Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Drugs: et tu, "Brute"?

I note that Bruce Anderson wants to legalise drugs. The usual arguments: the war on them has failed,  and we could have all sorts of safeguards if we legalised them (I'm reminded of the New Labour stock phrase, "make sure").

Then the commenters weigh in: hey, just look at the damage done by alcohol and tobacco. They skate over the fact that the damage with A&T occurs despite all the ostensible safeguards.

Besides, the war on every crime has failed. Except possibly body-snatching.

Back in 2009, I reproduced an article by a doctor who really knows about drugs and alcohol, and addiction, and who is far from sure that legalisation would increase our liberty. I was even promised a reply / rebuttal by "Charon QC", who I'm sorry to say (he's a courteous man and argues fairly) never got around to it.

So here's the challenge: don't answer me - answer Anthony Daniels' arguments. Here they are, yet again.

Or at least explain the real agenda. Because I've yet to be convinced decriminalization would (taking all effects into account) save money, cause less inconvenience or improve health or productivity. We might like to think so, but it's funny how reality differs from our expectations.

Will somebody on the libertarian side please, finally, take the debate seriously?

10 comments:

Captain Ranty said...

whats wrong with whacky baccy???

Sackerson said...

Just asking people to actually look at the arguments. Why doesn't anyone follow through? I've given the link to my earlier post from 2009 where Daniels' article is reproduced in full.

Paddington said...

I would argue that the evidence is quite good from the experiments in Liverpool and Zurich.

James Higham said...

The question's not why decriminalization but why criminalization in the first place? The science on it has been shown to be about as good as an NPCC scientists.

Sackerson said...

So, still no takers for the simple challenge.

Paddington said...

I thought that I did. With the experiments I cited: they were cheap; crime went down, as users no longer had to steal to support their habit; many users were able to get useful jobs on maintenance doses; they were made to take blood tests and use the stuff on-site to prevent resale; pushers moved away.

Sackerson said...

Daniels does touch on the Zurich example, contrasting it with the free methadone system in Liverpool. I'm not sure how well Switzerland can perform as a typical example; it's seems to be a much more (self?) controlled society - we visited Zurich a few weeks ago.

Maybe things have changed in the 15years since Daniels wrote, but although I have referenced his article a number of times nobody seems to have read the mere 4,500 words he wrote, whereas many seem to have been prepared to read Verity's 15,000 argument in favour.

Paddington said...

It wasn't just methadone. They also worked with cocaine addicts in Liverpool. I watched a '60 minutes' piece on it, which was largely positive. They also discussed the Zurich model. Regardless of my personal feeling (I have seen too many people who have destroyed their lives, and my wife, a nurse, sees even more), the US' 'War on Drugs' is a monumental failure, generating murders and mistaken police killings, and massive corruption here and in Mexico.

dearieme said...

The drug business corrupts everything. We can't even keep the filthy stuff out of prisons. It must surely be worth abandoning prohibition.

Sackerson said...

Prisons? A whole can of worms there. If I had my druthers there'd be more jails and fewer slaps on the wrist (until criminals got the message, then I'd expect a decline in the prison population) - but I'd also see an end to theft, bullying and buggery in jail, none of which are judicial punishments.

I'd see jail as (a) a deterrent, (b) punishment - in terms solely of loss of liberty, (c) protection for society by segregating its tormentors, (d) a place where criminals can be taught to read, given employable skills, offered counselling, shown better patterns of behaviour and emotional control, and given a safe haven away from drink, drugs etc that confirm and exacerbate their self-destructive tendencies.