Skip to comments.Is the Drug War a Conservative or Liberal Issue? (Warning: I am a Newbie to starting posts)
Posted on 07/05/2005 9:30:27 AM PDT by Sensei Ern
For many years, I have been a strong opponent of legalizing drugs. As you read this, remember that I am still against drug legalization, but I have more sympathy for the opposing argument.
The reason I have been opposed to drug legalization is to protect children. I grew up in a home that was one step up from a crack house..at least we had heat and food. I know first hand what can happen when a child lives in those conditions.
As a counter, I have always felt that use of tobacco and alcohol should be legal for those of a responsible age.
The reason I am considering a change is because of the pain I went through this last month. Four weeks ago, I had a root canal done on a tooth...it was Friday. Once the Novocain wore off, I was in serious pain because the doctor was inexperienced and left a partial root. I experienced pain worse than listening to Rosanne Barr sing the National Anthem. He forgot to write a prescription.
I called the emergency number only to be told I could see the doctor on Monday. TWO WHOLE DAYS IN EXTREME PAIN! I had some 800mg Ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet. That only took away enough pain to convince myself to not commit suicide to stop the pain.
On Monday, I was given a prescription of Tylenol 3 with Codeine and an antibiotic. That took away the pain. Until it ran out. Again, extreme pain. Another dentist did another root canal...and again did not get the whole root. I made sure he gave me a prescription for the pain, before I left the office.
Finally, when that ran out, and another dentist completed the root canal, the pain has subsided.
To be in the kind of debilitating pain I was in, cannot be described. Bill Cosby once talked about taking your bottom lip and pulling it over your head...that comes close.
I have always been an advocate of personal responsibility. That conflicted with knowing that some of the drugs offered today are so dangerous that they needed to be regulated. Then, I thought back about how things were a hundred years ago. The doctor prescribed a treatment, and you either made it yourself, or went to the pharmacist, who mixed up the more potential drugs.
Back then, the only regulation was, could you afford the cost? Drugs were available, and the pharmacist would determine whether you were abusing. If you OD'd on a drug from abuse, you died and life went on for others. But, you could get drugs if they were needed, and you did not have to wait until Monday. You didn't need to wait for approval from anyone to use a drug.
That is enough about that for the moment.
If drugs were to be legalized, they should be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes...have a legal purchasing age. Also, if you do harm to another while under the influence of anything, you should be held personally responsible...to the fullest extent, especially capital punishment for causing a death. If you are taking drugs to get high, strap yourself into a chair and sleep it off.
If drugs were immediately legalized, we could expect some immediate effects. For one, the drug addicts would run out and by everything, and we would have a rash of overdosing for about a month. The rest of us could then go on with our lives, only mourning the loss of a relative, instead of daily living with the horror of a drug addict in our lives.
Currently, I believe law enforcement should be stronger. But, I could be moved to undecided if I heard good arguments for the opposite.
--Pray for our troops --Pray they have wisdom to do the right thing --Pray they remain courageous --Pray they know we love and support them --Pray they get the equipment they need to do the job --Pray for their safe return home to a heros welcome
It is the same with AIDS and other "freedom" junk
Do you support mandatory seat belt laws and a crackdown on fatty foods?
But my greater point is this: most of the so-called libertarian anti-drug war advocates you see have nothing to say on the responsibility side of the equation.
If the consequence of indiscriminate drug use was unemployment without legal recourse, cirrhosis of the liver without government medicaid, dying in an alley without anyone stopping to look, mandatory attempted murder charges against anyone driving a vehicle with ANY intoxicant in their system, etc., then I might have more sympathy to their cause. But as long as society has to carry the burden of the dregs of druggies, it also has the right to try to abate the problem in any way the society collectively decides.
For starters, there has been a marked increase in drum circles and pachouli sales.
That raises another question (no longer related to the thread, really): Why on earth is it illegal to pay a woman for sex, yet it is somehow legal to pay a woman to have sex on camera for a porno?
Got it. So men have no right to an opinion on abortion, civilians have no right to an opinion on military spending, and Northerners had no right to an opinion on slavery. You've got a funny system of beliefs, anyone ever tell you that?
Are you claiming that 'desparate addicts' will work to buy their drugs instead of stealing if drugs are legalized? I doubt that.
Doubt it all you want, it's still true. You don't see people committing robberies to buy cigarettes, and you don't see flourishing black markets in cigarettes, because cigarettes are legal and (relatively) cheap. During the aftermath of World War II, when tobacco was in short supply in Germany, respectable middle-class citizens were picking cigarette butts out of the garbage, something they admitted they normally never would have done, but the restricted supply forced them into it.
The pharmaceutical cost of heroin is about $0.02 per dose. Nobody would commit a burglary (and take the risk of prison time and/or injury by an irate and/or armed homeowner) to pay for that.
Do you think the drug lords are going to become model citizens if drugs are legalized? I doubt it.
No, I think the drug lords will lose their source of funding and become powerless, just as the alcohol gangs of the Prohibition era faded away when that insane policy ended. The drug lords have power because they have an immense quantity of income, all of which would vanish virtually overnight were the black market eradicated by legalization.
Do you think taxes would go down if drugs were legalized?
Yup, just as I think that taxes are lower than they'd otherwise be if the government didn't have a huge source of income from taxing the sale of alcohol and tobacco. In my state, 3.8% of all revenue comes from taxing alcohol and tobacco. If we didn't have that income, it'd have to come from elsewhere, hence taxes would be higher. That doesn't include expenses for enforcement of any prohibition on alcohol or tobacco. If we did not have to spend money to enforce prohibition of drugs, and if we had additional revenue from taxation of drugs, other taxes could decrease.
Do you think the druggies wouldn't have to be sought out and arrested from some other crime committed while they were high?
Well, let's see. We wouldn't need to arrest people for possession. We wouldn't need to arrest people for engaging in turf wars, since the turf wars wouldn't exist. (We'd also, of course, spare ourselves the body count from such tragedies.) You seem to be under the impression that drugs take control of you and force you to commit crimes. There are quite literally millions of drug users in the United States, the vast majority of whom commit no crimes beyond simple possession.
If his sister was this girl's best friend, she'd be working to get her off drugs, not to legalize them.
Do you have any friends who drink alcohol? Do you think they'd be better off if alcohol were not labeled for potency, so they had no idea how much of the potentially-fatal drug they were consuming?
And legalizing drugs will only make it worse.
Oh, hey, if you say so. You don't need to provide any evidence or anything, just as long as you assert it, I guess that makes it so. Never mind the enormous evidence that the War on Drugs causes far, far more crimes (and deaths) than it prevents, we'll just ignore it, because you say so.
If our lawmakers actually put true thought into our laws, we would not have the feeling-based, reactionary, "WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING!" laws they have passed in the past few decades.
Hey, don't blame me, I'm just taking your argument to its natural conclusion. You claim that legalization wouldn't end the black market, despite the fact that it's clearly done so in the case of alcohol.
My assumption is that one can have a drink or two without it affecting him the way a smoking pot would. That's a bare bones thought.
I'm no expert on this matter though. I tend to observe these threads from afar, let the people who are used to debating it be without my messing around. :)
I'd rather have cops doing both. It isn't a zero-sum game. As Guliani's "Broken Window" theory has borne out in NYC, the toleration of small crimes creates the atmosphere for large crimes to flourish.
But, tell you what, next time your house is burglarized or your business vandalized, just call the cops and tell 'em not to bother. Tell 'em to spend the time solving a murder instead.
I'm not sure whose argument you are attempting to take to a 'natural conclusion' but it wasn't mine. So again, are you being purposely dense or is this your natural state?
Of course there are legal sellers of alcoholic beverages now, because alcohol is legal. But do you think those who were bootleggers kept selling alcohol after prohibition was repealed, or do you think they took up some other criminal activity?
The latter makes more sense. I've never seen anything to support the former. If you have some solid proof, feel free to present it.
I'd rather ride in a car driven by someone who just had two hits off a bong than I would someone who just drank two martinis.
You are arguing, in essence, that the existence of social services that transfer costs for individual health-harming decisions to the populace in general (which I oppose, by the way) means that you no longer "own" your body and society has the right to impose restrictions on your behavior in order to protect its own interest in your health. Recognize that the exact same argument could be used to justify government prohibitions on auto racing, Big Macs, sugary snacks, and to justify government mandates on seatbelts, helmets, toothbrushing, and/or just living in hermetically-sealed plastic bubbles.
Again, I don't like the gradual erosion of our culture of personal responsibility. If someone is dumb enough to harm himself -- by injecting heroin, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, racing an automobile, or jumping out of an airplane with a not-infallible parachute -- let him assume that risk, and let him bear the associated costs. But just because I'm a minority in this viewpoint and because the democratic majority has decided to require society to bear some of these costs is no justification for restricting personal liberty.
Not arguing against you, but every one of your arguments can and should be used in the alcohol arena. Yet we as a society, continue to accept the fact that alcohol is not a drug such as heroin or such. Continuing to outlaw contriband does not solve the problem, obvious in the alcohol example. The difference is, we don't spend billions of dollars a year trying to reduce the use, and take in millions of dollars a year in tax revenue. And once again, I believe this to be the case of legislating morality. If society were truly tired of the results of impared peoples actions, we would make those actions unacceptable, period.
DING! DING! DING! DING!
It was on a DC Metro bus, in Maryland.
The users like that the drugs can be found
The enforcers have a job that is exciting and makes them feel good.
The politicians can rant and rave
The dealers make lots of money
Smugglers and growers have short thrilling lives and also make lots of money.
Everyone likes the status quo except maybe the taxpayers, but even they believe that their tax money is going to hold the level of usage down.
Not to mention the government support for his widow and children until they are old enough to decide if they want to become drug addicts too.
My recollection is that the usage soared and the locals were left with take over of public places by users in various states of "high". I believe they have back tracked on the degree of "openness" they will accept. Maybe others know more.
Oh, sure it was. Your statement was "So legalize drugs and the guys who sell them will suddenly become law-abiding citizens? Riiiiiiiight." This was in response to someone else's statement "Legalize drugs and you will defund the gangs." But this is true. We legalized alcohol, and all the criminal gangs of Prohibition faded away.
We tend to have a view of Prohibition as kind of a time of charismatic gangsters in their dapper suits, but these were in fact vicious criminals who gunned down competitors and innocents alike. Why were they able to do this? Because they were flush with cash from supplying a demand. We removed the black market, and thus removed their funding, and drive-by shootings became a thing of the past... until the War on Drugs really got into high gear in the mid-70s and we doomed ourselves to repeat the unremembered past.
Will the individual drug dealers become law-abiding citizens? Perhaps, perhaps not. Realize that many of them became criminals because of the powerful incentive of huge black-market profits. But regardless of how many of them remain criminals, it's dead certain that the powerful drug-running gangs they belong to will lose their source of income, and that can only be a good thing.
You don't see people committing robberies to buy cigarettes, and you don't see flourishing black markets in cigarettes, because cigarettes are legal and (relatively) cheap.
If cigarettes were made illegal tomorrow, I doubt you'd see people who were purchasing black market cigarettes raping women and throwing them out windows because they were under the influence of tobacco. It's a nice effort, but your comparison is not valid.
The pharmaceutical cost of heroin is about $0.02 per dose.
Do you honestly think it would sell for anywhere near that?
No, I think the drug lords will lose their source of funding and become powerless, just as the alcohol gangs of the Prohibition era faded away when that insane policy ended.
You honestly think they faded away when prohibition ended? I'd like to see some proof of that. Every history I've read indicates that bootleggers became purveyors of other 'goodies' once prohibition was repealed.