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Body Freedom

By HypoLuxa in Culture
Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:27:51 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

In the past couple of days, a couple of news articles have caught my attention and sparked some questions in my mind. As many of you probably know, the Netherlands just essentially legalized euthanasia. Also this week, controversy has broken out about medical expiriments involving the hazardous substance perchlorate in Loma Linda.

This begs the questions, what rights do you have to your body?


For a quick review, the Netherlands ruling states that a doctor is able to assist the suicide of terminally ill patients that have unbearable suffering. The doctor cannot suggest the treatment, the patient must request this treatment while of sound mind, and a second doctor must agree that everything is on the up and up. In the Loma Linda case, there are about 9 people who are part of a clinical study involving perchlorate, an element of rocket fuel. All patients were fully informed of the possible risks, which include lessening of white and red blood cell count, thyroid problems, and bone marrow suppression. People in opposition to the study claim that they patients are being expoited and poisoned for questionable medical benefit.

The essential question is how the state can decide what you can and cannot do to your body. In the US, there are several examples of how this is working out. Euthanasia is illegal federally and in 49 states plus D.C. It is also illegal to purchase or sell organs for transplant, such as livers or kidneys. At the very heart of the "War on Drugs" is the premise that the government must protect you from damaging your body and mind (this last bit gets a little sketchy, because it can be demonstrably shown that some drug use has wide effects to others, not just the self). This is also the basis of the Food and Drug Administration, which must make decisions based on whether or not food and drugs will damage individuals and if that damage outweighs the benefits.

Since talking about tobacco, the drug war, euthanasia, and the FDA tends to lend itself to entrenched positions, I would like to consider a pure example. Consider a person who is in their early twenties, good health, with no history of kidney problems in his/her family. Why shouldn't this person have a right to remove one of their kidneys and sell it? It's their kidney. They can make a clear decision as to what the risks involved are, what the profit is, and whether or not they want to do it. They are forbidden by the state from pursuing the option.

What kind of freedom should exist for the choices we make about our own bodies?

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Name the State in the US that supports legal euthanasia?
o Washington 7%
o Arizona 4%
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o Oregon 55%
o Vermont 19%

Votes: 99
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Display: Sort:
Body Freedom | 129 comments (117 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Protection (2.62 / 8) (#1)
by reshippie on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:05:24 AM EST

I feel that the government has no business stopping me from putting things into my body. If they are so afraid of drugs, then thy should regulate it, like alcohol and tobacco.

OTOH, I feel that the FDA is a good thing, in certain cases. I like the fact that there are standards for meat that can be sold.

As for the selling of one's organs, I guess I don't have any problem with it, but then again, I haven't really ever given it any thought.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

Another area where freedom lacks (4.61 / 13) (#4)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:20:25 AM EST

Another area where freedom lacks is sex. This isn't just true in the US, but I'm coming from a US perspective; I don't know a lot about other country's laws, except that they vary a lot.

People are prevented from doing what they want sexually by a myriad laws. The most famous, I believe, are the anti-sodomy laws, which prohibit everything that isn't straight sex. Period. No fingering, oral, anal, nothing. It all comes under sodomy. The punishment for violating said law? Well, in Massachusetts, look at Chapter 272, Section 34 and Section 35. 20 years for violating 34, which includes anal and bestiality, 5 years and/or up to $1k fine for section 35, which is all the rest. Yikes!

Say you like BDSM. Too bad it's illegal in Massachusetts. Well, sorta. There aren't any explicit laws against it, but apparently the law doesn't recognize consent and would rather push assault charges. They're even willing to push on with a case even when they got their evidence through breaking in w/o a warrant, as in the Paddleboro incident. In that case, the state is trying to push up the legal bills of the defendant. Three times they had to show up in court, and the plaintiff didn't show once. Fortunately the community is helping out, having raised some 20k, but they expect it to take around 40k and many more months to resolve. The ACLU will be involved in the later civil cases against the state after the criminal charges have been settled (odd for the ACLU, IMO).

What rights do you have over your own body? Not many, thinks the state. Pretty disgusting, isn't it. Mind and body, they control us.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]

If I remember right.... (3.37 / 8) (#11)
by tewl on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:08:45 PM EST

The sodomy laws were first enacted to sort of prohibit homosexual behavior I believe? Either way, the law is very archaic here in Massachusetts. I see no reason why consenting adults should not be able to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes...



[ Parent ]
Oh man.... (4.00 / 4) (#26)
by tewl on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:15:47 PM EST

I've broken just about all of those rules then :)

Has anything been done recently to get these laws repealed? This is ridiculous. I'm a heterosexual female, which still does not prevent me from breaking the sodomy laws, even if they were first enacted to criminalize homosexuality.


[ Parent ]
More... (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by titus-g on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:56:12 PM EST

Section 20 makes advertising contraception illegal, 21 makes it illegal to sell.

29 does away with porn.

36A - no swearing at the ref.


Wish they'd left the text of the repealed laws in also...

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

contraception (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:46:00 PM EST

Actually, pharmacists and physicians are allowed to sell contraceptive devices, though only to married people. Section 21A explicitly allows such.

I wonder if the MA government provides any funding to planned parenthood clinics and so forth... that would be quite amusing.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

true... (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by titus-g on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:03:54 PM EST

although (and I'm probably wrong here) it seems that a pharmacy can only sell them if the purchaser has a prescription from a physician?

so you'd need a prescription to buy condoms? and it's definitally not kosher to flog them from vending machines...

Are these laws actually enforced, or just hangovers from a 'gentler' time?

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Laws and enforcement (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 09:22:27 AM EST

Many laws aren't enforced. That doesn't make it okay to leave them on the books. Recently, some huge "family oriented" group moved that an openly gay republican Senator be arrested on his return to his home state, under sodomy laws.

These laws are not usually enforced, but they are occasionally enforced. It's called selective enforcement, and it's wrong. They particularly tend to be enforced on minorities, such as gays.

The contraception laws are not enforced in MA that I know of. I could be wrong, though.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Bestiality is Bad! (3.66 / 6) (#24)
by seb on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:11:03 PM EST

OK, 20 years seems a little over the top, but if you're implying that bestiality is all right, I have to disagree. If, for example, you want partially to asphixiate a consenting adult for kicks, I don't have a problem. But if you go and screw a donkey, I call that cruel.

[ Parent ]
I dunno... (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:14:35 PM EST

... if the donkey enjoys it... then what's really the problem?

Bestiality sorta bothers me because of the lack of verbal communication, which means that the non-verbal communication has to be on a much higher level to establish consent. But think a sec: if the donkey really objects, it's a non-issue. This is assuming that the people involved aren't tying up the animals or something; that's definitely wrong, IMO.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

...hmm, "non-verbal communication"? (4.33 / 3) (#82)
by seb on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 04:09:28 AM EST

Yes - if the donkey's happy then I wouldn't have a problem. But when was the last time you saw a donkey object to anything? It's not like they're going to have a big smile on their face or anything. Can you really establish consent without verbal communication? Consent seems to be a peculiarly verbal kind of thing to me. What would you do, mime out your intentions and see if the donkey nods? I'll go ask my hamster what she thinks.

[ Parent ]
donkeys, pit bulls, and more (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:29:21 AM EST

> when was the last time you saw
> a donkey object to anything

Donkeys object to everything.
But thats beside the point.

I think the key problem with bestiality (other than if beeing gross) is the concent thing. But, that said, in roman times women would be scented and fucked, often to death, by animals for the entertainment of others. This I think shows that an animal will engage in sexual relations with humans of its own volition, given the correct stimulation.

I remember reading a news item about a man who's pit-bull dog buggered him in public (he jailed for public indecency), I can't see how you could force an animal to do that if it didn't want to.

Now, in my opinion bestiality is just plain wrong. But given these incedences, I'm having trouble justifying why...

I can't belive I'm having this coveration.!.!.!
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
I think we need a new law then (3.25 / 4) (#91)
by seb on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:49:48 AM EST

True. In fact, I've had dogs humping my leg quite voluntarily before, and entirely against my consent. I wonder if that's bestiality? Hmmm....

[ Parent ]
donkeys objecting (3.00 / 1) (#92)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 09:19:18 AM EST

Hm, the last time I saw a donkey object to something was, oh, 2 years ago, the last time I saw a donkey. The donkey didn't want to move. It didn't move for a looong time.

If a donkey doesn't want to do something, you know it. If it can, it'll kick you. Makes it rather hard to bugger donkey, doesn' it? And being penetrated by a male donkey (that doesn't want to) would also be quite difficult. Much more so, I'd imagine. So raping a donkey would be hard. It's possible, but you'd know you were raping it. And yes, rape is wrong.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Bestiality is not safe for humanity! (2.50 / 4) (#56)
by jamuraa on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 07:58:08 PM EST

I would agree that bestiality is not an all-right thing, but the law wasn't put in place because "we care" for animals. Noone back then gave a rat's ass about animal rights. The law was put into place to stop STD's. Most of the major STDs circulating today are thought to originate from animals, which was transmitted to humans initially by bestiality.

[ Parent ]
Uhhh...somehow, I don't think so... (3.75 / 4) (#63)
by zerowolf on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:31:23 PM EST

It seems to me much more likely that most modern STDs developed within humans, and that the disease justification is just that, a post facto justification. It smacks of the "man is pure, nature is evil" theme that is so prevalent in Judeo-Christian mythology. Taboos about beastiality make no more sense to me than laws about sodomy or homosexuality, and there are a signifigant number of cultures where both had varying amounts of acceptance.

=zerowolf=

[ Parent ]
correction (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by zerowolf on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:38:30 PM EST

Allow me to correct my phrasing a bit - there have been cultures where both homosexuality and beastiality have had varying amounts of acceptance.

[ Parent ]
Of Sound Mind and Body (3.88 / 9) (#6)
by spaceghoti on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:24:27 AM EST

Nicely written article. Obviously the issue is an ethical hotbed right now, with abortion rights and substance abuse issues creating all sorts of problems in the United States. On a personal level, I'm of the opinion that everybody ought to have the right to do whatever they want, so long as what they do is limited to themselves. If you want to poison yourself or kill yourself, that's up to you. If you want to escape this world through substance abuse, that's also up to you.

If only it were that simple. But nothing we do is done in a vaccuum. Substance abuse impairs our judgment and makes us do stupid things that affect other people. I lost a very close friend ten years ago to a drunk driver. He spent three months in jail and was required to participate in a rehabilitation program. Suicide and abortion affects people close to us. Another friend of mine whose company I enjoyed when I could find him committed suicide on Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays, your friend is dead! Would you like cranberries with your turkey?

If there were a way to enforce privacy laws so that people who want to abuse themselves could be free to do so without affecting the world around them, I'd be in favor of it. But I just don't see that happening. And what about people who want to take advantage of this? Take suicide and organ donorship. If it were legal to sell off body parts, imagine the opportunities for organized crime. "Yeah, this guy wants to sell off all his body parts. He don't wanna live no more. Here's his signature." This is an extreme example, but people have been harrassed and tormented for far less. Not to mention scammed.

"We're here for one of your lungs."
"I didn't agree to that!"
"You signed this paper, didn't you? It says here that in the event of <insert event here>, we can take a lung in payment. Don't worry, you'll live."

I believe that stupidity should be painful. That applies to myself as well as others (and frequently is, thankyouverymuchdrivethrough). But we've got this lovely little Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America that forbids cruel and unusual punishment. This means there has to be a cap on the consequences of stupidity, however much we richly deserve those consequences. And thus I have to stand against full freedom to abuse yourself however you may wish. I think the law passed in the Netherlands is a good idea with proper restrictions on euthanasia, but open freedom to suicide or abuse yourself can have some very negative consequences on the world around you.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

Taoist thinking solves this problem. (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by Perianwyr on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:03:01 PM EST

Laws do not exist in a vacuum- they are on a continuum of enforcement and punishment.

It is important to have laws against organlegging and suicide simply because they protect in gross and obvious cases, and provide a useful defensive precedent.

In all cases, however, the law is a *control*. Don't think of the law as a line that can't be crossed, but as a control knob that is turned by the amount of social sentiment behind its enforcement.

We don't enforce sodomy laws simply because it's inefficient and undesirable to do so. If a law becomes too undesirable, it is removed. But sodomy laws certainly matched social constraints of the time of their enaction, so it was a logical choice then.

Each case is different.

In the case of organlegging, the social cost of freely allowing it has been argued above (poor people become a resource for the rich in yet another way) so these laws make sense, and since we do not want the social cost of organlegging, we turn the enforcement knob up high.

In the case of suicide, it's a personal choice that society should weigh heavily against. It will always be possible to do (and is certainly final if you pull it off) but the law is mainly there as a warning, and to make grossly incorrect behavior more difficult. Assisted suicide happens all the time, and if no one wants to investigate the death of, say, a person on life support, nothing happens and that is that. The enforcement knob is turned way down. But if things are questionable, there is a law to use in defense.

This having been said, a weakness of this viewpoint is that it could be a justification for mostly any legal abuse, by simply enforcing a tyranny of the majority. But this is why more analysis of all cases involved is always needed- no system can ever be perfect. The best we can hope for is better acknowledgement of the main position of law's force.

[ Parent ]
Juries hold the ultimate power (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by shook on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 08:35:01 PM EST

In the U.S., and many other nations, the ultimate controllers of the enforcment knob are juries. The gov't writes the laws, the police can decide who to arrest, (I doubt they arrest many fornicators in Mass.) the gov't again can prosecute, but eventually, it is the average citizens in the jury that decide if something should be enforced.

A good example of this was Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the famous American euthanasist. He claimed to have assisted the suicide of over 50 people. His usual method was to give paitients access to a machine where they could inhale carbon monixide, or allowed them to overdose themselves on painkillers, and then anonymously drop off the body at the local emergency room. The majority of the time, he was never even arrested.

Out of these 50-60 cases he was charged in the murder of only seven. Charges were dropped in three cases. In another 3 cases, he was acquitted. The juries did not acquit him for lack of evidence, but because they did not believe what he did constituted murder.

But eventually, he went so far as to broadcast one of his assisted suicides on national TV, on a patient with Lou Gherigs's disease. This disease is not terminal, and many patients live full lives, but can become severely disabled. (such as Stephen Hawking).

In this seventh case, the jury turned up the enforcement knob, and he was convicted of murder and distributing a controlled substance. He is currently serving a 15-25 year term in prison.

[ Parent ]

The Tyrrany of the Majority (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by 2fish on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:41:42 PM EST

The point which you seem to brush aside so casually, that your line of reasoning is a clear path to the tyranny of the majority, would seem to me to be a much bigger threat than that of the "gross and obvious cases" of abuse you seem to fear. By creating an environment rife with selective enforcement, protection under the law is no longer equal, leading to the type of abuses of money and influence we now seem to regard as common. Is that really what you want?

2fish

Give me liberty, or give me death!
[ Parent ]
Ack (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:49:42 PM EST

The cruel and unusual punishment clause only applies to sentences for crimes. It is NOT relevant to a personal freedom issue.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Crimes and stupidity (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by spaceghoti on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:49:09 PM EST

Yes, thank you. I'm aware that the cruel and unusual punishment phrase refers to punishment for crimes. Please look up "facetious" in the dictionary. :-)



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
FDA (4.00 / 8) (#9)
by schporto on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:47:17 AM EST

The goal of the FDA is not nessecarily to limit what you can do to your body. It is more of an attempt to regulate the companies. If you look at the FDA's history and why it came about it should make you cringe and think that the FDA is a good thing. Yes in some cases they slow down the processes needlessly, but in general they keep drug companies from running rough-shod over consumers. Imagine "Take hyper-phentophalimine made by Asterk-John Products. It cures cancer, and all heart disease." In truth its a placebo. But they can make people stand up and say what wonderous things its done for them. The FDA prevents this from happening. The FDA doesn't determine weather the benefits outweigh the risks of a particular drug. They make sure it does exaclty what it claims to do. And that any side-effects are also listed and admitted.
-cpd

the problem (3.25 / 8) (#14)
by gregholmes on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:23:12 PM EST

When euthenasia becomes routine, the "careful controls" will just be window dressing. There will be so many going on, why would any one be investigated? Doctors will suggest it, families will feel financial and social pressure toward it, we'll hear assurances that "that's what she would have wanted". Some doctors wil be more zealous than others, and some will be creepy misfits like Kevorkian.

Not the path I want to go down.



Euthanasia is already routine .. (4.50 / 4) (#15)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:27:14 PM EST

.. in the Netherlands, has been for going on two decades, and the "careful controls" are still in place. People do not generally like killing their family members needlessly, and physicians do not neccessarily enjoy mercy killing.

[ Parent ]
Number correction, and some thoughts on coercion (4.20 / 5) (#19)
by cp on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:48:58 PM EST

The question as to personal body integrity is generally misunderstood. The problem isn't in allowing or not allowing people to do certain things with their bodies; it's with allowing or not allowing certain types of influence to be incurred.

There's nothing hypocritical in, for example, railing against laws against private sodomy while simultaneously railing against commercial activities like the Loma Linda study, because of the different influences involved. In private activities like sodomy (or tattooing/piercing/etc.), people are merely doing what they would otherwise be doing if left to their own devices and isolated from outside influence. In the Loma Linda study, however, you find people compromising their bodily integrity because of an ulterior commercial motives exerted by others and which cannot necessarily be resisted (because of economic realities; the coercive force is often to great). It's silly to speak of "freedom" here, because "freedom" is understood as independence from coercion.
And the number of people participating in the Loma Linda study is actually 100, 50 of whom are receiving the perchlorate pills and 50 of whom are in the control group. (I posted the original story, so I should know ;-). 9 would have been an unconscionably low pool to work with, causing suffering without meaningful resultant scientific data.



Check the ABC News Article (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:53:42 PM EST

...and also confirmed by NPR last night.

The studies sample group is 100, but right now there are only 9 people who have been fully approved and are particpating.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

my opinion (3.85 / 7) (#21)
by Nyarlathotep on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:57:34 PM EST

First, I should say that there are a LOT of morons who hold a specific view on this issue based on sme sort of absolutist philosophy (libertarians or religion) and make no effort to extract the good qualities of the opposing viewpoint. Anyway, we should clarify the "good" and "bad" from each viewpoint before continuing the discussion.. and we should relate this issue to legalized drugs and product liability/safety.


It's now pretty clear that drugs and euthenasia should be legalized in *some form or fassion*. Actually, it seems likely that a person should be able to legally do almost anything which dose not harm another person (and buisnesses should be able to profit from making said activity easy). Conversly, anyone assisting in a dangerous activity has the responcibility to make it as safe a reasonable (If I'm selling defective parachutes then I should go to jail). Also, the government should have the power to regulate the safety standards used.

There seems to be some conflict between these two "rights." The solution are the phrase "dose not harm another person" and "as safe a reasonable." We could simply pass an amedment/law saing that the government ma not forbid activity, but it may force people to be safe about it. Now, NO ONE will totally agree on what these means, but that's what the courts are there to consider.

The only real problem is: the power to regulate implies the power to distroy. I think this is a very limited view of things and the courts can be used to chalenge legislation/regulation which will *totally* distroy any given industry, i.e. the government must set a standard of safety which dose not distroy and activity.

Lets talk about some examples:

1) recreational drugs: The government can still lock up your neighborhood dealer since he s selling dangerous stuff, but they can not lock up the head shop owner who sells safer drugs and keeps a registered nurse on staff to administer the more dangerous stuff. Yes, that's right they would probable lock your ass up before giving you PCP. Simillarly, there might be a "rehabilitation tax" attached to all drug pruchases which would support free rehabilitation clinics. The idea would be that having access to rehabilitation (even if you spent all your money on drugs) would be a necissary pary of "being safe."

2) Selling defective parachutes: This would be legal if the parachutes were sold for the same price a safe parachute, safe parachutes were available, and the consumer knew what was going on, i.e. it would only be legal to do this if ALL monitary incentives were removed, so that they only people who bought defective parachutes were the people who really wanted the risk for it's own sake.

3) poor people selling their organs for money: This would be down right illegal (it's just not safe). However, it would be legal to give away your organ if you and your family do not recieve any compensation for it. Simillarly, it would be legal to kill yourself, but there would be constraints to make shure that it really was the necissary activity and no one was benifiting from it.

The key to all of the above situation is "no one is benifiting from making things less safe then the minimal level required by law" (execpt that maybe the person who is taking the risk gets a little mroe fun out of it).

Finally, there is an interesting modification to this idea where the courts increase the required level of safety to match technology, i.e. if I invent a piece of safety technology like an airbag and I can convince a judge that it's "reasonable" for everyone to have one then the judge will require that everyone uses my airbag. Now, cost dose factor into the decission of "reaonable" so the corperation would be arguing that it would be to expencive, but I can always show that ading one would be a small percentage of the cars total cost. Pluws, corperation A can install a new safety device which dose not cost a whole lot, and "automatically" foce all their compeditry to install the same thing within a few years.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
as safe a reasonable (4.50 / 2) (#60)
by kubalaa on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 08:56:47 PM EST

I think you're confusing the issue by saying that it's the government's job to make sure an activity is "as safe a reasonable." That's not true. You mean their job is to "enforce honesty." If I tell you my parachute is safe, then it should be. If you want to buy a defective parachute, it's your own damn business. This view is both consistent and logical.

[ Parent ]
politics (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by Nyarlathotep on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:33:20 PM EST

The "as safe as reasonable" vs. "enforced honesty" is a strongly political question. The "enforced honesty" possition allows poor people to sell their orgins for money. There is no way in hell that you will get any non-trivial fraction of the population to agree with that possition, so your not going to accomplish anything.

Actually, the enforced honesty possition allows me to get away with selling you faulty parachutes if I did not know they were faulty. Now, you would want to inspect my safety tests before buying a parachute, but it would not be hard for me to design a safety test which would convince you I was an honest buisness man and would not catch too many faulty parachutes (allowing me to sell more parachutes). This is a totally unacceptable result of the strictly libertarian possition.

Regardless, my point is that we do not need to take a hard line libertarian possition and say the government may only "enforce honesty." We may simply say that the government may not forbid anything outright (well anything which dose not influecne other people).

I'm proposing a sort of moderate and practical libertarianism.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
honesty (none / 0) (#114)
by kubalaa on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 12:08:31 AM EST

You are dishonest if you tell me you are selling safe parachutes and they are not safe, regardless of whether you know that or not.

The role of the government in this case is to provide an objective organization which can verify your claims of safety to my satisfaction. If you only wish to claim that your parachutes fail 50% of the time, they should be able to verify that too, and verify that you don't present them as any safer.

Their job is not to make parachute jumping safe. Some activities are inherently dangerous. "As safe as possible" within what domain? The question becomes how you define an activity; what if the activity I seek is specifically jumping with faulty parachutes? Do you mean the government should try and make jumping with faulty parachutes as safe as possible, as a seperate category from simply jumping with parachutes? You see the delimma. If it is up to the government, they can draw categories such that "drug usage" falls under "injesting a substance," and naturally the safest way of injesting a substance excludes using drugs.

As for allowing people to sell their own organs, I admit that I can see how that would be abused, but at the same time can't see how anyone can justifiably disallow it. Any more than you can make it illegal for people to get into a stupid business deal. The best you can do is educate people. The biggest problem with liberterianism is that it presupposes a lot of things (informed people, intelligent people, good education, etc.) which simply don't exist today, and the problem is how to even get to a state where liberterianism would work.

[ Parent ]

courts (none / 0) (#115)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 01:05:34 AM EST

<i>"As safe as possible" within what domain?</i>

I agree that it is inherently vague, but that's kinda the point. It says these are the guidlines which we should all respect, but it's the job of the courts (and legislature to a lesser extent) to pick out the details over time. This is why I gave the example of it being ok to buy parachutes which fail 50% of the time, so long as (a) you are not saving any money, (b) the parachute seller is not saving any money, and (c) you know what is going on. They guidline here should be that the government can tax something with inferior safety procedures untill it costs the same as the safe version. This "tax it untill it costs the same as the safer version" clause should provide the necissary protection for minorities who realyl want something which would our current government might forbid.

<i>The role of the government in this case is to provide an objective organization which can verify your claims of safety to my satisfaction.</i>

If it were possible to have the government simply judge the safety of various products then I might be converted to your side, but I don't think this is possible to do prior to have desastors. You want a system where *everyone* cares about the disastors before they happen. That can only be done by making it a competitive advantage to produce a safer product, but people do not care enough to buy the safer product. Plus, there is still a major gain to cutting cornners and tricking the governemnt safety assesors (this is less of a benifit if you might have to pay fines and backed taxes even before paing the civil setelemnts to clients AND compeditors).

BTW, all these ideas need someone to try them to see how well they work and find the flaws, but our gov. will continue down the path of maximum gov. power and least intelectual resistance.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
The real reason... (3.40 / 10) (#22)
by Zeram on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 12:58:23 PM EST

I think the real reason that (at least in the US) people don't have full control over their bodies, is because most people here don't want democracy, they a nany-state disguised as democracy.

Most people never recieve any sort of meaningful teaching about self-realitazation, and understand themselves about as well as the understand quantum physics. Then they go and search for someone who knows more about what is best for them, and well who better than the government? "if the government can keep something as large and unweildy as America running, it ought to have a pretty decent idea of whats right for me!" is the underlying reasoning. But really the government tends to be run by people that couldn't do much of anything else, and know even less than Joe Average on the street. Those are exactly the people I want making decisions about my body! Don't you?

Well anyway, the point is that while I'm sure many people don't see the harm in selling bodyparts or the like, the government tells them that it's bad and thats good enough for them. Personally it really pisses me off that the misfits that inhabit the hallowed halls of the US government see fit to tell me what to do with the one thing I can truly call my own.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Narrow, individualistic thinking (3.16 / 6) (#27)
by Mandos on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:56:32 PM EST

You can harm many others by the choices that you make over your own body. The most vehement critics of euthanasia in Canada are, ironically, disabled groups...
---------------------------------------------------------

`o Mandos `o tyrannos tôn 'exoterikôn
[ Parent ]

It's about influence (4.20 / 5) (#23)
by Khedak on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:06:16 PM EST

In agreement with some other comments posted, yes, it's about what kind of influence (economical or other) that someone is allowed to have on you in promoting behaviour that harms (or increases risk for) yourself. Selling a kidney isn't harmful if you're perfectly healthy, but it does decrease your redundancy if you happen to get a kidney problem later on.

Of course, if organs were freely tradeable, maybe at that later point you'd have no problem getting a replacement organ, but I doubt it. Why? Because in such a situation there will always be more demand than supply. Poor, healthy persons will quickly sell their organs while young, only to die at a late age because they are still poor, while the rich old people (who incidentally kept their kidneys while young, because they didn't need the cash), can get as many new kidneys as they need. I think it's easy to see that such a situation is one that capitalism isn't good for, at least if we're concerned about the rich exploiting the poor. The key is not that we're protecting people from themselves, it's that we're protecting them from powerful entities that wish to literally purchase their lives.

Which is why the war on drugs is retarded. It punishes the users more than the people getting rich. And no, that's not the fifteen year old pot dealer down the street, that's the drug lords and the government officials on the take and many others beyond the scope of this post. That's obvious without even questioning whether many illegal drugs are actually harmful, why they are harmful, whether regulation would be more effective in preventing harm than prohibition, and other questions.

In my opinion, if you wish to commit suicide and you are of sound mind (whatever that means, to me it means you're not being coerced) and you haven't been influenced by someone offering your heirs or your designees certain rewards, then that should be okay. Actually, I would add the priviso that you have to be in suffering, but that probably doesn't need to be said. I guess that's a gray area. The only purpose laws against this kind of thing can effectively (and thus should) serve, is to protect people from being exploited out of their very lives.

It's exactly that ambiguity (4.66 / 3) (#37)
by Mandos on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 03:48:48 PM EST

How do we tell
  • Whether someone is of sound mind.
  • Whether they are not being coerced.

    It's too difficult for the state to do all that, so that's why we draw the line so tightly on that issue.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    `o Mandos `o tyrannos tôn 'exoterikôn
    [ Parent ]

  • Capitalism (3.50 / 2) (#73)
    by trhurler on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:45:27 PM EST

    You clearly are out to get capitalism rather than out to figure out what is correct; if every rich person in the US went through 10 kidneys in his lifetime, that'd only be one kidney per hundred or so poor people, and that's a ridiculously high number of kidneys per rich person anyway. In truth, there would probably be a huge surplus of most organs, especially seeing as they would be an excellent way for poor people to pay for funerals. I'm not saying that trafficking in human organs is good business, but let's at least keep a tenuous grasp on reality when we're engaged in freedom-bashing, eh?

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Uh... (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Khedak on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 02:04:35 PM EST

    Okay. You're not saying that trafficking in human organs is good business. You think there would be an organ surplus! Maybe for those who can afford it, but my point (the critical point), is that it will cost more money to buy an organ than you will receive by donating one. And since that amount of money is very large, it means that poor people will not be able to purchase organs, except probably through some kind of Organ Charities. Kind of like food. You are aware that some people in the world (in the US, even) are starving to death, right? And yet, many countries have surplus food production.

    This surplus isn't "given away", U.S. tax dollars buy the food at discount prices from American companies, and then give it away. The prices, and the companies involved, are usually determined by special interests. If they didn't do this, the companies would simply throw away their surplus and assume the cost. You see, in nice capitalist countries with the US, we are more concerned with making since food companies don't lose profits than with helping people not to starve to death.

    I don't know what you mean by "Freedom", but if you mean freedom to use your money to bribe poor people into giving up their lives (which is what we're talking about anyway, from perchlorate to tobacco), then yes I'm against that freedom. Because contrary to what you think, money is just as restrictive of freedom as the use of force. Bribing people for their kidneys is an attack on their freedom. You wouldn't allow companies to bribe people to beat their children for cash rewards would you? Obviously there's a question of whether harm is done, and in the case of vital organs, I think the line should be drawn inclusive of that.

    You do make a good point about funerals though. But what's to stop a greedy wife from selling off her dead husband's kidney for $50k, taking a vaction in the Bahamas, and letting her brother-in-law die because he needed (but couldn't afford) that organ? Do you begin to see why I think that vital organs should be kept seperate from market capitalism? If not, come back for more, and I'll explain in greater detail.

    [ Parent ]
    Several claims I'd sure like to see backed up... (3.00 / 2) (#102)
    by trhurler on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 03:49:59 PM EST

    You think there would be an organ surplus! Maybe for those who can afford it,
    Why is this particular market not subject to the law of supply and demand? Granted, the government enforced regulation of the medical industry will raise prices quite a bit, but if there is a surplus, one would expect prices, both for donating and for receiving, to drop.
    You are aware that some people in the world (in the US, even) are starving to death right?
    I'd sure like to see evidence that anyone is starving to death in the US except possibly because he's too stubborn or proud to accept help. If you can provide it, so be it, but I've travelled a lot and I've talked to a lot of people, including people who work in shelters and so on, and this claim just doesn't match what I've seen - anywhere. Outside the US, sure, but look at the reasons. Most of Africa is perpetually embroiled in petty civil wars; relief workers often refuse to go there for fear of being abducted or killed. That's probably 90% of the starvation cases on the planet right there, and it has nothing to do with greed on the part of anyone except for African government leaders.
    money is just as restrictive of freedom as the use of force
    You are confusing "freedom" with "storybook happy endings." "Freedom" is not "freedom from any influence whatsoever." Poor people CAN(and sometimes do, as I have seen,) choose not to take various opportunities available to them because of concerns over the downsides to them. However, it is quite possible that a poor person actually thinks he is better off taking $1000 to eat some perchlorate than not doing so, and he might well be right. This is not a violation of any freedom he has; on the other hand, you'd be depriving everyone involved of their freedom if you banned such things.
    Bribing people for their kidneys is an attack on their freedom.
    You and I apparently differ on the meanings of words such as "bribe," which I do not apply to open transactions among consenting adults who are not trying to influence someone in a position of governmental power, and "freedom," which I do not equate with "never feeling any pressure to act in any given way." Freedom as you desire it is a myth; we all, including the richest among us, are compelled in a variety of ways by our circumstances.
    You wouldn't allow companies to bribe people to beat their children for cash rewards would you?
    I don't think hiring a hitman should be legal either; there is a difference between payment to commit a crime and payment to do something dangerous. Therefore, your analogy is faulty.
    Obviously there's a question of whether harm is done,
    The question is whether laws are broken. People do harm to themselves and others in countless ways every day; not all of these fall under the purview of the government, nor should they.
    You do make a good point about funerals though.
    I was actually kidding; it might happen that way, but I don't really think that a market in organs makes sense unless and until we can clone them reasonably cheaply, at which time the market has a different structure than you and I are presently discussing.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Circular Logic (2.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Khedak on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 01:10:32 PM EST

    We'll go in order. You're so much fun!

    Why is this particular market not subject to the law of supply and demand? Granted, the government enforced regulation of the medical industry will raise prices quite a bit, but if there is a surplus, one would expect prices, both for donating and for receiving, to drop.

    Apparently you don't understand the law of supply and demand. You refuted my statement that some would be unable to afford organs even after the price drop on the basis of "the price drops". Are you saying the law of supply and demand states that when there is a surplus, everyone can afford the product? Because it does not say that, in fact is says the opposite for very valuable commodities, even when there is a large surplus.

    I'd sure like to see evidence that anyone is starving to death in the US except possibly because he's too stubborn or proud to accept help. If you can provide it, so be it, but I've travelled a lot and I've talked to a lot of people, including people who work in shelters and so on, and this claim just doesn't match what I've seen - anywhere. Outside the US, sure, but look at the reasons. Most of Africa is perpetually embroiled in petty civil wars; relief workers often refuse to go there for fear of being abducted or killed. That's probably 90% of the starvation cases on the planet right there, and it has nothing to do with greed on the part of anyone except for African government leaders.

    Well, it's impossible to prove or disprove who's starving in the united states because the statistics are unavailable. Try looking, maybe you'll have better luck. Anyway, as to 90% of the world's hunger being due to african leaders, whatever that means, here's UNICEF's report on world hunger and its causes. Here's a quote:

    Malnutrition's global toll is also not mainly a consequence of famines, wars and other catastrophes, as is widely thought; in fact, such events are responsible for only a tiny part of the worldwide malnutrition crisis.

    You are confusing "freedom" with "storybook happy endings." "Freedom" is not "freedom from any influence whatsoever." Poor people CAN(and sometimes do, as I have seen,) choose not to take various opportunities available to them because of concerns over the downsides to them. However, it is quite possible that a poor person actually thinks he is better off taking $1000 to eat some perchlorate than not doing so, and he might well be right. This is not a violation of any freedom he has; on the other hand, you'd be depriving everyone involved of their freedom if you banned such things.

    It's always possible that harm could cause beneficial effects later on, but we disallow it anyway. For example, hypothetically speaking, someone might stab me in the gut, and when I get to the hospital I find I have another serious illness that I would not have noticed in time were it not for that. Sure, whatever, weird things happen. But the point is the harm is so greivous we don't allow it, and I'd file assault against the guy who stabbed me regardless.

    You and I apparently differ on the meanings of words such as "bribe," which I do not apply to open transactions among consenting adults who are not trying to influence someone in a position of governmental power, and "freedom," which I do not equate with "never feeling any pressure to act in any given way." Freedom as you desire it is a myth; we all, including the richest among us, are compelled in a variety of ways by our circumstances.

    Well, that's one definition, the other, in the dictionary, is listed as "any enticement meant to condition behaviour"... I think characterizing it as a bad thing depends on the behavior we're trying to condition, don't you? I didn't say "freedom from any influence", but I think that freedom from being influenced with wads of cash to contract terminal illnesses for corporate profits qualifies, as I've been arguing all along. Why don't you address my points, rather than making up your own?

    I don't think hiring a hitman should be legal either; there is a difference between payment to commit a crime and payment to do something dangerous. Therefore, your analogy is faulty.

    Uh, last time I checked organ trade was illegal, too, buddy. What are you even arguing? We're having a discussion about free market trade of organs, and other body freedom and whether it should be legal. You're arguing that analogy is faulty because I'm ignoring the fact that there's a difference between legality and harm? On the contrary, I'm pointing out the connection betweed legality and harm. I said there's a question of whether harm is done in whether we allow people to do something.

    The question is whether laws are broken. People do harm to themselves and others in countless ways every day; not all of these fall under the purview of the government, nor should they.

    Uh, right, which is why we're discussing body freedoms. So you're saying this perchlorate study should be allowed because it is legal. If that's the case, why all the hoopla? Your argument is circular: It's allowed because it's legal, and it's legal because we allow people to do legal things. Forgetting that we make things illegal because they do harm, which is the whole point I was trying to make. Guess you missed it.

    [ Parent ]
    Look to the future. (2.83 / 6) (#28)
    by daystar on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:01:33 PM EST

    I'm strongly in favor of legalizing voluntary euthanasia, but not because I think people need to be killed to end their suffering. I'm just looking down the road. Life spans WILL increase, and if you live for 5k years, you might just be READY to die. Suffering or not, sometimes it's just time to go. We don't all have to option of going back in time and boning our moms to restore the joy in life (a la Lazarus Long).

    Really, ALL deaths should be voluntary. People die when they want to. If that opinion makes me favor euthanasia, am I really devaluing life?

    As for the War on Drugs. I don't see how you can say "People should be protected from their bad decisions" and still want a "government by the people". I would have a lot more respect for proponents of the Drug War if they would have the consistancy to SAY that people are not, by default, capable of running their own lives.

    --
    There is no God, and I am his prophet.
    Our Government Has Overstepped its Bounds (4.41 / 12) (#30)
    by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:18:00 PM EST

    Government has a few basic purposes. It is put in place to keep people from killing each other or stealing from each other, or from generally harming one another. It also protects its citizens from foreign invasions and things like that. It may also provide social services such as welfare, etc. It, in turn, taxes these people to pay for itself. It is not there to regulate what people do to their own bodies.

    I repeat. It is not there to regulate what people do to their own bodies.

    If I want to inhale solvent fumes and turn myself into a human vegetable, I should have that right (of course, if I do so, I shouldn't expect taxpayers to pay for my hospitalization). If I want to go bungee jumping with yarn instead of a bungee cord, I should be allowed to. I should be allowed to slice up my arm with a rusty razor if I want.

    I should not be allowed to go up to some random guy on the street and slice up his arm with a razor. See the difference?

    Now to apply this to euthanasia or drug use - am I mistaken, or does euthanasia involve the knowing consent of the person to be euthanized? I'm pretty sure it does. So why can't they choose to die? Doesn't the Constitution say, "right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?" Or has it been recently amended to instead read "obligation to life?"

    Drug use is the same deal. I'm not hurting anybody else when I smoke pot. If I were to do cocaine or heroin recreationally (and don't tell me that's not possible, I've had friends who used to do these drugs fairly often and none of them had a problem with them, and none of them do them anymore), that should be my right. As long as I'm not hurting anybody else, I should be free to do whatever I want. Drug use doesn't hurt anybody. Drug abuse arguably hurts other people, but in the same way that alcoholism hurts other people. But simple drug use doesn't hurt anybody but the person doing the drug. If a cocaine addict goes out and steals money to support their habit, they should be locked up. But they should be locked up for the act of stealing, not the act of ingesting a substance. The same way a drunk driver should be locked up for the act of driving drunk, not the act of drinking.

    As for the issue of drug use harming children (born or unborn), it should, IMHO, be treated as a child abuse or neglect issue. If a pregnant woman uses drugs during pregnancy and harms the baby (be it crack, heroin, PCP, alcohol, or nicotine), they should be seen as a danger to their child and lose custody. We shouldn't tolerate that sort of thing. Same deal if a parent is a drug addict and this interferes with their ability to take care of their children. But reponsible drug users should not be lumped into the same category as irresponsible drug users - the same way that social drinkers are not lumped into the same category as drunks or tourists who visit casinos on vacation are not lumped into the same category as obsessive gamblers who lose their houses on single hands of blackjack.

    There have, since the dawn of recorded history, people who have had drug problems - be it alcoholism, opium addiction, or what-have-you. No legislation ever has significantly helped this problem - even in an asian country (I don't remember which) where addiction was punishable by death. It's best to leave Government out of personal affairs and have them keep their fingers in interpersonal issues where they belong.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    Basic premise (3.40 / 5) (#31)
    by Mandos on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:21:38 PM EST

    Part of government's role is to prevent us from harming each other. What we do to our own bodies can have a much more far-reaching effect than we often like to think. The main issue is where we draw the line between insignificant far-reaching effects and significant ones. Remember that these things often only become harmful when a large enough number of people are doing them.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    `o Mandos `o tyrannos tôn 'exoterikôn
    [ Parent ]

    Curiously OT (3.25 / 4) (#34)
    by Malicose on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 03:20:45 PM EST

    I have mostly the same view on this issue as what you've just put forth. One thing that always stumps me is where to draw the line for related "as long as I'm not harming others" matters? Should I be allowed to concoct biological weapons in my house as long as I do not use them? Nuclear weapons?

    [ Parent ]
    Interesting... (4.25 / 4) (#43)
    by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:38:04 PM EST

    I have mostly the same view on this issue as what you've just put forth. One thing that always stumps me is where to draw the line for related "as long as I'm not harming others" matters? Should I be allowed to concoct biological weapons in my house as long as I do not use them? Nuclear weapons?

    That's an interesting question... I haven't thought about it. I think it's a relatively bad idea to allow that, because biological and nuclear weapons don't serve any useful purpose other than killing huge numbers of people (heh, is that a "useful" purpose? :)

    Recreational drugs do serve a useful purpose in that they change the way you view the world, if only for a temporary period [some, like acid, change it permanently, in a good way IMHO]. They're also a way to relax. Also, drug use only harms the person actually does the drug [note again that I'm talking about "use" not "abuse].

    I don't feel that drugs like crack serve a useful purpose, but who am I to say what other people can put into their own bodies? Some people like these drugs. Let them fuck up their lives. It's not my place to tell them they can't.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    how about... (4.00 / 2) (#50)
    by bort13 on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:17:30 PM EST

    Should I be allowed to concoct biological weapons in my house as long as I do not use them? Nuclear weapons?

    ...as long as you put them into your own body, and only into your own body, they're allowed. :)

    Seriously, though, you bring up an interesting point. My knee-jerk reaction was that the potential exists of the substances you delineate for malfeasance and/or harm to others. But then I thought of crack cocaine and harder drugs, which I happen to think should be legal, but which community leaders around me insist are a bane and represent a high monetary and societal cost. I don't personally condone the use of these drugs, but I wouldn't bring myself to cordon off that kind of freedom, and, well, I happen to agree with some of the cost issues. The costs are obviously viewed by the powers that be in similar light -- that controlled substances hold the potential for harm via DUI, medical insurance charges, decaying neighborhood values, etc. All your saying is should you be allowed to incur such a potential cost by developing weapons of mass destruction. So I'd be double-binding myself if I denied you that freedom and attacked your point from that angle.

    If you were to say that you were constructing guns in your own home, well, I'd view that as an interesting hobby and would probably want to see your handiwork. (Actually, the same goes for a nuclear weapon -- from the geek/DIY point of view, not for any other reason...but biological weapons make me sick har har) I suppose that, in theory, if I were to stick by my stance on freedom, as long as you were developing these horrors as a matter of personal interest, I'd have to allow it. In practice, I'd want it controlled; as Mr. DJBonghit states, there ain't any other reason to have big weapons unless you're gonna use 'em.

    I tip my hat, that's a grand example, and possibly the first time I've felt my stance against control of ingested substances at all shaky. In most cases, I can obliterate any argument against with a no-victim, no-crime example.

    [ Parent ]

    refuting costs (4.00 / 1) (#90)
    by codemonkey_uk on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:38:17 AM EST

    > the potential for harm via DUI,

    I don't know what DUI is, I guess its an american thing.

    > medical insurance charges,

    To be payed by the individual. So use of substance X pushes up your insurance ... its your choice!

    > decaying neighborhood values,

    This is the main point I want to address. Why do you think specific substances decay neighborhood values?

    Isn't it the criminal element that decays neighborhood values? Whould that criminal decay vanish if the use of the substance where no longer criminal? Do pubs and tobacconists decays neighborhood values?

    I think this is a circular argument.

    > etc.

    There is no etc.


    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]
    Insurance issues (4.00 / 2) (#94)
    by DJBongHit on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 09:55:55 AM EST

    I don't know what DUI is, I guess its an american thing.
    Driving Under the Influence [of a particular intoxicating substance, usually alcohol, although you can even get a DUI for driving on NyQuil]

    To be payed by the individual. So use of substance X pushes up your insurance ... its your choice!
    Why would my use of a drug push my insurance up, while people who eat McDonalds for 3 meals a day for 20 years get an insurance break? Their eating habits are going to cost the insurance company a hell of a lot more than my pot habit (cigarettes are another issue... I need a good kick in the ass so I can quit) Why is it always assumed that, simply because a substance makes you feel mentally good rather than physically good, it must be bad for you? As I said in other comments here, most of the damage that drugs cause to you physically are not the result of the drug itself but of impurities in the drug, or of an overdose which wouldn't happen if the user knew the dosage he was taking.

    The drug scene in this country would be far different if it weren't for the black market control.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    Argh (4.00 / 1) (#96)
    by codemonkey_uk on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:42:52 PM EST

    DJBongHit, you old dog. I wasn't saying anything of the sort. Please don't misunderstand me.

    I don't think that insurance costs should go up, I was simply saying that if they did, thats not a cost imposed upon socioty, but a cost imposed on the individual, and therefore a matter of individual choice. (Including the choice to move to a less dumb ass insurance company. I'd hope!)

    I was trying to refute a someones point about personal drug use imposing a cost onto socity!

    :)
    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]
    clarification (4.00 / 1) (#107)
    by bort13 on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:55:02 PM EST

    You ask:

    Why do you think specific substances decay neighborhood values? Isn't it the criminal element that decays neighborhood values? Whould that criminal decay vanish if the use of the substance where no longer criminal? Do pubs and tobacconists decays neighborhood values?

    I had written:

    The costs are obviously viewed by the powers that be in similar light -- that controlled substances hold the potential for harm via DUI, medical insurance charges, decaying neighborhood values, etc.

    I was not attempting to advocate this as a belief I hold, but when political leaders on the local level of US politics speak about controlled substances, this is often a catch phrase. In fact, the descriptive adjective in the "decaying _____ values" has many politically advantageous interchangeable words: moral, family, neighborhood, property. All get bandied about by US politicians fairly often.

    My guess at the reason of this is that politicians assume (or their focus groups tell them) that their audience hearkens back to a time when things were more golden, and mentioning the decay of values is supposed to garner votes. Far be it from me to attack the anti-freedom viewpoint in any form -- if you look at other posts by me, you'll see I'm strongly for individual freedom.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Curiously OT (4.50 / 2) (#110)
    by Ubiq on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:38:41 PM EST

    Should I be allowed to concoct biological weapons in my house as long as I do not use them? Nuclear weapons?

    I guess that's a matter of chances. There's (say) a 1% chance that this nuclear bomb goes off. A nuclear bomb going off is really bad. 1% of that is still pretty bad. That chance is enough reason to forbid your experiments, IMHO.

    I'm not sure if you can extend this argument to drug abuse, given the chance that someone can get addicted to pot (and yes, pot can cause brain rot if used too often) or euthanasia, given the chance that it too can be abused. In the latter case one can try to reduce that chance by checking the circumstances of each eathanasia rigorously.

    --
    Ubiq



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Curiously OT (4.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Malicose on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 10:31:00 PM EST

    I guess that's a matter of chances. There's (say) a 1% chance that this nuclear bomb goes off. A nuclear bomb going off is really bad. 1% of that is still pretty bad. That chance is enough reason to forbid your experiments, IMHO.
    Thank you, Ubiq! This is one of the first responses to this question (I've been asking it for a relatively long time) that actually has logical way of "fixing" the "problem" relating to weapons of mass destruction that goes along with the "do whatever you want unless it infringes upon someone else" mantra. I'll be pondering variants of your reasoning for ages--it's definitely something to expand on.

    [ Parent ]
    life, liberty, and the pursuit of correct citation (3.25 / 4) (#35)
    by PLSANDER on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 03:27:47 PM EST

    Doesn't the Constitution say, "right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

    No, that would be from the Declaration of Independence.

    [ Parent ]

    Heh (3.00 / 3) (#36)
    by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 03:45:19 PM EST

    No, that would be from the Declaration of Independence.

    Heh. D'oh. Yeah, I knew that. Long day at work :P

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    Yea, right... (2.50 / 2) (#39)
    by theR on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 03:58:36 PM EST

    We know what your little code means! "At work", yea right. More like "smoking dope."

    Lucky bastard.



    [ Parent ]
    LOL (2.00 / 2) (#40)
    by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:03:44 PM EST

    We know what your little code means! "At work", yea right. More like "smoking dope."

    LOL, no, I really have been at work all day. But the day is almost over, and then it's time for.... herbal refreshments...

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    Have fun for me... (1.00 / 2) (#45)
    by theR on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:49:53 PM EST

    I tapped out last night :)



    [ Parent ]
    Exactly, and... (4.50 / 2) (#41)
    by Khedak on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:30:38 PM EST

    Your views on rights are exactly correct, in my opinion. The issue of what people are allowed to do to themselves isn't something the government should control.

    I like your site, by the way ;)

    But the thing is, when does it cease to be your will and when does it begin to be a matter for regulation? For example, I think you'd disagree with the way the tobacco industry has misprepresented their product for years. The key is making sure that the public is given accurate and true information, and is not bribed (as in the perchlorate case) into harming themselves by unscrupulous companies. I'm sure if Proctor and Gamble starting giving free trial offers of Heroin (or worse, paying people to start with "Cash Back Bonuses" or such), I think I'd be wary of that. And you probably would too.

    [ Parent ]
    Product Misrepresentation (4.75 / 4) (#46)
    by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:49:58 PM EST

    I like your site, by the way ;)

    Thanks :)

    For example, I think you'd disagree with the way the tobacco industry has misprepresented their product for years.

    Yes I do disagree with that, and I think something should have been done about that sooner. But I don't agree with the huge settlements that the tobacco industry has had to pay out, either. I'm a cigarette smoker myself, and while I hate smoking and wish I could quit (been trying, it's hard), I have nobody to blame for this but myself. I don't have any respect for the people who are blaming the tobacco companies for their diseases. It just takes a little bit of common sense to realize that inhaling hot smoke simply cannot be good for you.

    The key is making sure that the public is given accurate and true information, and is not bribed (as in the perchlorate case) into harming themselves by unscrupulous companies.

    Absolutely. The key to solving the drug problem in this country is education, not legislation. And indeed, a large part of the drug problem in this country today is caused by Government-sponsored miseducation. Children learn in school that all drugs are inherently bad and will kill you and destroy your life. Then they may smoke pot once and realize that they were lied to, and pot isn't that bad. Following this logic, they may decide to try heroin, and find out too late that heroin is as bad as they've been told... but it's too late.

    I'm sure if Proctor and Gamble starting giving free trial offers of Heroin (or worse, paying people to start with "Cash Back Bonuses" or such), I think I'd be wary of that. And you probably would too.

    Heh, yeah. Heroin is a pretty bad drug, and nothing good could come of an advertising campaign like that. Actually, I'm of the opinion that nothing good can come out of most drugs out there (pot and hallucinogens being an exception), but they're here to stay and there's no sense in making the situation worse with a black market influence on them.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    Heroin & Cocaine & Recreation (4.00 / 1) (#100)
    by mindstrm on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 02:55:05 PM EST

    Though I won't argue that it is possible to do these things recreationally, as I've seen several people who do, and can keep them both under control....

    Don't think that it's a matter of 'willpower' or simply 'smarts' that does it. These people are genetically wired against addiction to these substances. They are THE MINORITY, and very lucky.

    Don't toy with these drugs. Don't think you can control them.. because you do NOT want to end up finding out you were wrong.


    [ Parent ]
    Oh, the horror... (3.83 / 6) (#33)
    by trhurler on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:52:12 PM EST

    Apparently, "begging the question" does not mean what you think it means. In fact, it is a reference to circular logic: using your conclusion as a premise in order to draw your conclusion. Just a note for future reference; things like this get under my skin easily:)

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    Damn it! (2.00 / 2) (#51)
    by HypoLuxa on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:29:03 PM EST

    I knew that, and I just did it wrong without thinking.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

    --
    I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
    - Leonard Cohen
    [ Parent ]

    Actually... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by sec on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 01:50:48 AM EST

    'Begging the Question' is not synonymous with 'circular logic'. Begging the question means that you've made a questionable assumption and haven't bothered to state it. The canonical example of question-begging is 'Have you stopped beating your wife yet?' There's no circular logic involved in that statement.

    The two are related, though. It's not difficult to assume your conclusion as a basis on which to base your arguements, and neglect to state that assumption.



    [ Parent ]

    The relationship between right and responsibility (4.00 / 2) (#42)
    by mattw on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:35:07 PM EST

    Euthanasia, drug use, the sale of organs, etc., all issues representing a veritable minefield of ethical and moral complications. I dare not step into that minefield, but I am eager to point out the link between our rights as people and our responsibilities.

    In essence, there is a conflict between the right to allow people to do whatever they wish, and the perceived duty of society to provide people with medical care and other social services. Taking the author's example, the obvious problem with permitting someone to remove their kidney and sell it is that society then runs an increased risk of bearing the fiscal burden of medical care for the individual, should their other kidney fail.

    Many other instances of restriction on self-determination exist. There is a broad category of actions which are illegal, despite generally being harmless or, at worst, harmful only to the perpetrator of the would-be crime. Drug use, especially of more mild drugs, would fall in this category, in my opinion. Prostitution might be placed in this category. The selling of organs, certainly. In each of these instances, if society bears the burden of care for individuals, there is a potential for cost to be passed on to society, and therefore, these activities are banned.

    In my own consideration as to whether I support the legalization of drugs, the sale of organs, etc, my primary issue was that I don't want to pay, directly or indirectly, for medical costs associated with the consequences of such use.

    Of course, this has no bearing on Euthanasia, which, if anything, probably has a net positive effect on the burden on society of medical care for terminally ill people, and I'd certainly support it. It is important, I think, to consider the emotional constraints people may be under, that might lead them to select Euthanasia prematurely (burden on family, etc). But denying people the right to choose their own fate is not right. Neither is forcing others to handle the consequences of someone else's actions.


    [Scrapbooking Supplies]
    There should be more freedom. (4.66 / 6) (#44)
    by theR on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 04:48:47 PM EST

    First, I would like to point out that the "pure example" in the last paragraph of the story is exactly that, an example. While I appreciate you trying to do something to prevent flames and dogma, I have a problem with it.

    There is no such thing as a pure example. In a real example, there are so many numerous factors that come into play that a simplification will not accomplish much. If a person was really going to do this, a doctor would and the person should take many more things into account. What profession is the person (hockey player- might need to keep the kidney, DJBongHit- definitely needs to keep the kidney), what area of the world does the person live in or travel to (possibility of communicable disease and other environmental factors), is the person of sound enough mind to make the decision? All these questions, plus many more I have probably not even though of, come into play.

    I believe that people should have the freedom to do drugs, have poor eating habits, and mostly do what they want, as long as there is a limited negative effect on others. I say limited because I think it is impossible to do a lot of these things without haveing some negative effect. But, because there are so many things that should be taken into account by someone selling organs or body parts, I think this is a bad idea.

    As sick as it sounds, some people would literally kill themselves for enough money. How long would it be before we would start seeing stories on the news about someone who sold a kidney, died in an accident, and probably would have lived if not for selling the kidney? How long would it be before poor neighborhoods had a disproportionate amount of people walking around with one arm because they sold the other one? Once something like this is allowed, it is hard to go back. People, especially those without, often get to a point where they feel nothing will ever be better. Do we really want them put in the position where they think the only way out is by selling a piece of themselves?

    One more thing. I don't know about elsewhere, but in the US, a portion of this discussion would be moot if more people would register as organ donors. Where I live, it's as easy as checking a box when you get your driver's license. Do you really think you'll need them when you're dead?



    Organ Donor (3.25 / 4) (#49)
    by ZanThrax on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:13:47 PM EST

    The little check box on your license is rarely looked at, or ever if it is, is often ignored because the family says "no". I'm very glad that my immediate family would say yes, and they know that I'd do the same.

    Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
    [ Parent ]

    Donating organs (4.00 / 3) (#69)
    by flieghund on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:51:14 PM EST

    It's funny you should bring this up, because I think there are a lot of parallels between organ donation and euthanasia.

    One of the biggest arguments against euthanasia is that it will lead to the elderly and disabled being coerced through "friendly persuasion" to off themselves. As has been mentioned before, the old/sick/etc. will feel a certain obligation to their family to die -- to lessen the misery, perhaps, or more likely to end the financial burden.

    I feel the same way about organ donation. I know there are safeguards in place, but I can't shake the nagging feeling that if the little card in my wallet says "go ahead and use my organs," that the doctors are not going to try every last thing to save me in the event of some potentially fatal event. "Well, doctor, we could try this one last thing, or we could harvest the organs while they're still fresh." I know I'm sounding paranoid, and I'll probably get flamed, but it frightens me. I want the docs to try everything they possibly can, down to burning a hole through my chest with the defibrilator, before they give up. I want the doctors to think of me as a paying customer, to worry more about solving my problem than deciding if I am a solution to someone else's difficulties. Petty, selfish -- sure. But it's my damn life, thank you. If you want to sacrifice yourself for me... why, I'm flattered, really. But don't (necessarily) expect the same in return.

    The above rant aside, and with the danger of sounding hypocritical, I am beginning to think that I actually would like to donate my organs. I haven't made the decision for certain, but if/when I do, I'll make sure that my family clearly understands my desire. (Stepping back in time a bit, I'd also make sure that my family was party to the decision process itself.) But I'd rather the doctors didn't know ahead of time.


    Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
    [ Parent ]
    I understand how you feel. (4.66 / 3) (#77)
    by theR on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:47:21 AM EST

    Considering organ donation causes a lot of people to become uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. You have to ask, "Am I really afraid my care will be different if I donate organs?" I do not think it is a rational assumption. Unfortunately, many of these decisions are based on facts that are not rational. The US organ donor site has a good page about the myths of organ donation. I had heard 14 of the 16 myths before finding the site just now. I am not saying anything is proven, but what they say makes sense.

    If you want to sacrifice yourself for me... why, I'm flattered, really. But don't (necessarily) expect the same in return.

    That is fair. I would not expect every person to agree to organ donation. I think it would be better if people made an active decision. Right now, it seems to me that most people have never seriously considered it, but instead choose passively, not actually deciding one way or the other.



    [ Parent ]
    Thanks for the link (4.00 / 2) (#83)
    by flieghund on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 04:12:51 AM EST

    Very informative website. I, too, had heard a lot of those myths.

    And like I said earlier, my fear is certainly not rational. But then, it seems most decisions in life (well, my life anyway) are not based on solid, rational reasoning either. I'm not saying it's right, but SOCKS.

    It's like, if you were going to donate organs, would you make any restrictions? Personally, I don't think I could donate my eyes (I know I'd be dead and not have a use for them, but... I dunno. Taking my eyes just seems creepy). I would also have a problem with skin graft donations. Basically, any of the major organs (heart, lungs, eyes), or anything you could see externallyj. But you could definitely have my spleen, or my pancreas, or a kidney or two.

    And thanks to the website, I now know you can place just those kinds of restrictions on your donations. Thanks again.


    Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
    [ Parent ]
    Rights over your own body. (4.50 / 2) (#48)
    by typo on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:10:40 PM EST

    In a perfect world your freedom ends when it conflicts with other people's freedom.

    That being sad, the only reason drugs, tobacco and alcohol should be prohibited is if we consider the cost of treating people which have problems related to these to be a burdon on society. Well, on the US where there's no public health system decease will only produce wealth, so banning drugs is not very consistent policy.

    What this represents in terms of what you can do with your body is pretty clear to me. Anything, anything at all, as well as it doesn't hurt others. So, if I smoke a joint get stoned, laugh a bit and get some big insight on how the world *really* works (yeah right), who does that hurt?.

    As for selling organs, it's forbidden because it is very hard to legislate efficiently on it. Sure you can sell a kidney and have no physical problems whatsoever, but then you're opening the door to someone selling their son's heart or other clearly wrong attitudes along those lines.

    To sum it up. You have every right to your body as long as it doesn't hurt other people. That includes of course stuff as suicide, prostitution, and some forms of drug use (of which tobacco is not one of).

    tobacco (3.50 / 6) (#52)
    by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 05:35:44 PM EST

    No, you have a right to use tobacco, just not to force the smoke on me.

    [ #k5: dyfrgi ]
    [ TINK5C ]
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Tobacco (2.66 / 3) (#61)
    by Phaser777 on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:15:19 PM EST

    Reminds me of one of the posters in health class: "You can smoke in here. I'll just quit breathing."
    ---
    My business plan:
    Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
    Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
    Sue them.
    Repeat.
    [ Parent ]
    No you don't (3.00 / 1) (#104)
    by typo on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:15:54 PM EST

    When smoking tobacco you're (in perhaps 99% of all cases) doing irreperable damage to your body which in turn will affect the state and the society since they have to pay to cure you.

    But like I said, in the US, being ill can only generate more wealth since there's no real public health system. And that's why having anti-tobacco policies in the US is just one big witch hunt.

    [ Parent ]

    RE: Freedom (3.75 / 4) (#55)
    by Freedom_2 on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 06:03:31 PM EST

    Idea world: A person should be in total control of his/her body without any government intervention as long as it does not interfere with anothers rights. Thus a person could take any drug, sell off his body parts and then choose euthanasia because it is his body and he is not interfering with anothers rights.

    There is no collateral damage in the ideal world, because we would be able to tell accurately that a person did not really want to die, or sell his organ, or was driving under the influence of a drug and killed 5 people in a collision. And we would know that because this person sold his "extra" kidney that he was penalized in the health system or that he had taken drugs of his own free will and any health problems caused would be his responsibility.

    Real world: A person is not always in control of the current situation (i.e. is temporarily unstable mentally, or is being coerced, or does not have the full facts as to the consequences, whatever), and that can open up many potential abuses such as legalized murder if someone is forced into euthanasia, or illegal harvesting of organs for profit, or pressured into drug use (the least likely since drug use usually only has a major effect on the user)

    There is plently of collateral damage in the real world, besides the abuses. When a drug user drives an automobile and kills someone and the system is not able to tell that they were under the influence, or does not take action against them. When drug use causes addiction without the ability to seek treetment for fear of procecution, and the user resorts to theft/violence to support his habit. When the system is required to pay the medical costs for these drug cases. When the person who sells off their kidney for profit, now finds their only remaining kidney is failing the system has to pay for it. I could go on and on.

    We live in the real world with imperfect, corrupt, hatefull, unintelligent, and sometimes even downright stupid people. There will always be "man's inhumanity to man". I for one am totally for a "hand's off" form of government, however in so many areas I see the huge potential for greater problems if the current situation is not totally evaluated for the possible damage it might cause in other areas. I am for legalization of drugs, as long as the system can accomidate determing if a person caused another damage because of those drugs and took appropriate action, etc. I am for the right of a person to choose euthanasia, as long as there are means in place to prevent the possible abuses.

    These and so many of the other topics we discuss are usually not cut and dried simple issues. Otherwise they would not be issues very long.

    Freedom



    hurting others while on drugs (4.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:31:07 PM EST

    You hurt them. You fucked up. You used the drugs incorrectly, if you're using them as an excuse. It's not an excuse.

    It's also not any worse than if you harmed them while not on drugs. You should be punished the same way by the same laws. Maybe you should be given treatment for your drug habit, if you want it (won't help much if you don't want it).

    I don't think "people on drugs harm others" is a good excuse for making them illegal, or regulating them, or anything. It's a good reason to educate people about them and, I s'pose, regulate purity and whatnot so people get what they think they're getting. If your mistake was using that particular batch because it was bad, well, there's not much you could do to avoid that. Legalization and standards helps with that.

    [ #k5: dyfrgi ]
    [ TINK5C ]
    [ Parent ]

    There is no reason to distinguish (3.00 / 1) (#75)
    by weirdling on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:19:54 AM EST

    An accident caused by drug use is no different than an accident caused by running a red light. The root cause is human err in both cases. It is only a moral question of which is worse. Fact is that quite a few accidents are caused by tiredness, which often impares more than the .08 bac minimum required these days.
    The problem is that we have no system for extracting blood from a turnip...

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    IMO there are reasons to distinguish (3.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Freedom_2 on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 06:22:57 PM EST

    Because there is a difference between someone being tired and getting in a car to drive and someone taking a load of heroin and doing the same.

    The difference is that the person who is tired does not know that their tiredness could cause an accident in the same manner that a person on heroin knows that there is a very high likelyhood that they will make a mistake while driving.

    The key factor is the knowledge and willfulness to risk others in the face of that knowledge.

    So it is not just human error, but rather also the human knowledge, and human intent, and human disregard that also needs to be taken into account.

    Freedom

    [ Parent ]

    durgs (none / 0) (#129)
    by weirdling on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 03:18:11 PM EST

    But your average drunk believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that he drives better drunk. While I have no data on heroin users or crack users, I don't see how it would be any different.
    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    the real question posed (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by luethke on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 03:12:56 AM EST

    the way I see it, what you are talking about boils down to one question: who's resposibility is it for their actions. There are three basic answers to the question - yourself, the object, or the govt. What the constitution and bill of rights basically say (at least what the founding fathers intended)is that you are resposible. You have the right to bear arms - shoot yourself, and well, it's your own damn fault. Shoot someone else, you are resposible and should be punished. Take mind altering substances and do something bad, it is your coice to do that - should have known better. What many of the current philosophies say are the object is responsible. If you had not had the gun you would not have shot yourself, or the other person - get rid of guns. Those drugs caused that person to be mentaly unstable - get rid of them. The third way is when govt tries to legislate away danger: lets have saftey standards for everything. Each approach has some problems and some good stuff.

    taking personal responsibility lets an individual persue what they want but allows a lot of mischeif to occur. since a person is punished for breaking the law, the crime should only happen once or twice (kill a person or two and you should either be executed or put in jail for life - you have shown you can not handle the responsibility and should be removed from society). Just like with free speech you have to put up with the people that say stuff you don't agree with. This way can also seem somewhat harsh - we don't like it when people are poor, homeless, or severly punished, but it is required for this system to work.

    blaming the object is the worst one of them all. It is really assuming an ideal world. How many people really beleive that making gun illegal will solve most murders and crimes. Or making drug illegal will stop crime and accidents. This way assumes people will follow the laws. It also removes the blame from a person almost entierly. Of the three it can be spun to be the most utopian of the three.

    the third way is govt intervention. From my understanding of many european countries this is what many of them do (I may be wrong, I can only know what I read in a book or see on TV so I have to base my conclusions on that), but not all of course. This way assumes people are "stupid", or at least prone to do the wrong thing. Objects are typically objects, neither good nor bad. That there is a controlling body that knows best (the govt). An example would be car safety laws (impact rating for americans). This means that the govt takes responsibility for your safety. If it's not illegal then it must be OK to do. One of the problems with this system is that govt's don't always know best. Also (at least in the US) the govt doesn't want to take responsibility. Take the above mentioned crash ratings. I was watching the learning channel on formula one racing and how much safer the cars are now. They were interviewing the engeneer who said they initially did tests similar to what the car safety board (I don't know thier official name) does and built a "safe" car. They were having problems with drivers dying in crashes where they shouldn't The engeneers added sensors to drivers and cars in races and monitored what happened in a real crash. Turns out that they way a car normally crashes is much different than the tests the govt uses (slamming the car into a wall at 90 deg). In fact some of the things that made the car "safe" actually hurt the drivers. Many of the things they did for car safety were actualy illegal from the govt's standpoint. They reported this to the car safety board, but the board was afraid to issue a report - since they took responsibility and were wrong, if they publicaly admitted it they would be sued.

    Of the three way the first and third work about equally well, they have trade off's that a nation must decide which is more important. The poblem occuring with the "war on drug's" and many of america's "problems" stem from mixing the two too much and using the second in there. Moving blame to the object makes a person seem "compassionate" - it's not the person that is poor fault they are poor, it's society. Yes, some people can't help it (they are rare and should be helped by society), but I am reminded of many of the people we "helped" through our church. They talk about refusing to work unless they are a supervisor or can make at least $40,000 a year (in Tennessee money that's well above average) while a partially retarted couple we helped worked thier asses off, the woman worked as a maid and the guy worked at a construction site. The latter eventually became self supporting while the former still comes by the curch for handouts. It also poses easy "solutions" - outlaw guns and these murders will not happen. Mixing both the first and third reason (on the same problem) muddles who should take responsibility. Of course this is somewhat simplefied as a full discussion would take a book :) but the general idea is there.

    [ Parent ]
    two diff. issues (1.81 / 11) (#57)
    by maketo on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 08:13:06 PM EST

    Pushing any drug liberal usage through the issue of euthanasia is unethical and wrong. People that want euthanasia are in general teminally ill people in unbarable pain. Drug addicts are weak cowards with no character/will. ALthough it may seem convenient to put thw two under the same category of "I should be able to control my own body", they are practically not the same.
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    Or to put it diffrently... (2.85 / 7) (#58)
    by caine on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 08:19:16 PM EST

    Pushing free (not as in beer) software/reverse engineering usage through the issue of liberty of speech is unethical and wrong. People that want freespeech are generally well informed, goverment-controlled journalists on payrolls. Freesoftware users are weak communist cowards with no character/will. Although it may seem convenient to put the two under the same category of "I should be entitled to free speech" they are practically not the same. cider, beer, a night on the town, this comment...see the connection?

    --

    [ Parent ]

    Hold on a second... (4.40 / 5) (#65)
    by hupp on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:03:54 PM EST

    "Drug addicts are weak cowards with no character/will ...
    ...are practically not the same"

    There are two huge problems with what you're saying here. First, the drug war goes _way_ beyond addiciton and addictive drugs. What about pot smokers, are they "weak cowards"? What about hallucinogens? What about the millions of people that do use drugs responsibly? There is absolutely no reason for the government to step in and tell me that I should go to jail for what is effectively the equivalent of having a few beers on the weekend.

    The second issue, which you didn't address but I'll bring up anyway because its implied, is the fact that regardless of how weak/pathetic/cowardly you consider drug users, if you want to reduce their numbers from society the solution is _not_ to put them in prison. Unless you never let them out, they will come out more violent, cynical and more likely to continue to abuse. Then *you*, and society at large, get to deal with them. Kind of makes treatment seem like a better option, doesn't it?

    [ Parent ]
    aren't we arrogant? (3.25 / 4) (#67)
    by Ender Ryan on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:17:44 PM EST

    Yes, they ARE the same thing. It boils down to this, "Do you have the right to do to your body what you wish?" People will continue to debate the answer forever, because of religious beliefs, insecurities, etc. However, the plain and simple answer is, YES. Whatever you do to your own body isn't infringing on the rights of others, therefore, no one has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do to yourself.

    FYI, I have never used any illegal substances or commited suicide(obviously) and have never taken part in anyone else doing either.


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    [ Parent ]

    oh, really? (2.25 / 4) (#70)
    by flieghund on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:07:29 PM EST

    Whatever you do to your own body isn't infringing on the rights of others...

    Gotta disagree with you here. "Most things you do to your own body" would be fairly easy to defend, but not "whatever..." Suppose you go off and do {fill in the blank}, and wind up critically hurt. You're going to pay the medical bills? (I'm not talking about collateral damage [say, if you were drinking and crashed your car into another]... I'm talking about personal damage, from whatever you chose to do to yourself.) Or are you going to expect your insurance company, or the federal government (through SSI, Medicare, etc.) to pay for it? If you do something stupid, I certainly don't want to be stuck footing the bill for the consequences.

    Sure, you have a right to do whatever you want to yourself. But that right ends when it begins to impact other people -- even through intangible and indirect paths. That's why there are laws against things. That isn't going to stop people from doing it, but it just might discourage most of 'em. And while it is easy to stand up and say, "I do {fill in the blank} responsibly," it is more difficult to say, "Everyone does {fill in the blank} responsibly."

    Let us not forget the age-old maxims, "A person is smart, but people are stupid" and "One rotten apple spoils the bunch."

    As a tangential aside, probably the greatest disservice the framers of the U.S. Constitution did was include a Bill of Rights without also including a Bill of Responsibilities. "Thou shalt not do stupid things" would be my First Amendment.


    Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
    [ Parent ]
    where do you draw the line (3.50 / 2) (#72)
    by planders on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 11:42:19 PM EST

    You say the Government has the duty to try to prevent [with jail and confiscation of property, really the only two steps the Government can take] people from doing less-than-wise things to their own bodies.

    This seems to be based on a premise that they are going to cost insurance companies more money [God forbid] or because (statistically certain, I'm sure) their medical bills are going to put an unfair burden on the taxpayer.

    Where do you draw the line?

    10 years Mandatory Minimum for Possesion of a Controlled Pastry? Execution of smugglers who bring that poison alcohol [or sugar, or the widely abused stimulant caffine, or Pokemon vidoes] from Over There? Arresting people for Suspicion of Conspiracy to Commit free-style rock climbing? This is a really dubious premise to me. If somone gets high on crack and kills or robs someone, they're a criminal. Punish them. IF someone gets high on crack and sits quietly in the privacy of their house, they haven't committed an offense to society. If it happens to mean in the long run, their health deteriorates, and they cant afford their own medical treatment (its hard to save money given the price of crack these days), they should not be treated, or given only basic care (ie, no heart transplants etc.) If you say they have still committed an offense to society at large by doing drugs in the privacy of their own home, then you are advocating punishment on the principle of 'guilty by statistics' ... basically, that if you 'do drugs' you are more likely to be a criminal or have higher medical bills long-term and therefore should be punished for this abstract association (made by a faceless unelected official somewhere) even without a shred of evidence of actual criminal behavior other than the personal use of the drug itself. Much [not all] of the health problems with illegal drugs is due only to their legal status; Dr. John Hopkins was a life-long morphine injector, until the day he died at age 80 and a lifetime of medical achievements. But then he had access to pharmaceutically pure stuff. But then, the kind of people who think like you tend to ignore this truth.

    NOT saying that "there are no such things as crimes against society." There are. Theft of public funds. Pollution of a town's drinking water with dangerous chemical runoff. These are crimes with a direct, emperical effect on a population. Sitting on your fat ass and eating Twinkies all day is not a good idea, but it offends no one person in particular. You probably think that not only should a police officer arrest this individual if he finds Twinkie wrappers in his car or on his person, but we should have random twinkie checkpoints on the highways, and weekly urine tests for simple carbohydrates. And Why stop there? We could have forced abortions of any babies that carry any kind of government-defined genetic disorder which will cause higher-than-average medical bills in the future. These are all excellent, practical suggestions for the improvement of society, Professor.

    It does seem that most of the people in US Federal government currently seem to share your misguided views.

    [ Parent ]

    People who think like me? (3.66 / 3) (#81)
    by flieghund on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 04:01:39 AM EST

    But then, the kind of people who think like you tend to ignore this truth.

    See, it's all fun and rhetoric, and then someone goes and starts attacking the person, rather than the argument. "People like me"? Apparently you mean anyone who doesn't share your beliefs. Please, explain to me the difference between yourself and your (incorrect, BTW) impression of me.

    In response to your arguments: I will admit, in retrospect, that the medical bill analogy was a poor one. I introduced a new variable (money) into an already complex situation. However, I will stand by my assertion that most things a person does do affect others, sometimes indirectly so that those effects may not be immediately obvious. I would ask how "Whatever I do to myself does not affect anyone else" can really be true, if you make the fairly natural assumption that you live in a community of two or more people. Even killing yourself will affect others -- your family, your friends, or maybe the person who discovers your body, or the co-worker who wonders why you didn't show up at work today.

    I'm not advocating the outlawing of anything that might have a potentially negative impact on another person; even basic metabolic functions can have negative impacts on other people. (Think beans.) But if some relationship can be shown that statistically links a cause and negative effect, then something should probably be done to ease said negative effect. I know all the arguments against statistics (they are the third kind of lie, after all). But most laws are passed either in response to statistics or as kickbacks for political donations.

    Where to draw the line is the right question to be asking. (Again, I'd like to apologize for my crappy money-based example.) Any line you decide to draw in the sand will be arbitrary, but you can attempt to back up your decision with as much evidence (which ultimately boils down to statistics) as you possibly can. If you find that you have a lot of conflicting evidence (for example: drug use is safe vs. drug use is dangerous), I'd say that's a sign that you've crossed the line. The trick is getting the people in charge of making the laws to pay attention when there is conflicting information and make decisions based on all points of view rather than just the well-greased ones.

    (Now, as a comment unrelated to my arguments, which are located above this paragraph: planders, you seem to have a lot of hostility towards the status quo. While I think we all need to take a good long look at the state of affairs we are in, railing against the entrenched masses through name calling and ranting is probably not the best way to do it. It puts people on the defensive. You will find that someone who feels cornered generally will not budge from their position no matter how right your arguments may be, or how badly you can destroy their arguments. However, also realize that a calm, rational discussion is a v e r y _ s l o w process that involves a lot of compromise -- but one that should lead to understanding and appreciation on both sides.)


    Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
    [ Parent ]
    Then look at it objectively (3.33 / 3) (#76)
    by bjrubble on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:35:18 AM EST

    The emergency room is dramatic, but in terms of cost the two most dangerous things in the world are cigarettes and fast food. If you're really worried about how much you're paying for public health (note that drunk drivers with insurance who mangle themselves cost you *nothing*), there are all sorts of other things you should be outlawing first.

    Not to court Godwin's Law, but the best definition of fascism I've heard is "a political philosophy that puts the good of the state over the freedom of the individual." Any time you propose outlawing something because it's bad for the amorphous "society" you should think long and hard about your reasoning.

    [ Parent ]
    Moralists piss me off (3.00 / 3) (#74)
    by weirdling on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:12:09 AM EST

    I'm currently *using* two separate chemicals in a mix. I'm mixing caffeine(Dr. Pepper) and alcohol(vodka, Belvedere, Polish I believe, very nice), and I certainly feel better. Whether or not I have any moral fiber doesn't really matter. You don't have the right to decide whether I'm depraved or not. This is the same as any argument against freedom: those free software guys are just weird(that is me), those gun nuts are evil and a menace(me again), those porn users are contributing to the debasement of women and the destruction of our youth(me again), and, of course, my use of alcohol and caffeine is a result of the fact that I am morally depraved. Geez, I think someone owes me an apology. Is it any wonder I haven't darkened the door of a church in a long time. All these arguments necessarily paint *me* as some sort of evil person. Aren't we big enough yet to realise that every blanket statement such as this inevitably results in *people* feeling bad about themselves? I'm no touchy-feely person, but we all agree that the moral source in western society is a god, and his son, Jesus, associated with these moral depravates in part because the ones who had so termed them would not associate with him. The hypocrisy is amazing, because I am sure there is something you have done or will do that is morally depraved, and the fact is that it is now only a matter of scale between you and me.
    So, remember, next time you attack someone, it isn't an abstract 'average drug user', it is *me*.

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    The cost of drug abuse. (3.00 / 1) (#99)
    by mindstrm on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 02:49:29 PM EST

    Are you aware that 90%+ of the negative sociological effects deemed due to drug addicts exist only because the drugs are highly illegal?

    Everything from unkempt appearnace, disease, crime, overdoses resulting from varying potencies of drugs, death, and murder only happen because these substances are illegal. For the most part, many of them are *relatively* harmless by themselves. (I'm not condoning them... they are still BAD, you still shouldn't do drugs).



    [ Parent ]
    Two Different Issues -- from a single root (none / 0) (#125)
    by tumeric on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 02:34:30 PM EST

    Thanks for that thought provoking comment (which hit me like a brick), its too easy to get caught up in your own ideas without recognising the validity of other peoples views.

    Frighteningly, there are people around who think that suicidal terminally ill people are weak cowards who lack the will to carry their burden. Their views are as strong as yours on those losers who take drugs. Yes, they think they are absolutely right too.

    Isn't the root of these issues, not whether the behaviour is right or wrong, but whether your views on whats right or wrong should dictate the behaviour of others in such a personal aspect of oneself as the body?

    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 0) (#127)
    by maketo on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 08:45:20 PM EST

    I just said that it is unethical to try and push your own weakness (that is what addiction is) through someone illness (and that someone is in immense pain). The cancer ill did not choose his path, the drug addict did. Noone makes you try your heroin - you do it yourself. If you succumb then you are an addict. The person that got cancer wants to die to ease their own pain - they should be let to. What does the addict want? Legalizing light stuff like marijuana is fine but heavy drugs, I dont know....
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    [ Parent ]
    US and killing people (2.25 / 4) (#80)
    by kinkie on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 03:26:01 AM EST

    There's another incongruity in the US law:
    while it's forbidden assist somebody to kill him/herself with some dignity
    when terminally ill and in pain, it's perfectly OK assist him/her
    if he/she has committed a crime after some
    more or less mocked-up trial (and killing without much dignity to boot).

    /kinkie
    Suicide and drug use reduce the tax base (2.50 / 4) (#84)
    by TuxNugget on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:20:43 AM EST

    While I am not an opponent of freedom, I note that government, at least in its present form, is quite expensive in most countries. In the US it costs about 50% of what you make (income tax, sales tax, gas tax, property tax, plus time filing all the crap, plus taking the joy of having a small business away from many people who might otherwise try to make a few extra bucks and increase the pool of available goods and services in the economy).

    To the extent that suicides and drug users reduce the tax base, and increase the costs of government (even if it is just the costs of an ambulance and EMTs to scoop them up and take them to the morgue), they are not paying their own way.

    The proper punishment would be to work on techniques for ressurrecting these people, so that they could work for the government and pay for the costs they imposed on society. Do you suppose such "voodoo" would be considered cruel and unusual punishment by either the US Supreme court or the UN Commission on Human Rights? What sort of government work could be done by zombies? The post office seems like an ideal start...

    Myth? (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by codemonkey_uk on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:05:09 AM EST

    According to recent research (in the UK) the government is actually in debt to most (tax paying) people.

    Individuals don't break even until they hit retirement.

    This could mean that early deaths save the govenment money.

    I'm not sure on the details here though. I read about this in a 5 min column in the Metro on the train this morning! :)

    Thad
    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]
    it depends on how old you are (4.00 / 1) (#109)
    by TuxNugget on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:34:56 PM EST

    Well, this business about the government being in debt to people through pensions really only applies when they are drawing it out (or about to).

    At least in the US, you can pay into social security for years, but if you don't become 65 or disabled, nothing comes back the other way.

    Seems like not so long ago, companies were downsizing people right before retirement for very similar motives. Since then, pensions have switched from being promises to being monetarized things you own. A pension fund that you fully own (like an IRA or 401(k)) is a wonderful thing.

    [ Parent ]

    donating your live body? (4.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Potatoswatter on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 03:41:20 PM EST

    Yeah, make suicidal people donate their fully-functioning bodies to cyborg research.

    Seriously(?), putting a disadvantage on the legal process for suicide would only discourage people from using it.

    This is the strangest comment I've ever made. Probably the only reason I'm even posting it.

    myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
    [ Parent ]

    a geek left/right consensus? (3.80 / 5) (#85)
    by nevauene on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:50:39 AM EST

    "bodily autonomy" is unique in that it finds broad support, imho, amongst both the right and the left of 'geek political culture', or more accurately, the 'far left' (ie anyone who's not neo-liberal and pragmatically centrist) and the 'far right' (ie Libertarians, tho honestly despite the support of capitalism I don't think it's really fair to call neo-libertarians "right", because they seem to transcend that in their belief in individual autonomy and disavowal of imperialist foreign policy).

    Anyhow, the point is, beyond the silent majority, who are either Republican/neofascist, or paternalistic big-daddy-state neo-liberals (or, alternatively, just boring unimaginative people who are status-quo by default), both divides of fringe politics find themselves aligned on the issue of bodily autonomy. It's safe to say that both Libertarians and more genuinely progressive commie-types are in favour of bodily autonomy being enshrined as a fundamental human right, alongside the right to free expression and privacy.

    The only sensible state policy (if any; I realize many libertarians will disagree), is treatment and rehabilitation. Is there anyone out there reading this daft enough to think that a "War On Drugs" is sound policy, and that the moral values of the scared, reactionary majority should be imposed on all the rest? Is that the purpose of law? To fight battles that are, by definition, lost before they are even undertaken, in the name of Righteousness and Morality and all manner of other subjective valuations?

    This particularly hopeless war accounts for far more pissing away of tax money than any socialized rehabilitation program could ever dream of wasting.. how much of your local cops' budget goes to essentially policing peoples' bodies, enforcing drug law?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, right-libertarians and leftists represent a new political paradigm. One that is based on two very different sets of ideals, but that provide for much more interesting discourse than that of status-quo moderates. And although both sides might despise or ridicule the other's particular convictions quite regularly, it should be aknowledged that there IS, contrary to popular belief, some common ground. There are some (many?) things we all want done away with.

    All of us, for all our high ideals and convictions, are regardless stuck here on the fringes - sectarian, impotent, bickering back and forth while business as usual is carried out by the entrenched powers that be. We argue at length about how each is wrong, or how each's ideals are ill-conceived and will lead to new totalitarianisms. Yet the final reality is all the same, every day, and even the most obviously ridiculous laws, such as the ones that render marijuana illegal, are still set in stone while we blather on these weblogs.

    Why is it heresy on both sides of the geek (or more accurately, 'fringe') divide to suggest that we need to form coalitions? We can and should stand together when it is expedient, and leave the finer points for another day. As an anarchist (of the left/commie variety), I am actually happy to compromise. If Libertarians mean what they say about autonomy and liberty, then in a libertarian society people of my own political stripes would not be forced into capitalist economic relations, and could instead unite collectively and build independant socialist communities. And I think the more credible left would certainly not attempt to disallow people from trading on the basis of a money economy, *if they so chose* - it would be as absurd and useless as the War On Drugs we all despise.

    I could go on. And on. But instead I will wrap up, and ask Libertarians to please check out this link and consider coming up to Quebec in April if it is at possible. I realize that the ideological slant of the page is explicitly anti-capitalist, but if your own political philosophy has any logical consistency, then you will try to show up to support us leftists. If we both can't agree that extralegal / quasi-governmental organizations like the WTO, as well as treaties such as NAFTA and the forthcoming FTAA, are fundamentally unsound and illegitimate, then this entire post is null and void, sorry I wasted your time.

    Fly your own colours, be outspoken and honest about your beliefs no matter what you believe in, but get out there and do something about em.

    Anyhow, flame away now people.. libertarians attack me because anything even vaguely socialistic is without question the beginning of a long slippery slide into a neo-stalinist terror state, devoid of liberty.. and leftists attack me because all libertarians are closet fascists and not to be trusted, let alone compromised with.. i won't care, it'll just be another deep sigh, and another step in the direction of cynical disillusionment with human nature in general. thanks.


    "I'm here to pay a speeding ticket. Not to listen to your lectures and hear you run your mouth for an hour. I'm here to pay off my speeding ticket.. and get the fuck to work ... I walked up to the goddamn bench and I handed my $25 up and I said ''there's my money, now bye I'm leaving.'' And I left it at that"


    There is no K5 Cabal.
    Mandatory Treatment (4.33 / 3) (#95)
    by DJBongHit on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 10:52:14 AM EST

    The only sensible state policy (if any; I realize many libertarians will disagree), is treatment and rehabilitation.
    This sounds good at first glance, but you must realize that forced treatment or rehabilitation does not work. Providing rehabilitation clinics for people to come to by their own free will will work. But mandatory treatment will work no more than the current incarceration policy, and will be just as big of a violation of human rights as the current War on Drugs.

    I just wanted to make this point, I don't know if you were referring to voluntary or mandatory treatment. Other than that, very well put.

    See this article I wrote on this subject, if you're interested.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    "worst case" example : heroin. (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by nevauene on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:20:41 PM EST

    This sounds good at first glance, but you must realize that forced treatment or rehabilitation does not work. Providing rehabilitation clinics for people to come to by their own free will will work. But mandatory treatment will work no more than the current incarceration policy, and will be just as big of a violation of human rights as the current War on Drugs.

    Well, I definately wasn't referring to mandatory or forced treatment by the state. Personally this is how I feel : if someone wants to do heroin, then by all means, let them go ahead. If we educated children with objective facts about drugs, rather than using fear and propaganda like DARE programs etc, then probably fewer people would be stupid enough to touch H in the first place, cause the cool 'allure' bestowed upon the drug by illegality and cultural stigma would be reduced.

    Those who did go on to use it regardless, one of two things would happen. The first possibility is that they would kill themselves. Well, hate to sound harsh but "c'est la vie". Some people are going to kill themselves with drugs, legal or not. They always have, and they always will. When the state, in it's boundless benevolence (note the sarcasm), tries to 'save' people like this through forced treatment, it rarely works, and it should be obvious why. These people don't want to be saved, and we should all just leave them to it. Let them quietly fade away into oblivion, or come back to reality on their own, whichever they choose. In the case of really soft drugs like marijuana, forced treatment by the state is even more absurd, but I think that's pretty obvious and I won't go there.

    the second possibility is that they will eventually want to make a genuine effort to get off the shit, and seek assistance in doing so. In that case I would hope that there is some form of voluntary state treatment available to them, if they are sincere about getting sorted out, and choose to do so freely.

    At this point alot of people jump in with all manner of arguments against such bleeding-heart liberal wastes of taxpayers money, but my GOD how myopic is that? Is anybody out there keeping track of the money the US government is annually putting into their military, so that they can play World Police? That is a far greater injustice than any "socialist" spending by government ever could be, and far more of a waste. At least modern socialism generally does not murder foreign civilians and support terror states with it's peoples' money.

    If you cut even half of the US' obscene military budget, that would provide for all manner of broad socialized programs. That would be a first step towards correcting for the pathetic fact that the richest country in the world also has some of the largest disparities of wealth in the world.

    Sorry, I realize I'm getting way off topic here, but I find it incredible that people in America will scream loudly about the horrific nanny-state socialism of things as relatively cheap as drug rehab, assisted housing, welfare even, but turn a blind eye to the billions upon billions spent on military interference abroad. Or worse, aknowledge it and defend it as 'neccessity'.


    There is no K5 Cabal.
    [ Parent ]
    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by DJBongHit on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 12:12:10 PM EST

    Well, first of all, a minor point - Heroin, as bad as it is, is hardly the worst case scenario. Cocaine (both powdered and freebase) are arguably as bad, and PCP and crystal meth are much worse. Most of the problems with heroin are impurities and unknown dosage. Pure heroin by itself won't kill you any quicker than alcohol as long as you're careful about dosage (well, maybe a little bit), although you will become addicted very quickly. And unlike alcohol, the withdrawal symptoms from heroin are rarely fatal.

    Well, I definately wasn't referring to mandatory or forced treatment by the state. Personally this is how I feel : if someone wants to do heroin, then by all means, let them go ahead. If we educated children with objective facts about drugs, rather than using fear and propaganda like DARE programs etc, then probably fewer people would be stupid enough to touch H in the first place, cause the cool 'allure' bestowed upon the drug by illegality and cultural stigma would be reduced.

    Those who did go on to use it regardless, one of two things would happen. The first possibility is that they would kill themselves. Well, hate to sound harsh but "c'est la vie". Some people are going to kill themselves with drugs, legal or not. They always have, and they always will. When the state, in it's boundless benevolence (note the sarcasm), tries to 'save' people like this through forced treatment, it rarely works, and it should be obvious why. These people don't want to be saved, and we should all just leave them to it. Let them quietly fade away into oblivion, or come back to reality on their own, whichever they choose. In the case of really soft drugs like marijuana, forced treatment by the state is even more absurd, but I think that's pretty obvious and I won't go there.
    You are absolutely correct. But too many people in this country seem to want the Government to play "mommy and daddy." They want everything taken care of for them and don't want responsibility for their own actions, and want this to apply to everybody else as well.

    At this point alot of people jump in with all manner of arguments against such bleeding-heart liberal wastes of taxpayers money, but my GOD how myopic is that? Is anybody out there keeping track of the money the US government is annually putting into their military, so that they can play World Police? That is a far greater injustice than any "socialist" spending by government ever could be, and far more of a waste. At least modern socialism generally does not murder foreign civilians and support terror states with it's peoples' money.
    Yup. And they also don't take into account the fact that we're spending far FAR more on the War on Drugs, in the form of police, prisons, prison guards, judges, and courts than we would on Government-sponsored voluntary treatment clinics. By legalizing and spending the money on more effective treatment clinics, we would also not have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world (we have more people in prison on non-violent drug "crimes" than the entire European Union has in prison for anything). We just recently passed the 2 million inmates mark, and 1.1 million of these people are in for non-violent drug crimes. It's a tax sinkhole that's causing tremendous harm to our society.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    absolutely incredible (none / 0) (#126)
    by Ender Ryan on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 02:46:14 PM EST

    There are only around 250 or 300 million people in the U.S. 2 million people in prison, that's almost one out of a hundred people in prison. I keep thinking I must be losing my mind and can't remember how to divide or something, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

    Sorry for the mostly worthless post, I just find that amazing, and sad, so very sad.


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    [ Parent ]

    I am from the Netherlands (4.33 / 3) (#86)
    by Duckman on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 07:44:58 AM EST

    First of I think although related in a way, euthanasia and the legalization of drugs are IMHO to big issues to be taken together, so I'll concentrate on just euthanasia.

    What the euthanasia law is not about:
    -a way to get rid of old or handicapped people
    -a way to save money on health care
    -a way to legally murder someone

    What it is about:
    -acceptance that euthanasia exists and needs rules
    -respect for the wish of completely sane but suffering people to die with dignity

    * This is in no way meant be a complete listing
    * I can tell you that killing someone against their will or not being carefull about euthanasia is still (and will remain) forbidden and will be punished

    Not talking about a problem won't make it go away. Euthanasia has been practice in the Netherlands (and in many, if not all other countries) and is here to stay because of modern medicines ways to stretch live. It is better to set the rules than to just pretend that the problem doesn't exist. Last weekend a study came out in Belgium that showed that in Belgium people are 4 times as likely to get a lethal dose of medicine against their will than in Holland.

    I can personally think of a few situations in which I would probably ask for euthanasia. In my opinion it is even ethically wrong to keep people suffering and prolong live at all cost, especially if it's againts their expressed will. I personally wouldn't like for a doctor to get in trouble with justice for helping me at my request. All in all I very content with this law, and the way it regulates euthanasia.

    The vote in our parliament went 104 in favor and 40 against. All christian parties were against, most off the secular ones were in support of the law.

    * This law by the way is not law yet, it still has to be aproved by the 'Eerste Kamer' a parliament of indirectly chosen people, who are a last check for laws. (Except of course of the Dutch and Europeian court systems.)

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering? (4.40 / 5) (#89)
    by Chakotay on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 08:30:51 AM EST

    First off, I'm from the Netherlands. This euthanasia law (well, technically it's not a law yet, still has to pass by the senate and then by the queen, but that's generally a technicality - the real power is with the parliament) is basically yet another example of the Dutch unwritten policy of making stuff that happens anyway legal so you can regulate and control it. People were buying and selling weed, so it was made legal, and regulations imposed - any coffeeshop owner who sells illegal drugs, or sells drugs to minors, risks losing his commercial licence. Same for prostitution. It was made legal, there is actually a union of prostitutes now, they all pay taxes, and strict health regulations were imposed to prevent sexually transmittable diseases and other nasty stuff, and also strict regulations on "importing" girls. And again, screw up, and you lose your licence. This euthanasia law fits right into that line. All it does is make official something that has been in practice since 1984.

    Now to those morons swallowing rocket fuel (yeah, I think they're morons, sue me), I think it should be legal to do something like that to yourself. But no matter how risky an experiment is, if you offer money, there will always be people to go for it. I think that's wrong and immoral. (note: I think, meaning, personal opinion. Your own mileage may very well vary). Conducting such medically unsound, high risk experiments should be illegal - but participating in them is your own choice ofcourse. People shouldn't be protected from themselves, but they should be protected from companies that try to take advantage of people who desperately need money by offering money to participate in such a dangerous experiment. And added to all that is also the fact that no selfrespecting insurance company would want to be caught dead selling a health insurance to somebody who has voluntarily entered such a high-risk experiment.

    --
    Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

    tabasco is fun. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
    by marrq on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 04:20:52 PM EST

    ... but they should be protected from companies that try to take advantage of people who desperately need money by offering money to participate in such a dangerous experiment.

    Before you try and protect people who desperately need money from getting said money, how about you find a way to aleviate the need for said money (assuming it's a need). If it's a want, why is this any different from huffing paint fumes? Personally I think I should be able to pay someone $10 to rub tabasco sauce in their eyes if they're willing, and don't see why corporations should not be able to also pay people to do entertaining (or potentially enlightening) albeit somewhat dangerous things. Heck, the corps are even telling people the risks, I wouldn't in the tabasco case (well, I probably would if I actually *knew* how bad that might be).


    /dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
    [ Parent ]

    Nitpicking (none / 0) (#117)
    by Ray Dassen on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 08:19:43 AM EST

    People were buying and selling weed, so it was made legal, and regulations imposed

    To the best of my knowledge, it is still illegal, it is only "gedoogd" (meaning that though it is illegal, noone gets prosecuted). In particular, the sale of weed over certain quantities (e.g. the sale of the quantities of weed coffeeshops buy) is definitely still illegal.

    Same for prostitution. It was made legal, there is actually a union of prostitutes now,

    Assuming you're referring to "de Rode Draad", that organisation predates the legalisation of prostitution by at least a decade.

    [ Parent ]

    I'm not Dutch (none / 0) (#124)
    by tumeric on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 02:01:34 PM EST

    But I very much admire the way things are done in the Netherlands. One of the things that makes euthanasia viable in that country is the high quality of affordable health care which prevents the danger of euthanasia being used as a cheap treatment option (a very powerful argument for it to remain illegal in some other countries).

    On a more general note, everyone can do what they like to their bodies (and most do). Regulating against it fills up prisons and overstretches a justice system. People who think such freedoms would be dangerous and cause anarchy don't release that individuals are doing what they like to themselves anyway (and, in the case of banned drugs, subsidising organised crime in the process).

    [ Parent ]

    Devil's advocate (4.33 / 3) (#97)
    by meeth on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 01:57:22 PM EST

    At the risk of putting forward what seems to be an unpopular view, what's wrong with paternalism in certain cases?

    Admittedly, you can construct pretty good slippery-slope arguments (well, if we forbid x now, what will we forbid in the future, etc.) against it. Lets put those arguments aside for the moment and assume that if we're smart enough to only adopt warranted paternalist policies right now, we or our descendents will be smart enough to only adopt warranted paternalist policies in the future. If we make this fairly large assumption, are the arguments against paternalism that strong? My guess is that most of us would agree that certain actions are idiotic (smoking crack, committing suicide without good reason). Most of the time, people who do these actions do them because they do not have a clear understanding of what these actions entail, or because they are blinded because of other pressures. In cases where these actions are clearly unwarranted, the government can improve the lives of people who are considering such actions by preventing them from doing them.

    I imagine one argument will be "Well, how can we recognize actions that are clearly idiotic?" It does not seem so hard to me as to rule out paternalism completely. Certainly we should be cautious before making claims that certain actions have no value, but for some actions we can probably 1) reach widespread consensus that the action is bad and 2) have good reasons for reaching that consensus. For example, smoking crack tends to ruin those aspects of life that seem most valuable: the ability to produce meaningful accomplishments, to have deep interpersonal relations, to enjoy the natural world, or to reach understanding of the nature of the world. [List paraphrased from a book by somebody-or-other Griffin].

    I can imagine another "argument": "It's my body and no one should tell me what to do with it!" But this is not an argument, it is just a restating of your viewpoint. I assume that there are _good_ reasons for a libertarian viewpoint that I haven't addressed. I'm interested in what they are.

    There is a point where argument must end (4.00 / 2) (#105)
    by SIGFPE on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:29:25 PM EST

    "It's my body and no one should tell me what to do with it!" But this is not an argument
    Rational behaviour and argument do not make sense without 'ends'. So there comes a point in any kind of argument where the argument must end and you reach the fundamental axioms that cannot be argued any further. In law and ethics these ends can be called 'fundamental rights'. They are simply accepted as given. Any attempt to justify these further often requires some other kind of discourse besides rational argumentation such as emotional pleas. When someone says "It's my body..." we may have reached just such a point. They are not prepared to argue any further because for them it is an axiom. I don't see anything wrong with this. Are you able to rationally argue for all of your ethical beliefs without ever having to fall back on other forms of persuasion?
    SIGFPE
    [ Parent ]
    How do we know when we've reached it? (4.00 / 1) (#118)
    by meeth on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 11:34:35 AM EST

    Are you able to rationally argue for all of your ethical beliefs without ever having to fall back on other forms of persuasion?

    I'm not sure if I'm able to rationally argue for all my ethical beliefs without ever having to fall back on other forms of persuasion. Presumably I am not. Nonetheless, I'd like to hope I can give reasons for any given ethical belief I have. (No, this is not impossible: either eventually one gets to foundational reasons, or reasons buttress each other in what non-charitably could be thought of as a circular manner).

    Even if I'm not though, that does not really address whether this particular belief ("My body is mine. Hands off!") should be a foundational one. There are good reasons for anyone who holds it to hope that it is not a foundational belief.

    First, if your ethical belief is just based on intuition, there is a fairly high chance that it is wrong. Specifically, most people do not seem to believe in complete ownership of the body. Arguably, the majority of people even today do not hold the belief (including some smart and reflective people: the judiciary and legal professors, for example), and complete ownership of the body would have struck people as absurd before the 19th century. Unless you have some reason to think your intuition is better than all those people's intuition, more likely than not your intuition is wrong.

    Second, if you can't give a reason for your belief, I have no reason to change my beliefs. It is in your interest to convince others that ownership of the body should be complete.

    Third, if your belief is just a hunch, quite likely it is inconsistent with other beliefs. For example, presumably most of you who believe in complete ownership of the body do not believe in complete ownership of the body for children. Childhood is a time that requires protection and nurturing and, therefore, some paternalism. Can you reconcile complete ownership of the body for adults with significantly incomplete ownership of the body for children? The difference between adulthood and childhood is at least partly conventional and probably is not stark enough to reconcile the distinction, or at least that's the way it looks to me.

    So, even accepting the notion that there are 'fundamental rights', why is complete ownership of the body one? Or is the belief that complete ownership of the body is a fundamental right another belief I should have grasped through intuition?

    [ Parent ]

    These are very good points you make (3.00 / 1) (#123)
    by SIGFPE on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 02:00:17 PM EST

    How do we know when we've reached it? This is a very difficult question to answer without going into a long discussion about my own beliefs. I believe that other people could make simpler justifications based on their own philosophical beliefs but I wouldn't feel honest arguing from their point of view so I have to argue from mine.

    I peronsonally don't really believe in ethical truths. We have criteria for deciding whether or not a statement of fact is true and hence it makes sense to talk of the truth of facts (and I think it's appropriate to talk of degrees of truth if the criteria are problematic). Ethical truths, on the other hand, don't really have criteria. I don't like to say '"Torture is evil" is true' though I will say "Torture is bad". At the end of the day I guess that whether I say X, where X is an ethical statement, depends on whether X 'feels' right to me. It's not just a touchy-feely thing though. If someone else shows me how, by rational argument, policy Y implies the use of torture then I may come to believe "Y is bad" also. I guess this view fits with what you are saying - my ethical beliefs will tend to have a degree of logical consistency so that from a purely logical perspective they look like circular arguments.

    So in dealing with the question of "is X fundamental" all I will reply is "it is if I say so". Of course if you know I believe Z and you can rationally argue that X is inconsistent with Z then I may have to change my beliefs. I believe that that is what you are trying to do when you raise the issue of whether or not children have rights to their own bodies. I have to agree with you - one needs to be careful when stating what one believes are fundamental rights. But once someone is able to formulate a set of such rights that are non-contradictory I don't think that they need to justify their belief. I guess that I'm still just agreeing with you but being laborious to make things clear.

    The upshot is that if you haven't "grasped through intuition" what people are arguing then they need to use a different rhetorical strategy with you. They either need to determine some of your other beliefs and figure out how to show that your beliefs are inconsistent with not supporting your beliefs. Or they should try to use some other kind of persuasion: maybe tell you some anecdotes about body artists who've been treated badly or something along those lines and hope they make you 'feel' bad. I'm not going to do that myself.

    So I guess my final answer to your key question "So, even accepting the notion that there are 'fundamental rights', why is complete ownership of the body one?" is "I don't know" - but I think it's quite reasonable for someone to claim that it is because I suspect that from time to time simply making such a statement is actually enough to switch people's beliefs. (Let me talk from practical experience here: I have recently been reading quite a bit of libertarian literature. Even though I don't find the arguments all logically coherent I do find that the statement "Everything should be done through mutual consent" feels very right to me. Nobody needs to justify it further to me. I didn't really feel this so strongly previously. Now I have to think about my other beliefs and figure out if this is all consistent - I suspect not!)

    This is all a bit 'meta'. Maybe I should answer a more specific question. "Can you reconcile complete ownership of the body for adults with significantly incomplete ownership of the body for children?". I see no reason why a right shouldn't make reference to adulthood even if the age of adulthood is arbitrary. One of the most important principles of any legal systems (in fact one could argue that it is the principle) is that you need to have a way do make legal decisions in a reasonable time. We have to pay an apparent price for doing this - the law is less discriminating that it could be. We couldn't afford to have an endless court case with expert witnesses judging the 'adultness' of every person in a court case. So we have to accept time saving conventions like the age of consent. I think this is such a fandamental principle it seems only reasonable that a right about body ownership should make reference to it.
    SIGFPE
    [ Parent ]
    And your own argument is..? (none / 0) (#113)
    by nevauene on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:55:57 PM EST

    My guess is that most of us would agree that certain actions are idiotic (smoking crack, committing suicide without good reason).

    That is no more an 'argument' than the "it's my body and no one has the right to tell me what to do with it!" one you mentioned. You go on to say "the government can improve the lives of people who are considering such actions..." again, no argument there, just the dubious suggestion that draconic drug laws are implemented by a benevolent government, to save us from ourselves. Because they have only our best interests at heart, of course. Have you perhaps been hitting the little glass pipe yourself?

    Yeah, I agree that smoking crack is idiotic. But it does not automatically follow from this that we have the divine right to 'save' a minority that may disagree with us or choose to do the 'idiotic' thing in question. It is certainly valid in the case of murder, rape, etc, where the idiotic act happens to infringe upon the rights of others. But in the case of victimless crimes like drug use, indeed the only arguments that can support criminalization are weak ones, such as your paternalistic apologetics, or claiming that victimless crimes still harm 'society as a whole' in some abstract, ill-defined, and usually moral sense. Oh, and the "burden on the health care system" is a popular one too, especially here in Canada where we have a socialized system.

    Actually, it IS my body, and nobody DOES have the right to tell me what to do with it. What you think about the potential merits of state paternalism is irrelevant - a growing number of people do consider bodily autonomy to be right up there alongside freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, regardless of what the law may say. We will act accordingly, and hope that your benevolent state never catches up with us.


    There is no K5 Cabal.
    [ Parent ]
    How about this... (none / 0) (#122)
    by Zeram on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 01:44:04 PM EST

    Humanity at large has been consistantly finding ways to remove itself form the "natural order". Specifically to circumvent natural selection. As inhuman as it may sound, having the weakest members live off of the stronger members does not make us better. In that sense the idea of letting anyone do anything to their body is a good idea. So allowing weaker (dumber) members of our species to do dumb things and kill themselves means that #1 hopefully the person didn't have the chance to breed and thus any possible genetic legacy of stupidity will not be passed on, and #2 it sets an example for others to know what to avoid (a la the Darwin Awards, or Bloody Stupid Johnson).
    <----^---->
    Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
    [ Parent ]
    Full of course (3.00 / 2) (#116)
    by Haraldk on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 07:01:05 AM EST

    What right I should have to body? Full of course! This is how it must and should be. Consider this: if I donīt have full right to my body, it means that someone else is regulating my right to my body. Another person for some reason has the right to my body in some cases (otherwise he wouldnīt have the right to regulate). If I donīt have the right to my body, how the heck did another person gain it??? And who has got the right to the body of this person?? It doesnīt add up. About that "companies experiments should be regulated, not peoples choises". Well... you do realise that it is the same thing donīt you? My right to my body must of course include a full right to engage in contract making with other persons. This right is here clearly violated. An example: I should have the right to hire a guy to beat the crap out of me if I want to. The fact that it involves another person (not a drug or another substance) doesnīt change a thing. Someone said there always will be people doing experiments for money. Perhaps so, but why do they do it? Probably because their expected net gain is higher than any other available alternative! And who are you to decide another personīs net gain?

    Very well said. (none / 0) (#120)
    by Scriven on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 12:49:11 PM EST

    I agree with Haraldk. There really shouldn't be anything more to say. A person should have 100% choice over what is done to his body, and by whom.

    Period.


    --
    This is my .sig. It isn't very big. (an oldie, but a goodie)
    [ Parent ]
    Rubbish again (2.00 / 2) (#128)
    by maketo on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 08:49:21 PM EST

    I am sorry but if you are professing the right of free speech through reverse engineering - what about the ones that want to write software and keep it propriatory. How about the ones that choose to buy the product? It is their _free_ will and you seem to conveniently forget it when you reverse engineer their product. I have no problems with people writing their free software and giving it away (just as I have no problem with drug users trying to legalize marijuana) but pushing unlimited drug usage through the issue of euthanasia....that is something completely different.
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    Body Freedom | 129 comments (117 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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