Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Drug Legalization

I wrote about Will Wilkinson's pot smoking a few weeks back. I don't write on this topic often, but I've learned that drug decriminalization is not only backed by (putative) libertarians, but is a top issue favored by secular progressives and hardline big-government collectivists.

A woman in East Liverpool, Ohio, smokes crystal methamphetamine in her dealer's kitchen.

In the comments to my post, where I mentioned my concerns over how factors outside the home may well adversely affect the health and safety of my boys, Tao from "A Radical Perspective" attacked me thus:

If you worry about your kids hanging out with the wrong people, or the drug culture, then quit blogging so much and spend sometime [sic] raising them.

I don't put much credibility in whatever merit folks can raise in favor of drug decriminalization, but when folks attack me on the assumption that I'm not raising my kids well, it just shows how personal it is for the nihilists.

Well it turns out there's more on the decriminalization debate online today. Time's got a piece, for example, "The Portuguese Experiment: Did Drug Decriminalization Work?" (via Memeorandum), and the Wall Street Journal covers the Portuguese case as well, in "Drugs: To Legalize or Not."

For conservative bloggers, there's a particular interest in Portugal's decriminalization program in that Glenn Greenwald (the same Glenn Greenwald of Rick Ellensburg fame) is the author of study that's cited by Time and has been touted by the Cato Institution. The Master Sock Puppet himelf is blogging about it, naturally.

I'm not going to convince the left-libertarians that decriminalization is a bad idea. These people claim, from the evidence in Portugal, that "decriminalization does not result in increased drug use."

The huge methodological problem here is that Greenwald and the others are generalizing from a single case, but that's not really my beef. From personal experience, and from what knowledgeable friends in academe and law enforcement tell me, drug decriminalization - always expected to start with marijuan, the "non-dangerous" drug) - would be a disaster for both personal lives, families, and society.

That said, let me direct readers to John Walters' piece, also at the Journal. Walters is executive vice president of Hudson Institute and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the G.W. Bush administration. Please read the entire essay, but this part relates to Master Tao's attack:

When I became the drug policy director in 2001, we faced an inherent weakness in prevention programs for youth. Teens told us they had been taught the dangers of drugs, but if their boyfriend or girlfriend used they did not want to be judgmental or estranged, so they were likely to join in.

Walters stresses the dangers of addiction, and the responsiblity of society to protect the vulnerable. But the conclusion responds directly and powerfully to the Greenwalds and Wilkinsons of the world, and their left-libertarian allies:

We can make progress faster when more of us learn that drug use and addiction can not be an expression of individual liberty in a free society. Drug abuse is, by nature and the laws of organic chemistry that govern this disease, incompatible with freedom and civil society. Drug abuse makes human life solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (a special version of Hobbes's hell in our own families). In the deepest sense, this is why failure is not an option.
Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal.


smitty1e said...

"solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"
Of Course Drugs Will Be LegalizedLike, how else do you expect enough death toll to balance BHO's budgets, dude?

Anonymous said...

I'm a regular commenter, but I'll post this anonymously.

I was talking wity my neighbor Saturday nine days ago, and he was bemoaning his two daughters, who happen to be the same ages as mine. Where mine were showing discipline -- one in teh Army and another going to BCT this summer -- his two had gotten in with the drug crowd in school. Where my 20 year old is in the Army, his popped out a bastard, dropped out of school and won't work. Where my 17 year old has good grades and wants to do basic between her junior ans senior years, his 17 year old dropped out, is looking at going to a school to cut hair, and, from what my younger daughters says, is a total pot-head.

I don't care if peop[le say that drugs are harmless, that they don't hurt anyone else, the fact is: they do. My tax dollars are eventually going to be paying for my neighbors' kids, and a lot of that is due to their use of "harmless" drugs.

right-wing-nut-job-finder said...

Yep, LIbertarians, and lefties enjoy abusing their own bodies, while the rightie-nutties enjoy abusing other people's bodies with guns and wars.

I wonder which would Jesus would have picked if he had the choice between the two vices?


Mark30339 said...

Social rules are essential, and they most certainly exist. Changing them is fraught with treachery. 80% of the public doesn't concern themselves with what the rules should be, they just want to know what they are so they can follow them. The other 20% live by their own rules, some exceed the social standard, and some do all they can to dismantle it.

Drug law enforcement is a messy business, and it turns users into criminals. But for the sake of the 80% majority that is sensible enough to follow the social standard, but not strong enough to uphold a higher standard, let's not legalize drugs.

And for the sake of those of us parenting teenagers and young adults in an already too permissive society, I suggest that the pro-legalization types just move to Amsterdam, and report back in 10 years on how that free choice on drug use has worked out for them and their children.

Dana said...

The wife of a friend of mine recently got a new job at a local (chain) business opening up in our relatively poor county. In this area, decent jobs are hard to come by.

This company hired thirty people, at better than minimum wage, and with some benefits. 'Twasn't great, but decnt for this area. Then, when the last part of the process came up, the thirty people who had job offers in hand, were handed their drug test forms; roughly half of them simply turned the forms and all of their paperwork back in, and left.

Here we are, in a poor county, with people who apparently needed the jobs offered, and half of them had to walk out because they couldn't keep from burning a joint.

Of course, you and I are going to have to support these welfare malingerers who can't get or hold decent jobs, because they'd rather get high.

It's just common knowledge that most companies require drug tests these days; why would people who need jobs, who know that they have to look for jobs, use drugs when they know that they will have to take a wiz quiz?

carl said...

Dana-It seems to me that those people want to work and its your fault that they're on welfare for requiring drug tests. Why can't you just hire them? If they can do the job who cares what they do on their time? As you see YOU are the cause of the problem. YOU are the person who didn't hire. They came in looking to work. They didn't decide not to work. And who cares if drugs are harmless or not. There are many foods that are harmful--like pork. Sun causes skin cancer. Nevertheless, the ability for a person to choose is what he eats or when he goes into the sun, or to take drugs is his/her God given right. It doesn't matter if it is harmful or not. And in regards to the stupid comments of the director of drug prevention--it is his job to make up whatever he can so he can have a job. If your job depended on your sales of a certain product, are you going to say to your customers your product sucks, even if it does suck. OF course not. You right wingers are a bunch of idiots and your kind is going downhill. Thank God, because it shows that humanity is finally progressing and is leaving an era of utter ignorance when you idiots were in control.