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Ending the Drug War
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Author Topic: Ending the Drug War  (Read 34020 times)
Bringerofpie
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« Reply #210 on: February 26, 2009, 21:55:01 EST »

The nasty drug addictions are most common with things like Heroin and Crack, which basically do destroy your mind and body extremely fast and are near impossible to stop taking without outside intervention.  Smoking and Alcohol aren't as bad, but their sheer commonality and social acceptance/ignorance leads to them causing much more in the way of deaths.

Outside of addiction and overdose, Heroin actually has no physical effects.
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wodan46
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« Reply #211 on: February 26, 2009, 23:17:33 EST »

The nasty drug addictions are most common with things like Heroin and Crack, which basically do destroy your mind and body extremely fast and are near impossible to stop taking without outside intervention.  Smoking and Alcohol aren't as bad, but their sheer commonality and social acceptance/ignorance leads to them causing much more in the way of deaths.

Outside of addiction and overdose, Heroin actually has no physical effects.
What are its long-term effects?

Source A
Long-term effects of heroin appear after repeated use for some period of time.Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin's depressing effects on respiration.In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not really dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs. With regular heroin use, tolerance develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity or effect.

As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped. Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), kicking movements ("kicking the habit"), and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last does and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health can be fatal.

Source B
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and—particularly in users who inject the drug—infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin often contains toxic contaminants or additives that can clog the blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs.

Saying Heroin doesn't kill people is like saying HIV doesn't kill people.  True, but inaccurate nonetheless.
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Medivh
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« Reply #212 on: February 26, 2009, 23:28:45 EST »

In addition to the physical symptoms noted above, heroin acts as a replacement for endorphins. Hence the high, and the pain-killing properties. Overdose of endorphins (yes, it's possible) leads to hallucination, as does "underdose" of same. With addiction, the body stops producing endorphins and "underdose" of endorphins is the reason for withdrawal. The act of taking heroin can also emulate bi-polar disorder, with the manic phase starting after the dose, and as it wears off the user slips into a depressive phase until the next hit. This can make helping addicts hard because a layman might just think that an addict is crazy. The differences are reasonably obvious to a trained professional, in most cases. But sufferers of bi-polar disorder have a heightened tendency to use uppers such as heroin, due to them being a quick fix for a depressive phase.
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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...
Current
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« Reply #213 on: February 27, 2009, 04:55:33 EST »

The nasty drug addictions are most common with things like Heroin and Crack, which basically do destroy your mind and body extremely fast and are near impossible to stop taking without outside intervention.  Smoking and Alcohol aren't as bad, but their sheer commonality and social acceptance/ignorance leads to them causing much more in the way of deaths.

Outside of addiction and overdose, Heroin actually has no physical effects.
Medivh and Wodan point out the effects of addiction and long term use, and problems brought on by illegality.

It is not true though that occasional use is without risks.  Because of Heroin's pain killing properties it is possible for a user to take it and injure themselves without noticing the severity of the injury.

Quote from: wodan46
who inject the drug—infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
That though is mostly a consequence of the ban and the difficulty of obtaining clean needles.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 07:50:25 EST by Current » Logged
Current
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« Reply #214 on: February 27, 2009, 08:00:12 EST »

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
It is being forced on those members of the population who do not agree with the decision.
If they had wished, they could have countered.  They snooze, they lose.  It is something common to both our systems that people, if they choose to do nothing, will get nothing.
No, this is not "common to both our systems".  What we are talking about here is replacing decisions that could be made in the private sphere with government decisions.  In a democracys such decisions would be made by an elected parliament or by government staff.  That means in the best case only a majority agree with such a decision.  However, that decisions is forced upon the dissenters.  This does not occur when such a decision remains in private hands.  The majority can take one path and minorities can take others.

(Of course it doesn't even mean that the decision is a majority one.  Many government decisions are taken without majority support.  For example opinion polls show that most US residents don't agree with the bank or auto bailouts).

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
There is a difference between a willingness to discuss something and delegation of the issue.  Politicians often do not even discuss the delegation.
Sad
What makes you unhappy about that comment?

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Haven't you have at various times in this thread argued in favour of bans?  At least in principle.

If you are advocating taking steps to these ends that involve coercion then that is just as bad as advocating a ban.
I said that I want to get rid of drugs, not that I wish to ban drugs.  What part of that do you fail to understand?  If banning drugs would get rid of them, I would advocate doing so.  However, it would not, and it would instead cause many negative side affects so I don't.  Restrictions, on the other hand, how you to reduce the use of the drug, while not causing the negativeness of outright banning a choice.  Similarly, if taking away a freedom would cause more problems than it solves, I would not advocate such occurring.
Well, I understand your position now.  I don't see any good justification for it though.  Why do you want to "get rid of drugs"?

I am arguing here against bans on drugs.  Also, though I disagree with restricting them in order to reduce use, for the same reason I oppose bans.  The situation with bans and "restrictions" is similar, in neither case have you given a good argument for them.  You concede that bans cause "negative side affects", why do you believe that other restrictions will not do the same?

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Quote from: wodan46
You have a point there.  Let's legalize murder.  After all, we can't objectively show that it really hurts the overall public good?
Since it affects the private good it clearly affects the public good.  Did you read the paragraph I wrote above this one.  In that I offered an example of a situation that involved the private good.  In that I demonstrated how we *can* understand that situation
Why?  Explain to me why the private good can be evaluated objectively, but the public good can't.  Explain to me how murder, which takes away a private good, disrupts the public good, but debilitating drugs, which also take away a private good, do not somehow disrupt the public good.
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
It is necessary for social interaction to be possible for there to be a law against murder.
Who says?  That's just your opinion.  We can't go around basing laws on opinions, can we?
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Unlike the situation with drug laws the particulars can be investigated, as with the radio regulation example I gave.  We can look at what happens when a murderer gets away with their crime for example.
Once again, why?  I fail to see the difference between them at all.  Why can you investigate the particulars of radio regulation and murder but not drugs?  At best, one could say that it is harder to investigate the particulars of drugs, but that hardly justifies not investigating them at all.
When a person takes drugs that is a personal decision.  It is a situation private to that individual.  The actions of that individual later may affect some public realm.  That is a reason for the laws against those behaviours, for laws against drunk driving but not for laws against drinking.  Drugs are not always "debilitating".  The personal decision to take them doesn't always "take away a private good".  The evening I wrote this post I had a couple of glasses of wine, I doubt this will be debilitating for me.  I consider it to be of private benefit to me.

Murder is entirely different.  By definition the person murdered is murdered involuntarily, it harms the victim personally. (Note that "killed" means something different from "murdered", a person may ask to be killed).  This is not something the victim has any decision over.  So, this is not a situation personal to the individual.  This is the sort of situation that the public must take an interest in.  We must have laws about how social interactions occur.  If such laws are not present then whatever party is most powerful will take whatever decision they prefer.  In other words, there would be anarchy and rule of naked power.

It is certainly my "opinion" that a law against murder is necessary for social interaction.  It is though based on a few facts.  Consider what would happen if there was no such law.  People's interests differ.  If in social situations it were permissible to murder another with no repercussions then this is what would occur when there is strong enough difference of interest.  If you don't like first principles logic then look at the empirical evidence.  Has there ever being a successful society where murder was permissible?

This is the first reason I give for my approach.  In social situations where multiple persons are involved laws are necessary for social interaction to take place.  So, the quality of information we can bring is less important here.  A societal decision must be made, so what is important is that it is made as well as possible.

The second reason I give is knowledge.  In most cases the victims of crimes loudly protest that they think they have been made unhappy.  Murder victims do not it must be said, but it's reasonable to assume that they would do.  So you "happiness by asking" could be done, however happiness is not directly relevant here.  What must be settled is firstly whether some event took place, and secondly whether some event broke some law or agreement.  To ensure general happiness it is not necessary that lawmakers understand that general happiness directly.  All they must understand is the situation local to the parties involved.  A law must be created that allows cooperation and ensures that the parties in any particular situation know where they stand.  People may then organise their behaviour in accordance with the laws.  The law does not have to understand their particular ends only their means.

This is of course a simplification.  But in general outline it is how common law works.  This sort of decision is really an arbitration, there is an accuser and an accused.  When there is no accuser though things are not so simple.  What you are proposing here is that laws be drafted for the common good for example steps be taken to reduce drug use.  How can this sort of thing be done without judging the common good?  As I said earlier such a thing is not possible.  Mass surveys are flawed, for reasons I mention earlier.  It is not possible to know the future repercussions of whatever measures are brought into effect.  This is a symptom of the fact that these sorts of laws are aimed at manipulating ends.  Laws which only affect means don't suffer from the same problem.  Most people will rearrange their means to achieve their preferred end.  (It is not quite this simple but the exceptions are well understood).

These sorts of laws that defend some supposed "common good" are what we classical liberals call infringements of liberty by government.  Since there is no injured party.  It is not a case, as a crime is, where coercion is used to meet coercion.  "Discouragement" may be similar to bans depending on its form.

The third reason is the interests of electorates and lawmakers.  Politicians want power and votes (and possibly money), they are not concerned about how they get them.  If a prominent interest group want personal activity X banned and will supply votes or campaign funds to do so then politicians will likely ban X.  The electorate only have a direct interest in protesting this is a majority of them support the continued existence of X.  The same is true of any sort of discouragement.  This is what I was talking about earlier when I gave the example of executing psychologists.

The electorate may protest about this if they realise that it is the "thin end of the wedge".  That is they may object in principle to X being banned.  What you are saying here though is that people should not make such principled arguments.  They should not protest against government infringements of liberty.  If the public accept this argument in general then they must accept it in each specific case.  The public clearly cannot know enough about the particular subject of any ban to form a judgement on it.  They must judge on the basis of general moral rules.  In which case one is to trust politicians and allow intervention in private personal activities they propose.  The other is to oppose every one.  If we take the former course then politicians will intervene in anything they like.  If a ban will gain them power, votes or money, regardless if the outcome is good or not they will implement it.  Only if we take the principled approach of opposing any laws on private personal behaviour can we hope for liberty in minority private activities.

My fourth reason is in the quote below:
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
I suspect that the effect of such bans is not to help people who are rash but rather the reverse.  Individuals are shielded from the effects of poor decisions they make, so they never learn the important skill of making careful decisions.

What you can't get away from is that in a democracy the people must make decisions.  If they don't make them personally then they must make them in the polling booth.  If a person make a rash decisions with their own life or their own money then they feel the effects themselves.  This provides a strong reason not to do these things.  However the polling booth does not provide such feedback.
The problem is that the consequences of those decisions are often irrevocable.  Even if the person has "learned their lesson", they may be bankrupt, addicted, or dead.
Bankruptcy and addiction are not irrevocable.  Death I agree is.

However I don't think this really takes away from my point.  Some dangers in life can be tackled, some cannot.  Government may be able to affect some of those things it can be tackled.  Doing so though prevents people from have a reason to learn how to make good decisions.  I think it is not at all certain that this is beneficial overall even for those individuals.

Also, I see no reason why the situation with polling booths is much better.  A poor decision by an electorate may have very serious consequences too, certainly involving death.

Quote from: wodan46
Also, you seem to presume that people are incapable of learning things without doing them.  Is your opinion of humanity that low?
No.  People learn by observing others, from classrooms and books and in many other ways.  Of course in some cases they learn from mistakes too, I certainly have from time to time.  "Experience keeps a dear school but some will accept no other".

What I'm really worried about though is reasons to learn.  If a person knows that not learning about Y may be harmful to them they have a good reason to learn about Y.  Without such a reason though there is often no need to learn. 

Today children and teenagers are given the message that harmful things come with bans or warnings.  This message is given by schooling and also by the presence of many bans and warnings.  They likely then think "if I learn what is banned or discouraged and avoid it I will avoid harm".  Further experience of harm from something not banned or discouraged would change this outlook.  But without any further experience it is entirely rational for individuals to work this way.

In my view it is damaging for society to paint this false picture of itself.  Some social scientists view the world as a place we must guide ourselves around.  Our view of that world is a "map".  Danger exists in both the map and the territory.  The territory may be dangerous and the map may be wrong.  We should not pretend otherwise.

In the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain there was a great way of getting rid of unpleasant wives or those who had affairs.  You found a quack doctor, an "expert".  Then you sent your wife to the doctor.  The doctor would declare her mad and have her confined to an asylum for life.  In the communist USSR the same thing was done with whole races.

Quote from: wodan46
I think you will find that drug-addled people make very different decisions than those same people do when not drug addled.  Hence, the change in the decision is a product of the drug, hence the drug caused the decision.
But the "drug-addled person" made the decision to take the drug.  His or her situation is their own doing.

This business of saying that people under the influence of drugs cannot make their own decisions is very dangerous.  It all sounds to me like an excuse to prevent people from making decisions for themselves that others don't like.  We should hold the widest view possible of who is "competent" to take decisions.  If we do not then politicians and the powerful will use it as an excuse to silence those they don't like.

Quote from: wodan46
What you seem to not understand is that the environment you advocate would result in people being deprived of the ability to make decisions for themselves by corporations.  Removal of government will result in less choice, not more, unless your idea of choice involves things like choosing between slavery or death.

For example, let's say that a corporation owns all access to water in the area.  They charge exorbitant prices for it.  You have the choice between paying the exorbitant price, or death.  In the real world, the choices aren't quite as dramatic, but they are of the same nature.
I'll argue with you about economics in other threads.

I moved this to last because I thought it a side-discussion:
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
A person who is not an addict has to spend quite a long period taking a drug in order to become an addict.
That is plainly and simply false.  Prove it.
Well, perhaps we are not disagreeing but only have a different view of time.  What I mean is that a person doesn't become an addict by their first experience with a drug.  It takes repeated use.
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Medivh
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« Reply #215 on: February 27, 2009, 09:00:15 EST »

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
It is being forced on those members of the population who do not agree with the decision.
If they had wished, they could have countered.  They snooze, they lose.  It is something common to both our systems that people, if they choose to do nothing, will get nothing.
No, this is not "common to both our systems".  What we are talking about here is replacing decisions that could be made in the private sphere with government decisions.  In a democracys such decisions would be made by an elected parliament or by government staff.  That means in the best case only a majority agree with such a decision.  However, that decisions is forced upon the dissenters.  This does not occur when such a decision remains in private hands.  The majority can take one path and minorities can take others.

(Of course it doesn't even mean that the decision is a majority one.  Many government decisions are taken without majority support.  For example opinion polls show that most US residents don't agree with the bank or auto bailouts).

But how many people are happy about the job market contracting? How many people would be happy about many more thousands being unable to support themselves? More importantly to many: how many people would be happy about those same people creating more competition in an already tight job market?

Now, while the concept of saving idiots from their own bad business decisions is counter to most people's sense of fair play (see poll results), in this case the previous government decided that the economy came before "fair play".

Onward: decisions being forced on minorities; there are laws regarding what laws can be made. The majority could, theoretically, repeal the civil rights laws of the US. The decision would get overturned in the supreme court, because the repeal would be considered to go against the constitution. In this respect, please stop misrepresenting democracy.

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Haven't you have at various times in this thread argued in favour of bans?  At least in principle.

If you are advocating taking steps to these ends that involve coercion then that is just as bad as advocating a ban.
I said that I want to get rid of drugs, not that I wish to ban drugs.  What part of that do you fail to understand?  If banning drugs would get rid of them, I would advocate doing so.  However, it would not, and it would instead cause many negative side affects so I don't.  Restrictions, on the other hand, how you to reduce the use of the drug, while not causing the negativeness of outright banning a choice.  Similarly, if taking away a freedom would cause more problems than it solves, I would not advocate such occurring.
Well, I understand your position now.  I don't see any good justification for it though.  Why do you want to "get rid of drugs"?

I am arguing here against bans on drugs.  Also, though I disagree with restricting them in order to reduce use, for the same reason I oppose bans.  The situation with bans and "restrictions" is similar, in neither case have you given a good argument for them.  You concede that bans cause "negative side affects", why do you believe that other restrictions will not do the same?

I believe Wodan gives the rationale that drugs cause more harm than good, and that reduction in harm should be the goal of any functional society. I can't say I disagree, nor that I find the justification to be poor.

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Quote from: wodan46
You have a point there.  Let's legalize murder.  After all, we can't objectively show that it really hurts the overall public good?
Since it affects the private good it clearly affects the public good.  Did you read the paragraph I wrote above this one.  In that I offered an example of a situation that involved the private good.  In that I demonstrated how we *can* understand that situation
Why?  Explain to me why the private good can be evaluated objectively, but the public good can't.  Explain to me how murder, which takes away a private good, disrupts the public good, but debilitating drugs, which also take away a private good, do not somehow disrupt the public good.
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
It is necessary for social interaction to be possible for there to be a law against murder.
Who says?  That's just your opinion.  We can't go around basing laws on opinions, can we?
Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
Unlike the situation with drug laws the particulars can be investigated, as with the radio regulation example I gave.  We can look at what happens when a murderer gets away with their crime for example.
Once again, why?  I fail to see the difference between them at all.  Why can you investigate the particulars of radio regulation and murder but not drugs?  At best, one could say that it is harder to investigate the particulars of drugs, but that hardly justifies not investigating them at all.
When a person takes drugs that is a personal decision.  It is a situation private to that individual.  The actions of that individual later may affect some public realm.  That is a reason for the laws against those behaviours, for laws against drunk driving but not for laws against drinking.  Drugs are not always "debilitating".  The personal decision to take them doesn't always "take away a private good".  The evening I wrote this post I had a couple of glasses of wine, I doubt this will be debilitating for me.  I consider it to be of private benefit to me.

Opiates are of a different class altogether. A person who has just received their first hit of heroin can already be addicted. Drug users are typically poorer than non-users, and typically have more health problems. They therefore, typically, become a burden on society sooner rather than later.

Reducing use of drugs will increase the mean level of health, and reduce the burden on society. Thereby increasing individual liberty by way of reducing external burdens upon that liberty, whether through reduced crime, reduced taxes, or reduced time costs associated with living in a near stateless society.

It is certainly my "opinion" that a law against murder is necessary for social interaction.  It is though based on a few facts.  Consider what would happen if there was no such law.  People's interests differ.  If in social situations it were permissible to murder another with no repercussions then this is what would occur when there is strong enough difference of interest.  If you don't like first principles logic then look at the empirical evidence.  Has there ever being a successful society where murder was permissible?

Well, Rome was fairly successful. Of course, "legal" murder was limited to a select few at the top.

Quote from: wodan46
I think you will find that drug-addled people make very different decisions than those same people do when not drug addled.  Hence, the change in the decision is a product of the drug, hence the drug caused the decision.
But the "drug-addled person" made the decision to take the drug.  His or her situation is their own doing.

This business of saying that people under the influence of drugs cannot make their own decisions is very dangerous.  It all sounds to me like an excuse to prevent people from making decisions for themselves that others don't like.  We should hold the widest view possible of who is "competent" to take decisions.  If we do not then politicians and the powerful will use it as an excuse to silence those they don't like.

Enough of your slippery slope fallacies. "Mentally competent" has a very precise definition. Many drug addicts don't fit the bill. Case closed.

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
A person who is not an addict has to spend quite a long period taking a drug in order to become an addict.
That is plainly and simply false.  Prove it.
Well, perhaps we are not disagreeing but only have a different view of time.  What I mean is that a person doesn't become an addict by their first experience with a drug.  It takes repeated use.

No, it really doesn't. Tobacco and cocaine take time to addict a user, on average. There are many factors which affect this though, including (for coke) smoking, snorting or injection. Heroin does not take time, however. Heroin can addict a user on the first hit, given a big enough first hit. Same with any opiate, including morphine.
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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...
Ihlosi
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« Reply #216 on: February 27, 2009, 12:41:59 EST »

Opiates are of a different class altogether. A person who has just received their first hit of heroin can already be addicted. Drug users are typically poorer than non-users, and typically have more health problems. They therefore, typically, become a burden on society sooner rather than later.

Why ... in the libertarian paradise, no one is forced to pay for their problems, so they're not a burden on society. They may be a burden on anyone who's not a zero-compassion sociopath and donates to some form of charitable organization to help them, though. If the drug users cannot find one of those, they can just go and die in the gutter. After all, the death is just the right remedy for anyone who can't doesn't want to support himself.

At least that's how I understand it.

Quote
Well, Rome was fairly successful. Of course, "legal" murder was limited to a select few at the top.

"Pater familias" ... that's all there is to say.

Some forms of dueling might qualify as murder under todays laws, too.
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Current
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« Reply #217 on: February 27, 2009, 14:06:01 EST »

Quote from: wodan46
Quote from: Current
It is being forced on those members of the population who do not agree with the decision.
If they had wished, they could have countered.  They snooze, they lose.  It is something common to both our systems that people, if they choose to do nothing, will get nothing.
No, this is not "common to both our systems".  What we are talking about here is replacing decisions that could be made in the private sphere with government decisions.  In a democracys such decisions would be made by an elected parliament or by government staff.  That means in the best case only a majority agree with such a decision.  However, that decisions is forced upon the dissenters.  This does not occur when such a decision remains in private hands.  The majority can take one path and minorities can take others.

(Of course it doesn't even mean that the decision is a majority one.  Many government decisions are taken without majority support.  For example opinion polls show that most US residents don't agree with the bank or auto bailouts).

But how many people are happy about the job market contracting? How many people would be happy about many more thousands being unable to support themselves? More importantly to many: how many people would be happy about those same people creating more competition in an already tight job market?
It is your judgment that the things that you mention above will happen.  Notice that the auto bailout is funded by US debt.  Investors put money into bonds to pay for it.  What would investors do with that money had there being no such government borrowing? 

Now, while the concept of saving idiots from their own bad business decisions is counter to most people's sense of fair play (see poll results), in this case the previous government decided that the economy came before "fair play".
Yes.  My point was not about the efficacy of the auto-bailouts.  My point was that majority governments do not always take the decisions that their electorates support.  This is true of the auto bailout and true of the bank bailout by the Bush administration.

Onward: decisions being forced on minorities; there are laws regarding what laws can be made. The majority could, theoretically, repeal the civil rights laws of the US. The decision would get overturned in the supreme court, because the repeal would be considered to go against the constitution. In this respect, please stop misrepresenting democracy.
Certainly that would happen in the US.  It's worth noting though that not all democracies are like that.  In the UK it is would be quite possible to repeal civil rights laws, and they have being repealed in the past.

More generally though, your comment only applies to a portion of legislation.  In a great many issues the government does force its decision on others who are unwilling.  It does not apply to bans and does not apply to taxes, for example.  What Wodan was saying to me was that people could object to legislation which is detrimental to them.  Certainly this is true.  My point is that it doesn't really solve the big problem which is the interests involved.

I believe Wodan gives the rationale that drugs cause more harm than good, and that reduction in harm should be the goal of any functional society. I can't say I disagree, nor that I find the justification to be poor.
He did.  Read the rest of the thread though and my arguments against his.

His justification is poor for several reasons.  Firstly, he has not actually measured the "good" that drugs do, and neither has anyone else.  So even in crudely utilitarian terms the case is not certain.

Secondly there is no way to make a true comparison.  If further measures are taken to "fight" drugs we don't know if they will lead to greater harm.  It is a gamble.

Opiates are of a different class altogether.
Really, they can force themselves on people without their consent can they?

A person who has just received their first hit of heroin can already be addicted.
Do you have any scientific backing for that idea?

Drug users are typically poorer than non-users, and typically have more health problems. They therefore, typically, become a burden on society sooner rather than later.
Certainly.

Reducing use of drugs will increase the mean level of health, and reduce the burden on society. Thereby increasing individual liberty by way of reducing external burdens upon that liberty, whether through reduced crime, reduced taxes, or reduced time costs associated with living in a near stateless society.
The libertarian Randy Barnett said:
Quote from: Randy Barnett
Whenever someone complains that libertarians are just pie-in-the-sky utopian (or distopian) intellectuals, just ask them again about the real world consequences of the War on Drugs, and see who gets all pie-in-the-sky right quick

"Use of drugs" cannot be magically be reduced.  Certainly the benefits you cite would emerge if drug use declined.  But what would be required to produce a decline?  People know that drugs can be damaging, they take them anyway.  How is this to be prevented?  Clearly massively authoritarian measures would be needed.

Think about it, heroin can be contaminated.  Without even considering addiction a heroin user takes the chance of death with every dose.  There is a quite reasonable chance of a non-custodial sentence of death.  How can the state top that?

This is what I mean about our lack of knowledge of the effects of our plans.  We can say "wouldn't it be nice if there were no drugs in the future".  But that doesn't mean that the actions we take toward that end are not important.  They are, and they may well be far worse than the drug problem.  If there were a way to objectively judge, and if I were a betting man, then I would put money on it.

It is certainly my "opinion" that a law against murder is necessary for social interaction.  It is though based on a few facts.  Consider what would happen if there was no such law.  People's interests differ.  If in social situations it were permissible to murder another with no repercussions then this is what would occur when there is strong enough difference of interest.  If you don't like first principles logic then look at the empirical evidence.  Has there ever being a successful society where murder was permissible?

Well, Rome was fairly successful. Of course, "legal" murder was limited to a select few at the top.
The periods when such murders took place tended to be "interesting".

Quote from: wodan46
I think you will find that drug-addled people make very different decisions than those same people do when not drug addled.  Hence, the change in the decision is a product of the drug, hence the drug caused the decision.
But the "drug-addled person" made the decision to take the drug.  His or her situation is their own doing.

This business of saying that people under the influence of drugs cannot make their own decisions is very dangerous.  It all sounds to me like an excuse to prevent people from making decisions for themselves that others don't like.  We should hold the widest view possible of who is "competent" to take decisions.  If we do not then politicians and the powerful will use it as an excuse to silence those they don't like.

Enough of your slippery slope fallacies. "Mentally competent" has a very precise definition. Many drug addicts don't fit the bill. Case closed.
My slippery-slope example is hardly a fallacy, it has occurred several times.

Please tell me how precise the definition of "Mentally competent" is and how it is judged.

I'll try to make my point a little clearer.  What Wodan was saying is that mental problems come from drug addiction and abuse.  He is saying that when that occurs the victims are not "mentally competent".  Hence he says there is no problem in principle with depriving people of the opportunity to make the decision in the first place.  I would contend the drug addicts are mentally competent in many cases.  But that's not really the big issue.

What is more important is the idea that is something could result in a person becoming unable to make decisions for themselves then it should be banned.  Think about where this decision would lead if applied generally.  To begin with it what about a person intending to commit suicide?  Doing that makes a person unable to make decisions for themselves. Would it be permissible to ban taking steps towards suicide?  What about dangerous sports?  They can lead to permanent injuries that make people incapable of making decisions, boxing for example.  Does that mean that there should be bans on such sport in case this happens?

The problem here should be obvious, a wide range of things come with some sort of risk of mental incapacitation.  Even crossing the street, since you may be run over by a car.  This risk alone isn't sufficient reason to ban something.

Opiates are of a different class altogether. A person who has just received their first hit of heroin can already be addicted. Drug users are typically poorer than non-users, and typically have more health problems. They therefore, typically, become a burden on society sooner rather than later.

Why ... in the libertarian paradise, no one is forced to pay for their problems, so they're not a burden on society.
Clearly in any society some people are "burdens".  Drug addicts can be in any society, if their addiction leads them to become thieves for example.  I'm not disputing that.

What I'm saying is that we must not be too keen to eliminate these burdens by reducing the liberties of others.

Ultimately there will always be these burdens on society.  Economists call them "unacknowledged externalities".  Humans cannot chase down every last one.  Nor should we.  In Japan people who are too overweight are considered a burden on the healthcare system.  They are sent to "re-education" camps.  This is clearly foolish.  What makes human society work well today is not that every tiny externality is dealt with.  It is rather that there are clear laws and customs about what can be done in what circumstances.  Individuals can plan around these and they can therefore plan for the long term.  People who say we should tax fat people because they use more water in the shower and cause the construction of larger reservoirs would do well to remember this.

They may be a burden on anyone who's not a zero-compassion sociopath and donates to some form of charitable organization to help them, though. If the drug users cannot find one of those, they can just go and die in the gutter. After all, the death is just the right remedy for anyone who can't doesn't want to support himself.

At least that's how I understand it.
Well, I've never advocated that sort of libertarianism.

That said, I'm sceptical of these tears supposedly being shed for drug addicts.  Let's look at what the actual effects of the prohibition of drugs are.  Drugs are still widely available by illegal means.  The unavailability that the laws attempt to produce has not materialized.  What has happened then, well:
* Drugs are sold by illegal criminal gangs who use violence and intimidation and fund other crime.
* Drugs are often polluted with cutting agents making them more dangerous.
* Drug prices are extremely high making addicts much poorer than they would be otherwise.
* Massive amounts of money are spent trying to enforce drug laws
* Intrusive and illiberal laws are passed to enforce drug laws

And after all that it's we libertarians who are labeled "zero compassion sociopaths".  I'd find it funny if it wasn't so sad.

The fact is that drug laws have never being shown to reduce the burdens on society in general.  They have not being shown to reduce the number who "die in the gutter" either.  We have little reason to think that they achieve either of these aims.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #218 on: February 27, 2009, 15:50:28 EST »

Really, they can force themselves on people without their consent can they?

Consent is meaningless without knowledge and understanding of the consequences. And I doubt that the majority of drug addicts has sufficient background in pharmacology or biochemistry to understand why, how quickly and how badly certain substances will mess up your brain. (No, the information from the drug dealer doesn't count. Drug dealers have a major conflict of interest).

Do you have any scientific backing for that idea?

Since opiates pretty much directly activate the receptors in the brain responsible for pure euphoria, it is pretty much a given that any user will want to repeat the experience. The stuff forces the brain to think that this is the best !"%ing thing that ever happened to it, period, and nothing else compares to it. Chemically. There's no way to beat that unless you have a mutation that makes you a non-responder to opiates.

Physical addiction, i.e. the onset of withdrawal symptoms, can happen after just a few days of use. I do consider physical addiction the lesser of the two evils, since it only punishes the addicts for trying to quit, while psychological addiction keeps them from even trying by making it easier and easier to rationalize their use of the substance in question.

Quote from: Randy Barnett
Whenever someone complains that libertarians are just pie-in-the-sky utopian (or distopian) intellectuals, just ask them again about the real world consequences of the War on Drugs, and see who gets all pie-in-the-sky right quick.

The "war on drugs" is a US thing. You don't need to be a libertarian to find it excessive.

Quote
This business of saying that people under the influence of drugs cannot make their own decisions is very dangerous.

What part of biochemistry do I need to explain? You brain is responsible for decisions. It needs certain levels of various chemicals to make decisions we consider "free" or "self-controlled". If you mess up this chemical balance, you can radically alter the outcome of this decision-making process, up to the point of completely changing the personality.

Heck, you don't even need "drugs" to test this. Just try to slip into light hypoglycemia for a while, it turns people, even the otherwise nice, into utter assholes that make decisions that they would not make under normal circumstances, and that they usually cannot explain afterwards.

And after all that it's we libertarians who are labeled "zero compassion sociopaths".  I'd find it funny if it wasn't so sad.

Oh, you could be one of the charitable ones, which no doubt exist.
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wodan46
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« Reply #219 on: February 27, 2009, 16:16:16 EST »

"Drug addicts are mentally competent"?  You do realize that if they are addicted, they are by definition having their mental faculties warped, probably to a major degree?  Also, it is reasonable to conclude that someone who intends to commit suicide is mentally unbalanced, while someone who intends to play dangerous sports, while perhaps somewhat foolish, is still making decisions within the realm of tolerability.

Also, could you stop the "ban" strawman?  I thought we'd made it clear now that we want to get rid of dangerous drugs via methods that work.
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« Reply #220 on: February 27, 2009, 23:41:00 EST »

We let people who believe in fairies, gods, and democracy vote.

Drugs may addle the brain, but if you ask me who strikes me as more brain damaged between people who chant political slogans and people who do meth and exchange blowjobs I'd be hard pressed to choose, especially if you showed a video of someone chanting and shaking violently or someone huffing compressed air.

Given that we let nutbars vote, it seems foolish to say "You can be whacked up on X, but not Y."

The point of this line of reasoning is that claiming there is a threshold to mental stability which drugs immediately cross is nonsense, unless you are also willing to ban all the other whackjobs from having the right to self-determine.
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« Reply #221 on: February 28, 2009, 10:56:17 EST »

I'm going to take the road least travelled here. I think drugs which are currently illegal should remain illegal. Including marijuana.

History shows there will always be criminals, and they will always find criminal activities to engage in. Frankly, dealing drugs strikes me as one of the most innocent criminal activities there are.

Before you scream at me, consider this : the only intended victims of a drug dealer willingly put themselves in harm's way by either using or selling drugs. Steer clear of those activities and you can only suffer by being an innocent bystander... and frankly all crimes put innocent bystanders at risk.

Furthermore, otherwise law-abiding people who addicted to ilegal drugs are few (as opposed to alcohol or tobacco), so their safety need not to be a top priority. It falls squarely in the "freedom to be dumb" category.

Legalize drugs and former drug dealers will go into extorsion, mugging or robbery, all of which can have innocent people as both intended victims and innocent bystanders.

So I say keep drugs illegal, it's a good niche for thugs to be funnelled into.
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« Reply #222 on: February 28, 2009, 11:52:19 EST »

Actually Andrei, if you legalize certain drugs (namely Marijuana), many dealers will either go into illegal sale of legal goods (namely, selling Marijuana without a license) or legal sales and business (Marijuana).
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« Reply #223 on: March 01, 2009, 00:10:14 EST »

The point of this line of reasoning is that claiming there is a threshold to mental stability which drugs immediately cross is nonsense, unless you are also willing to ban all the other whackjobs from having the right to self-determine.
Taking away freedom of choice is an extremely dangerous option, that can be done only when you can conclusively, through solid evidence, that eliminating the choice results in greater effective freedom overall.  Drugs, because of their chemical and observable effects, can be scientifically evaluated to a far superior degree than say, religious zealotry.
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« Reply #224 on: March 01, 2009, 03:06:39 EST »

No, this is not "common to both our systems".  What we are talking about here is replacing decisions that could be made in the private sphere with government decisions.
The private sphere never made decisions on the subject in the first place.  An addict lacks the ability to make decisions for themselves, restricting their situation so that they are able to make decisions for themselves again means more, not less choice.

Quote from: Current
Well, I understand your position now.  I don't see any good justification for it though.  Why do you want to "get rid of drugs"?
Because people are less happy when drugs are present, due to a variety of factors we've gone over.  They turn productive, happy, peaceful people into unproductive, miserable, dangerous people.  Entire communities have been destroyed by drugs, or had their progress squelched.  It is argued by some that crack resulted in black communities being set back 2 decades in their path towards socio-economic equality.  Legal drugs, in the mean time, have turned countless people into dangers to themselves and others, while killing thousands and thousands of people.


Quote from: Current
I am arguing here against bans on drugs.  Also, though I disagree with restricting them in order to reduce use, for the same reason I oppose bans.  The situation with bans and "restrictions" is similar, in neither case have you given a good argument for them.  You concede that bans cause "negative side affects", why do you believe that other restrictions will not do the same?

Do any of the following occur to Alcohol and Tobacco, despite heavy restrictions on them:
* Drugs are sold by illegal criminal gangs who use violence and intimidation and fund other crime. (nope)
* Drugs are often polluted with cutting agents making them more dangerous. (nope)
* Drug prices are extremely high making addicts much poorer than they would be otherwise. (smoking, a little)
* Massive amounts of money are spent trying to enforce drug laws (ATF budget is about a Billion, not that bad)
* Intrusive and illiberal laws are passed to enforce drug laws (asking for ID hardly qualifies)

Quote from: Current
When a person takes drugs that is a personal decision.  It is a situation private to that individual.
That is a load of crap.  Do people live in Skinner Boxes in your world?  Because, see, in mine, people actually are able to interact with each other.  If your decision impacts others, it is not a private decision.  As a result, the concept of a personal decision is a meaningless concept.  If you were to die today, it would impact thousands of people, mostly for the bad.

Quote from: Current
The actions of that individual later may affect some public realm.  That is a reason for the laws against those behaviours, for laws against drunk driving but not for laws against drinking.  Drugs are not always "debilitating".  The personal decision to take them doesn't always "take away a private good".
Correct.  Which is why I don't advocate banning them.  However, they've consistently proven to be far too much for the average person to handle, and getting it out of their hands will result in a lot of private/public goods being retained that would be lost otherwise.

Quote from: Current
Murder is entirely different.  By definition the person murdered is murdered involuntarily, it harms the victim personally.  This is not something the victim has any decision over.  So, this is not a situation personal to the individual.  This is the sort of situation that the public must take an interest in.
And there is no difference from the first situation.  If you get drunk and die because of it, your decision impacts others, they do not have a choice about it, and they are harmed by it.  If it can be reasonably ascertained that getting drunk would lead to death, then it can be reasonable to provide means to prevent such from happening.

Quote from: Current
We must have laws about how social interactions occur.  If such laws are not present then whatever party is most powerful will take whatever decision they prefer.  In other words, there would be anarchy and rule of naked power.
Which is what you clearly advocate.  You show complete disdain for government capability in your posts, why on earth would it have the capacity to protect people's private goods, instead of becoming corrupt and selling those goods to the highest bidder?  Especially since you also plan to neuter government power by both cutting off their income supply and discouraging people from believing that it is a valid means by which they can exert influence.  In fact, government might simply be removed from the power picture altogether, whereupon corporations and localized interest groups wouldn't have to use it as a middle man anymore when they go out to screw people.

Quote from: Current
Has there ever being a successful society where murder was permissible?
Yes.  Many societies have been quite successful(ish).  See Japan, in particular, where Japanese Samurai saw nothing wrong with the concept of testing out a new sword on a random passerby to see if the craftmanship was good.

Quote from: Current
This is the first reason I give for my approach.  In social situations where multiple persons are involved laws are necessary for social interaction to take place.
All situations fall under that criteria, some more directly than others, but they all fall.  While those that fall indirectly require more evidence than those that are direct when it comes to deriving conclusions, its still doable.

Quote from: Current
The second reason I give is knowledge.  What must be settled is firstly whether some event took place, and secondly whether some event broke some law or agreement.
Why?  Laws and agreements exist only to provide for the general happiness, they are the means, not the end.

Quote from: Current
To ensure general happiness it is not necessary that lawmakers understand that general happiness directly.  All they must understand is the situation local to the parties involved.
Why not?  How so?  More baseless premises.

Quote from: Current
A law must be created that allows cooperation and ensures that the parties in any particular situation know where they stand.  People may then organise their behaviour in accordance with the laws.  The law does not have to understand their particular ends only their means.
Why do you always sacrifice the ends for the means?  While its true that overly contaminated means will doom the end regardless, having a pristine means matters little if there is no end to obtain.

Quote from: Current
But in general outline it is how common law works.  This sort of decision is really an arbitration, there is an accuser and an accused.  When there is no accuser though things are not so simple.  What you are proposing here is that laws be drafted for the common good for example steps be taken to reduce drug use.  How can this sort of thing be done without judging the common good?
Judging the common good is a given.  All decisions are based around judging the common good.  Arbitration is done solely because evidence points towards it being effective at achieving the common good.  The only difference is that its somewhat easier to evaluate.  But not always.  What if I accuse smokers of polluting public places with toxic gases?  Resolving that decision will require arbitration, and it will not be done on smooth grounds.  Similarly, many decisions that don't involve direct one on one arbitration will be done on less smooth grounds.

Quote from: Current
As I said earlier such a thing is not possible.  Mass surveys are flawed, for reasons I mention earlier.  It is not possible to know the future repercussions of whatever measures are brought into effect.  This is a symptom of the fact that these sorts of laws are aimed at manipulating ends.  Laws which only affect means don't suffer from the same problem.  Most people will rearrange their means to achieve their preferred end.  (It is not quite this simple but the exceptions are well understood).
Again with the means, again you offer no real explanation as to why means are any different from an evaluation standpoint than ends.  You are right in that people will rearrange their means to achieve their preferred end.  Fortunately, that is the very objective of drug laws.

Let me make myself very clear now.  We are not prohibiting the end of drug use, we are prohibiting its ability to interfere with the vitality of people's means.  Drug use undeniably limits people's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness to a major degree, and it is well within the boundaries of reason to believe that it is possible to prevent such loss via restrictions without incurring a greater one.

Quote from: Current
These sorts of laws that defend some supposed "common good" are what we classical liberals call infringements of liberty by government.  Since there is no injured party.
Other than the person who is dying, dead, or hurting others?  All of which happen constantly as a direct result of drug use.


Quote from: Current
What you are saying here though is that people should not make such principled arguments.  They should not protest against government infringements of liberty.
...You are joking, I assume, because I seem to recall arguing the exact opposite.  Only in an environment where people will protest government infringement of liberty can it be possible for infringement of liberty be done in a manner that produces more, not less, liberty.

Quote from: Current
If the public accept this argument in general then they must accept it in each specific case.
No

Quote from: Current
The public clearly cannot know enough about the particular subject of any ban to form a judgement on it.
This is false, I have already explained why.  It is not necessary for the whole public to be knowledgeable on the subject in order for there to be sufficient awareness, so long as those that are knowledgeable disseminate that to others.

Quote from: Current
The other is to oppose every one.
Must be nice to have the world be black and white like that.

Quote from: Current
If we take the former course then politicians will intervene in anything they like.  If a ban will gain them power, votes or money, regardless if the outcome is good or not they will implement it.
And there is no reason for it to be anything but good if the public protests what isn't.

Quote from: Current
Only if we take the principled approach of opposing any laws on private personal behaviour can we hope for liberty in minority private activities.
Wrong.  By doing so, you will ensure that private liberty will be utterly eradicated.  People will have their liberty slowly peeled apart and shredded to oblivion by countless hostile interests, all occurring below the radar of so called public activity.  If someone offers someone else heroin, and gets them addicted, they will have destroyed that person's liberty, without having committed a single wrong in your system.  If someone abuses legal writing in order to cause a person to lose all their money, they will have destroyed that person's liberty, without having committed a single wrong in your system.  Such abuse is already exceedingly common, in your system, where it is ignored entirely, or dealt with on a community by community basis, then it will become epidemic in all but a few elite communities.

Quote from: Current
Quote from: wodan46
The problem is that the consequences of those decisions are often irrevocable.  Even if the person has "learned their lesson", they may be bankrupt, addicted, or dead.
Bankruptcy and addiction are not irrevocable.  Death I agree is.
Nonsense.  It is irrevocable enough.  Their life is ruined, they will have to spend decades just crawling out, if they do so at all, and during that period, they will be a miserable and unproductive drain on society.

Quote from: Current
Also, I see no reason why the situation with polling booths is much better.  A poor decision by an electorate may have very serious consequences too, certainly involving death.
Your argument is based off of a meaningless comparison here.  Polling booths have importance that extends beyond merely making good or bad decisions.

Quote from: Current
Quote from: wodan46
Also, you seem to presume that people are incapable of learning things without doing them.  Is your opinion of humanity that low?
No.  People learn by observing others, from classrooms and books and in many other ways.  Of course in some cases they learn from mistakes too, I certainly have from time to time.  "Experience keeps a dear school but some will accept no other".

What I'm really worried about though is reasons to learn.  If a person knows that not learning about Y may be harmful to them they have a good reason to learn about Y.  Without such a reason though there is often no need to learn. 

Today children and teenagers are given the message that harmful things come with bans or warnings.  This message is given by schooling and also by the presence of many bans and warnings.  They likely then think "if I learn what is banned or discouraged and avoid it I will avoid harm".
Correct.  That is a good thing.  Also, it makes it harder for them to get the bad things, and as such, they may simply decide its not worth the effort even if they didn't care about it being banned/restricted.

Quote from: Current
Further experience of harm from something not banned or discouraged would change this outlook.  But without any further experience it is entirely rational for individuals to work this way.
Why?
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