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This is the archive for August 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

...about the failure of the War on (some) Drugs. Drugs Aren't the Real Enemy.

OK, now that you've watched it (ahem...), there's only one thing to say:


This video covers every point (made ad nauseum elsewhere) that is necessary to end any further discussion. There's really no disputing the factual assertions in this, and, given those, the conclusions drawn are absolutely undeniable for any rational person. It is a plain and simple fact that the War on (some) Drugs does not reduce the use of drugs in society at large.

There is one kind of argument the video largely fails to make: the moral argument.

That's a good thing.

No, I've not suddenly become a consequentialist. Far from it.

You don't make a moral counter argument against an idea that is utterly nonsensical. If I proposed that Americans be forced to put fishhooks through their noses in order to stop hurricanes from striking the US, would you argue that it is immoral to force people to put fishhooks through their noses?

No, and not only because the moral argument is completely unnecessary, but because it would be an affront to reason to grant such an idea the credibility and legitimacy that a reasoned argument would lend it. The proper response would be to treat me like a raving lunatic and leave it at that.

The idea that drug use should be addressed by legal action is nothing more than the ravings of a lunatic, and should not be treated any more seriously than that.

Drug use is immoral!

But prohibition doesn't stop it.

Drug use is dangerous and destroying our society!

Prohibition doesn't stop it.

Drugs are illegal and drug users are criminals!

Prohibition doesn't stop these kinds of criminals.

Repealing prohibition sends a message that drug use is acceptable!

Prohibition doesn't stop drug use.

That's as far as you need to go. Anyone still advocating prohibition after becoming aware of the arguments summarized in this video - and only a truly ignorant, sheltered person would not be aware of them - is more interested in some other agenda than they are in stopping drug use, and so is declaring himself to be, if not insane, then a liar. Either way, their "opinions" can be summarily dismissed.

It is possible, I suppose, that at one time a reasonable man could have believed that prohibition would be an effective way to reduce drug use. It's a wild stretch of imagination, but it can't entirely be ruled out. At that time, the moral argument would have been appropriate: "Even if it could work, it would be immoral to effect the change you want by this method, furthermore, the fact that it is immoral argues a-priori against the possibility that it can be effective"

But no longer.

Everything has been tried, and has not only been a complete failure in every respect, but has had consequences that should be horrifying even to the most anti-drug person. Even in situations where the government has total control over every aspect of people's lives - the prison system - drug use cannot be stopped.

There is no longer any rational argument whatsoever that the War on (some) Drugs has any effect on drug use. And given that the only possible argument for its continuation is its purported effectiveness, there is no possible argument for not ending it now. It's time to stop arguing with those who refuse to argue rationally. It's time to stop granting any credibility to their positions with moral reasoning. It's time to stop apologizing to accusations of being "pro-drugs" or "soft on crime".

Prohibition does nothing, and carries a brutally high cost. It's time to tell them simply to just shut the hell up.

UPDATE: Ooops, almost forgot the hat tip chain: Richard : Bill St. Clair : Claire Wolfe (forums)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In a stunning move by the IAU, the security council voted 4-0 (Earth abstained) to impose interplanetary sanctions on Pluto and three other solar bodies. The move comes after agressive actions by neighboring Neptune prompted the distant coalition of small bodies to seek formal recognition as "part of the Solar community of Planets".

Neptune, which has long seen tiny Pluto as an occupying force after repeated incursions into it's orbital territory, opposed the request. Pluto has long claimed that its incursions were only a response to repeated agressive attempts by Neptune to perturb its orbit. Neptune has called these incursions a "disproportionate response", and threatened to "drive the infidels into the Oort Cloud".

It is widely believed that Neptune's actions are being driven by Jupiter, the dominant player in the region. It is thought that the battle over Pluto was engineered by Jupiter to divert attention from its ongoing covert fusion program. Jupiter has used the solar black market to acquire significant mass, including, the inner planets fear, dark matter. Should it acquire sufficient mass to begin conducting fusion reactions, it could become the second "solar power" in the system, and pose a grave threat to its neighbors and even the entire system.

The sanctions imposed are expected to severely diminish or even eliminate the alreader meager unmanned probe traffic to the icy planet, whose economy is 100% dependent on the tourist trade.