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Ending the Drug War
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Author Topic: Ending the Drug War  (Read 35449 times)
DavidLeoThomas
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« on: January 18, 2009, 19:24:47 EST »

I'm putting together a list of reasons to end the War on Drugs.  Let me know if there are any I've missed, or if you'd like clarification on any point.

  • Racism/Inequality – disproportionately affects blacks, enforcement is often unequal
  • Productivity – ties up resources (human, otherwise) in enforcement and incarceration
  • Crime – limits access to law enforcement, makes people responsible for enforcing their own property rights, with everything this implies; serves as a funding source for criminals at home and abroad
  • Policing – trust of the populace, a huge resource for effective crime-fighting, is severely undermined - War on Drugs makes the police the enemy of a large portion of the people
  • Finances – lots of money is spent, while forgoing tax revenue
  • Treatment - limits options in drug treatment
  • Foreign Policy - limits options in Afghanistan and Central America
  • Civil Rights – justifies infringements, creates an authoritarian public culture
  • Health - increases risk to drug users due to lack of quality controls
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Medivh
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 20:18:20 EST »

Confusing message - Drugs are bad unless it's alcohol or tobacco. You should even be suspicious of what your doctor is poisoning you with feeding you.
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
Heq
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 20:49:46 EST »

1.  Incorrect in definition, it's classist, not racist.  It is not because they are black that many people sell drugs, but because they are poor.

2.  Agreed

3.  This seems to be an extension of point two, except for the thin line connecting the war on drugs to self-defense of property.  This makes no sense to me.

4.  Disagree, those people are never going to get along with enforcement.  Sorry, swaggering thugs are going to remain swaggering thugs.

5.  Sure, outgrowth of point two.

6.  Meh, that's a different kettle of fish, and not a direct relative to the concept of the war on drugs.  You can get pretty much anything with a perscription.

7.  Disagree, polemicism ruins the options there, not the actual war on drugs.  To be fair, I doubt Afganistan or Central America are ever going to be real imperial american allies in the long haul.

8.  Most things create more authoritarian states, people tend to -like- authoritarian states.

9.  If there were significant quality controls put in place, and selling controls, an underground market would form almost immediately, 20%+ of the american economy is already underground so it's not like we're dealing with a Northern European/Canadian situation.

I oppose the war on drugs for much different reasons, but I think the list is too long and scattershot to be viable from an argument standpoint, max it out at 5.
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DavidLeoThomas
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 00:51:00 EST »

1.  Incorrect in definition, it's classist, not racist.  It is not because they are black that many people sell drugs, but because they are poor.

What's racist is the hugely different conviction rates between whites and blacks in drug cases.

It's classist as well, for sure.

3.  This seems to be an extension of point two, except for the thin line connecting the war on drugs to self-defense of property.  This makes no sense to me.

For those who use drugs, drugs make up part of their property.  This property is not defended by the law, and so must be defended in other ways (leading to increased violence, as Hobbes predicts).

4.  Disagree, those people are never going to get along with enforcement.  Sorry, swaggering thugs are going to remain swaggering thugs.

"Those people"?

6.  Meh, that's a different kettle of fish, and not a direct relative to the concept of the war on drugs.  You can get pretty much anything with a perscription.

It makes people less likely to admit they use, for one.  It also makes related medical research more cumbersome.

7.  Disagree, polemicism ruins the options there, not the actual war on drugs.  To be fair, I doubt Afganistan or Central America are ever going to be real imperial american allies in the long haul.

We make a lot of enemies when we try to remove people's livelihoods, whatever we may think of them.

8.  Most things create more authoritarian states, people tend to -like- authoritarian states.

Doesn't really undermine the argument, does that?

9.  If there were significant quality controls put in place, and selling controls, an underground market would form almost immediately, 20%+ of the american economy is already underground so it's not like we're dealing with a Northern European/Canadian situation.

Sure, people who still buy from sketchy sources may wind up with bad stuff... but the same is true of any good/service.  We can at least make some basic effort to ensure that people *can* know what they are getting.

I oppose the war on drugs for much different reasons, but I think the list is too long and scattershot to be viable from an argument standpoint, max it out at 5.

Please add yours.  I'll work together whatever I can use, ultimately.  The final form will not be a list.
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 09:16:59 EST »

Overall I think it's quite a good list.

As Heq mentioned several of these are related.  "Productivity" and "Finances" are really very similar points - resources are being wasted.  Similarly the health and crime aspects are related.  It's good to mention these things separately though.

I'd mention two further points:
* Personal enjoyment - The current laws attempt to deny people the pleasure they have from taking drugs.
* Long term sustainability - Whatever people think of the law it is unlikely to remain feasible for many more decades to even put up a pretence of drug law enforcement.  Methods of synthesizing drugs on a small scale are getting better all the time.


Quote from: Heq
4.  Disagree, those people are never going to get along with enforcement.  Sorry, swaggering thugs are going to remain swaggering thugs.
Don't agree.  Drug users and drug dealers do not all fit into such stereotypes.  I've known a few casual drug dealers, they're not always the kind of person you expect.
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 09:33:19 EST »

I know quite a few from my "bad old days" and many of them do fit the stereotype.  They just incarcerated one of my childhood friends, it was most distressing.  However, were drugs legal would such people still end up needing to be removed from society.  I think the answer is yes.  It is a matter of identification for such people to be opposed to "the system", so if they cannot show their virility by opposing it one way they will do it in another.

Anyway, my opposition is from a viability standpoint.

I do dislike authoritarianism, but before making an ethical stand a solid question must be asked "can this be done?"  I have yet to see a theory which shows how crimilizing a thing leads to it ceasing to affect society.  Prohibition did not remove alcohol, and wounded the state badly in many ways.  FDR/Lincoln did not remove freedom, they merely made it's defenders more mobilized.

It is this aspect of mobilization and identification.  If we allow people to identify themselves as drug users it's nearly as bad as allowing them to identify themselves as republicans, so while the thing they are identified as may no longer even be something they desire, it's is part of their identity, so behooves them to do it anyway.  Drug use also falls under the category of "lead them by the nose, but don't push 'em", where people resent being pushed and entrench themselves (I think this applies to pretty much anything though).

So, let us have two case people, those who think the war on drugs is ethical and those who do not.

If you think it is unethical, you oppose the war on drugs.

If you think it is ethical, is it the best way to achieve the goal of removing drugs from society as a whole, or controlling it's distribution?  I think the answer is no, as there are better ways to achieve this goal (H could be effectively gone in a year if America bought Afganistan's and Thailand's poppy fields, as it would become too expensive for initial users, and habitual users would slowly exit society).  It is simply conceptually poor, as it treats all drug users as similar and all drugs as similar, whereas tailored solutions have a much better track record.

Thus even if it is ethically and socially the case that people do want the war on drugs to continue, it should be abandoned as it is not the best way to achieve the goals of the war on drugs.  In short, there is no rational reason why anyone of any set of beliefs would choose it (save for the idea that it's a front for other goals).
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DavidLeoThomas
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2009, 12:09:41 EST »

I know quite a few from my "bad old days" and many of them do fit the stereotype.  They just incarcerated one of my childhood friends, it was most distressing.  However, were drugs legal would such people still end up needing to be removed from society.  I think the answer is yes.  It is a matter of identification for such people to be opposed to "the system", so if they cannot show their virility by opposing it one way they will do it in another.

Of course "many" of them do fit the stereotype - that's typically why stereotypes arise.  The question is just what percentage.  I'd stipulate that it's well under 50 - and that alone means a huge drop in our prison population.  Those who do other illegal act can be prosecuted for them, which prosecution is made easier by the freeing of resources from the unnecessary prosecutions.

Anyway, my opposition is from a viability standpoint.

I do dislike authoritarianism, but before making an ethical stand a solid question must be asked "can this be done?"  I have yet to see a theory which shows how crimilizing a thing leads to it ceasing to affect society.  Prohibition did not remove alcohol, and wounded the state badly in many ways.  FDR/Lincoln did not remove freedom, they merely made it's defenders more mobilized.

It is this aspect of mobilization and identification.  If we allow people to identify themselves as drug users it's nearly as bad as allowing them to identify themselves as republicans, so while the thing they are identified as may no longer even be something they desire, it's is part of their identity, so behooves them to do it anyway.  Drug use also falls under the category of "lead them by the nose, but don't push 'em", where people resent being pushed and entrench themselves (I think this applies to pretty much anything though).

So, let us have two case people, those who think the war on drugs is ethical and those who do not.

If you think it is unethical, you oppose the war on drugs.

If you think it is ethical, is it the best way to achieve the goal of removing drugs from society as a whole, or controlling it's distribution?  I think the answer is no, as there are better ways to achieve this goal (H could be effectively gone in a year if America bought Afganistan's and Thailand's poppy fields, as it would become too expensive for initial users, and habitual users would slowly exit society).  It is simply conceptually poor, as it treats all drug users as similar and all drugs as similar, whereas tailored solutions have a much better track record.

Thus even if it is ethically and socially the case that people do want the war on drugs to continue, it should be abandoned as it is not the best way to achieve the goals of the war on drugs.  In short, there is no rational reason why anyone of any set of beliefs would choose it (save for the idea that it's a front for other goals).

History has shown that ineffectiveness is rarely enough to get the government to change course.  I intend to attack it from all (accurate) angles.
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joshbrenton
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2009, 12:27:29 EST »

This video might help you find some more supporting evidence. At least I hope it helps.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3025396475247394113
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wodan46
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2009, 21:30:53 EST »

While I find the mere existence of most drugs to be detestable, I am only concerned with whichever route mitigates the negative consequences of drugs the most, which typically consists of minimizing or eliminating people's use of it.  If legalizing drugs in order to grant the government the ability to control and regulate them is the best strategy, so be it, I don't have a particularly good knowledge base to argue the subject anyways.
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 08:34:00 EST »

Why do you find their existence detestable?  Do you find the existence of Treacle sponge detestable?  Without drugs people would certainly not be able to get addicted but they also would not be able to get high.  Why do you want to minimize or eliminate people's use of them?  Certainly drugs can be damaging, but need not be so.  Many people use all kinds of recreational drugs incurring few side effects.

I'm reminded of H.L. Mencken who define Puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy".
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wodan46
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2009, 18:13:53 EST »

Because I view illegal drugs along with smoking/drinking as universally a source of unhappiness, due to the damage they inflict to the mind and body both of those who use and those who don't, something which I consider to far exceed any benefits they grant.
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Psy
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2009, 18:30:32 EST »

Because I view illegal drugs along with smoking/drinking as universally a source of unhappiness, due to the damage they inflict to the mind and body both of those who use and those who don't, something which I consider to far exceed any benefits they grant.
Drugs are a symptom of mass unhappiness not a source, that the masses of the proletariat are unhappy with their life due to their exploitation so a significant number of the proletariat turns to drugs to ease the pain of exploitation.   To put it another way, if you were a peasant and given the choice would you want to be sober or would you like to live in a drug induced haze to hide the nature of your existence from yourself?  It is no coincidence that most armies have rampant drug problems when ever troops have very low moral.
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wodan46
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2009, 19:06:58 EST »

Drugs are a symptom of mass unhappiness not a source
No.  They are most definitely a source themselves once they start damaging your body and mind, regardless of why you took them in the first place.
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Medivh
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2009, 19:17:13 EST »

Everything's communism with you, isn't it Psy?

I mean, shit, boy! Grow a personality! The single dimension is getting tiring.
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
Psy
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2009, 19:18:53 EST »

Drugs are a symptom of mass unhappiness not a source
No.  They are most definitely a source themselves once they start damaging your body and mind, regardless of why you took them in the first place.
That would depend on the effect of the drug and how addictive the drug.  For example sugar is a mood alerting drug yet I don't think you would say sugar itself brings unhappiness.
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