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Drug Prohibition

LemarcLemarc Pretty TerribleRegistered User regular
I'd like to hear some arguments in favour of drug prohibiton. Specifically, I'm interested in the precise specifics of why prohibitionists believe that some recreational drugs ought to be outlawed. To help get things rolling, I put forward the following argument against prohibition on ethical grounds.

Given the following premises:

1. The act of ingesting a drug (be it aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, or heroin) is not unethical per se.
2. The act of breaking the law is not unethical per se, i.e. the law is not self-justifying.
3. A person who has behaved ethically in all respects is innocent of wrongdoing.
4. To deliberately harm an innocent person is unethical.

Then:

1. The prohibition of drug use entails the deliberate incarceration and punishment of innocent people.

Therefore:

1. The prohibition of drug use is unethical and should be stopped.


To address a couple of possible counterpoints:

- It's generally accepted that the social contract involves giving up certain freedoms in exchange for increased safety (or 'freedom from harm'). For example, I give up the right to carry a weapon, in exchange for a greatly reduced likelihood of being shot. Other people's drug use, however, does not pose a threat to me, so I get nothing in exchange for giving up my freedom. It's true that drug users may pose a threat to themselves, but self-destructive behaviour is a health issue, not a criminal one.

- A utilarian argument might be that, since some drug users harm themselves, it's acceptable to persecute some innocent people if it results in a sufficiently reduced rate of drug addiction that the overall harm is less than it would be if drugs were decriminalised; i.e. the ends justify the means. Assuming that argument is valid, and assuming you propose it, it would then be your responsibility to prove that a program of arrest and persecution results in less harm than a program of regulation and healthcare. Also, it's not acceptable to simply continue the program indefinitely with no real thought given to decriminalisation. If the program exists for utilarian reasons, then it should be reviewed regularly and critically on utilarian grounds, and if it can't be shown that it is and continues to be the optimal solution, should be modified or discontinued. There is no such rigorous review of the current legislation.


Prohibitionists, I invite you to take issue with any of my premises or conclusions. Or, if you prefer, ignore the above and post your own arguments in favour of prohibition. (Anti-prohibitionists' opinions are welcome too, of course.)

«1345

Posts

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2013
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    spacekungfuman on
    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Lemarc wrote: »
    1. The prohibition of drug use is unethical and should be stopped.

    Which drugs?

    There's a (probably apocryphal*) story attributed to all sorts of famous people, commonly Winston Churchill. Churchill is (purportedly) in an elevator, where he spies an attractive young lady, and asks her, "Would you sleep with me if I gave you a million pounds?" The woman, judging that he doesn't have a million pounds, laughs and jokingly says yes. Then Churchill says "Would you sleep with me if I gave you ten pounds?" The woman takes offense and says "No! I'm not a whore!" to which Churchill replies, "We've already established that you are, madam. Now we're just haggling over price."

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are harmless and should be sold with minimal restrictions: caffeine, Tylenol, etc. (There might be a few Scientologists out there who disagree.)

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are highly dangerous and they should be tightly regulated: heroin, methamphetamine. (There might be a few anarchists or Libertarians out there who disagree.)

    The question isn't so much one of "prohibition vs. non-prohibition" but rather what are the criteria for the regulation of a drug, and what sorts of restrictions are reasonable, and how do we enforce those restrictions?

    IE, we're just haggling over price.

    * - The story is probably made up to begin with, and even if it's not, it certainly didn't actually involve Churchill.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    a5ehrenMrMisterspool32y2jake215EchozagdrobRhan9ShadowhopeShazkar Shadowstormronya
  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Given the following premises:

    1. The act of ingesting a drug (be it aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, or heroin) is not unethical per se.
    2. The act of breaking the law is not unethical per se, i.e. the law is not self-justifying.
    3. A person who has behaved ethically in all respects is innocent of wrongdoing.
    4. To deliberately harm an innocent person is unethical.
    Is the act of purchasing illegal drugs ethical?

    Seems a bit late to start at "ingesting" if the goal is the demonstrate the "innocence" of the user.

    -This message was deviously brought to you by:
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Feral wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    1. The prohibition of drug use is unethical and should be stopped.

    Which drugs?

    There's a (probably apocryphal*) story attributed to all sorts of famous people, commonly Winston Churchill. Churchill is (purportedly) in an elevator, where he spies an attractive young lady, and asks her, "Would you sleep with me if I gave you a million pounds?" The woman, judging that he doesn't have a million pounds, laughs and jokingly says yes. Then Churchill says "Would you sleep with me if I gave you ten pounds?" The woman takes offense and says "No! I'm not a whore!" to which Churchill replies, "We've already established that you are, madam. Now we're just haggling over price."

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are harmless and should be sold with minimal restrictions: caffeine, Tylenol, etc. (There might be a few Scientologists out there who disagree.)

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are highly dangerous and they should be tightly regulated: heroin, methamphetamine. (There might be a few anarchists or Libertarians out there who disagree.)

    The question isn't so much one of "prohibition vs. non-prohibition" but rather what are the criteria for the regulation of a drug, and what sorts of restrictions are reasonable, and how do we enforce those restrictions?

    IE, we're just haggling over price.

    * - The story is probably made up to begin with, and even if it's not, it certainly didn't actually involve Churchill.

    Yeah. We've had this discussion several times on this forum, so we kinda know where all the discussion is going to fall. I don't think OP is going to get the philosophical fight he's looking for.

    a5ehren on
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Feral wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    1. The prohibition of drug use is unethical and should be stopped.

    Which drugs?

    There's a (probably apocryphal*) story attributed to all sorts of famous people, commonly Winston Churchill. Churchill is (purportedly) in an elevator, where he spies an attractive young lady, and asks her, "Would you sleep with me if I gave you a million pounds?" The woman, judging that he doesn't have a million pounds, laughs and jokingly says yes. Then Churchill says "Would you sleep with me if I gave you ten pounds?" The woman takes offense and says "No! I'm not a whore!" to which Churchill replies, "We've already established that you are, madam. Now we're just haggling over price."

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are harmless and should be sold with minimal restrictions: caffeine, Tylenol, etc. (There might be a few Scientologists out there who disagree.)

    Nearly everybody on this forum will agree that some drugs are highly dangerous and they should be tightly regulated: heroin, methamphetamine. (There might be a few anarchists or Libertarians out there who disagree.)

    The question isn't so much one of "prohibition vs. non-prohibition" but rather what are the criteria for the regulation of a drug, and what sorts of restrictions are reasonable, and how do we enforce those restrictions?

    IE, we're just haggling over price.

    * - The story is probably made up to begin with, and even if it's not, it certainly didn't actually involve Churchill.

    And when @Feral and I can agree on the framework of debate for drug prohibition, you know its a fair framework. And we agree on what the pertinent question is here.


    And I agree with SKFM also that #2 is not an accurate premise. Its basically an argument that in order for punishment to be valid, acts must be both illegal and unethical. However, there's no ethical framework in which taxes are mandated absent legal requirement, for instance. Alternately, without a legal framework property rights are vaguely justified so actions such as theft lose any contextual meaning. Without the law, one has no ethical requirement to not defend oneself from an arresting police officer or to obey a civil court's decision. A functional government must be able to mandate or prohibit some actions absent preexisting ethical or moral imperatives in order to function.

    PantsB on
    11793-1.png
    day9gosu.png
    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
    Feral
  • Clown ShoesClown Shoes Give me hay or give me death. Registered User regular
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Given the following premises:

    1. The act of ingesting a drug (be it aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, or heroin) is not unethical per se.
    2. The act of breaking the law is not unethical per se, i.e. the law is not self-justifying.
    3. A person who has behaved ethically in all respects is innocent of wrongdoing.
    4. To deliberately harm an innocent person is unethical.
    Is the act of purchasing illegal drugs ethical?
    Not if you use counterfeit money.
    Seems a bit late to start at "ingesting" if the goal is the demonstrate the "innocence" of the user.
    There are drugs that don't need to be bought. You could grow your own weed or pick wild mushrooms.

  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    "Drugs should be banned because they are icky and I am scared of them." --Old, White politicians.

  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

    He said that breaking the law is not unethical where the action taken is not itself unethical. I am asserting that, irrespective of the action taken, all instances of law breaking are unethical in that they erode the rule of law.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

    He said that breaking the law is not unethical where the action taken is not itself unethical. I am asserting that, irrespective of the action taken, all instances of law breaking are unethical in that they erode the rule of law.

    The next step down from that can also be asserted: Some instances of lawbreaking are unethical, even if the action taken is not itself unethical.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • LemarcLemarc Pretty Terrible Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I'm outnumbered and pressed for time, so sorry if my responses are a little terse. I'll post some more in-depth replies tomorrow.

    @Feral: I believe that all drugs should be legalised, taxed and regulated, including heroin and methamphetamines. So no, I'm not just haggling over price.
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

    He said that breaking the law is not unethical where the action taken is not itself unethical. I am asserting that, irrespective of the action taken, all instances of law breaking are unethical in that they erode the rule of law.

    @Nova: You're correct, I'm not claiming that those who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, but that a law which results in unethical prosecution is unethical and should be changed.

    @Spaceman: Do you consider civil disobedience to be unethical? What about engaging in homosexual acts within the territorial borders of Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore et al?
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Given the following premises:

    1. The act of ingesting a drug (be it aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, or heroin) is not unethical per se.
    2. The act of breaking the law is not unethical per se, i.e. the law is not self-justifying.
    3. A person who has behaved ethically in all respects is innocent of wrongdoing.
    4. To deliberately harm an innocent person is unethical.
    Is the act of purchasing illegal drugs ethical?
    Not if you use counterfeit money.
    Seems a bit late to start at "ingesting" if the goal is the demonstrate the "innocence" of the user.
    There are drugs that don't need to be bought. You could grow your own weed or pick wild mushrooms.

    Indeed. Contributing to the black market is arguably unethical but given that the black market only exists because of prohibition in the first place, as an argument in favour of prohibition it's circular reasoning.

    Lemarc on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    The moment you have decided as a society that people dying on the streets is not something you're willing to tolerate, you have created a societal cost for drug use. Said cost is a harm to people other than the user, even if we ignore drug-induced crimes.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Feral: I believe that all drugs should be legalised, taxed and regulated, including heroin and methamphetamines. So no, I'm not just haggling over price.

    Methamphetamine is already legal. It's just particularly tightly regulated. Specifically, it's on the same schedule as Oxycontin.

    You need to clarify what you mean by "legalised and regulated."

    1) In your world, would there be any restrictions on where a drug could be sold? Would you be able to buy heroin in pre-filled syringes at the supermarket?

    2) Would there be any restrictions on who a drug could be sold to? Could you sell heroin in a pre-filled syringe to a child?

    3) Would you restrict who could manufacture a drug? Could I make bathtub gin if I wanted to? How about bathtub heroin?

    4) Would you have any restrictions on where a drug might be used? Could a heroin user shoot up on the sidewalk?

    5) Would you have any restrictions on the sale of drugs that aren't particularly harmful to individuals but could cause public health problems in aggregate? For example: antibiotics? If antibiotics are overused in a community, you will end up with antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Would you put any restrictions on the sale of antibiotics?

    6) Would you have any restrictions on the sale of drugs that are in short supply but are needed for healthcare workers? For example: Tamiflu?

    You seem to have a model in mind for the regulation and sale of drugs. So let's hear it.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    redx
  • fugacityfugacity Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Lemarc wrote: »
    I'm outnumbered and pressed for time, so sorry if my responses are a little terse. I'll post some more in-depth replies tomorrow.

    Feral: I believe that all drugs should be legalised, taxed and regulated, including heroin and methamphetamines. So no, I'm not just haggling over price.
    I'll back you on this one. Many drugs become more dangerous when they are improperly made, refined, dosed and consumed, all due to the black market effect.
    Additionally, there are many drugs that have a less concentrated high and are bulkier and harder to transport than the same drug refined a different way, i.e. coca leaves vs cocaine vs crack. At each stage of refinement the drug gets more dangerous and potent, but in the end you're still trafficking an illegal substance so the push is to concentrate and enhance the drug.
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Spaceman: Do you consider civil disobedience to be unethical? What about engaging in homosexual acts within the territorial borders of Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore et al?
    In a sense, the break down of the rule of law is essential to civil disobedience and the end of Prohibition. When such a large portion of the population are "criminals" how such laws endure?

    Edit: remove infinite notification chain

    fugacity on
  • fugacityfugacity Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Feral: I believe that all drugs should be legalised, taxed and regulated, including heroin and methamphetamines. So no, I'm not just haggling over price.

    Methamphetamine is already legal. It's just particularly tightly regulated. Specifically, it's on the same schedule as Oxycontin.

    You need to clarify what you mean by "legalised and regulated."

    1) In your world, would there be any restrictions on where a drug could be sold? Would you be able to buy heroin in pre-filled syringes at the supermarket?

    2) Would there be any restrictions on who a drug could be sold to? Could you sell heroin in a pre-filled syringe to a child?

    3) Would you restrict who could manufacture a drug? Could I make bathtub gin if I wanted to? How about bathtub heroin?

    4) Would you have any restrictions on where a drug might be used? Could a heroin user shoot up on the sidewalk?

    5) Would you have any restrictions on the sale of drugs that aren't particularly harmful to individuals but could cause public health problems in aggregate? For example: antibiotics? If antibiotics are overused in a community, you will end up with antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Would you put any restrictions on the sale of antibiotics?

    6) Would you have any restrictions on the sale of drugs that are in short supply but are needed for healthcare workers? For example: Tamiflu?

    You seem to have a model in mind for the regulation and sale of drugs. So let's hear it.

    1) Likely, drug and specialty shops just like right now for some liquor and tobacco.
    2) Yes, just like liquor and tobacco.
    3) If there's a high likelihood of damaging effects from inadequate safety or poor manufacture, it could be restricted (thinking crystal meth here). Certainly anything manufactured should be restricted for sale by only qualified manufacturers (if you want to poison yourself on moonshine that should be up to you). But just growing certain products shouldn't be restricted.
    4) Probably just like liquor and tobacco. I'm sure there's some law or principle that has street people drinking out of paper bags instead of openly from bottles. I wouldn't want to restrict drug use so much that the homeless are put back into a situation where they are forced to break laws for their habit, but I don't think shooting up in the middle of a park or on the sidewalk is appropriate either.
    5) My view, Lemarc may differ, is that this is only an argument about recreational drugs. Drugs that aren't recreational would continue to be covered by current law. Dual use drugs would probably be covered by what is least restrictive, again to avoid a black market or seeking of a criminalized behavior.
    6) See 5.

  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    5) Would you have any restrictions on the sale of drugs that aren't particularly harmful to individuals but could cause public health problems in aggregate? For example: antibiotics? If antibiotics are overused in a community, you will end up with antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Would you put any restrictions on the sale of antibiotics?

    Well, you could argue that such drugs don't really have any effects on the patient, since they mostly impact our unicellular friends.

    Also, honestly, those are among the most important drugs to control. Look where they've gotten us in agriculture.

    fugacity
  • r4dr3zr4dr3z Registered User regular
    If I made a food item and tried to sell it to you, knowing that it was poison and likely to kill you, wouldn't you say that there should be a law against me doing so?

    The most serious drug-related crimes have to do with distribution and selling. It effectively creates the prohibition. I don't care if you personally want to consume crack cocaine, but people shouldn't be allowed to sell crack and profit off it given that it's basically a poison. Cigarettes are about as bad, but at least they kill you over time.

    Feral
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Aioua wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

    He said that breaking the law is not unethical where the action taken is not itself unethical. I am asserting that, irrespective of the action taken, all instances of law breaking are unethical in that they erode the rule of law.

    The next step down from that can also be asserted: Some instances of lawbreaking are unethical, even if the action taken is not itself unethical.

    I'm not sure that I follow why we would make this assertion. Could you elaborate?


    Lemarc wrote: »
    @Spaceman: Do you consider civil disobedience to be unethical? What about engaging in homosexual acts within the territorial borders of Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore et al?

    All I was asserting was that there is some degree of unethical behavior in all violations of law, to refute your assertion that violations of law are not necessarily unethical. You may have competing or even countervailing ethical obligations too, and so you may make the decision to violate the law for ethical reasons. But please remember that true civil disobedience requires (and derives its strength from) being caught and accepting punishment for your actions to display the injustice in the law as written. I endorse civil disobedience, but I do not endorse violating a law you disagree with and trying to avoid punishment, as a means of escaping your ethical obligation to follow the law, as a general proposition.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Aioua wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I take issue with your second (and consequently, your third) premises. The value of the law to society is largely that we can assume others will follow the law, and so we stop needing to waste energy looking over our backs to make sure the stranger on the street is not about to stab us. All violations of law that go unpunished decrease adherence to law, and thereby decrease the reliance that we can place on the assumption that people will follow the law.

    I also take issue with your claim that drug use does not harm other people, for all the typical reasons (DUI, effect on family and friends, etc.).

    Edit: that said, I do not support prohibition because it has failed, but in a perfect world, I would support total prohibition.

    I don't think this is quite what he was talking about. He isn't saying that people who break the law shouldn't be prosecuted, he is saying that the existence of the law itself is unethical because of the necessary consequences for breaking the law.

    He said that breaking the law is not unethical where the action taken is not itself unethical. I am asserting that, irrespective of the action taken, all instances of law breaking are unethical in that they erode the rule of law.

    The next step down from that can also be asserted: Some instances of lawbreaking are unethical, even if the action taken is not itself unethical.

    I'm not sure that I follow why we would make this assertion. Could you elaborate?

    Er, I was trying to avoid a silly argument by tempering your position a bit. I think saying lawbreaking is inherently unethical is just as problematic as saying it's as ethical as the action being performed.

    EDIT: not that it worked, since we're already in civil disobedience territory.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Indeed. Contributing to the black market is arguably unethical but given that the black market only exists because of prohibition in the first place, as an argument in favour of prohibition it's circular reasoning.
    It's not an argument in favour of prohibition no, but the point is that "incarcerating innocent people is wrong" isn't an argument against it either. A person who funds Mexican mass-murder or Afghani opium lords to spice up a party has hardly behaved ethically in all respects.

    Arguing that you had no choice because of prohibition is still asserting that the spiced up party is more important than not contributing to the various shitfests funded by drug money, and raises some interesting questions as to where you'd draw the line.

    Calixtus on
    -This message was deviously brought to you by:
    spacekungfuman
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    fugacity wrote: »
    5) My view, Lemarc may differ, is that this is only an argument about recreational drugs. Drugs that aren't recreational would continue to be covered by current law. Dual use drugs would probably be covered by what is least restrictive, again to avoid a black market or seeking of a criminalized behavior.

    Okay, so you acknowledge that it might be necessary to restrict some drugs (antibiotics, for instance) for public health reasons, but you don't want to do that with recreational drugs because you don't want a black market. I'm sympathetic.

    However, I think this presumes that the social ills of a black market for a given drug are generally worse than the social ills of an open market for a given drug. For some drugs, I don't think that's necessarily the case - meth, for instance.

    Part of this is my bias. I've known a lot of people who have fancied a lot of drugs, and I have never met a stable functional meth user. There are people who will smoke pot or drink beer a few times a week and still be functional employees, citizens, friends, spouses. I've never met anybody who could do that with meth. Every meth user I've ever met either turned into a lying stealing belligerent sack of shit, or they realized that they were going that route and managed to quit before they fucked up their lives.

    Obviously, that's not proof, and I can't prove a negative anyway. I can't prove that there aren't stable meth users out there. I just have trouble believing that there are.

    Consequently, I have trouble imagining healthy stable meth use in a hypothetical world where meth is available at corner stores. I'd rather have the black market.

    Consider the most common arguments why a black market is bad: it drives users to criminality, it drives producers to violence, and it causes impurities in the product. In the case of meth, it's so addictive and it damages peoples' decision-making capabilities so much that I think that it would drive people to criminality even if it were available for open purchase. I think a legal meth user would still be prone to violence. And meth itself is dangerous - regardless of impurities.

    Having meth produced by pharma companies and sold on an open market might reduce one peculiar ill of the meth black market - the environmental hazards presented by clandestine meth labs. I could see that as a valid argument. I just don't see it as good enough on its own to outweigh the ills of meth use in general.

    There's also the possibility that you don't necessarily need to completely open the sale of a drug to reduce the prevalence of a black market. Some drug habits are - for lack of better terms - fungible, or convertible. Part of the reason meth is so prevalent is because it's easy to manufacture, but I also think that people just like stimulants and the most powerful stimulant freely available is caffeine. How many potential meth users might be diverted from meth if Adderall were easier to obtain? Or even khat? I don't know - I don't have an answer to that.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I also think that part of the reason nicotine addiction is so prevalent is because nicotine is available at every gas station and liquor store. It's harder for an addict to break an addiction when they can't walk two blocks without passing three places to buy the object of their addiction (and especially when that addictive drug is openly advertised). Creating a similar state of affairs for other highly addictive drugs (like pretty much any stimulant or strong opioid) is a recipe for disaster, IMO.

    I think there's something to be said for making a drug available, but a little bit inconvenient to obtain. Municipalities can limit the number of liquor stores in an area and the hours at which they operate - and some places (like Washington State before 2012) were more strict about that than others. I think that's fundamentally a good idea, and if we were to adopt a similar model for some other recreational drugs, we can tweak the specific numbers (how many stores and what hours) based on the behavioral trends of the consumers of a given drug.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    Thanatos wrote: »
    The moment you have decided as a society that people dying on the streets is not something you're willing to tolerate, you have created a societal cost for drug use. Said cost is a harm to people other than the user, even if we ignore drug-induced crimes.

    This is true. I would add that societies generally rely on some non-state-enforced norms being internalized as a matter of course, and any norm-flouting behaviour that risks becoming widespread, can be materially destructive in this manner. Therein a (material) difference between a handful of recreational drug-users vs. widespread opiate addiction as a matter of course.

    We would have to pursue Feral's argument of the effects of particular psychoactives in detail, regrettably. High principle is a little unreliable here.

    aRkpc.gif
    spacekungfuman
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    ronya wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    The moment you have decided as a society that people dying on the streets is not something you're willing to tolerate, you have created a societal cost for drug use. Said cost is a harm to people other than the user, even if we ignore drug-induced crimes.

    This is true. I would add that societies generally rely on some non-state-enforced norms being internalized as a matter of course, and any norm-flouting behaviour that risks becoming widespread, can be materially destructive in this manner. Therein a (material) difference between a handful of recreational drug-users vs. widespread opiate addiction as a matter of course.

    We would have to pursue Feral's argument of the effects of particular psychoactives in detail, regrettably. High principle is a little unreliable here.

    Which is how it's done today, really.

    I just personally feel that the particular criteria we use to evaluate those psychoactives is a bit slip-shod...

    and that the actions we take against non-violent consumers of unauthorized drugs are overly punitive.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    HappylilElfJulius
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Widespread normalization mitigates the economic effects. Legalization in only one area would vastly concentrate the social ills and generate assorted smuggling-related mischief. On the other hand, prohibition in only one area likewise is costly to enforce, for no real effect. The implication is that societies tend to be swing between mass prohibition or mass legalization, even if some demographics or regions are better prepared to take on prohibition or legalization.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
    spacekungfuman
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    ronya wrote: »
    Widespread normalization mitigates the economic effects. Legalization in only one area would vastly concentrate the social ills and generate assorted smuggling-related mischief. On the other hand, prohibition in only one area likewise is costly to enforce, for no real effect. The implication is that societies tend to be swing between mass prohibition or mass legalization, even if some demographics or regions are better prepared to take on prohibition or legalization.

    Absolutely right. That's why we have the UN convention against illicit drugs and the International narcotics control board.

    Unfortunately for a progressive libertarian (small-l) agenda like mine, that just makes it even harder to engender change.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • LemarcLemarc Pretty Terrible Registered User regular
    r4dr3z wrote: »
    If I made a food item and tried to sell it to you, knowing that it was poison and likely to kill you, wouldn't you say that there should be a law against me doing so?

    The most serious drug-related crimes have to do with distribution and selling. It effectively creates the prohibition. I don't care if you personally want to consume crack cocaine, but people shouldn't be allowed to sell crack and profit off it given that it's basically a poison. Cigarettes are about as bad, but at least they kill you over time.

    If you sold it to me under false pretences, then yes. If I was fully aware of the risks and chose for myself to eat the poison, then no. Intent matters. People profit from the sale of alcohol, despite the fact that it's a poison and people can and do drink themselves to death. I could walk to the corner shop right now, buy a bottle of whiskey, and poison myself to death, but I wouldn't hold the shopkeeper responsible for it. Also note that prohibition actually increases the lethality of many drugs. If your concern is over the health issues (?), then why do you feel that criminalisation is the best policy? As opposed to e.g. healthcare, oversight and regulation?
    Lemarc wrote: »
    @Spaceman: Do you consider civil disobedience to be unethical? What about engaging in homosexual acts within the territorial borders of Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore et al?

    All I was asserting was that there is some degree of unethical behavior in all violations of law, to refute your assertion that violations of law are not necessarily unethical. You may have competing or even countervailing ethical obligations too, and so you may make the decision to violate the law for ethical reasons. But please remember that true civil disobedience requires (and derives its strength from) being caught and accepting punishment for your actions to display the injustice in the law as written. I endorse civil disobedience, but I do not endorse violating a law you disagree with and trying to avoid punishment, as a means of escaping your ethical obligation to follow the law, as a general proposition.

    There is no ethical obligation for me to have sex. If I lived in Nigeria, and had sex with a man in the privacy of my own home, and did not inform the authorities, would I be behaving unethically due to my flouting of the law? I'm not trying to catch you in some faux pas, I just want to better understand your position and the differences you see between the two situations, if any.
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Indeed. Contributing to the black market is arguably unethical but given that the black market only exists because of prohibition in the first place, as an argument in favour of prohibition it's circular reasoning.
    It's not an argument in favour of prohibition no, but the point is that "incarcerating innocent people is wrong" isn't an argument against it either. A person who funds Mexican mass-murder or Afghani opium lords to spice up a party has hardly behaved ethically in all respects.

    Arguing that you had no choice because of prohibition is still asserting that the spiced up party is more important than not contributing to the various shitfests funded by drug money, and raises some interesting questions as to where you'd draw the line.

    This is still circular reasoning. Once you concede that drug use is ethical and acceptable, if you continue to prosecute drug users for purchasing drugs (and thereby contributing to organised crime), you are treating the symptoms of a problem that the law itself has created. It's a non-issue.


    @Feral: I'm not opposed to regulation on principle, just criminalisation, and I agree with fugacity on most points. I believe that illegal recreational drugs should be available in a controlled manner similar to currently legal drugs. I don't want to take too firm a stand on exact specifics because any policy will doubtless require a lot of tweaking after the fact based on observation and information that isn't really available yet. I also believe that the treatment of addicts and drug abusers should be analagous to the treatment of the mentally ill – not that of criminals. Actually I don't see any real ethical distinction between drug addicts and people with “natural” mental illnesses, unless someone wants to argue that the drug addicts “deserve” it since their initial exposure was, theoretically, voluntary.

    I also believe that laws should not exist “by default” - i.e. if no compelling reason can be found for a law, it shouldn't exist. Your argument appears to be essentially the same as the utilarian argument I mentioned in my original post – if not, please correct me. While the negative effects of prohibition are actual and observable, the negative effects of total decriminalisation are largely theoretical (unless you want to count Portugal). Given all that, I'd argue it's your responsibility to satisfactorily prove that prohibition results in less harm than decriminalisation. If you (or rather, the legislators who represent your opinion) can't do that, then there should be, at the very least, serious legislative discussion and government-funded study towards establishing the best possible system for legal regulation of drugs.

  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    I'll start by saying I think that there are deep and systematic problems within our current drug control policies and our nation's mentality on them. Many of these policies, laws, and enforcement have become de facto institutionalized racism, and in many cases the rights of individuals are heavily and unfairly restricted for little benefit. I'm a fan of rehabilitation over incarceration, and don't think there are many cases where personal possession should be criminalized as it is today.

    That said, I absolutely do not support widespread legalization of all recreational drugs.

    The primary reason is that there are some drugs (heroin, meth, crack) that, when used outside of a clinical setting, have a tremendous potential for abuse, addiction, and harm. This potential and almost guaranteed long-term harm more then offsets any possible benefit that the use of these drugs provides society. In addition, addiction to these drugs becomes so overpowering that it effectively eliminates an individual's free will or 'choice' regarding these drugs. This harm doesn't just affect the individual - it affects their families through violence and lack of support. It also affects society as a whole. Unless you feel that the addict's responsibilities should be left unfulfilled and it's ok for them or their families to die in the street, society is forced to pick up the burden they leave behind.

    The idea that recreational drugs should be legal is predicated on concept that adults have free will and should be allowed to make their own choices. Since addiction, by definition, overpowers an individual's free will, this premise is fiction when discussing highly addictive drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, etc.

    For drugs that have minimal risk for addiction (marijuana) or a minimal risk of harm resulting from that addiction (caffeine), I support legalization and regulation.

    I'm on the fence about drugs with minimal risk of addiction, but whose use unambiguously results in the loss of free will / competency and greatly altered perception, such as LSD.

    Alcohol is a grey area, because while it carries the risk of addiction and abuse can result in impairment / loss of free will or competency, the alcohol can - and is regularly - used relationally without forming an addiction or significantly impairing a person's competency or perception. We also have many laws on what activities are permissible and where alcohol can be consumed.

    Due to the highly addictive properties of nicotine and virtually certain harm that results from long-term tobacco use, if we discovered it today I would not be opposed to heavy restrictions or making it illegal. That said, because of the cultural inertia tobacco use has, it's not a good representation of ideal drug laws.

  • LemarcLemarc Pretty Terrible Registered User regular
    zagdrob wrote: »
    That said, I absolutely do not support widespread legalization of all recreational drugs.

    The primary reason is that there are some drugs (heroin, meth, crack) that, when used outside of a clinical setting, have a tremendous potential for abuse, addiction, and harm. This potential and almost guaranteed long-term harm more then offsets any possible benefit that the use of these drugs provides society. In addition, addiction to these drugs becomes so overpowering that it effectively eliminates an individual's free will or 'choice' regarding these drugs. This harm doesn't just affect the individual - it affects their families through violence and lack of support. It also affects society as a whole. Unless you feel that the addict's responsibilities should be left unfulfilled and it's ok for them or their families to die in the street, society is forced to pick up the burden they leave behind.

    The idea that recreational drugs should be legal is predicated on concept that adults have free will and should be allowed to make their own choices. Since addiction, by definition, overpowers an individual's free will, this premise is fiction when discussing highly addictive drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, etc.

    Accepting, for the sake of argument, that this is true, it does not follow that prohibition is necessarily a good idea. What I would like to see is a positive argument in favour of prohibition, i.e. if your stance is that we should prohibit drug use to reduce social harm, are you able to demonstrate that prohibition does in fact result in less social harm than legalisation?

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Lemarc wrote: »
    r4dr3z wrote: »
    If I made a food item and tried to sell it to you, knowing that it was poison and likely to kill you, wouldn't you say that there should be a law against me doing so?

    The most serious drug-related crimes have to do with distribution and selling. It effectively creates the prohibition. I don't care if you personally want to consume crack cocaine, but people shouldn't be allowed to sell crack and profit off it given that it's basically a poison. Cigarettes are about as bad, but at least they kill you over time.

    If you sold it to me under false pretences, then yes. If I was fully aware of the risks and chose for myself to eat the poison, then no. Intent matters. People profit from the sale of alcohol, despite the fact that it's a poison and people can and do drink themselves to death. I could walk to the corner shop right now, buy a bottle of whiskey, and poison myself to death, but I wouldn't hold the shopkeeper responsible for it. Also note that prohibition actually increases the lethality of many drugs. If your concern is over the health issues (?), then why do you feel that criminalisation is the best policy? As opposed to e.g. healthcare, oversight and regulation?
    Lemarc wrote: »
    @Spaceman: Do you consider civil disobedience to be unethical? What about engaging in homosexual acts within the territorial borders of Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore et al?

    All I was asserting was that there is some degree of unethical behavior in all violations of law, to refute your assertion that violations of law are not necessarily unethical. You may have competing or even countervailing ethical obligations too, and so you may make the decision to violate the law for ethical reasons. But please remember that true civil disobedience requires (and derives its strength from) being caught and accepting punishment for your actions to display the injustice in the law as written. I endorse civil disobedience, but I do not endorse violating a law you disagree with and trying to avoid punishment, as a means of escaping your ethical obligation to follow the law, as a general proposition.

    There is no ethical obligation for me to have sex. If I lived in Nigeria, and had sex with a man in the privacy of my own home, and did not inform the authorities, would I be behaving unethically due to my flouting of the law? I'm not trying to catch you in some faux pas, I just want to better understand your position and the differences you see between the two situations, if any.
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Indeed. Contributing to the black market is arguably unethical but given that the black market only exists because of prohibition in the first place, as an argument in favour of prohibition it's circular reasoning.
    It's not an argument in favour of prohibition no, but the point is that "incarcerating innocent people is wrong" isn't an argument against it either. A person who funds Mexican mass-murder or Afghani opium lords to spice up a party has hardly behaved ethically in all respects.

    Arguing that you had no choice because of prohibition is still asserting that the spiced up party is more important than not contributing to the various shitfests funded by drug money, and raises some interesting questions as to where you'd draw the line.

    This is still circular reasoning. Once you concede that drug use is ethical and acceptable, if you continue to prosecute drug users for purchasing drugs (and thereby contributing to organised crime), you are treating the symptoms of a problem that the law itself has created. It's a non-issue.


    @Feral: I'm not opposed to regulation on principle, just criminalisation, and I agree with fugacity on most points. I believe that illegal recreational drugs should be available in a controlled manner similar to currently legal drugs. I don't want to take too firm a stand on exact specifics because any policy will doubtless require a lot of tweaking after the fact based on observation and information that isn't really available yet. I also believe that the treatment of addicts and drug abusers should be analagous to the treatment of the mentally ill – not that of criminals. Actually I don't see any real ethical distinction between drug addicts and people with “natural” mental illnesses, unless someone wants to argue that the drug addicts “deserve” it since their initial exposure was, theoretically, voluntary.

    I also believe that laws should not exist “by default” - i.e. if no compelling reason can be found for a law, it shouldn't exist. Your argument appears to be essentially the same as the utilarian argument I mentioned in my original post – if not, please correct me. While the negative effects of prohibition are actual and observable, the negative effects of total decriminalisation are largely theoretical (unless you want to count Portugal). Given all that, I'd argue it's your responsibility to satisfactorily prove that prohibition results in less harm than decriminalisation. If you (or rather, the legislators who represent your opinion) can't do that, then there should be, at the very least, serious legislative discussion and government-funded study towards establishing the best possible system for legal regulation of drugs.

    You ask a hard question, with what I must admit is a difficult answer. I do believe that the behavior you describe is unethical in that it is an unpunished violation of law, and so undermines the rule if law more generally, but I don't think that is enough on its own to recommend people abstain. This is really a mistake of the government which has made a "bad" law. I know that there are parallels to drugs, and I actually favor legalization of marijuana for this reason, even though i would favor total prohibition if it were possible.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Accepting, for the sake of argument, that this is true, it does not follow that prohibition is necessarily a good idea. What I would like to see is a positive argument in favour of prohibition, i.e. if your stance is that we should prohibit drug use to reduce social harm, are you able to demonstrate that prohibition does in fact result in less social harm than legalisation?

    Surely this depends on the country and the drug at hand?

    aRkpc.gif
    Feralspacekungfuman
  • MouserecoilMouserecoil Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    fugacity wrote: »
    5) My view, Lemarc may differ, is that this is only an argument about recreational drugs. Drugs that aren't recreational would continue to be covered by current law. Dual use drugs would probably be covered by what is least restrictive, again to avoid a black market or seeking of a criminalized behavior.

    There's also the possibility that you don't necessarily need to completely open the sale of a drug to reduce the prevalence of a black market. Some drug habits are - for lack of better terms - fungible, or convertible. Part of the reason meth is so prevalent is because it's easy to manufacture, but I also think that people just like stimulants and the most powerful stimulant freely available is caffeine. How many potential meth users might be diverted from meth if Adderall were easier to obtain? Or even khat? I don't know - I don't have an answer to that.

    On this point: if you are willing to make opioids, amphetamines, or analogues to cocaine available, why not just restrict sales to weaker, more easily manageable versions of those drugs? So instead of heroin, maybe you have hydrocodone, and instead of methamphetamine you have adderall, like you suggested. This eliminates the difficulties resulting from routes of administration (its probably preferable that IV or IM routes of administration are not made entirely acceptable socially for recreational purposes for health reasons), and also limits the abuse potential and likelihood of overdose somewhat.

    That said, those substances are still dangerous in some senses, and its entirely possible some people may become unhappy with anything less than their drug of choice. I feel like the best solution would be to come up with new recreational drugs that are more tailored (less potential for abuse, higher ratio between acceptable and dangerous dose), rather than repurposing medical drugs.

  • LemarcLemarc Pretty Terrible Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    You ask a hard question, with what I must admit is a difficult answer. I do believe that the behavior you describe is unethical in that it is an unpunished violation of law, and so undermines the rule if law more generally, but I don't think that is enough on its own to recommend people abstain. This is really a mistake of the government which has made a "bad" law. I know that there are parallels to drugs, and I actually favor legalization of marijuana for this reason, even though i would favor total prohibition if it were possible.

    I think you might be oversimplifying the situation slightly. The law is not monolithic – a lack of perceived enforcement in the area of, say, traffic violations doesn't necessarily increase people's tendency to commit arson and murder. If drug prohibition laws are themselves undesirable, then anything that undermines their legitimacy could be viewed as having a positive effect.

    What do you mean by "total prohibition"? Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine?
    ronya wrote: »
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Accepting, for the sake of argument, that this is true, it does not follow that prohibition is necessarily a good idea. What I would like to see is a positive argument in favour of prohibition, i.e. if your stance is that we should prohibit drug use to reduce social harm, are you able to demonstrate that prohibition does in fact result in less social harm than legalisation?

    Surely this depends on the country and the drug at hand?

    Sure, if you like. The current policy in most first-world countries is really more like a blanket ban, though.

    Lemarc on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Lemarc wrote: »
    Feral: I'm not opposed to regulation on principle, just criminalisation, and I agree with fugacity on most points. I believe that illegal recreational drugs should be available in a controlled manner similar to currently legal drugs. I don't want to take too firm a stand on exact specifics because any policy will doubtless require a lot of tweaking after the fact based on observation and information that isn't really available yet.

    I'm guessing you mean specifically criminalization of civilian possession, not necessarily criminalization of production.

    Part of the problem here, to me, is that the word "prohibition" harkens back to the 18th amendment, which specifically made production illegal, not possession.

    In Portugal, possession of illicit drugs is still technically illegal, it's just an administrative punishment rather than a criminal one (kind of like a jaywalking ticket). However, production of illicit drugs is still a criminal act in Portugal.

    Speaking of marijuana specifically: Portugal's liberal marijuana policies are more analogous to 1920s alcohol prohibition than the US's marijuana policies. When we criminalized possession of marijuana, we went a step past prohibition into super-mega-Raichu-prohibition.

    Consequently, if you say "we should end prohibition!" I'm not sure if you mean decriminalization of possession or complete legalization of amateur manufacture and distribution. This is a huge difference. (Technically speaking, a nation can't legalize amateur production of cannabis, cocaine, or heroin without running afoul of the UN Convention Against Trafficking of Illicit Drugs anyway, which is a pretty enormous political hurdle to jump.)

    Lemarc wrote: »
    I also believe that the treatment of addicts and drug abusers should be analagous to the treatment of the mentally ill – not that of criminals. Actually I don't see any real ethical distinction between drug addicts and people with “natural” mental illnesses, unless someone wants to argue that the drug addicts “deserve” it since their initial exposure was, theoretically, voluntary.

    I largely agree with this.

    Lemarc wrote: »
    I also believe that laws should not exist “by default” - i.e. if no compelling reason can be found for a law, it shouldn't exist. Your argument appears to be essentially the same as the utilarian argument I mentioned in my original post – if not, please correct me. While the negative effects of prohibition are actual and observable, the negative effects of total decriminalisation are largely theoretical (unless you want to count Portugal). Given all that, I'd argue it's your responsibility to satisfactorily prove that prohibition results in less harm than decriminalisation. If you (or rather, the legislators who represent your opinion) can't do that, then there should be, at the very least, serious legislative discussion and government-funded study towards establishing the best possible system for legal regulation of drugs.

    I actually agree with the bolded text and I've made almost exactly the same argument in prior drug threads on this board.

    I believe firmly that the burden of proof should be on those who want to restrict drugs to demonstrate why we should have those restrictions.

    I also believe that we should have licensed and regulated manufacture, and limited but legal sale, of certain low-risk drugs like marijuana, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, etc. And I think we should allow therapeutic use of MDMA.

    However, for certain drugs that are particularly dangerous to the individual or to the community, particularly addictive, or particularly known to promote aggressive or otherwise dangerous behavior then I have no problem with significant restrictions both on manufacture and possession. This would include meth, all opioids, gabapentin (due to its tendency to cause self-harming impulses), drugs with relatively narrow windows between desirable effects and overdose (medications like warfarin or recreational drugs like 2CT7), drugs where community overuse could promote disease (antibiotics, immunosuppressants).

    (I'm aware that the above list of criteria could also hit alcohol and nicotine, if interpreted strictly. That irony is not lost on me.)

    I don't think that it should be necessary to point to a real-world example of legalization to effectively argue that legalization would be dangerous. I think it's sufficient to point to the negative effects of the drug itself. Just as a low-controversy example: it's not a huge leap of logic to say that if antibiotics were sold over-the-counter in supermarkets, we'd have epidemics of antibiotics-resistant staph and tuberculosis, therefore we shouldn't sell antibiotics over-the-counter in supermarkets. Similarly, I really don't want to live in a world where people can buy meth at gas stations, because I think that even in the absence of a black market, meth use would still cause criminal and aggressive behavior.

    But if you just want to decriminalize meth possession, similar to Portugal, and treat meth addiction as a public health problem rather than a criminal issue, I'm fine with that. As long as we continue to bring the hammer down on clandestine manufacturers.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    The thing about drugs is, as with any prohibition, that they're here to stay, and nothing short of totalitarian death squads is going to change that. From that point the choice is simply to either ban them, or legalize them. Legalization has the massive benefit of allowing the criminal producers to be muscled out of the market by proper, legal ones simply due to superior products and lower prices. Legal manufacture is far easier to regulate, and more importantly to tax. The negative social effects may or may not change, but in the legalized system(which doesn't mean a free for all regarding drug use, controlling the sales and usage of drugs is still possible) the net benefit to the society is greater through increased societal income that has been diverted from the criminal elements.

    Many dangers of drugs also come from the inferior quality of the product, such as cutting them with all sorts of toxic substances. The most dangerous ones could still be strictly regulated by the government, of course. Many of the less dangerous drugs on the other hand occupy law enforcement and legal system to a degree that's frankly ridiculous compared to the problems they cause. I see no reason why some drugs couldn't be treated on par with alcohol, all the while having little effect on the society itself while providing extra income to the government and private sector while depriving criminal organizations of an equivalent amount.

    Really, what keeps this from happening is mostly old politicians set in their ways, and massive marketing campaigns demonizing all currently illegal drugs to a degree that does not reflect reality. The fact that several classes of illegal drugs are treated with a broad brush only hurts the society.

    And I say this as someone who's never even used a drug from those lists.

    fugacityMadCaddy
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    As an aside, changing needles from being easily purchasable to over-the-counter has introduced so much disease into the pool of drug users that it's insane. It isn't curbing the use of said drugs, it only makes it exponentially more dangerous than it already is. That really needs to change.

    JKKaAGp.png
    zagdrobRhan9MadCaddy
  • fugacityfugacity Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    BTW, speaking of drugs being fungible, I also think that any legalization should be phased in. Perhaps alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana first. Then a couple years later your "lighter" hard drugs like cocaine, mushrooms, etc. Then a few years after that eliminate all bans. Hopefully, drug seekers will substitute in a "lighter" drug that gives them what they are seeking. Also with some drugs it may be possible to maintain an addiction with a therapeutic dose of a similar drug that isn't as strong. I think there's examples of addicts with heroin addictions that were able to lead a normal productive life with a small maintenance dosage.

    This paper seems to be the best reference I can find on this, though I don't know the site so take it with a grain of salt (though it does list references). Edit: I think it was scanned, there are a few topological errors. Edit2: It's also from the friggen 70s. Lousy google search.

    Possession decriminalization should happen immediately and favor treating addiction and substance abuse as a medical and not a criminal problem.

    fugacity on
    Feral
  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    As an aside, changing needles from being easily purchasable to over-the-counter has introduced so much disease into the pool of drug users that it's insane. It isn't curbing the use of said drugs, it only makes it exponentially more dangerous than it already is. That really needs to change.

    A very good example expanding on my point about making the drugs themselves safer. Of course OD remains a possibility, but having the equipment become higher quality and cleaning up issues like the cutting of drugs with unregulated materials alone would have a significant beneficial effect on the current negative externalities from drug use.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    fugacity wrote: »
    BTW, speaking of drugs being fungible, I also think that any legalization should be phased in. Perhaps alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana first. Then a couple years later your "lighter" hard drugs like cocaine, mushrooms, etc. Then a few years after that eliminate all bans. Hopefully, drug seekers will substitute in a "lighter" drug that gives them what they are seeking. Also with some drugs it may be possible to maintain an addiction with a therapeutic dose of a similar drug that isn't as strong. I think there's examples of addicts with heroin addictions that were able to lead a normal productive life with a small maintenance dosage.

    This paper seems to be the best reference I can find on this, though I don't know the site so take it with a grain of salt (though it does list references). Edit: I think it was scanned, there are a few topological errors. Edit2: It's also from the friggen 70s. Lousy google search.

    Possession decriminalization should happen immediately and favor treating addiction and substance abuse as a medical and not a criminal problem.

    Here's a newer article for you that argues pretty much the same thing: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/clamour-grows-for-heroin-on-the-nhs-1786847.html

    (I agree with you, BTW.)

    Usually there are two types of "shooting gallery" - there's the type where the health program won't give any actual heroin, will give addicts clean needles and sterilization supplies and a safe quiet room to inject and amnesty from criminal penalties for possession. And then there's the type where the health program will actually provide limited quantities of heroin.

    Both styles are beneficial, but obviously the first one is a lot more politically feasible than the second.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    As an aside, changing needles from being easily purchasable to over-the-counter has introduced so much disease into the pool of drug users that it's insane. It isn't curbing the use of said drugs, it only makes it exponentially more dangerous than it already is. That really needs to change.

    A very good example expanding on my point about making the drugs themselves safer. Of course OD remains a possibility, but having the equipment become higher quality and cleaning up issues like the cutting of drugs with unregulated materials alone would have a significant beneficial effect on the current negative externalities from drug use.

    Looks like I misunderstood your post. Nothing to see here!

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
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