Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Charles

Is it moral to be in the drug business?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Question: In other topics I have discussed how certain industries, specifically to do with entertainment, might not be rationally acceptable as they rely on other peoples misgivings. I ask this; What does one make of the drug dealer? a viable market or not? Ill break it down a little, as there are many scenarios...

a) The student who grows weed and sells it to his friends/socially...or

B ) The dealer selling large quantities of a drug such that is a a gray area, legally speaking...

c) The Cocaine dealer at the top of the chain who lives and functions outside countries to which he sells...

Interested to hear some opinions on this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Question: In other topics I have discussed how certain industries, specifically to do with entertainment, might not be rationally acceptable as they rely on other peoples misgivings. I ask this; What does one make of the drug dealer? a viable market or not? Ill break it down a little, as there are many scenarios...

a) The student who grows weed and sells it to his friends/socially...or

B ) The dealer selling large quantities of a drug such that is a a gray area, legally speaking...

c) The Cocaine dealer at the top of the chain who lives and functions outside countries to which he sells...

Interested to hear some opinions on this...

All of those should be legal, but (with the possible exception of marijuana) being a drug dealer is completely immoral. You aren't creating values - you're destroying them. You're relying on the irrationality of your customers in order to make a living, and that's illegitimate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All of those should be legal, but (with the possible exception of marijuana) being a drug dealer is completely immoral.  You aren't creating values - you're destroying them.  You're relying on the irrationality of your customers in order to make a living, and that's illegitimate.

The real problem with drug dealers is the manner in which they do business.

And that's where the government has shown incredible lack of moral fortitude and common sense. It's truly amazing how many of us understand the amorality of gangsters yet the government seems so inept and impotent in dealing with them.

Drug dealers, like other forms of organized crime, stake out territories. They also coerce their clients, and, if they sense competition, deal with it by force.

It's a good idea to take this market away from them- by legalizing recreational drugs.

So what's going to happen when "recreational drugs" are legalized?

Depends upon the "legalization".

Currently, we have prescription drugs, controlled substances, courtesy of the FDA and its irrational rulings.

All of this makes the solution of the illicit drug business all that more difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak for DPW's reasons, but based on my observations and experiences, there are some people for whom the occasional hit of weed is not much different than drinking an occasional beer. Like alcohol, it's very destructive in excess, and some people shouldn't do it at all. For instance, I used to smoke weed when I was a teenager, and just a couple of hits would make me pass out and drool on myself. :P But I knew people who could smoke occasionally and in moderation without being noticibly impaired... so I wouldn't dogmatically say "it's always bad," any more than I'd damn somebody for having an occasional drink.

Incidentally, I've known more than a few people who occasionally used cocaine as a social recreation -- again, in relatively small doses, like having an occasional drink. I'd go so far as to say that all things considered, provided it's used in moderation, cocaine is a less destructive drug than weed. I'd be more likely to get in a car with somebody who had just done a bump of coke than with somebody who had just taken a hit of weed or had a beer, for instance.

I can't think of any other drugs which I would consider possibly appropriate as occasional recreation, other than alcohol, weed, and coke. And, by the way, I'd have to spend a day qualifying what I mean here, so just consider my comments to apply only to the "best case scenario" -- that is, a person who is thoroughly responsible about his actions.

As for the morality of drug dealers, there are SO many compounding factors that I can hardly answer the question. Drug sales are illegal, and most of the people at the top of the line are hardcore violent criminals. So by involving oneself in that market, one is supporting that sort of violence, which is of course not moral. Most drug dealers are also rather unprincipled about their sales. A bartender, for instance, will cut someone off when it becomes apparent that he's had too much to drink; a typical drug dealer will never turn down a customer, unless he thinks there's a security risk involved. To this end, though, it might be worth talking about the responsibilities of a bartender. If a bartender has a customer who comes in every night and gets totally smashed, does he have a responsibility to eventually tell the customer not to come back until he gets his life together? There's also the fact that marijuana has valid medical purposes, which means that whatever else you think about it, there's at least one clear case in which it is thoroughly moral to provide someone with access to weed.

I don't think it's possible for someone to morally sell cocaine in the current legal system, though I'm open to argument. I can certainly see a case where it'd be moral to sell weed: for instance, if one grows one's own marijuana and sells it to moderate recreational or medical users. (I'm putting aside the possibility of being arrested, which seriously complicates the issue -- it probably means, I think, that one would have to have a serious personal value at stake, such as a loved one who needed the weed for medical reasons.) If drugs were legalized, though, I think the possibility of it being a moral market could be much greater. Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd go so far as to say that all things considered, provided it's used in moderation, cocaine is a less destructive drug than weed
Yikes! Considering the health effects of cocaine (In comparison to Marijuana which has never killed a soul) I'm not sure I would risk saying that.

I would have to say their are several confounding variables.

One of them is the route of administration. If cocaine is smoked in the form of crack, its very dangerous (because of how quickly it gets from the lungs to the brain) yet some cultures (largely agrarian) chew on cocaine leaves during the workday to increase their output. Similarly, THC brownies are less disastorous both in their perceptual and lung consequences.

Another is the interaction between somebodies personality/genetic makeup and the particular drug. Giving cocaine to somebody who is manic is probably not the best Idea, and giving marijuana to somebody who is not in control of their anxiety isn't a good idea either.

" I can certainly see a case where it'd be moral to sell weed: for instance, if one grows one's own marijuana and sells it to moderate recreational or medical users."

Roads are still public, and reliable usable tests have not been developed for determining if someone smoked Marijuana a day ago vs. a month ago. (which would mean that It couldnt easily be determined if they were "under the influence" if they killed a family of 6) Since Marijuana slows reaction times significantly, it would not be moral to sell Pot to someone whom you could not trust not to endanger others with. If Marijuana was first Decriminalized (making it only an offense fineable by a small fine, and allowing research) it is likely that a freer market would allow for companies to develop a test that takes more reliable and accurate samples. At the very least it would save a shitload of money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I haven't done a lot of research on the topic, but I recall hearing from some reliable source that cocaine -- again, if used in moderation -- has negligible long-term health effects. I'd agree that smoking crack is always bad, though. (I think that's pretty obvious.) What I meant was this: in general, assuming moderate consumption, a person who does coke will be more aware and more capable than a person who smokes weed. So at least in terms of mental effects, I'd say weed can be worse.

Roads are still public, and reliable usable tests have not been developed for determining if someone smoked Marijuana a day ago vs. a month ago... Since Marijuana slows reaction times significantly, it would not be moral to sell Pot to someone whom you could not trust not to endanger others with.

Well, that's true... but I worry about making something illegal just because it can be abused. I mean, the same argument could be used against cold medicines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd go so far as to say that all things considered, provided it's used in moderation, cocaine is a less destructive drug than weed

I was under the impression that cocaine would leave a heavy physical dependency even in relitivly small doses. That alone should set it apart from "weed."

As for the argument about public roads...

Anything CAN be harmfull, anything CAN be used to violate the rights of others. The law should only punish people who DID use it that way. Driving on drugs should be treated the same as driving drunk. Do we/should we prohibit alchol? No. You should prohibit the dangerous (to others rights, that is) usage of a substance, not the substance itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or the way I usually explain what RH says above is:

The law should stick to regulating harmful behavior, not mere consumption or possession (when it comes to drugs/alcohol).

VES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What makes marijuana an exception?

Matt basically got it right. It has relatively no health risks (although it did recently earn its first recorded death), and while it is my view that any act of deluding one's consciousness is immoral, I'm not willing to state that as a fact.

I was under the impression that cocaine would leave a heavy physical dependency even in relitivly small doses. That alone should set it apart from "weed."

No. What happens is, cocaine has sharp (although not intense) "come down" effects, which are the root of addiction. That's why marjiunana cannot be addictive in the way other drugs are - it has no come down effects.

As per physical dependency, that's a myth. The only drug that you can become literally physically dependent on (that is, die from detoxing) is, as far as I know, alcohol, but physical dependency takes a long time to develop and is a much different phenomenon than addiction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, that's true... but I worry about making something illegal just because it can be abused. I mean, the same argument could be used against cold medicines.MB
I guess that I think that what I am arguing is that incremental decriminalization will come first you won't see people out advocating Complete legalization for quite some time

Driving on drugs should be treated the same as driving drunk. Do we/should we prohibit alchol? No. You should prohibit the dangerous (to others rights, that is) usage of a substance, not the substance itselfRH

thats what I am saying, at present, there is no sure way to tell on the scene of a car accident if somebody is under the influence of marijuana (perhaps if they are bombed, but not always). The signs just aren't always that overt, and absent private roads, or a reliable testing device, that means that prosecution would be very difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As per physical dependency, that's a myth. The only drug that you can become literally physically dependent on (that is, die from detoxing) is, as far as I know, alcohol, but physical dependency takes a long time to develop and is a much different phenomenon than addiction.

why do you define physical dependency as that which you could die from withdrawel? Headaches, tremors etc are not chosen behaviors and can not be changed by "thinking differently"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
why do you define physical dependency as that which you could die from withdrawel? Headaches, tremors etc are not chosen behaviors and can not be changed by "thinking differently"

Not directly, although choosing not to take the drug will eventually change them. But notice that I wrote "literal physical dependency." Certainly there are serious physical withdrawl symptoms is certain cases (although they are much more mild, and much less common than one would think).

In any case, physical dependency is not, generally, what keeps addicts addicted. What keeps them addicted is a certain mode of thinking, or more accurately, not thinking. They are stuck on the perceptual level - to rid themselves of their addiction, all they have to do is rise to the conceptual level. If they do that, staying clean is easy - not effortless, but easy.

But let's be clear - I'm not talking about willpower. I'm talking about a very specific approach to addiction based on an understanding of how the subconscious mind works, and how one should use one's conscious mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all recreational drug use is immoral, but on different levels.

Leaving aside health and legal issues - "recreational drugs" are either a bad short-cut to a legitimate state of mind that can achieved on a reality-based approach, or creates a completely unnecessary and unbeneficial state of mind.

Emotions are properly the product of our automatic evaluation of reality. Recreational drug users use chemicals to bypass reality, and get straight to the state of mind and the sensations that the emotion produces. Only now these become completely meaningless.

This makes it harder and harder to have real motivation. If before you would get exhilirated by investing time and effort and read Atlas Shrugged, now you can get similar sensations from snorting some powder.

Prodos.com features a series of two great interviews on this subject. One with two recreational users, the other with Dr. Kenner and Dr. Bernstein.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
*his entire post*

I agree with everything you said.

I'll also add that Don really knows what he's talking about on this issue. We have discussed this at length. His theory of addiction falls right in place with what I know to be true from personal observation, and I've had well over my fair share of dealings with both recreational and abusive drug users.

The problem of addiction lies entirely within the mind - NOT the substance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Matt basically got it right.  It has relatively no health risks (although it did recently earn its first recorded death),

I'm skeptical of this. I'd like to see some information if you have it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Or the way I usually explain what RH says above is:

The law should stick to regulating harmful behavior, not mere consumption or possession (when it comes to drugs/alcohol).

VES

Question: As a police officer, do you feel obligated to enforce consumption/possesion laws, despite your opinion that they are unethical?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm skeptical of this. I'd like to see some information if you have it.

First Marijuana Death

The original article is no longer available, although I do remember reading it at the time. The story may have been refuted, by the way. I'm not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm inclined to dismiss this "marijuana death" as unfounded. There was no scientific evidence posted; in fact, a couple of posts pointed out that the newspapers even failed to provide any evidence of HOW marijuana killed this man. They merely stated "it did."

P.S. In Europe, it is standard practice to mix tobacco with marijuana, and tobacco IS a known killer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Matt basically got it right. It has relatively no health risks (although it did recently earn its first recorded death), and while it is my view that any act of deluding one's consciousness is immoral, I'm not willing to state that as a fact.

Yes, I can see now how, at least, some drugs are immoral for different, less serious reasons, than others...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm inclined to dismiss this "marijuana death" as unfounded. There was no scientific evidence posted; in fact, a couple of posts pointed out that the newspapers even failed to provide any evidence of HOW marijuana killed this man. They merely stated "it did."

Me too. Since when are coroners in the business of discovering new ways to die?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Question: As a police officer, do you feel obligated to enforce consumption/possesion laws, despite your opinion that they are unethical?

My chosen obligation to enforce the law does not always permit me to be selective about it's prosecution. The fact of whether I would prosecute a drug case would depend primarily on whether I can prove the elements of the offense. Yes, in most instances I would be legally obligated if the elements of the offense could be proven. I do not think that enforcement of drug laws (at my level) is so egregious that I would give up the occupation (and enforcement of all otherwise ethical and moral laws.) There is in fact, quite an amount of violence and death resulting for the illegal trade of narcotics. Yes, that is primarily DUE to it's illegality, but I cannot individually change that. However, as Betsy previously alluded to, I think it would be hypocritical / unethical for me to seek employment with the DEA. I cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater as they say.

That said, I do not actively seek to enforce drugs laws. They have always been secondary offenses to seeking an arrest for other purposes (warrants, assaults, traffic arrests, etc.)

VES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
being a drug dealer is completely immoral. You aren't creating values - you're destroying them. You're relying on the irrationality of your customers in order to make a living, and that's illegitimate.

This I think is the main point in this issue, and many others besides.

Is making a profit off the irrationality of others morally acceptable? Are not we encouraging this immorality through creating certain products?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This I think is the main point in this issue, and many others besides.

Is making a profit off the irrationality of others morally acceptable? Are not we encouraging this immorality through creating certain products?

Well, the first question is, morally acceptable to whom? Would you want to make a living by pandering to the irrational, i.e., the anti-life? Would that serve your best interests? The answer is that it obviously would not. To make a living by producing destruction, even if doing so is legitimate in a legal sense, is to commit yourself to the destruction of values. To do so in the name of pursuing your values is the worst sort of contradiction.

Remember, work is not merely about gaining material rewards. Even if you could make a million dollars selling splotches of paint, would it be in your interest to do so? Did Roark sacrifice his vision and build the way potential customers wanted him to build just to make a few bucks?

The point is not to attempt to reverse cause and effect: first create values, and then make a killing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...