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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Should we keep up the fight against drugs?

I've been pleasantly surprised to have a civilised discussion with someone on Facebook. He makes the points that the ban hasn't worked and illegal drugs aren't controlled for quality; if legalised they can be controlled and the tax used for education and medical treatment; drugs have always been around and shouldn't be in the hands of ruthless dealers who will sell to anybody; we should legalise, regulate, educate and tax.

Fair points, well made.

I reply:

"The PTB have quietly abandoned any serious attempt to tackle the trade over the last 40+ years, partly because they, their pals and sons and daughters indulged themselves, so we don't know what might have happened if they'd got a grip instead.

"And drugs used to be taken in a socially controlled context - e.g. the old men past work sitting under the Tree of Idleness in Kyrenia. Even here not so long ago, pub landlords were supposed to manage drunkenness.

"It's not just the physical harm aspect - alcohol is plenty bad too - though the way drugs get to us also involves harm (perhaps a phial of victim blood should be attached to every baggie, as a reminder?) - it's that with young people, it's like tying their legs together at the start of the hundred-yard dash, so that if and when they're ready to start a career they're years behind their contemporaries. There's lots of youngsters struggling against it - I've known at least one teenage Asian lad (re)turn to Islam in an attempt to get himself off what he called "bud, Bu-ddha"; unfortunately the meditation disc he was given to listen to segued into a Jew-hatred harangue once the trance was well on...

"But there's big money to be made in this, as well as tax, so I expect it can't be stopped.

"People cite Prohibition in the US as though it was a failure - it wasn't (and it didn't forbid drinking alcohol - only commercialising it.). It was repealed because the Depression had set in and the government needed money, plus the brewers and their workers saw an opportunity to better their fortunes."

And now that our government is strapped for cash, here we go. Please, not Mr Branson, though.

9 comments:

Paddington said...

Prohibition made things much worse. The government poisoned thousands of its own people and made organized crime much more powerful.

Sackerson said...

I don't think that's the whole scorecard. Fewer deaths from cirrhosis, lethal alcohol overdose? I'd be interested to see a dispassionate analysis.

As to the poison story:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/government-poison-10000-americans/

Paddington said...

In other words, the government ended up poisoning thousands.

Sackerson said...

Bit like additives to ? meths. There's lots of other ways previous governments have been unbelievably harsh by our standards.

And it doesn't invalidate the Prohibition case per se.

Again, brewing and drinking alcohol were not forbidden by Federal law. What individual States did, I don't know, but again we should separate implementation issues from the principle.

James Higham said...

Hmmmm, in two minds on this one, which helps no one.

Paddington said...

Me too. I hate being told what to do.

Sackerson said...

@P, @J: That is because we are moving into an era when the people are being managed not through coercion but their desires.

Note for example how British politicians have been inserting the phrase "I want" into public statements of policy.

And the spread of infantilism generally.

Commercial advertising makes it clear that those who are past childhood have not put away childish things.

From bread and circuses to drugs and Xbox: keep them on the titty bottle.

Paddington said...

I am not generally a conspiracy theorist, for many reasons.

I don't think that the people in charge are making the populace infantile. They are taking advantage of it. It all fits with a pet peeve of mine, that so many deride science, yet take full advantage of the benefits thereof, without a hint of understanding. Some of the worst offenders are the managerial class, who demand results on a timetable.

Sackerson said...

I'd accept that the PTB simply exploit infantilism; and do nothing much to counter it.