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An Essay On Legalizing Drugs

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The following essayspeaks for itself, but I'll just preface: I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. I started chatting on a Libertarian Forum a few weeks ago and quickly found that even the supposedly pro-freedom Libertarians are suckers for all the fallacies that plague the "common" people, that is non-Objectivists. So here I am, looking for a rational groupd with which to discuss stuff and things.

BTW, the essay is Copyrighted, please note.

An Essay on Illegal Drugs

By Brandon Cropper

Theme: The illegalization of drugs creates more problems than it solves.

Many people say the War on Drugs is an abject failure. With over a million people in jail, drug use is as widespread as it has ever been. If the lives ruined by imprisonment and being marked for life as a felon are counted as casualties, the War on Drugs has had as many casualties as all other wars in American history COMBINED. (Civil War: 500,000, WWI: 120,000, WWII: 300,000, Korea: 57,000, Vietnam: 37,000, total: 1,014,000.)

It is my purpose in this essay to show that the government prohibition of drugs causes many more problems than it solves. But this should be kept in mind by the reader: the following examples and arguments are the practical end of the War on Drugs. On the theoretical end it is unjustifiable for the government to regulate drugs because the government exists in order to protect individual rights. Protecting citizens from their own self-destructive behavior is beyond the province of a government of justice, and enters the province of a government of tyrannical and coercive nature. The rights to life, liberty and property alone justify the argument that the government has no business prohibiting drugs.

However, many pragmatic Americans today believe that if the government can do some good in society by controlling drugs, it is justified in violating our rights and liberties.

This essay is intended to show that government control of drugs does only harm to society.

Any educated adult is familiar with the law of supply and demand. It is an elementary truth that for a given commodity in demand, when its supply diminishes, the price goes up. When its supply is copious and plentiful, the price will fall. This basic economic fact has an insidious effect in the Drug Wars: when the government “succeeds” in capturing a shipment, or reducing the supply of drugs, the price goes up. This increases incentive for people to commit ever more dastardly crimes to obtain the drugs which are diminished in quantity but not diminished in demand. As drugs become more expensive, possession of them becomes an ever-greater status symbol.

The crime associated with obtaining and distributing drugs is blamed for as much as 75% or more of the American crime rate. That is, if drugs were legal our crime rate would fall by up to 75%! This is often countered with the argument that if drugs were legal and widely available, crime would be even more rampant because “everyone would be high all the time.” Such an argument reveals two things: a blatant ignorance of history, because anyone who knows about Prohibition knows it caused crime to skyrocket, not fall; and a belief that our society is under a permanent, violent siege, an evil scourge of drug use, the effects of which our wise government is so benevolently mitigating. The exact point here is that government control of drugs increases their use and damage.

These facts are horrifying in themselves, but a closer look at the nature of crime created by drugs prohibition reveals an even more tragic side of the story. A great deal of crime today goes unreported because of the involvement of drugs. For example, a drug dealer may have his house broken into and ransacked by people looking for drugs. The break-in will likely not be reported because of the dealer’s distaste for officers of the law, whose primary goal is to send him to prison. The robbers are well aware of this fact, and use it to their advantage, stealing anything of value from cd’s to cash to guns to jewelry and so on. The drug dealer who has sustained the loss gets little sympathy from the public, and the police, ostensibly in existence to protect citizen’s rights, cannot be called to the scene for the very reason that they would quickly arrest (violate) the drug dealer.

Few people would take such injustice sitting down, and a person inured to the effects of extralegal justice would be likely to seek revenge on his own. The drug dealer then robs, shoots or kills the people who robbed him, with the result that the crime escalates from a mere monetary issue all the way to a violent death for the very simple reason that the cops are as much an enemy as the people who started the cycle by robbing the dealer. This extralegal justice is known as vigilanteism. It is created by the rapacious government law that exists allegedly to protect citizens from crime and violence.

By creating a need for vigilante justice, drug laws CREATE crime and escalate its violence.

There is yet another disastrous effect of drug prohibition: adulterated substances, or drug purity. It is a universal practice in drug dealing to “cut” or dilute the purity of drugs in order to increase the amount the dealer is able to sell, inflating his profits. The buyer may use the drugs, which are diluted fairly uniformly, without incident for weeks or months. Then a shipment or package comes through which is of higher purity than has been available for months or longer, or perhaps a new and inexperienced dealer sells some stuff without cutting it appropriately, with the result that users who had been accustomed to a certain dose now need much smaller amounts for the same high. But they don’t know that until they try the stuff. The result: inadvertent overdose, leading to hospitalization and often death.

Overdose is a danger inherent in using illegal drugs, but it is accompanied by other disturbing effects: when users hear of a death by “OD” rather than being afraid of the currently available substance, they actually desire it, seeking it more ardently because “That’s good stuff, pure man!” The death of a fellow-user attracts them to the source like flies to honey.

Another effect of adulteration is that a dealer can actually murder his customers if he sees fit, for example a customer seems to be putting him in danger by visiting too often, or committing crimes too visibly, so he sells the user some extremely pure stuff without telling him. Result: OD. Of course such murderers are immune to prosecution because of drug prohibition.

Lastly, when an overdose occurs, the victim is frequently left to die, not out of callousness of other users, but because by bringing him to a hospital or calling an ambulance they place themselves at risk of imprisonment for involvement with the drug racket. The vast majority of “OD Deaths” would not occur if drugs were legal. (Certainly some still would occur, just as occasional deaths from alcohol poisoning occur.)

The final and most prevalent effect of drug prohibition is the creation of a status symbol out of otherwise mundane substances. Everyone knows that Coke-A-Cola had cocaine in it originally. Back then, the local pharmacy or apothecary had supplies of the drug in various forms. It is obvious that the drug was not at that time a status symbol. When it becomes illegal, this is no longer the case. Suddenly, the guy with a fat bag of coke is the Man at the party. All the girls want to get with him tonight, all the guys admire him, want to be him. Whatever the cool guy does, others emulate. This effect is highly visible in the drug culture today: although it is known and accepted that a person dealing large quantities will sooner or later be jailed, he is admired and esteemed while “at the top.” Whole styles and fads are based on the possessions of wealthy drug dealers, some present examples being a big Cadillac, lots of “bling” (diamonds and gold), beautiful women hanging on each arm, a chrome pistol, and tattoos. A jail record is also a mark of prestige.

Such is the effect of illegalizing drugs. Whole new markets are created out of what was before an inane ingredient in soda pop. Today we put caffeine in soda. If it were illegalized, people would be paying $100 a gram and shooting it into their veins in no time. People would be shot, killed, robbed, raped for the new equivalent of vivarin.

It is possible to turn heroin back into the boring drug called Laudanum in the 1800’s. Its possible to put coke back into soda, and get it off the streets and out of the hands of gun-wielding thugs, who are all-too-often our own children.

LEGALIZE. For the sake of rights, freedom and justice, legalize all drugs completely.

For the sake of our children, for the sake of the good, for the sake of our wallets, for the sake of our liberty, LEGALIZE!

The End

Copyright 2006, Brandon Cropper

brandonjesse (at) hotmail (dot) com

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