Monday, January 11, 2010

Opposing libertarians who want to legalize drugs

No one is holding a gun to force drug dealers to engage in their criminality. They bring violence upon themselves by disobeying the law. The collateral deaths that occur are largely people who are associated with them, or, who have chosen to live near them, and in some sense complicit in the corruption of the community. Of course, children who have no choice suffer. A sad fact of life is that children unjustly suffer the consequences of adult actions.

There have always been gangs and there will always be gangs. Drugs are merely the pretext. The government policy of outlawing drugs does not lead to criminal-on-criminal violence either directly or indirectly. To suggest otherwise is simply ludicrous. If government were the real evil and not the actual individuals who associate together in gangs, then why don’t the gangs grow rich together by cooperating to bring their goods to their loyal paying customers? They could unite their resources and create a black market so huge it would eat the conventional market from the inside out. A true free market would then arise from the ashes.

As with any other war, the drug war can only be won by an absolute determination to utterly annihilate the enemy with overwhelming force.

Lastly, I’ll respond to the charge that drug-warriors hypocritically pursue bloody policies while countenancing rampant drug use in the culture. Aside from the fact that the user is less morally culpable than the pusher, the demand side should be vigorously pursued.

Though unrealistic to expect in the current political climate (as is any competent prosecution of war), users should be regarded as collaborators with an enemy power, and should at least be detained as prisoners of war—if not executed—until the hostilities are over.

Anticipating the objection of those who would say that the drug culture does not warrant the extreme measure of war (i.e., it’s really not that big of a deal), my retort is, they should tell that to Mexico.

A question: do anarcho-libertarians believe in habeas corpus or Miranda rights? If so, Why? And if so, which entity would function as the guarantor of these rights in the anarcho-capitalist paradise?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a stupid post.

How exactly do you propose to win the drug war "by an absolute determination to utterly annihilate the enemy with overwhelming force".

Prohibition currently cost the UK over £17b a year (2003/4 figures from Transform). Where do to propose to get the MASSIVE extra funds from to crush this market?? Such as the huge surge in extra police/courts/prisons etc. Are you happy to pay the £30k a year or so for each extra person in prison - I certainly am not!

On a recent Panorama it showed that drugs could be obtained within a prison in 20 minutes. If this is the situation in a high security jail how do you propose to eliminate the market in the streets?

The majority of dealers going through the courts are small time and are instantly replaced with the drugs lords being almost untouchable.

And many ask why should anyone have the right to tell someone what they can or can't put in their body when it affects no one but themselves? Nearly all the negative effects are caused by prohibition and not the drugs themselves, including the violence in south America.

We need to move away from this ‘wrapping in cotton wool culture’ to save the few. I like to occasionally eat fast foods but some people will eat them everyday, become morbidly obese and some will die as a consequence. Should we therefore ban these foods for the masses to save the few? What about peanuts?

The war on drugs has failed for 40 years and creates far more harm than good.

jimbob

August said...

The bans increase risk, and in turn increases the profitability of selling drugs. The government creates the conditions under which the criminally minded can make a lot of money. So instead of having poor criminals who have trouble doing things like buying guns, we have the narco-traffickers who can pay for an army capable of disrupting Mexico.

If it were legal, the narco-traffickers wouldn't be able to compete. The profits would drop precipitously. Also, addicts would be mercifully left to deal with the effects of their addiction, without having the extra burden of the state after them.

Your 'help' should always be less damaging than the problem someone is having. Otherwise it will be uncharitable and people will confuse you with the main source of their problems. Actually, if you want to go to war against them, you might be the main source of their problems!

August said...

Oh, and anarcho-capitalists don't imagine paradise. They just imagine a freer, more chaotic society. I think, if their stuff was implemented, we'd see it turn into a patriarchy/monarchy at some point. They envision private companies for various services, but don't envision the effect of family and preference over time. The progressives, judging by the way they use the state to destroy family, appear to be more aware of it's potential if people are left to be free.

Andrew Matthews said...

We don't want to ban fast food, so therefore we shouldn't ban drugs. Riiiight.

And, only the user is affected by his irresponsibility and destructive behavior? Open your eyes man! Take a look at the neighborhoods where drugs rule. There is no degradation comparable in the history of the race.

I think I hold your position in as much contempt as you do mine, Jimbob. Thanks for caring...and sharing.

On the contrary, the drug war has failed only to the extent that it has not been prosecuted with sufficient consistency, vigor, and ruthlessness.

Flog graffiti artists and guess what? No graffiti artists. Or, at least very few. Execute incorrigible pushers and users, guess what? People are going to be a WHOLE lot less likely to indulge in that vice.

Anonymous said...

"We don't want to ban fast food, so therefore we shouldn't ban drugs. Riiiight".

That's not what I said now is it? The point being that you can not ban everything because there is a potentional to cause harm. Particularly when the ban results in far more harm the the item being banned.

Statistics prove that there is far less harm from the majority of illegal drugs than alcohol yet many people, yourself included, still go on this doomed crusade against drugs no matter what the cost or what the evidence shows.

When people refer to drug users they seem to automatically think of heroin / crack cocaine users. Yet the majority of the millions of illegal drug users are recreational users that are otherwise law abiding citizens. You almost definately work and socalise with them and are none the wiser as they keep it to themselves for fear of moral judgement.

If someone decides to smoke weed, or if 200 people go to a rave and take ecstasy what exactly is their crime other than the fact the drugs are deemed illegal??

"Open your eyes man! Take a look at the neighborhoods where drugs rule."

You mean where drug CRIME rules all courtesy of Prohibition that you support - the Heroin junkie that steals to get his next fix rather than be encouraged to go the NHS for it where he/she will supported to kick the habit. Or the dealers on these estates that make huge profits out of selling drugs which helps fund arms, terrorism, prostitution etc.

Prohibition does not stop drugs, it just removes any control and hands the lucrative market to criminal gangs.

The USA is known for it's zero tolerence of drugs yet has the worst statistics of any country cleary showing that the 'get tougher' tactics do not work.

In the USA in 2004 21% of state prisoners and 55% of all federal prisoners were doing time for drug related crime.

Rather than just bang on about getting tough, answer my previous question on where you propose to get the funds to support your zero tolerance regime? And why is it still rife in prisons if it can be stopped?

Jimbob

Andrew Matthews said...

August & Jimbob, work's been a little crazy. I'll be getting to your comments asap in the order posted. I do appreciate your challenges.

Andrew Matthews said...

The government creates the conditions under which the criminally minded can make a lot of money. So instead of having poor criminals who have trouble doing things like buying guns, we have the narco-traffickers who can pay for an army capable of disrupting Mexico.

If it were legal, the narco-traffickers wouldn't be able to compete. The profits would drop precipitously.


The basic problem with your reasoning here, August, is the assumption that legal and social acceptance of the drug culture is preferable to the violence that attends a drug war.

Violence is only the tip of the iceberg. I will not live in a society that accepts the drug culture. I do not trust the mental health and capacity of those who use drugs, especially hard drugs, for recreational purposes. Users of hard drugs should not be allowed to vote, for instance.

There is already a whole industry in place to manufacture, transport, and sell drugs… the narco-traffickers. If we concede to their demands by legalizing drugs they will actually experience an enhancement of political and social power and influence. Former criminal organizations who own the plantations, drug labs, and supply networks will be legitimized overnight and will operate freely in our society bringing along all the other evils that attend their criminal culture. Corruption will actually increase.

Also, addicts would be mercifully left to deal with the effects of their addiction, without having the extra burden of the state after them.

August, you’d be surprised at how effective an incentive harsh and consistent punitive action can be. It’s called tough love.

Your 'help' should always be less damaging than the problem someone is having. Otherwise it will be uncharitable and people will confuse you with the main source of their problems. Actually, if you want to go to war against them, you might be the main source of their problems!

In principle, I agree, but there’s perception and there’s reality. The main source of people’s problems is their unwillingness to respect the law and control their behavior, not government.

I want a peaceful nation of law-abiding citizens, not through re-defining good and evil & lowering standards but through the competent administration of justice by a legitimate authority.

Andrew Matthews said...

anarcho-capitalists don't imagine paradise. They just imagine a freer, more chaotic society. I think, if their stuff was implemented, we'd see it turn into a patriarchy/monarchy at some point. They envision private companies for various services, but don't envision the effect of family and preference over time.

How I wish that were true! But companies, having structures not organized according to the principle of fatherhood, will actually just grow large, merge, and conglomerate to become governments as bad (or worse) than the one we have now.

Andrew Matthews said...

In a previous comment I said:

"I do not trust the mental health and capacity of those who use drugs, especially hard drugs, for recreational purposes. Users of hard drugs should not be allowed to vote, for instance."

I should have also said there that the impairment of the thinking faculty is accompanied by the impairment of one's moral inhibitions. Under the influence of drugs, a person's moral sense tends to deteriorate as he becomes more and more compromised through acting out behaviors he normally would not engage in. There is a direct link between between drug use and the formation of poor character.

In the case of alcohol, I am consistent as well. For instance, notorious drunks should not be allowed to vote either.

In addition to property and literacy tests to qualify for voting rights, I advocate character references.

Andrew Matthews said...

Jimbob said:

The point being that you can not ban everything because there is a potentional to cause harm. Particularly when the ban results in far more harm the the item being banned.

Right. We can’t ban something because there is a potential to cause harm. Banning drugs is comparable to banning fast food because both would “cause harm” and, in the case of drugs, “far more harm than the item being banned.”

You and I have different ideas about the harmful effects of drugs. You appear to recognize only the effects of the drug on the individual user, and mainly physical effects at that. What you do not take into account is the social effects of your policy.

The difference in our judgments arises from different views of what society is. You view society as the aggregate of individuals while I view society as a dense complex of relationships.

Statistics prove that there is far less harm from the majority of illegal drugs than alcohol yet many people, yourself included, still go on this doomed crusade against drugs no matter what the cost or what the evidence shows.

Well, a lot more people use alcohol than drugs, so the statistics are skewed. Of course, more harm is caused by alcohol than drugs in our present circumstance! What you need to provide are statistics from a society that has had total legalization long enough for “recreational use” to permeate the whole society. Then we will be able make a valid judgment based on real comparisons rather than a naïve theoretical extrapolation of what the effects should be.

(to be cont'd.)

Andrew Matthews said...

When people refer to drug users they seem to automatically think of heroin / crack cocaine users. Yet the majority of the millions of illegal drug users are recreational users that are otherwise law abiding citizens. You almost definately work and socalise with them and are none the wiser as they keep it to themselves for fear of moral judgement.

I deny that recreational use has negligable impact on how a user relates to his fellow citizens. See my comments above.

If someone decides to smoke weed, or if 200 people go to a rave and take ecstasy what exactly is their crime other than the fact the drugs are deemed illegal??

In the case of the ecstasy party, the crime is the event itself: a public display of depravity that is intolerable in a well-ordered civilized society.

You mean [neighborhoods] where drug CRIME rules all courtesy of Prohibition that you support - the Heroin junkie that steals to get his next fix rather than be encouraged to go the NHS for it where he/she will supported to kick the habit. Or the dealers on these estates that make huge profits out of selling drugs which helps fund arms, terrorism, prostitution etc.

What are you saying here? Heroin junkies are already encouraged to get help from government provided services to kick their habit. Even with the supposed cheaper price of heroin on the conventional market, the junkie will still need to steal to obtain his fix. And, (s)he will be less inclined to seek help since the drug will be legal, cheaper, and socially acceptable. You wouldn’t solve a thing.

Prohibition does not stop drugs, it just removes any control and hands the lucrative market to criminal gangs.

Prohibition is the name for the era when alcohol was banned in the U.S… a totally unwise policy. It’s apples and oranges because alcohol has a legitimate social function while recreational drug use does not.

The USA is known for it's zero tolerence of drugs yet has the worst statistics of any country cleary showing that the 'get tougher' tactics do not work.

You have no idea of what kind of tough comprehensive measures I’d advocate, which go far beyond bringing drug traffickers to justice. No idea. The U.S. government hasn’t been nearly as tough as it should be, nor has it addressed the root causes of the problem.

Rather than just bang on about getting tough, answer my previous question on where you propose to get the funds to support your zero tolerance regime? And why is it still rife in prisons if it can be stopped?

The state should fund its war on crime by seizing the assets of all who participate in drug crime, including users, and from no other source. This will be a very strong incentive for the state to carry out its responsibility to punish evil.

Similarly, you have no idea what can be done to reform our prisons. Part of this reform will involve having fewer inmates. Why fewer inmates? Well, a lot more people will be dead who deserve to be. Second, there will be some creative ways to deal with petty crimes that do not involve prison time.

Of course, a reform of our entire legal system will be necessary. But this is necessary for genuine reform to occur anyway.

Hope all that helps!

August said...

The first big impression that I got reading your response is how completely bizarre the words culture and drug look put together. What you are describing with those two words together is actually a lack of culture and the people who perpetrate it are stupid.

The narco-traffickers have power now; if drugs were legal they'd lose. This should explain why:
http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv22n3/bootleggers.pdf

Living now, with a huge state, which acts in a sort of zombie-socialist way, it is hard to understand the power of robust living patterns. If the state stops intefering, strong vibrant families grow and attract others; the various modern forms of degradation will die off.
Through differentiation we can achieve a healthy society.

Much of what you want to achieve with a state can be handled by property owners- return full property rights and freedom of association and we could have property-based bans extending throughout our neighborhoods.

But we recognize our limitations. Some people insist on destroying themselves.

A similar thing is true with companies. Right now their father is government. It's easy enough to notice the familial structure of business before the advent of the modern state- many Italian companies are still family run.

Andrew Matthews said...

August,

I hear where you're coming from & appreciate your point of view. I'll check out the link & comment.

Anonymous said...

“In the case of alcohol, I am consistent as well. For instance, notorious drunks should not be allowed to vote either”. Actually you are not being consistent at all. Whilst happy to differentiate between drinkers and drunks, you are not able to separate drug users and addicts. If consistent your view would be that 'users' can vote but 'addicts' can't.

I must say that I find your 'kill the lot of them' attitude very disturbing. It sounds similar to Hitler's views of the Jews... Thankfully your views will never be implemented.

Barack Obama, The Beatles/Sir Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and thousands of others would all have been sent to the electric chair under your proposal!

And what about people like Arnold Schwarzenegger who made entire careers out of drug abuse (steroids) – kill them too?

My view is that individual's should be free to make their own choices without state intervention providing they do not harm others. If that person then commits a crime whilst under the influence of drugs / alcohol they should be fully accountable for their actions.

Drug abuse is a healthcare and not a criminal issue.

“You appear to recognize only the effects of the drug on the individual user, and mainly physical effects at that. What you do not take into account is the social effects of your policy”.

As previously stated, I fully agree about the social cost of drugs. However the majority of these effects are down to prohibition – dealers / gangs / funding terrorism / drug addict crime etc. etc.

“It’s apples and oranges because alcohol has a legitimate social function while recreational drug use do
does not”.

Coca Cola used to contain cocaine. If it was reintroduced and drunk socially would that therefore make it acceptable to you?! And what about people sat around in Dutch coffee shops that smoke weed – how is that different?

And lets be honest, we all drink alcohol for the effect of the drug on some occasion's. For example, a glass of wine or a beer or two after a tough day at work. Or even a strong coffee on an early morning to 'get us going'.

“Heroin junkies are already encouraged to get help from government provided services to kick their habit”. Not really – if they are found with a quantity of drugs they are thrown in prison.

“Even with the supposed cheaper price of heroin on the conventional market, the junkie will still need to steal to obtain his fix. And, (s)he will be less inclined to seek help since the drug will be legal, cheaper, and socially acceptable. You wouldn’t solve a thing”.

Yes it would. In the UK we have a National Health Service (NHS). Heroin should be provided free to registered addicts that agree to undertake a detox programme.

The Swiss Heroin Perscription programme has been deemed a huge success – read http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=172924 for further information.

“Well, a lot more people use alcohol than drugs, so the statistics are skewed. Of course, more harm is caused by alcohol than drugs in our present circumstance!”

Incorrect. Even when broken down so that the figures are relative alcohol causes far more harm than many illegal drugs. The Lancet, a world leading medical journal, published the following chart which was compiled by a group of leading expert scientists on the harm cause by both illegal and legal drugs.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/12/13/you_cant_handle_the_truth/

As you can see, alcohol was rated 5th, above amphetamine, cannabis and ecstasy and LSD!

Jimbob

Andrew Matthews said...

August,

Perhaps you could explain how narco-traffickers will ultimately lose if drug legalization occurs. The article you recommended only argues (convincingly) that many "bootleggers" support regulation of things that are already legal in order to reduce competition.

I have already mentioned that the drug cartels control the plantations, refinery labs/ factories, and supply networks. They have the scientific expertise, business experience, and material means to dominate the market once legalization occurs.

What is your response?

Regarding the supposed inevitability of family-based societies out of the free market, I suppose that depends on whether the non-family based companies we already have will develop slow enough to allow it to happen.

If the modern state were dissolved, it seems to me that there would be a rush by already existing companies to merge and conglomerate to fill the vacuum left in the wake of the modern state's collapse.

How do you respond?

Andrew Matthews said...

Actually you are not being consistent at all. Whilst happy to differentiate between drinkers and drunks, you are not able to separate drug users and addicts. If consistent your view would be that 'users' can vote but 'addicts' can't.

I’ll be happy to restrict voting rights to non-addicts only. However, every individual should have to pass a literacy test, a mental health exam, and supply verifiable personal character references in order to qualify for voting privileges.

I must say that I find your 'kill the lot of them' attitude very disturbing… etc.

The drug culture is a cancer on our society and extreme measures are needed. I shudder to think what will happen to us if all drugs become legalized.

My view is that individual's should be free to make their own choices without state intervention providing they do not harm others.

This is a radically individualist theory of legal ethics. By what criteria do you define harm?

Drug abuse is a healthcare and not a criminal issue.

Actually, it’s a moral problem. Here you betray your presupposition that individuals are not really responsible for their actions.

As previously stated, I fully agree about the social cost of drugs. However the majority of these effects are down to prohibition – dealers / gangs / funding terrorism / drug addict crime etc. etc.

I don’t think you have any clue about what causes what.

Coca Cola used to contain cocaine. If it was reintroduced and drunk socially would that therefore make it acceptable to you?!

I have no problem with trace amounts of coca extract in a beverage. I’d be okay with the government regulating such a product. Somehow, I think Coca-cola parties will never surpass cocktail parties in popularity.

And what about people sat around in Dutch coffee shops that smoke weed – how is that different?

Actually, I might be okay with this. Especially, government regulated low-strength marijuana. However, marijuana will never replace alcohol as the supreme social lubricant.

And lets be honest, we all drink alcohol for the effect of the drug on some occasion's. For example, a glass of wine or a beer or two after a tough day at work. Or even a strong coffee on an early morning to 'get us going'.

“Heroin junkies are already encouraged to get help from government provided services to kick their habit”. Not really – if they are found with a quantity of drugs they are thrown in prison.

Get off it, pal! There is plenty of sympathy and help (both charitable & institutional) available in the modern world for addicts. More than enough. Your response shows the unreasonableness of your position: excusing irresponsible behavior and demonizing the government’s legitimate efforts to obstruct the spreading corruption of drug culture.

In the UK we have a National Health Service (NHS). Heroin should be provided free to registered addicts that agree to undertake a detox programme.

How long has this program been in place? How long does it take before registered persons undertake the program? And, what is the recidivism rate?

The Swiss Heroin Perscription programme has been deemed a huge success – read http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=172924 for further information.

The abstract (not article) you provided is from 1998. Can you provide a more recent article, an actual article I can access? Maybe something that evaluates the program’s success over the last 11 years?!!

I have a lot to say about the Boston Globe article you provided. I must reserve my comments for a later time.

Anonymous said...

“I’ll be happy to restrict voting rights to non-addicts only. However, every individual should have to pass a literacy test, a mental health exam, and supply verifiable personal character references in order to qualify for voting privileges”.

So people with learning disabilities lower than average iq’s, those who have suffered mental breakdowns / stress related illnesses should also presumably tested by the same standards and possibly prevented from voting? Remember, you are consistent in your views!

“The drug culture is a cancer on our society and extreme measures are needed. I shudder to think what will happen to us if all drugs become legalized”.

‘I shudder to think’ – well stop thinking and guessing. You are typical of a prohibitionist and refuse to look at and accept the increasing amount of research that supports legalisation. Maybe do some research before typing your next response? Every time a country takes a step towards decriminalisation we see very positive effects. Countries, such as Portugal, that have moved towards the decriminalisation of the possession of drugs (granted this is not full legalization) have reported very positive benefits. See www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

Drug abuse is a healthcare and not a criminal issue. “Actually, it’s a moral problem. Here you betray your presupposition that individuals are not really responsible for their actions”.

And here lies your real issue that drug use, for you, is morally unacceptable rather than an actual ‘crime’ is committed. We could criminalise nearly everything if the basis was that it was against someone’s moral standards.

As previously stated, I fully agree about the social cost of drugs. However the majority of these effects are down to prohibition – dealers / gangs / funding terrorism / drug addict crime etc. etc. “I don’t think you have any clue about what causes what”.

So what are your main issues on social harm? Try providing an argument to back up your views.

“Your response shows the unreasonableness of your position: excusing irresponsible behavior and demonizing the government’s legitimate efforts to obstruct the spreading corruption of drug culture”.

Yet you participate in drug culture – drinking alcohol and try to differentiate it from other drugs – this is common with prohibitionists. It is no different and, as the article in the Boston Globe showed, the harm rating for alcohol is ranked 5th out of the top 20 drugs (legal and illegal) for social and personal harm. By the way, the Boston Globe are just covering a UK story that was published in all respected media (The Guardian / The Telegraph etc).

Surely you must hold the same view that anyone who drinks more than a couple of beers in a bar / club is – as you put it when talking about people using ecstasy at a rave - “showing a public display of depravity that is intolerable in a well-ordered civilized society”? I still fail to see how you justify alcohol as it has “a legitimate social function”. If a group of friend attend a club together and take ecstasy instead of drink how does that differ??? Why is that any business of the state?

With regards to your comments about the Swiss Heroin Programme – “The abstract (not article) you provided is from 1998. Can you provide a more recent article, an actual article I can access? Maybe something that evaluates the program’s success over the last 11 years?”!!

Not sure what you are saying here. I don’t think the fact that this report was printed in 1998 means that the evidence is out of date does it? And yes it is an abstract, but one published by the US National Criminal Justice Reference Service so it’s hardly biased. The Lancet, a respected medical journal, published a further summary in 2006 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(06)68804-1/abstract Pay for the full article if you still feel unable to accept the positive summary. Or simply google it.

Jimbob

Andrew Matthews said...

Jimbob, please see my newest post, "Under Siege" for a further defense of my views.

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