drug addiction. As you can guess, I also disagree with AA and other programs that put the power to reform only outside of the individual.

And that wasn't the claim? I thought your little IF-THEN statement summed it up quite neatly as such...

And suicide does not effect others in a similar manner as drug abuse? Weren't you the one telling me that was absolute rubbish? Tattoo's, etc.are weak examples, but pertinent none the less. Where should that line of demarcation fall, where should a government's power stop? I say it stops way before their ability to legislate about what can be done to ones own body, regardless of whether or not some other people like it or not.

And that isnt an inconsistency. I presented the cases I did to show that even if we DO assume that, there are harms that the legislation itself causes which must ALSO be weighed. As the two were from completely different points entirely, there is no inconsistency, just a demonstration of extra considerations even if you won't accept my view on legislation of the body. Which brings me to...

Dave, now as you say the Gov't shouldnt have control over allowing a consenting adult to get tattoos. Im going to change my argument a bit to fit a bit better with your view now. Im ok with age restrictions, and such. But I hold tight to my "the government should not have power over your body". Legislation can be effective without being right, which is why I will fundamentally disagree that the ends justify the means, though I will allow some of that... just not in this case where it doesn't seem to for me.

Legislation is a bandaid for gash. It attacks the effects without doing anything about the causes (coincidentally, my biggest problem with anti-depressents and abuse of drugs). Even then, the treatment of the effects are punishment, not treatment... I don't believe in punishment, at least not in this case, but thats a whole nother issue that Im sure would be infurriating. I might get behind treatment based legislation, but as I said, all of those kinds of answers are generally voted down for some reason. We spend more on the drug war than most European countries spend on their militaries, and we've accomplished almost nothing in the last 15 years for it. THAT, I would argue, is a strong supporting point for changing over to a treatment based initiative instead of simple criminalization of our peoples.

As I say, I might get behind that.... Everyone seems to be looking for a silver bullet answer here... that one point that will make everything seem obviously right or wrong. It isn't like that with these types of items... There are so many little supports and arguments that can be made, and things that can be weighed differently by different people that it is by their very nature that these types of things are hard to draw a line for.

Cheers


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quiet
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Posted:Ok, so what you're saying is: a consequentialist approach to justification of legislation doesn't work, but even if it did, it wouldn't show that we should legislate against drugs, since legislating against drug is itself harmful. Well, I beg to differ on both counts, but I'll leave the detail for another time. But I register that they're not strictly inconsistent.

However, you've [again] failed to understand the force of the 'IF-THEN' clause. You are confusing two different claims. They are:

1. If legislating against drugs prevents great harm to future generations, then it is [or at least may be] justified.

2. Necessarily, if legislation x prevents harm, then legislation is justified.

The claim that I've been citing was the first, not the second.

Furthermore, you've also missed my point about your counterexamples: you offered them as counterexamples against the claim that 'harm justifies legislation'. But the claim at hand is 'harm to others justifies legislation', and none of your examples involved harm to others. In the case of assisted suicide, I'm assuming that we're talking about euthenasia: that is, suicide where the alternative is pain and suffering, both for the would-be suicide, and for their friends and family. I repeat: YOUR COUNTEREXAMPLES FAIL, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT INVOLVE HARM TO OTHERS. Tattoos certainly don't.

What really struck me about that post, though, is the following claim:

'I dont think you are compelled to take drugs by addiction.'

I think this is very obviously false, and your argument for it is weak. Have you ever been a regular smoker? Have you ever known anyone who uses smack? Have you ever known any alcoholics? I'm not accusing you of being insensitive, I'm accusing you of talking utter rubbish: some substances are addictive. Nicotine is a prime example.

Your argument for your claim has two elements, and both are flawed.

Firstly, you claim that 'compulsive behaviour . . is the culprit here . . a lot of people can use drugs without any problem.' Well, not a lot. There do exist 'casual smokers' in the world, but they are few and far between. Far more numerous are people who started smoking 'occasionally', and now smoke regularly, and - more importantly - want to stop, but can't. You don't think that's addiction? The existence of a few strong-willed, or non-compulsive people does not in any way negate the fact that smoking is heavily addictive.

Secondly, you claim that 'anything can be addictive . . . so I disagree that it justifies legislation.' This fails on two counts: one, videogaming and sex are simply not as addictive as smoking, or taking coke, etc [how many sex addicts do you know who want to give up but can't?]; two, smoking is much worse for you than videogames or sex. 50% of smokers will die from smoking-related illnesses; the same is not true for videogames. The case for legislation was based partly harm; my other worry was that, even if you think that choice is important, there are some instances - such as smoking - where you actually *reduce* your freedom by becoming addicted. No-one was claiming that 'mere addictiveness' justifies legislation: the point was that some addictions, like tobacco, are just too dangerous.

More generally: could you honestly recommend smoking to one of your friends, on the grounds that 'hey, maybe you're one of the ones that can use it without falling into addiction'? Or maybe we should have signs saying 'warning: cigarettes aren't addictive, but if you've got a compulsive personality you should think twice about it?' Crazy position, crazy conclusions.


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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: i8beefy2

Ill take quiet first here...

I disagree with that point, largely because I disagree with the model of addiction your using here. I dont think you are compelled to take drugs by addiction. .......

...............Compulsive behavior (addiction for all intents and purposes) is the culprit involved here, and that is an underlying problem. A lot of people can use drugs without any problem. They aren't as prone to compulsive behavior.



Good point. I've seen a good few interviews with celebraties once notorious for their alcohol/drug abuse, who successfully tackled their compulsive behaviour (with regard to those substances) by abstaining totally from using them.

They came to realise that they were not capable of having one drink, or a few drinks. One drink to them would simply be the start of a chain that would leave them, once again, waking up 2 weeks later with no memory of what had occurred during their binge.

Yet they have friends who are capable of moderate use of exactly the same substances.

I do, however, question your view on two grounds-

1. this compulsive behaviour is not uncommon- the number of alcoholics in this world is considerable for example; a significant portion of the population is prone to this compulsion.

So I'd say that pretty much every point I've made about 'harm' still stands.

2. as quiet points out-

Written by: quiet


Have you ever been a regular smoker? Have you ever known anyone who uses smack? Have you ever known any alcoholics? I'm not accusing you of being insensitive, I'm accusing you of talking utter rubbish: some substances are addictive. Nicotine is a prime example.




Nicotine does not only cause addiction to those with compulsive behavior issues; the majority of individuals who smoke regularly for say, a year; will almost certainly find it extremely difficult to quit.

-------------------------

Written by: i8beefy2



Dave, now as you say the Gov't shouldnt have control over allowing a consenting adult to get tattoos. Im going to change my argument a bit to fit a bit better with your view now. Im ok with age restrictions, and such. But I hold tight to my "the government should not have power over your body".






I'm a little confused by what you're saying here- 'the govt should not have power over the bodies of those it governs'

yet you agree that it should have power over the bodies of those who are underage?

Is that right?

If so then clearly you believe that in some cases (eg 'underage') the govt should have power over bodies.

If this is true I'd be interested in what it is about underage individuals that justifies restrictions to their choices about what they have done to their bodies.

-----------------

Written by: i8beefy2

Legislation is a bandaid for gash. It attacks the effects without doing anything about the causes ................Even then, the treatment of the effects are punishment, not treatment...




I'd say that legislation can deal with the causes- I've previously argued that smoking would be on it's way to extinction if children weren't brought up in a world where smoking is seen as normal, acceptable, a matter of choice, permitted in public etc.

As many have pointed out, banning drugs does not stop people using them- heroin is illegal and there are still users.

However, legislation does stop our children seeing heroin addicts shooting up on the streets, and in public places.

They grow up seeing heroin addiction for what it is, a destructive and anti-social problem.

So I would argue that when substances are illegal, it does deal with some of the causes, in that a whole sub-set of the community (those who resect the law) will not take up the use of those substances.

Written by: i8beefy2


We spend more on the drug war than most European countries spend on their militaries, and we've accomplished almost nothing in the last 15 years for it.




Again, we've been over this. How do we know that nothing has been accomplished.

Yes, there's still a huge drug problem, and there are problems that result from attempts to stop the drug problem- I've previously argued that this does not in any way demonstrate that the drug war is failing.

It's all totally compatable with the view that the drug war has in fact been a spectacular success- in that without it, maybe the problems would be much, much worse.


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Posted:I have been addicted to X and coke. I've kicked both habits rather easily. I guess Im special like that. I smoke occasionally, but by no means compulsively, either. I have known heroin addicts, I have known E-tards, I have known coke heads. Some were destructive, but I dont blame the drug, I blame their abuse.

Im excluding physical dependence, first of all, as it is a symptom of addictive behavior. Your right, a lot, Id even say the majority, of people get addicted to nicotine. Recovery IS possible though with the propper TREATMENT options and abstinence for those individuals, therefore I would argue they are perfectly able to do it themselves. Hell, some people make lots of money off such people.

Respect of rules? We're talking about teenagers here... smile

How do we know nothing has been accomplished? Read "Drug War Heresies" by MacCoun and Reuter. They aregue that the biggest problems drugs cause are direct results of the drug war (IE the drugs aren't causing as much harm as the legislation). They also offer a good alternative in that book... How about Judge Gray's book "Why our drug laws have failed and what we can do about it"? DARE is such a joke that drug users are wearing their shirts like a badge of honor. African Americans are disproportionatly jailed for drug use, and are being put away longer than murderers. The BIGGEST issue is the sentencing stage, which is why "harm reduction" policies are becoming popular instead of incarceration versions.

Also I believe a few months back one of the American Drug War's top people resigned in disgust over the ineffectiveness of its legislation.

A Holland study by Zinberg and Robertson (government run) found that post-legalization regular use decreased by 40%. Or so I read...

Anyway, I've said just about everything I had to say and it looks like everyone else has dropped out of the thread already... plus the g'f is complaining Im spending too much time arguing online, hehe. G'night fellas.


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