Saturday, February 6, 2010

This is where libertarianism and legalisation would have worked.

Drugs are bad, addictive, will kill you, will turn you into a criminal......

Well so say the do gooders and control freaks that make decisions in this country, the ones who wish to control our lives and make sure that we do as we're told. One of those aspects is the making of certain drugs illegal, thus criminalising a subset of people and driving them into the arms of dealers who overcharge and don't do quality checks.

Guardian.
A lethal batch of heroin contaminated by anthrax has emerged in London and Germany, and has now claimed 10 lives, two months after cases emerged in Glasgow.
The Health Protection agency said that an unnamed heroin user is being treated in a London hospital after becoming ill last month, in the first known case of anthrax being caught through drug use in England.
Investigators also confirmed that the anthrax which killed a drug user in Germany in December was indistinguishable from the strain confirmed to be in 14 of the 19 cases so far in Scotland, where nine addicts have died.
The odd thing is, statistics prove the vast majority of casual drug takers aren't addicts, at least not in the way of becoming thieves, being unable to do their jobs and taking to the streets to live in cardboard boxes. In pretty much the same way that most people who like a drink aren't alcoholics.
This is why most (though not all) libertarians favour the legalisation of drugs. They can then be taxed, quality controlled and the users registered at a chemist/doctors and their health monitored. It's essentially a win/win situation as the criminal classes who prey on vulnerable users will be put out of business or will be forced into other areas, the same would work for the sex industry (if industry is the right term. Legalise it, monitor it, control it, then tax it.
Yes I know some people out there will think we are corrupting society or minors, but over all I think it will lead to a better society and certainly fewer opportunities for a criminal underclass to prosper and abuse their clients/slaves.
That's not to say that some will not abuse the legalisation, but then again there are some who drink themselves to death even now.
So, what's stopping the government? It's not like they haven't tried to probe and control every aspect of our lives now is it?
I suspect they fear some sort of moral outrage, perhaps sanctions from abroad, I'm not sure, but certainly what appears to be a good idea is blocked by political intransigence and lack of will.

10 annotations:

Captain Ranty said...

I don't have a link but you might want to look at Portugal for a working example of relaxing drug laws. The drop in crime was staggering. Quality of drugs lifted immediately: fewer deaths and injuries. The benefits are tangible.

It has to be the way to go.

We can wipe out an entire criminal subset with the stroke of a pen.

CR.

JuliaM said...

I think, if we were ever to consider legalising drugs, we'd need to first invent a time machine.

We'd need it in order to go back in time and ensure that we removed all the influences that have lead to the vast majority of young people growing up as hedonistic consumers with no impuse control.

Take mobile phones. Everyone has one that plays music now. When I play music in public, I put on my earphones. A significant majority of today's youth just let it blare out. They mostly aren't doing it to deliberately annoy. It simply doesn't occur to them that they shouldn't do so, whenever and wherever they want.

Legalise drugs? It'd be a disaster of Biblical proportions, I'm afraid...

English Pensioner said...

I tend to be in favour of legalising drugs (and taxing them). Even if they could be obtained cheaper from illegal sources, I suspect most recreational users would opt for safety. And the Revenue, loosing money, would probably be more effective chasing up illegal sources than the police.
A similar argument applies to prostitution; I suspect the majority of those who use prostitutes would also opt for safety, particularly if they were in a strange town.The only problem would be the paparazzi!

John R said...

"This is why most (though not all) libertarians favour the legalisation of drugs. They can then be taxed, quality controlled and the users registered at a chemist/doctors and their health monitored. It's essentially a win/win situation as the criminal classes who prey on vulnerable users will be put out of business or will be forced into other areas, the same would work for the sex industry (if industry is the right term. Legalise it, monitor it, control it, then tax it."

What's not to like?

Unless you're a foaming-at-the-mouth control freak or a bansturbator who can't abide anyone enjoying themselves why dont we do this? Soon?

However I can't see any of our great leaders daring to say anything like this. So I suppose we 'll have to carry on with the ineffective, money wasting policies currently in place while pretending that we're having some efect.

John M Ward said...

I have long had a pet theory that the original reason for banning all those drugs was to give the very powerful tobacco companies a virtual monopoly, by making all their competition illegal.

I've always maintained it should be "all or none", not just some, few or most (hmm, that bit sounded like Angus Deayton on HIGNIFY!) — though which of those two choices it should be isn't as clear-cut as some might wish to believe.

Even so, "none" would be the better option, provided everyone else were protected from "chemical assault" or whatever, and didn't have any of it forced upon them.

Mrs R said...

Re: Captain Ranty's comment - there are links to the results of legalising drugs in Portugal in my post about Anthrax in London. (Sorry, I haven't got time to link them individually now, I'll try to come back later.) The policy seems to have been a success.

If nothing else, legalising drugs would allow them to be regulated, standardised, and so on - and of course be taxed.

There's much, much, more - too much to say in one short comment.

tris said...

Totally agree QM. I've never understood why some drugs were illegal and some drugs were not.

Most taken in quantities will affect your health, and possibly even kill you, thereby costing the rest of us a lot of money. If you have been well taxed on them then you will have paid your way and needn’t feel embarrassed about the cost. Dunno what to do about fat people that cost us a fortune.... :¬(

I believe that it is everyone’s right to drink and smoke whatever they want, as long as they don't spoil other people's lives doing it and pay the tax.

To be honest I couldn't care less if a person dies at 25 because of it. It’s their life, not mine. I hate being told what I can do with my life.

My only requirement would be that we ensure that people are educated as to the risks that they are taking. Otherwise they are exploited by profiteers getting them hooked before they know what they might be doing to themselves.

I agree too about prostitutes. Why on earth they are illegal is well beyond me. It’s not like they (or drugs) are going to go away.

James Higham said...

And what's a drug anyway? It's a tipple we don't approve of. If I weren't on the antibiotics, I'd be pouring myself a finger of my favourite drug, perhaps with a dash of water.

Mrs R said...

In case you'd like to read the reports this is from Time
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

and this from Cato
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10080

I've just found this in Scientific American
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization

Quiet_Man said...

Thank you Mrs R, that seems to confirm what a lot of people feel needs to happen, though unfortunately not the government of any stripe.