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[P]
Is It Time for Drug Policy Reform in the US?

By kwertii in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:55:41 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The time has come for the United States to shed its antiquated and puritanical drug laws. Regardless of one's own personal preference regarding the use of intoxicating substances, at the most fundamental level, what right does the government have to tell an adult which chemicals they may put into their own body? Certainly, engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating machinery while intoxicated endanger others and should not be permissible. In the privacy of one's own home, however, how does the government have the right to determine which substances may be consumend, and which may not?


The United Kingdom's Home Secretary announced to Parliament today that as of next summer, the British government will no longer bother arresting people for the sale or use of marijuana. This brings Great Britain in line with most of Western Europe, where soft drug use is largely ignored by law enforcement officials. Yet here in America, we still cling to the same archaic laws that make you a criminal for smoking a joint -- but one may buy beer at every corner 7-11.

We allow drugs to be legally sold across the country -- nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, for example, are readily available nearly everywhere in the United States. Yet children are brainwashed into the "Just Say No" cult in elementary school. Alcohol, especially, is the primary factor in millions of deaths and illnesses in the United States, not to mention drunk driving fatalities and countless bar fights provoked for little reason by otherwise reasonable individuals under the influence of alcohol. If one takes the tact that marijuana must be illegal as well in order to promote the public health and well being or some such, then it is rank hypocrisy not to prohibit these three substances as well.

Ah, you say, what about hard drugs? You're not suggesting we sell them at 7-11, as well?

Heroin destroys lives. This is largely a result of its illegality. Heroin is highly addictive and very expensive. Actual production is very cheap; heroin is expensive only because it is illegal and must be smuggled in to the country. People use drugs regardless of whether they are legal or not. This is the de facto reality of the situation in this and every other country. People use addictive drugs. Again, this is simply the reality of the situation. Faced with a desperate addiction they may not have seen coming, users of heroin are oftentimes drawn into a life of crime just to be able to afford more heroin. If they're caught, they are not sent to a treatment program to get help and possibly turn their lives around. They go to jail, where they learn even more techniques for making money illegally from other inmates.

Overdoses are quite common with heroin use. Opiates are quite safe when taken in known, managed doses, but street heroin is of unknown and widely varying purity. Drug dealers cut their heroin with talcum powder, baking soda, sugar, and many other things to increase their profit margins. Different dealers cut different amounts. When an addict buys heroin and it happens to be quite a bit stronger than what he's used to, he dies. This is completely senseless. If heroin was distributed to addicts in known purity by the government, as in the Netherlands, overdoses would approach zero. I am not suggesting that heroin or other hard drug usage be encouraged; I am merely observing that people have been and are going to continue to use them regardless of whether they are legal or not. There is no reason that these people or any people should be drawn into a life of petty crime and possibly die from entirely preventable factors. The government should distribute hard drugs to users and, moreover, provide free rehabilitation to those users who wish to quit.

Anti-drug pundits argue that drugs fund criminal elements, and they are quite right. Drug policy organizations ran absurdly expensive commercials during the Super Bowl this year insinuating that anyone who purchases illicit substances in the United States must take responsibility for the September 11th terrorist attacks, because their drug money funds these groups. The logical flaw with this approach is, of course, that organized criminals could not compete with legitimate, government regulated businesses in the distribution of soft drugs. The very illegality of these substances gives rise to criminal empires with larger economies and better weapons than most small countries. Their primary source of funding is illicit drug trafficking. The government's solution has been to toughen penalties for trafficking, but this has been ineffective, as there are many, many poverty stricken residents of third world countries more than willing to risk it all for the tremendous rewards of even a single drug smuggling success. A few get caught and go to jail, so what? There are ten others waiting to take each one's place. All the continued criminalization of drugs accomplishes is to better arm and equip these smugglers so that they can stay one step ahead of authorities. The street level distribution in the United States is accomplished through the Mafia and street gangs. Entire sectors of Los Angeles and New York are effectively war zones, with a good chance of death for outsiders who wander onto the wrong turf. Heavily armed thugs guard their streetcorner drug distribution centers. How can they afford Uzis and nine millimeter pistols? Drug money. All of which would evaporate if drugs were legal and regulated.

Drugs do provide a convenient excuse for the government to funnel billions of dollars per year in aid and weaponry to Colombia and other foreign governments. In Colombia, this taxpayer money filters down to right-wing militias who terrorize and often summarily execute the peasantry while searching for FARC troops. FARC has two strikes against it from the outset. Not only do they grow cocaine, but they're Communists, as well. The right wing militias, incidentally, receive the rest of their funding from Colombian drug lords worried that FARC is encroaching on their territory. Of course, the original purpose of such aid was only superficially about drugs; the real motivation was geopolitical maneuvering against the Soviets during the Cold War, fighting for spheres of Central American influence. That's long gone, but the legacy lives on, fueled by domestic anti-drug hysteria.

Logistical enforcement of drug laws is a tremendous and needless waste of government resources. Our prisons hold many thousands of individuals who have done nothing more than being caught with the wrong chemicals on their person. Upon coming to power, the Bush administration swiftly revoked all Federal financial aid for any college student with a prior drug conviction of any sort (despite George W.'s unwillingness to answer straightforward questions regarding his own experiences with cocaine and alcohol in his younger days.) How many uncountable hours did the police spend arresting and booking these people, while they could have been out capturing murderers and rapists?

The time has come to end the insanely wasteful War on (some) Drugs. Alcohol prohibition was attempted. Organized crime became powerful as a result, and people drank alcohol anyway. Drugs are now prohibited, with the same result. We must learn from the mistakes of the past here, and divert the money used to criminalize drugs to treatment programs for hard drug users rather than jail cells for people caught smoking a joint. Besides the humanitarian and ideological aspects, a tremendous amount of money would be saved in the short and long terms. It's time for the USA to move past the prohibition era.

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Poll
Should the US change its drug policy?
o Yes, completely. Legalize everything. 51%
o No, the current policy works fine. 1%
o Only soft drugs should be legal. Hard drugs should still be illegal. 18%
o Soft drugs should be legal; hard drugs should be distributed by the government only. 23%
o Yes. ALL drugs should be illegal, including alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. 4%

Votes: 278
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o the British government will no longer bother arresting people for the sale or use of marijuana.
o Also by kwertii


Display: Sort:
Is It Time for Drug Policy Reform in the US? | 386 comments (355 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
My poll option (2.83 / 6) (#6)
by Stereo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:37:56 AM EST

All drugs should be distributed by the governments, under medical supervision. Advertisement for all drugs, from marijuana t-shirts to Budweiser girls should be forbidden (ads for medical drugs would be allowed in medical newspapers, websites etc.).


kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


Are you sure? (4.66 / 3) (#7)
by jgk on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:57:38 AM EST

All drugs should be distributed by the governments, under medical supervision.
What about homegrown weed? Are you saying you'll only be able to get government coffee, government beer and govermnent cigarettes?

Of course all suppliers should be regulated under medical supervision and made to produce to the same standards as the pharmaceutical industry where appropriate, but forget the government they suck.

When selling a plant like mushrooms, weed, etc. it should be legal to sell the plants as they are. Information should be legally required to be given where appropriate.

Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
Yeah I thought about that (5.00 / 3) (#8)
by Stereo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:09:48 AM EST

It would make no sense not to allow people to grow weed on their balcony or to buy beer in pubs or cough syrup at chemists. Allowing certain tolerance margins (e.g. allowing people to grow their weed) and distributing licenses (e.g. allowing the coffee shop down the corner to sell beer, cigarettes and weed and the chemist to sell medicinal drugs) would be a solution to this.

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
There are lot of ways to do it (5.00 / 4) (#10)
by jgk on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:34:14 AM EST

The great thing about legalising drugs is it brings a whole section of society back into the fold. Medicinal quality means good shit and the regulators can work hand in hand with the consumer. Truly happy days.

Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
It also reduces criminality (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by Stereo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:55:27 AM EST

Drug addicts don't have to rely on crime to pay for their drugs anymore and all drug thugs suddenly become unemployed.

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
To right.. (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:56:03 AM EST

I live in the UK, and I cant wait for cannabis to be legalised(Allthough it wont be de-classed till next year). The way I figure it, you take risks every second of the day, when you cross the road, when you buy your coffee in the morning or when you buy some crack from a dodgy geeza. I should be able to decide for myself what is and isnt risky.

We all know about the dangers of smoking long before we try it for ourselves, so we can make an informed decision on wether we should smoke or not. We may make what is the accepted wrong decisions and decide to smoke, but that is one of our basic rights as individuals. Similairly there should be the same level of education for cannabis, heroin, and etc.. And then you cannot blame the problem on the drug itself, the problem is the person whose willing to take the risk.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
This doesn't make sense (1.78 / 23) (#16)
by psychologist on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:30:48 AM EST

Drug use is harmful to society. The government is there to ensure as hight a standard of living for everybody, and not just a few crackheads. If you let everybody be able to buy drugs, society as a whole would suffer.

Addiction is a terrible thing. Addictive substances like heroin should not be allowed ever.

Marijuana is as bad a drug as alcohol. And alcohol should also be banned. These substances are harmful to the body and to society. We would be better without them.

I've seen what soldiers on Marijuana can do, and I don't like it. We don't need more drugs, we need less.

Marijuana's bad mmm'kay? (4.60 / 10) (#18)
by Djinh on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:43:21 AM EST

In The Netherlands you can buy Marijuana on every streetcorner: Just walk into a coffeeshop and choose from the menu.

Things have been this way for a long as I can possibly remember. And guess what, our society has not fallen apart, all is fine and well.

Oh, except that we don't have millions of people in jail, we don't have crackheads killing you over a few dollars and we don't have third world type stuff like asset forfeiture laws.

--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

You sound like... (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by barnasan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:02:08 AM EST

...you need to get high.

BTW, IMO alcohol is worse than marijuana. You want to forbid it (err.. remember what happened last time)? Sure go ahead - I know how to brew... It won't be very convenient, but it can't be worse than smoking pot in the wrong country/state.

Just because humans are good in rational thinking, this doesn't mean they are rational/logical robots working all day for "the society". So when Pops comes home from work, let him have his sixpack or joint or whatever, would you?

Chill out - and pass the joint ;-)

[ Parent ]

Muslim countries have banned Alcohol (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by psychologist on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:09:39 AM EST

And you don't see it being smuggled in everyday. In the same way, there is no organized alochol racket.

[ Parent ]
Wrong again. (4.66 / 6) (#30)
by FredBloggs on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:29:56 AM EST

"And you don't see it being smuggled in everyday. In the same way, there is no organized alochol racket."

What about prohibition in the States? Isnt that a more useful yardstick for analogies than some wacky run-by-religious-idiots country which doesnt allow women to drive, vote etc?

Plus, you`re wrong.

http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/2001/05/10/fp7s2-csm.shtml

"The Saudi authorities say those behind some of the recent attacks are connected to a bloody turf war between rival gangs of foreigners over the multimillion dollar trade in alcohol, which is outlawed in this Muslim country."

Next time, try harder. You may want to do a little research reading first, rather than trying to defend a position you`ve clearly half-learnt second hand.

[ Parent ]

Not all Muslim countries (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by ausduck on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:42:38 AM EST

Firstly, alcohol is available in Saudi, Oman, UAE, etc. legally.

In Kuwait, where it is illegal, the higher-ups in the royal family drink (and lots, if you talk to the people who have to bury all the empty cans and bottles away from prying eyes), they just don't let that sort of thing be reported in the state-controlled press.

(From someone who once knew a Kuwaiti prince, and no longer lives in that region, so I don't have to worry about censorship and such things.)

[ Parent ]
Such biting sarcasm (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:21:17 AM EST

And you don't see it being smuggled in everyday.

I'm amazed those other two didn't get the joke.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Hmm.. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by kcidx on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:00:46 AM EST

If it was being "smuggled" it would follow that you don't see it. Providing it was "smuggled" sucessfully. Nice logic though.. :)

[ Parent ]
Um (5.00 / 2) (#152)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:06:09 PM EST

And you don't see it being smuggled in everyday. In the same way, there is no organized alochol racket.

That's because Islam forbids alcohol. Since the vast majority of the population over there are devout Muslims, they would never think of touching the stuff  even if it were legal.

Contrast 1920's America: Drinking before the prohibition was of course common. So when they banned alcohol, of course that created a huge market for illicit booze, fueling huge crime rackets. Drinking is still common today. So, I would venture to guess that something similar would again happen.

BTW, marijuana is much less dangerous than alcohol, and I estimate 30% of the population uses it at least occasionally. First of all, I am a junior in HS. Over half of the students at my school use pot at least occasionally. Most are perfectly normal, many are on the honor roll. The vast majority can use the drug responsibly.

In my school of 500, there are only a handfull of true stoners. The stoners are fuckwits with no self control. They would be failures with or without pot. After all, marijuana, unlike alcohol, is completely non-addictive. If it ruins your life it is your own damn fault.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

it ain't the MJ... (5.00 / 5) (#24)
by Meatbomb on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:54:29 AM EST

... it's big guns and hate for a dehumanised enemy that makes soldiers do naughty things.

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
Wrong. (3.50 / 6) (#29)
by FredBloggs on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:26:36 AM EST

>Drug use is harmful to society

Prohibition is more harmful, as you get both the bad effects of drugs plus drive by shootings, random strength drugs, mugging/burglary/shoplifting etc etc.

>Addiction is a terrible thing. Addictive >substances like heroin should not be allowed ever

Is tobacco and alcohol included in this? Why shouldnt I be allowed to consume harmful addictive substances if i want to?  Who cares what other people think of my life choices? Not me! Boring!

>Marijuana is as bad a drug as alcohol

Incorrect. Where is your evidence?

"And alcohol should also be banned. These substances are harmful to the body and to society. We would be better without them."

I like Hoegaarden. Are you saying I should never drink it again? Get a grip, man! What a party pooper!

>I've seen what soldiers on Marijuana can do, and I don't like it.

Who gives a fuck what soldiers on Marijuana are like? What about anaesthetic - ban that too? What about meditation? Sleep? Sex?

>We don't need more drugs, we need less.

Speak for yourself!

[ Parent ]

Assumption (4.75 / 4) (#139)
by Sloppy on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:24:16 PM EST

Your post would be much better if you explained the assumption behind it: that law's purpose is to protect society. Some people (e.g. me) view law's purpose as being to protect peoples' rights; society will have to look after itself.

Think about who is running what. Are you a honeybee in a colony, robotically working to further the queen's gene's interests (society)? Or are you a man?
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

BTW (5.00 / 4) (#155)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:09:59 PM EST


I've seen what soldiers on Marijuana can do, and I don't like it. We don't need more drugs, we need less.

Huh? People under the influence of THC tend to become very non-threatening and amiable. I have never heard of anyone on pot becoming violent. If it happens, I am sure it is very rare. If anything, pot prevents violence.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

I needed a new sig... (3.20 / 5) (#364)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 08:00:36 PM EST

Thanks!

[ Parent ]
oh well that'd be the marijuana, not the soldiers (5.00 / 1) (#386)
by simeonscott on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 07:59:24 PM EST

Mind expanding on that statement? Soldiers on just about anything, including testosterone, can do some pretty nasty shit.
weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
[ Parent ]
Heroin destroys lives (2.75 / 12) (#27)
by eyeflare on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:20:43 AM EST

not because it is illegal, but because it destroys the person using it. It is highly addictive and highly toxic to almost every system in the body. The brain especially gets mangled by it. This leads to a heroin addict not being able to work, keep up personal relationships, or at late stages in abuse, not even keep up any semblance of personal hygiene.

If you think this is just "a chemical" that is dangerous because it's illegal, I don't think you've known anyone that has become addicted to heroin or any other "hard drug". This stuff is illegal because it is very dangerous.

-1, get to know something about the facts behind the drugs before you write about them. I agree that pot is mostly harmless, just like alcohol. But there are other drugs that are absolute killers and you are treating them all the same, as far as I can tell.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com

Some evidence please. (4.71 / 7) (#34)
by zakalwe on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:24:36 AM EST

It is highly addictive and highly toxic to almost every system in the body.

Addictiveness I'll give you, but I'd like to see some evidence for the "highly toxic" claim.  Overdose is very rare for a pure supply of heroin, and all the physical deterioration we associate with heroin use is a consequence of the impuritys found in the street supply.  You have it the wrong way round - heroin is dangerous because it is illegal.

And, to be honest, so what if it were dangerous.  Why are people not allowed to endanger themselves if they wish?  People should have the right to do what they want, so long as it doesn't harm others.  If someone decides that the thrill he gets from [heroin | mountain climbing | swimming ] is worth the risks they take, surely thats their decision.

[ Parent ]

Ok for a pure supply (2.50 / 2) (#245)
by eyeflare on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:00:00 AM EST

and in what idealistic universe would you find a dealer who wouldn't cut it even if it was legal? And even given that would happen, it still doesn't change the fact that it destroys peoples lives.

I had a close friend while growing up who started taking heroin (after meddling with other drugs), and at first become a healthy addict, then an apathetic one, and then a pathetic one. After that, he died because of it. Due to malnourishment, sequelas because of a weakened immune system, and because of the drug itself.

Heroin, just like crack cocaine, pcp, morphine and opium, kills. And not in a neat, trendy way such as falling off a mountain but in a slow downward spiral that wreaks havoc not only on the abuser but his or her family and society.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

RTFA (5.00 / 2) (#248)
by chopper on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:14:29 AM EST

and in what idealistic universe would you find a dealer who wouldn't cut it even if it was legal.

check it out, the article sez that if it were legal, there wouldn't be any dealers, at least not the dealers you're thinking of. legalization leads to purer and more exact dosages, just look at the prohibition situation in the US last century- people were keeling over left and right from nasty methanol-based bathtub gin because there were no quality manufacturers.

once prohibition was repealed, injuries and deaths from homemade hooch dropped off the map, because people realized it was easier and safer to just buy the shit. the article speaks of the government becoming the defacto dealer, which doesn't need to be the case; there are plenty of alcohol companies today, however, there is a good deal of government control over the alcohol industry, which is doing a fairly good job IMHO.

just imagine an analog to that situation applied to drugs.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

So your theory is that... (none / 0) (#383)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 05:58:23 PM EST

...drug dealers, who have suddenly become legal entities with names, address, faces, and business licenses, are going to be putting baking soda and concrete dust in heroin.

Well, I'd say a quick round of lawsuits ought to cure that, real quick. Do you have any idea what happens to companies that sell 'aspirin' that's half aspirin and half poison? When was the last time you bought 'cough medicine' on the street that was 'cut' with something?

Normal human beings buy drugs from, gasp, drug stores. Heroin would be no different. No companies do not cut drugs with crap, and heroin companies would be no different.

When was the last time you bought alcohol that blinded you because it had anti-freeze in it?

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

You're bass-ackwards (5.00 / 2) (#41)
by krek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:48:48 AM EST

While pure heroine is chemically addictive, it is the emotional and psychological dependancy that is the real hook.

Heroin is an opiate, just like methodone, morhpine and endorphines and, as such, is not really that harmfull in reasonable and controlled doses. Heroin is remarkably similar, in effect as well as chemically, to endorphines, as well as other substances, which are naturally produced by your own body.

Endorpines are released in response to pain and act as a built in pain killer as well as inducing a slightly euphoric 'high'. This is why many people become addicted to weight-lifting and daily gym sessions, they are jonesing for their next hit.

If heroine is illegal then you might as well ban exercise.

[ Parent ]
You should not speak about facts (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by nyri on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:36:47 PM EST

[because it] is [...] highly toxic to almost every system in the body.

It is not. Did you know that when UN was forcing worldwide ban on heroin Medical Doctors objected it because it was (and still is, if available) best cure for the childbirth pains.

-- Jari Mustonen

[ Parent ]

FARC (3.75 / 4) (#35)
by jseverin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:34:51 AM EST

This is in op-ed, and rightly so. You have your opinions, and everyone might not agree, and that's cool. But I have to object to your statement "FARC...are communists". The FARC are violent thugs with lots of drugs and guns, just like the people they're fighting. Attaching an ideology to them is like putting glasses on a rabid polecat and calling it "professor". But that's my opinion. It is op-ed, after all. Good job.

point is ... ? (none / 0) (#118)
by kwertii on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:59:58 PM EST

This is in op-ed, and rightly so. You have your opinions, and everyone might not agree, and that's cool. But I have to object to your statement "FARC...are communists". The FARC are violent thugs with lots of drugs and guns, just like the people they're fighting. Attaching an ideology to them is like putting glasses on a rabid polecat and calling it "professor". But that's my opinion. It is op-ed, after all. Good job.

Yes, the FARC are violent thugs with lots of drugs and guns. This does not somehow make them stop being Communists. The Bolsheviks were violent thugs with lots of guns. They were still Communists. The two aren't mutually exclusive...




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Point: (5.00 / 4) (#144)
by jseverin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:37:01 PM EST

If I call myself a supermodel, that does not make me one. Are the FARC collectivizing the areas of Columbia they control? Redistributing wealth based on need rather than ownership? Do they have a politburo? In short, are they actually communists or are they just gun-toting thugs who want some support from Cuba?

[ Parent ]
sigh. Semantic nitpicking. (none / 0) (#297)
by kwertii on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:55:58 PM EST

If I call myself a supermodel, that does not make me one. Are the FARC collectivizing the areas of Columbia they control? Redistributing wealth based on need rather than ownership? Do they have a politburo? In short, are they actually communists or are they just gun-toting thugs who want some support from Cuba?

I could spin off into a wild tangent about whether claiming to be something that has an altogether nebulous definition makes one that automatically, but just allow me to rephrase the original text instead.. "The FARC have two strikes against them ... they are self-professed Commnunists".

Better?




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#307)
by jseverin on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:07:31 PM EST

Yes. Sorry to be so picky. I've worked places where power comes from the barrel of a gun. It's a rude awakening for a first-world citizen to find yourself subject to the rule of force rather than the rule of law. The rights we take for granted disappear. You realize that this is the bulk of the human condition, and you desperately want to leave.

So when these kind of people attach titles like "communist" or "freedom fighter" to themselves it's supremely misleading.

[ Parent ]

It's all politics. (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by Icehouseman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:02:59 AM EST

I believe the reason why it's so hard to get drugs legalized is that the Republicans and Democrats have successfully eliminated any competition with the FEC. Both of the main parties care about little more than keeping the status quo. If they actually listened to us; drugs wouldn't be illegal.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
Dead horse (2.80 / 5) (#37)
by Silent Chris on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:04:14 AM EST

This dead horse has been flogged so many times here.  Poor horse.  Poor beaters.

The reason things like Marijuana are outlawed is because they are perceived not as a threat to the individual, but a threat to society.  I agree that things like alcohol should be held in the same light.  Personal freedoms end when they interact with, or limit, others' personal freedoms.  I'm allowed to own a gun.  I'm not allowed to kill someone with it.  It's the price you pay for having a civilized society.

I would venture to say most drugs cannot be outlawed forever.  It becomes an administration hurdle -- you can't outlaw everything.  I think in a hundred years, though, man will be so biologically changed (whether through natural or forced evolution) that drugs really won't do anything.  

There was a very old story I read in 3-2-1 Contact magazine as a kid, where people in the future were constantly living in virtual reality.  Everyone's home and building was plain and white.  You'd put on VR goggles and everything would be available.  The "drug dealers", in this story, were those who sold VR disks for various experiences.

There are definite negative pronounced effects from drugs (yes, even Marijuana).  Society is in a transitive shift right now, going back and forth between individualism and groupism.  Give it time, and this particular issue won't even matter.

I've never heard of a dead horse ... (4.66 / 3) (#48)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:31:31 AM EST

... stampeding over the civil rights of the people.

The reason things like Marijuana are outlawed is because they are perceived not as a threat to the individual, but a threat to society.

A police state is the real threat to society, and that's exactly what the government will have to institutute to win the war on drugs.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
evolution (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by quadong on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:07:58 PM EST

"I think in a hundred years, though, man will be so biologically changed (whether through natural or forced evolution) that drugs really won't do anything."

I feel a need to complain about this sentence.  Natural evolution does not work on timescales like 100 years, except in very special cases (in which one necessary element is a short lifetime, something which we lack).  "Forced" evolution, whatever you mean by that, is not going to do away with neurotransmitters, which are the things that make drugs work.  The types of genetic engineering that we might do in the next 100 years are things like preventing disease and changing eye color.

[ Parent ]

I think you may have misunderstood (none / 0) (#157)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:14:13 PM EST


I feel a need to complain about this sentence.  Natural evolution does not work on timescales like 100 years, except in very special cases (in which one necessary element is a short lifetime, something which we lack).  "Forced" evolution, whatever you mean by that, is not going to do away with neurotransmitters, which are the things that make drugs work.  The types of genetic engineering that we might do in the next 100 years are things like preventing disease and changing eye color.

I think he probably means more along the lines of robotic humans (face it: biological life will never measure up to very advanced robotic life). Anyway, a person could be engineered so substances like heroin could be metabolized very fast, limiting the high.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Enzyme inhibitors. (5.00 / 2) (#216)
by bobjim on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:03:54 AM EST

There are drugs around today that are metabolised too fast to allow the user to 'get high' (at least via oral routes). The traditional -- and I do mean traditional, because these techniques have been used in sacramental substance use for hundreds of years -- way of getting around this is to inhibit the metabolism of the drug.

A good example of this is Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which occurs naturally in a variety of plants. The beverage ayahuasca is a mixture of these plants with Banistopteris Caapi, a vine that contains harmala alkaloids, which act as Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs -- also, mostly historically, used as antidepressants). Since DMT is a monoamine, the MAOI prevents it being metabolised quickly allowing the user to get real fuxx0r3d up/trip/go on a spiritual journey of the self/be healed by the shaman.

Whatever they try, there will always be ways around it. When oxycodone abuse became a big problem, they added encapsulated naloxone (which negates the effects of opiates) which wouldn't rupture if the pill was swallowed, but would if the pill was melted (to extract the opiate for shooting up). Users simply dissolved and filtered the pills first.

In words so often heard around here: It's a technological solution to a social problem. And they don't work.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Kill whoever you want. (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by jgk on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:06:01 PM EST

I'm allowed to own a gun. I'm not allowed to kill someone with it. It's the price you pay for having a civilized society.
You are allowed to kill someone with it if they for example enter your property wihtout permission. Or here's a fun game get a friend of yours to point his gun at you while you point your gun at him. It's perfectly legal for either of you to pull the trigger and kill the other guy.

In a "civilised" society you would not be able to use your gun to kill someone... but why would you want a gun in a "civilised" society?

Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
here's two reasons (4.00 / 1) (#208)
by labradore on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:38:25 AM EST

  1. Because while a society may be civilized, there will always be individuals who are not.
  2. Because its fun to shoot things.

Along with banning guns I suppose we should ban general purpose computers. After all, they can be used to break the law, damage other people's property and perhaps even kill people. We should only allow fixed-purpose computers.

[ Parent ]

Don't ban guns! (4.00 / 1) (#211)
by jgk on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:13:01 AM EST

I don't want to ban guns... if I were in the US I'd bloody well want one.

Good to limit them as much as possible on islands like the UK and Austrlalia.

Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
Easy for you to say... (none / 0) (#312)
by trane on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:45:19 PM EST

Society is in a transitive shift right now, going back and forth between individualism and groupism.  Give it time, and this particular issue won't even matter.

But it does matter to those of us who have to pay ridiculously inflated prices for our medicine and run the risk of going to jail for it.

Are you comfortable with the idea of condemning millions of otherwise potentially productive people to a life of crime, poverty, and jail?

[ Parent ]

focus on the other ugly aspect of the drug war (4.94 / 17) (#39)
by miguel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:44:53 AM EST

We're not going to win the argument for ending this retarded war by going on about how people have the right to do drugs if they want to. Joe Average isn't going to be really convinced that the WOD is detremental to freedom solely on that.

Things like this may get Joe Average riled up enougth to speak out against it.

The WOD isn't just a war on peaceful drug users. Its a war on everyone. We need to remeber that

I want you to be free

Agreed. (4.16 / 6) (#46)
by priestess on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:09:20 AM EST

Drug use may well be a victimless crime, but prohibition is far from victimless. Prohibition really ruins lives and kills innocent people.

         Pre..........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Is It Time for Drug Policy Reform in the US? (2.60 / 5) (#40)
by bayankaran on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:45:00 AM EST

Yes.

Balancing Advocacy with Reality (4.30 / 10) (#50)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:33:23 AM EST

No, the government shouldn't have, and constitutionally speaking does not have, the right to choose which drugs we can and cannot put into our systems. Ban all drug controls.

At the same time, it is the height of (and there's no other way to say it) stupidity to even suggest that the only harmful aspect of illicit drugs is their legality. Heroin destroys lives because it destroys bodies and minds. The same goes for every other drug, from high sugar foods, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine on up to acetiminophen, prozac, and ridilin. Anything that is abused has a harmful effect on the person, and by extension, they people around them.

Government assumes the role of big brother because people in government and in society are of the perception that the people can't take care of themselves. While it is our right to take our freedoms back from big brother, it's not going happen so long as punk kids think ecstacy is okay, and heroin addicts flood into methedone.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Heroin.. (3.25 / 4) (#61)
by ragabr on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:49:11 PM EST

does not destroy bodies. As long as one has a clean supply and is responsible enough not to overdose, studies have shown that users are typically in good shape, and sometimes better than the general population, with malnutrition being the largest problem and that only amongst heavy users.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
The Classic Misnomer....(aka Bullshit Line)... (3.25 / 8) (#64)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:10:47 PM EST

Every drug proponant likes to claim that they're drug is harmless unless cut with something else. Bullshit, pure and simple. Heroin itself, without any other drug, destroys the body. It interferes with concentration, upsets circadian rythms (ultimately inducing insomnia), burns out endorphin receptors (which: News flash, do not get replaced), and may cause nausea in some users. Heroin is highly addictive, so it's abuse is inherent. Just because it doesn't kill the user doesn't mean its okay for abuse. As an opiate, it is relatively useless in and of itself.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Heroin (4.44 / 9) (#65)
by priestess on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:21:57 PM EST

I can't recomend it, it's addictive and you don't want to be dependent on anything or anybody if you can help it.

However, most of that strung out sickly look addicts get IS from the adulterents in the smack they inject. Try this: Inject bicarb and brick dust into your arterial system every day for a few months and see how sick you get.

Heroin is not harmless, but street heroin is massively more harmful than medically pure hospital heroin which you can (relatively) safely take for months with no problem but an addiction you need to kick. If this is not true, how come it's so widely used in hospitals in the UK?

Probition is making things worse for the addicts, for the medical institutions, for the police and for the society at large. It's time to stop.

        Pre........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Now THAT Was Accurate and Reasonable [n/t] (2.33 / 3) (#66)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:23:55 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
The good old days (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by miguel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:04:03 PM EST

Let's turn back the clock. Seems like your the one full of shit.

I want you to be free
[ Parent ]

I see nothing... (1.00 / 2) (#98)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:07:59 PM EST

...here that refutes my assertion that any substance that is abused can be harmful (including but not limited to heroin). Kindly take your hyperlinks and shove 'em.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ambigious. (5.00 / 2) (#237)
by tekue on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:54:36 AM EST

any substance that is abused can be harmful
What you say is "incorrect use of any substance can be harmfull" and I'd have to agree with that. This however means nothing. Every substance can be for example condensed to a point where it's pure weight allows it to be harmfull to humans. Most substances are harmfull if you try to breathe them. Virtually all are harmfull when you replace your blood, or brain matter with them.

All those uses of said substances can be described as abusive. But what is abuse? From the definitions I've read it's either wrong, incorrect use, or harmfull use. As harmfull doesn't leave much room for discussion ('any substance that is used in a harmfull way can be harmfull'), it leaves us with wrong, incorrect. What is incorrect? Who says what's correct? The majority, or experts, or maybe it's a personal choice?

Could you please co-abuse a cluestick and your rounded prominences? Thank you.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

And? (none / 0) (#230)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:26:14 AM EST

    Anything that is abused has a harmful effect on the person [...] [Reclamation of freedom is] not going happen so long as punk kids think ecstacy is okay, and heroin addicts flood into methedone

Fair comment, but you seem to have hit "Post" before actually reaching a conclusion. What do you suggest that we do about it?

Specifically, what do you suggest that we can do to level the playing field, and deal with the hypocrisy of taxing nicotene and alcohol abuse, while criminalising pot?

You make insightful comments about the pragmatism of the situation as is, but I doubt that you'd disagree that it's still flawed, over politicised and over rhetorical. Any idea what we can do about that?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Boycotts (2.83 / 6) (#51)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:45:12 AM EST

What I want to understand is why people are willing to boycott amazon just because the money gets used to uphold patents, but aren't willing to boycott drugs when the money gets used to kill police officers and border patrol guards.

Who is to blame? (4.50 / 4) (#54)
by zakalwe on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:11:12 PM EST

OK.  Suppose someone tells you that for every book you read, they'll kill a puppy.  Should you now boycott books if you don't want to be responsible for animal cruelty?

The fundamental reason is that the government is creating the situation where drug money goes to crime  - which is in fact the reason people are so keen on legalisation - to stop the crime connection at the root cause.

[ Parent ]

What's the difference? (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:19:05 PM EST

The fundamental reason is that the government is creating the situation where drug money goes to crime

Right... But the government is also creating the situation where Amazon can enforce a patent, or where meat companies can torture animals, or where Nike can hire 10 year old indentured servants.

I mean, personally I don't believe in boycotting any of these, but I think maybe by understanding why people don't boycott certain things maybe I can understand why they do boycott other things.



[ Parent ]
I suppose its alternatives (4.66 / 3) (#57)
by zakalwe on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:33:13 PM EST

I think the fundamental reason is alternatives.  I can buy books without going to Amazon and other shoes than Nike, but there's no source of drugs that doesn't involve criminals, and this is something mandated by the government.

If you think no other reason why drugs should be illegal, then fundamentally the one responsible is the one who forces it to be that way.  In the case of Nike etc the government allows abuses, but thats a lot different from requiring them.  If the government declared "All shoes must be made by slave labour", then boycotting shoe companys is just compounding the government's unfairness.

That said, I will have to admit that I don't boycott Amazon, and don't buy drugs, so all the above is just speculation.

[ Parent ]

boycotts (none / 0) (#86)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:11:49 PM EST

there's no source of drugs that doesn't involve criminals

Depends on the drug. With marijuana, you can certainly grow your own... Yes, you'd then be a criminal, but you wouldn't be a murderer. Further, in some cases like animal torture, there aren't really any alternatives. Nor are there many alternatives for shoes from companies that don't employ child labor. Also, in some sense it is the government's mandate that corporate CEOs act in the best interests of their shareholders which is the reason that these things happen.

In the case of Nike etc the government allows abuses, but thats a lot different from requiring them.

The government most certainly does not require theft and murder, and that's another place where you have a choice. Does your (not you literally) drug dealer deal in lots of drugs, and therefore support organized crime rather directly, or does s/he merely grow pot in her basement, and therefore isn't harming anyone at all (except you)?

I guess you're really not the right person to be having this discussion with, but I think it's an interesting topic, and as soon as I get enough feedback/information on it I'm probably going to put up a K5 article on the concept of boycotts.



[ Parent ]
not understanding boycotts... (none / 0) (#232)
by rtechie on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:27:27 AM EST


Depends on the drug. With marijuana, you can certainly grow your own... Yes, you'd then be a criminal, but you wouldn't be a murderer. Further, in some cases like animal torture, there aren't really any alternatives. Nor are there many alternatives for shoes from companies that don't employ child labor. Also, in some sense it is the government's mandate that corporate CEOs act in the best interests of their shareholders which is the reason that these things happen.

I think you're missing something, besides the obvious point that drug-related violence is all the resut of the drugs being illeagal. But to your point about boycotts...

You say that (at least) marijuana users can grow their own. That's true. But people upset with Nike labor can MAKE their own shoes. People upset with animal cruelty can go vegan, and possibly grow their own food. If you think that's impracticle, why do you think insisting MJ users grow thier own is as well?

Another problems is that legal penalties are MUCH greater for growing than mere posession in most places. This means that you're not only asking MJ users to sacrifice more time and money, but the accept much greater liability. the same doesn't apply to the other boycotts you mentioned.

This is beyond the fact that it's extremely difficult for "average" users to produce most drugs (LSD, cocaine, heroin, etc.)

[ Parent ]

subject (none / 0) (#262)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:31:25 AM EST

I think you're missing something, besides the obvious point that drug-related violence is all the resut of the drugs being illeagal.

I fail to see how that matters. Amazon's behavior is a result of corporatism and patent law. Nike's behavior is a result of lack of import controls. Animal cruelty is a result of overdependence on meat. Drug-related violence is a result of drugs being illegal.

Once you've separated your own actions from those of the people you're supporting, I don't see why it matters.

You say that (at least) marijuana users can grow their own. That's true. But people upset with Nike labor can MAKE their own shoes. People upset with animal cruelty can go vegan, and possibly grow their own food. If you think that's impracticle, why do you think insisting MJ users grow thier own is as well?

Huh? No, I'm not saying it is or isn't impracticle. I'm saying it's the same damn thing.

Another problems is that legal penalties are MUCH greater for growing than mere posession in most places.

But your chances of getting caught in the privacy of your own home is much much lower. But anyway, I guess that's valid, if you live somewhere where that is the case, and you're willing to contribute to the killing of innocent people.



[ Parent ]
Great point... (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by dennis on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:56:10 PM EST

...but it has no bearing on whether drugs should be legalized. If they were legal, the profits on them wouldn't be used to kill police.

[ Parent ]
Nor did I imply that it does... (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:13:14 PM EST

I'm not questioning legalization here. I'm not even questioning people who buy drugs. I'm just questioning people who say that it is immoral to buy books from amazon, but not immoral to buy drugs from terrorists. That doesn't make any sense to me.

[ Parent ]
hello? (5.00 / 3) (#77)
by quadong on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:57:07 PM EST

If I grow pot in my garage, how does my money get to anyone, much less to people who kill cops?  Now, I don't know where you get pot seeds, but my guess is that, even if you buy them from terrorists, which seems unlikely, you don't pay more than a few dollars.  Now maybe you, unlike Partnership for a Drug-Free America, were talking about other drugs, but if so, it would be good if you made the distinction.

[ Parent ]
Umm, not exactly (none / 0) (#85)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:54:05 PM EST

I know a lot of people who smoke pot. I know very few who grow it themselves. If you grow pot in your garage, I wasn't talking about you.

[ Parent ]
Well done (5.00 / 1) (#229)
by synaesthesia on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:22:03 AM EST

I know a lot of people who smoke pot. I know very few who grow it themselves. If you grow pot in your garage, I wasn't talking about you.

Could the reason why people don't grow pot perhaps be that it virtually guarantees you being seen as a dealer in the eyes of the law? And what if you live within 1000 feet of a school?!



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
justifications (none / 0) (#263)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:36:40 AM EST

Could the reason why people don't grow pot perhaps be that it virtually guarantees you being seen as a dealer in the eyes of the law?

Certainly not, because that's not the case in most states.

And what if you live within 1000 feet of a school?!

What's your point? You're justified in contributing to the killing of innocent victims just because you live within 1000 feet of a school? If you live within 1000 feet of an amazon.com warehouse, are you justified in buying books from them? Or is it just that buying something from a bad person is sometimes justifiable?



[ Parent ]
No... (none / 0) (#349)
by synaesthesia on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 10:40:15 AM EST

...it's just that your maximum penalty is doubled if you live within 1000 feet of a school.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
I'll take your word for it... (1.00 / 1) (#351)
by dipierro on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 01:48:26 PM EST

Because I don't feel like looking up the federal drug laws. I don't see how that's relevant, though.

[ Parent ]
People don't boycott Amazon (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by fishpi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:31:06 PM EST

The number of people who boycotted Amazon is not significant, or they would not still be as successful as they are. By contrast, a lot of people choose not to use drugs because they know that the money would support crime, but they blend in with people who don't take drugs for other reasons (while the majority of people have tried illegal drugs, the proportion who use them regularly is a bit lower).

But anyway, this has nothing to do with the legalisation argument. If drugs were legalised they would be taxed, so your money would be going to the government.

[ Parent ]

Interesting perspective... (none / 0) (#92)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:40:00 PM EST

though I've heard of, and actually known people who boycott amazon, Nike, McDonalds, meat, certain stocks, etc., but I've never heard of someone who fell for Bush's drugs==terrorism argument.

So far all my responses have pretty much come from people who don't agree with these boycotts. What I'd like to hear from is someone who actually supports them. Now as far as I know RMS isn't on K5, and greenrd is opposed to drugs, so I figured I'd just post it out there for anyone to respond.



[ Parent ]
Be more specific (4.00 / 1) (#127)
by Sloppy on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:40:10 PM EST

You singled out a single bookseller. And that's good, because you understand that books, in general, are not the problem.

Now please single out a drug dealer. If he's a murderer, then yes, people should buy their crack from someone else.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#148)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:56:47 PM EST

Now please single out a drug dealer. If he's a murderer, then yes, people should buy their crack from someone else.

So it's only wrong if it's direct, and you have direct knowledge of it?

And what people/companies should you not support? Any which do anything immoral? Or is there something especially horrendous about enforcing a patent?



[ Parent ]
Is It Time for Drug Policy Reform on K5? (3.27 / 11) (#52)
by gibichung on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:55:06 AM EST

At this rate, we're looking at articles such as "Sharing: Evil Government Conspiracy (or why I should be the only kid allowed to play with the blocks)."
Faced with a desperate addiction they may not have seen coming, users of heroin are oftentimes drawn into a life of crime just to be able to afford more heroin.
Faced with a life of crime, because they're so doped up that they aren't capable of anything else. And, like you said, the drugs themselves might be cheap to manufacture, but the consequences of use are very, very expensive. How many people can live productive lives on heroin? How many, if the government gives it to them for free? And the government pays for their housing, and for their food, and for their entertainment. What's the incentive to ever quit?

And, after a few years, the government -that's tax payers, kids- will ultimately find itself paying for their hospitalization. While in the hospital, do you believe that they should be allowed access to their heroin? You'd better say yes, because, otherwise, we might find ourselves with ...a black market. Most people don't have the strength of character to quit drugs, even if it's killing them. What incentive do they have under your plan?

Faced with the massive social problems you'd create, the working people will work less and less for themselves and more and more for the government. Sounds like the sort of thing that could drive a man to seek relief, doesn't it? There's no easier way to escape than a little dope, right? And the government will always be there to support your children. What's one less tax payer?

The idea is ridiculous: legal drugs sure didn't work in 19th century China, nor did bread and circuses succeed in Rome. Ultimately, drug legalization isn't just pretending that you don't have a problem, it's actively covering it up so you don't have to face it. The worst of both worlds, and all this for selfish people who'd rather get high than deal with their problems.

Don't get me wrong, I have almost complete faith in mankind to do what's right. Men are rational, and rational men can see where drug use leads them. But the problem is that even "trivial" drugs like marijuana or alcohol attack a man's ability to make rational decisions, often starting a chain reaction that leads to complete chemical dependence on harder drugs and ultimate self-destruction.

Should we be flexible? After all, many people can use lighter drugs and almost always walk away unscarred: pot or booze are no danger to them. On the surface, it sounds reasonable, but the social reality is different. One only need look to the myriad of drug abusers here, always looking for more people to share the experience -- to help justify their habits to themselves, no doubt. I wonder how many people without the virtue of physical or mental toughness to withstand the drug culture have been destroyed by this mind-set?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

the "gateway" drug (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by sykmind on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:06:11 PM EST

I'm sorry, but I don't buy this term "gateway drug". I used to smoke marijuana regularly, at least once a day during my high school years and first year of college. That's 5 years of steady use, yet I felt no urge whatsoever to try and harder drugs, even though I had ample oppurtunities. Some of my friends did do hard drugs (i.e. coke, heroin, crack). However, the fact that they smoked marijuana had nothing to do with them moving up to the hard stuff. Had they been completely clean and presented with cocaine, they would have done. It's all in the type of person you are.

[ Parent ]
I would like to point out (none / 0) (#72)
by krek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:39:35 PM EST

that I never touched a single drug, from alcohol to nicotine to tobacco to anything harder, until I was 19, I had my first beer, followed by a pitcher of sangria (I am Canadian, this is extremely unusual, legal age is 18, and most start at 14-16). After that, within three months I had tried marijuana, mushrooms, exctacy, nitrous oxide, speed, and something that I was told was LSD (but I doubt it). I have been a pot smoker for near five years now, I occasionally drop E and/or mush, the E is usually cut with speed, and on special occasions I will break out some balloons and the old laughing gas. The one drug that I came away from with a very bad impression of was alcohol, I have not touched it in almost four years, I just have absolutely no interest in feeling and acting like a complete jack-ass, the other drugs at least allow me to retain control over myself.

[ Parent ]
This is a complete straw man. (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by zakalwe on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:23:19 PM EST


How many people can live productive lives on heroin? How many, if the government gives it to them for free?
Who said anything about giving it away free?  Legalisation would work the same way as current recreational drugs like nicotteine and alcohol.

You seem to be missing the fundamental point of the crime argument.  Heroin addicts turn to crime because:

  1. Heroin is expensive.  Legal jobs are not enough to support their habit.
  2. They are in already in contact with criminals to obtain the supply.
  3. Even those who want to cure their addiction can't risk getting legal help, since this will expose their crime.
Legalisation would fix both these.  You also seem to be under the delusion that drug use will instantly turn people into mindless idiots incapable of holding a job.  Even if this is so, how will legalisation worsen the situation?  All that's changed is that they'll need less money to buy drugs, and they'll have a better chance of getting help.

As regards cost to society - do you realise how much we are spending in enforcing drug policys?  Add to this the fact that all the profits made in drug trafficking is channelled to criminals.  Legalisation would allow taxation, which could bring in more than enough to deal with the medical problems and still allow drugs to be less than current street value. (Remember, there is no need for costly smuggling and hiddent distribution operations)

Drug legalisation can only be a net gain to society, both for users and non-users.

[ Parent ]

Free drugs and free rehab (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by Kyle on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:45:10 PM EST

How many people can live productive lives on heroin? How many, if the government gives it to them for free?
Who said anything about giving it away free? Legalisation would work the same way as current recreational drugs like nicotteine and alcohol.

From the article: "The government should distribute hard drugs to users and, moreover, provide free rehabilitation to those users who wish to quit."

I guess he didn't say "free drugs", only "free rehab", but "distribute" isn't quite "sell". I too read it the way gibichung did: "free drugs and free rehab." Maybe the original author could clarify what's advocated.

Personally, I think it would be very nice and neat if the cost of (government supplied) drugs paid for the resulting rehab. It would be even more tidy still if it could also pay to solve other problems it causes.

[ Parent ]

straw men and delusions (2.66 / 3) (#62)
by gibichung on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:54:51 PM EST

Legalization would allow taxation, which could bring in more than enough to deal with the medical problems and still allow drugs to be less than current street value.
This is absolutely absurd, for any number of reasons. The first is, of course, taxation of cigarettes and alcohol works because of the bulk of these substances required for their effect. Even the heaviest marijuana users don't smoke the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes a day, nor do heroin users consume the equivalent of a bottle of whiskey. Quite simply, it isn't economical to push black-market cigarettes or alcohol, but the same isn't true of more potent drugs, which require much smaller doses for their effect. And how exactly do you crack down on this black market? Why, with police and border patrols and drug cops...

And the idea that the taxes on substances whose hospitalization percentage would approach 100% in a few years is absurd. Considering that drug users are also the least productive members of society, they're likely to pay for their drugs with handouts anyway. Even if they "pay" for their drugs, they're still free.

And you talk about getting help, like it's what these people want. Most of them who actually want help today want it because of what they're forced to do to get the drugs and how they suffer without them, not out of any feelings of self-betterment or societal altruism. This isn't surprising, considering what's been done to their minds. If you just give them the drugs, you remove almost every incentive to ever quit.

And I find the idea of making the government the #1 pusher even more absurd. The government already keeps most drug abusers alive through social programs, and the idea that it should willfully push more people into its dependence is scary, and I don't think anyone would confuse me with a libertarian.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

I resent that (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by krek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:55:03 PM EST

I am not the least productive member of society... I am not even the least productive member of my cubical quartet here at work.

That is an extremely poor, and inacurate, generalisation.

Just because a person uses drugs not not imply that they abuse drugs. And just because a person abuses drugs and is a lazy mooch, does not imply that they will become productive members of society once you take their supply away from them. Lazy people are lazy, regardless of their personal drug habits, perhaps what you really want to outlaw is laziness, we could create a standadized test.

Do you ever feel like not going to work because you would rather stay in bed? (Y/N)
Do you ever wish you could take some time and just sit around with nothing to do? (Y/N)
Would you rather watch a movie and eat Doritos than help your friend move his piano collection? (Y/N)
Do you ever dream of even five minutes of absolution from your responsabilities? (Y/N)

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be at risk of laziness, we recommend that you either get over youself, or get on drugs.

Besides look at what can happen once all drugs have been outlawed.

[ Parent ]
Legalisation saves money (none / 0) (#358)
by zakalwe on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 09:42:51 AM EST

Quite simply, it isn't economical to push black-market cigarettes or alcohol, but the same isn't true of more potent drugs.
The main expense of distributing drugs is due to their illegality.  The only reason it is so profitable is that all their competition is also working under the same problem.  Faced with a competitor who can operate legally, smuggling heroin would make as much sense as smuggling any other legal product.  Tax markup would still be less than the cost of illegal distribution, so a smugglers profit margin is small or non-existant.  Quantity is irrelevant.

Even if the income from taxation are small, you still have to add the fact that you've eliminated the cost of enforcing drug laws, and removed a vast source of funding to criminal organisations.

And the idea that the taxes on substances whose hospitalization percentage would approach 100% in a few years is absurd.
And which drugs are these again?  The vast majority of the debilitating effects of drugs are directly attributable to their illegality.  Even today, the main danger of drugs is overdose and death, which from the perspective of the health service is pretty cheap to deal with.  Certainly cheaper than providing for their needs for the rest of their lives.  The people who need most health care are the old, which means those who live a long and healthy life actually cost more than those who die early.
And you talk about getting help, like it's what these people want.
No - I talk about it because at least some of them want it, or will at some point in time.  Enforcing any kind of barriers to this is a bad idea.  There are programs for helping people quit that do provide drugs, and if they're effective in helping people quit then I think they're a good thing.  Under a system where drugs are legal and relatively cheap, such programs could be provided without supplying the drugs free, any more than a program for quitting smoking would hand out free cigarettes.

And I find the idea of making the government the #1 pusher even more absurd.
I agree.  It makes no more sense than for the government to supply alcohol or cigarettes.  The government should of course regulate it, but in the same manner it currently does alcohol and cigarrettes.

[ Parent ]
Welfare State is The Gateway Drug (none / 0) (#135)
by Sloppy on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:16:03 PM EST

Faced with a life of crime, because they're so doped up that they aren't capable of anything else. And, like you said, the drugs themselves might be cheap to manufacture, but the consequences of use are very, very expensive. How many people can live productive lives on heroin? How many, if the government gives it to them for free? And the government pays for their housing, and for their food, and for their entertainment. What's the incentive to ever quit?

And, after a few years, the government -that's tax payers, kids- will ultimately find itself paying for their hospitalization.

That looks like a good argument that The Welfare State is The Gateway Drug.

As long as we consider people's health to be society's responsibility, then enforcing healthy living will be society's right. So, seriously, let's get cracking on Nicotine and Sucrose.

Or we could just make/let people be responsible for themselves.

Half-measures are guaranteed to totally suck; somebody will always be getting screwed until society makes up its stupid mind about this.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

Misunderstanding the problem... (5.00 / 2) (#234)
by rtechie on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:41:35 AM EST


Faced with the massive social problems you'd create, the working people will work less and less for themselves and more and more for the government. Sounds like the sort of thing that could drive a man to seek relief, doesn't it? There's no easier way to escape than a little dope, right? And the government will always be there to support your children. What's one less tax payer?

You have zeroed in on the one quasi-legitamate argument in favor of drug prohibition: That legalizing drugs would result in a massive increase in use that would result in massive social problems.

There is just one problem with this argument: There is absolutely no reason to believe it's true.

Take cocaine for example. Cocaine was quite popular shortly before it was made illegal, but NOT for recreational purposes. It was used in many over the counter remedies for various ailments. As soon as it fell out of favor with the medical profession use plummeted. This is because people recognized the negative health consequences. Cocaine was actually made illegal not because of health reasons, but because "negro cocaine fiends" (actual congressional quote) would use the drug and then go out and rape white women. Of course, this was nonsense, but the laws passed anyway.

Also, look at the experiments in Western European countries. Did ANY of these programs result in a massive increase in use? NO! The worst case was in Amsterdam where marijuana use doubled. This hardly led to social collapse. There is no reason to believe anything different would happen in the USA.

The reality is that the vast majority of people in the USA are aware of the health consequences of hard drugs and wouldn't take them for those reasons, the same reason they don't huff paint or drink excessively. The remaining fraction don't care about their health and probably don't much care that it's illegal either. People won't stop caring about their health just because Congress passes a law.

[ Parent ]

God Forbid . . . (2.00 / 5) (#58)
by Dphitz on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:40:22 PM EST

That the war on drugs is declared a failure.  Conservatives would have to recant decades of bullshit propaganda and bullshit "scientific" research.  They'd rather just sit there with their fingers in their ears yelling, "blah blah blah I can't hear you blah blah blah"


God, please save me . . . from your followers

Other drugs besides street drugs (4.58 / 12) (#68)
by frankcrist on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:12:01 PM EST

In your war to legalize all drugs, remember that there is a large, well-funded, capitalistic and unscrupulous industry just waiting to get in the door -- Pharmeceutical.

What's going to happen to us when Paxil or Vicadin becomes available over the counter?  How about anti-psychotics or, hell, even decongestants?  What if anyone who wanted some could get anti-biotics just by taking a trip to Walgreens?  Healthy exercise of choice, or opportunity for virii and bacteria to grow resistant?

You change all the rules when you open this box.  I seriously doubt that, if the above were made true, our society could hold itself together.  Talk about an overload of self-labelling and self-prescription.

The truth is that some things just aren't healthy to do to yourself without having a regulated, third-party watching over you, like a doctor or psychologist.  Sure, you can take a little asperin to thin the blood a hair for a headache or muscle pain, but a little Haldol because you're feeling looney?

My view is to consider legalization or decriminalization of so-called soft drugs, or things that have short-term, mild results.  MJ for one is ridiculous to have such harsh penalties against.  Mushrooms are another, being legal under some circumstances in Holland (they must be fresh, not dried) and mostly harmless.  I would even go so far as to make small supplies of peyote available since it has a long tradition of use in the Americas.  And so on and so forth.  However, I would also tax the hell out of the industry, and regulate it as well.  Look at tobacco -- harmless little fix or no?  I think we're all well aware (now) of what the cost of smoking really is, in both monetary terms and life.  Alcohol?

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!

Interesting point (3.25 / 4) (#107)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:35:15 PM EST

I initially put in "legalize everything" like many others did. It's really all the same--drugs (alcohol, aspirin), guns, whatever. It's all a balance between an individual's freedom and the fact we can't all be experts on knowing what to do with these things.

[ Parent ]
Other examples (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by frankcrist on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:54:57 AM EST

Right, and by that logic, should we just legalize that anyone can fly a 747 by just walking over and hopping in?

Believe it or not I am for legalizing everything we can handle.  That's why I like people like Timothy Leary, who took the time to really try to understand the LSD phenomenon, and find ways it could be applied structurally (and then after he was denied the acedemic route, metaphysically).

If there were a way we could all just instantly learn how to pilot a 747 (ala The Matrix), or understand how to responsibly party with heroin (by reading Burroughs?  JK), then believe me you, I would be the first in line to let it happen.  But it does seem a bit utopian, and I'd rather confront the practicalities.

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!
[ Parent ]

Regulation (4.60 / 5) (#149)
by fishpi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:58:38 PM EST

There's a difference between legalising something and not regulating it. Nobody is suggesting that we shouldn't control who has access to heroin, just that it is not beneficial to punish people for possessing it.

It may seem convenient to dismiss antibiotics as being "different" from recreational drugs, but they are. The risks from a recreational drug like heroin lie only with the user, while the costs of widespread use of antibiotics are felt by the population as a whole. Also, antibiotics are not addictive and whilst people might be annoyed if they are unable to get hold of them, they won't go to the lengths of buying them from the black market.

[ Parent ]

You need a better argument than that... (none / 0) (#189)
by Trevasel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:36:48 PM EST

"The risks from a recreational drug like heroin lie only with the user, while the costs of widespread use of antibiotics are felt by the population as a whole"

Of course, this is exactly the argument that is used to keep drugs illegal here in the U.S. and elsewhere.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]

Anti-biotics are a public health issue (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by NoBeardPete on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:57:17 PM EST

Government regulation of anti-biotics is closer to quarantining plague victims than regulating recreational drugs. Very few people question that it is appropriate for the government to keep someone with, say, Ebola off of the streets by whatever means necessary. Doing anything else would be taking a strong and immediate risk that everyone will be infected and killed.

Regulating anti-biotics is obviously not such an extreme case, but it is in the same vein. Everytime someone uses anti-biotics, they are training bacteria to be a little bit more resistant. Every user of anti-biotics is taking the world one step close to loosing what may well be the worlds most effective form of medicine. Right now we're walking in that direction, and it seems that doctors are coming up with new anti-biotics faster that we won't get there anytime soon. If we take all controls off of usage, the world would likely start sprinting in that direction.

Regulation of recreational drugs, on the other hand, is typically argued as being for the good of the addicts, or as an effort to keep them from becoming unproductive. This is a far cry from the kind of public health issue that involves trying to keep super-bacteria from wiping out huge swathes of the population.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

I suppose I have a bad moral position then (none / 0) (#255)
by Trevasel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:13:07 AM EST

I am completely aware of the dangers of overuse of antibiotics, but I somehow feel that people should be able to self-medicate instead of being told from on high what medications are or are not acceptable. I think we need more educational campaigns about the dangers of antibiotics, and a big warning label that reads "If you don't take all of these, even if you start feeling better, you might get sick again, and possibly die, because this medicine won't work next time." Of course, such a scare-mongering label wouldn't be accepted by the government, even though it's exactly what is needed and even a complete dumbshit could understand it.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]
Problem is... (none / 0) (#382)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 02:32:47 PM EST

..it's the tragedy of the commons, though it's rather inside out and hard to see.

When a single person doses themselves with large ammounts of antibiotics, it doesn't hurt them in any measurable way, really. When another person does the same, it doesn't hurt the first person in any measurable way.

But it's like taking dirt from a hill, or grass from a common. If everyone does it, we're screwed. Whereas if only you do it, you're slightly better off.

I know where I stand on drugs, and I know where I stand on antibiotics, and they are completely different places. ;)

Now, where I stand on things like Paxil and stuff, I don't know where that is. I'll have to think about it some more. They are 'soft drugs', but they are soft drugs humanity has not had a history with, with possibly unknown side effects. (One thing for sure. If they're sold over the counter with no control, I don't want any ads about them.)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

newness and patents (4.00 / 4) (#170)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:47:02 PM EST

One thing that is different is the issue of patents and newness. Mary Jane has been around for a very long time, and is of course not patentable. It is very understood from tradition. Now the latest antidepressant is a complete unknown, and requires much more guidance.

[ Parent ]
One´s doses (5.00 / 3) (#223)
by Enocasiones on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:34:42 AM EST

The truth is that some things just aren't healthy to do to yourself without having a regulated, third-party watching over you, like a doctor or psychologist.

Try eating two kilos of spaghetti... try asking a doctor or psychologist if that´s healthy. The psychologist will be glad to hear from you.

There are some things which are unhealthy no matter what anyone says. But I want to be able to decide by myself if I want to do them and who should advise me. Laws are to protect society. Laws give us limits so we don´t step on others' rights. But what you do to yourself... there are no poisons, just poisonous doses.

[ Parent ]

Steps to legalization (4.00 / 3) (#71)
by strlen on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:35:59 PM EST

I think the biggest obstacle to legalization is the socialistic mentality that we have that the government has a legitimate right to better the society, and to protect individuals from themselves (yes i know drugs are addictive, but they've got a choice not do them in the first place). In turn the welfare state, keeps another incentive for government to control people's bodies, because that can save them money in medicare/medicaid/social security payments.

So here's my solution: end medicare, medicaid, social security, keep only the most basic emergency medical service. Government has no being your doctor. End as much as possible of other welfare services, so that if you're a drug addict and have no job, you won't be mooching of anyone else and will simply be unemployed by yourself and starving yourself to death -- your own choice. Legalize anything drug related, then. Also, another good start may be ending the overall attitude by ending the war on tobbaco (my smoking tobbaco has no effect on you, unless you so desire -- if you wish to avoid my smoke, stay the fuck away from me -- find a non-smoking flight, a non-smoking restauraunt etc..; and the restrictions on tobbaco ads is censorship, pure and simple), the war on 'fad drugs which became unpopular', and strengtheh existing fraud laws dealing with purchasing a substance that is claimed to be something it isn't.

You have to realize that majority of people in this country are greedy, and are willing to kill you, put you in jail, in a mental institute, just to save their precious money by not paying taxes for your medical care. And you can't use logic to convice those people, unfortunately. Also, allowing corporations to drug test people is invetible, as they seem to overly worried about their productivity (even at times when the employee isn't on call). Corporations should have a right to fire people they deem non-productive.

Don't get me wrong, if this was up to me, I'd support unconditional legalization regardless of any other legislations, but you have to sell the idea to the general public.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

bull (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by infinitera on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:48:52 PM EST

I'm all for legalization, but I think you have created some false dichotomy about government services. Murder, assault, reckless endangerment, theft - they're all still crimes, even when drugs are legal; yet you seem to connect a general legal framework with socialism. Giving people free medical care is not controlling them or protecting them from themselves - at least, in countries with proper socialized medicine that focus on preventative treatment rather than brute force drug overperscription. I think this fallacy (confusing statism with socialism) needs a name, since so many libertarians succumb to it. Any suggestions?

[ Parent ]
heh (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by strlen on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:50:52 PM EST

by making government give you free health care, you're making government your doctor. your doctor has the capacity to stick a needle up the ass. here's a quick, catchy way to put. to put it the long way, when you're puting government in charge of health care. that creates an incentive to make drugs illegal and gives govenrment the authority for such. and there's also the simple fact that with socialized health care, people will be less likely to want to risk their tax money (read what g.i. bichung and demiurge (his second account likely) are saying) by supporting legalisation. by the way, statism and socialism vary from each only in degree. statism is what we have in the US, socialism is what they have in europe. sweden is likely the most socialist country in europe, and they are also a country where DXM is illegal, as is the drink redbull, and bunch of other psychoactives. just _try_ doing drugs there, their social workers are notorious. yeah, im fully aware of the amsterdam example (which still isnt full legalization by any means, just a more pragmatic way of dealing with drugs). there's however, the option of anarchist socialism, and i take you (and the rest of the k5 leftie crew (greenrd etc..) subscribe to. while it sounds nice in theory, i believe its simply not going to be feasible and when i talk about socialism im taking about the statism government socialism, as seen in europe and canada and to a lesser extent US.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
somewhat OT (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by gibichung on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:40:44 PM EST

"G.I.-bichung" is an invention of BlackTriangle or Kingmaker or whatever names he's going by currently. It certainly wasn't my intention when choosing the handle.

The Gibichungs are a race of heros from Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen," if you didn't know already.

I'm somewhat flattered that you believe Demiurge is my second account, but I doubt that he appreciates your trivializing his contributions here. You do, however, get a mention in my user info for your valiant attempt to uncover one of my secret identities. Keep trying.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

i know (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by strlen on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:23:00 PM EST

I put "G.I. bi-chung" there on purpose, because I saw it somewhere before. I do know of the Wagnerian origin of it. So you're not Ray Megard, you're not Demiurge? Are you Senator McCarthy? Could be, but Mr. McCarthy seems to like trhurler too much, and you're not truhler's fan by any means.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
hmm (5.00 / 1) (#195)
by gibichung on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:08:21 PM EST

I honestly don't have any other accounts, but I do find the speculation amusing. As for trhurler, I generally enjoy his target selection, even if I don't always agree with what he has to say. An enemy of my enemy, as the saying goes.

Not that I think of anyone here as an enemy, of course: it's just an expression.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Red Bull is not prohibited in Sweden ... (none / 0) (#279)
by Magneto on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:53:49 PM EST

... they sell Red Bull/vodka combos at most bars here in Stockholm. But I agree it's a bit harder to get away with doing drugs here. A bit harder - not impossible by any means.

[ Parent ]
oh thanks for clarification (none / 0) (#305)
by strlen on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:57:11 PM EST

i must have confused it with either canada or norway. forgot which one of them. well, it's not exactly impossible, the point im trying to make is a big welfare state makes it harder to philosophically convince others to allow you to use drugs (the "i'm not hurting anyone / that's my right / my rights are more important than community or society" won't be accepted) (though not impossible, as there's also the pragmatic argument for ending the war on drugs) and there's also the incentive to keep drugs illegal.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Correction (4.00 / 3) (#74)
by dennis on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:54:22 PM EST

Check your link, the U.K. is still arresting people for selling marijuana, though not for possessing or using it.

Some issues (4.33 / 6) (#79)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:00:40 PM EST

Some other points I think you may want to bring up:

Drugs are not a gateway drug. Many people believe they are and the topic probably should be covered. I've never followed drugs closely enough that I can link to studies showing they aren't, so perhaps I shouldn't be the one bringing this up.

When talking about how legalization would help drug users many people the reaction of "Who the hell cares, it's just a druggie." You did cover crime, but there are many more problems in society because of illegal drugs. Perhaps you should bring up policemen that are bought off with drug money, politicians using the drug war to gather personal power, or the high cost of court/prison for drug offenses. All of these are problems that can easily be fixed legalizing most drugs.

To all those who don't want legal drugs because of the children, the children already have drugs. The question is do you want it to be government regulated drugs that must meet certain safety standards or do you want drugs cut with god knows what like we have now?

You tend to speak about 'drugs' without ever specifying what you mean. Some drugs do make users dangerous and should remain illegal, PCP would be a good example. If someone doesn't follow drugs closely they may be under the impression that all drugs do that. A brief mention of differing drug effects and the fact that some of them are dangerous but those aren't the ones you want legal would be useful.

Huh? (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by krek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:38:28 PM EST

Drugs are not a gateway drug to drugs.

That was incoherant.

I do not believe, even though I have no direct experience, that PCP makes people dangerous. I am thinking that dangerous people take PCP.

PCP is a horse tranquilizer, as such it anethetises you to some degree, the main draw of PCP is the completely invulnerable feeling that you get. You feel strong and you feel no pain, all the while you are rather messed in the head, so you end up doing things that would normally have your muscles and joints screaming in pain. I heard a second hand account of a group of friends that would, every weekend, go to a cabin in the woods, take PCP and proceed to spend the weekend, with no sleep, ripping trees out of the ground. One of them was a guy who reportedly passed tiem as a kid skinning live cats, and the other two were just assholes who would, when not on PCP, go to the town bar, get as drunk as possible, and start picking fights.

It is my personal, and rather indirect, experience that it just takes a certain sort of person to get a kick out of PCP, most others just stay as far away from it as possible.

[ Parent ]
PCP (4.66 / 3) (#103)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:27:09 PM EST

*SIGH* I hate when I end up saying stupid things because my mind rushs beyond my typing. I meant that marijuana is not a gateway to other drugs, although many believe it to be so.

PCP may or may not make a user violent, as with many drugs various studies say different things. What PCP does definately do is make you feel no pain. If a PCP user becomes violent there is little short of death you can do to stop them. There are numerous cases of people on PCP attacking police and continue attacking even after being shot several times. That is what I meant about PCP making people dangerous.

My basic point was all drugs do not have the same effect, are not equal, and it can be argued that some drugs should be legalized while others should remain illegal. I just didn't make that very clear because, well, I don't have a reason. I guess it must be because I'm an idiot.

It's been my experience that it takes a certain kind of person to get a kick out of any drug, everyone else avoids it. I know I personally find marijuana and alcohol boring while others hate my drugs of choice, nicotine and caffine.



[ Parent ]
Maybe not where you live... (2.33 / 3) (#131)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:59:51 PM EST

I meant that marijuana is not a gateway to other drugs, although many believe it to be so.

I don't think that's true... Once you've entered the world of drugs, you have made a connection to drug dealers, and you have made connections to friends who know drug dealers, and who use drugs. Marijuana is more than occassionally cut with cocaine, and parties that have pot quite often have other, harder drugs.

Now it may be that the reason marijuana is a gateway to other drugs is because it's illegal. In fact, I suspect that this is the main reason marijuana is a gateway drug. In the same way, alcohol is a gateway to other drugs for teenagers. By legalizing marijuana, you might cut the link tying it to other drugs. But without seeing the results of an independent study, I'm not going to accept your assertion that marijuana is not a gateway drug.



[ Parent ]
eh? (none / 0) (#136)
by Jack of Hearts on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:18:10 PM EST

" Marijuana is more than occassionally cut with cocaine"

Where in the world is weed "cut" with cocaine? Pot is a plant, and I'm not entirely sure how one can cut it....

[ Parent ]

Terminology... (1.00 / 1) (#147)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:52:57 PM EST

"cut" in this instance just means mixed. See here. Maybe it's technically improper terminolgy, but that's how I've always heard it.

[ Parent ]
Your link (none / 0) (#167)
by willj on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:39:22 PM EST

Some people I know sprinkle their bowls with a little coke even though it makes herb taste like shit. They call them icecaps. If you don't take the first rip I can maybe see why you could not know you are smoking coke but the taste/smell is a dead give away. A waste of both drugs if you ask my opinion.

[ Parent ]
not know? (1.00 / 1) (#175)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:09:45 PM EST

I never meant to imply that people don't know what they're smoking. I mean, I guess you could if you're really lame, but my point is that it's not all that uncommon for someone's introduction to coke to be directly related to their use of marijuana. It most certainly is a gateway drug.

[ Parent ]
The error in the gateway theory.... (5.00 / 2) (#204)
by FuriousXGeorge on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:03:53 AM EST

"It most certainly is a gateway drug."

As a result of ingesting the chemical compound THC?

No, because of the WOD.

 --
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

Umm... (1.00 / 1) (#253)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:10:33 AM EST

that's exactly what I said.

[ Parent ]
Well, good (none / 0) (#356)
by FuriousXGeorge on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 03:54:30 AM EST

As long as we agree that ending the WOD will end the gatway effect.

 --
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

Proof? (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:04:42 PM EST

But without seeing the results of an independent study, I'm not going to accept your assertion that marijuana is not a gateway drug.

As I said in the original, stupidly phrased, comment I haven't followed drug arguements close enough to note websites. A quick Google search comes up with little but FUD by both sides, I found no actual reports on either side of the issue (although I didn't look that hard). The closest to useful info I found was an arguement against studies methods and a site against marijuana that says 'While gateway research has repeatedly demonstrated this sequence, it has not established a causal link between the use of "gateway" drugs and the subsequent use of other illicit drugs'

In the absence of any proof either way I base my opinion on two things. First off even the anti-marijana FUD sites say they can't establish a causal link. Second off that people making a claim need to prove it and I've seen no proof that marijuana is a gateway drug.

I would like to point out that this entire issue would be a lot easier to sort out if the anti-drug crusade in this country hadn't been spewing FUD and flat out lies all over the place for that last couple decades.



[ Parent ]
opinions (none / 0) (#180)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:23:30 PM EST

In the absence of any proof either way I base my opinion on two things. First off even the anti-marijana FUD sites say they can't establish a causal link. Second off that people making a claim need to prove it and I've seen no proof that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Well, I've seen first hand people who were introduced to harder drugs specifically because they were at a party smoking pot. I've seen people whose first use of cocaine was laced in marijuana. So my own personal guess is that yes, it is a gateway drug.

Really it doesn't matter to me though, because whether or not pot is a gateway drug doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it should be illegal. I don't think you should make positive statments like "marijuana is not a gateway to other drugs" without evidence though, because it merely becomes a strawman for others to knock down if it turns out you're incorrect.

I would like to point out that this entire issue would be a lot easier to sort out if the anti-drug crusade in this country hadn't been spewing FUD and flat out lies all over the place for that last couple decades.

Absolutely. And that's the main reason I had a problem with your statement. If it's only a guess, you should label it as such.



[ Parent ]
Well (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by priestess on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:07:32 AM EST

There was a study, reported by the times and then rereported here which isn't a great one but it's the best I know of. Conducted in Amsterdam where there is a much better seperation of markets than is possible under true prohibition. They found "little difference in the probability of an individual taking up cocaine as to whether or not he or she had used cannabis"

Method was basically to ask folks at various intervals which drugs they had tried. I suspect self-reporting in the netherlands is more likely to be accurate than somewhere where there's full prohibition, but it's not all that reliable even if you're just asking about sugar and excercise. People lie too much.

          Pre.........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Amsterdam... (1.00 / 1) (#252)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:09:22 AM EST

My whole thesis was that the main reason marijuana leads to harder drugs is because marijuana is illegal, therefore once one had crossed that line into dealing with illegal drugs there wasn't very much stopping them from moving on to harder drugs. So using Amsterdam as an example really doesn't make very much sense.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#256)
by priestess on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:15:28 AM EST

But of course if any gateway effect is caused by prohibition then it's hardly a good argument for keeping prohibition. I noticed Ann Widdicome (opposition MP in the UK, lampooned for being clueless on drugs but in charge of them anyway for a while) insisting that the Gateway Theory was a valid reason to keep prohibition yet again on TV the other day and yet again nobody corrected her.

The continued existance of prohibition in the west can be explained in two words: Bad Journalism.

        Pre.........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
I agree... (none / 0) (#257)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:22:49 AM EST

I never suggested that we start prohibiting drugs. I'm actually in favor of complete legalization. But that doesn't give anyone the right to make things up and assert them as facts. Propaganda is not going to stop the wars on drugs. Only honest, truthful discussion will.

[ Parent ]
More pointless blathering from me (5.00 / 1) (#264)
by godix on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:37:35 AM EST

We both know personal stories aren't proof. As such I feel no need to go further into people you've seen who smoke pot.

"whether or not pot is a gateway drug doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it should be illegal."

This arguement is frequently used against legalization of drugs. That's why I brought the issue up. I freely admit that I'm not the right person to tackle this issue, but the original author probably could and should take up preemptively dealing with common arguements against legalization.

"If it's only a guess, you should label it as such."

I still swear I've seen studies saying it's not a gateway drug, but since I can't find those studies you're right, I shouldn't be been so definate about my statements.

I don't think marijuana is a gateway drug. I do think that people who would break the law to smoke marijuana are also inclined to break the law to do other drugs. Smoking marijuana doesn't increase peoples risk taking, but having an increased risk taking trait increases the chance you'll smoke marijuana.

[ Parent ]

semantics (1.00 / 1) (#266)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:59:04 AM EST

We both know personal stories aren't proof.

Well, unless you're calling me a liar, then my personal stories are proof that marijuana can be a gateway drug.

Smoking marijuana doesn't increase peoples risk taking, but having an increased risk taking trait increases the chance you'll smoke marijuana.

Well, that's one place that we disagree. Smoking marijuana and not getting caught certainly tends to make people realize that they can do drugs and not get caught. Many people are afraid of the law the first time they smoke pot. Very few are afraid of the the law the 800th time. I'm talking here about lax states in the United States, anyway. Ones like Nevada used to be, where there were very strict penalties which were almost never enforced.



[ Parent ]
I gave up thinking up good subjects (none / 0) (#277)
by godix on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:48:03 PM EST

Well, that's one place that we disagree.

Based on your comments to other people I think we agree more than it appears, our differences seem to be terms rather than ideas. I feel the term 'gateway drug' means that the drug itself causes you to use other drugs while you seem to feel the term includes all the surrounding issues causing other drug use. Lets see if I can rephrase my opinion without using the term 'gateway drug'.

The fact that you have to break the law to smoke pot means that you may do other drugs where previously you wouldn't because being illegal was a deterant. Pot smoking generally means hanging out with 'druggies' which may provide peer pressure to try other drugs. Drugs are risky behavior and people who smoke pot are unlikely to pass on other drugs because of danger. FUD has been spread by both sides and as a result when someone finds out the issue of marijuana is largely FUD they're inclinded to believe the claimed dangers of other drugs are also largely FUD. These are some of the reasons that someone smoking pot may try other drugs. It's all related to smoking marijuana but smoking marijuana IN AND OF ITSELF isn't causing people to go try cocaine.

There, do you basically agree with what I just wrote? If so our disagreements are over semantics. If not I totally misunderstood your position on the issues of legality in other comments.



[ Parent ]
semantics (1.00 / 1) (#285)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:07:07 PM EST

OK, yeah, I started to suspect that might be the case (thus the title to my last post)... Sorry I wasn't able to be more clear about what exactly I was saying.

It's all related to smoking marijuana but smoking marijuana IN AND OF ITSELF isn't causing people to go try cocaine.

I'm not so sure many people believe this. But I guess it is somewhat of a misconception that some people think of marijuana as a lighter version of say cocaine. So I guess someone could mistakenly believe that those who want a harder kick from marijuana would move on to cocaine.

This of course is clearly untrue, because the drugs have utterly different effects.



[ Parent ]
Yet another useless subject (none / 0) (#332)
by godix on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 02:01:29 AM EST

"Sorry I wasn't able to be more clear about what exactly I was saying."

We were both speaking without communicating. Happens quite a lot, especially on the internet. I'm glad that unlike many cases it didn't degenerate into flames.

"I'm not so sure many people believe this."

I imagine the majority of Americans only drug info is the governments 'Today I supported genocide' FUD. That's why in a discussion about legalization I think government FUD should be refuted at least as much as pro-legalization reasons are covered.

"This of course is clearly untrue, because the drugs have utterly different effects."

This is my biggest complaint about pro-legalization. Most debates I've seen are 'drugs should be legal/illegal'. I think that's way to general, some drugs should be legalized while others shouldn't.

[ Parent ]

I've never seen it (5.00 / 1) (#190)
by Trevasel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:39:36 PM EST

I've been smoking pot for years and have probably smoked pounds of the stuff. I've never gotten any that was cut with anything. I've added other drugs to it, certainly, but it never came that way.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]
Not where I live... (5.00 / 1) (#236)
by ianweeks on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:09:31 AM EST

I don't think that's true... Once you've entered the world of drugs, you have made a connection to drug dealers, and you have made connections to friends who know drug dealers, and who use drugs. Marijuana is more than occassionally cut with cocaine, and parties that have pot quite often have other, harder drugs.

This is exactly why it should be tolerated or legalized. Here in Holland, where marihuana is tolerated, you buy it in coffeeshops. These are small businesses. These businesses are monitored by the government, ensuring that coffeeshop holders don't sell 'hard drugs'.
There is competition between these shops, so the coffeeshop holders try hard to sell high quality marihuana for reasonable prices, or else they go out of business. Nobody even THINKS about mixing it with cocaine, because when someone finds out and informs the local police, they lose their business.


Now it may be that the reason marijuana is a gateway to other drugs is because it's illegal. In fact, I suspect that this is the main reason marijuana is a gateway drug. In the same way, alcohol is a gateway to other drugs for teenagers. By legalizing marijuana, you might cut the link tying it to other drugs.

You are right here. In most countries, marihuana is seen as a gateway drug, because it's illegal. If you say all drugs are equally bad and dangerous, you make it much easier for marihuana users to switch to cocaine or whatever. If you say that it's okay to try out marihuana, but educate the people about the dangers of 'hard drugs', it's a much bigger step to switch from 'soft drugs' to 'hard drugs'.


But without seeing the results of an independent study, I'm not going to accept your assertion that marijuana is not a gateway drug.

I would like to see an independent study that shows that it is a gateway drug :)


I think the Dutch policy on drugs really works. I know many people who smoke marihuana occasionaly, and many of them have good education, good jobs, and nice families. They don't cause any problems, and none of them ever switched to cocaine or heroin or whatever.
It's obvious people will want to use marihuana, whether it's legal or not. So the best thing to do is making it easy to get, ensuring quality and purity, and ensuring the marihuana users don't get in touch with underground drug dealers and other criminals. This way the people are happy, and the law enforcement agencies can use their resources to fight underground drug dealers and organized crime. It's a win-win situation.

[ Parent ]
Ahhhh, no (none / 0) (#286)
by krek on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:08:50 PM EST

I don't think you have ever seen pot, about the only thing you could cut pot with is oregano or dill weed or something. cutting it with coke is about as cost effective as wiping your ass with silk.

If marijuana is a gateway drug, I assure you it is so because once you have broken the law to smoke a doob you are already a criminal, plus we have been brainwashed with anti-drug propaganda for our entire childhood, and then, we smoke a joint and we don't go straight to hell. At this point you really have to start wondering what else they lied to you about.

[ Parent ]
wel already have enough (2.80 / 5) (#82)
by minus273 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:09:41 PM EST

We allow drugs to be legally sold across the country -- nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, for example, are readily available nearly everywhere in the United States. Yet children are brainwashed into the "Just Say No" cult in elementary school. Alcohol, especially, is the primary factor in millions of deaths and illnesses in the United States, not to mention drunk driving fatalities and countless bar fights provoked for little reason by otherwise reasonable individuals under the influence of alcohol. If one takes the tact that marijuana must be illegal as well in order to promote the public health and well being or some such, then it is rank hypocrisy not to prohibit these three substances as well.


you said it yourself, we already have enough.. there is enough crap out there to fuck up a kid beyond his wildest dreams. We DONT NEED MORE. yes it is hypocrisy to ban a join but not booze or smoking but since booze and smoking have a well establihsed demand it wont work pot on the other hand is not.

my point being, we cant ban the stuff that is legal like tobacco (you know smoking kills) but just because there is already crap out there doesnt mean we must open the flood gates.

Ho hum (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by salsaman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:47:55 PM EST

...we cant ban the stuff that is legal like tobacco...

Why not, that's what they did with marijuana. You do realise it was legal until the 1920's don't you ?

[ Parent ]

I heard (none / 0) (#88)
by krek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:23:54 PM EST

that the hemp industry went under due to the cotton industry lobby.

Note: hemp industry does not equal pot industry.



[ Parent ]
Hemp, Pot, and Cotton... (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by beergut on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:12:38 PM EST

It wasn't cotton that put hemp under, but W.R. Hearst's paper interests (he could sell to his publications, and rake in the cash from two sources!) and Pierre DuPont's synthetic fiber interests (the decorticator had been fairly recently invented, eliminating the need for hemp stalks to "ret" in the fields after being cut, to break down the "adhesive" chemicals in the plant's stalks so that fiber (now weaker) could be extracted economically - you'd get full-strength hemp fibers with no time lag between harvest and extraction,) and the people in power who had vested interests in seeing these companies succeed (Harry Anslinger, the new narcotics guy at the time, married into a banking family in Pennsylvania, whose bank was heavily invested in DuPont, IIRC.)

When Hearst, Anslinger, et al, put down hemp, it was under the guise of eliminating the "scourge of marihuana, that foul weed which drives villainous negroes mad, inciting them to rape nubile young white girls." As if they needed encouragement to do that, anyway. ;-)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Time for my favorite Drug War link. (4.63 / 11) (#89)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:28:19 PM EST

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa121.html

A Cato Institute policy analysis about the Drug War.  I would seriously call into question either the reading abilities or critical thinking capabilities of anyone who reads this article and still supports the Drug War.

The analysus debunks all of the classic fallacies that surround the drug war, sets the standards by which said policy would be beneficial to society and then goes on to prove that it fails on every single count.  It argues against the Drug War not based on the accurate and oft-times ignored rights issue but on the basis that quality of life is lower, the death toll higher and the costs versus supposed benefits are higher under the Drub War.

-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.

HREF is your friend. (4.80 / 5) (#164)
by scanman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:33:48 PM EST

I like links.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

The Cato Institute? (none / 0) (#265)
by ethereal on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:55:04 AM EST

For some reason, I was thinking this was one of those ultra-right-wing think tanks. Perhaps I've been misinformed, or perhaps they're so far right-wing on drugs that they've strayed into Libertarian beliefs :) Hmmm, this would be a good time for a more than one-dimensional political spectrum diagram....

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Cato is... (none / 0) (#313)
by greydmiyu on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:45:53 PM EST

Cato isn't right-wing.  Cato is very much libertarian in nature.  In fact most mentions of Cato in media are prefaced with "libertarian think-tank."  
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
No proofreading (none / 0) (#323)
by greydmiyu on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:57:48 PM EST

I just wanted to confirm that yes, I didn't proofread that.  *cringe*
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
You're missing the point. (2.22 / 22) (#91)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:37:08 PM EST

Anti-Drug legislation isn't because of mean-spirited politicians who want to keep YOU down, or out of a misguided attempt at crime prevention.

The truth is that if drugs were legal, the American populace would be even more apathetic than it already is, which is a frightening thought.   Productivity would falter nation-wide.  Drugs encouage a mindset wherein one feels one should not have to work to be rewarded.  It is not difficult to see how such a mindset would be unwelcome in a society where people expect to be compensated according to their contributions.

America is based on the idea of people wanting to further themselves within the system.  Drugs provide a false sense of fulfillment--they allow you to be happy even when you should not yet be satisfied.  And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society.

Alcohol doesn't really fall under this line of thinking (or at least not so much as other drugs) because 1) it's been around for a long time, and the people who built america were perfectly industrious despite its presence and 2) it's not nearly so potent or falsely rewarding as those other drugs.

Sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice your personal immediate gratification for the good of the community.  Even if you really want to waste your life doing drugs, it's not good for those around you.  And frankly, you would be whining if everyone around you were an ineffectual drughead and the economy stagnated, if for no other reason than that it would be more difficult for you to make the money with which you buy your drugs.

So what you're saying is... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by Aaorn on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:04:35 PM EST

...that people should not be allowed happiness, because it's counterproductive?

>>Drugs provide a false sense of fulfillment--they allow you to be happy even when you should not yet be satisfied.<<

[ Parent ]

Hyperbolic and irrelevant anyway. (1.66 / 3) (#101)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:23:02 PM EST

Drugs offer a shortcut to short-term happiness that many would prefer to hard won long-term happiness.

You might want to read what I wrote.  People should expect to be compensated according to their contributions.  A drug user has made no contribution to society and so deserves no compensation (in the form of happiness).  

[ Parent ]

Hmmm. (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:59:27 PM EST

That assumes something like:
"All rewards are meted out by society."

Does that sound ...fine... to you?

You are verging on saying that society is the entire world.  It obviously is not.  People have lives of their own.  Care to disagree?

Losthalo
(I'll bet you're tempted...)

[ Parent ]

It's quite fine with me (1.00 / 1) (#202)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:57:13 PM EST

...and it should be fine for anyone who is a productive, earnest member of society.  In fact, the only people who would be likely to oppose such a system would be those who intend to be leeches on America's figurative scrotum.  It does not sadden me to hear of their possible dissatisfaction with such a system.  Since a society IS the people who are its constituents, you are not in danger of being betrayed by a tyrant.  Do you really have that much inherent distrust for your fellow countrymen?

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "society is the entire world.  It obviously is not.  People have lives of their own."  So, if my response seems strange, consider that I might have just misread you.

Anyway, I am all in favor of people acting however they wish in their own private lives, provided that they are not acting in such a way that would be seriously detrimental to everyone around them.  Admittedly, one drug user tuning in and dropping out is a deck chair off the Queen Elizabeth, so to speak, but, in greater numbers, drug use exerts a drag on societal productivity.  Therefore, I submit that drugs should not be allowed for anyone.  It would be unfair for drugs to only be allowed those who have already made large contributions to society, but it would be terrible to allow everyone to do it unfettered.  The only sensible solution is to restrict everyone from doing it.  

[ Parent ]

Why does a society need to be productive? (5.00 / 2) (#217)
by bobjim on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:41:04 AM EST

Since a society IS the people who are its constituents, you are not in danger of being betrayed by a tyrant.

There are plenty of societies that have been betrayed by tyrants. Would you say that the Russians weren't a society?

Admittedly, one drug user tuning in and dropping out is a deck chair off the Queen Elizabeth, so to speak, but, in greater numbers, drug use exerts a drag on societal productivity.

The cost of elections also exerts a drag on societal productivity. If society (being the people who are its constituents) is in no danger of being betrayed by a tyrant, why have elections? The only sensible answer that I can see is that it keeps people happy (which really means that elections are just a legitimization tool for whatever tyrant, sorry, leader is incumbent.

Less sensitive issue: Ingestion of carbohydrate heavy foods, which cause a sudden increase of serotonin in the brain and consequent, but short lived, euphoria. This often leads to addiction (in the psychological sense), which leads to obesity. Obesity is clearly a major problem in the USA and definitely exerts a drag on societal productivity. Given this, should carbohydrate-heavy foods be restricted from or regulated for the whole of society?
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Hummm (5.00 / 4) (#228)
by priestess on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:13:31 AM EST

You do not need love. Love does not increase your productivity. Love does not make you money or feed the captalistic machine. Your aligence is to your corporation. You will work harder.

Lordy, some people seem to think society is the same thing as business now.

         Pre...........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
No no no! (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by thenerd on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:07:38 PM EST

Drugs encouage a mindset wherein one feels one should not have to work to be rewarded.  

Have you ever taken drugs!?

[ Parent ]

Perhaps you could elaborate. (1.00 / 1) (#100)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:18:36 PM EST

Unless you're guzzling dramamine, I don't see how you could say with a straight face that drugs don't offer you an easier path to happiness (false or not) than hard work.

That is the sense that I meant.  Is there some other sense that I'm missing?

[ Parent ]

A quote... (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:55:42 PM EST

"Dealing with failure is easy: Work hard to improve.  Success is also
easy to handle: You've solved the wrong problem. Work hard to
improve."
                -- Alan Perlis

Losthalo

[ Parent ]

Please allow me... (5.00 / 1) (#231)
by Enocasiones on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:26:41 AM EST

If your definition of happiness is "being happy" and your defintion of "being happy" is "high dopamine levels", then yes, drugs offer an easier way to happiness than hard work.

My definition differs.

[ Parent ]

There seems to be a false choice here (none / 0) (#338)
by thenerd on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 01:33:59 PM EST

You are saying that it seems to you that it easier to obtain happiness through drug use, and if you are happy, then you will work less.

Drugs will typically put you in an altered state for a period of time, but they don't solve the problem of how to earn a living, have a relationship, etc.  The vast majority of recreational users may be helped or hindered in these objectives by their drug use, but I don't see them taking one over the other unless in extreme cases of addiction.

Some people don't see hard work as a route to happiness either, and they haven't taken any drugs.  It doesn't necessarily follow that working hard or having a lot of money makes you happy.  For instance, you could be lonely, or you could have a partner that doesn't appreciate you.  You could work your ass off and get no reward, or feel unfulfilled.  In this case you might even try some drugs to put a bit of excitement in your life, or to change your perspectives.

thenerd.

[ Parent ]

Dissatisfaction (4.66 / 3) (#99)
by faerloche on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:16:39 PM EST

And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society.

By this logic, shouldn't the government be trying to make us more dissatisfied?

'Course, they might be.. the satisifaction we currently enjoy could just be a symptom of their ineffeciency ;-)

[ Parent ]
This wasn't unclear. (1.75 / 4) (#105)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:31:17 PM EST

Satisfaction and subsequent withdrawal from society IS acceptable if you have made a worthy contribution to society.  

Drug-induced satisfaction and subsequent withdrawal from society is not acceptable because you have not made a worthy contribution.

Obviously there will be some people who have made a contribution and wish to squander their remaining days in an inebriated stupor.  However, I don't think there should be means-based discrimination, and so rather than only allow rich people to do drugs, I advocate total restriction.  If you're rich you can find other ways to make yourself happy.

Satisfaction is the rabbit that speeds ahead of the greyhounds at the track.  If each dog is allowed to obtain rabbits has his leisure before, after and during the race, the system collapses.  It's a bad analogy, however, because in a real society, everyone is interdependent--the large scale indolence of my fellow citizens will have negative ramifications for me long before the system collapses.  So, in a real world, it's far, far worse.

[ Parent ]

Downmod this please... (3.50 / 2) (#102)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:24:45 PM EST

Never have I wanted to give that "1" rating more.

[ Parent ]
ok... (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by Fuzzwah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:38:42 AM EST

While I agree with you (check the list of 1 voters) you haven't given any reasoning behind the beg for down modding.

If you'd like to influence someone's thinking do it with an intelligent post rather than a beg.

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

No, you're overgeneralizing (5.00 / 2) (#104)
by erp6502 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:30:50 PM EST

The truth is that if drugs were legal, the American populace would be even more apathetic than it already is.

Sorry, but that's just not possible.

Productivity would falter nation-wide.

Paying the average USian is a total waste of time and money. It's done only to keep them from uprising. Cheap immigrant labor is the way to go.

Drugs encouage a mindset wherein one feels one should not have to work to be rewarded.

I can't take this seriously if you won't bother to check your spelling. Come to think of it, I can't take it seriously. Acculturation, peer groups, and the world's highest poverty line are responsible for the mindset you refer to. Drugs have little or nothing to do with it.

It is not difficult to see how such a mindset would be unwelcome in a society where people expect to be compensated according to their contributions.

Everybody hopes for this; only idiots expect it. Ultimately you contribute out of need, fear, desire, habit, or a combination of these and other, subtler motives.

To put it another way: drugs are not the problem, drug "culture" is the problem.

Following your line of thinking, we should have Culture Police to put the slackers in hard labor (a sentiment with which I do not entirely disagree but would be loathe to endorse).

[ Parent ]

I don't have a huge problem with your post. (1.50 / 2) (#110)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:37:57 PM EST

Your points are fair enough, if a bit needlessly jaded.  

I don't really see how an obvious typo ("encouage") would have any bearing on the validity of my argument unless you're desperate for ammunition.  Moreover, you should have read the sentence with an eye for content rather than structure.  You missed its point.

I didn't say that drugs encouraged (happy now?) and informed the current dilapidated state of american motivation.  You're right that many other factors are  at play here.  Drugs are not yet one of those factors because their distribution is limited.  So then: imagine for a moment if drugs were legalized and made to be much more mainstream than they are.  With americans already in a depressingly otiose state, how much further would we fall?  

It's not a chance I'm willing to take.

[ Parent ]

I don't think that's right. (4.66 / 3) (#114)
by Khedak on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:47:37 PM EST

The truth is that if drugs were legal, the American populace would be even more apathetic than it already is, which is a frightening thought. Productivity would falter nation-wide. Drugs encouage a mindset wherein one feels one should not have to work to be rewarded. It is not difficult to see how such a mindset would be unwelcome in a society where people expect to be compensated according to their contributions.

This is just silly. Drugs are no different from anything else that people enjoy doing at the expense of more productive behaviour. From dancing to watching TV to shopping to masturbating. The idea that drugs are seperate because the activity involves ingesting a substance doesn't follow. And if you're saying the drugs have a psychological effect, you need evidence, evidence that doesn't exist in most cases. Yes, drug addiction can be a very serious problem, but any other addiciton is equally harmful. Further, the war on drugs has never been shown to decrease actual addiction rates.

America is based on the idea of people wanting to further themselves within the system. Drugs provide a false sense of fulfillment--they allow you to be happy even when you should not yet be satisfied. And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society.

Now you're ascribing psychological states to national interest. That seems a little odd to me. And regardless, as I've already pointed out, drugs are no different than other things that give you a "false" sense of fulfillment. Saying that they are seperate and evil in themselves only exacerbates the problem, and does not ameliorate it in any way.

Alcohol doesn't really fall under this line of thinking (or at least not so much as other drugs) because 1) it's been around for a long time, and the people who built america were perfectly industrious despite its presence and 2) it's not nearly so potent or falsely rewarding as those other drugs.

Simply wrong. 1) Psychedelic mushrooms, peyote, and many, many other psychoactive substances have been used by many cultures, in America, Europe, Australia, everywhere, for thousands of years. True, LSD is new, and so is Ecstasy, but even Egyptian nobles had access to Coca (if the chemical evidence from mummies is to be believed). 2) Alcohol is many times more potent and deadly than marijuana, LSD, and many other psychoactives. It can casue death, and long term use has been linked to liver damager, kidney damage, heart damage, and all sorts of other ailments. Alcoholism is probably the single most harmful drug-related ailment in the history of mankind. And as for the drugs that are indeed more dangerous, there's no evidence that prohibition is doing any good in reducing harm.

Sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice your personal immediate gratification for the good of the community. Even if you really want to waste your life doing drugs, it's not good for those around you. And frankly, you would be whining if everyone around you were an ineffectual drughead and the economy stagnated, if for no other reason than that it would be more difficult for you to make the money with which you buy your drugs.

If you had any idea of the number of people in this country who are go-getters, money makers, creative thinkers, teachers, and innovators, and who also use drugs, you might eat your words. As it stands, its impolite to make assumptions of people about whom you have only peripheral knowledge.

[ Parent ]
etc etc. (1.50 / 6) (#121)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:15:50 PM EST

You want point by point? We'll do point by point, at least for now.

This is just silly. Drugs are no different from anything else that people enjoy doing at the expense of more productive behaviour. From dancing to watching TV to shopping to masturbating. The idea that drugs are seperate because the activity involves ingesting a substance doesn't follow. And if you're saying the drugs have a psychological effect, you need evidence, evidence that doesn't exist in most cases. Yes, drug addiction can be a very serious problem, but any other addiciton is equally harmful. Further, the war on drugs has never been shown to decrease actual addiction rates.

You're right to a point. I haven't heard much about people dropping out of productive society to dance in their rooms late at night, but if people were inclined to do that then we might have a problem on our hands. As for masturbation and that sort of thing--it's far too hard to regulate that sort of activity, even when it is damaging to society. Drugs are an instance where we can and should take preventative action.

Now you're ascribing psychological states to national interest. That seems a little odd to me. And regardless, as I've already pointed out, drugs are no different than other things that give you a "false" sense of fulfillment. Saying that they are seperate and evil in themselves only exacerbates the problem, and does not ameliorate it in any way.

You must think I'm slow. Drugs are very different from those other activities you mentioned. In fact, drugs are different from most if not all other activities. As I just pointed out, nobody's overall productivity is being zeroed out by hobbies. Drugs have that capacity even now, and they're difficult to obtain. If the dam ever breaks, expect the town to flood.

If you think psychological states aren't in the "national interest" then you are even more naive than I thought.

Simply wrong. 1) Psychedelic mushrooms, peyote, and many, many other psychoactive substances have been used by many cultures, in America, Europe, Australia, everywhere, for thousands of years. True, LSD is new, and so is Ecstasy, but even Egyptian nobles had access to Coca (if the chemical evidence from mummies is to be believed). 2) Alcohol is many times more potent and deadly than marijuana, LSD, and many other psychoactives. It can casue death, and long term use has been linked to liver damager, kidney damage, heart damage, and all sorts of other ailments. Alcoholism is probably the single most harmful drug-related ailment in the history of mankind. And as for the drugs that are indeed more dangerous, there's no evidence that prohibition is doing any good in reducing harm.

It's difficult to know where to begin when presented with something so juicy yet so convoluted as this. Keep in mind that what follows is in no particular order.

Only the Egyptian nobles were likely to have had access to coca. Nobles aren't really important working members of a society--they are a dynastic elite most of whom have not worked for their positions. That is: they're already dead weight. Who cares if they further incapacitate themselves with drugs?

Moreover, Spanish conquistadors used wide distribution of Coca leaves to passify and exploit Incan natives while they conquered South America. So you're right in one sense: drugs can be used to increase productivity. However, it comes at the price of having to provide an alternative incentive [to happiness) for the workers. In this case, slavery, flogging and murder fit the bill. I'd rather not give our government those responsibilities over us, though.

Regarding psychoactive mushrooms in Central and South America: I hardly think the vulgar pastimes of savages and second rate tribes (who, in case you couldn't tell, did not rise to world prominence, ever) should be used as a model for an ideal American society. Read: I don't give a hoot if they did it. It doesn't seem to have done them any good.

Alcohol is less potent in its delivery of undeserved euphoria. That's all I meant about potency. I know that alcohol is very bad for you. It's not a society killer, though.

If you had any idea of the number of people in this country who are go-getters, money makers, creative thinkers, teachers, and innovators, and who also use drugs, you might eat your words. As it stands, its impolite to make assumptions of people about whom you have only peripheral knowledge.

Who told you that one? Sure some of our leaders experimented with drugs in their youths, but I would not have a current drug user in any political office, and I would not want a drug user to be CEO of my company. Are you saying you would? Either way, there are lots of people in this country. I would gladly see those drug users you laud removed from their powerful positions and replaced by more deserving and, frankly, more stable non-drug-users.

You're just speculating, though. You don't actually know that there are a great many powerful, worthwhile drug users. Please keep your fantasies out of your arguments in the future.

[ Parent ]

Ouch! (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by Khedak on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:29:32 PM EST

Wow, my calls for evidence go unheeded, some amazing scholarly insight into the importance of nobles in egyptian society, some bigotry regarding cultures that use substances (which included Northern European cultures like the Germanic tribes, asshole), combined with rampant jingoism. I don't care what you want for your leaders because (citing the above) you're obviously not the kind of person who bases their opinions on logic and evidence, and rather on emotive nationalism and blatant ignorance. As for the list of people who use drugs... I decided to just take the first hit off google. (No pun intended). So, who's speculating, and who's fantasizing?

[ Parent ]
Hi! (1.00 / 5) (#128)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:46:58 PM EST

Next time include your requests for evidence in english, not in fantasy retrospect code!

You saw fit to dispute my logic last post.  Why not now?  Angry because I didn't cower when you used your big-boy patronizing voice?

I note that it is much easier for you to make false claims that I made no arguments rather than crafting a suitable refutation.  Perhaps this indolence is indicative of the mindset of a drug user?

Oh, and the link you provided was amusing, at best.  Very few of those people were people I consider to have to made important contributions to society (so many of them were actors, for heaven's sake!), and those few that were worthwhile were exceptions rather than the rule.  I'd be willing to lose those exceptions for the sake of having a overall much stronger culture.  

[ Parent ]

Why not? (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by Khedak on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:38:57 PM EST

Next time include your requests for evidence in english, not in fantasy retrospect code! You saw fit to dispute my logic last post. Why not now? Angry because I didn't cower when you used your big-boy patronizing voice?

The fantasy-retrospect is you not noticing when I point out that your claims about the effects of drugs are without basis, and repeating your arguments, even to the point of this ad hominem attack: "Perhaps this indolence is indicative of the mindset of a drug user?"

Very few of those people were people I consider to have to made important contributions to society (so many of them were actors, for heaven's sake!), and those few that were worthwhile were exceptions rather than the rule.

That's a fairly easy opinion to pull out of your ass, without any comment or explanation. This is the kind of stupidity that isn't worth arguing against. I could bring up every important person in the history of the world, and you could claim every one was either 1) not really important or 2) an exception to the rule. So be it, because I'm done talking to you.

[ Parent ]
oh, don't go home! (none / 0) (#200)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:46:55 PM EST

The list you provided was either amusing or insulting: take your pick.  As I said before, most of the people on the list were actors, like Tim Allen.  You might think Tim Allen is very important and intelligent, but I'm not overly impressed.  I would be very sad indeed if my list of superlative achievers/drug users that is supposed to dispel all notions that drug use correlates with impotence had to stoop to including sitcom actors to fill its ranks.

Moreover, I told you why I thought that list was bogus.  Rather than responding with even ONE person who wasn't bogus by that standard, without even trying to prove your point, you slink away with a half-hearted whine that I'm intractable.  Nice try.

What evidence did you want?  You're right that I didn't notice you asking for any, and if you sincerely were then I sincerely apologize.  So now I entreat you: what sort of evidence did you want?  I thought my logic was enough, since you didn't even succeed in refuting it.  However, should you tell me what evidence would convince you, I'll happily provide it to you.

And I'm sorry about the ad hominem attack, but I meant it in good humor.  And the point attached to it is no less valid for its existence.

[ Parent ]

Since the orig. poster is understandably fed up... (5.00 / 3) (#226)
by Enocasiones on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:08:06 AM EST

Very few of those people were people I consider to have to made important contributions to society

Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, Bill Clinton, Aldous Huxley, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Timothy Leary, Joseph McCarthy, Mohammed and I'm just halfway through the list... maybe you think they weren´t important for the development (good or bad) of the world as it is now or the way we see it. I beg to disagree.

[ Parent ]

have you ever actually consumed alcohol? (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by kwertii on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:54:00 PM EST

America is based on the idea of people wanting to further themselves within the system. Drugs provide a false sense of fulfillment--they allow you to be happy even when you should not yet be satisfied. And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society.

Alcohol doesn't really fall under this line of thinking (or at least not so much as other drugs) because 1) it's been around for a long time, and the people who built america were perfectly industrious despite its presence and 2) it's not nearly so potent or falsely rewarding as those other drugs.

How, excctly, does alcohol not provide a "false sense of fulfillment"? Have you ever been drunk before? Or known anyone who wrecked their life by getting wasted every night?

I see the point in what you're saying. I disagree, but I see your point. There are many things that can provide a false sense of fulfillment besides drugs -- sex, video games, sports, whatever. Nobody can make the determination of what is right for you but you.

If one is to ban drugs for providing a "false sense of fulfillment", then one must ban alcohol, too, despite the fact that it's been around for a while.. Heck, marijuana's been around since waaaay before people learned how to build stills. Alcohol can be every bit as potent or falsely rewarding as any other drug -- go to an AA meeting sometime.

You can't have it both ways...




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
yes? (1.00 / 3) (#123)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:24:44 PM EST

America has matured just fine despite alcohol.  I agree that alcohol is damaging and a very poor use of your time, but it is far less potent in providing undeserved happiness to its consumer than other drugs.  

There will be reckless exceptions to every rule.  By and large, the people at AA meetings have other personal defects that they tried to mask with alcoholism.  Those sorts of people would drink whether alcohol were legal or not, and if alcohol ceased to exist, would find some other means of avoiding self-improvement.  They attend AA because everyone there is coming from that same perspective, not because everyone there thinks alcohol is the raddest thing since air.

America likes its alcohol, and alcohol is very easy to make and distribute.  The whole world does it.  It's a problem that can't be eliminated, though we did try.  Rather than get hyperbolic about fixing problems that can't be fixed, we should focus on realistic societal maintenance.  One thing we can do is limit the availability of the other, more destructive drugs so much as possible.

[ Parent ]

...no? (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:07:07 PM EST

The illegality of drugs is doing a good job of preventing the spread of their use how...?  You're still starting with the premise that alcohol is "okay", and working back to that with your arguments, rather than considering whether the damage it does by comparison to other drugs, is worth keeping the others illegal.

Now, can you try to explain how the other drugs aren't okay, based upon what they do compared to what alcohol does?  Alcohol does a lot of damage in the US.  I've seen some of it myself, very close-up.

Losthalo
"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."
- Sun Tzu

[ Parent ]

err. (1.00 / 2) (#198)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:38:19 PM EST

As I've addressed in other posts, I would gladly put an end to the proliferation of alcohol if it were a remotely feasible goal. You drug enthusiasts always fall back on that cushion because you know that alcohol is so pervasive that no one could ever stop it. Therefore, you claim, since the floodgates are open, we should sit back and allow in the sharks. And, since you didn't care to read what I wrote originally, I'll rephrase. Alcohol has been legal for the duration (nitpickers be still--I know of prohibition) of America's ascent to world domination. We did alright anyway. And yes, I know that morphine and cocaine were illegal and readily available over the counter around the turn of the century. It didn't last for precisely the reasons that I bring up! It was disastrous to have such potent drugs so easily obtainable! Alcohol has shown itself to be considerably less damaging than other drugs. If some people use it to destroy their lives, they should not be touted as representative of the entire population. I imagine we would be better off without alcohol, but we're not in our death throes because of it. Perhaps it's because people who drink even a considerable amount can still maintain a reasonable standard of productivity. The same is not true with other drugs, as they are quite a bit more potent and consuming. The illegality of drugs does a lot to prevent the spread of their use. Just because you aren't scared of obtaining your illegal drugs for your illicit pleasures does not mean that most of the country actually respects the laws that are there for the population's own good. Some of us understand that a system will only work if it has support.

[ Parent ]
err. (properly formatted, sorry about other post) (none / 0) (#199)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:39:09 PM EST

As I've addressed in other posts, I would gladly put an end to the proliferation of alcohol if it were a remotely feasible goal.  You drug enthusiasts always fall back on that cushion because you know that alcohol is so pervasive that no one could ever stop it.  Therefore, you claim, since the floodgates are open, we should sit back and allow in the sharks.

And, since you didn't care to read what I wrote originally, I'll rephrase.  Alcohol has been legal for the duration (nitpickers be still--I know of prohibition) of America's ascent to world domination.  We did alright anyway.  And yes, I know that morphine and cocaine were illegal and readily available over the counter around the turn of the century.  It didn't last for precisely the reasons that I bring up!  It was disastrous to have such potent drugs so easily obtainable!  Alcohol has shown itself to be considerably less damaging than other drugs.  If some people use it to destroy their lives, they should not be touted as representative of the entire population.  I imagine we would be better off without alcohol, but we're not in our death throes because of it.

Perhaps it's because people who drink even a considerable amount can still maintain a reasonable standard of productivity.  The same is not true with other drugs, as they are quite a bit more potent and consuming.  

The illegality of drugs does a lot to prevent the spread of their use.  Just because you aren't scared of obtaining your illegal drugs for your illicit pleasures does not mean that most of the country actually respects the laws that are there for the population's own good.  Some of us understand that a system will only work if it has support.

[ Parent ]

Umm. (5.00 / 2) (#235)
by gcmillwood on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:49:29 AM EST

The illegality of drugs does a lot to prevent the spread of their use. Just because you aren't scared of obtaining your illegal drugs for your illicit pleasures does not mean that most of the country actually respects the laws that are there for the population's own good. Some of us understand that a system will only work if it has support.

The illegality of drugs does not prevent the spread of their use, although it does slow it slightly. If it did prevent drug use spreading, then by now there would be no drug users. Despite the illegality I could go out from work right now, and in twenty minutes would be able to score pretty much whatever I wanted. Anyone who wants to try or use illegal drugs can do so with very little effort.

Your second sentence is beautifully crafted, using emotionally charged words such as 'illegal', 'illicit'. You try to create a 'them and us' feeling (with 'us' being in the right, aiming to hold on to the status quo). Unfortunately for your argument, you also bring out the fatal flaw - "laws that are there for the population's own good". In what way is making drugs illegal for the population's own good? If I smoke pot in my own house, in my own time, affecting no-one else, how does this detriment society? I still go to work the next day, I still go and vote on polling day, I'm still benefitting society with my work, taxes, etc. Laws should stop me infringing on other peoples right, but keeping drugs illegal doesn't do that.

You are right that a system will only work if it has support - the whole point is that this particular system is losing support.

(full disclosure: I have smoked cannabis in the past, but I am not a current drug user. I have not used any other illegal drugs.)

[ Parent ]
Have you ever been to an AA meeting? (5.00 / 1) (#201)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:51:43 PM EST

It's all ABOUT self-improvement, not a way to dodge it.  

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

Matured. (none / 0) (#246)
by tekue on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:08:14 AM EST

America has matured just fine despite alcohol.
Humanity has matured just as fine despite marihuana, opium, and alcohol. What's your point again?
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
I can (almost) tottaly agree. (5.00 / 1) (#247)
by tekue on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:10:27 AM EST

If not for the last sentence, I'd strongly back your argument. Actually, I'd even use almost exactly the same argument for legalization of marihuana. Good work.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
LOL (4.50 / 2) (#120)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:13:20 PM EST

" 2) it's not nearly so potent or falsely rewarding as those other drugs."

I would say it's MORE potent and falsely rewarding IMO.

--

-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

Useful to society (5.00 / 2) (#124)
by TheSleeper on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:26:43 PM EST

And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society.

Nobody has any responsibility to be 'useful' to society. We are not tools to be put to whatever use 'society' dreams up for us. Particularly not in light of the fact that 'society' is all too often an alias for "the wishes of a relatively small group of powerful people".

[ Parent ]

You're quite wrong, and spoiled too! (1.16 / 6) (#129)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:49:41 PM EST

So long as you reap the benefits of a productive society you are indebted to it.  

If you do not reciprocate the goodwill that the society afforded you, then at the very least you have no right to be trying to deem what is best for the society as a whole.

[ Parent ]

I agree with TheSleeper (5.00 / 4) (#146)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:51:46 PM EST

And I'm one of those people who does make an effort to contribute to society.  I'm nice to people who aren't.  I try to explain things to the ignorant.  I try to help people when I can.  I treat other people with more respect than they usually treat me.  I work a low-end job so the Haves can have, because society doesn't value what I'm good at doing enough for me to make a living at it.  I write letters to my Congresscritters, I vote, I read the news and try to learn more.  I'm deep in debt, making banks wealthy, because you have to have certain things even if the money isn't there.

Please elucidate how I "owe" society any of this, considering what I get from it.  I sure as hell don't owe it dominion over my body and what I do with it, even if I were interested in taking drugs (which I'm not) or other self-destructive behavior.  I've been giving to society for a long time, and even I don't think people owe society that kind of control over you, no matter how much it's done for you.

My tacit consent to be a member of society does not mean society can limit me however it likes.  There are certain Inalienable Rights, after all...

Losthalo

"There will always be things we wish to say in our programs that in all known
languages can only be said poorly."  
--Alan Perlis

[ Parent ]

Good. (1.25 / 4) (#154)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:07:25 PM EST

I'm glad that despite your anarchistic attitude, you do what's right.  

My point is that each drug user is acting to the detriment of the rest of society.  You did not refute that, so I must assume that you agree or could not think of a way to voice your disagreement.  

Murder is illegal because it is detrimental to the rest of society.  However, you said: "My tacit consent to be a member of society does not mean society can limit me however it likes."  Explain to me, then, how you think being told you're not allowed  to murder someone isn't society limiting you "however it likes."

Do you think laws are "unconstitutional?"  Is that it?  You think that societies shouldn't be allowed to restrain their citizens in ANY way?

No, of course you don't.  You just refuse to see how drugs are detrimental to society around you.  That's a tenable argument, but not the one you chose to make.  I'd be more interested in hearing something substantive about that, which is the real issue at hand.  

Oh, and regarding the issue of "owing" society something:  just because you do not think you owe it to society does not mean that you don't.  If everyone were so self-centered as you are, we would have a very dysfunctional society.  Luckily, most people understand that you should act the way you would wish other people to act, and if don't want to do that, then you shouldn't expect help from other people.  If a do-gooder like you happens along and helps out people that don't deserve it, fine, but that's not indicative of the way societies work.  That's indicative of you being an altruist.

[ Parent ]

Great! (5.00 / 2) (#160)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:24:56 PM EST

>>>My point is that each drug user is acting to the detriment of the rest of society.  You did not refute that, so I must assume that you agree or could not think of a way to voice your disagreement.<<<

1.)  The first rule is: never assume.  

2.)  Acting to the detriment of society is not exactly cut-and-dried.  In fact, the entire article we're commenting on speaks to -whether- or -not- drug legalization would be a benefit, or detrimental, to society.  You are taking it as a given that drug use is detrimental, and going from there.  First, show me how it is detrimental, in a situation where drugs are legal.  Then I'll try and refute -your- claim.

As to murder:

Murder is illegal because it violates an individual's right to live.  Societies are formed on the basis of protecting induviduals' rights, otherwise, why bother to belong to one?  If society doesn't protect you from murder, rape, and other violations of your rights, what is its purpose?  To make some people powerful over others?  The cynical might take that view.

I use the phrase "however it likes" meaning that government may not make -any- restrictions it likes, it may only make restrictions which protect the rights of others.  How far this is taken is up to the members of that society to determine.  Some will limit more, others will accept more risk in return for more liberty.  But regardless, society is limited on the resstrictions it can, or should be allowed to, place on its members.

Further, I do not -refuse- to see how drugs are detrimental to society.  My father's an alcoholic, so's my uncle, so was my grandfatehr before he died at 60.  Stop putting words in my mouth and listen.
Compare the damage drugs do now, illegal, and what they might do if legal; include the effects of the WOD, all the people jailed for behavior which is their own business (dangerous or not), not to mention the innocent people whose property is seized because gov't agents think they're drug dealers...

...
I act to others the way I would like to be treated, not the way I expect to be treated, or the way I would accept being treated.  So much for "I'm glad that despite your anarchistic attitude, you do what's right.", you can't decide whether I'm an altruist, a do-gooder, or self-centered and selfish.  Which is it?

I think you're just trying to provoke a reaction, now.

Losthalo
"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness."


[ Parent ]

Excellent! (1.00 / 2) (#196)
by anti filidor on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:27:59 PM EST

Who made the rule about assumption, and why must I abide by it?  It turns out that I was right.  You couldn't refute my argument.  I explained quite thoroughly how drugs are bad for society, how they promote apathy and indolence.  Is it simply inconvenient for you to reply to these arguments?

Certainly I wasn't "taking it as a given" that drug use is detrimental to society.  I pointed it out, and explained why.  

I didn't mean to put words in your mouth either.  However, you didn't explain to me why drugs should be legal, and you still haven't.  Your claim was that the government shouldn't be allowed to tell you what to do.  I provided a reasonable example of how you know that isn't true, and you've started to get angry.

The fact remains that governments exist to reconcile the miasma of different wants and needs of an entire populace into something that everyone can benefit from.  It's not an easy task, and the only way it can hope to work is if people participate in society productively.  This is accomplished in our capitalist society by the presupposition that anyone who works hard enough will be rewarded with wealth, at least enough wealth to be comfortable.  That is, if you work hard, you will attain fulfillment.  

Drugs distract from that eventuality by offering another way to attain the happiness that fulfillment provides.  The problem is that society gleans no benefit from the drug-user's happiness.  Therefore, this is bad for society.  Why is this difficult for you to understand?  

The government protects you from murderers, but in the process prevents you from being a murderer.  Similarly, the government protects you from being surrounded by indolent drug-users, but in the process forbids you from being a drug-user yourself.  It's about consistency.

I called you an anarchist because you seemed to be saying that you don't mind if society collapses, so long as individuals' rights are upheld.  I meant no  derision, and I'll say it again, still with no derision intended.  Though it isn't easy, one can certainly be "an altruist, a do-gooder...self-centered and selfish" all at the same time.  You seem to have managed it.

[ Parent ]

Your true value to Society (5.00 / 1) (#311)
by Maurkov on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:26:13 PM EST

I explained quite thoroughly how drugs are bad for society, how they promote apathy and indolence.
--they allow you to be happy even when you should not yet be satisfied. And when you are satisfied, falsely or not, you become infinitely less useful to society
Tell me, Comrade Boxer, exactly when should I be satisfied? Your argument is one that applies equally against every escapist pleasure or diversion: television, video games, recreational sex, rock climbing, and posting to websites. You fail to establish why missing a day of work to play Warcraft III is worse than skipping a day of work to freebase cocaine. You dont address why, at the end of a productive day of work, I am allowed to watch 8 hours of television but forbidden to experience 8 hours of mushroom induced hallucination. Most importantly, and to the point of the article, why is it worth $80 billion a year to try (but ultimately fail) to make sure I dont use the wrong chemical crutch? Now please compare, if drugs were legalized, the number of productive citizens who would become indigent junkies to the number of incarcerated recreational drug users who would become productive citizens. Your "benefit to society" argument does not favor prohibition.

My own philosophy is that contentment is a good thing both for the individual and society. I do not envy you and yours.



Maurkov

[ Parent ]
Drugs should be legal... (none / 0) (#327)
by ragabr on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:08:44 PM EST

because when our system works as designed, laws are only made to prevent you from infringing on the other citizens' rights.

Your materialistic viewpoint is sad. Your view of societal effectiveness is extremely narrow and you've given us no reason to accept it. Your reasoning goes against Common Law and judicial decisions in most areas of law. The burden is on you, and you've done nothing but repeat "but the State, the State, we all have responsibility to the State" which is absolutely untrue.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
The Declaration of Independence? (none / 0) (#334)
by procrasti on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 09:27:40 AM EST

Drugs distract ... by offering another way to attain the happiness that fulfillment provides.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

-------
if i ever see the nickname procrasti again on this site or anywhere in my life, i want it to be in an OBITUARY -- CTS
doing my best at licking arseholes - may 2015 -- mirko
-------
Winner of Kuro5hin: April 2015
[ Parent ]

Now, of course, everyone sees. (none / 0) (#381)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 01:42:11 PM EST

This is exactly why pro-status quo prople don't debate anymore, because they end up looking like idiots.

I had forgotten about the fascist 'everyone must work for the good of society, drugs will make them stop being good sheep' argument, which is pretty idiotic anyway, as jailing people...um...stops them from working. And the concept that everyone is obliged to work is a pretty odd one. It is, as someone pointed out, a pretty communist concept, and not communist in the happy-love version some people preach, but straight out of Russia.

Everyone collect quotes from this 'anti filidor' and stick them in their sig. I suggest 'I explained quite thoroughly how drugs are bad for sciety, they promote apathy and insolence.'

Lukcily, with the new TIPS program, if we see someone being apathic and insolent, we can report them to the Ministry of Homeland Defense. Heil Ashcroft.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Altruism vs. Rational Selfishness (none / 0) (#288)
by kurtmweber on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:22:32 PM EST

As something of a Randite, I guess I'll try to tackle your apparent misunderstanding.  

A selfish act is any act which one perceives to be in his own self-interest.  For example, if I'm going deer-hunting with a friend of mine, and he is attacked by a bear, I have two mutually-exclusive options:

1) kill the bear
2) not kill the bear

Now, assume that it is my moral obligation to act in my own self-interest.  Thus, I must weigh the value of what is being expended by each action against the value of what is being gained--in this case, that means I must weigh the value of the shotgun shell and the time spent loading and firing the shotgun against the value of my friend's friendship and the possibility that he may help me in the future when I need it.

So, which course of action is the most selfish?

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]

Not to mention that ... (none / 0) (#308)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:15:26 PM EST

... the bear might come after you next. Perhaps you could have come up with a less obvious example, as this one's a no-brainer.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
What Is Society? (5.00 / 1) (#159)
by icastel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:23:42 PM EST

And why does it do so many nice things for people?

In "society" most people will do "nice" things for you as long as it's convenient and expecting something in return. But I bet that in the end, it's every man for himself. We are all doing something for something. Our individual efforts are what earn us a living, not a productive society.




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
So what? (5.00 / 2) (#126)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:35:48 PM EST

Productivity would falter nation-wide.

Wouldn't this be a good thing? Instead of having people working 50 hours a week, and having high levels of unemployement, we could have people working 20 hours a week, and have no unemployment. Yes, fewer things would be created, but so what? Instead of spending millions of man-hours on films like Titanic, we could spend just thousands making cheesy cheech-and-chong movies.



[ Parent ]
Think a little deeper (5.00 / 4) (#130)
by WixerTheGriffin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:56:51 PM EST

The truth is that if drugs were legal, the American populace would be even more apathetic than it already is...

Well...If you were to flood them with the message that drug use is good and wholesome, then probably so.  Otherwise, I think you are a little shallow and underestimate the power of education and rationality.  I used to think similarly about pot smokers, because it's a well known stereotype.  But then when I heard that a number of my friends did it and I had no idea the whole time, I had to rethink the correlation between laziness and drug use.  After a 1.5 year stint as a chronic stoner (smoked more or less regularly, did shrooms several times during the period, what can i say it was the first couple years in college), I feel that motivation goes a lot deeper than what you simply call a "sense of fulfillment".  It's something that comes from a person's background and their life experience.  Of my friends who smoke weed, the lazy ones who I knew to be lazy from long before they started smoking weed became the lazy stereotypical stoners.  The ones (including myself) whose parents trained them to work hard and strive to be successful, continued to be the same people.  

My satisfaction in life was greatly increased because I was smoking weed for a while.  I became a hell of a lot more chill, although it also occured because I was away from home and I had time to mature on my own.  However, after a while everything loses its initial charm and you have to move on with other things in life.  Drugs are not the be and end all to satisfaction in life.  They are, like anything else we enjoy, just another way to make ourselves happy.  Not the best way either, I have discovered that semi-purity is the most satisfying of all for myself (damn my self-satisfaction you say, it makes me useless!)  Using it periodically, say a couple times a year is the most effective cycle for myself.  

How is it most effective, you may wonder.  Well, using the drug increases my appreciation for  life in general.  It's hard to understand this unless you try a hallucinogin (i don't know what the other 'harder' drugs do).  If I were to give it up, I'd be resolving my life to being one where I often feel like life is not worthwhile.  I know the feeling well, since it's the one that pervaded my life throughoout, especially before I tried drugs.  By having a cyclic boost of appreciation for life with drugs, I actually increase my productivity.  So I say, in response to your claim that Sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice your personal immediate gratification for the good of the community .  

As for your thoughts about alcohol, it differs for each person in its potency or how 'falsely rewarding' it is.  i think it's more falsely rewarding than weed since it's much more about 'feeling good and jolly' and less intellectual than weed.  Also, if people are properly educated about the effects of ganja and the best way to use it (i do not recommend chronic in general) then it can be just as helpful in keeping society sane as is alcohol.  

BTW Alcohol is not ubiquitously bad, do you know that people's success in life is significantly correlated with drinking alcohol?  Of course it isn't like 'the more you drink the more successful you are' but all the same, that link is there and who knows about other drugs...

[ Parent ]

link... (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by WixerTheGriffin on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:29:00 PM EST

here is the link for correlation of wealth to alcohol drinking.  It does not imply causation, of course, but it is intriguing nonetheless: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_568176.html

[ Parent ]
You're only half-right ... (4.50 / 2) (#205)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:10:24 AM EST

The ones in control really do believe the theory you have posted here. There's no question that people who do drugs are less motivated to do the things that Western Capitalism would like them to do. There's no question that they become less "useful" to what they define as society, or more correctly, the good of society and there's no question that those who do drugs, especially mind expanding drugs cause a lot of trouble by starting to question the assumptions the mainstream lives and works by. So, you're right as far as you've gone - they don't want to legalize drugs because people will "drop out, turn on, tune in, whatever". But on the other hand, they don't want a clean and sober populace either.

Think about that for a minute. Do the people in power really want to deal with a nation of go-getting, non-apathetic, self-sacrificing people? Many of them would be (and are) good corporate material. Others would be rabble rousing pains in the ass.

The government doesn't want drugs legal, but it doesn't want to eliminate drugs, either. There's too much power involved in wielding the drug laws against people who become inconvenient to deal with and are dumb enough to break the law while they're causing trouble for the powers that be. There's too much deflection of the anger and violence of the poor by either drugging them up or letting them fight out drug territories with each other, rather than taking a chance on their anger being clear and sober and aimed right at the system. There's too much money to be made on an international level - we can look the other way as certain forces in Latin America and Asia make their money for "counter-revolutionary" purposes growing and dealing drugs, rather than take the risk of directly supporting them with government money and possible exposure. Rather than giving them guns to fight battles we want fought but don't want to get caught supporting, we look the other way as they deal drugs and earn the money themselves - as long as they concentrate most of their efforts making the "expendable" people in our society drugged and apathetic, no one's going to get too upset. Our "friends" abroad get to fight battles for us while our "enemies" at home get wasted.

It's necessary to sacrifice our personal immediate gratification for the good of the community? Hell, some of us have sacrificed a lot more than that. Call it collateral damage.

They don't want to save America from drugs. They just want to LOOK like they're saving America from drugs while the benefits of the status quo continue.

Ever wonder why there's so many bootleggers in dry counties? Think about it.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I must say. (none / 0) (#210)
by anti filidor on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:52:47 AM EST

This the most sensible reply yet.  

Yes, I had considered that obverse--it's a cynical point of view, but cynicism is not always a bad thing.

[ Parent ]

Hey (none / 0) (#287)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:20:56 PM EST

What about the 1800's? Early 1900's? Even Mid 1900's? Are you missing something here?

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
misconceptions (none / 0) (#335)
by FourDegreez on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 11:19:43 AM EST

"...your personal immediate gratification..."
"...if you really want to waste your life doing drugs..."
"...ineffectual drughead..."


That's a nice straw man you've set up there!

[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (3.75 / 8) (#94)
by andrewm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:01:45 PM EST

Prohibition was the single most effective means of preventing any alchohol consumption, and making other drugs illegal has kept them from being used. Next thing you'll be saying that education and treatment is a better way to prevent drug addiction destroying lives, when everyone knows that a few years in prison is the best thing for a menace to society who dares to smoke something that doesn't profit the noble and decent tobacco companies. (Apparantly those cigarette things may cause cancer, but they're so important that they can't be banned, anyway. After all, tobacco is good, but marijuana is bad. All intelligent people can see how obvious that is.)

Seriously, what is it with people who say "drugs are bad, I've seen what they can do, so they must be illegal, and drug users should be sent to prison for years"? Do these people (some have posted here, I'm sure some of them can answer this) actually think this works? I guess at least the proven fact that a single trip to prison cures all drug users is an argument in favour of continuing the ban on certain drugs.

(Yes, I already know. I was being sarcastic.)

More telling is ... (5.00 / 4) (#132)
by beergut on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:01:42 PM EST

Think this through:

It is a known fact that we cannot stop the flow of drugs into prisons. No matter what we do, prisoners will get drugs, even in maximum security facilities.

We would have to restrict the actions of every citizen (and that is the proper term, at least for now) of the United States to a greater degree than we restrict the actions of prisoners in maximum security facilities.

Do you see a problem here?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Libertarian atheists, heh heh. (2.33 / 3) (#96)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:07:10 PM EST

I've been going on about how geeks are libertarian atheists. Between the poll on the pledge and this one, I think it's obvious. Are there any gun articles on k5 with polls?

Geeks (none / 0) (#106)
by bouncing on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:32:58 PM EST

Yes, there is a giant geek bashing book called Cyberselfish by Paulina Borsook. It's pretty much a giant Ayn Rand bashing fest. If you read through the buzzwords and the bullshit, it comes down to: "I hate geeks. I hate libertarians. I hate geeks" -- you might read it if you want fake insight into geek politics.

[ Parent ]
Besides (none / 0) (#182)
by Pac on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:37:21 PM EST

We also didn't let her in our Junior High Computer Club because she was neither smart enough nor cute enough.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
yes there are a few (none / 0) (#111)
by Germany on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:38:07 PM EST

why? are you anti-gun or pro-gun? (not looking for an argument only curious, nothing more)

[ Parent ]
pro-nuclear weapons for citizens... (none / 0) (#112)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:40:11 PM EST

Maybe you can guess my stance on guns.

[ Parent ]
Sarcasmbratenfett (none / 0) (#116)
by Germany on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:50:45 PM EST

Ich sehe das Sarcasmbratenfett von weg von Ihnen.



[ Parent ]

Libertarian atheists? (none / 0) (#122)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:23:17 PM EST

I support the abolition of all drug laws, but I'm by no means a libertarian, and I tend to lean towards deism as opposed to atheism.

[ Parent ]
This was on Crossfire (4.25 / 8) (#108)
by Ender7a on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:36:34 PM EST

Here is part of a transcript with and interview with Asa Hutchinson (head of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.)

--------

CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you're leading now the war on drugs. How goes it with the war? Are we winning this thing, or tying it, or losing it? What's the score out there?

HUTCHINSON: Well, that's one of the great myths of this generation, that there's not any success or antidrugs efforts. The fact is that over the last 20 years we've reduced overall drug use by 50 percent. That's 9 million fewer drug users today than there were 20 years ago.

Cocaine use down 75 percent. And whenever you look at the fact that 95 percent of Americans do not use illegal drugs, I would say that this is a successful approach to a very difficult social problem, and that we should not abandon this type of successful strategy.

-----

Okay, aparently Huchinson is taking drugs if he honestly believes that 95% of Americans don't take drugs.

Does anybody here believe these numbers for a moment? Also, I would like to know where these fantasy numbers are coming from.

It's probably coming from between his butt cheeks (4.00 / 2) (#143)
by icastel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:36:37 PM EST




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Actually, I do believe those numbers (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:28:07 AM EST

I can tell you from personal observation from 1985 to about 1995 that the crack cocaine thing peaked in the late 80s and has gradually wound down since then. It's not because of prison sentences. It's not because of anti-drug propaganda. It's not because of better policing. It's because the kids growing up in the neighborhood watched what happened with the people who were heavily into that scene and decided that they'd have to be crazy to get involved in it. Meanwhile, marijuana use has held fairly steady and other drugs, such as E and meth have gone up. In the case of marijuana, the lack of change is because people don't see it as dangerous. In the case of E, I suspect it's the same. In the case of meth, unfortunately, not enough people have wrecked their lives with it for word to get out completely on the streets about it. It'll taper off in a couple of years. And government efforts will have little to do with it. But knowing a cousin, or a neighbor who totally screwed themselves up with it will.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
fun statistics (none / 0) (#267)
by ethereal on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:07:53 PM EST

So, according to this, the vast and in some cases unconstitutional efforts we have taken in the War on Drugs have had the effect of stopping 5% of Americans from using illegal drugs. Was it really worth it to make that change? What about after we consider how much worse the War on Drugs may have made life for the general populace?

Frankly, if I were running the DEA, I'd make up as many positive numbers as I could get away with too. Just make it seem like we're almost about to solve the problem, but need another five years of funding to really pull it through....

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Drug money goes to criminal elements argument (4.00 / 4) (#113)
by Ender7a on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:46:32 PM EST

There is something that needs to be poineted out about money that goes to drugs goes to criminal elements.

Of COURSE its going to criminal elements. They are the main suppliers since it is not legal. As soon as it becomes legal, it would stop. All you have to do is look at what happened to proabition, When drinking became illegal, crime families suddenly had lucrative income from illegal disilaries(which made crime increase). When it became legal again, surprise, surprise, the money dried up and crime went down.

It's a circular argument (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by aphrael on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:20:16 PM EST

Drugs should be illegal because they are bad. Why are they bad? Because the money spent on them supports criminal activity. Why does it support criminal activity? Because drugs are illegal.

Granted, that's a caricature and an oversimplification, and it only addresses one wing of the argument for drug prohibition. But it's a particularly silly wing.

[ Parent ]

Where is your proof... (none / 0) (#140)
by helloworld on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:24:27 PM EST

Where is your proof that crime went down in the 1930s VS 1920s?
Just my opinion
[ Parent ]
Alcohol related crimes (none / 0) (#165)
by xee on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:34:04 PM EST

It is obvious that legalizing something will cause criminal activity related to that something to cease. Crime rates in the 20s and 30s are irrelevant. Alcohol-related crime rates in the 20s and 30s are relevant.


Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
Level of enforceability and responsibility (3.83 / 6) (#115)
by adiffer on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:49:43 PM EST

I have a bit of a problem with folks who think our governments should be silent on what we may do with our bodies.  One of the problems is that many people refer to these authorities in the singular as if the federal government were the only one that mattered.  The second is that many people think that a society doesn't have an interest in what any individual does with their own health.

For the first issue, I am inclined to agree that the US Federal government doesn't have any business legislating drugs in the criminal sense except for the residents of Washington DC.  In the trade sense, the Federal government is entirely within their rights to legislate and enforce.

State level governments are an entirely different matter, though.  One of the reasons the US is organized as a collection of States is to localize the bulk of the day-to-day governmental responsibilities.  If you have children and abuse them, it is the responsibility of your State to defend those children.  If you want to start a new business, it is the responsibility of your State to record certain facts about you and it to keep the credit and property systems functional and unclogged by frauds.  If you want a stop sign placed at the intersection near where you live, it is your State that is responsible for setting up a process (County and City governments) that enables your input and influence.  

I saw a talk by one of our Supreme Court Justices and he explained that 90 to 95% of the laws that affect your lives come from the States in which you live AND that is how it was supposed to be.

I think it is entirely reasonable for a State to legislate and enforce criminal drug laws.  Which laws are reasonable and at what level of punishment should be determined by the citizens of a State.  

The argument for such laws rests upon the notion that your health affects my quality of life.  I can be damaged if you damage yourself.  There are limits on how far this idea should be taken, of course, but it should not be ignored.  It is this argument that addresses my second issue.  Remember, if enough citizens harm themselves through damaging drug usage, the economic vitality of a town can be undermined.  Future generations can learn to accept such conditions and learn to dehumanize each other in ways I would rather didn't occur.  There are examples of this around us today.  Those examples need to be stopped before they go to another generation.  The WOD is not stopping much of anything, in my option.  I would suggest a more local approach is in order.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.

Suppose I agree. (5.00 / 4) (#133)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:05:04 PM EST

Let's stipulate to the proposition that society is damaged when a member of society is damaged, and that a society's government therefore has a good and correct interest in protecting its members from abusive behaviors, even self-inflicted ones.

Does that government not also have a responsibility to develop rational, self-consistent policy in this area? Is it acceptable, for example, to make hanging yourself illegal but still permit you to shoot yourself?

If you want to defend a moral position on marijuana, you must do one of four things:

  1. Advocate that alcohol, tobacco, coffee and sugar should be criminalized.
  2. Advocate that marijuana should be legalized.
  3. Show that marijuana is much more harmful than alcohol, tobacco, coffee and sugar.
  4. Adopt some contorted set of reasoning that allows you to hold seemingly contradictory positions and still win arguments about them.
Nobody seriously proposes (1). The preponderance of the evidence is against (3). Rational people do not want (4). Therefore the answer must be (2).

Turning from theory to practice, I would observe that the major motivation for ending Prohibition was the Great Depression. The big issue was not freedom or rationality or rightness, it was that a lot of money was being made on the gin trade, and legalizing it meant it could be taxed. Similar arguments apply to the marijuana discussion, so perhaps a marijuana advocate should rationally act to erode confidence in the stock markets...maybe that was Ken Lay's master plan all along.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

rational approaches (2.50 / 2) (#145)
by adiffer on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:46:33 PM EST

A State government probably should create a rational, consistent policy in this area.  I assume that is what the citizens would want for their own sanity and the predictability of their opportunities.  If a group of citizens wanted it otherwise and I wasn't a member of that group, it wouldn't really be my place to tell them how to run their lives.  Otherwise, I think we can agree.

I have no problem with the legalization of marijuana.  I might have a problem with the people using it if they do stupid things that I can trace back to their usage habits.  Here are some guidelines I tend to use.

  1.  If the usage is at home and doesn't affect relationships at work or with family, it's none of my business to tell people what to do or not do.
  2.  If usage affects your ability to be a good parent and you have children, I will care about your kids and the financial and moral load you place on the rest of us to care for them.
  3.  If usage affects your ability to work and derive sufficient income for you to be economically self-sufficient, I will care about the load you place upon us to care for you when you become incapable of supplying your own needs.
  4.  If usage leads to some kind of criminal behavior (other than usage itself), I will care a great deal and will usually support some kind of punishment or enforced rehabilitation.
(I am using the second person pronoun here, but I don't mean you in particular.  My comments are more broadly aimed.)

In general, I tend to support laws or a lack of them that leads to a focus on what you do and whether those actions impact the rest of society.  If some action you take has no impact outside your own personal life, I have no right to make any kind of demands regarding that action.  Those actions are quite rare, though, even though many would wish it otherwise.  Where the line is drawn between personal choice and cultural requirements determines how free the society is in which you live.  

We have 50 states in order to ensure some variation in where that line is drawn.  No one line will satisfy us all, so agitate and vote for the line you actually want.  If that means we must become the politicians that make those laws that draw those lines, so be it.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Choices (2.00 / 2) (#162)
by xee on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:28:00 PM EST

Are those my only choices? I sincerely hope you dont think K5 readers are dumb enough to accept that there are only X ways to do something. There's always another option.


Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
How about this (2.50 / 2) (#173)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:57:19 PM EST

For any declarative, falsifiable statement X, your choices are as follows:

1. X
2. ~X
3. I reject logic as a valid worldview

Do you think there are other choices that I haven't covered?

[ Parent ]

Simply (none / 0) (#269)
by Anonymous 7324 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:21:21 PM EST

your statement was not declarative. More simply, the answer is not binary. And yes, there are other options.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#319)
by ghjm on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:36:18 PM EST

Name one.

[ Parent ]
I was (none / 0) (#344)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 11:49:08 PM EST

referring to the parent post that you were replying to. Because the answer to the question was not binary, simply a "yes" or "no" doesn't cover the range of possibilities.

Oh, and as for "name one" choice, how about "the question as posed rests upon untrue (pre)assumptions and thus cannot be answered." (think on the classical example "have you stopped beating your wife yet?")

[ Parent ]

The question is binary. (none / 0) (#345)
by ghjm on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 02:00:45 AM EST

Either you regulate equally dangerous drugs in equally restrictive ways, or you have an irrational drug policy. Where's the grey area? What hidden assumptions are you talking about?

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Hidden assumptions (none / 0) (#354)
by vectro on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:10:45 AM EST

off the top of my head, one possible hidden assumption is that you are focusing on the medical consequences, whereas any discussion of the law ought to include the consequences to society as a whole.

Society is used to drugs such as nicotene and alcohol. Not that these drugs have a positive effect; it's that they are so widespread as to be accepted. Most illegal drugs, on the other hand, are not used regularly by a wide proportion of society. So it's entirely possible that the societal consequences of legalizing e.g., marijuana could be higher.

Not that I'm saying they necessarily would be higher, just that it's a point up for debate.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

No problem. (none / 0) (#360)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 01:48:02 PM EST

That's option 3 from my original post - show that marijuana is in fact more dangerous than currently legal drugs. If you can do that, you have a rational argument.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Double entendre (none / 0) (#367)
by vectro on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:15:20 AM EST

Well, it all goes to a question of the context of the word "harmful" - was the word meant in a medical context or a social one?

I would infer medical, due to your assertion that  "The preponderance of the evidence is against (3)."

Sugar is an excellent example. The social consequences of outlawing sugar would be disastrous - sugar is necessary for life. It would be equivalent to outlawing air. While one might argue the war on drugs has been a failure, it certainly doesn't make every citizen a criminal - just many.

Similarly with alcohol, the social consequences of it's prohibition were substantially greater than those of the present-day variety. This is primarily due to alcohol's greater social implantation: Drinking alcohol is one of the defining characteristics of Western society, has been around for a very long time, and is partook regularly by a great proportion of the population. Marijuana, on the other hand, is rather new to US culture, and while perhaps a majority has tried pot, the percentage of the population that consumes it regularly is rather small.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#357)
by adiffer on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 05:05:14 AM EST

It can't be binary if you can debate the definitions of some of your adjetives.  What do you mean by 'irrational drug policy?  I get the feeling you are defining it as everything other than equal regulatory approaches to equal dangers.  The problem with that method is others will not see this so black and white.

It has been my experience that attempts to translate situations like this to their logical representations as you have demonstrates more about how the translator thinks about the issue than about the issue itself.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

6 children = Worse than lifetime crack head (2.00 / 1) (#291)
by Kintanon on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:51:37 PM EST

Families which have large numbers of children cost societ way more than your average crack head. Families recieve large tax breaks per child, children recieve free food, lodging, and entertainment at the expense of the paying customers. Families with many children typcially require more treatment for disease and injury while paying the same or only slightly higher insurance premiums than a married couple with no children.
When I can force people to have no more than 2 children, you're welcome to force them all not to take drugs.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

What Makes You Think ... (4.33 / 3) (#142)
by icastel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:33:21 PM EST

... that as soon as drugs become legal, "everybody" will start using them?

Do people seriously think that because drugs are illegal and regulated by the government (singular or plural, it makes no difference), they're not consumed? *** NEWS FLASH *** there are people, and lots of them at that, who currently consume drugs *** END OF NEWS FLASH ***.

I have a feeling that many people do it BECAUSE it's illegal. That alone gives them a rush.

The war on drugs, as you seem to agree, is failing to accomplish what it's supposed to do: stop drug dealing and use. How would it be better if each state, county, or community started it's own war on drugs? I think the results of that would be as disastrous, if not more so, than what's currently going on.




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
clarification (3.00 / 1) (#150)
by adiffer on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:02:19 PM EST

Maybe I wasn't clear enough.  My fault, really.

I am not suggesting that local governments take up the War on Drugs.  I actually think the war is pretty stupid.  If a large percentage of people use drugs of some kind and our governments are supposed to derive their power from all these people, I say 'How dare they!' when it comes to them telling such a large percentage of the population that what they are doing is criminal and deserves harsh punishment.

Having said that, I think usage of many drugs is pretty stupid too.  There are limits for how far I'll go in telling users how stupid I think they are, but my opinion is still there rattling around in my head.

And finally, if all drugs were legalized, I am inclined to think that usage would go up.  The people who get that rush for doing something rebellious might stop or find something else to replace it all with.  When industry starts supplying the new users and older addicts, though, supply will go up.  Those folks who currently do not use because it is difficult or risky to get a supply might start doing it.

I personally am inclined to move drug issues to the State level and help finance things from the Federal level.  I am also inclined to use the power of the Civil Suit and Class Action Suit to discourage suppliers from entering the market for the harsher substances.  Juries have a lot of power when it comes to actions that set insurance rates for risky industries.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Dont forget about advertising (4.33 / 3) (#161)
by xee on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:25:36 PM EST

If Big Tobacco was allowed to expand to Big Marijuana, Big Heroin, and Big Crack then it would follow that they would advertise and market their new products in the same way as their current products. Ya know how they market cigarettes to children? They'll do the same with the other drugs. That will cause usage to skyrocket.

I just mean to point out that fact -- not to cast a judgement about whether its good or bad. That's up to you.


Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
It would be easier to ban ads... (none / 0) (#187)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:30:10 PM EST

... than it is to ban the substances. Finding offenders is easier too. Simple-dimple.



[ Parent ]

Federalism (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by ethereal on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:25:18 PM EST

That is exactly right - the Federal government really should have no jurisdiction in the matter other than perhaps as far as trade and maybe FDA oversight. If things like this were up to the states, then different states (Oregon, Nevada) could try different approaches and gradually convince one another of what is the correct balance to strike on this issue. But there is no power granted to the federal government by the Constitution which can be construed to allow jurisdiction over personal production and consumption of pretty much any substance you're stupid enough to ingest.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

My Thoughts (3.70 / 10) (#137)
by overtoke on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:19:33 PM EST

The drug war remains in place:

1. Because the prison industrial complex has such a financial grip as to corrupt our leaders.

2. Because the pharmecutical industrial complex has such a financial grip as to corrupt our leaders.

3. Because the alcohol and tobacco companies are literally in league with Satan.

4. Our elder generations are brainwashed and close minded and easily corrupted.

5. Asa wants to keep his job..

6. The CIA uses prohibition inflated drug prices to create funding for itself.

7. Companies like Monsanto who profit from life-destroying pesticide usage in Central and South America.


My list will stop at the number 7 today.

http://www.pot-tv.net http://www.cannabisnews.com/ http://www.overgrow.com/

8. Organized Crime? (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:45:09 PM EST

I don't know if there's any influence from organized crime anymore.  But I can see how they'd hate to lose their biggest moneymaker.  If they have any influence at all, you can bet they're using it.

[ Parent ]
Now think about this... (4.25 / 4) (#141)
by vyruss on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:31:28 PM EST

What if the governments legally distributed any kind of drugs through their own outlets, selling them at the cost of manufacture? Wouldn't all drug dealers immediately be out of business, having nobody to sell their (now extremely expensive and unsafe) drugs to?

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

except (none / 0) (#203)
by HDwebdev on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:02:58 AM EST

Most would be out of business. Except, of course, those that put out a superior product

[ Parent ]
except again... (none / 0) (#240)
by vyruss on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:04:12 AM EST

...except if the government saw to it that they produced the best theirselves.

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Laws of Economics? (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by Quila on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:58:39 AM EST

Don't try being logical. I once had a debate with someone who thought the illegal actions of the drug cartels would still flourish in the presence of cheap, legal drugs. When I pointed out that this would be contrary to the laws of economics, he stated that the laws of economics didn't apply to the cartels. And here I thought they were universal.

If you set an artificially low price for a commodity, that commodity will eventually disappear, but you can prolong the availability through subsidies. If we pour the current budget of the WOD into these subsidies and sell drugs ultra-cheap then we will undercut the cartels, and they can't last as long as the government can when they have no more income from sales. After the cartels have lost most of their power and depleted their cash reserves through years of having no market for their goods where they can get above production price, then you can raise the price a touch (and lower subsidies) to keep supply as a normal commodity.

[ Parent ]

If you *subside* drug sale... (none / 0) (#380)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 03:57:14 AM EST

You'll basically have the cost be nothing at all.

Drugs are insanely cheap to produce. They don't need a subside of any sort. Pouring the WoD budget into that would make drugs cost something like negative twice what they cost now.

Take a look at an aspirin bottle (invented at the same time, by the same company, as heroin). That much heroin would last a month. It would cost as much as the aspirin. According to statistics, it would probably be safer than the aspirin.

We're talking about selling pollen and leaves, people. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Then mabye subsidies aren't even needed (none / 0) (#384)
by Quila on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:44:09 AM EST

And economics alone will take care of everything. There's no way they could charge such a high price if the stuff were legal. I still remember the old Bloom County comics with the drug lords donating to the Meadow Party's campaign for President: "Push the War on Drugs harder, keep those government price supports going! If you don't we'll kill you."

[ Parent ]
Policy Reform vs Philosophy Reform (4.66 / 6) (#156)
by fatbobsmith on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:11:44 PM EST

Your local and national representatives can change laws and policies all they want. It's not going to change the unfortunate national philosophy in this country, that drugs are bad and if you use drugs, you're a terrorist and a drain on society.

In the Netherlands and other more drug-progressive countries, you find a more humane philosophy. Drugs are allowed, but people are educated about their hazards. A drug addict is not treated as a criminal, but as someone with an illness that can and should be cured. Clean heroin is provided to the heroin addict, not for pleasurable consumption, but to help that person overcome their addiction.

Some drugs might be bad, but the drug users aren't. Tell your congressperson. There's no reason a heroin addict should face jailtime unless they commit a crime. These people need help and we're kicking them when they're at their lowest.



Mostly true (5.00 / 2) (#185)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:17:08 PM EST

Problem is public policy also dictates the social philosophy.  Social engineering at its finest.  Tell me, do we have the social climate we do because that is how it always was or because of public policy dictating years of indoctoration of school children to "Just say No!"
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
take what you want, really. (4.00 / 4) (#158)
by /dev/trash on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:19:26 PM EST

But do a few things for me.
  1. stay in your house with the doors locked from the outside.
  2. Pay for all your health problems with your own money or money given to you by non-government agencies.
Do all that and you can get as high as you want as many times as you want and I'll have no problems with it.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
Really? (4.33 / 3) (#166)
by losthalo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:39:15 PM EST

>>>Pay for all your health problems with your own money or money given to you by non-government agencies.<<<

Because no one else takes health risks at the expense of the taxpayers, just those damned druggies?  Or are you in favor of everyone having to meet the standards of a "healhty life" to get help?

Losthalo
Habit diminishes the conscious attention with which our acts are performed.

[ Parent ]

ok (4.50 / 2) (#169)
by criquet on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:45:29 PM EST

as long as you:
  • avoid anywhere you can inhale second hand smoke.
  • always drive within the posted speed limit and obey every posted traffic sign and all applicable local and federal laws.
  • don't eat meat. it could be tainted with mad cow.
  • don't eat fish. it could be tainted with pfiesteria. in fact, the government should produce a list of foods. anything eaten not from the list will keep you from being able to obtain any government aid.
  • never get into an elevator because it could fall.
  • get enough sleep to ensure that you don't fall alseep at the wheel and that you are always at optimal performance for you employer.
i'll keep adding to this list as i think of things that you should avoid to ensure that nothing happens to you that you could have avoided.

also remember, the safest place isn't in the home. i'd prefer if you were locked in a padded cell and restrained in a striaght jacket just to make sure you can't hurt yourself. then, and only then, should the government supply funds to pay for any health problems you might experience.

[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#197)
by /dev/trash on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:28:35 PM EST

  1.  In 10 years smoking will be illegal too. but yeah smoke in your house not in public.
  2.  I don't drive but when I did, I was always under the speed limit.  Funny how $200+ speeding fines are a good nuff deterrent for me.
  3.  Um okay.  Comparing crack, which is known to do damage with meat, which is harmless if treated right, is just silly.
  4.  See 3.
  5.  Okay, stairs are healthier anyway.
  6.  See number 2.
My whole point was that if you talk to someone who uses say marijuana they always say "My body, I can do whatever I want with it." Which is fine but why should those that don't do drugs have to have higher taxes and higher health insurance premiums?  So yeah maybe legalizing it all would be better then the IRS could tax users at a higher rate AND HMO's could raise the users' rates.  But you'd still hear drug users complain.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
health insurance premiums (5.00 / 2) (#220)
by ttfkam on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:21:14 AM EST

People have been discussing the distribution of clean(er), safe(r) dosages of drugs to existing drug addicts.  For example, a heroin addict gets a nominal dose of pharmacutically pure heroin at cost.

---

This person is much less likely to overdose because the dosage can be accurately noted.

This person is much more likely to maintain basic health because the heroin is not cut with [insert non-heroin and possibly toxic substances].

This person will be far more likely to see a doctor before a catastrophic event requires immediate medical attention.  Ounce of prevention/pound of cure.

This person is spending less on heroin and does not need to burgle/assault for the same large sums of money to maintain the habit.

The sale of drugs to fund their own habit is (a) not really an option when it is being provided at cost -- very cheap and (b) not as necessary because it's being provided at cost -- very cheap.  This lessens the occurance of new users being introduced for the sake of personal wealth; there is far less of an economic incentive to push heroin onto others.

:BONUS ITEMS:

Economic incentives are blown -- little reason to be a drug dealer.  Far less reason to sell it on a street corner.

Economic incentives are blown -- no money to buy large amounts of weapons to shoot up a rival on the street corner.

Economic incentives are blown -- no reason to shoot expensive weapons at rival on the street corner.

---

Is a heroin addict more of a health risk than someone who doesn't use?  Sure.  But this is not the real world, and this is not the real choice.

Who do you think is the greater drain on health resources?  The addict who is getting cheap drugs of known origin and pure composition or the addict who is getting expensive drugs of questionable origin and highly diluted/contaminated?

Don't forget to factor in the bonus items for extra credit!

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (5.00 / 3) (#227)
by synaesthesia on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:10:52 AM EST

In 10 years smoking will be illegal too.

Holy shit, it sounded from your previous posts in this thread like you were against taking drugs. Then you come up with the most wacked-out statement I've seen for a long time.

Would you like to bet on this particular outcome? Let's make an exponential wager. For the rest of this year, the bet is worth $10. In year two, this doubles to $20, the year after, $40, and so on. Either of us can forfeit at any time and pay the current worth of the bet to the other. At the end of ten years, the bet will be worth $10240 (although if you're smart, you'll concede a few days before the end of the year and save yourself $5120), and will be payable by whoever has the least clue about the influence that tobacco companies wield.



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
well now. (none / 0) (#278)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:53:06 PM EST

I actually would hate to see smoking banned.  What I said was more of a gut feeling not a desire.

The tobacco companies yield so much influence that they found it necessary to have California ban smoking in bars and various states to sue them and win.  Oh and they have so much influence that PA tripled the tax on cigarettes just this year.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

Yup.. (none / 0) (#282)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:02:17 PM EST

but how big are their pockets? I still smoke.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Point Validated (none / 0) (#281)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:00:12 PM EST

But we still spend $42 BILLION every year on illegal immigrants.. on health care for ILLEGAL immigrants. Debate me on that one.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
what's to debate? (none / 0) (#304)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:55:38 PM EST

short term deport them as soon as they come looking for health care.
long term fix the reason they are leaving their home country.  For example Mexico.  NAFTA was bad.  Sure it opened the trade up, but it lowered wages for Mexicans.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#339)
by vile on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 03:14:12 PM EST

But that is not what is happening. In fact, in legislation as I am typing this, there is a proposed bill that does not include such an act. It provides health care, like we do now. It does not deport them as soon as they go in for medical treatment. Most likely, it will not. Most people support the idea of deporting illegal immigrants as soon as we 'catch' them. This is not how it is.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#343)
by /dev/trash on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 08:15:50 PM EST

So why make them 'illegal' if they are just gonna stay here for 8 years and then get some kind of amnesty anyway?

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Because... (none / 0) (#385)
by vile on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:47:38 PM EST

The immigrants in question came across our borders without due process, hence, illegally.. find them.. deport them.. make them adhere to the process. Shouldn't that be the way it's done?

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
well indeed (none / 0) (#363)
by krek on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 04:18:14 PM EST

Do you watch TV? Pay for your own glasses!
Do you eat red meat? Pay for your own heart surgery!
Do you play any sports? Pay for our own painkillers!
Do you have sex? Pay for your own childbirth!
Do you age? Pay for your own hip!

You might as well just kill yourself now, we would still all have to pitch in to investigate your death, clean up the sidewalk and perhaps to pay out insurance to your family, not to mention the space that your useless corpse would take up, but at least you would be doing the right thing, and minimizing the cost to the rest of us.

[ Parent ]
okay. (none / 0) (#365)
by /dev/trash on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 11:40:52 PM EST

TV is bad for eyes?
Red meat is bad for the heart?
Sports and painkillers?????
If I ever have a child, someone better be paying me!
Okay.


---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Drugs don't cause health problems. (none / 0) (#379)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 03:48:26 AM EST

At least, not at the level you're talking about.

Pot: Nope. It may cause medical changes, who knows, you may not be as quick witted as you were (Though most studies agree that wears off completely.), but you aren't going to have a heart attack or anything.

Heroin: Not really. People have lived with morphine addictions for years with no side effects (And morphine and heroin are the same drug once they enter your body.). The main problem nowadays is the fact heroin is of random strengths, which causes addicts to sometimes ingest too little (oddly enough, too much apparently doesn't have much effect.), and the fact that sometimes they can't get it, which can cause them not to eat, and eventaully go though withdrawal and possibly have a heart attack.

Esctasy: Oh, please. Overheating is pretty much it. And only an idiot would overheat.

LSD: No physical problems at all. Might cause emotional or psychological problems, but so might having your father die, and that's not illegal. (And, no, people who hallucinate and jump out windows or walk into the road are microscopic. More people just randomly hallucinate and kill themselves accidently.)

Cocaine: Oo, here's a real one. Can cause heart failure the very first time you take it, and that's not made up to scare kids, either. But it doesn't 'damage' your heart, it just cause it to race, so it's not going to be costing anyone any medical stuff. You either can handle it, and will be fine, or you're *thump* dead. If you managed to do it in a hospital, it just might cause hundreds of thousands of dollars to save you, but you'll probably just be dead before anyone gets there.

Many of the medical costs due to 'drugs' are due to the illegality of it, like herion 'overdoses' that are really 'underdoses, other drugs, alcohol, and back on heroin-doses', or just made up shit, like 'crack babies' that are really 'very malnurished mother drinking and doing who knows what during pregnancy' babies.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Who pays? And what about the real causes? (3.90 / 10) (#171)
by Bandar Log on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:52:11 PM EST

On one hand, I think drug use that correlates to long-term health costs to society, should be made illegal. On another hand, I think we need to really look at and try to solve the root causes of drug use.

To elaborate:
  1. In the US, something like 50 per cent of all eligible citizens register to vote. Something like 50 percent of the registered voters actually do vote. Conjecture: I suspect that of the 25 percent of eligible citizens that vote, less than half favor legalization of drugs that are currently illegal.

    If this conjecture is true, it implies that whatever the private feelings of pro-drug-legalization advocates are, those feelings will not be translated into public policy.

    Having made that conjecture, I would predict that there will be no large-scale changes in US governmental drug policy until there is a majority of voting citizens who want the policy changed. In the US, you have the option to vote. When you fail to exercise that option, your private feelings will not influence public policy, except tangentially.

  2. It's interesting that the topic of private (personal) responsibility seldom comes up in pro-drug/anti-drug conversations. If you damage your body (and only your body) as a result of drug use, do I have to pay for your hospitalization? Who bears the costs of drug use, if that drug use has a long-term health cost? Do pro-legalization people expect that the drug users themselves will pay the costs of their medical treatment? How realistic is that?

To return to the responsibility angle: I think that it is incumbent upon me, as a civilized human being, to help pay for a drug-user's self-inflicted hospitalization. This comes down to the basics of being humane, of being human, and this applies to so-called ``legal'' drugs as well as ``illegal'' ones. But the money I spend on your self-chosen hospitalization, is money I cannot give to people trying to find a cure for diabetes -- my nephew is diabetic, and a cure for this would greatly improve the quality of his life. He didn't ask for that disease; he didn't make any choices that led to him getting it. If I could lift that burden from him, I would.

So maybe you can understand if I feeled galled, utterly galled, at the prospect of further drug legalization. I say further, because alcohol is already legal here, as is tobacco, and both of these have demonstrable long-term health costs to society. On a personal level, my mother died of emphysema, due to years of cigarette smoking. Clearly, it was her choice. But the side effect -- the personal cost to me -- is that a kind friend is gone.

A pro-drug-legalization advocate may not give a tinker's damn about any of that stuff, the personal costs, or the long-term societal costs of harmful drug use. Okay. You don't have to care, and I won't hold a gun to your head to change your mind. But if a drug legalization measure came to a ballot in my state, I'd vote against it. And I do vote.

Having said all that, be aware that I know not all drug use (legal or illegal) leads to long-term health costs to society. But if it could be shown that there is plausible link between use of drug X and disease Y, then yes, I'd vote to have drug X made illegal. (One example of X would be tobacco (when smoked). Another is marijuana (when smoked). Another is alcohol, when drunk to excess.)

A last point: the question of why, why people take drugs. People take drugs because they want to be somewhere where they're not. Maybe the everyday world is boring, painful, whatever. You do the drug, and for a little while, you're unplugged from that bad reality and jacked into what's ostensibly a better one.

We have large (powerful) forces at work in our everyday lives, that make everyday life appear to people that it's something we really, really want to escape from. Those forces are the real evil. Drug use is a secondary symptom of the underlying problems, and these underlying problems seem to attract remarkably little intelligent, public discussion. Thoughtful individuals here at K5 have cited many problems with the so-called ``war on drugs''. I think those problems are real. Making drugs illegal, at best, only provides a weak behavioral incentive for many people to not use drugs.

If we really want drug use to go down, we (as a society) need to face the music, and really address the causes of drug use. This is something America is very reluctant to do. It would be hard (and people act as though they want simple right-now fixes), and it would involve more collective honesty than we've mustered so far.



cost to you? (4.00 / 3) (#176)
by strlen on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:10:52 PM EST

your mother is not your property. there is no obligation for her to live for you. yeah, its tragic, but there's no legal or moral duty for her to survive for your benefit. it's extremely selfish and disregardful of others right to force others to remain healthy for your enjoyment. i also dislike the argument you use against drugs -- "to be good people we must have free health care, to have free health care we must have illegal drugs". so basically are you saying to be good people we must spit in the face of rights of individual? and people still say socialism (which is direct anti-thesis of individualism) doesn't equal loss of liberty -- this refers to a low-rated and enflamingly replied comment i made on the same issue.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#284)
by kurtmweber on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:03:16 PM EST

One major flaw with the types of arguments given by people like the OP is that they assume that it is PROPER for government/society to provide health care to all. The individual should provide for his own health care, or convince others to VOLUNTARILY pay for it out of their own pocket. Government-funded health care==Bad Thing.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
The costs of prohibition... (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:18:18 PM EST

"A pro-drug-legalization advocate may not give a tinker's damn about any of that stuff, the personal costs, or the long-term societal costs of harmful drug use."

Here's the problem, most anti-drug zealots have never looked at the costs of prohibition as compared to the costs of legalization.

In another reply I gave a link to the Cato policy analysis on this. Sure it was written in 1989 but I feel it is still as applicable today if not more so.

The monetary costs of maintaining the Drug War and all of its secondary problems (increased mortality, increased crime, etc) exceeds the monetary costs of legalized drugs with a support infrastructure for those who do abuse the drugs.

It is fine to say that pro-legalization advocates don't care one bit about the costs but it is another to try to back that up when one takes into account the total costs to society (since that is the standard the anti-legalization crowd sets) that the Drug War incurs. This doesn't even get into the sticky problem of the loss of civil liberties. It is only comparing, dollar for dollar, legalized drugs versus illegal drugs.

If you well and truly wanted the lower costing alternative you would vote for legalization, not against it.


-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
one huge whole in your logic (5.00 / 2) (#179)
by criquet on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:22:18 PM EST

is that an enormous amount of government money is spent on a war against American citizens (you may call it a "war on drugs", i won't). We imprison those convicted of possession and trafficking and often much more heinous crimes related to the drug trade's black market nature. much of the money used to try and imprison even just the possession cases could be used for research into diseases like diabetes. law enforcement could be diverted to protecting us from terrorists and deadly criminals rather than those dangerous, murderous recreational drug users.

you opinion about why people take drugs is highly uninformed. many people take drugs because of the experience. similar to why people climb mountains or why people ski or why people read books. also, if people need to take drugs for an escape, is that not as justifiable an illness as diabetes and a reason to support research into that rather than just imprison them for having such an illness for which i'm sure they didn't ask?

will reform happen? i don't think so. my opinion is that money is the reason drug reform will not happen? there is simply too much money being made keeping it illegal. similar to why true accounting reform will not happen. too many people making money the way things are. why change a good thing.



[ Parent ]
Great points, but you're wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#188)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:36:08 PM EST

So is flat-out legalization.  There *must* be a shade of grey we just haven't thought of, but I'm having trouble thinking of it.  Prohibition causes a definite rise in crime.  Legalization can cause a rising health cost.  

Making smoking marijuana illegal for health reasons is ridiculous.  It's far, *far* better for you than cigarettes, if only because smaller doses are required, and it's less addictive.  Legalized marijuana would see very few pack-a-day smokers.  One might as well try to make chocolate illegal because 10 bars a day will cause definite health problems down the road.

I've got a few ideas on how to resolve some issues, though.

1) Add the expected cost of health benefits onto the price of each sale.  
This is done now through taxes, but the taxes seem to just be general revenue to the government.  Make sure this money goes where it's supposed to.  Also make sure it's clearly labelled on receipts "Expected Health Care Tax" or something equally foreboding.  In a world with three drugs (nicotene, alcohol, caffiene), it's easy to keep things straight.  But in a world of a hundred new legal drugs, this would at least provide people with an indication of how "relatively bad for you" a product is.  A potential problem, of course, is that drugs like heroine would still be enormously expensive, providing big crime with an "in" to sell low-cost alternatives.

2) Keep an eye on addictive drugs
Once a drug is past a certain "addiction quotient", it would have to be purchased through a special agency.  There would be no records kept of who purchased the drug and all possible steps would be taken to ensure privacy.  These agencies would also be the first step to kicking the addiction, if desired.  They would include literature and possibly a full-time counsellor.  Most importantly *intentionally addicting someone would be very, VERY illegal*.  As illegal as trafficking drugs is today.  This is to prevent people from employing traditional "first one's free" drug dealer tactics and addicting people to their cheaper, more dangerous home-brewed drugs.

3) Good ol' social engineering
In many places, the average drunk driver isn't aged less than 30.  Years of MADD and other campaigns have had their effect, and it has been huge.  The idea of driving a car to get home hardly even occurs to me after a night of drinking, and a DD is always on hand when we plan to be drunk.  Ad campaigns and lecturing would have to be in place to put a social stigma on driving while impaired by any drug, not just alcohol.  The same could be employed for any other descructive drug-related activity.  Make sure people know the dangers.  Fund it all through the taxes gained from the new drugs.  The groundwork's already in place for a campaign.  It's just a matter of linking other drugs to existing anti-drunk-driving campaigns.

There's got to be a million other things I haven't touched on, but I think this has grown long enough.  Maybe I'll write an article instead - thoughts?

[ Parent ]

Marijuana Smoke Vs. Tobacco Smoke (none / 0) (#300)
by seifertd on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:32:55 PM EST

Just a preface: I support legalizing recreational drugs.

Marijuana smoke is just as, if not more, dangerous as tobacco smoke. It contains very similar concentrations of cancer causing chemicals. The fact that one doesn't smoke marijuana as often as cigarettes is offset by the larger puff volumes and inhalation times. See "The Science of Marijuana" by Leslie Iverson for a comparison of marijuana and tobacco smoke and the amount of chemicals that gets absorbed into the body in each. In fact, of all the long term "consequences" of heavy marijuana use, the ill effects of the smoke are the worse.

A better form of delivery for THC (which is the only thing in marijuana smoke that is required to get high), would be some kind of aerosol inhaler. This would get the THC into the blood stream without all the nasty by products of combustion. At the expense of a bigger ozone hole, maybe.



[ Parent ]
Thanks for the info (none / 0) (#315)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:49:13 PM EST

Next time I won't sound so wrong :)
The argument can still be made that usage patterns tend to be different in favour of marijuana.  Of course, maybe I'll just read the book you mentioned.

[ Parent ]
Smoke (none / 0) (#355)
by vectro on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:13:50 AM EST

The primary difference between the smoke from a marijuana bud and that from an average off-the-shelf cigarette is the additives.

The marijuana bud contains partially burnt contents of the leaves.

The cigarette contains all sorts of nasty chemicals, including fun ones such as tar (to keep it lit), fiberglass (cuts up your lungs, allows nicotine to be absorbed faster), and formaldehyde (improves nicotine absorption).

If you're talking about pure tobacco smoke (e.g., a cigar), you might be right. But even in that case, nicotine is substantially more carcinogenic than THC. The cigar smoker is liable to get cancer of the lips, tongue, throat, or lungs, whereas the marijuana smoker is much less likely to get any of these.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

THC (none / 0) (#361)
by krek on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 04:01:59 PM EST

THC is not carcinogenic, the burnt hydrocarbons are the ones that are carcinogenic.

[ Parent ]
And thus (none / 0) (#366)
by vectro on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:09:00 AM EST

THC is less carcinogenic than nicotene.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
and yet (none / 0) (#368)
by krek on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:49:14 PM EST

nicotene is not carcinogenic either, it is all the other shit that is produced from burning.

[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#369)
by vectro on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 06:22:36 PM EST

Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the tounge, lips, cheeks, gums, and throat.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
If the tobacco burns (none / 0) (#370)
by krek on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 12:47:41 PM EST

It produces smoke, you may not be able to see it, but it is there.

[ Parent ]
No one is suggesting otherwise. (none / 0) (#371)
by vectro on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 12:54:20 PM EST

However, if the tobacco does not burn (e.g., snuff), you still get cancer. On the other hand, eating laced brownies will not give you stomach cancer.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
sure (1.00 / 2) (#372)
by krek on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 01:25:09 PM EST

but I wonder if eating two pack of laced brownies a day would give you stomach cancer.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#373)
by vectro on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 02:15:56 PM EST

it appears not.

However, in my researches it appears that the carcinogenic nature of nicotine is somewhat unclear. Nicotine is angiogenic, meaning it prompts the development of new blood vessels. Thus it appears that while it may not by carcinogenic, it nonetheless may contribute to the development of cancer.

In either case, it does appear that the primary cause of mouth and throat cancers in users of snuff is additional chemicals added to the tobacco, and not the nicotine itself.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

I should point out (1.00 / 1) (#374)
by krek on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 03:19:22 PM EST

That, as far as I know, we have no idea what causes cancer. We have suspicions as to what the cause is and we know that certain things seem to increase the likelyhood of developing cancer, but, in reality we are not even sure whether or not there are people who are immune to cancer.

This does not, however, reconcile with the fact that scientists engineer mice to be more susceptible to cancer.

hmmmmm.....

Do we know how cancer happens?

[ Parent ]
Heart disease (none / 0) (#375)
by vectro on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 10:27:42 PM EST

As far as I know, I'd say our understanding of cancer is around the same as our understanding of heart disease. We have a fairly good understanding of how the disease develops, risk factors, etc., but can't really explain what causes it per se, at least as well as we can with, for example, AIDS.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Try (none / 0) (#362)
by krek on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 04:03:47 PM EST

a vaporisor. It is something like a crack pipe. you put the bud in and heat the glass underneath it, thus evaporating the THC while leaving the plant matter unburned, you get a better high as well.

[ Parent ]
Jail! (5.00 / 2) (#191)
by felixrayman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:42:50 PM EST

But the money I spend on your self-chosen hospitalization, is money I cannot give to people trying to find a cure for diabetes -- my nephew is diabetic, and a cure for this would greatly improve the quality of his life. He didn't ask for that disease; he didn't make any choices that led to him getting it.

If you damage your body (and only your body) as a result of drug use, do I have to pay for your hospitalization?

You don't have to care, and I won't hold a gun to your head to change your mind. But if a drug legalization measure came to a ballot in my state, I'd vote against it.

You can certainly make that argument, but let's be a bit more rigorous here. What you are saying is that since drug use by an individual leads to increased health care costs by that individual, drug use should be illegal and punishable by severe prison terms. A fine argument. Now you say your cousin has diabetes, and that he made no choices that led to this condition, so I will assume he has type I diabetes. People DO make choices that lead to the onset of type II diabetes ( for example, being overweight ), so by your argument overweight people should be jailed. People who don't wear their seat belts? Jail. People who eat bacon? Jail! Jail! Don't exercise? Jail! Exercise too much? JAIL! Do anything that raises a risk of not dying with maximum efficiency? JAIL! JAIL! JAIL! Had twinkies for lunch today? You KNOW you're going to jail.

It seems you exhibit some of the symptoms of the disease known as puritanism, which I have heard described as the nagging fear that somewhere, somehow, someone might be having fun.

I have no problem with someone making the argument that people who take risks should not receive subsidised health care, as long as that idea is applied across the board. If you're going to say a heroin addict should be denied subsidised medical treatment for a condition caused by their addiction, then you should deny subsidised medical treatment to someone involved in a car crash who was not wearing a seat belt. Not that I would AGREE with that argument, just that it wouldn't rub my fur the wrong way as does the argument that people should be locked up for the crime of increasing health care costs.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
I don't agree with you on much of this ... (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:50:38 AM EST

For one thing, the real problem with the "druggies screwing themselves up at public expense" argument is that sooner or later, no matter who you are or what you do, something's going to happen to you, and if it isn't self-inflicted, it'll be something else. Unless it's something dramatically sudden and you die real quick, you're going to be in for months, even years of expensive suffering, and guess what? Very few people in our society these days can afford to pay for all the expenses they're going to incur, and part of it, even for people who have insurance, is going to be paid for by the government. I just don't see the "druggies cost me money when they get sick" argument as realistic.

That being said, you've said one thing that needs to be addressed and is rarely mentioned in these discussions? Why are we so damned unhappy that we have to take all these drugs to feel better? And, please, folks, spare me the "I'm expanding my consciousness" stuff - maybe if you've taken a couple of hits of acid, that's what you did. But if you're using drugs a lot for years on end, you're not expanding your consciousness, you're dulling it and I speak as someone who's been there and done that.

Yeah, I was the bad boy of my family. They were all straight and {aside from occaisional social drinking} sober, and I was toking away like crazy. But here's the rub - I've quit. I'm clean and sober. And they're ALL on anti-depressents. (And that doesn't prove much of anything except life can be odd, sometimes.)

It's not just a question of the illegal drugs we're dosing ourselves with to maintain, is it? We're popping legal mind-altering pills like crazy, too. Just what the hell IS wrong with us? Can we really say that we've got a healthy society if this is what we have to do to live in it?

I want the American dream without Americans - blixco.
[ Parent ]
don't forget this MLP (4.40 / 5) (#177)
by criquet on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:15:23 PM EST

Libertarian Party Strikes Back at ONDCP Ads which is basically a link to this PDF Help us tell the truth about the War on Drugs and terrorism!.

Disperse the Choir (4.00 / 1) (#193)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:50:18 PM EST

Step 1: Grab stick
Step 2: Beat horse
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 until horse is dead
Step 4: Repeat Step 2

These discussions seem to be increasing in frequency and they are always the same. Why don't you legalization fans stop discussing the matter to death with like-minded individuals and start bringing it up with the opposition? Write your congressman, hand out literature at places other than college campuses, and try to convince the people who actually decide these things (read: the voting elderly) of your point. Sheesh, I think the debate is well over.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Why not talk to the opposition... (none / 0) (#206)
by austus on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:10:28 AM EST

Because they know all the arguments and don't care. It's a religious thing and rational arguments don't appeal to them.

[ Parent ]
frequency sometimes = acceptance (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by tuj on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:04:51 AM EST

if an argument keeps appearing in popular culture (not just k5), often times something is eventually done about it.  The drug war has been called into question in numerous forums.  Maybe, eventually, enough of the American public will get the idea that its not doing any good and start to see legalization / decriminalization as progressive, good steps.

But until a large portion of the public feels that way, the politicians will stick by the old standard of 'tough on drugs.'  I can understand your point: I doubt there are any arguments left to make that haven't been already hashed out, generally with better quality.

Let's just hope the average public eventually understands...



[ Parent ]

frequency sometimes = Votes (none / 0) (#218)
by cione on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:54:45 AM EST

That is the general trend. It is not a matter of acceptance, rather a matter of tolerance. Pot is accepted within the pot-smoking circle. Generally (I concede not always) it is tolerated in other circles.

Crime plagued neighborhood's are a perfect example. We don't mind the people that live in these as long as they stay out of my neighborhood.

___________________________________________

The crazy people really have it all together
[ Parent ]

The horse is dead!? (4.50 / 2) (#329)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:28:10 PM EST

Really, wow, I guess I missed the big piece of legislation that decriminalized soft drugs. Sorry about the article then. Didn't realize the horse was dead.

What?

Oh, soft drugs are still illegal and good people get thrown in small rooms with no freedom. Then the horse lives and you should think about what your metaphors mean instead of just drooling them out.



[ Parent ]

Sigh... (3.25 / 4) (#214)
by moho on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:07:45 AM EST

Am I the only one getting slightly tired of having this topic constantly present on the front page? It seems like just as soon as the last one scrolls off, someone else decides to take up the troll and perpetuate its existence. The only difference is the "recent law/survey" bits get replaced with slightly more recent laws and surveys.

I'm beginning to suspect there's a "Drug Policy" perl script out there somewhere, just waiting for the next author to fill in the seven relevant fields and press "Submit".

Important social issue (5.00 / 2) (#241)
by DodgyGeezer on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:08:17 AM EST

Perhaps the reason that we keep seeing stories is because drugs are such an important social issue these days that really do need discussing.

For many young people growing up, there is a *lot* of social pressure to try them out.  And when they do, it's nothing like they imagined based on the teachings of their elders.

For many older people planning on having children, or already raising a family, drugs might be their biggest concern, and the hardest issue they have to deal with.

I've abused my fair share of "soft" drugs in my life.  They've added a lot to my life, and don't seem to have held me back.  Yet, contradictarily, I know from my own experiences how they can affect my life, including loss of motivation, etc.  I don't have an addicted personality like my wife... but that's another story.  This is a big issue to me, and I'm finding my opionions changing back and forth a lot at the moment.  We're planning on having children, and I really want to have a solid opinion in preparation for this issue.

[ Parent ]

Yes... (none / 0) (#328)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:12:08 PM EST

... by all means, topics that are older than five minutes bore me and make me think that I should see what is in the fridge. Isn't there something better on? Something with action music and a car chase? That would be cool. These articles with reasoning and multiple lines of evidence take too much thinking about old boring topics that are like, so old. Oooo! Look a shinny thing, gotta go.



[ Parent ]

Replacing Big Scary Entity With Another (4.00 / 3) (#215)
by EXTomar on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:43:52 AM EST

The more I think and read about this topic the more I am convinced that general legalization of drugs is an extremely bad idea. I rarely see cases in the world where one can get something for "nothing". Legalizing hard core drug usage to solve some problems doesn't do it for free. It just shifts them around.

Yes legalization would dismantle illegal groups that are currently supported. But wait! Just because you dismantle them doesn't mean that the world is a better place.

You have a demand, now legal, and someone must take up the supply. You've replaced cartels with pharma-corps backed by the government regulation and law. Why do people think this is better??? The money just flows in a different way.

Then there is the sticky question about doctor perscribed drugs. Then there is the icky question about how do you regulate. Then there is the question about how the medical system, already expensive as is, will handle this(can adicts just show up in the emergency room asking for more opiates?).

To keep the post shorter, think about what kind of government wants to make sure the drugged out parts of the population are happily drugged and healthy? Is this a government that is good to live under? Sounds like a place in a Terry Gilliam movie to me. It didn't work for China. Legal soft drug use in Western Europe doesn't make it more of a paradise than anywhere else. Why do people continue to believe that legalization solves all of the woes?



Amsterdam (4.25 / 4) (#221)
by dipipanone on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:28:32 AM EST

Legal soft drug use in Western Europe doesn't make it more of a paradise than anywhere else

You obviously haven't been to Amsterdam lately. I was there last weekend, and I can't think of another Western city of comparable size that is anywhere like as remotely safe or habitable.

This may or may not be a product of their drug policy, but I can't think of any other factor in their law enforcement policy that's radically different from elsewhere.

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
It's not a binary win/lose propostion (5.00 / 4) (#224)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:45:16 AM EST

    You've replaced cartels with pharma-corps backed by the government regulation and law. Why do people think this is better???

Caffeine has an LD50 about half that of cocaine How many people die from a binge overdose of caffeine? Or from taking caffeine cut with a toxic subtance? Or from taking caffeine in an unexpectedly concentrated form? Do you think caffeine isn't a drug? Can you understand why people don't generally die from using it, and why it's viewed as low risk?

The reason why it doesn't kill half as many people as cocaine is because we take it in small, dilute, reliable doses, just as most of the population did with cocaine before it was banned in 1914, and not for medical reasons.

    Then there is the question about how the medical system, already expensive as is, will handle this(can adicts just show up in the emergency room asking for more opiates?).

Look, understand this clearly. Drugs are only expensive because they're illegal. Opiates in particular are cheap to produce and proscribe. What costs is emergency room treatment of an overdose, or the effects of toxic poisoning, or long term over-use. There's a sound financial reason why methodone is given to heroin addicts in many clinics.

    Why do people continue to believe that legalization solves all of the woes?

Because (if any of them actually exist) they're idiots. But no bigger idiots than people that choose to believe that the War on Drugs is winnable. Neither strategy addresses the actual problem, because the root problem is people with addictive personalities. There are far more people addicted to nicotene than to cocaine, and nicotene is twice as toxic, and usually taken in a form that is likely to kill you one way or another, usually after expensive treatment. Or what about the social and economic costs of alcohol abuse? And note that the bulk of these costs come from behaviour caused by the direct effect of the drug when used as intended (and taxed) by the government, not as crime committed to pay artificially inflated prices for access to the drug. Looked at without the weight of history behind us, nicotene and alcohol are close to the worst possible choices as the recreational drugs of choice. You've probably heard that so often that the meaning has been lost, but please, actually look at it and try and come to a reasonably objective decision. If we won the War on Drugs tomorrow, we'd still have an enormous problem with addiction.

The choice is what we do about addicts. We can treat them and try and limit the damage that they do to themselves and others, or we can punish them for their addiction and for the criminal acts that they (choose to) commit to pay artificially inflated prices for drugs, or for the acts they commit while under the influence (which usually means alcohol, lest we forget), while driving the prices higher through an unwinnable War. Remind me, Amendment 17, how well did that one turn out?

There's no win-win, there's just the lesser of two evils. And I firmly believe that's legalisation and treatment.

Note that I'm pushing a pragmatic rather than a liberal agenda. I'd simply like to reduce the chance of me being burgled by a third.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Whoops, correction (none / 0) (#233)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:33:58 AM EST

I did of course mean the Eighteenth Amendment. Must have been that 300mg/30mg aspirin/caffeine cocktail tab that I dropped yesterday. Man, I'm still buzzing.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

pharma corps (3.50 / 2) (#238)
by Phelan on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:56:21 AM EST

You've replaced cartels with pharma-corps backed by the government regulation and law. Why do people think this is better??? The money just flows in a different way.

I dunno..maybe it's just me. I just don't see Brystol-Meyers coming to my house and killing my family because my dope payment's late.

Which do you think is better: Budweiser making and distributing beer, or the Mafia? I don't think I've ever seen Budweiser goons do a drive-by tommy-gun shooting when the local convenience store started stocking Miller.

A lot of problems get cleared up when you remove the criminal element from an enterprise.

[ Parent ]

A Good Thing (none / 0) (#292)
by dcodea on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:00:53 PM EST

Huge Pharma-corps would be alright, as far as I can tell. We get a lot of job creation, all the income stays inside the US, where's the downside?

Who Dares Wins
[ Parent ]

The myth of heroin overdose (4.66 / 3) (#222)
by nicolas on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:52:46 AM EST

As this page says, heroin overdose is not due to an unusually highly potent heroin sold and people balking on it. It is rather due to addict not finding their dose for some time, taking alcohol and tranquilizers, then doing heroin again. A fatal reaction then ensue.



Get a grip (2.80 / 5) (#239)
by pkesel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:01:47 AM EST

Heroin, cocaine, crack cause people to throw away their values and their potential for productive lives. The notion that legalization of these drugs is going to change things and allow people to make a conscious decision to avoid this is ludicrous. Don't you think that addicts often get into their situation thinking, "I can handle it." Fact is they can't. Legalization isn't going to change that.

Legalization may lower the cost of drugs and the cost to society, but it is not going to change the fact that they cause addiction and destroy lives.

Laws are made to protect people and society. To change a law for any other reason, ignoring the danger of an activity, is selfish, at best, and morally scandalous.

Morally Scandalous? (4.20 / 5) (#242)
by priestess on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:19:38 AM EST

I'll tell you what's Morally Scandalous - that you think you have the right to make my choices for me and put me in prison for chosing differently to you. You want to put me in jail even though I hurt nobody but your sense of moral outrage.

I want to change the law precicely to protect society. I see the police corruption, disrepect for the law, organised criminal gangs, ruined lives thanks to imprisionment and innocent deaths in bungled drug busts and I want them all stopped. I want to remove prohibition so that I can once again respect the law, belive the cops are honest, remove money from criminal gangs, restore the lives of those people imprisioned for their legitimate choices and free up police and jail time to pursue criminals that are really hurting other people.

But you forgot another reason laws are made, probably the most common reason. To make money for certain groups at the expense of other groups. This is why buying a politician is such a wise investment. I think I'd like to pay less to prision guards and more to social workers. Unfortunately I can't afford as many politicians as DARE and the private prison companies and the drug cartells, so I suspect that the money will continue to flow to them untill the public wake up at least.

         Pre..........
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
The laws are dangerous (5.00 / 1) (#243)
by Quila on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:44:06 AM EST

One of the most important points the poster made was that the damage to person and cost to the state is far greater a result of the illegality that on effects of drugs themselves. This doesn't even address the collateral damage to the civil rights of non-users and the unfortunate rise of the police state.

Coupling this with studies showing that prohibition has done nothing to slow use, I come to the conclusion that the only way we can reduce the damage done by drug use is to stop the prohibition.

Don't believe the propaganda, and read some mainstream studies by the likes of the National Academy of Sciences (marijuana study) and others.

All together, they paint a pretty bleak picture of prohibition.

[ Parent ]

Kicking habits (5.00 / 2) (#249)
by TheSleeper on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:28:12 AM EST

Don't you think that addicts often get into their situation thinking, "I can handle it." Fact is they can't. Legalization isn't going to change that.

Yes, it will. Legalization will make it easier for addicts to access a social network that will help them to avoid crossing the line from 'use' to 'abuse', and support them in kicking their habits when they do cross that line. The network I'm speaking of here is more a matter of friends and relatives than of government services. If marijuana were legal, I would find it far easier to be open with my family about the fact that I use it, and thus they would be in a far better position to notice if the use became problematic.

Drug abuse (like any other drug-taking behavior) is not simply a matter of the user's reactions to the intrinsic properties of the drug. It's also heavily influenced by the social rules surrounding drug use. The legal status of drugs has a tremendous effect on how shame and other social pressures are linked to drug use: By driving drug use underground, prohibition makes it harder for shame and extra-legal social pressure to serve as a deterrent to drug abuse. I suspect that these things are far more effective deterrents than the threat of criminal punishment.

[ Parent ]

Really. (5.00 / 2) (#250)
by mindstrm on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:36:50 AM EST

The point is not that people can 'handle it'. The point is that the current policies do more harm than good.

Have you ever had a heroin habit, or are you speaking from your puritanical high horse?

The reason you find someone throwing away their values is NOT because they are 'using heroin'. It's because a) If society knows they use heroin, they will be severely stigmatized and b) Heroin is expensive, and you have to spend quite a bit of time simply trying to obtain it. You also run out of cash, to the point where you can't eat right, don't go out much, etcetera.. you spend all your money on heroin.

Now... dont get me wrong. Having that heroin addiction is NOT a good thing. It's not something to be taken lightly.  Nobody is saying it should be.

You are right. Legalisation is NOT going to change the fact that these drugs cause addiction and destroy lives. But it WILL reduce the amount of harm done.

The fact is: If you want these drugs, they are EASY to get. Very easy.
You can argue "it should be illegal" all you want, but the fact remains, the MAJORITY of the negative problems attributed to 'evil drugs' are a result of the war on drugs as well.

If laws are made to protect people and society, then this one MUST go.


[ Parent ]

If a person wants to screw up their life ... (none / 0) (#254)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:10:37 AM EST

... they will. If a person has an addictive personality and doesn't be careful about what they do, they will get addicted to something. If they can't find something illegal, they'll find something legal whether it be booze, glue, huffing gas or a prescription medication. The only thing the laws do to such a person is give him additional penalties due to his conviction and make him deal with the criminal underworld to support it.

Laws are made to protect people from each other AND their society. Or should be.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Legalization: missing the point (5.00 / 4) (#259)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:24:59 AM EST

The notion that legalization of these drugs is going to ... allow people to make a conscious decision to avoid this
Avoid what, drugs? You are missing the point. You have already decided that *drugs are bad*. You fail to see that someone may actually want to use these things in the privacy of their own homes, and not be harrased by anyone.

And while I don't care one bit about heroin, cocaine, pharmacos (I like marijuana and the halucenogens / entheogens), the same arguments which will be used to legalize marijuana, will also legalize everything:
  • Self-ownership: I (being an adult human) have complete ownership of my own body. I have the exclusive right to decide what I put into my body. Conversely, no government, church, or corporation has ANY RIGHT to decide or regulate what I put in my body.
  • The right to act freely in a non-violent fashion is a fundamental right of We the People, possessing the Sovereign power. Refer: Declaration of Independence, 2nd paragraph:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, **liberty** and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it
  • The lack of jurisdiction on the part of the government to regulate these things. Refer: Paul Hager WoD Essay.
. (I use the word "legalize" as a convenience only. It is my assertion that these things ARE legal, and always have been, since the laws against them and the people who seek them out are unjust).

But with perfect liberty, we also need 2 other things which we don't have today.
  1. a free press, so we can learn the truth and be able to make an informed decision or have informed consent. Refer: this comment on non-commercial view-supported community media
  2. responsible action. (all kinds of systems are in place today where people are allowed or encouraged to not be responsible for their own actions, such as insurance.


--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Um, OK (3.50 / 2) (#283)
by quartz on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:02:22 PM EST

I have the exclusive right to decide what I put into my body. Conversely, no government, church, or corporation has ANY RIGHT to decide or regulate what I put in my body.

I wholeheartedly agree with that, UNLESS you want my tax/insurance money to pay for your rehab. Then I feel I have every right in the world to tell you what you may or may not do to your body. If you don't plan to spend my money, however, then by all means you should be free to have all the drugs you want legally.

I don't really give a shit if you want to kill yourself with drugs or anything else, just don't make me pay for it.


--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]

Same situation... (5.00 / 2) (#289)
by Kintanon on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:25:02 PM EST

Under the same thought pattern as this I demand the right to tell you what sports you may play, whether you can have children or not and how many, and what kind of food you can eat. Becaue by golly, when you have 7 kids, and have a heartattack playing softball because you ate nothing but redmeat and drank nothing but beer all your life it's going to affect my insurance, my tax dollars, etc... When your widow goes on welfare with all those hungry children I'm going to be the one paying for it. So I demand the right to forcibly sterilize everyone after 2 children, compell them all to eat no more than 1 meal per day which contains meat, and enforce a healthy excersise regimen on everyone.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

You're right, of course (5.00 / 1) (#298)
by quartz on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:57:25 PM EST

Which is why I wish the health insurance business would go back to the private fee-for-service system that used to work pretty well before the AMA got greedy and turned it into the whole mess we have to put up with today.

The simple truth is, the managed care approach to health insurance does not encourage personal responsibility. There's no incentive for individuals to keep their self-destructive tendencies in check, so we have to make up for it with stupid laws and regulations that criminalize victimeless acts. I say reinstate the private fee-for-service health care system and get rid of all the stupid nanny state stuff like the war on drugs and seatbelt and helmet laws.

I don't want to pay for rehab programs any more than I want to pay for the education of other people's children or some drunk's liver transplant, even though current laws force me to pay for the latter for some reason. Make everyone responsible for the consequences of their actions and I'm all for everything that's bad for you being legal.


--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]

your tax/insurance money? (5.00 / 1) (#301)
by ttfkam on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:40:44 PM EST

I don't really give a shit if you want to kill yourself with drugs or anything else, just don't make me pay for it.
And you think the War on Drugs is currently free? Have you seen how big the annual budget is? You think that existing drug addicts don't drain your precious wallet from emergency health care? If all you are worried about is yourself and your money, I don't see how WoD fits your goals.


If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

The war on drugs (none / 0) (#306)
by quartz on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:01:59 PM EST

I don't see how WoD fits your goals.

It doesn't. But neither does legalizing drugs. So why would I support it, when in essence it's just an initiative to replace a government program that costs me money with another government program that costs me money?


--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]

Because the current government program (4.00 / 1) (#318)
by aphrael on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:27:35 PM EST

costs you money by throwing people in jaul who have done nothing that is morally wrong.

[ Parent ]
total cost (5.00 / 1) (#321)
by ttfkam on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:06:53 PM EST

I could bring up reasons relating to right vs. wrong, morals, U.S. Constitution, macroeconomics, art, recreation, privacy, etc., but you don't seem to care about any of those things apparently.  You care about how much money you have stashed away at the end of day.  That's fine, I still have a reason tailored just for you.

You should support it because it is an initiative to replace a government program that costs you a whole hell of a lot of money each year with another government program that costs you far less money.

If this is not a good enough reason for you, do you have a better suggestion?  Obviously you must since the WoD is a worst case scenario for your limited criteria.  I -- and I presume many other people -- would love to hear about it.  Perhaps private enterprise and no government involvement: no taxation?  Then we're talking about legalization again; It is in fact a more liberal policy than the one I was suggesting.  I would tend to worry about quality issues without any oversight (no taxation implies no government involvement and therefore no FDA safety guidelines).

Please, share with the rest of us your plan to save money with regard to U.S. drug policy.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

Okay, I give up. (none / 0) (#378)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 03:07:34 AM EST

How does legalizing drugs cost you more money than not? I've honestly never heard this opinion before. Are you assuming everyone will run out and become an addict and then end up in the hospital or something? If so, I have to point out that while about 35 million people use drugs a year, about 6,000 people die from them, and it's usually poor quality control, which hopefully the government would fix. (Also note most dead drug users do not end up in the hospital on the way, most end up dead before that, or, at most, cost you an ambulence ride.)

I mean, surely, even if the number of addicts requiring medical attention triples (Which seems unlikely with high quality drugs, but we'll pretend the number of people using them octupled or something.), surely that's more than counterbalanced by the salary of everyone in the DEA, and the lack of arresting new people and letting the old ones out of prison for drug use?

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Drug war costs tons! (5.00 / 1) (#316)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:49:25 PM EST

This is a rare time I wish I could rate a comment GREATER than a 5, much greater. Premium subscribers should be able to get once a month where they can rate a comment a 25 or something.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Right on, Bro! Rehab should NOT be state funded (5.00 / 1) (#314)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:46:33 PM EST

But Joe Drunk down the road runs over some kid and plea bargans to be sent to rehab at the state expense, don't blame me just because I wanna smoke a joint in my house. If your tax dollars are not being spent wisely, or how you want to them to be spent, you should take a more active role in government. Your problem is with Joe Drunk and your tax collecter, not with Bill Freak gettin' stoned and watching cartoons in the privacy of his own living room.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
That's what sin taxes are for. (none / 0) (#377)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 02:57:49 AM EST

You tax the drugs to pay for the rehab. Simplicity itself, and no one can complain.

And as I just addressed why that wouldn't create a black market in untaxed drugs, I'm not going to again. Simply put, drugs costs up to hundreds of thousands of times their cost to make because of their illegality. Drugs are as cheap as corn, and you use a lot less of them than corn. ;) A black market simply could not compete, despite insanely large amounts of taxes.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

On the purpose of law, and how people get addicted (5.00 / 2) (#260)
by gcmillwood on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:28:05 AM EST

To address your first point, no I don't think anyone tries crack/heroin/drug of their choice thinking that they can handle it. They are thinking, "I wonder what this is like." or maybe, "this should make me feel good." with little thought to the consequences. And you can't expect the pushers to make people think about what they are doing - they just want to make the sale, get some money.

Legalisation, with appropriate safeguards, would mean that the pushers are not going to say, "sorry, no pot today, but I do have some cocaine, wanna try some?" It would mean that the drugs would be known to be not contaminated with whatever the dealer found under his kitchen sink. There are numerous other arguments made by other posters, so I won't bother repeating them here.

Secondly:
Laws are made to protect people and society. To change a law for any other reason, ignoring the danger of an activity, is selfish, at best, and morally scandalous.

You are living under an important misapprehension. Please realise that laws do not protect. They specify rules and punishments for breaking the rules. If you want protection, hire a bodyguard.

The problem is that the current drug laws are morally scandalous - they state the smoking pot is a crime. Even when there is no victim for the crime.

[ Parent ]
Hey... (5.00 / 1) (#273)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:40:05 PM EST

People are going to use, regardless of your attemptions at intervention. It would be better to take a more adult approach to this type of a scenario than taking a childish stance and PROHIBITING anyone from doing so. Grow up.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
btw... (4.00 / 1) (#275)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:42:31 PM EST

Law and MORALS don't mix.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
No more pushers (4.00 / 1) (#309)
by Roman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:20:22 PM EST

There will be no more pushers on the streets, isn't it a reason good enough to legalize drugs? Noone will be tricked into drugs. Noone will be coerced into them by someone looking for profit if there is no profit. If the drugs were cheap, there would be no profit in them. This is the main reason why *the government* makes the drugs illegal because some people out there want this profit to exist. If you think the *government* does not understand this you are wrong - they are scared of it.

[ Parent ]
I agree, however... (none / 0) (#347)
by phybre187 on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 06:33:28 AM EST

...the best reason to legalize drugs is that arresting, convicting, and imprisoning drug users, dealers, possessers, etc, causes taxpayers a whole lot of money and it doesn't deter drug use, dealing, possessing, etc. It also crowds prisons and jails for no good reason, and it makes cops waste time worrying about these people when they should worry about violent criminals. There's no evidence that legalizing drugs would cause an increase in violent crime, so cops would have more time and funding to worry about those people, rather than the people that aren't harming anyone except (potentially) themselves.

Also, I'd appreciate it if you didn't impose your morality on me. Your morals don't rule the world. Or me.

[ Parent ]
Prohibition of drugs simply doesn't work. It kills (4.66 / 3) (#251)
by criquet on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:02:49 AM EST

First, don't criticize and judge that which you haven't experienced. You have no right. If you've never used drugs, don't presume to think that you can fully understand why people do them. If you've never had an addiction, don't presume to think that you understand addicts.

Prohibition of drugs doesn't work. It's as simple as that. People still do drugs and a certain percentage of people will always do them. What prohibition does is allow people to die at the hands of criminals in search of greater and greater profits.

Imagine having to buy a product that you enjoy consuming from an unregulated, underground network of criminals (note: maybe it's not illegal, just control by criminals in your area). For example, if you like chocolate, imagine having to buy it from someone whom you don't know. You don't know the origin or composition of the chocolate  and you have no way to obtain information about it in case you have a negative reaction to it. But you love it and there is no other way to obtain it.

Given the above scenario, prohibition of any consumable product is the same as saying "I don't care if all drug users die" because the result is that prohibition drives products to the black market. A market with stratospheric profits that lures ruthless criminals (more than even Ken Lay if you can imagine that). The market's objective is to increase sales and profits at any cost, often including taking human life. These criminals, unlike the tobacco industry, are not accountable for their actions. Supporting prohibition supports the black market which supports criminals which leads to deaths. It isn't the drug users because they would much rather obtain drugs from a reputable, regulated, accountable, trackable source.

don't judge? (none / 0) (#276)
by pantagruel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:47:27 PM EST

Humans tend to judge things, to analyze, to form conclusions. I have done drugs, am indeed willing to bet I have outdone most members of this forum just from sheer statistical likelihood, and none of my drug-taking experience changed my mind about conclusions I had reached about the usage of drugs beforehand - at least so far as whether I should be allowed or prohibited from doing so.

I don't think anyone else should be prohibited from stating their opinion a propos drug usage just because they haven't used drugs. By that reasoning one couldn't express an opinion about the death penalty without having sentenced someone to die.



[ Parent ]
wrong (none / 0) (#294)
by criquet on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:31:14 PM EST

The problem is that drugs are experienced and cause physical effects that absolutely can not be completely understood without actually experiencing it. With issues like the death penalty, a person can empathize and come to a reasonable conclusion as to the issues involved because it doesn't require a physical affect on the body.

Another example is that no one should judge the dead until they, themselves are dead.

re: concerning your opinion on drugs and your drug use

The fact that you have used drugs, a lot of drugs, implies a certain mentality that would have preexisted your actual use of drugs. That being, that use is acceptable, hence your use, after which no change in attitude would be required or expected. My position on drug use wasn't changed by use either although it most certain has evolved because of it.


[ Parent ]

Flawed arguments (none / 0) (#322)
by petis on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:41:50 PM EST

Let me comment on some of your arguments. In your first post you say:
First, don't criticize and judge that which you haven't experienced. You have no right. If you've never used drugs, don't presume to think that you can fully understand why people do them.
Your statement implicitly assumes that to have the right to criticize and to judge, one has to fully understand. This is a false assumption. Our entire judicial system, not to mention "normal" social behaviour, stands firmly as evidence against you. I'd hate social events if your assumption was true. My belief is that most people would be very quiet when asked about anything except their wife's - or husband's - shortcomings.

In the posting I am currently commenting on, you make my brain spin, and I feel actually a bit physically ill when rereading it:

The problem is that drugs are experienced and cause physical effects that absolutely can not be completely understood without actually experiencing it. With issues like the death penalty, a person can empathize and come to a reasonable conclusion (...)
I'm terribly sorry, but I cannot interpret what you are saying in a way that is consistent with what you wrote in your first post. Please make up your mind.

Last:

The fact that you have used drugs, a lot of drugs, implies a certain mentality that would have preexisted your actual use of drugs.
Or does not imply the "certain mentality" that I believe you are referring to. It could imply a weak mind, escapism, someone easy to fool, or someone that cannot stand up for what he or she believes is right when faced with pressure from a group. In short: your statement is not true.

Now, you do not have the right to criticize or judge this post before you fully understand my physical experience of your inconsistent postings. Do not rate it. Do not reply. You have no right! *smile*

[ Parent ]

then let me clarify for you. (none / 0) (#326)
by criquet on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:48:32 PM EST

Your statement implicitly assumes that to have the right to criticize and to judge, one has to fully understand. This is a false assumption. Our entire judicial system, not to mention "normal" social behaviour, stands firmly as evidence against you.
Personally, i think much of our "normal" social behavior is pretty crappy so i really don't care. Just because everyone does something one way doesn't make it right. This is my opinion. I try very hard not to judge individual behavior without understanding the situation.

Are you saying that I, being male, can know what's it's like to carry a child for nine months? That it should be up the men to decide what women do while gestating and during childbirth (although it currently is, i think it's stupid). Women should decide for themselves and as a group, what's best for them in those situation. Certainly men can offer assistance but not judgement and criticism.

I cannot interpret what you are saying in a way that is consistent with what you wrote in your first post. Please make up your mind.
it's actually quite simple. i'm saying to refrain from judgement about drug user's motivations unless you have experienced drugs. the other point i was making was made in a different context. so i go from a context in which i am (in the order of you references to my posts) speaking about experiences pertaining to judgement of others to a context of someone having already formed an opinion about drugs (possible based on upbringing or education or something else) which will often lead to drug use. you see they are somewhat different ideas and completely consistent (not that they have to be, humans are notoriously inconsistent).



[ Parent ]
Question (5.00 / 2) (#258)
by elysion on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:23:22 AM EST

Something I've often wondered is why the federal government's prohibition of alcohol required a constitutional amendment, but it's current "War on Drugs" doesn't? Was the 18th amendment just overkill, or is the federal government currently vastly exceeding its authority?

Paul Hager Essay: Must Read!!!! (5.00 / 2) (#261)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:28:50 AM EST

Excellent question. Please read the classic essay The Drug War and the Constitution by Paul Hager, where he discusses this at length. This essay is truly brilliant, IMHO.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Paul Hager! (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by kurtmweber on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:55:46 PM EST

Paul Hager was the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in my district (Indiana 8th) a few years ago, and for one of the two seats in the US Senate even more recently. Met him once--real nice guy.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
More on Hager (5.00 / 1) (#296)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:41:14 PM EST

I discuss in this article some of the reasons why I think "The Drug War and the Constititon" is so good, but in a nutshell, he basically equates smoking a joint (programming yourself chemically across the blood-brain barrier) to be equivalent to the right to free speech -- but from the readers perspective!

Most times free speech is argued from the writer's perspective, that is, I have the right to use whatever words I like. But Hager argues that there is a side effect of the living in the U.S.: we all get the right to live in a world where writers and speakers are free. That is, we all have the right to be exposed to all ideas, any ideas. Ideas should flow freely. We all benefit because of it.

So since I have the right to read any book I like (even if it's a book that you don't like), that this is in reality "the right to program yourself across the optical pathways of the brain", and that there is a similar First Amendment right to programming yourself across the blood brain barrier. He equates this to First Amendments protection of religous freedom.

Thank you Paul Hager!!! You are a genius and you have given we libertarian stoners a great gift. I am convienced that this document will have as much significance to the Marijuana Liberation movement as the Declaration had to the American Revolution.

PS: I think that (in the U.S.) you cannot be refused a job because you refuse to take a drug test. Appeal to the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Read the Smokedot article and do some research on the above Act and the Rasta/Guam case. READ THE HAGER ESSAY!!! It's all there.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
One problem (none / 0) (#299)
by kurtmweber on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:09:40 PM EST

PS: I think that (in the U.S.) you cannot be refused a job because you refuse to take a drug test.

While I am a strong proponent of drug legalization, I also strongly disagree with that type of legislation. Why? It violates the property rights of the employer. An employer has every right to hire people based on whatever criteria he chooses, including whether or not the candidate agrees to take a drug test and (as was the ultimate issue in the case you mentioned above) the candidate's religion.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Rights are for the living! (5.00 / 1) (#310)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:22:54 PM EST

I also strongly disagree with that type of legislation.
I'm not sure what you mean here. I mentioned no legislation.

It violates the property rights of the employer.
WHOA! We are talking about employment contracts. Property? What property? Are you trying to suggest that an employee is OWNED by the employer? Maybe you, bro, but ain't no corporation, state, or religion own any part of me!
An employer has every right to hire people based on whatever criteria he chooses,
Humans (and other autonomous agents with beating hearts and eyes and a brain) have lots of rights, most importantly, the right to live free. But Corporations are not living things. They are artificial persons, chartered by the State to act in the public interest. When corporations (pretty much Joe American's sole source of money) start colluding to provide ONLY employment contracts requiring us to poop-in-a-bag as a condition of employment, a disgusting thing, FOR NO GOOD REASON, that is time we need to start talking REVOKING THE CORPORATE CHARTER. Rights are for the living. Corporations have no rights, only responsibilities. Corporations are like little robots, and need to behave according to Asimov's 3 laws of robotics (also read parent story and comments).

A couple things to remember. Just as corporations are charted in the public interest by the government, in America the government itself is chartered in the public interest. And what is very interesting Richard Grossman (of POCLAD) asserts that the American Revolution was in a large part, a revolution against the oppression of corporations, since each of the states were set up as commercial entities (like the Massachusetts Bay Company), but functioned in fact as non-democratic systems of governance. (Ralph Nader today uses nearly identical language to describe trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT: they resemble trade agreements, but will function as non-democratic systems of governance, replete with secret tribunals)



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
You must be deliberately misinterpreting it... (none / 0) (#317)
by kurtmweber on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:23:27 PM EST

WHOA! We are talking about employment contracts. Property? What property? Are you trying to suggest that an employee is OWNED by the employer? Maybe you, bro, but ain't no corporation, state, or religion own any part of me!

No, but the employer DOES own the place of employment. He has the right to decide who may or may not enter his own property, and base it on whatever criteria he chooses. Also, the money he pays his employees is also his own property until he pays the employees, and thus he has the right to decide to whom to give his property and also base that on whatever criteria he chooses.

but functioned in fact as non-democratic systems of governance.

Democracy is bad. Democracy is mob rule. The only proper form of government is a capitalist republic, because it is the only type of government that completely protects individual rights.

But Corporations are not living things.

A corporation IS a voluntary association of individuals, who DO have rights.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Frankenstein's Monster: Corp'ses run amock (5.00 / 2) (#324)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:17:09 PM EST

No, but the employer DOES own the place of employment.
There you go again trying to endow dead corporations with rights. Corporations are our little automotons, chartered to act in the public interest. We create them to serve humanity, to do as we tell them. An artificial person has no soul, no conscience, was not borne of a mother and a father, and is thus NOT sui juris. We should have no expectations that a corporation should act morally, because they are profit making machines, nothing more. They need to be regulated severely, especially because of their record (the rape and pillage by Enron, Arthur Anderson, Merrill-Lynch, Halliburton, Qwest Communications, Xerox, and Tyco just to name a few).

If a corporation "owns property" this is like the state "owning state parks". What this really means is that the Sovereign Citizens charter the government (which charter corporations, etc) to hold property in the public interest. But let's get this clear: WE THE PEOPLE are the ultimate "owners" of the commons. The corporations or the state simply act as stewards.
Democracy is bad. Democracy is mob rule.
Cato has warped your mind. Democracy is the only legitimate form of government. You DO live in the U.S., right? Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and all that? "We the People in order to form a more perfect union..."? "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the goverened..."? Remeber these words? Richard price: "...the right to chuse our own governors, to cashier them for misconduct, and to frame a government for ourselves"? Is any of this coming back to ya?

Does any of this sound anti-democratic? NO! All of these is asserting the right to a democratic form of government. Mob rule like is when the cops go around unchecked taking people's property and accusing them of all kinds of "crimes" which have no victim, no injury, and even lack a civilian complaint in most cases.

And let me remind you that A REPUBLIC IS A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT and was probably the only practical form 100 years before automobiles and 200 years before the internet. But technology allows greater participation than ever before. This is not to be feared. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT IS A GOOD THING!

BTW: the thing that protects the minority from the "tyrrany of the majority" is the Constitution, specifically, the Bill of Rights. I think you know this.

A corporation IS a voluntary association of individuals, who DO have rights.
True, but if you have ever read Bastiat or Locke or Rousseau, you should have come across the Libertarian principle that *one can only delegate the enjoyment of a right which one has to start with*.

For example, I think we both can agree that you and I both have the right to use force in self-defense. This is the right which we delegate (perhaps foolishly) to our police departments. This comes straight out of Bastiat's The Law. However, I do not have the right to tell you what you can do for enjoyment in the privacy of your own home. Smoke pot, have sex with men, gamble, play darts, have an orgy; I don't care and as long as it is consensual amongst adults, it ain't nobody's business if you do.. Yet, corporations, which you say are "voluntary associations of people", they try to assert this right, by telling me 1) that I can't smoke pot 1 month prior to being employed there and 2) I MUST poop-in-a-bag to prove it. Well, fuck that. That is not proper subject matter of a contract. No person has that right to tell me what to do, and thus no "voluntary association of people" has that right either.

And don't just say "I am free to go somewhere else". What happens whan 99% of all corporations have the same rule, and we MUST work for them in order to collect Federal Reserve Notes which we need to pay our taxes with? It is a form of slavery. True, it's uses a few steps of indirection, some cheesy smoke and mirrors to distract you from the truth: that these Artifical Persons OWN EVERYTHING. There is no private property in Amerika, it's a lie. The corporations and the banks and the government own, control, or have leins on nearly 100% of all property in Amerika. We are NOT free if we have a "choice" to accept one shitty employment contract over another. What they are doing is WRONG. It needs to change.

PS: corporations are MUCH MORE than "voluntary associations". THEY HAVE IMMORTAL LIFE, long past the lives of their founders. And in the days of corporations buying back their own stock, they have "self-ownership" which is a truly frightening concept!
The only proper form of government is a capitalist republic, because it is the only type of government that completely protects individual rights.
Capitalism is an *economic system*. I start getting shivers down my spine when Cato-minded Rand-heads start equating capitalism with freedom. Capitalism ain't so great, and it causes lots of harm.



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Yeah, right... (2.50 / 2) (#341)
by kurtmweber on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 04:11:04 PM EST

There you go again trying to endow dead corporations with rights.

So your boss or the people that run whatever company you work for aren't alive? I'm sure that's news to them.

Corporations are our little automotons, chartered to act in the public interest.

No, corporations are organizations formed by individuals to promote their own rational self-interest.

We should have no expectations that a corporation should act morally, because they are profit making machines, nothing more.

And profit is a HIGHLY moral motive.

They need to be regulated severely, especially because of their record (the rape and pillage by Enron, Arthur Anderson, Merrill-Lynch, Halliburton, Qwest Communications, Xerox, and Tyco just to name a few).

Right...punish the many for the deeds of a few. Must I remind you AGAIN that corporations are merely organizations of individuals, who have the right to do however they please as long as they don't initiate violent force or fraud against others without consent? If the people running a corporation do such a thing, then yes, they should be punished--just like any other individual. Otherwise, leave them alone, just like any other individual should be.

BTW: the thing that protects the minority from the "tyrrany of the majority" is the Constitution, specifically, the Bill of Rights. I think you know this.

And something like that is characteristic of a REPUBLIC, which is a system of government in which government is restricted in what it is allowed to do by enumerating what exactly it IS allowed to do (as opposed to a democracy, in which government is only restricted by whatever 50.0000000...0000001% of the population are willing to go along with).

However, I do not have the right to tell you what you can do for enjoyment in the privacy of your own home.

Nor are the corporations...they're just telling you what conditions you have to meet in order to receive employment from them. If you don't like those conditions, you're free to seek employment elsewhere. Remember, the corporation (which is simply a group of individuals with rights organized to generally promote their own self-interest, although there are plenty of nonprofit corporations as well) is paying the bills (your salary) and also owns the property (which you must go on to go to work). Why, then, should it not have the right to tell you what terms you must meet before it gives you its money and allows you onto its property?

No person has that right to tell me what to do, and thus no "voluntary association of people" has that right either.

Again, no one is. No one's holding a gun to your head and saying "You WILL apply for a job at such-and-such a place." You choose where you wish to apply. If you aren't willing to meet the terms set by a potential employer, you simply choose not to apply there.

And don't just say "I am free to go somewhere else". What happens whan 99% of all corporations have the same rule, and we MUST work for them in order to collect Federal Reserve Notes which we need to pay our taxes with? It is a form of slavery.

OK, now you're really stretching it. Remember, you have the freedom to choose--including the freedom to choose where to work, or even to work for anyone else at all. What you DON'T have the freedom to do is demand a job or a living or the materials necessary to sustain life from anyone else just because you don't like their rules.

PS: corporations are MUCH MORE than "voluntary associations". THEY HAVE IMMORTAL LIFE, long past the lives of their founders.

Only if other individuals (who happen to have rights, by the way) choose to join and continue the organization.

Capitalism is an *economic system*. I start getting shivers down my spine when Cato-minded Rand-heads start equating capitalism with freedom.

But they are one and the same. They are inseparable.

Capitalism ain't so great, and it causes lots of harm.

Only if you're unwilling to accept that you are responsible for your own life, and that you must sometimes decide what you value more and that you don't have a right to make demands on others any more than they have a right to make demands on you.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Limitation of liability (none / 0) (#342)
by sydb on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 04:56:00 PM EST

is what separates corporations from individuals. OK I own up, I'm from the UK so the law might not be exactly the same but I imagine it's similar. After all, we invented capitalism (I'm from Scotland). I'll now talk about Limited Companies which are the most common incorporated company. Here a (Limited) company is incorporated for one main reason: to limit the financial liability of the individuals who 'form' that company. The company is a seperate entity which operates in it's own regulatory environment. These companies are not traded on the stock market. Directors own shares in the company and can draw salaries as employees, and also receive dividends. But the directors are not the same organisation as the company. You can take the directors and all the employees and it's still not the company. You could take the directors, the employees and all the assets and it's STILL note the company - because the company is a legal entity in it's own right. As such it IS an automaton, and in no way deserves the same 'rights' individuals do. Publicly traded companies are much the same - the shareholders are not liable for the acts of the company, the company is a separate entity. Sole traders, who do not limit their liability by incorporation of a company, are another matter altogether. These are just individuals operating independently. Obviously they DO deserve rights because they are held responsible. And that's where the line is drawn. No responsibility = no rights.
--

Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did - Linus Torvalds
[ Parent ]

Corporations and Contracts (none / 0) (#348)
by ip4noman on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 08:44:50 AM EST

So your boss or the people that run whatever company you work for aren't alive? I'm sure that's news to them.
I'm not saying those people are not alive. I'm saying that the legal definition of a corporation is an "artifical person", a legal fiction. A corporation has a charter granted by the government to operate. The corporate charter is the both the birth certificate and the breath of life which creates it. A corporation has a "life" apart from its human founders. Please start by reading these links: [ ratical.com/corporations ] [ poclad ]
No, corporations are organizations formed by individuals to promote their own rational self-interest.
Corporations are not rational, you need eyes and a brain for reason, and even then it's not a guarantee ;^) Also, while you are close, I'd say a better explaination is that corporations are formed "to reduce tax liability, raise money through stock sales, and to protect the personal assets and otherwise limit the liability of the human founders in the event of civil or criminal wrongdoing."
And profit is a HIGHLY moral motive.
This reminds me of the movie "Blood Simple", where the female lead says "My psychiatrist says that I got lots of personality!" Profit is highly moral, in the sense that murder is a highly moral . It demonstrates morals, just not very good ones. Profit defines a savage inequality; profit defines selfish exploitation of some other.
[republic vs. democracy]
I do not accept this. A republic and a democracy are not polar opposites, they are near points along the same continuum. I argue that a properly functioning republic should act identical to a properly functioning democracy. They are just slightly different methods for the Sovereign People to excercise self-rule.
Why, then, should it not have the right to tell you what terms you must meet before it gives you its money and allows you onto its property?
Because there are several elements of a contract, mutual benefit, mutual understanding, mutual consent, mutual right to remedy, sui juris parties, and the clincher: PROPER SUBJECT MATTER. An employer can require that I am qualified to do the job, and that I show up to work on time, and not be drunk, etc. But it is *not proper subject matter* for me to 1) assert that I have not smoked a joint in the last 30 days, nor 2) drop my pants and poop-in-a-bag to prove it. This violates our most fundamental notions of freedom and privacy, "innocent until proven guilty", etc.

I think the government has usurped many illegitimate powers, but the power to enforce contracts is proper IMHO. Why does the government allow corporations to have these improper clauses in their employment contracts (corportation which the government itself chartered!)?? Because corporations are running amock, they have been granted powers (like "general purpose" charters, and indefinite/immortal life), because corporate dollars pay for the "free press" and all the politicians, etc. etc.
What you DON'T have the freedom to do is demand a job or a living or the materials necessary to sustain life from anyone else just because you don't like their rules.
You are missing my point:
  1. we NEED Federal Reserve Notes to pay taxes with, by law
  2. For complex reasons (stock market, bond market, banking system), most FRNs (and the debt they represent) are freshly printed and basically given to corporations.
So, the only way we can obtain our FRNs, which we *need* (can't live in the US without FRNs), we MUST either borrow them from a bank (but can't pay taxes this way) or work for a state-chartered corporation. Now, if all state-chartered corporations "offer" (really REQUIRE) the same shitty contract, it really isn't a contract at all, because contracts must be freely enterend into to be valid. Anything else is COERCION which is more akin to slavery than "free citizens making friendly agreements".

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Maybe because... (5.00 / 1) (#271)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:27:39 PM EST

back in 1919 the federal government still had respect for states' rights and the interstate commerce clause? The unified monetary system hadn't been put into place until 1913, and 6 years wasn't enough to completely kill the sovereignty of the individual states. E.U. beware.

[ Parent ]
you are missing one point (4.40 / 5) (#268)
by ph0rk on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:14:42 PM EST

And this, above all else, is why even hard drugs should be legalized:

revenue.

thousands, millions, perhaps even billions yearly go straight into the hands of drug cartels, when instead federal and local taxes could be building roads, schools, and paying for rehab programs.

taxes + purity of substances = more cash for uncle sam and safer drugs on the street (less rat poison).

in many cases, even with federal and state tax, substances like heroin and cocaine can be sold at much cheaper prices than they are now.  (less need for crime, etc)

its like a state with no lottery surrounded by states with a lottery.  the state's citizens still find ways to blow their money on lottery tickets, and instead of having a "gambling-sin-free" state, they have a state where illicit under the table gambling and cross state lines lotto ticket purchases happen, and the state bleeds revenue via lotto tickets to it's neighbors.

here, the federal government is missing out on drug revenue, citizens are still using, and the government is bleeding possible taxes to large criminal organizations.  

smart? no.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]

if you tax them too high (5.00 / 1) (#290)
by Shren on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:40:21 PM EST

If you tax them too high, one of the prime reasons for legalizing drugs (killing the black market) will be gone, because the high taxes will just create ... a black market.

[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#376)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 02:40:16 AM EST

The prices of a black market substance, cannot, under any circumstances go higher than the same item on the white market. And the 'price' of anything illegal includes the risk of anyone involved getting caught.

Drugs are cheap. Insanely cheap. How much does a single aspirin cost? Has anyone ever worried about their aspirin budget?

The government could stick a thousandfold tax on drugs and still be cheaper than any black market, especially since demand for black market drugs would go way down, as most people like to buy legal anyway. Maybe a very tiny percentage would buy iffy crap from random people at 10% cheaper, but people buy VCRs out of the back of cars, too. It's not really a problem, especially if we keep the same penalties for drug dealing and simply have them only apply to the black market.

You can spend 100 dollars on drugs this month, and be legal, or spend 95 dollars (With 90 of that going towards people along the way risking their necks who might end up in jail.), and risk prison, and, hell, an overdose or badly cut product. You might get some local people growing pot and selling it secretly to friends, assuming growing pot for yourself is legal, but it's not worth keeping an entire black market in business when the only reason it's making money is because of how illegal the product is. It's simply not worth it unless they can have significately lower manufacturing costs. (Or the product is stolen.)

But, it's somewhat of a moot point, as having 'competition' can't possibly result in drug dealers making more money. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

heroin destroys because of physical addiction (4.00 / 2) (#272)
by pantagruel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:38:49 PM EST

opiates and narcotics tend to be destructive due to their physical addictiveness, generally drugs such as tobacco derivatives which work on dopamine are addictive; heroin and heroin-substitutes are especially debilitating because they put the user to sleep/make the user drowsy for extended periods of time, have a short lead time to the next fix, cause the user to forego eating, and have a tendency to make habitual users up their dosage til the point of o.d. I've never met an heroin addict who could hold down a job, and they would not have been able to do so if the drug was legal(I'm in denmark and have observed a number of addicts who are supported by the state).

the best one can hope for with heroin addicts in a legalized environment is that they collect welfare, sell their food stamps for dope, live in a shelter, eat at salvation army type places, and do not actively steal to support their habit. However I've seen that addicts here will just as likely steal as do the above to feed their addiction.

Legalization of psychedelics and 'soft-drugs' seems to me to be eminently sensible, especially considering the number of social heroes of Western Society that have used them recreationally and seem to have suffered no deletrious effect other than being busted



The worst problem (3.00 / 1) (#274)
by vile on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:41:08 PM EST

in this country is that smoking pot causes Chris to lose his keys.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
minority it seems (2.25 / 4) (#293)
by mlong on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:26:32 PM EST

What is up with all of your constant obsession with drugs? Am I like the only reader here who is clean? Every week its a new article. Hell, where are all the sex and booze articles? They'd probably be more interesting.

i'm clean. i showered this morning. (none / 0) (#295)
by criquet on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:37:40 PM EST

i just washed my hands and cleaned my keyboard too.

[ Parent ]
hmm you aren't alone (none / 0) (#331)
by quelrod on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 02:00:47 AM EST

I've been fairly good at staying sober lately. The occasional drinking ie once every couple months. Tho I concede I use to be taking something every 2 days or so at one point.

[ Parent ]
You are NOT clean (none / 0) (#340)
by overtoke on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 03:47:06 PM EST

Aspirin is more harmful and less beneficial than cannabis and aspirin kills thousands of people per year.

How dare you say you are clean? That is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard.  "Clean"

You think food preservatives are clean?
You think the air you are breathing is clean?

You think the things you toss in your garbage can do anything for 'cleanliness' ?

[ Parent ]

It affects you too. (none / 0) (#359)
by zakalwe on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 10:07:51 AM EST

What is up with all of your constant obsession with drugs?

Drugs just seems to be one of those regular topics on K5 that flares up every so often.  Others include Religion (sometimes with an AI debate thrown in), Navel-gazing meta articles, US vs rest of world flameing and sexual taboos.  Though admittedly the current drugs spree seems to be lasting longer than usual.

That said, I think its an important issue.  So what if you're "clean", this also affects you.  Its your tax money thats going towards the war in drugs.  Your government is acting in your name in arresting people who are harming only themselves.  The illegality provides lots of money to criminals, who do a lot more with it than just supply drugs.  Like it or not, drug policy affects you.

Personally, I don't do any illegal drugs.  I don't smoke, and I don't even drink.  This isn't because I think I'm somehow better if I'm 'clean', but because I think the downsides of drugs outweigh the benefits (to me).  I still think the war on drugs is one of the most misguided and immoral policys my government is carrying out.

[ Parent ]

Confessions of a drug abuser (5.00 / 2) (#302)
by buglord on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:49:11 PM EST

I've been addicted since over ten years. In the course of this time, I have lied, wheedled, begged and stolen. I have aroused anger and mistrust in family and friends. Many wonderful friendships have been destroyed because of my addiction.
In the course of the years, I have often tried to stop. But I can't. I know that I am wrecking my body, cutting the years from my life, spend huge amounts of money for worthless thrills. But I just can't. I would so much like to lead a different life, free from addiction, but hardly a day goes by without the craving.
My addiction has lead to the consumption of other, harder drugs. I didn't continue to take them, but the addiction remains. I have coughed, barfed and look like the undead most mornings, but I have to live with it.

Thanks to British American Tobacco, I am addicted to the (in my eyes) most sinister, evil, addictive drug in our society.

As my father said when he saw me smoking first, "I can't really tell you anything, because once a smoker, always a smoker"

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel

I was just thinking the same thing. (3.50 / 2) (#303)
by KWillets on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:52:57 PM EST

Last night, a few friends and I were just sitting around hanging out. Barbecue, cold drinks, potato salad... The neighbor's teenagers were sitting on their back deck with some of their friends, and every now and again we caught the unmistakable whiff of marijuana smoke wafting to us on the light evening breeze.

This eventually generated a conversation with the main point of discussion being the question: how many ways can the same argument be rewritten and still make it to the front page?


This is pretty hilarious. (5.00 / 2) (#320)
by jdillon on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:01:03 PM EST

First off, if you don't want to read articles like this, don't click the article.  Just my 2c, and what I do.

That said, let's talk economics.  Waging a war is expensive.  Very expensive.  And it's prohibitely expensive because essentially what you have is an arms race.  Demand is so profoud in drug addicted individuals that they will do (with some drugs) just about *anything* to get the product.  So, with a demand curve so high, there is no way to win the war on drugs.

The primary reason to legalize this stuff isn't ideological.  It has nothing to do with my position on drug use.  It's economic.  The fact is that *treatment* creates economy which remains in the nation, and if the treatment is successful to any degree, it creates more.

Consider the medical business.  To succeed is to fail, because if you solve the medical problem your working on, you put yourself out of business.  In the meantime, we create absolutely enormous business trying to solve a problem we will ultimately persue until the end of humanity.  

So, it's the same with drug addicts.  The economy of treating drug addicted individuals would create a profoundly enourmous economy in this country.

The societal and economic benefits of reducing spending on diseconomy and spending it to build large domestic business that focus on treatment of sick and/or addicted individuals is staggering.

The reason for the drug war is the same reason for the banana wars of central america.  It's a convenient structure to mantain the foreign policy agenda of the United States.  

Don't think that all the money pouring into foreign nations is going to drug interdiction.  Much of it is going to political ends.

In the United States, where we're supposed to be able to oversee our government's activities, it's a powerful mechanism for political control which is outside the realm of congressional discussion because of it's morality issues.  Where is the best place to hide something anyways?  In the open.

Remember, don't trust anyone over 30 (jk!).

!#/usr/bin/php -q echo "Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.";

An observation of a false implication (2.00 / 2) (#325)
by petis on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:32:05 PM EST

Whenever this discussion comes up you will find that there is one reoccuring argument. The comparison between alcohol and/or nicotine with marijuana.

Anyone who makes the comparison will find that alcohol is much worse than marijuana in whatever way you define your scale of better to worse. Almost, if one believes that a high number of deaths caused by drunk driving is better than a low number, I am wrong.

Anyway, it is a correct observation, and as someone famous once said: "If cigarettes was invented today, it would not be allowed", which probably is true also.

Now, up to this point, all is well. But lots of people jump to the conclusion that this is "proof" that marijuana should be legalized. It is an implication that is not. It is false.

Perhaps marijuana should be legalized, but not for this particular reason. Some people mention economics, the right to do with your body whatever you choose, moral issues, and so on. I can understand these arguments.

But this flawed idea of drugs being banned because of its supposed "dangerousness" reveals a very shallow understanding of laws and culture. To pass a law is not only a judgement of how dangerous something is to society, it is also about what is culturally accepted and what is not.

Alcohol, coffeine, nicotine are all culturally accepted. Consider the effects of a law making cigarettes illegal. American revolution II, here we come. The Marlboro Man would cough in his grave. Why? Because it is accepted, it is a part of the culture. Noone would appreciate the good intentions of making something-that-is-bad-for-you-or-so-we've-heard illegal.

The same situation applies to a law legalizing marijuana / lsd / whatever. Comparing pros and cons and relative danger is not the issue. It is about answering the question "should this be accepted, do we want this accepted in our culture?". And a comparison between drugs does not help in finding an answer to that question.

comparisons (4.00 / 1) (#330)
by botono9 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:56:06 PM EST

I think the main point behind the comparisons between marijuana and cigarettes/alcohol is to change the cultural outlook on marijuana. If you look at it from that perspective the comparison is very proper indeed. Alcohol directly kills many thousands of people a year. Marijuana directly kills none, or very few.

Another great reason to compare alcohol to marijuana that while a drug like alcohol can cause harm (direct poisoning deaths, traffic accidents, domestic violence, etc.) there is overwhelming more responsible use.

"Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
--Robert Anton Wilson
[ Parent ]

Vote It! (none / 0) (#333)
by FatHed on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 02:42:12 AM EST

Marijuana should be legal for the simple fact that a lot of us Americans want to smoke it. Is it an addicition, sometimes. More and more "upstanding" citizens are coming out and admitting to smoking marijuana. This is a war against us. I smoke pot, I don't drink, I am a productive member of society, I make more than the national average income, I don't have a college degree, I don't kill people, and I basically follow most of the laws in the US Code, even though there are too many for any one person to know. So am I evil for enjoying myself? What if I was dancing?

As soon as the number of Americans who have tried pot gets past 50%, it had better be legal. As it is now, should the 35% of Americans who have smoked pot, be in jail? How do like your tax money going to put your co-workers in jail, what about your friends and family, for a natural resource?

Also, from personal experience, caffine is way worse than nicotine, marijuana or cocaine.

This has been going on for years, the governments(well government funded, which is a lot of good and bad) propaganda has seemed to work From "Reefer Madness"
The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly-increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug -- a violent narcotic -- an unspeaking scourge -- The Real Public Enemy Number One! It's first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations -- space expands -- time slows down, almost stands still....fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances -- followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions... leading finally to acts of shocking violence...ending often in incurable insanity. In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of Marihuana addiction. If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose.... Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter ....or yours....or YOURS!


Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
Facts vs Myths (5.00 / 3) (#336)
by randinah on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 11:53:31 AM EST

I agree that this topic, re-hashed again and again helps very little.

It is very hard to post something unique and thought provoking about the legalisation of marijuana and the possible detriments or benefits to society.

As I was reading through these articles I have noticed (and I'm sure many of you have also) that a majority of the people claim to be experts on the subject of drugs, with doing little to no research on the issue.

Before we all can have an effective discussion on this topic, (this includes our lawmakers who actually have tangible influence on this issue) it is imperitive that people separate myth from fact.

For example, there are a large number of people out there that are more than happy to say that marijuana kills brain cells. But if you actually go to any *credible* website, including anti-drug sites, nobody makes that claim. It's simply not true.

Another pet "fact" that people claim to know about marijuana is that it is a "gateway drug". This term was created by people who don't seem to understand cause and effect. Yes, a large percentage of people who use "harder" drugs have used marijuana, but how many marijuana smokers have gone on to use harder drugs? A very small quantity. If there is any validity to the "gateway drug" theory, it is based on the fact that a user buys marijuana from a drug dealer, and the drug dealer is out to get as much money as possible from the user, so naturally will try to sell different, more expensive, and possibly more dangerous drugs. If we bought marijuana at a specialty store (in a world where marijuana would be legal), chances are, the shopkeeper wouldn't try to sell the us on anything "harder".

Also, it is really easy for people to try to "compare" different drugs. Marijuana is not in the same league as heroine, LSD, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, or any other drug. Every drug has its own unique effects, good and bad, and should be evaluated on its own merits. We need to stop using the word "Drug" as an umbrella term to cover a variety of very different substances.

In conclusion, we all can re-hash this issue again and again, making the same arguments and claims whether or not they are valid, or we could all do ourselves a favor. If this issue is important to us, we can actually go out and learn something about it rather than saying "I have a friend who tried marijuana and....". Knowing one or two people who have partaken of marijuana, or smoking it oneself does not make one an expert. Looking at the research of the American Journal of Medicine or the conclusions of various studies give a person much more credible information.
"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
More matter, with less art (none / 0) (#337)
by orestes on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:59:14 PM EST

Something I've often wondered is why we're exposed to more anti-drug commercials (in all forms) that only try to play on emotions instead of showing facts (this is an okay start). I don't know about you, but I'd be more convinced by numbers, graphs, and the Scientific Method than by Joe Heroin.

[ You Sad Bastard ]
[ Parent ]
"Overdoses are quite common with heroin use.& (4.50 / 2) (#346)
by phybre187 on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 06:25:17 AM EST

This is simply not true.

Before everyone rushes to reply to this, hear me out:

In 1972, a study was conducted. I invite you to read the results yourself. The publication is called "The Consumers Union Report - Licit and Illicit Drugs", and I invite you to read Chapter 12.

For the lazy, I'll recap the most important passages here. My emphasis will be bold. Their emphasis will be in italics.

There remains to be considered yet another risk of heroin addiction, the most publicized hazard of all - death from "heroin overdose." Because these deaths are a source of such widespread concern, and also because they are so widely misunderstood, even by authorities on heroin addiction and by addicts themselves, we shall examine the data in detail. Much of the discussion that follows is focused on New York City, since the deaths attributed to heroin overdose are most numerous there and since the New York City data are published in convenient form.

[[snip]]

The number of deaths so designated [[as heroin overdoses]] by New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner increased from very few or none at all before 1943 to about 800 in 1969 and 1970.

[[snip]]

But alas, the two standard precautions against overdose - warnings against taking too much and administration of an antidote - are in fact wholly ineffective in the current crisis, for the thousands of deaths attributed to heroin overdose are not in fact due to heroin overdose at all. The evidence falls under three major rubrics.
(1) The deaths cannot be due to overdose.
(2) There has never been any evidence that they are due to overdose.
(3) There has long been a plethora of evidence demonstrating that they are not due to overdose.
[[snip]]

Virtually all of the victims whose deaths are falsely labeled as due to heroin overdose, moreover, are addicts who have already developed a tolerance for opiates - and even enormous amounts of morphine or heroin do not kill addicts. In the Philadelphia study of the 1920s, for example, some addicts reported using 28 grains (1,680 milligrams) of morphine or heroin per day. 19 This is forty times the usual New York City daily dose. In one Philadelphia experiment, 1,800 milligrams of morphine were injected into an addict over a two-and-a-half-hour period. This vast dose didn't even make him sick.

Nor does a sudden increase in dosage produce significant side effects, much less death, among addicts. In the Philadelphia study, three addicts were given six, seven, and nine times their customary doses - "mainlined." Far from causing death, the drug "resulted in insignificant changes in the pulse and respiration rates, electrocardiogram, chemical studies of the blood, and the behavior of the addict." 21 The addicts didn't even become drowsy.

[[snip]]

A conscientious search of the United States medical literature throughout recent decades has failed to turn up a single scientific paper reporting that heroin overdose, as established by these or any other reasonable methods of determining overdose, is in fact a cause of death among American heroin addicts. The evidence that addicts have been dying by the hundreds of heroin overdose is simply nonexistent.

At this point the mystery deepens. If even enormous doses of heroin will not kill an addict, and if there exists no shred of evidence to indicate that addicts or nonaddicts are in fact dying of heroin overdose, why is the overdose myth almost universally accepted? The answer lies in the customs of the United States coroner-medical examiner system.

Whenever anyone dies without a physician in attendance to certify the cause of death, it is the duty of the local coroner or medical examiner to investigate, to have an autopsy performed if indicated, and then formally to determine and record the cause of death. The parents, spouse, or children of the dead person can then ask the coroner for his findings. Newspaper reporters similarly rely on the coroner or medical examiner to explain a newsworthy death. No coroner, of course, wants to be in a position of having to answer "I don't know" to such queries. A coroner is supposed to know - and if he doesn't know, he is supposed to find out.

At some point in the history of heroin addiction, probably in the early 1940s, the custom arose among coroners and medical examiners of labeling as "heroin overdose" all deaths among heroin addicts the true cause of which could not be determined. These "overdose" determinations rested on only two findings: (1) that the victim was a heroin addict who "shot up" prior to his death; and (2) that there was no evidence of suicide, violence, infection, or other natural cause. 24 No evidence that the victim had taken a large dose was required to warrant a finding of death from overdose. This curious custom continues today. Thus, in common coroner and medical examiner parlance, "death from heroin overdose" is synonymous with "death from unknown causes after injecting heroin."

During the 1940s, this custom of convenience did little apparent harm. Most deaths among heroin addicts were due to tetanus, bacterial endocarditis, tuberculosis, and other infections, to violence, or to suicide, and they were properly labeled as such by coroners and medical examiners. It was only an occasional death which baffled the medical examiner, and which was therefore signed out as due to "overdose." But, beginning about 1943, a strange new kind of death began to make its appearance among heroin addicts. 25 The cause of this new kind of death was not known, and remains unknown today - though it is now quite common.

A striking feature of this mysterious new mode of death is its suddenness. Instead of occurring after one or more hours of lethargy, stupor, and coma, as in true overdose cases, death occurs within a few minutes or less - perhaps only a few seconds after the drug is injected. Indeed, "collapse and death are so rapid," one authority reports, "that the syringe was found in the vein of the victim or on the floor after having dropped out of the vein, and the tourniquet was still in place on the arm." 26 This explains in part why nalorphine and other narcotic antagonists, highly effective antidotes in true opiate overdose cases, are useless in the cases falsely labeled overdose.

An even more striking feature of these mysterious deaths is a sudden and massive flooding of the lungs with fluid: pulmonary edema. In many cases it is not even necessary to open the lungs or X-ray them to find the edema; "an abundance of partly dried frothy white edema fluid [is seen] oozing from the nostrils or mouth" 27 when the body is first found. Neither of these features suggests overdose - but since "overdose" has come to be a synonym for "cause unknown," and since the cause of these sudden deaths characterized by lung edema is unknown, they are lumped under the "overdose" rubric.

[[snip]]

(3) Evidence demonstrating that these deaths are not due to overdose is plentiful.[[that emphasis was theirs]] This evidence has been summarized in a series of scientific papers, beginning in 1966, by New York City's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Milton Helpern, and his associate, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Michael M. Baden. At a meeting of the Society for the Study of Addiction held in London in 1966, Dr. Helpern explained that the most conspicuous feature of so-called "overdose" deaths is the massive pulmonary edema. When asked the cause of the edema, he cautiously responded:
This is a very interesting question. To my knowledge it is not known why the pulmonary edema develops in these cases. . . . This reaction sometimes occurs with the intravenous injections of mixtures, which as far as is known, do not contain any heroin, but possibly some other substance. The reaction does not appear to be specific. It does not seem to be peculiar to one substance, but it is most commonly seen with mixtures in which heroin is the smallest component. 29
In a paper published in the New York State Journal of Medicine for September 15, 1966, Dr. Helpern again cast doubt on the myth that these deaths are due to overdose. "Formerly such acute deaths were attributed to overdose of the heroin contained in the sample injected," Dr. Helpern reported - but he went on to cite several lines of evidence arguing against the overdose theory:
. . . Unexpected acute deaths may occur in some addicts who inject themselves with heroin mixtures even though others who take the same usual . . . dose from the same sample at the same time may suffer no dangerous effect. In some fatal acute cases, the rapidity and type of reaction do not suggest overdose alone but rather an overwhelming shocklike process due to sensitivity to the injected material. The toxicologic examination of the tissues in such fatalities, where the reaction was so rapid that the syringe and needle were still in the vein of the victim when the body was found, demonstrated only the presence of alkaloid, not overdosage. In other acute deaths, in which the circumstances and autopsy findings were positive, the toxicologist could not even find any evidence of alkaloid in the tissues or body fluids. Thus, there does not appear to be any quantitative correlation between the acute fulminating lethal effect and the amount of heroin taken. . . . 30
Dr. Helpern's associate, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Baden, went on to further discredit the already implausible overdose theory at a joint meeting of two American Medical Association drug-dependency committees held in Palo Alto, California, in February 1969.

"The majority of deaths," Dr. Baden told the AMA physicians, "are due to an acute reaction to the intravenous injection of the heroin-quinine-sugar mixture. This type of death is often referred to as an 'overdose,' which is a misnomer. Death is not due to a pharmacological overdose in the vast majority of cases."
Much of the rest of the page is significant, but I think I've given enough here to at least convince everyone to read the whole thing. Bear in mind that this information is circa 1972, but is no less true today. And PLEASE read the whole thing before you reply to discredit me.

All drugs should be... (4.00 / 1) (#350)
by Kindaian on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 11:45:53 AM EST

of restricted use, but legal.

The problem of making a substance illegal is two-fold... first you have to policy and enforce it, then you are restricting its use for all of those that could use it in legal/fair ways.

And mind that i'm not only talking about drugs, but about everything that is legal/illegal.

To place things in prespective, opium was in the beginning of the previous century legal in the US. Coca was also... the first Cola-Cola's beverages used extracts of it's leafs...

When opium was made illegal two things happened... the first was the disapearence of all of the stuff that had opium and didn't state it... the other was to create a huge black market for it to supply it's usual costumers.

The reality is that there is a market for drugs. We can be in favor or against it, but that doesn't make it vanish in thin air. And that is the problem with all the so called "drug-laws"...

Let's face it... if people didn't buy them, there wasn't needed any of such laws... And tackling the problem by a legislative decrete (a holly mighty law)... is just naive...

Cheers...

P.S.- There aren't secret recepies for tackling the drug problem in modern societies... but i think that some atention to the origin of the problem "the consumer" and a watching of how other so called "ancient" societies have tackled with the problem would be a direction... (and yes... both steps don't need any new law...)

To everyone posting about rehashing this topic... (none / 0) (#352)
by kwertii on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 08:32:05 PM EST

Don't read the article.

If you see an article about a topic that you think you've read too much about in the past, don't click the link. Obviously a significant number of other people thought it was worthy to be read -- "for" votes outnumbered "against" votes nearly 2 to 1, and half of them were for the front page.

Let those who want to enjoy their rehash. Maybe they missed the discussion the first time around; maybe they just like the discussion. Either way, why waste your time complaining about how it's been discussed before?




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Respect for government in Holland (5.00 / 4) (#353)
by wytcld on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 11:48:12 PM EST

The oddest thing about sitting in a bar in Maastricht a couple years ago, drinking with some of the young, hip hash-dealers and rave DJ's, and talking drug politics is that they absolutely and patrioticly believed that their government was precisely right and just in outlawing heroin and cocaine, while letting ganja, hash and mushrooms be sold freely. They had no sympathy for my US-typical view that the government had no business at all regulating use of any drug.

Would that work here? If the US legalized pot (and maybe mushrooms) would the average kid convert to the notion that we had an incredibly just (and hip) government, whose laws should be thoroughly respected? Is outlawing pot the first step down the slippery slope of causing youth to lose respect for laws in general?

And what is the relationship between the disrespect for law caused by pot being illegal, and the criminal behaviors of the current generation of our business elite, who came of age in the 60s? Would we have an ethical business culture now if we had been wise enough to legalize pot then, rather than encourage an entire generation to lose respect for the norms of justice?

Is It Time for Drug Policy Reform in the US? | 386 comments (355 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
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