Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Partisan bickering returns

Ok, back to argument - the fun part of blogging.

I say that the war on drugs has harmed our nation. It has done so by:
1.increasing drug profits for organized criminal organizations,
2.wasting billions of taxpayer dollars,
3. taking law enforcement away from better, more suitable tasks,
4. harming civil rights,
5. harming rather than helping drug abusers (and destroying the lives of recreational users who have been arrested when they could have remained productive members of society),
6. encouraging rather than discouraging kids from using drugs, and has
7. prevented the government from gaining millions, perhaps billions, in taxable revenue if legalisation were permitted and recreational drugs were taxed.

Certain habit-forming or dangerous drugs should remain illegal without a prescription or illegal, period (heroin, cocaine, crystal, etc) because the risks outweigh the rewards, and the cost to society is higher than the benefits to the individual - since in those cases there is no benefit for the individual either.

But many now-illegal drugs should be legalized (marijuana, XTC, mescaline (I think - I don't know much about mescaline)) because there would be little cost to society by allowing individuals to take such drugs.

And notice how the dynamic of our traditional freedom-based society has changed when it comes to drugs. Instead of the government proving that individuals shouldn't take drugs before the government is allowed to forbid it, individuals have to prove they should be allowed to take drugs before the government lets them. I think when it comes to my decisions about my body and what I do with it the government should stay out of it unless there is a real good argument for making me do something I don't want to do, or preventing me from doing something I wish to do. Such as stopping for traffic lights - I might not want to stop, I do lose freedom when laws make me stop when I don't want to, but the case for it is obvious - we are all better off for such laws (including the person who didn't want to stop). How is that true for smoking dope? If I want to light up, how are you harmed? Or society in general? One way is through the illegal drug trade - it is a violent and destructive business that is paid for by individual smokers across the nation. But that is a harm created by making it illegal, not from the use of the drug itself. It isn't an argument for keeping the drug illegal because legalizing it would take it away from the illegal drug trade.

Just as prohibition was Al Capone's worst nightmare, legalisation is the pusher's worst nightmare.

Thoughts?

And if you haven't done it already, if you love your country, read this: http://buggieboy.blogspot.com/2004/10/if-you-love-your-country-read-this.html

12 comments:

Frater Bovious said...

I have to agree with you, with the caveat that you could eliminate all crime by making everything legal.

However, I have been told by many knowledgeable experienced folks, that marijuana is not as debilitating as alcohol (as in you can drive a car, etc., I don't know from personal experience, believe it or don't), and it probably does not have the long term health costs, etc. It truly seems little different from cigarettes or alcohol. I don't know about the "It's a stepping stone drug" issue.

But, I have also been told it makes you stupid. So, you have to choose. Drunk or stupid. fb

vrangel said...

Dunno, my nephew never has a problem buying pot.( You might just as well make it legal.)

And he is as stupid as ever, so no harm there.

vrangel said...

On the other hand look what pot does to our British allies:

http://www.stupidvideos.com/Default.asp?VideoID=750

cheeky monkey said...

TWD-- I totally agree. Thanks for taking on this really important (but mostly ignored) subject. The cost to society--in people, resources, time, etc., is overwhelming when we consider what the "war on drugs" has gotten us-- overcrowded jails. The issue that really makes me mental is the mandatory minimum drug sentencing. Not for Bush kids of course, but the rest.

Taking power and discretion away from judges is such a fundamental problem in our legal system, and nowhere is this hand-tying seen more than in drug sentencing.
Why should a bright, smart, never been in trouble with the law man go to jail for 10 years for having recreationals?
It's insane. I look to Holland for a thoughtful and manageable drug policy. It's so much better and the citizenry is far better off. In fact, while my time in Amsterdam was limited, I felt that the vibe of safety and control was ideal-- drugs never mean violence and threats. it meant being in a certain place or cafe, and doing your own thing.

Peter V said...

If I were KING.... sorry; if I were the congress and president in one. The super politician "Congressent"; I would legalize all drugs.

You could tax them as tobacco and gas are taxed thus raising substantial tax revenues.

I can think of many logical and rational reasons to legalize grugs and few if any to not.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I agree on the drug legalization portion of the post.

And about the Iraq war link, I think in spite of the polemic tone and lefty spin James Fallows puts on his Feith interview, it does put some things in perspective and makes a few good points about what the planning process was like. Rather than "expect this" or "expect that", they tried to be flexible for any eventuality. And while you call it stupidity to know the dangers and hazards (as warned by the experts), and go on with it anyway, I personally am reminded of how a fireman runs into a burning building where everyone else is running out. He, too, knows the hazards, and perhaps Kerry would not be equipped to be a fireman. Perhaps neither would James Fallows, nor you. "I can't do this, because I expect the building to fall on me."

We see the same thing and call it different things, because our world-views are fundamentally different. Your world-view prompts you to think a President has to be replaced for taking on a difficult challenge and protecting America from a threat potentially far worse than Bin Laden (even without nukes, Saddam did have better equipment available to his operatives than BOX-CUTTERS). My world-view prompts me to believe that someone who slandered the veterans of Vietnam in 1971 isn't going to give a rat's ass about those serving in Iraq today, regardless of the slick, smarmy intoning of feigned sympathy and the wiping away of crocodile tears.

We are not going to be able to change each other's world-views, but I appreciate the degree to which we overlap and agree on other things, like drug legalization, and the need to kill terrorists as a matter of principle.

If you ever get a chance, visit the Vietnam War Memorial. Tell the survivors there, visiting the names of fallen comrades, that they are all war criminals, rapists, and thugs. And tell them Kerry sent you.

ALa said...

I also agree that pot should be legal and taxed as high as my damn cigarettes are! Make those stoners pay! LOL....

this we'll defend said...

----Rather than "expect this" or "expect that", they tried to be flexible for any eventuality.----

No, Cigman, instead the administration refused to prepare for the most likely scenario. That is incompetent.

------And while you call it stupidity to know the dangers and hazards (as warned by the experts), and go on with it anyway, I personally am reminded of how a fireman runs into a burning building where everyone else is running out. He, too, knows the hazards, and perhaps Kerry would not be equipped to be a fireman. Perhaps neither would James Fallows, nor you. "I can't do this, because I expect the building to fall on me."-----

No, Cigman, bad analogy. The Fireman didn't start the fire. And most firemen think fire prevention is the best way to put out a fire. And if the building is burning, and the fire chief says "we need hoses and axes" and the mayor says "nahh, the fire will put itself out, just run on in there anyway" - well, yes, I would hold the mayor responsible, and NO, I don't think it would be demeaning to the firemen. The administration ignored the dangers and hazards, and pretended they didn't exist. That was incompetent.

-------We see the same thing and call it different things, because our world-views are fundamentally different. Your world-view prompts you to think a President has to be replaced for taking on a difficult challenge and protecting America from a threat potentially far worse than Bin Laden (even without nukes, Saddam did have better equipment available to his operatives than BOX-CUTTERS).------

No, of course, as you know, that is not my (or Kerry's) worldview, but it is neat that sheer incompetence in foreign policy is couched in such noble language. I think the job of a president is to take on difficult challenges - but a successful and competent president uses good judgment. this one has not. Bottom line: the issue is not whether to fight the terrorists, but how best to win. And we are not safer now than before we invaded, and the Army said that would be the result, and the Army was right, and I don't think it was noble and just and right for him to invest our blood and treasure and leave us worse off for it, and that does not mean my worldview is afraid to face challenges or afraid to confront the enemy or even afraid to strike first even if the entire world disagrees. It means I want the president to be RIGHT, and if he and everyone else thinks it was the right thing to do then there is no blame. But if he goes against the professionals who know what they are talking about, manipulates intelligence, manipulates public opinion with misleading statements, and then fails to plan for success - that isn't brave and steadfast and noble. It is incompetent. I would fire platoon leaders who did that, and I expect more from the commander in chief. Bush didn't protect America, his policies threatened it, and he ignored (and ignores) the truth of the matter. 10 years from now if Iraq is a shining example to the Arab world of a secular, democratic, peaceful Arab nation - Bush will NOT have been proven right.

------My world-view prompts me to believe that someone who slandered the veterans of Vietnam in 1971 isn't going to give a rat's ass about those serving in Iraq today, regardless of the slick, smarmy intoning of feigned sympathy and the wiping away of crocodile tears.-----

Again, Cigman, he never did such things. But continue to twist and spin away. We'll pretend Tommy Franks didn't say on FOX NEWS that "those things did happen" when asked about what Kerry described. And look forward to Jan 20th and the beginning of the Kerry administration.

---------We are not going to be able to change each other's world-views, but I appreciate the degree to which we overlap and agree on other things, like drug legalization, and the need to kill terrorists as a matter of principle.---------

Me too.

-------If you ever get a chance, visit the Vietnam War Memorial. Tell the survivors there, visiting the names of fallen comrades, that they are all war criminals, rapists, and thugs. And tell them Kerry sent you.----------

I have visited it. But of course I never said such things - and neither did Kerry. Who said "all?" In today's Army there are rapists, murderers and thugs. And there were when I was in the Army. There have always been. But I wasn't one, and the vast majority of soldiers are noble, brave warriors. The fact that a tiny minority (less than that in civilian life) commit crimes doesn't tarnish the reputation of the greatest institution I have had the honor and privilege of belonging to, the United States Army. Especially when those that commit such crimes are held accountable and judged by a higher standard than in civilian life - and soldiers WANT that higher standard. But when such crimes are covered up, when officers know of such incidents and don't seek out and punish the evil-doers, then there is a major problem that must be fixed. And that is what Kerry spoke of, and he was right to do it.

And this is the fun part of blogging, as I said! :)

Johnny said...

Some comments: The part of the War on Drugs that I like the most is that it has created a ready-made Gulag. Every county in America has erected a big expensive half-empty jail in hopes of getting out-of-state or federal prisoners. Right now we have around 1% of the adult population in jail or prison, 3/4ths of whom are there for the horrible "crime" of voluntarily purchasing or selling a substance in a consensual commercial transaction (all figures courtesy of those pinko commies at Human Rights Watch, the same ones who condemn China and our government's embrace of China). We probably have the spare capacity to double that if we utilize the county jails. Plus the War on Drugs has turned into a War on Darkies. It is as if the drug laws were explicitly designed to disenfranchise black men -- 5% of all black adult males are in prison or jail, the vast majority (over 80%) of them for the "crime" of selling a substance to a consenting buyer or buying a substance from a consenting seller. BTW, black men and white men have about the same rates of serious crimes (rapes, murder, etc.). If not for the War on Drugs, incarceration rates would be similar for black men and white men. They are not.

Anyhow, here's the scary part of this ready-made gulag: If any tyrannical government ever seized power in America, this gives them an easy way to "disappear" over a million Americans without building a single hut or stringing a single strand of razor wire. Free the non-violent offenders (and they probably would since the advantages of keeping them in jail would be finished by then) and there's room for another million Amerricans in the New American Gulag. That would put 2 million dissident-Americans into an American Gulag. By contrast, Stalin kept the lid on the Soviet Union by putting about the same number into the Soviet Gulag, but from a population half the size of the current U.S. population. But still, a gulag capable of holding two million Americans for political crimes without a single strand of razor wire or a single guard hut needing to be built is nothing to sneer at. Start disappearing Americans into this gulag for the crime of, say, criticizing the President ("giving aid and comfort to our nation's enemies"), and you'll see political dissent disappear as rapidly as it did in Stalin's Soviet Union.

For the record: I don't think Bush or his Administration have any plans to do anything of the sort. I mean, we're talking about people so inept that they invaded Iraq with no real plan for governing it afterwards, planning a "November Surprise" is far beyond them. My worry is about some future President who inherits the powers that we've given the federal government through the Patriot Act, who inherits this ready-made gulag, and who is neither as incompetent nor as disinterested in absolute power as George W. Bush (for better or for worse, while George obviously likes being President, it's unclear whether he actually has any interest in *governing*, thus wby people like Cheney, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld drive policy in his administration rather than the President himself doing so).

In short: American democracy is safe in November. But the existence of a ready-made gulag, in combination with the powers given to the government via the War on Drugs and the War on Terror such as the power to seize any man's property at any time as "drug proceeds" (no criminal prosecution required, no conviction of a crime required) , make the future of American democracy look far dimmer than was the case even a decade ago.

vrangel said...

...Hey Johnny, where are you going with that gun in your hand ?...

My late grandfather told me about his time in Stalin's Gulag. Facilities to hold millions of prisoners didn't exist, prisoners were packed like sardines without air, food or water. Many died at this stage. Survivors were forced to build deathcamps for themselves. Many more died from lack of food, exposure to elements and backbreaking labor.
My grandfather survived because he had skills necessary for Gulag, he was a carpenter. Unlucky intelligentsia, clergy, peasants and all others without useful skills became mass grave fodder.
Availability of prisons is not a concern for tyrannical regime. If prisoners die, so much the better...

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

TWD, "the administration refused to prepare for the most likely scenario. That is incompetent."

Did D-Day go perfectly? Did Ike plan for the 101st Airborne to get blown off-course and scattered by the weather? You're so eager here, to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I'm at a loss as to how you can possibly accomplish anything at all, thinking as you do that the possibility of any bad thing happening should stymie you from doing it. And I'm still waiting for you to vent that FDR should have been replaced because WWII was not perfectly planned.

"The Fireman didn't start the fire."

Nor did Bush turn Saddam into a madman.

"'we need hoses and axes' and the mayor says 'nahh, the fire will put itself out, just run on in there anyway'"

This is your bad analogy. It's more like "to sufficiently put out the fire we'll need 500 hoses and 200 axes, and we only have 200 hoses and 100 axes". And Mayor Bush says "well we can't just not put out the fire--we'll have to do our best with what we can scrounge up." Mayor Kerry would have said "nope, can't do it, gotta let it burn, insufficient hoses and axes."

Plus it doesn't pass the test of whether every citizen of the town has given permission to fight the fire.

"yes, I would hold the mayor responsible"

But not Mayor FDR for the Kasserine Pass? Or for how the Battle of the Bulge started out? How about Mayor Churchill for Dunkirk? Will you ever be consistent in your assessments, or just all partisan, all the time?

"I think the job of a president is to take on difficult challenges"

But only if 100% of the world is on-board for it and only if 100% of all the manpower needed is readily available. How nice.

"And we are not safer now than before we invaded"

That cannot be known. You're asserting the consequent, here, fallaciously. We do know that Qaddafi decided he doesn't want to be the "next Saddam", and Syria doesn't either. Iran is froggy still, but they're now outflanked.

"and that does not mean my worldview is afraid to face challenges or afraid to confront the enemy"

Only if the planning is imperfect and 100% of the world isn't on-board for it. Good bravery there, Sarge. Good way to inspire the troops.

"or even afraid to strike first even if the entire world disagrees."

Whoops, no more "global test" here? This Kerry kung fu is amazing. It both is and isn't at the same time. Schroedinger's Foreign Policy Cat.

"It means I want the president to be RIGHT"

The President can only be as right as the CIA and others feeding him information. Introducing a Magic Kerry isn't going to make the CIA magically better, much as you want to believe it will be so.

"and if he and everyone else thinks it was the right thing to do then there is no blame."

JFK was wrong, then, not to invade Cuba during the Missile Crisis, because "not everyone else thought it was the right thing to do". I see.

"manipulates intelligence"

Unestablished, vacuous accusation.

"manipulates public opinion with misleading statements"

Sure, why not tell all the terrorists that our President is a liar (on no evidence whatsoever), and then say you're helping the war effort.

"I expect more from the commander in chief."

Not from FDR though. Not from Lyndon Johnson. They didn't plan perfectly either. But then, those were Democrats, so that makes it okay.

"he ignored (and ignores) the truth of the matter."

While we're on the subject of the truth of the matter, why not explain this video which shows massive slaughter of the insurgents. And why not explain why your comrades in the leftist news media refuse to air such footage? Could it be because the premise of "losing the war" is a lie? Why is it we only see the beheadings and the IEDs, but never the insurgents getting whacked? Why do you guys fear Americans knowing the WHOLE truth?

"he never did such things."

'I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of others in that I shot in free fire zones, used harassment and interdiction fire, joined in search and destroy missions, and burned villages.' --John Kerry, 1971

Proven wrong again. You can't hide the sun by putting your hands in front of your eyes.

Army of GENGHIS KHAN ring a bell?

"Who said 'all?'"

My bad, THOUSANDS. It's so close to ALL that it begins to conceptually blur, after a time. He's only come up with a handful of real such cases, all of which were prosecuted, so he is (and you are) short of THOUSANDS by, well, THOUSANDS.

"In today's Army there are rapists, murderers and thugs. And there were when I was in the Army."

It's intellectually dishonest to imply that this is what John Kerry was talking about in 1971. Putridly so. The purpose of the Winter Soldier lies and disinformation campaign, was not to make known what everybody already knows, about any military force always having some unknown criminal elements lurking within them. He'd have no purpose testifying that to J. William Fulbright, now would he? He may as well be there to say, "and oh by the way, our unifroms are GREEN!"

The purpose of it was the destroy the war effort, and Kerry bought the garbage spewed by the Soviet agitators hook, line, and sinker, in Detroit. Talk about bad judgment.

ktisyy4u said...

Sorry, just too simplistic. Drugs that are 'habit forming' are just the tip of a medical iceberg.

Even ‘non-addicting’ drugs destroy families. The act of altering ones state of mind is addicting in and of it’s self.

Seems to me the government can’t manage the money it has now, I see no need in giving any more for it to squander in the form of taxes from drug sales.

Thank you for your service to our country. It is truly appreciated.