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...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)


Amen to that.
Its not about being liberal, its not about being soft, its about being rational.
Prohibition doesn't work, time to try something else.

Posted by mandrill at Tuesday, August 29, 2006 02:50 AM

People make foolish choices in life. Sometimes those choices have unfortunate consequences. Sometimes those consequences are drastic enough to remove you from the gene pool.

Where there is a market, there will always be someone willing to supply it.

My only concern about legalization is the huge job of restructuring our body of civil law to account for the requisite liability and personal responsibilities aspects that would need to be modified.

ex. if you're stoned and walk into my yard, trip over some imaginary drug induced banana peel in the walkway, I do NOT want to be held liable for your stoned condition and subsequent injury.

Posted by Purple Avenger at Saturday, September 16, 2006 08:15 PM

Purple Avenger,

I'm not sure it would need much restructuring. Wouldn't the existing laws as they pertain to alcohol translate fairly directly? Not that those provide you an ironclad guarantee, especially with the way the courts are these days.

Posted by kylben at Saturday, September 16, 2006 08:52 PM

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