Monday, August 08, 2005

Talkin' 'Bout Toke-in' [Pedantic Politics 3C --- Too Hot To Handle]

Again, I just want to state briefly my position and reasoning for my position here. A full-blown treatise is out of the question, though I think my general outline is pretty firm.

I. Introduction

The area of drug decriminalization is the political issue on which I've changed the most in the last decade.

To put it briefly, I support the decriminalization of marijuana, narcotics, etc. To put it cheekily: if you want to smoke pot in the privacy of your own home, take up the toke. If you want to inject yourself with heroin [a substance that was formerly sold over the counter], shoot up the sauce. If you want to snort Drano a la a scene from a Cheech and Chong flick some quarter-century ago, then sniff a whiff.

Note that supporting decriminalization doesn't mean endorsement. It merely means that people shouldn't be jailed for doing something peaceably on the private property of somebody who consents.

Obviously, if somebody wants to "shoot up" and then become directly threatening to somebody's life and property, or if somebody wants to drive, then throw the book at him, or, better yet, let those threatened exercise their rights to protect themselves and their property with lethal force.

But, the guiding principle in all Pedantic Politics is the idea of personal liberty and personal responsibility, and that means the freedom to make possibly poor decisions and live with the consequences.

On the large-scale political front, both of our major parties present government as the answer to a problem. And this presentation falls rather flat in my book.

(1) Despite the large amount of money spent on the so-called War on Drugs, they're still there for people who want them, and a lot of people want them for various reasons.

(2) It's worth stating again: people want drugs. Popular culture has made sex and drugs cool and desirable things. It simply is a matter of fact that there is a strong peer pressure on young people as well as older people to drink, smoke, and do some of the more hard-core stuff.

(3) The government that is big enough to go into your neighbor's house and arrest him for quietly using his bong while listening to Dark Side of the Moon is surely big enough to do the same thing to you if people decide that whatever you do is somehow intrinsically wrong.

(4) With simple supply-and-demand thinking, the so-called War on Drugs has the following economic consequences:

(a) Whether or not it reduces the supply of drugs, it makes drugs that much harder to distribute, purchase, use, and so on. This pushes up the market value for the substances.

(b) In turn, it is more lucrative for those who deal drugs or are in the distributional pipeline.

(c) The increased lucrativity creates increased incentive for people to enter the drug business, and, with higher stakes and costs, turf wars and crime escalate.

(d) On the consumer end of it, drug-users' lives are financially ruined when they quickly blow through their money for the next hit. Somebody else --- meaning taxpayers --- pays for them.

(e) On the consumer end of things, those who don't have honest money for the next hit resort to crime, mugging Grandma or breaking into somebody's house, killing them, perhaps.

(f) Law enforcement agencies demand more money to keep up with the increased trafficking, government gets larger, and politicians posture in order to look like they're "doing something about it" --- so you get more inane bureacratic policies that punish law-abiding peaceful citizens such as myself.

In the end, we still have a lot of drug users, but I'm paying more in taxes, and my liberties are threatened by expanding government, so, as is the case with government, the solution/cure is worse than the disease.

II. So You Think Drugs Aren't Good For You?

They're probably not good for you.

They're probably not good for the person who uses them, either.

But what business of that is yours if they quietly and peacefully use them on their property, threatening neither your life nor property in their use?

I'd say to leave them alone.

If they present an increased immediate risk, then at that point you have a case for doing something against them.

On the whole, society-at-large would be better off without drugs and such.

The question becomes twofold: How do we minimize the influence of drugs and crime while not reverting to a police state mentality?

Answers:

(1) If drugs were not so hard to get, they couldn't have the high market value that they do.

(2) If drugs were more inexpensive because of the government backing off, we'd have more supply, lowering costs.

(3) Drug-related crime should go down.

(4) None of your civil liberties are threatened in the process.

There will always be lost sheep and people who should know better. But I don't like having my liberties impinged because some people don't like what those lost sheep do in a dark corner.

I've been randomly stopped before by police officers who were clearly fishing around hoping to find some drugs. This has happened on my way home from liturgy, looking nice and suburban in a conservative suit, driving my conservative economy car.

I've had my ability to purchase a powerful firearm curtailed because lawmakers want to keep powerful weapons out of the hands of gangs and drug-dealers. Meanwhile, I have to wait on a police force to do something that I should do myself, namely, defend my property and life.

I have more income taken from me to support the police, the latest government program, and so on. More work for nothing.

III. My View on People

A common objection to my views on the War on Drugs is that a lower resulting price for drugs will increase the number of users.

This may or may not be true. Either way wouldn't surprise me.

What I've seen in people for my thirty-something years is that, when it comes to substances, people are going to do it or not regardless of the cost. It isn't as if I'm going out to Narcotics 'R' Us if I see an ad stating "Buy 1 kilo, get 1 free." Those who aren't using drugs, for the most part I would think, wouldn't start using them just because they're cheap. Perhaps there is hard data out there that blatantly falsifies my anecdotal observation. If so, that has to be taken into account.

My guess is that ending the entire Drug War would drastically reduce crime. Even if it doesn't, I get some liberties back.

Another objection, and one that has strong merit, is that, somehow, even if we decriminalize drugs today, we'll have increased medical costs, therapy costs, etc, not to mention an appreciable set of drugged-up losers taking up space! So, we'll have to take care of these people in the end, and it may very well cost us more!

This reflects a socialist mentality.

One thing about believing in personal responsibility is that you take the words "personal responsibility" seriously. And one thing about saying "I want a free society" is that you take "free" to mean what it means.

To the person who wants to use drugs:

(1) Not being a family member nor a friend, I'm not responsible for your idiotic decisions.

(2) Please don't expect me to feel any moral obligation on a civic level to pay for you.

(3) If I had my way, I wouldn't. Alas, I'm forced to pay for you through the threat of government harassment and force.

This sounds harsh by collectivist standards, but do you want to be held hostage to big government so that society can pay for decisions that are clearly moronic? I certainly don't.

Some might exclaim to me that the God of the Bible wouldn't do that! And perhaps they're correct. One can continually extend the inventory of my general and specific failings, and yet I'm justified. But, in contradistinction to the scriptural side of things, I'm dealing here with the civic and secular level of things. Just as I wouldn't want to have to pay for the rehab of atheistic hippies who snorted too much acid, I don't expect the secular couple down the street to pay for my vision of social utopia.

IV. Conclusion

This has all been stream-of-consciousness, but I hope I've gotten my general points across here. This position has come about not as a result to affect a certain orientation, i.e. to be "consistently libertarian" [I'm certainly inconsistent by many of their standards], but merely as a consequence of the guiding principles mentioned when this series first started.

6 Comments:

Anonymous greg said...

You're naive on this subject. Have the bad experience of having a hardcore addict in your family and talk about legalizing illicit drugs.

Also, know this: the media you get your information from has a standing policy to never - NEVER - link drug use to violence, especially violence that occurs on a large scale such as various jihadist activity and general mass-level atrocities that occur throughout the world.

Because your media has this policy you are left naive regarding the central, satanic role of drugs in carrying out the worst acts of evil on this planet.

And if you think weed is just too innocent a thing to make illegal think about this: weed is the central drug given to those wonderful childrens armies in places like Liberia who do such wonderful things as marching into villages and chopping off the hands of every child in the village. Coke and weed.

The U.S. military wonders why your cool left-wing 'tolerant' media isn't reporting on the drug use evidence they routinely find in the wake of 'insurgents' retreating from villages and cities the U.S. military take over.

Basically, when you see people doing incredibly satanic things you will find drugs involved. The devil couldn't get people do do ten percent of what he needs people to do for him if drugs weren't available to make it happen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 1:59:00 AM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

It's posts like these which make me thing Steve Hays is right and I am wrong about political activism and the church.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Well, Greg has got us both nailed. I'm a stealthy Pharisaical theonomist--or is it a theonomic Pharisee?--while the PP is a libertarian devil-worshipper--what with his politically permissive views on drug-use and modern English Bibles.

Just in case Bro. Turk would like to get in on the ground floor, the PP and I are planning to pool our nefarious views to found a new denomination: The Theonomic Church of Pharisaically Libertarian Devil-Worshipers, Inc.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 6:05:00 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

I believe I said he was naive on the subject. That is different from saying a person endorses evil.

What you are doing is attempting to blunt the impact of what I wrote. Read it again. If it hurts then just learn from it.

And, for the record, perhaps you should delete all your rebukes at your own blog demanding people present arguments since you are so inclined to dash off such flippant responses elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

El Franko: Are you referring to my post or Greg's with your comments?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Greg --- about the first paragraph, your relative became an addict during a period of prohibition, so apparently prohibition didn't stop him, did it?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 11:19:00 PM  

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