While some EU countries are negotiating peace after their failed war on drugs, US legislators keep on the old Prohibition path.
January 1, 2002 2:21 PM   Subscribe

While some EU countries are negotiating peace after their failed war on drugs, US legislators keep on the old Prohibition path. Just yesterday I noticed the new "My Anti-Drug" campaign included the careful discalimer that "all drugs, even marijuana" are morally wrong to take. Equating the harm and effects of all controlled substances isn't helping kids, it just makes them ignorant. Of course, most Americans' Anti-Drug is alcohol.
posted by skallas (29 comments total)
 
My anti-drug is stealing cars.
posted by noisemartyr at 2:41 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is driving recklessly.
posted by kevspace at 2:58 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is stealing cars then driving them recklessly.
posted by pheideaux at 3:17 PM on January 1, 2002


"Find a healthy substitute, something you can get really into, something that can be your anti-drug. It could be anything: Learn to play blackjack or the ponies. Explore kleptomania. Have sex with an endless parade of random strangers"
posted by otherchaz at 3:18 PM on January 1, 2002


It seems bizarre to me that the penny hasn't dropped that criminalising drug use leads to more crime.Now I'm not necessarily in favour of legalising harder drugs,but treatment and education must be preferable to punishment.If an individual isn't craving his next fix he is less likely to commit crime to fund it.
Nick Davies wrote a brilliant piece on heroin a few months back,sorry if it has already been posted.
It prompted this debate which is provoking of thought in itself.
In recent months in the UK many serving police officers,plus a recently retired chief of police have spoken about the need for moderation in the treatment of drug users. Slowly it looks like our government is taking note.
It has to be preferable to ruining the lives of already vulnerable people and helping very bad people get extremely rich on the proceeds of their nefarious activities.
posted by Fat Buddha at 3:21 PM on January 1, 2002


my anti-drug is not listening to anyone that uses the phrase "morally wrong" or any other reference to THEIR religious beliefs...

I am not an illegal drug user- I do use the legal drug alcohol- but, I believe that no gov't should have a say in what a person does to their own body, as long as it does not harm anyone else - physically or second-hand wise (as in parental neglect)...America's "War On Drugs" is a ridiculous waste of time and resources- and only adds to the senseless killings that come as a result...I live in Baltimore- in the CITY- I see it everyday...I know of what I speak...

America is so far behind socially- our gov't is so twisted up with ridiculous religious PACs and their big money/influence...regulation and education should be America's anti-War On Drugs...and please leave your beliefs out of my government.
posted by ayukna at 3:38 PM on January 1, 2002


please leave your beliefs out of my government.

What is the criminal law, then, if it's not the codification of moral beliefs? You argue that "no gov't should have a say in what a person does to their own body, as long as it does not harm anyone else", but isn't that just another way of arguing that it's wrong for the government to intrude into a private decision if that decision affects only that one person?

Claiming that religion, morality and shared social norms should be removed from government is silly. When you stop to think about it, government is religion and morality, especially in the area of criminal law; or, more precisely, it's our society's best attempt at codifying (then punishing infractions of) a shared vision of right and wrong.
posted by gd779 at 3:54 PM on January 1, 2002


I agree with you, to some extent, gd779. We can't claim to keep beliefs out of government because, as you say, criminal law is based on belief. But not necessarily moral belief. I can say that I believe people shouldn't murder one another, not because I think murder is wrong, but because I don't think it is in my best interest for murder to be legal, and that our society couldn't function effectively if we allowed it. Same with stealing. Same with drugs.

With drugs, however, we enter the area of the government not only having jurisdiction of how people interact in society, but what a person does with himself. And it is perfectly reasonable for a person to believe that the powers of government should not extend that far. That isn't a moral belief. It's a person's philosophy concerning government.

I think it is possible to have a government based on belief, but one not based on morality, or religion.
posted by Doug at 4:19 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is posting comments on public message boards.

This is my favorite line from the article:
Over the past five years, Americans have voted in favor of nearly every significant state initiative to reform drug policies, from legalizing medical marijuana in Arizona, to banning the seizure of assets of accused but unconvicted drug dealers in Oregon, to last year's Proposition 36 in California which mandates treatment instead of incarceration for drug users. In most cases, that public support came despite strong opposition from the federal government. (emphasis mine)
I just find it interesting that we have to fight our own government. It's about time for a revolution.
posted by RylandDotNet at 4:26 PM on January 1, 2002


And about that asset seizure law in Oregon:(thanx for beating me to that RylandDotNet ) Like a lot of laws protecting the people, this was put on the ballot by initiative petition, not our legislature, passed by a vote of the people and fought tooth and nail then and ever since by the police, District Attorneys,religious dogooders and the liquor lobby. If the law is shared social norms , then the will of the people should surely be the law. Politicians and some special interest groups don't want the people to have the opportunity to vote on individual laws such as this or legalization or euthanization or taxes or even the speed limit for Gods sake, because their agendas are often different than the people they claim to represent.
posted by Mack Twain at 5:15 PM on January 1, 2002


Claiming that religion, morality and shared social norms should be removed from government is silly.

I can agree that morality and shared social norms need to be discussed in lawmaking and governance, but the idea of religion having a say is sickening. How can any but those who agree with the dictates of a religion's call on right and wrong contribute to such a discussion? What arbitration does religion offer in disagreement? What grounds does religion have to justify the way that it is shoved at us as the right answer? What a joke. Let's leave lawmaking to people who think and talk to each other, not those who say they have the inside track on the divine and therefore must be obeyed.
posted by holycola at 6:25 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is blinding rage. Which I usually follow-up with some nice real drugs... Seriously though, the whole war on drugs is just an extremely pungent load of steaming shit. Sure, it is packaged up very nicely, with television ads and fuzzy mascots, but it is still a festering pile of human feces.

If someone wants to inject salt-water, or anything else for that matter (heroin included) into their veins, I say "go for it". Just don't go around injecting stuff into other peoples' veins. And as far as people turning other people on to drug use, we do that with everything; music, television, radio, books, and it is up to everyone to make a choice for themselves. Drugs are not for everyone, and those who do not wish to use them will simply decide for themselves to not use them. Simple, no?

In my opinion, drugs should be legalised. The fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal should be reason enough to legalise all hard drugs. TOBACCO IS A PROVEN KILLER FOR FUCK'S SAKES! How on earth can any government justify the banning of marijuanna, and yet support—through legalization—the consumption of tobacco!

If I were allowed to freely smoke marijuanna, I probably would not smoke tobacco at all. However, since marijuanna is not legal, I have to resort to sucking on nicely rolled sticks of pure death. Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate it...
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2002


holycola: I don't think that gd779 was arguing for the establishment of a theocracy, just saying that you really can't totally separate religious faith from law.

You'd have to look long and hard to find a modern legal system that doesn't have deep roots in religious faith extending all the way back to Hammurabi's Code. All major religions provided methods of arbitration between it's adherents and in the case of religious states, laws that provided for dealing with outsiders.

but the idea of religion having a say is sickening.

Do you feel that anyone with religious beliefs should be disqualified from having input into how they are governed or barred from holding a public office? And by the same token, a totally secular government should be able to force them to do things that are diametrically opposed to their beliefs?
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:05 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is drugs
posted by jonmc at 8:37 PM on January 1, 2002


The fact that the war on drugs has been a proven failure for over thirty years (and worse in that children have easier access to illegal drugs than legal ones) is testament to the value of top notch propaganda.
posted by keithl at 8:44 PM on January 1, 2002


Just to tweak the argument a bit: our secular (USA) government has prevented Rastafarians from smoking pot and Native Americans from taking peyote.
posted by gimonca at 8:46 PM on January 1, 2002


My anti-drug is stealing cars then driving them recklessly, while on drugs. Not unlike PJ O'Rourke. But less annoying.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:50 PM on January 1, 2002


Do you feel that anyone with religious beliefs should be disqualified from having input into how they are governed or barred from holding a public office?

Absolutely not - meaning I think people's religious beliefs don't disqualify them from having input. I hope that was an opportunity to qualify my words and you didn't actually think I meant that, by the way.

My objection is to adding religious belief as the basis or justification for any law. Do you want your civil liberties meted out by someone who says that god told them that you need to be contained?

And by the same token, a totally secular government should be able to force them to do things that are diametrically opposed to their beliefs?

Ever hear of Waco? In that case, I do believe that is so. But do I believe that a secular government can tell people to stop worshipping? No, of course not. But when it comes to figuring out what I can and can't do in society, I don't consider religion a valid source of input into that process because it claims supernatural divine right.

Religion is a personal choice, law is a social contract. Oil and water.
posted by holycola at 10:43 PM on January 1, 2002


How did, IMHO, a great article inspire such a crappy thread? I know I slept through a few philosophy classes when I was in school but at least I know that morality in not necassarily religious and has all sorts of roots. From the pragmatic attitude of 'what if this happened to me' to religious decrees which may or may not be pragmatic to even arbitrary laws passed soley to benefit those in power. Go read some Kant if you don't believe me.

For those intent on 'debating' religion may I recommend talk.origins or the bazillion atheist sites out there.

The issues here is representatives that don't represent their constitiuents. Its about propaganda that works and how being tough on crime and drugs to an illogical extreme has cost us as a society dearly yet gets votes. There's also the insightful comparision of the war on drugs to the old alcohol Prohibition. Not to mention how big tobacco and big alcohol are in bed with our policymakers.
posted by skallas at 1:15 AM on January 2, 2002


While the bulk of the war on drugs may be silly, don't you think it should be the place of our government to educate people of their ill effects? (alcohol included) I'm very much against a nanny-state, but I can't see the ill in telling kids that drugs are f-ed up.
posted by owillis at 2:03 AM on January 2, 2002


I think the point struggling to be born here is that substance use/abuse is a social/moral issue *not* a criminal justice one. The problem is, it's not *necessarily* a victimless crime. In Britain, for example, 75% of the heroin gets imported from Afghanistan - and obviously a lot of the proceeds have gone towards funding the regime and the terrorist camps, not to mention the innumerable two-bit criminals that make up the chain in-between. Hardly a 'victimless crime'.
Of course, legalisation would mean the criminal element would suddenly be denied a valuable source of income, and the government would inherit a whole swathe of taxable commodities. I don't buy into this whole idea of the government trying to impose arbitrary controls over the populace; I think people see areas where drug abuse is rampant, and assume the drug itself is to blame. What they fail to see is that *harmful* abuse of substances is merely a symptom of an underlying social malaise, usually a combination of poverty and despair.
Let's not confuse the issues. We should deal with substance abuse in whatever form as a social problem, and focus our resources accordingly. Let the police work as police, not childminders.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:56 AM on January 2, 2002


I hope that was an opportunity to qualify my words

Yes it was. I think that we agree insomuch as we don't want anyone passing laws on the basis of "because God told me that this was immoral". However, I still think that there's really no way to totally divorce religion from law since they share a common heritage. You can certainly take the trappings of religion away from lawmaking, but the legacy is still there.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:55 AM on January 2, 2002


"You can certainly take the trappings of religion away from lawmaking, but the legacy is still there."

Be aware that the Western world's connection of religion and lawmaking began before Christianity. "And there is virgin Justice [Dike], the daughter of Zeus, who is honored and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly." [Hesiod, Works and Days,55ff.]
posted by Carol Anne at 7:19 AM on January 2, 2002


Well, by that argument just about everything as a common heritage with religion. Engineering? You have the religious cult of Pythagoras. Astronomy, the Babylonians. Literature, the ritual plays of ancient Greece.

In general, it is amazing how much secular ethics and religious ethics overlap. Most of us nonreligious people have no problems with the last six of the ten Commandments. The problem is people who advocate expanded role of religion in determining our public policy insist on including the first four.

I am not convinced that complete decriminalization is really a good idea. On the other hand, it seems that our lawmakers are neglecting the public health aspects of drug abuse. (For example blocking needle exchange programs.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:45 AM on January 2, 2002


ny anti-dung is......... I mean my panty-smug is fmkgnjdfgnbbnbvb.....................................
posted by johnnyboy at 8:05 AM on January 2, 2002


Be aware that the Western world's connection of religion and lawmaking began before Christianity.

It certainly does, which is why I mentioned Hammurabi's Code earlier in this thread. I believe that he was more or less contemporary (1750 BC) with the ancient Greeks.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2002


if pot were legal, would marlborro market it? would it still be cool? these things weigh upon my mind. It will be legal someday, as soon as they figure out who will make the $$ from it. Someone growing it in their backyard won't be able to compete against real marketing.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:36 AM on January 2, 2002


owillis, educate yes. Incarcerate no.
posted by keithl at 10:41 AM on January 2, 2002


My anti-drug is morphine.

Because Morphine is more "phun"!
posted by fuq at 10:45 AM on January 2, 2002


« Older Buzkashi, the Afghan National Sport   |   what will 2002 bring? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments