74 comments posted · 4 followers · following 0

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 2 replies · +4 points

I fail to see how choosing to imbibe any narcotic, whether legal or illegal, in a manner that does not lead to harm to others or self* is intrinsically irresponsible. Nor does everyone drink, smoke or use drugs to escape or hide from their problems, some just do it for fun, is that irresponsible? Even some of those that do have problems only partake of a drink or use drugs for that momentary if artificial soothing of the stress before meeting those problems head-on the next day which is not dereliction. For that matter some people read books or play games for that momentary bit of escapism to a fantasy world away from their real world problems and that is not considered irresponsible I'm sure.

Given that usage of drugs both legal and illegal are not a priori acts of irresponsibility your thesis appears to fall there on that criteria.

Also, last time I checked, your definition of what constituted proper responsibility for people to observe is not an objective universal standard that can be appealed to. I don't subscribe to that view and thus will not subscribe to anything based upon it unless it can be shown to be reasonable and as drugs are simply not a self-evidently irresponsible product, it seems unreasonable.

In fact would you not find this talk of responsibility to almost be a statement of doctrine given that anything which questions must, if I understand you right, be self-evidently poor because it is taken to be making cheap excuses to abrogate this prime responsibility as you define it. If you're just looking at my entire argument as an excuse to dodge this vaunted quality you hold to be inviolable it'll hardly be surprising if you ultimately find reasons of any stripe to reject it all.

"I'm going to do one general response to all of this and may get to do more detailed responses later."

Yeah sorry about that, I'm given to expounding at length when something piques my interest.

* I do not consider isolated cases of over-indulgence or the mere fact of being high or drunk to constitute harm to self in this context, harm is manageable.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 2 replies · +4 points

Seriously!? You want to advocate for the disposal of those deemed to be "harming" society? May I ask what constitutes a "harm" to society and who decides this? Are irresponsible people a harm to society, should the irresponsible people be disposed of? That's a bit over the top from where I'm sitting and I think we should have a death penalty for the worst and most unambiguous cases; like Breivik.

Mr quawonk's comment is not an argument from emotion, it was a rebuttal to the honestly snide and needless insinuation that they were not being rational; done by illustrating your own lack of rationality in advocating murder. What I think has more in common with an argument from emotion is the expressed desire to kill people because they're breaking the law and apparently we can't have that, we can't because the law here is considered a sacrosanct entity and beyond challenge, therefore we must crush and kill those who dare to challenge it to protect society from harm. It's not really about dealers, it's that someone is not paying obeisance to the holiest of holies, law. Perhaps I am reading into it ideals which are not there, but it sure comes across as viewing law as king and what's law is simply right no questions asked.

And no there is nothing rational whatsoever in advocating the killing of people for trivial infractions like selling a narcotic product. Especially when we manage to get it wrong so often as it is never mind a vast increase in death sentences. Do we hold the car dealer responsible for the person who misuses the vehicle? Do we hold the gun shop responsible for the person who misuses the weapon for criminal activity? So why is the dealer beholden to the acts of the users, why are they held accountable for otrher peoples irresponsibility? That's the only harm that won't vanish with legalisation, the misuse by certain users.

Btw legal drugs are very relevant to this topic whether the legalisation advocates raised it or not. That many more innocents are wrongfully jailed - I agree and it's deplorable - than sentenced to death is not, there still are wrongful death sentencing regardless of other errors.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 0 replies · +6 points

“Put this system in place for a few years and you’d almost totally eradicate the drug problem.”

Or we could stop seeing people choosing to use a substance whether drugs or alcohol as a problem to be eradicated and only view poor behaviour as an issue worth tackling. Most people drink without issue, most use drugs without issue, there is no problem save the one prohibitionist leaning folks invent by the circular argument of drugs are a problem because they are illegal and they’re illegal because they’re a problem. Seriously, where is this terrible harm that must be expunged? If we could jettison this fantasy that merely because it has been declared against the law it must therefore be wrong, well we’d be a lot better off.

Oh and no, you wouldn’t eradicate it, the method of delivery would amend to get around the proscriptions same as it always does. Violence may actually increase against law enforcement as one may as well shoot the arresting officer as go quietly; it’s hardly going to get any worse for the dealer. Might have a chance if we monitored and tracked everyone 24/7 but I think I’ll pass on living in that kind of dystopian land.

“The laws of supply and demand will take over and, if supply is virtually wiped out, […] society has a right to hold you accountable to it’s laws and rules.”

Yeah, it’s the law of supply and demand which has resulted in the complete failure of prohibition; people want it so other people will provide it because unlike alien spaceships narcotics actually exist. It’s been the complete failure to appreciate this simple fact which leads people to think that if they just get tougher then they’ll crush the problem. They’ve been trying to no avail to eradicate the supply, it’s not working.

It will never happen because executing people for non-violent acts is insanity, not a lack of guts, it’s bald regressive authoritarian nonsense. Authoritarianism which is a bad thing, it sets up people who for some reason confuse their personal life choices as the ones the entirety of society should live by and when they have religion we call the place a theocracy. It’s the flip side of freedom alright, as in you no longer have any save what the state grants.

As for being accountable to the law, does being on the books alone confer some quality of inviolable truth? Homosexual acts were against the law and still are in less evolved legal systems, are these laws just merely because the law sits on the statute books? Being stoned, hell even put to death for adultery is the law in some places, is that also kosher because it sits on the statute books? Society to be liveable may expect the participants to adhere to some basic rules but those should not extend to what people choose to imbibe, or read, or act so long as it is not harming others directly. But as you remark above it’s not just about societies rules it’s also about which society thinks it’s rules are best and other societies should emulate or else so long as the exporter of the better way has the power to do so.

So in the end you don’t really propose anything new, more of the same just tougher that’s never shown any utility in the last four decades. We could spend a few more decades throwing large sums of money at getting tougher failure or we could see the reality of our failures, and see if legalisation could produce a better result. It might not but it has more promise than killing people for trivial infractions and aping oppressive regimes.

That's what I think anyways and sorry for the multiple posts.


11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 0 replies · +7 points

“So how do I think we ought to fix the drug problem?”

Prohibition has not worked, didn’t work for alcohol and surprise, surprise it’s not working now either. We need a change of direction but these suggestions are not the solution. Now this, “The first order of business is that all convicted drug dealers, without exception, are put to death,” I’m sorry to say is a profoundly stupid notion; kill em all, really? Why don’t we do that for all crime if it’s such a wonderful retardant? Hook autocannons up to Gatsos and shred the speed limit violators with hot lead be they twenty miles or two over the posted limit, they’re speeding after all!? How does our close real world example of China who execute thousands, and often for drug offences, work out? A drug free utopia? Why no. All this never minding that the existing limitation of capital punishment still ends up killing complete innocents, a number that would sky-rocket with the immediate taking people round back for a bullet to the cranium after a rapid appeals process. Killing all drug dealers is absurd on the face of it and not something that civilised societies should be striving for, you kill less not more.

As for war, you know why you can’t have an actual war on drugs? Because you’ve got no tangible target, a diffuse global network across all continents does not lend itself to military action. There are no centers of production, no identifiable lines of communication, no unified command structure and no military to be faced. Nor is America the army of the world so you can’t just waltz in where you please to prosecute your war. Simply put, you can't have a war, especially when the justification is the civilian legal system for which the military is not the appointed agency of enforcement.

“Then we exercise actual zero tolerance.”

So zero tolerance wasn’t serious because the seized property was sold on the cheap? Sorry but the perps were still without their ill-gotten gains regardless of whether it was sold on the cheap or not and stunningly, it hasn’t worked. But this gets worse, if spouse and children were utterly unaware we’ll still punish em anyway, sins of the father and all that eh? No, killing someone for often non-violent offenses – thus completely negating any gain they may have enjoyed from illegal monies - just isn’t enough punishment we need more, society must have restitution.

“We also confiscate all of the drugs that currently are simply destroyed.”

Yes, they do that already, the problem is that the authorities only ever find relatively piffling amounts whilst most of it makes it to the end-user. You can’t destroy what you cannot find; one reason the “war” is such a failure.

“And for the users, we do not sent them to prison.”

Or you know, we can just let people choose whether or not they want to take this narcotic or that narcotic or alcohol and merely enrol for treatment those that cannot handle it and need treatment, with no presence of conviction at all. Far easier than this absurdity of imperiously declaring drugs to be wrongful and thus you who partake of them need fixing and by golly we’ll fix you.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 0 replies · +8 points

6) Yes, FOC as any proper national health service should do. Who pays? Ultimately the taxpayer, the same source paying the inordinately greater cost to keep all those “criminals” in chokey, and the large anti-narcotics regimen in operation. You could provide harm reduction initiatives where required and still have plenty left over without ever adding a small tax on the product. Btw declaring users as pathetic is stigmatising.

7) There is a responsible way to use drugs, just as most people responsibly use tobacco and alcohol without harm to anyone else. Yes there are those who cannot but I fail to see why the inability of the few translates to the majority being denied. We also have laws to handle the abuse of substances such as DUI laws that work, we simply don’t need to punish everyone.

As for their point on law, there is no absurdity here, a very valid criticism of people being made criminals merely by judicial whimsy. No, no sorry, that’s now illegal largely because we ahhh, said so, you’re a criminal now. It’s like declaring the lack of a beard illegal, blasphemy or the wearing of a burkha illegal. Yes those who fail to observe the new law are technically criminals but that’s the real absurdity, just because something is declared illegal does not mean it is a wrongful act.

8) Well without the prohibition, the details of which product brings more opprobrium would have never arisen.

9) The point on the worth of the trade is to indicate why it is pursued and why it will not be disappearing, it’s worth far too much and way more than slavery. The allusions to the slave trade are a false equivalency given that narcotic’s production, shipping and sale do not intrinsically require human beings to be mistreated and bandied about as mere commodities. The violence of the drug trade only exists because they have been made illegal.
The fact is that the narcotics trade is, in and of itself not harmful to the international community, it is an imagined harm created by the arbitrary declaration of narcotics as illegal as though the mere act of doing so magically renders it to be objectively so. If that invention did not exist, they would be traded as any other product is and no one would care. But due to the arbitrary declaration of some, others are expected to comply with foreign dictates or be punished for not moulding their laws in accordance with the bigger folks. If the US decided that to do business with it other nations must declare to be Christian nations would it be reasonable to punish those that did not comply?

10) Prohibition has been and continues to be a complete failure, despite the ever increasing budgets thrown into the “war” there has been no significant retardation of usage, in fact the opposite tends to be the result. I have no idea what “lacks the will” is to mean other than a suggestion that the thing should be wholly militarised, but given that terrorists can no more be easily found than cartels I don’t see much interdiction happening never mind the wholesale violations of sovereign territories all justified by the imaginary harm of an invention. Besides, they’ve been getting tougher for years since the whole thing started and what’s the result? Failure, abject failure because someone failed to account for supply and demand.

“Therefore, as seems to be the rationalization by drug-advocates, should we simply legalize murder?”

Hyperbole. Only by the most uncharitable reading could that conclusion be reached, it is an absurdity. If I murder you I rob you of your life, I directly harm another human being. If I smoke pot or partake of some other substance in my own home, you are not only unharmed but completely oblivious to it. It should never have been made illegal in the first place and as the whole effort to eradicate a relatively harmless activity has been an utter and costly failure, the numbers are a clear indication that prohibition does not work and it should be jettisoned. That’s pragmatism, not more pushing on getting tough.

As for your views on pathetic people living in fantasy worlds. Well I honestly couldn’t care less, you’re certainly entitled to view people any way you wish, you just don’t get to translate those views into prescriptions others must live by.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Ten Reasons (Not) to L... · 2 replies · +7 points

This will be long, can't do it any other way or at least can't. Also bar one particular notion which I unapologetically find incredibly erroneous I'm not trying to be abusive, apologies if anything comes off that way.

1) I don’t know what lies at the heart of problematic drug use, undoubtedly many factors some of which might very well be solved by attending to other causal factors. Some people may steal basics to survive; having more money either through welfare or an enforced liveable minimum wage would probably halt further theft by them. However, as was initially pointed out, most drug use is recreational and non-problematic, just like most people who drink are not alcoholics with drink problems. I agree that there is a degree of personal responsibility but it is not the sole determining factor. But if it is all a matter of responsibility then it implies that those who consider themselves responsible should have the choice to use or not use be it tobacco, alcohol or any other narcotic.

2) Do you know one reason why there is so much tax on tobacco products? It’s to provide strong encouragement to give up the habit in the service of national health, and if you insist well then you can pay the price. Yes this high price has provided an opening for the sale of contraband tobacco products but most people still seem to purchase their tobacco products from the legal avenues and not the shady ones. Just like most people buy from a store and not hot goods or counterfeit.

Unfortunately you appear to be conflating this point with four to extrapolate out this intent to sell to minors angle and make that the bulk of your argument saying little about the actual point. It is a trivial observation to note that prohibitions against the sale to minors hasn’t prevented access to alcohol and tobacco, and? So they’ll still access the currently illegal narcotics they are prohibited from accessing which they are accessing anyway; doesn’t look like much of a change.

If we legalised and regulated sensibly the sale of narcotics it would obliterate the criminal market, one that is so very lucrative precisely because they are the only source. The Mob gained power precisely because the government handed to them a lucrative market in illegal alcohol production and sale.

That said, I don’t agree with prescription access, as you say that is nonsensical as that will still leave most without access and whose only recourse will be the illegal market which would hardly notice the loss of a few medical users.

3) It would reduce crime, for the simple reason that if drugs are legal to obtain and legal to use then neither will land you in prison as they currently can. A large segment of the US prison population is there over drug related charges, if there were never any narcotic prohibition this population would be significantly reduced. It should go without saying that no one suggests that legalising drugs would make all crime vanish.

The cartels largely exist to operate their narcotic operations, much of the violence is related to this as they fight for territory, to enforce their will and silence problems if they cannot buy them. If they have no business then the investment of violence is no longer worth the return. There is a gulf of difference between legalising one and legalising all, obviously just legalising one drug would just shift the cartels to another, just like cracking down just moves them to another place or allows another cartel to take prominence. Legalise them all, however, and their other options dry up along with the bulk of their revenue from which they derive their power. Won’t eliminate them but it will likely make the problem significantly smaller.

4) It is not an argumentum ad populum for it is the simple observation that prohibition does not work because instead of going down after enforcement the numbers went up.

5) Yes it would, the same way proper dissemination of information allows people to make informed choices with any product including tobacco and its FDA mandated warnings. Whether the fact remains that many narcotics have no credible health positive is neither here nor there regards the provision of information, and the final sentence on corner shops and dime bags is wholly irrelevant to the point being answered.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - And They Call Whites R... · 2 replies · +1 points

I find it equally tiresome and cannot abide the double-standards and rank hypocrisy from these holier than thou types. I just wonder whether they knowingly act in this manner or whether they are so deluded and wrapped up in righteousness that they are incapable of seeing it.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Horror Show Sunday: It... · 2 replies · +1 points

"I've often said that just because you're an atheist doesn't make you necessarily rational and it's painfully true."

I initially thought otherwise some years back, thought that only those who had actually reasoned it through made that claim because it just seemed highly unlikely that anyone would just assume the label as they were more liable to just remain nominal Catholics. Of course by now I've been well disabused of that impression as I have that those who identify as skeptics will apply it without caveat, but there's so often some sacred cow that sits beyond question.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - And They Call Whites R... · 2 replies · +1 points

According to some circles, unless you are anything other than white then you are not even allowed to speak on the experiences and opinions of non-white peoples in matters of race and racism. You may only listen, listen and understand, then agree fulsomely or at the very least keep your yap shut; you don't get a voice because you're an oppressor. You see because of circumstances of history where Caucasian groups had an upper-hand over others that was abused - though often unremarkable for the periods - it somehow magically translates as only Caucasians can be racists QED. When the "oppressed" do it it's an act of empowerment and justified retribution against the oppressor, in a case of sins of the father - dang, that's probably gendered language - being sins of the children. The same shit that gets trotted out be it race, gender or orientation thus implying that the straight white male is perhaps the worst kind of scum there could be as they are lumbered with the sins of absolute strangers that just happened to be the same skin tone.

It truly is a marvel of twisted thinking that seeks to terminate counter-argument by pretending that the circumstances you were born in morally prohibits your voice, excuses abuses and hate directed against you and hand-waves away the fact that those on the supposed moral high-ground are the actual problem.

11 years ago @ Bitch Spot - Horror Show Sunday: It... · 2 replies · 0 points

"Religion has outlived its usefulness in the modern world."

Indeed but I wonder if what would replace it would look all that different or whether we'd be merely changing the drapes and little else. The past year and more has demonstrated that a good deal of those without traditional religion and who identify as 'atheist' in some fashion, have filled the space with new doctrines to which their reasoning, language and attitude towards outsiders is indistinguishable from the traditional theist. Then we've those noble paragons of social justice in whackyland who by their own words give me the distinct impression that oppression and abuse is very acceptable when it is the 'right' people being abused and oppressed.