Friday, 5 June 2009

Rebutting Stan

Stan left a comment on my post about drugs, in which he raises some good and substantive points, and rather than letting his comments and my rebuttal hide in the comment thread, I thought I'd put it up here:

The reality is that people will steal, rape and murder too - should we decriminalise those offences?

Stan, the fundamental tenet of Libertarianism is that you own your own body and the fruits of your labour. Any damage that anyone else does to you is a matter for the law. Theft, rape and murder involve someone else damaging you or your property and are therefore the worst of crimes in my view of the world.

However, taking drugs is something you do to yourself. You may not agree with it, and I certainly do not agree with it either, but it is your decision to do it to yourself.

If we did legalise drug use how would that help? Addicts would still need their fix and the nature of the addiction means they will steal to fund it. Taxing a product will not make it cheaper so the likelihood is that the costs will be higher not lower. We're not Portugal - they have different attitudes to legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes and, consequently, fewer problems than we do. There is no evidence to suggest that a change in our policy will improve things, although there is evidence to suggest that it will make things worse - the downgrading of cannabis and the subsequent explosion in mental health issues caused by cannabis demonstrates that.

If you make drugs available on prescription for people who are addicted and cannot afford to buy them, then you immediately remove the need to steal and you also reduce the health risks by making it possible for them to get clean paraphernalia.

By making recreational drugs of a suitable standard available from pharmacies, you could easily tax them.

I'm no expert on cannabis and mental health issues, I'm not sure whether there is correlation or causation there. I certainly don't remember any particular "explosion" of mental health issues.

But the issue for me is this: I don't condone drug use, I don't use "drugs" but I don't see that it's right for me to force my morality on other people. It looks to me that a lot of justice system resources are wasted on something which is not, to a libertarian, a crime.

Just as we're not Portugal, we're not Singapore either, but their approach to illegal drugs suggests there is more to be gained if the focus was on demand rather than supply but that would mean prosecuting and jailing vast swathes of the entertainment and media industries.

But as a libertarian, I cannot support that. Drug users harm themselves. Most of the knock-on effects on families stem from the criminality of taking drugs. And while the occasional drug-addled loon may kill his family or whatever, you can equally point to booze-addled loons killing their families or whatever. Or even totally tee-total loons.

The externalities of drug taking could be paid for by taxing recreational users.

Finally, before anyone says that their drug use "doesn't harm anyone" - you're wrong. People, including children, die every day to bring you your illegal drug of choice. Would that improve if you legalised it? Maybe, but seeing how people, including kids, die every day to bring us legal cheap goods from the third world I doubt it.

Drug use definitely harms the user. Well, that's my opinion, anyway.

I don't know if people would have to die to bring other people the LEGAL drug of their choice, though. I'm fairly certain that making drugs legal would reduce the likelihood of someone dying for being involved in the trade.

And no-one is holding a gun to the head of those people involved in bringing us cheap goods from the third world. Those people are doing those awful jobs and facing those terrible risks for a pittance because it's much, much better than the alternatives they have.


Anonymous said...

"Maybe, but seeing how people, including kids, die every day to bring us legal cheap goods from the third world I doubt it."

I think that gives the game away right there. There's not going to be any reasonable debate with someone that far gone.

Anonymous said...

Obo, Stan is a _fucking_twat_ of the highest order.

(1) There is no causation between Canabis and mental disorder in the direction implied by Stan.

(2) I'd be particularly interested to hear more of this 'explosion' of mental health issues because all the evidence there is suggests canabis use went DOWN when it was downgraded, so if there was an explosion of mental health issues that paints a rather different picture, doesn't it Stan? (you twat).

(3) Stan is also a fucking idiot if he thinks tax will increase the price of drugs beyond the current black market costs.

He fails to understand that most of the cost of illegal drugs on the street is profit taken by several people along the supply chain. These profits have to be large to cover the risks people are taking. Sure the tax will mean the drugs will cost more than they need to, but most of these illegal drugs are derived from plants, which grow easily and cost _very_ little to produce. Stick some tax on _very_little_ and you end up with _very_little_ and a bit.

Stan says "Finally, before anyone says that their drug use "doesn't harm anyone" - you're wrong. People, including children, die every day to bring you your illegal drug of choice."

Really? Prove it?! No-one dies to grow my Skunk. You fucking weapons grade cunt. In fact what you wrote is almost libelous.

Frankly Stan knows so little about drugs that he should just shut the fuck up and stop making himself look like a tool. Stan go back to dribbling in the Daily Mail.


Obnoxio The Clown said...

Well, I tried to have a polite conversation.

Now I'm going to get some popcorn while this descends into violence and mayhem. :o)

RayD said...

Of course there's a sound Libertarian argument against drug prohibition, but it isn't necessary.

One of the eye-opening things about drugs is that in reality they are mostly worthless. Amphetamines cost more to package and ship than they do to make, just like aspirins, and you can grow your own weed in the back garden.

Offset this against the crime committed to obtain the cash to buy at street prices and I'm all for giving the fucking stuff away if it means my house or car doesn't get busted into while I'm trying to earn a crust, and that's before you get on to the cost of putting the idiots up in prison.

Jim said...

I've never touched a legal drug let alone an illegal one. I don't see why I should pay taxes to pay for the police & NHS to pick up the pieces when those that do take drugs crash & burn. Legalise the lot, make it easily available, tax it, and use the revenue to pay for any policing & health issues.

I don't care what you smoke, stick up your nose, or inject. Just don't expect me to pay taxes to pick up the tab for the costs to society.

Anonymous said...

This is always worth a read while discussing how addictive drugs are: here


Damo Mackerel said...

Here are two points I would like to make about legalising drugs

1. What will the drug dealers do if we take away their trade? Will they do some sort of a skills course or get a proper job? Or perhaps they may target the vulnerable, like children and the mentally retarded.

2. If consumption of drugs was allowed, surely the government and private employers would feel the need to bring in compulsory employee drug testing for public safety reasons, at least for those that work directly with the public? This would curtail our freedoms and not actually increase them.

I remember reading an article in the past about why drugs shouldn't be legalised. I will try and fish it out and put it up here later.

Anonymous said...

Damo. Stupid points I'm afraid.

1) My 'drug dealer' has a full time job. He merely sells on some puff to fund his own smoking habit. Were puff cheaper and readily available then he would not need to. I appreciate this does not relate to all dealers. So others may decide to move onto other crime, pimping, whatever. So? Deal with them when they break the law. If they target kids then lock em up.

2) I've never been tested for Alcohol. Why would my employer want to do that unless there was some indication/evidence that I was shitfaced while at work? Why should the same not be the case for other drugs?

I wouldn't bother posting the article, it will be full of shit, the same as all articles with that outlook.

Get a clue. Criminalising people for putting certain chemicals into their own bodies of WRONG. It has no basis in any kind or moral or ethical framework. It's _stupid_ and wrong.


Damo Mackerel said...

Anonymous 13:49. Yes, that's the same author I read ages back about why drugs shouldn't be legalised.

He makes some good points:

Damo Mackerel said...

Z, I never taken drugs myself and plenty of my mates do and have being doing so for years while holding down jobs and raising families.

One of my friends was caught about three days after smoking his last joint. He was stopped by the Garda, they searched him and found some hash, then tested him back in the barracks and he was over the limit.

He was put off the road, fined and how has a criminal record. Sheer stupidty on behalf of the government.

Why do you think the same 'tests' will not be brought in by the British Government if they are not in existance already? The government having more control and all that would suit them down to the ground. I am actually surprised that the government haven't cottoned on to this yet.

I agree with your arguement about the cost of drugs.

Also if cannabis was legalised maybe harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin would fall out of favour, as it's easier to tranport and smuggle harder drugs than cannabis?

Just some thoughts

Anonymous said...

We're not arguing about what kind of stupidity governments might get up to. Nothing could be more stupid than the current prohibition.

Cannabis stays tracable in your system for days, but it obviously does not affect your ability to do things for that period of time. In fact I think it wears off faster than booze.

Once the govt/police had tried to remove a few people's licenses, someone sooner or later would take them to the european court of human rights and get that overturned, then they would have to come up with another test, one that actually worked out if your ability to drive was impaired or not.

Your mate should appeal. They garda should have to prove he was impaired in some way. Traces of cannabis in someones system proves _NOTHING_ about their ability to drive.


JuliaM said...

"I've never been tested for Alcohol. Why would my employer want to do that unless there was some indication/evidence that I was shitfaced while at work? Why should the same not be the case for other drugs?"


Because they can. That's why. Hell, they are already doing it....

"Sacking employees who test positive for illicit drugs allows employers to avoid making redundancy payouts. Cannabis, which can remain detectable for several weeks after use, is the substance causing the biggest problems for employees."

Stan J said...

I'd just like to say that the other Stan doesn't speak for me.