"War on Drugs"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Virtuoso, May 6, 2004.

  1. Mav, the 11% is not an 'average' tax, but the current <b>federal</b> excise tax on cigs. Add state and city taxes, and you're well over 26%...and that's before you even factor in the ordinary sales taxes.

    26% <b>total</b> taxes on cigarrettes would make them much cheaper. 26% total taxes on street drugs would make them incredibly cheap next to current black market prices, and law enforcement would be able to focus on real criminals for a change.
    Mav's usual confusion aside, I am quite glad that the majority of contributors to this thread can see things rationally & intelligently. Special kudos to Spect8or.
    #121     May 8, 2004
  2. Maverick74


    Alright, well, I'm not a smoker so you may be right after you add in state and local taxes. All the more reason why I absolutely hate all taxes. But what I don't understand is if these taxes are not a big deal, why do people go to such great lengths to avoid paying them. I mean here in Chicago, I know you live in the burbs, people are flocking to Indiana to buy cigs in bulk due to the recent tax increase in the city? Something is not adding up. It seems like these taxes are hurting people yet you portray them not to be such a big deal.

    And what about what happened in Canada when they raised taxes too much, they said they saw an increase in crime and Canadians flocked to the black market and organized crime took a big share of that market. I don't know man. Look, I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I am completely behind you on this issue although I disagree with you about taxes not being a big deal. I can't believe I am hearing this from a so called Ayn Rand Libertarian.

    All I'm trying to do here is make you think about your argument. You are too close to this issue and you are fanatical about it and it's clouding your judgement. Take a step back here and look at all the issues involved. Once you do that, your fight for legalization will become so much easier.

    See 90% of the reasons you give for legalizing I think are pure BS. However the one reason I agree with you on is that you should be allowed to do whatever you want to your own body, whether it's get high, get drunk, sleep with a hooker, or eat fried foods all day. I believe you are right that our country was founded on those principles.

    However where you hurt your cause is when you overstep your argument and manufacture all these other ancillary arguments that only lead to confusion and complicate the issue. Such as the gov't wasting 40 billion a year on the war on drugs. Dude, our gov't has a serious serious problem with wasting money in general and it has nothing to do with the war on drugs, it has to do with politics and money.

    Then you come up with this well, it will lower crime. Again, this statement is completely unfounded. Then you say the cartels will just throw in the towel and give up and the black market will cease to exist. What? Really? Did the organized crime go away after prohibition ended in the 1930's? No, it got much much stronger.

    Then you try to bring up well, these drugs are not any worse then alcohol and tobacco products. LOL. Didn't you learn in school that you can't make an argument defending bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior. I agree it's hypocritical to allow tobacco products to be legal and not pot, but come on, that's really not the argument you want to go with here. LOL.

    All I am saying is that I respect your passion on this issue. I rather see people stand up for what they believe in then just be apathetic and not get involved. I just think your argument for legalization would go so much further if you just kept it simple and left out this other bullshit.

    Just say look, I have a right to do whatever I want to do to my body. Period. That's a very very hard argument to go against. You really can't take the other side of that. It's only when you introduce all this political bullshit that your argument falls apart because people can easily take the other side of everything you are saying and they will win trust me. You don't have a leg to stand on these side issues. Just keep your message simple.

    And dude, don't except this illegal taxation premise, you don't need to pay exorbitant taxes to legalize drugs. That's when I start to lose respect for your cause because you are selling out at that that point. You are on your hand and knees begging. You don't need to do that. Don't sell your life to the gov't just to have legalized pot. If you are a true libertarian, and I am wondering at this point if you are, then stand up for your rights for minimal taxation and minimal government involvement in your life.

    Why you would want to settle for some watered down blunt sold by Merck with huge taxes tacked on just so you can do it freely in public vs in your own home is beyond me. But keep up the fight. Your cause is a worthy one, I am simply picking a semantical argument with you to see how well you really have thought this through. Good luck.
    #122     May 8, 2004
  3. ????? I think the fact that it is illegal has something to do with it! You apparently believe that whether or not an act is illegal is not a deterring factor at all. By your logic, if murder was no longer illegal, there would be barely a ripple in the increase of murders. Optional777/ART's ex-wife is alive solely because he feared the consequences. LOL.

    Furthermore, back in '88 the former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania quoted a study among New Jersey and California high school students which revealed that 70% of high school students in New Jersey and about 60% of the students in California said that fear of getting in trouble with the law constituted a major reason not to use drugs.

    A study conducted at the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, suggests that legalization of cocaine would result in a five- to six-fold increase in cocaine use. Dr. Robert DuPont, former director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse agrees, stating that legalization would increase the number of users of cocaine and marijuana to between fifty and sixty million, and the number of heroin users to around ten million.

    Gay people have just as much a right to be as happy or miserable as straight people. There are reasons why I don't like the concept of legalization, and I've posted them.

    Good grief, drug usage IS IN THE MAINSTREAM! As far as education, everyone knows drugs are bad for you, but that doesn't seem to really matter much. People determined to fuck themselves up will continue to do so. We've known smoking is bad for you for decades yet millions continue to puff away. Why? They're addicts. Legalization will hardly result in a blossoming of new educational measures.

    Show me a crystal meth user who does it "recreationally" and can function normally. I knew a guy in college who had used crystal meth for a year. Not only was that year a blur of wasted time, it took him three years of treatment to function normally. At the very least, admit that over time, hard drug addicts do not perform their jobs at pre-usage levels of competency.

    Besides what I've posted above, your argument, even if it was correct, fails to address the seriousness of escalating toward more potent and destructive drugs such as crack or crystal meth. I don't think you truly understand what hard drugs do to people.

    What a relief to know that some had jobs. How long did they have those jobs, and were they productive at them?

    Again, you don't know what crystal meth or crack does to people. When addicts aren't using, they're recovering and barely functioning.

    Any "legal entrepreneur" who starts manufacturing crack for example is going to be a sitting duck. The existing drug barons will kill him for sure. Anyone who tries this route is going to have to live with the prospect that they've been targeted by the cartels. Who's going to want to go into business with that hanging over their head?

    Only an existing big corp. would be willing to IMHO, and they would have to really beef up security for their installations, offices, and management. Is it really going to be worth their while? Besides, drugs are pretty cheap already. Corporations like to see their consumer base expand. Assuming you are correct about the drug user population not expanding, is that going to be acceptable to a corp?

    Besides that study I mentioned earlier, millions of kids smoke and drink alcohol. Why would it be any different with drugs?

    Innocents? LOL! Any drug dealer is not "innocent." They know what they're doing is illegal and has enormous consequences. Why are you so adamant about excusing people from personal responsiblity?!?

    Ah, the "this is my body I can do with it what I want" argument. The obvious flaw is that drug abuse affect others and results in enormous costs to society in lost productivity, insurance premiums, and higher taxes. That of course is only the money side of things. How do you measure the destroyed lives of the addicts, their families, and often innocent people?

    Do some research spec. Did you know that drug use correlates to child abuse? That more than half of the abusive parents in Philadelphia that killed their own children were coke fiends? That 80% of all child abusers in that city used coke? That in D.C. 90% of child abusers were drug addicts?

    How can you say there are no other victims when the children born to addicts are so horribly damaged? Do you know what the cost of caring for one crack baby is over its lifetime? Millions.

    If we could send all the addicts to a deserted island and just airlift in their drugs and fishing spears a la Survivor and not have to be concerned about them committing crimes, causing accidents, and having to pay for their medical care, etc. - in other words, cut them off entirely from non-using society - I would say go ahead and legalize.
    #123     May 8, 2004

  4. Hapaboy, the two obviously aren't related at all. Most people instictively recognise that that the only thing "wrong" with drug use is that it is illegal, not that only thing it exists for is to harm other people (as opposed to murder). And as far as being illegal being a detterant, I think it's only a small, small factor. Look, I was into drugs for many years. I was your classic "oh come on man, just give a try" kind of guy, who introduced a lot of people to drugs. No shit, I don't remember a single sole ever being put off trying because it was illegal. No doubt there are some, but then those types tend to be the ones that wouldn't do it even if it was legal.

    Lol. You really think that there exists a high school anywhere in the nation where 70% of the kids haven't done drugs? Double LoL if you do.

    In any case, legalization doesn't advocate making drugs legal to minors.

    And just a note, that study was 1988. Drug use among teens has exploded in the last 5 years, largely because of the popularity of and easy (EASY) access to xtc.

    Okay, obviously we'd need to really check out that study to get a proper read on what it's saying. I'm not just mindlessly dismissing it here, it's just that it doesn't really say much when we start throwing studies at each other (obviously I can find a few studies of my own) to prove our points. I don't think neither you or I want to go that far here -- obviously the future of drugs' status doesn't depend on the outcome of our discussion -- so we'll leave it to the 'experts' to dig up all the details.

    By 'mainstream' I meant something as mainstream as blueberry pie. No hiding, no embarassment, no stigma, no shame. Just a part of everyday life. Nevertheless, maybe you're right that this won't make a shred of difference to usage levels; maybe that will just be something we have to get used to.

    Christ, I have done crystal meth. A good friend of mine was in every way your classic 'recreational' user. You can believe what you want, but to ask me to deny my own experiences isn't really going to work. And whether drug users can perform their jobs adequately or not is obviously the personal problem of those drug users; why should you or I care about that?

    I've seen it with my own eyes. Remember I told you I agree how much drugs can fuck up a person's life.

    Not true, sorry. You're talking about the hardest of hard core. These are usually people with deep emotional problems that wouldn't 'function normally' drugs or no drugs. (Yes, such people exist, I do hope you remember!)
    #124     May 9, 2004
  5. That's the prospective entrepreneur's problem, isn't it? Besides, why wouldn't the current illegal suppliers of today simply become the legal suppliers of tomorrow's post-legalization world? For example, the Colombian cartels continue to sell their gear, only now they do it legally. What problems do you see here? (These are actually quite sophisticated, using modern (though not "traditional") marketing concepts to get their products out to customers)

    They are 'innocents' in the sense that they don't directly hurt anybody. The only 'injury' they do anyone is far removed from the original transaction. You don't blame the car dealership for seling you a fast car if you speed and have an accident. You shouldn't blame the drug dealer for selling you a potent drug that you overdose on. Since you don't see it this way, it is funny to have you then writing about 'personal responsibility'.

    Actually it's the "this is my body and I can do what I want to it" (not "with" it: I can't (legally) use it to kill someone).
    Every course of human action has consquences for the rest of society. There is simply no escaping this. I know you're aware of this, I know you've heard of the pollution caused by industry and car exhausts and the health costs of obesity and the loss of productivity due to excessive viewing of reality tv shows etc. Yet for some reason drug use gets placed in its own special category. I know (or assume) it's because the impact of drugs is seen by proponents of this argument to be so much worse than those others, but just how can you fairly draw the line between what is bad but acceptable and bad but unacceptable? In other words, why should I just accept your take on it?

    I wonder, are you convinced by similar arguments used by the anti-gun crowd? Didn't think so.

    So are the kids born to people living below the povery line. So it's not a perfect world.

    What it comes down to hapaboy is you and people like you thinking you have the right to dictate to other people how they should live their lives. (You have every right to try and influence someone, but not to force them to bend to your will.)

    I can't help seeing these 'costs to society' issues you raise as a mere smoke screen, given that you seem to accept the 'costs to society' of a whole heap of other behaviors people engage in.

    At the end of the day, these discussions rarely lead anywhere, as both parties basically talk right past each other. I'm sure you find your arguments as convincing as I find mine, so in the end at least we've got a good idea of the other side's position. Imo, this issue will be settled by the critical mass of people who see the lunacy of drug prohibition, a movement that is definitely gaining support. As I said, I really do think it's only a matter of time before we get legalization. (Not in the near future, mind you, but in, for eg, 100 years time I'd bet my life right now we that we see it happen.) So, disagree with me or not, perhaps be prepared see it happen all the same.
    #125     May 9, 2004

  6. So we should never try to eliminate waste when we identify it?

    Oh, yes. The black market for alcohol really took off after prohibition.

    #126     May 9, 2004
  7. Maverick74


    No, that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying you can't use that as an excuse for legalization. Government waste will occur regardless of legalization. In fact, I'll go as far as saying that I think government waste will actually increase with legalization. Why? Because it's another government program. Someone is going to have to run it right? I'm sure Bush or Kerry will hire a bunch of idiot pencil pushers who will come in and waste all our tax dollars doing meaningless studies and market research and I'm sure it will provide nice jobs for all of Bush's buddies in Texas or Kerrie's buddies in Boston. In the end, you are making government even bigger, creating more programs, and more wastefull spending. So, in other words, you can't use this as a talking point. Sorry.

    As far as the black market goes, yes it did take off. Not in alcohol. It just forced them to go into even bigger markets like drugs, prostitution, and gambling. You are not going to get rid of the black market. That's like saying gangs in south central LA are just going to hang it up and go get an education. LOL. Yeah right. No, they are going to continue to make markets in anything they can on the street at substantial discounts to retail prices and sell these products, whatever they are, to people who should not have them. Again, another lame argument.

    Like I was telling RM, your argument would be so much more effective if you just left all this other BS out. I'm serious man.

    Let me give you a different example. The war in Iraq. I am pissed as hell that Bush didn't just come out and say look, Saddam is a bad guy, we need to take him out. He violated the UN sanctions, he is a threat to his neighbors and to hiw own people. Instead, the Bush administration is doing exactly what you are doing. Trying to manufacture reasons to sell it to us better. With Bush, it was the WMD, with you, it's the elimination of crime. With Bush, Saddam was an imminent threat, with you, it's about saving 40 billion a year on the war on drugs. See both are you are the same. You are trying so hard to sell it that the arguments you make actually hurt your cause. If Bush just kept it simple, there would be no controversy over the reasons given for war. If you keep your argument simple, more people will take you seriously and it will improve your chances of getting drugs legalized.

    Hey, just something to think about. That's my two cents.
    #127     May 9, 2004
  8. Spec, I don't know where you get the idea that I "accept...a whole heap of other behaviors." Ask me about them and I'll give you my opinion.

    You have listed alcohol, tobacco, driving (!), and obesity as other problems that have grave costs to society. I agree that it is hypocritical of the gov. to have drinking and smoking legal activities but not drugs. I think your driving argument is weak vis a vis comparing a car salesman to a drug dealer, and for obvious reasons. Obesity is a toughie. How can you legislate the amounts of food people take in? Any way, food is essential to human life, while of course the drugs we're discussing are not - the sole exception being medical cases.

    In any case, I don't see how adding hard drugs to the mix just because other products are causing harm - if used incorrectly - and are legal. Two wrongs doesn't make a right.

    Yeah, we're both convinced we're right. Maybe we will see legalization of some form, perhaps marijuana, in our lifetime. But I severely doubt that we will legalize the hard core drugs. I don't think the critical mass of people you talk about will ever be inclined to do so.

    In the end it's just two differing opinions. I appreciate the opportunity to have listened to yours and for sharing mine.

    All the best,
    #128     May 9, 2004
  9. I certainly disagree with a whole heap of government programs, but to pretend they do absolutely nothing is absolutely ridiculous.

    This 'war', on the other hand, very much achieves absolutely nothing (and worse). Given the choice between $40billion of 'absolutely nothing' and (at least) 'perhaps something' I'll take the latter thank you very much. So I can use this as a talking point, thank you.

    And Maverick, since when has the aim of drug legalization been to get rid of the blackmarket in asbolutely everything? Ahh, exactly.

    Mav, I would be quite content to leave out "all this other BS", because, as you seem to agree, the argument for legalization on principle alone is almost irresistible, which is why I think it will win through in the end. And it's because it's so irreristible that the "I wanna control society" types introduce all their "oh buts" and "what ifs" that I then have to respond to.

    If you want to call this "all this other BS", fine, but then apply the same criticism to the anti-drug crowd when they deviate from the main issue of "should free people be free to decide what they do to their own bodies?".
    #129     May 9, 2004
  10. Maverick74


    #130     May 9, 2004