The UO Knight is under siege. After sallying forth to combat the evil libertarians over the issue of drug legalization, the UO Knight returned home to find his castle beseiged by a drug liberalization Kool-Aid drinker from the UK operating under the alias "Jimbob."
Jimbob has challenged me to read a couple of articles from the mainstream media, and "do some research before typing [my] next response."
Jimbob argues that "the majority of these effects [i.e., the social cost of drugs] are down to prohibition – dealers / gangs / funding terrorism / drug addict crime etc. etc." For Jimbob, drug prohibition is the real problem, not the criminals who disobey the law and supply/ use illegal substances.
This is a patently absurd claim. In 2003, the US Drug Enforcement Administration put out a paper that summarizes "ten top facts on legalization. In this paper, the DEA states, "Six times as many homicides are committed by people under the influence of drugs, as by those who are looking for money to buy drugs. Most drug crimes aren’t committed by people trying to pay for drugs; they’re committed by people on drugs."
This demonstrates that on the criterion of actual crime alone, the use of certain mind-altering substances is the problem. On this basis, a convincing case is made that the public availability of these substances ought to be severely restricted.
In addition to actual crimes committed, I also argue that there are other weighty reasons for keeping drug use criminalized. I maintain that individuals who use drugs are compromised mentally and morally by using these substances.
Because of such undisputable corrupting effects on the citizenry, I argue for establishing personal character reference qualifications as well as IQ and mental health tests to ensure that only competent individuals be allowed into the voting booth.
Jimbob rejects the idea that drugs negatively influence character, intelligence and mental competency. He argues that people who use drugs only "recreationally" are capable of adequately functioning in society.
Well, they may be able to "function," but as I see it the only way our civilization is going to move back in the direction it needs to is for us to rediscover the law and forgiveness of God, abandon our vices, and be concerned for the survival of our families and communities.
According to the paper cited above, "The short-term effects [of marijuana] are... harmful. They include: memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety. Marijuana impacts young people’s mental development, their ability to concentrate in school, and their motivation and initiative to reach goals."
The rejection of drug use, then, even use of more benign drugs such as marijuana, is a necessary condition to begin to aquire the virtues necessary for maintaining civilization.
A few final thoughts on this subject. I have limited time to investigate absurd claims put forth in the name of “science,” whatever that is. Global warming is a fraud perpetrated by so-called science. Scientists are people who have personal dispositions and political points-of-view just like everybody else. Data can be suppressed and/ or cherry-picked.
Journalists aren’t scientists or logicians. Scientific studies usually have a very precise scope and it’s all too easy for non-experts (such as Jimbob) to draw unwarranted conclusions from findings they don’t understand.
Before research should be accepted as science by policy makers it needs to be tested, re-tested, and peer-reviewed. Contrary opinions and findings need to be weighed. Factors such as common sense, prudence, and sage advice (things not easily quantifiable) also have their legitimate part to play in policy-makers' decisions.
The Boston Globe article Jimbob cited, is a joke.
The "findings" of the research cited by the article rank pot higher than solvents and LSD. Also, Tobacco is rated more harmful than LSD, pot, and ecstasy. Finally, alcohol is listed as more harmful than meth! "Findings" such as these, so contrary to common sense perceptions, are unworthy of serious consideration.
Somebody named "truthczar" had this to say about the article:
"The guy makes some SUBJECTIVE assessments, creates a chart, then some reporter finds the article and assumes the chart is hard fact, and prints it. Next some fool politician will try to make public policy based on a reporter's interpretation of some guys chart based on a made up weighted scale of subjective assessments."
Another commenter made the following analysis (which I have modified slightly for the purpose of this post):
The problem with the findings of this research is with the particular combination of variables used to generate this gradation of harmful substances. The variables of physical impact, addictiveness, and societal cost are combined to produce misleading figures. If you are trying to determine the allocation of government resources, why do you care about anything other then the societal impact? And how is addictiveness and physical damage not already factored into societal cost? If you are trying to assess the danger that a drug poses to an individual, shouldn’t you only care about its physical impact and addictiveness?
This ranking doesn’t really tell us anything about the relative harmfulness of these substances. The purpose in combining all three variables is to mislead the public into swallowing the notion that drugs are less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.
This perspective does not take adequate account of the social benefits of tobacco and alcohol, the vast majority of whose users are responsible, law-abiding citizens. In the case of tobacco and alcohol, conventional thinking judges that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Not so with drug use. The evidence is clear that the drug culture spawns stupidity, criminality, and insanity in epidemic proportions.
That's all I have to say on this subject at present.