October 15, 2010
The Anti-Conservative Reader - UPDATED
See update below.
Most people who call themselves "libertarians" are actually were-liberals: They strut and preen about their devotion to small-L libertarianism; but every November of an even-numbered year, they step into the ballot booth and turn into Democrats.
This supermajority -- I would guess around 90% of putative "libertarians" -- are better called libertines... their "libertarianism" encompasses only their right to do anything they want, with no corresponding duty to bring about or defend the very institutions that preserve those rights for themselves and others.
To the were-liberal, his right to indulge himself floats on air, unsupported by any hard work or unpleasant responsibility for defending other rights for other people.
So what about the other 10% of self-dubbed libertarians, the ones who are not were-liberals? I might call them intellectual libertarians, but a less quotidian phrase might be "Spockian libertarians" -- which allows me to reintroduce my infamous neologisms, Spockian and Bonesian. They're named after the original Star Trek characters First Officer Spock, a Vulcan who believes in pure logic, and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, a human doctor who is as emotional as Aunt Bee, if a skosh craggier. Pure Spockians would be hyperrational, if they existed, immune to emotion. sentiment, and feelings of every sort; while pure Bonesians would be hyperemotional, unable to parse the simplest logical syllogism. In reality, everyone lands somewhere on the Spockian-Bonesian axis, but almost nobody is purely one or the other.
A Spockian libertarian derives his libertarianism primarily from rational argument based upon bedrock principles of liberty, individualism, property, and Capitalism, rather than personal indulgence or libertine desires... the mirror-mirror image of his counterpart on the Bonesian side, whom we have already described.
Fast forward to the issue of the day: California's Proposition 19, which would legalize (under state law) the possession, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana for personal use and allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana transactions. The were-liberal supports drug legalization not because of rational argument firmly grounded in a principle of liberty, but because he wants to smoke dope and party like it's (still) 1999. He could not care less about, e.g., our right to purchase painkillers without having to get a permission slip (a prescription) from the government... unless he was himself in pain; he would shrug off our right to purchase asthma medicine, unless he had asthma. I think you get the drift.
But I am a Spockian libertarian; so when I talk about drug legalization, I primarily mean getting rid of the entire statist apparatus of doling out permission to buy medicine through an elaborate system of drug controls, from "over the counter" (OTC) to "prescription required" to "controlled substance" to "banned substance;" as a sideshow, I would include so-called "recreational" drugs.
(The only exception I make is for antibiotics, the promiscuous overuse of which can evolve highly resistant superbacteria, leading to a pandemic that wipes out a huge portion of the population. It's the epidemiological equivalent of allowing people to store high explosives in apartments and condos: It creates an unreasonable risk to a population that has no control over it, indeed no way even to know the danger is present.)
So of course, I am voting yes on Prop 19; as limited and flawed as it is, it's a step rightwards.
Even if there were no practical argument in favor of drug legalization, I would still support it on grounds of personal liberty; if we own anything, we own our own bodies. If we have any right, we have the right to purchase the level of health care we can afford, without regard to whether the State approves. At its strongest, a "prescription" should be just what the word means: a suggestion from a doctor or pharmacist that a particular medicine would help your condition. As a free adult individual, the decision whether to use it should be expressed as a pure commercial transaction between you and the seller.
But as it happens, there are also practical arguments; for example, a new study by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center strongly supports the Spockian-libertarian position -- though you would never guess it by how it has been spun by the national news purveyors. Many on both Left and Right are caricaturing the study, for purely tendentious reasons, as showing the polar opposite of what it actually shows. In particular, nearly all conservatives want the government to control our drugs for exactly the same patronizing, nanny-state reason that liberals want the government to control our money: because they refuse to trust free individuals to make their own choices and abide by the consequences.
The Spockian-libertarian argument is made thus:
- Legalizing banned drugs would suck the air out of the black market in those drugs.
- That would remove the profit motive for criminal gangs to manufacture and distribute those drugs.
- That would defund criminal enterprises around the world, to some extent at least.
- To the extent of the illegal market loss, defunding criminal enterprises would decrease and limit their capacity to commit violence, terror, and robbery against the rest of us.
So what did the RAND study find? Results are mixed; but properly interpreted, they do support the thesis. Let's start with the media spin, which has been picked up by conservatives who otherwise reject nearly everything in the mainstream media out of hand:
Mexico's drug traffickers are likely to lose customers in America's largest pot consuming state if California legalizes marijuana, but they won't lose much money overall because California's residents already prefer to grow their own, according to a study released Tuesday.
That means the proposal on the state's November ballot to legalize marijuana also will do little to quell the drug gangs' violent and sophisticated organizations that generate billions of dollars a year, according to the study by the nonpartisan RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
Let's zoom in: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Proposition 19 alone, by itself, will do little to impact the profits extracted by the Mexican drug cartels from worldwide drug distribution. This is an obvious but trivial finding; clearly legalizing drugs in one state while keeping them illegal in the other 49 isn't going to have much of an impact. Add to this the fact that California marijiana users, uniquely among the states in the southwestern region of the U.S., prefer either to grow their own or buy from marijuana farmers in the local area; thus California is the state least likely to be able to affect criminal profits by legalizing marijuana, for reasons having nothing to do with the efficacy of legalizing marijuana itself.
But that's not the point, is it? The question is not whether this one citizens' initiative can have a big impact on worldwide sales; the real conundrum is whether drug-cartel profits depend upon the drug in question being illegal. I say it does -- and the RAND report appears to agree; see the actual RAND study itself, on page 19 (page 35 of the PDF):
We believe that legalizing marijuana in California would effectively eliminate Mexican DTOs’ [Drug Trafficking Organizations] revenues from supplying Mexican-grown marijuana to the California market. As we elaborate in this chapter, even with taxes, legally produced marijuana would likely cost no more than would illegal marijuana from Mexico and would cost less than half as much per unit of THC (Kilmer, Caulkins, Pacula, et al., 2010). Thus, the needs of the California market would be supplied by the new legal industry. While, in theory, some DTO employees might choose to work in the legal marijuana industry, they would not be able to generate unusual profits, nor be able to draw on talents that are particular to a criminal organization.
We also believe that Mexican DTOs would eventually lose all revenue stemming from the selling of Mexican marijuana to underage users in California. When it becomes possible in California for anyone over the age of 21 to provide juveniles with marijuana that is cheaper, better, and subject to more quality control, Mexican DTOs will have no more competitive advantage than they would trying to sell alcohol and cigarettes to California youth today.
That is, by legalizing marijuana in California, we would "effectively eliminate" all the revenue the Mexican drug cartels reap from selling marijuana in California. While this isn't completely dispositive, it certainly suggests that legalizing marijuana throughout the United States (at both state and federal levels) would "effectively elminate" all DTO revenue from supplying Mexican-grown marijuana to the entire American market.
The California marijuana market is about 3% of the drug cartels' revenue; but RAND estimates the entire American marijuana market is closer to 20% of their revenue. And if you include all other currently illegal drugs, that should eliminate just about 100% of the revenue from illegal drug sales in the United States, by definition.
Clearly, legalizing marijuana in California would also eliminate drug revenue going to criminal gangs within California; by analogy, there is virtually no profit selling bootleg liquor when liquor is already legal and readily available in grocery stores and pharmacies.
This leads to our first reasonably strong conclusion: Legalizing marijuana throughout the United States would defund criminal gangs worldwide of whatever revenue they reap from illegal sales of marijuana in the United States.
And a once-removed conclusion that is still fairly strong, in light of the RAND study: Legalizing all currently banned drugs (drugs on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act) across the United States would virtually eliminate the profit from selling Schedule I drugs illegally in the United States.
This argument is not the end of the story, of course; it's logically possible that the downside of legalization could outweight the upside. But the RAND study strongly implies that there is an "upside," which many conservatives (and many non-radical liberals) have persistently denied, rejecting even the theory that legalizing a substance would gut the profit that criminal enterprises derive from illegal sales of that substance.
Now that it seems clear that there are at least two sides, it behooves us to ponder both and form a rational conclusion whether, as a purely practical matter without moral implications, legalizing drugs -- and returning prescriptions to the suggestions they were meant to be, not the restrictions they've metastasized into -- is on the whole good for our society or bad for it.
Coupled with the moral argument of individual liberty, I land on the side of near-complete legalization of all drugs on all schedules I through V and every other controlled substance... excepting only those pesky antibiotics.
Yet one more proof of what I have said ever since this blog began: I am not a conservative; I am an anti-liberal. And I can be an anti-conservative as well, when they elevate the conservation of social convention above our sacred principle of maximal human liberty consonant with the conservation of our society itself.
UPDATE: It was never my intent to exhaustively catalog all the practical arguments in favor of drug legalization; but commenter Mdgiles reminds me that I should at least mention one glaringly obvious one: The money we save because we don't have to spend tens of billions of dollars on special anti-drug police task forces, incarceration of whatever percent of prisoners are locked up solely because of violation of narcotics laws (not as high as many people think), and the cost of prosecution and investigation of such cases... all money pounded down the rathole of prohibition enforcement.
In addition, I should highlight a couple of other practical benefits:
- The tax base wil widen with the addition of an entire sub-industry that currently pays no taxes, as it is completely underground.
- And we can end many of the tyrannical law-enforcement tactics, such as:
- Asset forfeiture laws that seize property used to commit drug crimes, even when the owner of the property is completely innocent of those crimes (the State prosecutes the property itself, rather than the owner -- so it argues it's not a "taking" under the Constitution);
- Commando-style police raids that sometimes kill innocent people;
- Sentences that can be grossly disproportionate to the crime committed;
- And even laws that turn ordinary people into "drug criminals," because some bureaucrat has decided that a person with cancer, say, only needs this much painkiller, not that much.
On the other side of the ledger, some argue that costs of rehabilitation and hospitalization will increase; that productivity will drop at work; and that more children will be stoned at school. But each of these risks follows from the shaky assumption that if drugs are legalized, many more people (and many more children) will use them.
I find that argument very unpersuasive; drugs are already widely available to anyone who wants them and have been for decades, and there is no guarantee the cost of legalized Schedule I drugs will drop significantly. But even with lowered cost, if the market is already saturated, then drug use would not increase significantly: The idea that the only reason most people don't use heroin or cocaine is that it's illegal is colossally offensive to individual liberty... it's like saying the only reason most men aren't rapists is that they don't want to go to jail.
If a person truly believes that, he is a socialist; he believes that the government is the only source of morality. I categorically reject the socialist theory of citizens as infants who must be coddled, molded, and forever controlled by a centralized, totalitarian authority.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 15, 2010, at the time of 11:27 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/4627
The following hissed in response by: mdgiles
The thing you should never forget about drug legalization is that is not only criminal organizations that profit from prohibition. There are legal organizations that also profit. There are police departments that live on asset forfeiture. There are Prison Guard unions that expand membership due to harsh drug laws. Drug enforcement organizations entire reason for existence would disappear. Politicians who are "tough on drugs", would need to learn a new stance.
IMO, there is a symbiotic relationship between those who supply the illegal product and those who gain from fighting the illegal product. And it's this relationship, which prevents the common sense answer of legalization. If I were a drug lord, I would make it my business to fund anti legalization groups and individuals.
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
You call yourself a libertarian, and then you find your limit, in effect, is nuclear weapons. Yeah, sure, let people do all the crack cocaine they want, it doesn't matter. But you allow people the choice of using all the antibiotics they want? Hell no!
The difference between you and I is we draw the line at a different place. Not that I draw a line and thus become one of the "nearly all conservatives" that you deride above about allowing people to make their own choices. And therefore, you too are just like the nanny state liberal.
Or aren't we?
C.S. Lewis once spoke about human beings as ships sailing on the sea. If we don't take care of our ships, we start to crash into one another. It's always annoyed me that great thinkers don't see it like this. Instead, they see only, "It's my body and I'll do with it what I will." as if there are no repercussions for the rest of us.
Almost no one over the age of 18, or 21, or whatever arbitrary age we come up with, decides one day to try drugs, be they legal or illegal. You don't pick up smoking as an adult. You do it as a teen thanks to peer pressure, even though it's illegal. And then you continue to do it, if you're unlucky, into adulthood, because you're addicted as a teen.
I for one would not allow into my home, or even around my children, a person who "legally" sold cocaine, or meth, or LSD, or even Marijuana. They are in the business of destroying lives.
And if we let them, then we're in that business also.
The following hissed in response by: Karl
You write about:
The were-liberal supports drug legalization not because of rational argument firmly grounded in a principle of liberty, but because he wants to smoke dope and party like it's (still) 1999.
It's also a popular position for drug warriors to argue against. Anyone who supports Prop 19 is likely to be accused of wanting to smoke dope and party, and any of the Spockian arguments will be dismissed as cover for the supporter's "real" motives.
The above hissed in response by: Karl at October 16, 2010 5:43 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Anyone who supports Prop 19 is likely to be accused of wanting to smoke dope and party, and any of the Spockian arguments will be dismissed as cover for the supporter's "real" motives.
Oh, almost certainly many will do just that. Some will even believe it when they make the accusation. Nevertheless, whatever the motive, the argument is the argument and stands or falls on its own merits.
You make some very bold statements that don't match my own story; to quote Jimmy Hendrix, are you experienced?
When I was at university (mumblety-mumble years ago), I simply decided, at age 19, to try various drugs out of sheer curiosity. I don't believe I ever had any peer pressure from anyone to drink or do drugs, but I would have resisted it in any event.
I occasionally smoked some dope; more frequently hashish; I once tried cocaine but hated it (I'm naturally hyper -- taking any stimulant at all leaves me clinging to the ceiling like a gekko); occasionally some psilocybin mushrooms; but I was much more interested in LSD than any other drug.
I always noted exactly how many mikes I took and when I took them and always had a completely sober friend in the house or nearby, in case of problems. I also kept a written diary of everything I experienced, felt, or thought while frying (that's what we called it).
I certainly never became addicted; nobody I knew who was doing drugs at that time (say, about fifteen people) ever became addicted.
In fact, the vast, vast majority of people who try illegal drugs doesn't become addicted: Those who do nearly always have fairly obvious "addictive personalities," and will become addicted to numerous substances or behaviors throughout their lives -- drugs, alcohol, food, sex, exercise, adrenaline high.
At about age 23, I abruptly decided I had learnt whatever I was able to learn from drug experimentation and simply stopped using any illegal drugs. I haven't felt the slightest pull to use them again since; but on the other hand, I certainly have no regrets using them during that period.
One last point: While using LSD and various other drugs, I also managed to earn a B.A. and an M.A. in mathematics at UC Santa Cruz, which has one of the premier dynamics math programs in the United States. Every one of my university friends who were using drugs around then (mostly grass, hash, and coke) graduated and went to grad school, except one who only took a B.A. then went back to Southern California.
Speaking purely pragmatically, I fail to see any problems that resulted from our drug use. Am I missing something?
To quote my old pal Tim Leary, "Intelligent people use drugs intelligently; stupid people use drugs stupidly." For the most part, it really is that simple.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 16, 2010 7:12 PM
The following hissed in response by: Karl
Interesting that Baggi refers to ships crashing into each other. We allow people to drive cars, and a fair number of those crash into each other every day, sometimes with lethal results. It seems to me, we allow a certain number of lives to be "destroyed" for the sake of commerce easier, quicker travel.
It's just that most people approve of driving -- even recreational driving -- and lots of people have moral objections to recreational drugs.
The above hissed in response by: Karl at October 16, 2010 7:43 PM
The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael
It's interesting to hear somebody discuss this on your side of the argument who isn't irrational, so let me ask you an honest question... this isn't a 'gotcha', or I don't intend it to be. I'm just curious about where you draw your lines.
I'm a professional driver. I'm regularly tested (randomly, but often) to ensure that I'm not currently Drunk and haven't used one of the attention diminishing drugs without reason. So I wonder, if you are FOR the legalization of growing, selling, taxing, using all Drugs, Do you support restrictions of their use among people like Drivers or Heavy Equipment operators?
Now to add confusion. It is absolutely illegal for me to have ANY narcotics in my system as a Professional Driver. UNLESS... and this still amazes me... unless I have a prescription. Once I get a prescription, I cannot have too much narcotics in my system. I called the Washington State Patrol and specifically asked what the legal limit was, and they told me (officially, mind you) that as long as I didn't get into an accident, I was okay. IF I got into an accident, then they would issue me a DUI.
As it turned out, the pain I was in was MUCH more of a distraction, and I couldn't drive until it was seriously reduced... at which point I didn't need the medication any more. But to the point: Would you support DUI laws and Zero Tolerance for CDL Drivers and such?
The following hissed in response by: brotio
IMO, there are negligence laws to deal with the hypotheticals you listed.
Getting stoned harms no one but you. Getting stoned, and then driving increases your chance of doing something negligent, so it would in your employer's best interest to forbid you from getting stoned and driving his trucks, and even resort to random tests, if necessary.
If your negligence harms another, then you should pay appropriate penalties, and restitution for your negligence. There is no need for specific laws against DUI.
The following hissed in response by: Collaborator
I've always thought we should legalize the drug trade. But the coup de grace to the illegal drug trade would be to put the Federal Government in charge, at least for a few years.
That is if the goal, as I think it should be, is a DESTROY the illegal drug trade. By legalizing all illegal drugs AND putting the Federal Government in charge we would remove ALL profit from the industry, crippling it for years to come. I recognize the merit of legalization AND allowing the new legalized drug trade to thrive in the free market, but that's not REALLY what we want is it?
We want to deprive the illegal drug cartels of THEIR profits AND make drug use less attractive and more difficult. If the Feds took over the drug trade they could drive the industry into the ditch like they have done with the US Post Office and everything else they touch.
Further, only the most hardcore and desperate users would want to go through the hassle of picking up their drugs at the DMV style Federal Pharmacy. What am I missing?
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
I believe that inflicting unacceptable risk upon others, without their permission, is an example of "harm," even if the risk does not eventuate. The reason is that some of those risks will eventuate (by definition); and it's utterly mad to say that if someone sneaks up behind you and plays Russian Roulette with your head, you can't sue unless the bullet fires and blows your brains out.
"Unacceptable" can be described by statute -- e.g., driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than 0.08% -- and it can be interpreted by a court even if not specifically defined... "The defendant created an unacceptable risk by driving on city streets carrying 85 kilograms of high explosives in his trunk."
The creation of unacceptable risk can be a tort or a criminal offense.
I'm not suggesting we should do this; I'm describing what is already done under current law... they just don't use those terms. (I like finding a general rule that collates a bunch of seemingly unconnected laws.)
Anyway, under my thesis that risk itself, if grave enough to be "unacceptable," can be a "harm," even if unrealized, the State can legitimately enact laws banning DUI and other risky actions. The key question is -- what risk is unacceptable?
I think this is best defined by common (case) law, with some explicit statutory definitions, like DUI. A judge can better decide than a legislator whether, in a particular case, some action was unacceptably risky -- and if so, whether circumstances made it acceptable anyway (say if every alternative was even riskier).
I don't know if this cleanly answers your question, but I have no problem with DUI laws, seatbelt laws for minors, no-hood-mounted-machine-gun laws, and so forth.
As for testing, I believe in the right of the property owner to set rules for that property, within reason. That means the business owner should be able to make monthly, weekly, even daily piss tests a condition of employment and fire you if you refuse to comply.
He also ought to be able to fire you for sneering at him, dressing funny, or -- a really radical opinion of mine! -- for being the wrong race. (Truthfully, would any of us want to work for a racist anyway?)
If employees don't like an employer's policies, they should quit and either go work for someone else, or better yet, start a competing company and drive Mr. Soup Nazi out of business.
I very much believe in the dynamic of the market: There may well be isolated pockets where enough bigots reside to keep a racist or homophobic afloat... barely. But the moment some white cracker or Black Panther manifests his racial hatred, most folks will cease to patronize his establishment, and he'll go under. (Pour le discouragement des autres.)
Government, of course, must be kept strictly neutral as regards race, sex, creed, sexual preference, living arrangements, and national origin... again, and always, within reason. (Somebody whose creed is that of Major Hasan should never be allowed in the military, for example.)
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 16, 2010 11:36 PM
The following hissed in response by: DK
Another aspect of legalization of pot by CA, is that (by most estimates) CA produces more pot than it consumes, and is therefore an "exporting" state.
So, an increase in CA "exports" would run up against current Cartel marketing, and could increase violence in other markets; or, it could just move the violence into the areas where large amounts of pot are grown in the state, as the Cartels try to "plow under" the competition.
But, hey, as long as it's not here, who notices?
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Not to change the subject...aw hell.
It occurs to me on the Spock/Bones axis most liberals would assume (and have often said) they are on the Spock side of things. Making logical, science based decisions. Obama has been compared to Spock. They also say that conservatives are Bonesian...irrational, reactive, easily swayed.
Yet looking at Spock...his entire life was very socially conservative. I can't imagine him using drugs. His rituals and culture seemed steeped in history and conservative behavior. He maintained these cultural requirements despite being in a much more liberal culture. He fought every day to maintain rigid self control, and felt that such control was more important than his life.
Bones - divorced, hyper emotional. He definitely seems to be liberal.
So....why are liberal's vision of themselves often diametrically opposed to who they actually are?
Does Bones know that he is Bones, or does he think he is Spock?
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
My observation is that more than 90% of all people are much more Bonesian than Spockian, and that cuts across liberal and conservative lines... though the number of strongly Spockian liberals seems vanishingly small, while the number of strongly Spockian conservatives is at least measurable.
Most Spockians are not completely comfortable in either pure-liberal or pure-conservative camps; that is because they follow the data, which does not neatly segregate itself into one creed.
(In the show, McCoy always knew he was a Bonesian, and he defended that position against the "sterile logic" of Spock. Oh, and Spock was also liberal in many ways; for example, he was a -- er -- dispassionate believer in diplomacy, even when it appeared futile. Especially in the movies and in Next Gen.)
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 18, 2010 12:21 PM
The following hissed in response by: Nerys Ghemor
What protects people from exposure to these drugs, and their deleterious effects, who did not want that substance in them, even secondhand?
Sorry to be a touch graphic with this example, but I can't tell you how many days in my senior year of high school that I had to hold it until I had yellow eyeballs because of the constant cigarette and weed smoking in the bathroom, all of which gave me horrible headaches and other effects. I did not ask to have that in my body just because I happened to use a public space that I should have had a right to enter unimpeded.
This same thing goes for cigarettes and marijuana, BTW. Regardless of any medical studies, I do not want that in my body. What protects my right to control what goes in my body, so that I am not forced to choose "yellow alert" instead, or deny myself other public places and events where I have a right to be?
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
So...some people are in Bones denial? Perhaps they are Bones in Spock clothing?
I've always thought Global Warming advocates were like this - they start off very Spockian, but if you disagree in any way they turn into raging Bones (Dammit Jim, I'm a Doctor not a Climate Scientist!). Even when you agree with them, but point out the simple political and economic barriers to doing anything about the problem they turn into Bones (Your cold logic is meaningless here - we are talking about HUMAN LIVES!")
Same seems to be true for Creationists.
I'd say, to beat this horse with a horseshoe, that the most irritating elements of today's political debate are based on just this premise - the pretense of cold logic covering the irrational, emotional desire for something.
It is the Spock head fake.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Now, see you should have said, "It is the Spock ear fake."
Then I could have responded, "Ear fake my eye!" -- and we'd've had 'em rolling in the aisles!
America: the Land of Missed Opportunities...
Not every wrong has a legal remedy. That is the whole idea of "limited government."
Generally, you get much better results with individual action or voluntary collective action. In the case you describe, see if you can join with some of your friends who share your distaste for smoke and seize back the bathrooms.
(At the very least, if you made a big enough rumble out of it, the school would probably be forced to do something.)
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 19, 2010 11:57 AM
The following hissed in response by: Dick E
You obviously never went to high school.
The following hissed in response by: Carbonel
The idea that the only reason most people don't use heroin or cocaine is that it's illegal is colossally offensive to individual liberty... it's like saying the only reason most men aren't rapists is that they don't want to go to jail.
No. The only reason most people don't use heroin or cocaine is that it is not normative. The forces working against normalizing life-destroying drug use (PAR-tay time!) appear to be religious conservatism and the law. The actual argument from the religious conservatives (the only people, mind you, making the argument en masse "even if it feels good, don't do it") is that without that last leg, drugs will be come normalized ala alcohol and tobacco use--and unlike tobacco, there will be no broad social coalition working to socially stigmatize its use. The resulting social decay will create even greater swathes of entrenched poverty among people who have little enough cultural capital to begin with.
There the decent, kind-hearted religious conservatives stop. I however, look ahead at expanding the hopeless welfare client base and shudder (I should be a nicer person. I know) So while I used to be 100% pro-legalization, in the current socio-political state; no. Since legalizing drugs seems most likely to create another victim class and expand the power of the feddle gummint to meddle in all our lives "for our own good" pace second hand smoke; now I'm not so sure...
The above hissed in response by: Carbonel at October 24, 2010 6:31 PM
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