That sums it up pretty well. It never was about fighting drug use or preventing the harm it can do. Can we now, please, get that behind us and move on? If we only spent 10% of what we now spent on prosecuting drug use on prevention and rehabilitation, that would be a much greater service to society than fourty years of "war" have been. Not to mention the benefits for privacy, the decrease in violence and so on...
The War on Drugs is so fucking stupid and so many people are paying the price. I don't know if anything makes me as angry as this.
It's important to remember that most people think the opposite way as those on HN. They do not assume that new things will automatically make society better. They have a strong "don't fix what isn't broken" tendency. And as long as we live in a democracy, they're entitled to structure their society as they see fit.
But: Everyone I've talked to in favor of criminalization is completely uneducated on the subject. They don't know real-world addiction rates, or the actual effects of drugs, or understand the history of drug policy. It's their choice to remain ignorant, but when they start throwing people in jail and destroying entire communities pointlessly while holding fingers to their ears - there's a certain sense in which that is unforgivable. And there are not many things I can't forgive.
I strongly disagree. There are certain human rights that should not be able to be voted away in a democracy. I believe that the right to modulate our own minds as we see fit belongs in this category.
It's not illegal for me to be a sober (or drunk) asshole. Nor is it illegal for me to be sober (or drunk) and just decide not to go to work, consequences be damned. People are allowed to get drunk legally, despite the statistically increased propensity for violence, douchebaggery, etc. What makes alcohol "good" and drugs "bad"? Nothing more than tradition, as far as I can tell.
You're not making a great argument for why drug use should continue to be illegal.
You're making an argument for which anything could be illegal. The public could develop an irrational prejudice against people wearing purple. Then you could make all of those statements about that. Is it the public's right to ban purple clothing? Do we still have freedom simply because there is more than one other color? This may seem facetious but it's not that far from tattoos and piercings. You're almost suggesting that there shouldn't be inalienable rights. I understand that in "reality" there ultimately aren't but I hadn't realized our society was so ready to abandon the ideal.
Can we force women to be on birth control until they're married and/or have "enough" money and/or fulfill some other arbitrary criteria for having kids? Society -- statistically speaking -- has to pick up the tab for kids born to lower income single moms through WIC, food stamps, etc. That's clearly something that society has an interest in and thus a right to control/regulate right?
If you disagree with the above statement please address it as a matter of far-reaching prinicple rather than as a matter of pragmatics. Our society is ostensibly, largely built on principle; it's illegal to murder because nobody wants to be murdered. This is very straightforward. If we concede that society has an interest in how people interact, truly what is off limits?
Humans are social creatures; they are interdependent cogs in a machine. So as an overarching principle, society is entitled to regulate to interactions between people. To make that bearable, we recognize certain "fundamental rights" that society cannot infringe. Procreation is a deeply-held one, which is why society cannot force women to be on birth control. Taking drugs is not one of those rights.
"The public" may wish to eliminate all mind-altering substances, but the allure of altering the mind is strong, and the enormous contingent of people who desire to consume is going to have to be repressed.
The argument about family and relations, for example, is not so straightforward. What's preferrable, a dad who smokes cannabis or a dad who's in prison?
drug prohibition laws represent something else. they represent the power of the state, and all the inherent violence that goes along with that, bearing down on those that choose to use legally proscribed drugs.
I hope you have a full understanding of what you're saying. legal prohibition implies state sanctioned violence.
Have a look at the Wikipedia page for some more info:
An 'affirmative burden' and a 'tyrannical edict' seem like they could differ only in perspective.
>“ It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.”
-James Madison Federalist Papers No 51
The Politicians of Our Nation Throw Around the Word Democracy to make the low information plebs feel as though the power rests with them, it is a charade. I don't mind the down votes if it means some of the users on the site have a better understanding of US civics.
Edit: By the way your example of Mandatory Schooling could not be further from an example of a Democracy. Did you or the rest of the citizens of the US ever have a vote on that?
that varies from state to state. California, for example, does have direct ballot initiatives at the state level. New York State (where I live) generally does not, though they aren't excluded by the state constitution, there is just not a very strong tradition of direct ballot measures here.
every state in the U.S. implements representative democracy in a slightly different way.
The citizens of Oregon do get to vote on Initiatives and Referendums, that is something which is relatively new to the state 1908, and not the way states outside of the Western part of the country operate.
^^ This page has a nice map showing other states as well.
In many of the blue states on the map constitutional amendments for the state can be proposed and voted on but the majority of laws are simply written by the legislature.
A federal republic of democracies at least?
Democracy fails when irrational prejudice trumps common sense and tolerance. Prohibition was a mass democratic movement that pulled together Christian teetotalers, American nativists, socialists and sufferagettes; it was a complete disaster on all fronts.
So I don't agree. It might be, that intelligent people give in to group pressure of a all in all much more stupid group.
But even if you have too much stupid people, their collective intelligence still pays off.
Not to the extent of abrogating other people's fundamental liberties. A large part of the US white community would quite like an apartheit society, which they are absolutely not allowed to have any more.
It seems the question was:
Should "the executive order that freed all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government" have been made, or something similar. Was that worded badly on purpose, it appears to say "is freeing people who are rebelling against the government good"?
I find the statistic hard to believe, such a claim needs careful support which is lacking. The details that are given suggest an opaque question.
Such questions need follow-up questions to gauge understanding and depth of sentiment. Anyone who asks that and doesn't then ask 'so should the slaves have been freed at all?' as a follow-up is most likely being deceptive.
The media helps this along by sensationalizing any erratic behavior done under the influence of new chemicals. Just look at the coverage bath salts got a few years ago.
It's not just new chemicals either. Stories pop up all the time speculating whether we're over-prescribing ritalin, benzos, antidepressants, pain killers and other mind altering legal drugs. The arguments against are overwhelmingly addiction, but there's also concerns over dementia, suicidal thoughts, and other mental disturbances.
We're already afraid of what happens with chemicals already in the mix, so it is reasonable to be afraid of what might happen with new chemicals.
... "new" chemicals are already in the mix. Criminalization is ineffective in reducing usage, it's especially ineffective in reducing harm, and on top of that it creates substantial additional harms.
> It's not unreasonable to be afraid of what might happen when you throw new chemicals into the mix.
It is absolutely unreasonable. Moreover, it's really not your concern.
> It's important to remember that most people think the opposite way as those on HN. They do not assume that new things will automatically make society better. They have a strong "don't fix what isn't broken" tendency. And as long as we live in a democracy, they're entitled to structure their society as they see fit.
It's probably time for you to start using "I" instead of "they".
rayiner's claims, in this comment, are exceptionally broad, unfounded and, obviously, a personal opinion extrapolated and attributed to a larger group.
The whitelist being; tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, in addition to prescription medication.
As someone who has zero skin in the game, I'm for full legalisation - but at the same time it has to come with taking responsibility for the consequences of choices - especially those taken whilst under the influence.
The government is put in place by the people, to serve the people.
Adults are responsible for their actions by default. All modern societies already have laws in place that criminalize harming others in most relevant ways. There is not need for any further discussion or "taking responsibility". It is only necessary to apply the laws that are already in place and respect the individual freedom of other adults. People who want nannies should hire their own and leave the rest of us alone.
Anything you can argue in court is personal (which is quite a lot) and at worst you are looking at a few hours of community service in most cases.
But it is not ideal granted. But compared to how it appears to be in the US. Coerced into being an informer, mandatory minimums etc - it isn't so bad
The brain is an incredibly complex system, and a great way to gain insight into a complex system is to tinker with its mechanics and watch what happens.
We've also been missing out on new therapeutic medicines. With the research around ketamine we finally have something new to target depression besides selective reuptake inhibitors, which are a bit of a joke IMO. As someone with ADHD I'm also particularly interested in researching effects of cannabinoids. There's something in cannabis that does a wonderful job to help stimulate my attention, motivation, and awareness, but unfortunately also wrecks my working memory.
Perhaps, just perhaps, it wasn't started on the principals it publicly declares to have been started upon - or are we playing the "no, this is different because it's different" game?
This quote sticks out as to the why of the dissenters, but doesn't levy them much sympathy:
"the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy"
Not necessarily, or they wouldn't need to coerce apologetic confessions:
Their interrogation techniques have been known to be extremely brutal right up until the moment you apologize -- even if it's just two people in a room with cameras off -- because the Chinese government wants it that way. They want the rules to be extremely well known.
Everyone knows you get beat till you go back on your "disruptive" ideals. Sometimes they permanently cripple people or put them in a coma. 99% of the time, though, they release them. That way, everyone knows, when they see that the dissident is basically fine, that they betrayed their own beliefs, even if it was in private, even if no one saw.
Completely irrelevant aside: it's stuff like this that comes to mind when people talk about how dysfunctional the American government is. The Chinese government can have complex policies with parts that a lot of people find uncomfortable or wrong, and still have the whole system the way that will be most effective instead of most comfortable -- their astounding urbanization and rise in not just wealth but advanced skills and it's relation to the hukou system is a good example -- but when you have unchecked power... this is another consequence.
North Korea is a Stalinist state. They have elections and refer to themselves as a democratic people's republic. China does not have elections or refer to themselves as democratic.
Also, China is much more straightforward in prosecuting descent. They just say that someone belongs to an illegal non-harmonious organization like Falun-Gong or whatever and that's illegal. Send them to prison. No fancy trumped up charges or subterfuge needed.
It seems like governments are somewhat uniform in the laws they pass, but fundamentally fickle about which laws they choose to enforce. In my state, for example, it's a felony to be a member of a subversive organization...
...e.g., the Communist Party...
...but it would be unthinkable for them to actually prosecute anyone for it.
Edit: My mistake, it was 1958, but they took legal action in the 1960s (Loving vs Virginia, 1967), and despite the Supreme Court's ruling, some states kept such laws on the books as late as 2000 (Alabama), which is actually probably what you were referring to.
The comment by the judge in 1958 is (almost) unbelievable:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow,
malay and red, and he placed them on separate
continents. The fact that he separated the races shows
that he did not intend for the races to mix.
I wish the federal government and every state had a lawspeaker -- for statute laws anyways.
Is that true? The number of Americans in prison is somewhat over two million. It's hard to find numbers for the USSR, but the conservative number I was able to find for the peak of the gulag system in 1950 is about 2.5 million, and that's out of a population a little over half the size of the current US population. Others claim the true numbers were much greater.
Note: not defending the US in any way here. Our prison population is absurd. The fact that the numbers are even this close is unacceptable. This is really just nitpicking.
Bear in mind that for each of the prominent people made to confess all sorts of crazy things in the Moscow Trials, hundreds of thousands were more or less straightforwardly sent to the Gulag:
- Did you refer to Comrade Stalin as a fool in your letter to A?
- Yes I did but look...
- Art. 58, 25 years.
The interesting part isn't how China behaves, it's that the US - supposedly on a higher level than China - behaves much the same way, it just tries really hard to cover it up.
"A searing, two-hour investigation places America’s heroin crisis in a fresh and provocative light -- telling the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminating the epidemic's years-in-the-making social context, deeply examining shifts in U.S. drug policy, and exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime."
Prohibition is a timeless, recurring issue. I think it comes from something even more timeless: moral authoritarianism.
The urge felt by many people to force their neighbor to do things the Right Way.
The puritan dream that the world could be clean and harmonious and good if only Those People could be brought to heel.
This is an innate aspect of society. See: murder, sexual assault, etc. Morality is a human construct.
The real question is where to draw the line, and the answer isn't immediately clear, even in a court of law.
I do agree with you though that moral conservatism needs to move on from the 1950s.
No, those rules are about protecting me from my neighbor. They're perfectly reasonable, both as timeless moral norms and as law.
The problems begin when I want to control my neighbor's behavior in ways that have nothing to do with protection. If I feel the need, for example, to prohibit him from having a gay relationship because it's against my religion. Or telling him that smoking one plant is fine, but if he smokes a different kind of plant I'll call men with guns over to his house to stop him.
That is what I mean by moral authoriarianism.
In a true, first-class, first-world country, that should be a non-issue. People first and all that.
Besides, what do you think the repression of drugs has cost the last few decades?
I'm not sure if you're implying that the rate of addiction would increase due to legalization but regarding that claim, the Netherlands and Portugal provide interesting data points.
In Portugal, the rate of addiction decreased after they decriminalized all drugs.
In the Netherlands: "In 1985, nearly 100 percent of methadone patients were aged below 40. In 2014, almost all of them were older than 40."
Also, diversion to treatment programs could lead to significant cost savings. Those savings could be invested in treatment programs that are more effective than whatever is available today.
"Research conducted in part by Temple University and published in the online journal “Crime & Delinquency” found that only ten percent of state prisoners who abuse drugs or are drug-dependent receive medically based treatment while incarcerated. If that ten percent had received treatment in community-based programs instead of serving jail time, the prison system would save $4.8 billion - nearly the amount paid out to the Bureau of Prisons. Those savings would nearly triple if just 40 percent of eligible offenders received the same sort of treatment."
"Maryland, for example, saw average costs for offenders decrease from approximately $20,000 to $4,000. The same report on JusticePolicy.org mentioned that the costs for treatment generally range from $1,800 to $6,800, far less than the cost of incarceration. California’s Proposition 36 mandated that those entering the justice system on drug-related offenses be given substance abuse treatment rather than a prison sentence. The state initially spent millions on the first few years of the program but estimated that, at a long-term glance, the program could save the state up to $150 million annually."
Well, at least now we know who is guilty. Now we should make sure that this crime is resolved with punishment.
I don't think you can attribute the entirety of drug policy to identity politics (especially with opiates, where people were indeed getting hooked on various "quackery medicine" type formulas peddled back in the late 1800s - early 1900s). I think you can attribute some of the draconian, moralizing, punitive approaches of our current drug policy to identity politics, though.
What, and disrupt the massively profitable prison industry?
If drug use and drug-making were both made fully legal, or comparable legal as alcohol-making and alcohol-using, then the industry would rapidly approach perfect competition for certain classes of categories (e.g., pharmaceutical recreational drugs).
Hell, even look at legal, non-recreational drugs. There can be an identical generic version. There can be an accredited medical professional standing right there saying "they're the same thing" and people will still opt for name brand.
I'm certain that if drugs were legalised, all that extra cost from being illegal would go straight in to marketing budgets and people will be buying the lsd equivalent of $300 bottles of wine or vodka that comes in creative packaging.
(Yes, brands have an influence, people buy Vertu phones, but Walmart has a lot more customers.)
It seems unlikely that other recreational drugs would be different.
Would we see the same phenomenon with generic diacetylmorphine and artisinal heroin? That would certainly be amusing...
Why do I think this? I have many friends in Colorado.
No weed dealer there was upset at having more production available.
Their revenue is less than 1% of Apple's, but their lobbying budget is 25%-75% of Apple's year to year.
There's something obscene about people's retirement funds depending on putting more people in private prisons. It further reinforces the division of society where the happiness of the rich is directly dependent on increasing other people's misery. It's not surprising that the industry has been caught on a few occasions bribing judges to increase sentencing.
Are prisoners put to tender like school meals are [in the UK]?
Also, that's pretty much what I said, isn't it? Apple is about $4 million/year and CCA is at about $1 million/year? Are you quibbling about 20 vs 25%, or trying to make some other point?
One (of many) articles about how CCA spends money to get the results that suit its bottom line. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/06/23/251363/cca-geogr...
It's downright evil, frankly.
Why is there seemingly not a peep about this from those who oppose the private prison complex?
In other words, we need prisons just like we need schools, even if people like schools more we shouldn't vilify corrections officers just because they work in an industry we don't care to interact with. It's all about their conduct, which has been terrible. Teachers unions are also self-serving, but they at least pretend to have the child's interest at heart.
OP's point is that there is allot of money on the line and that serves as inertia to keep the highly punitive measures in place. $1.7 billion is allot of inertia. It might not be as much as Exxon who wants to deny global warming, or Walmart who wants more "free trade" but are we to ignore mass incarceration because there are more profitable moral hazards?
3 billion dollars is more than many small countries make in an entire year (nominal GDP)
Is it really accurate to exclude all of those from the calculation?
I think it's fair to say the funding and huge catalyst for the war on drugs started in Miami in the 80's. During this time where was a ridiculous amount of violence. Violence that occurred in broad daylight, that had no regard for the public, with weapons police didn't have access too. CENTAC was started and gave law enforcement a more level playing field, and had a huge impact on the violence related to the drug trade in south Florida. It effectively removed lots of violent criminals from the streets. Just look at the crime stats before and after the initiative, it's pretty clear there was a public benefit.
While I agree there are very unfortunate unintended consequences of the war on drugs, I think we also have to give credit where is credit is due. Lets learn from it and do something better moving forward.
As another commenter noted, the parallel would be the rise of organized crime during alcohol prohibition.
Was this violence not already illegal?
Surely brandishing a gun and firing on a public street in daylight is a crime with or without drug prohibition
> That sums it up pretty well. It never was about fighting drug use or preventing the harm it can do. Can we now, please, get that behind us and move on? If we only spent 10% of what we now spent on prosecuting drug use on prevention and rehabilitation, that would be a much greater service to society than fourty years of "war" have been. Not to mention the benefits for privacy, the decrease in violence and so on...
I think the disturbing part is people, even now, deny this is the reason Nixon pushed for it. I just can't understand it. :/
Nixon basically shat on the results of his own commissions by members of his own party when he didn't like the results. History is littered with evidence this man had an agenda yet people act like the "Drug War" wasn't created as a political tool.
> In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer. In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.
> On December 5, 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Stephen Hess to the position of National Chairman of the White House Conference for Children and Youth. Hess's task was to "listen well to the voices of young Americans -- in the universities, on the farms, the assembly lines, the street corners," in the hopes of uncovering their opinions on America's domestic and international affairs. After two years of intensive planning, Hess and 1,486 delegates from across the country met in Estes Park, Colorado, and, from April 18 to 22, 1971, discussed ten areas that most concerned the youth of America. These issues included, not surprisingly, the draft and the war in Vietnam, the economy and employment, education, the environment, poverty, and, most notably for Points readers, drugs.
> The task force on drugs, composed of eight youths and four adults, forcefully argued for addressing the root causes of drug abuse, advocating therapy for addicts rather than incarceration or punishment.
> ... even if the Nixon administration distorted the numbers that tied drug addiction to instances of crime. ...
Literally every administration since then has been complicit in this, and made it worse.
Basically, the audience you and I usually interact with, e.g. here on HN, and probably at work, assuming you're in tech also, is comprised largely of logical thinkers. We don't have a lot of experience dealing with people who have more emotional thinking characteristics, so we assume that using an entirely logical argument is the only correct way to change people's minds.
I can't find numbers, and I don't know how much, or if, this has been studied, but I think a large portion of the population thinks more emotionally than we would expect them to. I don't necessarily think that's a negative thing, as emotional thinking helps, e.g. bind us together in cohesive communities even though the individuals in that community might be very different from each other on a personal level, because even though they're different people, they feel an emotional attachment to the same community.
If that doesn't raise one's blood pressure, nothing on this Earth will.
Let the tone policing commence!
[EDIT/PS:] I never said "morons". I used a literally descriptive term. Those wilting violets (uh-oh, more characterization!) who are upset by such a bland description should just try thinking a bit deeper.
Quite a lot of people still oppose legalization of other drugs. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/17/drug-legalization-p... for an example; I'm certain that more recent polls exist.
A terrible fact is that elites still love Nixon. They don't want him brought up because he undermines them morally: they supported him at the time, and they still share his political outlook. He left so many candid recordings behind that there's no denying that he was a vicious, stupid, paranoid, superstitious man, and that the views of his contemporary detractors were more than completely confirmed (even they couldn't imagine that he was literally screaming about the niggers and the jews during policy discussions.)
Nixon created the strategy that has culminated in this Republican primary. Ignoring Nixon is a problem.
Up until that point, enough people didn't believe in his course of action that his own people wouldn't give him the answers he wanted.
I just mean the responsibility for the state of things today, and for improving it, lies solidly on other shoulders today. And that is where the focus should be. There should be no support for a narrative of "oh, but those were the bad old days, things are better now". They are not.
The original post was discussing the history:
> I think the disturbing part is people, even now, deny this is the reason Nixon pushed for it. I just can't understand it. :/
> Nixon basically shat on the results of his own commissions by members of his own party when he didn't like the results. History is littered with evidence this man had an agenda yet people act like the "Drug War" wasn't created as a political tool.
> I just mean the responsibility for the state of things today, and for improving it, lies solidly on other shoulders today. And that is where the focus should be. There should be no support for a narrative of "oh, but those were the bad old days, things are better now". They are not.
That has nothing to do with what I was saying. Literally the entire content of my post [beyond quotes] was discussing past history concerning a single president.
Stop tilting at windmills.
Edit since I'm rate limited and don't care that much:
Look, the historical context of stuff like this interests me.
If you find it boring...shrugs
Literally the entire content of my post [beyond quotes] was discussing past history concerning a single president.
I believe it's fine as a historical exercise, but useless with respect to the state of drug policy etc. today. And think the effort much better targeted elsewhere as focusing on this piece of the history is, in my view, actively distracting from anything useful. Vilifying Nixon is easy and boring.
And yes, I think to the degree that it has traction, it does support a fallacious narrative about the current state of things - or at least is trotted out in support of it, which I'll grant is not quite the same thing.
Just my two cents.
Most countries are past criminalising suicide, and self-harm is acceptable (as long as you are considered mentally able). Why is there a difference in risking one's health in every single way but by using psychoactive substances?
Especially considering that clearly the war on drugs was never limited to, or expanded to all substances capable of generating physical dependence.
I do think drugs still apply, but not as much. But for things like encryption and private communications, there are others. And like with drugs, the thing they target aren't innocent. Many drugs are bad, some are downright horrendous. Part of the genius of their plan is that they do stick to things that aren't innocent and just make them even more guilty than they already are.
This is great news. Only the sort of political situation that existed in Latin America over these past decades could have permitted us in USA to export all this violence and suffering. The corruption in their state was a mirror of that in ours. We were happy to destroy their societies for profit, and unfortunately their rulers were too.
The Drug War is a big reason I'm an anarchist. People living their own lives, in their own communities, can get up to some awful shit, now and then. No way in hell can they come up with the durable, sustained, all-consuming all-perverting horror that is the Drug War, or any of the other travesties the State produces without breaking a sweat.
I'm not sure what aspect of this situation this comment is meant to address. We're not absolutists; we just want the State to do less evil shit. Perhaps there have been lots of egregious abuses by, I don't know (sorry but I'm not exactly sure what we're talking about), truant officers? Nevertheless those pale in comparison to the harms of Drug War enforcement.
See "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbing_Us_Down
Education really isn't as much of a virtue as people think; do I really need a degree to talk to people, to appreciate literature or art, to vote? (And even with the prevalence of education, people still end up misinformed or lead by personal bias) Most people are capable of learning what they need, especially when all the resources are out there and not just in schools. All the different levels of education that are established just serve as poor markers for employers to differentiate people and time-and-time again I've read about educations being ill-suited in preparing people for careers.
Like the parent commenter, I think people are quite capable of organizing and preparing themselves just as well without a state, and many communities and generations have been doing this for centuries.
: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling (just one interesting example)
> do I really need a degree to talk to people, to appreciate literature or art, to vote?
No, you don't need a college degree, but you do need an elementary education, which is what I'm talking about since that's what's compulsory and free.
There is no technology industry without an educated workforce. There is no effective democracy where the electorate is ignorant of history, math, and science. We can argue the relative merits of specific authors that could be covered in English/literature class, but only because we both were taught how to read.
What I'm getting at is that they still needed to be taught reading, math, etc. just to get to the point where they could teach themselves how to use technology. I don't think that piecemeal homeschooling can prepare most people to do that sort of thing. A quick glance at historic literacy rates in the US, particularly the meteoric rise in all demographics starting in the late 1800s, speaks volumes about the effectiveness of formal schooling. Illiteracy dropped from 20% to 7.7% in one generation (and even more dramatically within unprivileged demographics.)
This doesn't imply that only state-run systems can work, but I think it's clear that state-run systems do work (which is my original point: contrasting state-operated free schools to the war on drugs.)
> I honestly don't believe any of it couldn't be done with different methods or groups.
Absolutely it could, no argument there. The Prussian-style classroom is not the only one, even if it's the only one in widespread use, and there are some legitimate problems with it. That being said I don't see how 90%+ literacy could be accomplished without state involvement. It certainly hadn't happened before, and writing has been around for a long time.
Sorry if I took us way off-topic (war on drugs). My point isn't really about what sorts of schooling we should have, but rather to point out that the schooling we do have provides an interesting counterpoint to the harm caused by the state in pursuing the war on drugs, and is something for anarchists to chew on when railing against the depredations of the state.
I doubt many anarchists see it as strategically useful to dismantle systems of public education—but those systems certainly deserve critique, and anarchist perspectives are well-suited.
Compelling the government/state/local authority is right but whilst parents should be compelled provide educational opportunity for their children I find it an imposition to require schooling per se.
Schooling is a very narrow segment of possible educational methods and one that doesn't suit all children.
We don't punish drug use because we care about people taking drugs. We punish drug use because we want to eliminate the influence of 'junkies' on society.
We don't punish radical views because we disagree with them. We punish radical views because we want to eliminate their influence on society.
Let's talk about child abuse. A terrible crime.
As a UK resident - it feels to me, that people don't actually care about the actual act of child abuse as much as they care about the... 'othering' of the perpetrator.
It's the idea of a child abuser as being an animal, a strange alien, a completely non-understandable beast, that really riles us up.
That's why 'think of the children' works. We're not thinking about the children, really. We're thinking about the threat from human actors who don't have world-views that quite fit - we can't grok them, they can't be trusted.
That's what I think these sorts of laws are fundamentally about. They are about trying to remove 'scary' individuals.
I don't care about terrorism because I think it's vanishingly unlikely to occur. But people, as a mass, fear the unknown - they fear the humans who don't have the same limits that they do. The humans that can, and will, do anything.
'Terrorist' is just the new 'criminal', because 'criminal' doesn't hold the same cachet when everyone is a criminal.
I disagree, that is how the media sells papers and gets page clicks, but is that what the man-in-the-street thinks? I'm also from the UK, and to me the vilest part of it is that children have little understanding of these adult things; sex, relationships, normality, an inability to protect themselves from adults. They have a right to be a child during childhood (it is a humanitarian right in many countries 1). It isn't about demonizing a person, it is about being saddened by the loss of a child (within a child's body) and the loss of faith in humanity within myself.
It's not so clear cut. It's more about having the ability to selectively remove them if and when they become a nuisance. Consider GW Bush for example. Coke fiend but establishment, ends up becoming US president. Is he not a junkie? Did he not have a huge influence on society including societies beyond his immediate society?
The law is about power not morality. Morality is the thin veil used to present the tool of coercion that is the legal system to the masses.
TL;DR: Highly successful strategy of not marginalizing (both socially and legally) and actually helping addicts: cuts costs, cuts problems, decreases addicts.
I'm worried that legalization could pass the message that it's ok, while it's not, because real damage comes from the abuse of those illegal drugs.
A non-libertarian perspective on drug legalization is important because everyone knows libertarians want to legalize everything. And most informed people know the libertarian arguments as well. And they've been known for many decades now. Clearly, the libertarian approach isn't swaying a whole lot of people.
However, when people who are not ideologically committed to small government start supporting drug legalization it becomes a more serious possibility because it means a broader coalition can be built to support legalization.
tldr: libertarians alone will never make legalization a reality, but libertarians united with progressives can be a force for change.
I'm also curious if anyone thinks such a end-game is politically possible in the US. Or is the profit motive + mistrust of government the only coalition capable of out-hustling our puritan tendencies politically?
For heroin, the major risk is variation in potency. Heroin is highly cut at consumer level, for the most part. But occasionally, some relatively pure shit hits the street. And then there's the risk of boosting by Fentanyl and other high-potency opiates.
Also, it's pretty clear that the increasing popularity of heroin has been driven by decreasing availability of prescription opiates. New heroin users tend to be clueless about risk management. So they tend to overdose.
I'm curious about increasing deaths from prescription drugs. I wonder how much of that is driven by acetaminophen toxicity, as oxycodone etc have become harder to get than mixtures of acetaminophen with codeine and hydrocodone. I'm also wondering whether these figures include deaths for prescription drugs obtained informally.
Regarding the increase in RX deaths, I'd like to see those stats too-- though it's probably too hairy to really break down, I'd also like to see that expanded which prescription opiate, as well as circumstance (fully recreational/no clear injury, minor injury, during hospitalization, or continuing/long term care).
Take payday loans as an example. The entire industry is extremely exploitative and preys on uneducated poor people who are desperate due to bad circumstances and / or poor financial planning. Well-meaning activists have campaigned to "reform" the business and make it less scummy.
The result? Legitimate payday loan companies go out of business, as it's no longer economical to invest money in loaning to poor people, and the mob fills the void. Instead of getting a loan from Usury Inc, whose backers have pulled out and invested in something else, you're getting a loan from Cousin Vinnie. Now, the poor get exploited even more nastily by organized crime, which has absolutely no compunctions about getting its money back by any means possible, including threatening families, breaking kneecaps, killing people to get the rest of the debtors in line, etc.
The only answer is an optimization - you curb the worst of the abuses, and then accept the fact that the exploitation is a side effect of underlying causes and impossible to remove without making things worse. It's as good as we're going to get.
Same exact thing with the drug trade. Drugs destroy lives. It's a fact - heroin and other opiates are a scourge on poor communities, and it's not just due to the fact that they're illegal. After all, people overdose on prescription medication all the time, too. But a lot of the enforcement that has been done makes things even worse - we still have addicts, and then we get all of the violence that comes from the enormous markup that's inherent in the black market. There is no good solution that makes everything better, but it's very easy to make things worse.
More nastily, it breeds what I like to call "contempt of the law" - if everyone in a community is breaking the law somehow, (smoking weed, buying black-market cigarettes, buying prescription painkillers, etc) then even worse crimes don't get prosecuted because everyone is preoccupied with the fact that the police are going after the people they perceive to be average Joes. As soon as people perceive the police as an occupying force that arbitrarily goes after average citizens for gits and shiggles, the people will stop seeing the police as guardians against the truly evil and dangerous people among them.
I think that the biggest issue that blocks action on this is that people are confusing legalization with approval. You can make something legal and still think it's horrible. It's legal to cheat on your spouse, even though most people consider it immoral, but the cost on society that would come from making adultery illegal (and enforcing it) would be far greater than keeping the government out of it. Similarly, you can make prostitution legal and still consider it horrible. You can make casino gambling illegal and still consider it exploitative of people who suck at math. And you can make drugs legal and still consider it exploitative of human weakness. The only criteria that we should be using is "Would government intervention actually make the situation better? If not, keep the government out of it." And at this point, I'm pretty doubtful that dispatching thousands of officers to go after heroin dealers will keep people from using heroin. I'm pretty confident that doing so will increase the money that's in heroin, increase violence, and breed contempt of the law.
<asshole> Oh. Also, if we make drugs legal, I'm investing like a motherfucker in Soma, Inc. Drugs sell themselves, and I'm sure that corporations will make a bundle if they can sell them to The Public. My retirement fund will thank the wonderful residents of Appalachia for their generous contributions. Whichever company is the first to make an oxycodone version of Joe Camel is the one I'm investing in.</asshole>
And penalties should be civil not criminal.
For example, many categories of police activity (raids, traffic stops) will become harder to justify; the dollar cost of drugs going down by an order of magnitude; immigration enforcement.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
While I enjoy the recent surge in popularity of such a movement, my primary issue with drug policy is that it is unconstitutional, or at leasty arguably so. I fail to see a properly explained distinction between drug X and $ANYOBJECT Y when it comes to any governments ability to restrict a person from it. Whats the difference between caffiene and mj and alcohol? What about mj and harder drugs? What about harder drugs and two cans of coke a day? A person can be addicted to anything, (not to ignore the chemical/biological addictive properties) so what is to prevent any object from becoming a danger to the person or those around theme? To me this seems to be the core foundation upon which anti-drug persons base their argument. ie. "Once a person is addicted, they are likely to become a criminal and violate other peoples rights, so it's the governments duty to prevent that!".
To me though, it's not the governments duty to essentially engage in pre-crime criminalization. We all know about the private prison industry, but what gets me the most is that people in prison for non-violent drug charges are almost there, not because the drug itself was a crime, but because the underlying, implied logic is that they were about to become criminals anyway.
All of this flies in the face of the constitution, for once it is admitted that it's the duty of government to protect a person against their own actions, very few serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.
In essence the drug war is a huge slippery slope which only opens up our system for further degradation of fundamental rights.
Also, I would to point out, beyond and before what is proposed as a mostly racist basis for the drug laws, that the larger purpose for the original drug wars (Opium Wars I and II, misc smaller conflicts), were largely about two other factors that are far too often overlooked:
1. Black-markets = free flowing, unaccountable money. Even in the modern times, this is a favorite of the three letters, to get black budget money thats outside the oversight of congress. If there isn't a blackmarket, you simply create one by buying off the politicians to make something illegal.
2. Similar to the racists vein, but more as a tool of control of the masses. while I have no problem constitutionally with legalization, the national security implications of "opiating the masses" are not to be ignored. The state of the Chinese population after introduction of mass quantities of opium as a good example of this done as a deliberate strategy.
As an aside, at one time I bought into the Dupont/Hemp conspiracy, but have since been able to find very little to no evidence to support this claim, so just a word of warning to any others who have fallen for it, that you should try to find some sources (and don't forget to share them if you do!)
This completely contradicts my understanding of how civics works in the real world. Poor, minority, working-class moms do not trust the government, police, or laws to work in their best interests, and do not push to get "tough drug laws passed". They believe such laws would be used as weapons against their families and communities. Even if you debate the accuracy of this belief, the impact that #BlackLivesMatter is having on the current election means there is no debating the widespread nature of this belief.
However, politically influential interest groups using "working class mom gets her kid's bike stolen by a junkie" as justification for tough drug laws—that sure is consistent with my understanding. So is duping us into thinking the poor minority neighborhoods are in favor of such laws.
What is the argument you're trying to make? That the war on drugs would have been justified through public health concerns even if it wasn't actually implemented for political and racial reasons? I'm not sure you're going to find much agreement on that stance, and certainly not enough political agreement to justify a policy of mass incarceration and proxy war violence in the third world to go along with it.
Drugs legalization being trendy, you play the libertarian card. Yet, when it comes to guns or privacy, the same arguments don't hold true anymore.
Cherry picking at its best. Gotta love the HN crowd.
Life is not black and white. A rational person thinks critically about their choices and opinions, and does not decide on something simply because it fits in with some category.
A rational person seeks consistency and doesn't treat every instance of the same problems as different problems deserving their own interpretation and stance toward.
I'm slowly starting to grasp why the system is so complex. People with the resources to make important decisions lack the intellectual rigor necessary to reach a general understanding of things. That's how we end up with legal systems exceeding the complexity of spacecraft software.
Please don't do this here. The "crowd" includes you, and such generalizations are mostly bias.
- Want to legalize drugs.
- Want to ban guns.
- Want a right to privacy.
But my point is that it's in bad taste to diss a community you belong to, while participating in it, as a rhetorical status move. People do this all the time, but we've noticed that it's reliably a marker of low-quality comments, so we're going to start asking them not to.
- I don't think ingesting chemicals or compounds should be illegal but there's probably a benefit to some level of restriction on their sale and use
- I don't think guns should be made illegal but there's probably a benefit to some level of restriction on their sale and use
- I think there should be certain guarantees in terms of privacy but there's probably an argument to be made that these rights can be restricted in some cases for some individuals (ie: in the course of prosecuting a crime)
Either way, it's hard to make blanket statements about complex issues so you get appropriately wishy-washy responses.
Stereotyping everyone in a community is easy but ultimately lazy and somewhat pointless. Unless you're running for office.
I don't know his position on privacy.
And, as others have said, there's no reason for anybody to constrain themselves to one political label. You can agree with libertarians on some things and authoritarians on others, without subscribing to the underlying philosophies of either one.
Much more meaningful to compare hand guns with explosives and other weapons, and drugs with alcohol and generally self-harm.
- Guns can be used for self-harm.
- Drugs can be used to harm others.
Why aren't people ready to accept that people will die?
There's a big difference between "can be used to" and "is designed to".
Cars with top speeds above 85mph are designed specifically to do something (in the USA at least) that society deems harmful. Number of cars ever driven at high speed on tracks or long private roads is minimal and not relevant.
Self defense and hunting are valid reasons to harm other[ creature]s. It does not follow that something should be banned just because it's designed to harm others.
In terms of what various things are designed to do, relative to what society considers acceptable, it makes more sense to keep guns legal than to keep fast speed-limit-exceeding cars legal, or to legalize hard drugs.
- Guns: Designed to be harmful. Can be safe.
I'm not saying that you can't argue that drugs are so dangerous that they should be prohibited or that guns can be safely used and should be allowed. The topic is the same but the starting point is not.
Your examples are of things that are dangerous, not of things that are designed to be harmful.
There are other things that are hurtful and dangerous, and whether something is designed that way by humans or not has no bearing on the utilitarian calculus. Particularly so when there's no categorical imperative against the thing they're designed to do (unless you're against all self defense and hunting).
I fail to see how such general and silly questions foster a debate. No one said or implied those.
> has no bearing on the utilitarian calculus
That's why we need to (wait for it) debate!
> no categorical imperative against the thing
You know what's the problem of the categorical imperative? It's very subjective.
You know how we overcome such subjectivity? (wait for it) debate!
My point is simply that in one the harm is direct (designed to) and the other is indirect (can be used to). Due to that the debate between those should be different.
I made no "quantifiable" comparison pal.