August 10, 2005

Why Everybody is Wrong About The Drug War

Every one that I admire is wrong about the drug war. And I mean every one.

The Libertarians I hang around with try to pretend that drugs aren't all that bad. The usual drug that is called not bad is Marijuana. Marijuana is not bad, it--and by inference other drugs--ought to be legalized.

The Rightists I know and admire tend to over-exaggerate the consequences of drug use. Drugs are not only not bad, they are really really bad.

The Leftists I know seem to be a mixed bag on this. Some of them mimmicking the Libertarian position, others of them mimmicking the Rightist position. Only, instead of spending my money on jail cells for stupid drug users they want to spend my money on rehab for stupid drug users. And on needles. And on publicly funded medical marijuana. And on rehab, again.....

The worst arguments I hear are the back and forth medical statistics. This drug is less risky than tobacco. Users of that drug may experience sudden heart failure. Blah blah blah.

Let me tell you where I stand. Drugs are bad, mmmkay. The biggest problem with drugs are not their long-term effects, but their near term effects. That is, people do things under the influence of drugs that they normally wouldn't do. I have a problem with that.

But, just because drugs are bad does not mean that they should be illegal. Stupid things that harm others ought to be illegal, not stupid things that harm yourself. And if the worst bads associated with drugs are when you do stupid things to others, then, well, we already have laws to cover those.

DUI, child abuse, etc.--all presently illegal, and rightly so.

The most common bads associated with drug use are not illegal nor should they be. Work absenteeism, poor relationship skills, and the most common one--stupid judgement in sexual relations--are all rightfully legal.

Oh, man, I was so wasted that I totally don't remember what happened with that chick from the rave last night.....

If you knock some strange chick up in a moment of ecstasy inspired passion, it's your problem. I don't want to send you to jail, I don't want to send you to rehab, I'm not going to say that what you are doing is okay- it's not okay. It's just not my problem.

If you get AIDS because you're a geek and playing catcher is the only way you can afford your next hit, I'm sorry, really really sorry, but how is that my or the government's problem.

Yeah, call me heartless. Life is a bitch. And so is personal responsibility.

Drug use is bad. The only thing worse than letting people take drugs, that I can think of, is forcing people to do the right thing and not take drugs.

A slave is not good or bad because his actions are not his choice. People can only be moral when they choose to do the right thing, and a system of government that forces people to be good ceases to be the serveant of the people and instead becomes their master.

I am for the legalization of drugs not because I am for drug use, but because I am for moral government.


Bsure to read fellow Jawa author See-Dub's rejoinder to Rusty Shackleford in his post The Libertarian Case for Drug Control


Originally, I was going to let this post by See Dub who is a welcome addition here at My Pet Jawa, pass. As Ace says in his post, "But as Kurt Vonnegut said, arguing against anti-drug laws is like arguing against glaciers. Pointless. There will always be glaciers." So, why argue?

We had argued this one before, if you don't recall. I understand his sentiment and admire where he is coming from. We'll just have to disagree on this one.

See Dub links to this rant by Jeff at The Shape of Days. A+ rant. I agree that drugs are bad. Really bad. I would use most of those same 'sailor words' if I was talking to a loved one who was on, say, Meth. And if it were my kids, I might just 'drag them out into the streets and beat some sense into them'. That's a figure of speach, by the way. I just don't believe it is the moral responsibility of the taxpayer to intervene in my family's affairs.

But the real reason I chose to sit down with this one is that Ace, Bill from INDC and Jeff Goldstein link See Dubs post. I admire Ace, Bill and Jeff, and understand that we share much of the same audience so I just wanted to clarify to readers that Rusty's opinion of the drug war is different than See Dubs.
UPDATE: Check the links below for further debate. Thanks to The Unabrewer, who I do admire, for this:

Libertarian attitude = Glenn Reynolds
Libertine attitude = Andrew Sullivan

The truth is, though, that if you ever get together with a bunch of Libertarians--I mean, the kind that actually belong to the party or are part of the larger libertarian think tank network--these guys invariably give the libertine argument for legalization rather than the libertarian one. I actually almost ran for Congress as a Libertarian. When I called the state chair he was so excited to know that there was some one else in the state interested in 'the Libertarian lifestyle'.

Libertarian lifestyle? I'm afraid that many who don't take political philosophy seriously, decide therr political ideology based on something like the following:

I like drugs, but not guns: I'm a Democrat.
I like drugs and guns: I'm a Libertarian.
I don't like drugs, but I like guns: I'm a Republican.

I know that's sad, but my experience has been that it is largely true.

Another Update: Welcome Instapundit reader. Thanks to Michael Totten sitting in at the Puppy Blender for the link. [super-secret-insider note to Totten: We're even steven man. But, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, MORE HOT PROTEST BABES PLEASE! ]

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:33 PM | Comments |