Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« (Video) MGMT's 'Kids' performed live on iPhone | Main | Hugo Chavez to Obama: “Imagine a socialist revolution in the U.S. Nothing is impossible.” »

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Economist: legalization "least bad" way to deal with failed drug prohibition

DrugsFinal Pat Buchanan, writing about "The Drug War's (Other) Afghanistan," by which he means the violence-drenched state of Mexico, asks "Which is the greater evil? Legalized narcotics for America’s young or a failed state of 110 million on our southern border?"

The Economist newspaper has an answer; they argue that the lesser evil, for drug producing and drug consuming states alike, is legalization:

Next week ministers from around the world gather in Vienna to set international drug policy for the next decade. Like first-world-war generals, many will claim that all that is needed is more of the same. In fact the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.

“Least bad” does not mean good. Legalisation, though clearly better for producer countries, would bring (different) risks to consumer countries. As we outline below, many vulnerable drug-takers would suffer. But in our view, more would gain.

Read the rest.

(h/t Mark Frauenfelder)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 6, 2009 in Marijuana reform | Permalink

Comments

MarijuanaLobby.org: Change we can engage in...
MarijuanaLobby.org

MarijuanaLobby.org tracks potential tax revenue for every State and City in America, the numbers are REALLY compelling.

Yes, We Can America:
A) save what’s left of our forests,
B) ease the suffering of chemotherapy patients, and
C) create desperately needed revenue streams for American communities during their time of greatest need.

MarijuanaLobby.org seeks to enable American Patriots and Policy Makers in their continued efforts to decriminalize responsible Marijuana use in the United States by providing a petition portal specific to the issue of marijuana decriminalization, and by providing additional tools with which to empower citizen activists through education and public discourse.

Posted by: marijuanalobby | 2009-03-08 9:17:45 AM


MarijuanaLobby.org seeks to enable American Patriots.....................
Posted by: marijuanalobby | 2009-03-08 9:17:45 AM

I'm always amused by American lobby groups that by default always include the words "American Patriots".

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-08 9:35:48 AM


No one familiar with the Opium Wars of the 19th century would choose unrestricted access to narcotics over violence caused more by police and government corruption than by drugs being illegal. These murdering scumbags thrive not because they're good at hiding, but because they're good at bribing--and because there are officials willing to take those bribes. There's a saying in Latin America: "Plato o plomo," "Silver or lead." In other words, the bribe or the bullet.

Those who buy drugs and accept bribes are ultimately responsible for all the violence. They are the linchpin around which the whole thing revolves. If either of these guilty parties acted as they were supposed to do, things would never reach this state. Just as the school massacre in Beslan would never have occurred had not corrupt officials allowed the terrorists to pack the gymnasium with explosives over a course of weeks.

The Chinese have the right idea about corruption. If you're caught, you get a rifle bullet to the base of your skull. In fact, that is also what it took to end their addiction problem. All of this is caused by despicable and selfish people who do not care what happens to others, so long as they can swim in money or get high. But elimination of corruption and more stringent (but fair) enforcement is not the answer. Giving in just means the criminals win.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:17:16 AM


Unfortunately, ML, the great majority of marijuana users do not use the drug responsibly. It has a very high potential for abuse compared with any medicinal benefit it offers and that is why it is currently in Schedule I.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:18:36 AM


It doesn't matter what laws we make or try to enforce, we cannot do it.


Long ago we lost what China apparently still has, the willingness to truly deal with crime. The bullet in the head is the sure way to get rid of a criminal and it sends a powerful message to others.

We are soft and stupid and the barbarians get closer each day to completely taking over our society.

We are headed back to an earlier time on earth where the big monkeys rule and everyone is on their own.

Timid collectives will be no hiding place either.

Posted by: Momar Throckmorton | 2009-03-08 12:07:17 PM


Momar, it's not a question of "America can't." More a question of "America won't." There is little Americans cannot do when they put their minds to something. The presence of human footprints on the Moon is testament to that.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 1:09:10 PM


You can now RTFA -- I've just fixed the links to The Economist piece.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-03-08 4:45:29 PM


The best quote:

"By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs."

Imho, at this point you'd have to be blind, and probably willfully so, to believe otherwise.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-03-08 5:17:45 PM


Sorry, Janet, but quoting someone else's opinion (which is heavily larded with emotive adjectives) and then declaring your undenying allegience to that point of view, to the point of sticking your fingers in your ears and humming whenever someone raises a criticism, is not the act of an intelligent, critical thinker. It's the act of a sheep...or a zealot. That's how we wound up with Jews in gas chambers.

It's especially unconvincing when your favoured commentator is saying, in effect: "Our way sucks, but the others suck worse."

Really, can you put no more meat on your arguments than that? Or did you expect emotion alone to carry the day?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 5:41:22 PM


Oh Shane, we used to have such fun debating, before I realized you're just here to kill that fun. Whatever happened to those days? Sniff, sniff.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-03-08 7:00:37 PM


Your arguments used to be better, Janet. Can they be again?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:09:27 PM


Mexico is NOT a failed state.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:11:10 PM


Sorry, that should read: "But elimination of corruption and more stringent (but fair) enforcement IS the answer." The rest of the post makes no sense otherwise!

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:13:04 PM


If Shane can figure out how to eliminate the demand for drugs (hint: insulting drug users doesn't work) then he will have a viable drug strategy.

Since this will not happen the "war on drugs" can never be won.

It's simple 'supply and demand' economics - while there is demand someone will be willing to break the law to create the supply. You can't change this (a simple example would be the alcohol prohibition in the early 20th centurt USA).

Legalize AND REGULATE drugs. Put the criminals out of business. Eliminate the violence that accompanies criminal enterprises.

Or - continue the status quo (eh Shane?)... look what that has gotten us!

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 11:41:14 AM


Good thinking, Joe. While I'm at it, I'll eliminate the demand for stolen goods, torched houses, rape victims, and corpses. We'll never eliminate those either, for the same reason we'll never eliminate drug abuse. Unless, of course, we legalize and regulate burglary, arson, rape gangs, and assassins. Maybe separate them into guilds and have them pay tax. I think I understand; your idea of the ideal society is Shadizar the Wicked.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-10 12:23:06 PM


Shane: "I'll eliminate the demand for stolen goods, torched houses, rape victims, and corpses."

Stolen goods? The victim is stolen from.

Torched houses? The victim's house is torched.

Rape? The victim is raped.

Corpses? The victim is dead.

But with drugs????? Um, the "victim" is high?

The idea that using drugs can be compared to rape, theft or murder is ridiculous - but that's what we've come to expect from you Shane.

Why do you hate logic so much?

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 12:29:18 PM


JOE AGNOST (requotes):

Shane: "I'll eliminate the demand for stolen goods, torched houses, rape victims, and corpses."

Stolen goods? The victim is stolen from.

Torched houses? The victim's house is torched.

Rape? The victim is raped.

Corpses? The victim is dead.

JOE (logically criticizes):
But with drugs????? Um, the "victim" is high?

The idea that using drugs can be compared to rape, theft or murder is ridiculous - but that's what we've come to expect from you Shane.

Why do you hate logic so much?

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 12:29:18 PM

REPLY:
Right! The "victim" is "high". Jim Hendrix is "high"? Janis Joplin is still "high"? Jim Morrison is still merely "high"?!!! But David Crosby is not still "high", although he is actually still alive and has rationally argued "Kick or die! Everything else is 'El poopo de Toro'". I guess Joe Agnost doesn't believe David Crosby's [The Birds; Crosby Stills and Nash] actual logic.

As Aristotle argued over 24 centuries ago, knowing a thing or two about logic, most people prefer the life of Sardanapaulis --- a Persian King who was "high" on sex with his many wives, wine drinking, eating and domestic tranquility. Meanwhile, his flunkies were fleecing the locals and the barbarians were gathering at the gates.

When the problems the King had ignored became overwhelmingly evident, he actually put up an able defence until either the Tigris or Euphrates overflowed and wiped out a good part of his defencive wall around his Capital. Inrushed the Medes (or some such) after the flood receded. So the formerly tranquil Persian retreated to his inner fortress and burned himself, his wives and children to ashes inside that domestic fortress.

So, What? I guess "stoners" get high on their drugs and barbarians get "high" on taking over what financed the "stoner's" former "highs" and very few get as "high" on logic as Aristotle, although Bill Gates has gotten really "high" on the economic ladder by being "high" on the logic of computer Disc Operating Systems (DOS).

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 1:37:38 PM


Kevin - my point was clearly missed by you.

The "victim" in the act of doing drugs is the person doing the act. A rapist rapes someone else. A thief steals from someone else. A murderer kills someone else.

A drug user?? He just gets ~himself~ high (and maybe dead a-la jimi hendrix). The crimes that Shane is equating with drug use are in a completely different sphere!! They aren't comparable...

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 1:52:44 PM


JANET (says):
The best quote:

"By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs."

Imho, at this point you'd have to be blind, and probably willfully so, to believe otherwise.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-03-08 5:17:45 PM

COMMENT:
But is the quote from or by "The Economist" who does illegal drugs, like hash, cocaine or marijuana, or from "The Economist" who does legal drugs prescribed by his psychiatrist [I dunno. Ritalin? Phenobarb?] or from/by "The Economist" who's popping over-the-counter diet pills, or "the economist" who does 30 cups of coffee and 10 cans of Red Bull over 36 hourse to be awake long enough to meet his publishing deadline???

Or is it simply a modernized regurgitation of "The Economist" who took two table spoons of Laudenum (opium elixir) before writing the same "Economist" article, I dunno, 50 years ago?

Who is this darned "Economist" anyway?!!!

Just kidding,

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 1:54:31 PM


But with drugs????? Um, the "victim" is high?

The "victim" will make other victims in order to continue getting high. In fact, just by buying blood pot, he's already indirectly made some.

Progressive are not the ones to lecture on logic. They hate blood oil. They hate blood diamonds. They hate killing baby seals for fur. Yet blood for pot is somehow okay.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-10 2:08:31 PM


"just by buying blood pot"

Try and stay focused Shane... we're not talking about the law - we're talking about victims.

Buying "blood pot" has nothing to do with the act of smoking pot. "blood pot" only exists because people like you lobby to keep it illegal. It's a merry go-round with you: pot is illegal so smokers fund gangs, gangs are violent and funded by pot smokers so pot is BAD. It's a circular argument...

"Yet blood for pot is somehow okay."

Man are you ever thick! No - "blood for pot" ISN'T OK!! That's why the SANE among us are lobbying to make it legal! To eliminate this relationship between gang warfare and drugs! They are ONLY related BECAUSE drugs are illegal!

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 2:14:46 PM


JOE (replies):
Kevin - my point was clearly missed by you.

The "victim" in the act of doing drugs is the person doing the act. A rapist rapes someone else. A thief steals from someone else. A murderer kills someone else.

A drug user?? He just gets ~himself~ high (and maybe dead a-la jimi hendrix). The crimes that Shane is equating with drug use are in a completely different sphere!! They aren't comparable...

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 1:52:44 PM

REPLY:
You made a lot of points. But I thought your major points were logic, death and high, with victims in the background. I'll admit that killing oneself, as a victim of one's own moral depravity, is in a different "sphere" from killing someone else as a "victim", if you want to emphasize "victimhood" as your point.

But I still think you missed David Crosby's and my points about the "logic" of drug addiction, which still is "kick or die" --- everything else is irrational or illogical.

And drug addicts don't only "get high", when they can't really afford to pay for their own personal self destruction. Some do steal to pay for their habits. Sometimes, not always, drug addicts do kill other people. They do not always merely "get high" with no consequences to others.

They "get high" on the job. In fact I recently had a conversation with a fellow who had been run down, on the job, by a fellow driving some sort of a machine where they worked together. He'd smoked a "J" on his scheduled coffee break and returned to work, where he failed to notice his fellow employee. So he ran over him.

When the cops and ambulence arrived, the "victim" was, at first, in too much pain to explain what happened and, then, quickly too morphined to explain what happened until later.

The guy who ran over him was too "stoned" to do much except "giggle" after "explaining" that his co-worker had come out of "nowhere". So the cops arrested "the stoner", who really was "just high on the job". There is no logic to being stoned. It just feels good with many unintended consequences, which "legalization" won't solve.

And my point is that there are always barbarians at the gate who find "stoners" easy pickings, because they are "high and giggling" when the barbarians arrive to victimize them.

That was my point. Every problem has its own solution, whether or not you are more worried about "victims" than perpetrators. Personally, I don't want my doctor, nurse, pharmacist, teacher (of my grandchildren) or fellow traveller on the highways and biways "just high" when the dumb SOB mistreats me, unintentionally, miseducates my grandchildren, unintentionally, or fills the wrong prescription, unintentionally, or crashes into me, unintentionally, because he is "just high" and doesn't really intend to harm me.

If he or she doesn't intend to harm me, because he or she is "just high", then he or she hasn't committed a crime and I am just an "accident", like my friend of recent conversation, who can't bend his leg and has had about 6 painful operations because his co-worker was "just high".

Do you get that kind of LOGIC and POINT, Joe, or are you "just high" on your own point?

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 2:35:46 PM


JOE "ad hominems" Shane:
Man are you ever thick! No - "blood for pot" ISN'T OK!! That's why the SANE among us are lobbying to make it legal! To eliminate this relationship between gang warfare and drugs! They are ONLY related BECAUSE drugs are illegal!

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 2:14:46 PM

Joe, BUDDY-E-E-E-E:
You are simply arguing to legalize your favourite drug. You want "legalized drugs"! There are all sorts of legal drugs. Look up the pharmacopia and go to any doctor and fake the symptoms which justify the legal drug. They send you to a psychiatrist. Fake the same symptoms and that psychiatrist will prescribe some legal drug for you which will give you a much better stone than pot, with less harmful consequences to your lungs, whether or not your pot is clean or bloody.

There is no SANE with respect to drug dependence. And there are perfectly healthy ways to produce endorphins in your brain without artificial or natural drugs. Take up sky diving. Become a war correspondent. Take up jogging --- even that activity naturally produces brain endorphins which are the best "high" producers of all.

But don't try to pretend that you have SANE arguments for being a "stoner" or legalizing more "stoners" in any society. We've got enough psychiatrists doing perfectly "legal stonings" with legal drugs as it is, including your local, friendly bartender agent of alcohol-stonings.

Why don't you just stay quietly-stoned and quit proselytizing like some sort of politician or religious fakir/faker. There is no reasoning with addicts or about addictions. There is absoltely nothing SANE about drug addicts, no matter what their favourite drug of choice.

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 3:04:11 PM


JOE "ad hominems" Shane:
Man are you ever thick! No - "blood for pot" ISN'T OK!! That's why the SANE among us are lobbying to make it legal! To eliminate this relationship between gang warfare and drugs! They are ONLY related BECAUSE drugs are illegal!

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-10 2:14:46 PM

Joe, BUDDY-E-E-E-E:
You are simply arguing to legalize your favourite drug. You want "legalized drugs"! There are all sorts of legal drugs. Look up the pharmacopia and go to any doctor and fake the symptoms which justify the legal drug. They send you to a psychiatrist. Fake the same symptoms and that psychiatrist will prescribe some legal drug for you which will give you a much better stone than pot, with less harmful consequences to your lungs, whether or not your pot is clean or bloody.

There is no SANE with respect to drug dependence. And there are perfectly healthy ways to produce endorphins in your brain without artificial or natural drugs. Take up sky diving. Become a war correspondent. Take up jogging --- even that activity naturally produces brain endorphins which are the best "high" producers of all.

But don't try to pretend that you have SANE arguments for being a "stoner" or legalizing more "stoners" in any society. We've got enough psychiatrists doing perfectly "legal stonings" with legal drugs as it is, including your local, friendly bartender agent of alcohol-stonings.

Why don't you just stay quietly-stoned and quit proselytizing like some sort of politician or religious fakir/faker. There is no reasoning with addicts or about addictions. There is absoltely nothing SANE about drug addicts, no matter what their favourite drug of choice.

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 3:06:17 PM


Whoa! There seems to be an echo here. I must be stoned as well as a poor speller because my post was posted "absoltely" (sic) twice. I guess I'll return to the real world. Even Cyber chat produces confusing "stoner-endorphins".

Good luck to everyone with their respective legalization vs. illegalization efforts and arguments. Working for either "cause" should give everyone some sober moments, although sky diving or riding a Ferris Wheel is more fun.

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Byrne | 2009-03-10 3:17:30 PM


Your ignorance of marijuana is showing Kevin:

"The guy who ran over him was too 'stoned' to do much except 'giggle'"

That's the stereotype - the pot smoker does nothing but giggle to himself nonsensically... the truth is entirely different.

But none of that is relevant anyway! The problems you descibe have nothing to do with the legality of the drug...

Is it legal to drive drunk? No - so why assume it would be legal to drive stoned? I shouldn't be ( and wouldn't be).

Would you lose your job if you showed up drunk? You likely would - and it should be the same with showing up high.

The points you bring up have nothing to do with the legality of the drug - they are problems that exist NOW and will exist whether the drug is legal or not.

Let's look at the drug problems:

1. People abuse them, drive stoned and steal to feed their habit.

2. The drug industry is run by violent gangs - who have no issues killing to secure a market share.

Now looking at solutions:

1. Making drugs legal won't help this one. I admit that. Keeping drugs illegal isn't helping either though so this one's a wash.

2. Making drugs legal WOULD help this one. In fact, it would eliminate the violence associated with the drugs. Keeping them illegal only fuels the violence.

So while legalizing drugs won't eliminate ALL of the problems with drugs, it will certianly eliminate the violence involved in the distribution of them.... while keeping the status quo fuels the violent gangs.

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-11 9:17:49 AM


Kevin: "You are simply arguing to legalize your favourite drug."

No - I'm arguing to legalize EVERY drug. My "favorite" drug is already legal: alcohol.

Kevin: "There is no SANE with respect to drug dependence."

I agree. I'm not talking about "drug dependence" - I'm talking the legality of drugs. You seem confused by the difference.

Kevin: "But don't try to pretend that you have SANE arguments for being a 'stoner'..."

I didn't and wouldn't. You're way off topic and putting words in my mouth...

Kevin: "...or legalizing more 'stoners' in any society."

Again - I have not done that. Newsflash: The stoners are already there!! I want to eliminate the violence that's associated with producing and distributing the drugs - and I don't understand how you're missing the difference!

Kevin: "Why don't you just stay quietly-stoned and quit proselytizing like some sort of politician or religious fakir/faker."

Interesting 'take' on my position. I could sit quietly watching the gang violence escalate - but I see a simple solution and want to share it.

Kevin: "There is no reasoning with addicts or about addictions."

Since I haven't been talking about either of these I'd have to conclude that you don't understand my position... you keep going back to "addictions" and "abuse" - things that will be societal problems whether drugs are legal or not.

I'm talking about the gang violence associated with drugs - this needs to be stopped.

Kevin: "There is absoltely nothing SANE about drug addicts, no matter what their favourite drug of choice."

Well D'uh!! Now read my position again and come back with a comment that's on topic!

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-11 9:29:05 AM


Joe Agnost,

1. How, exactly, is the truth "entirely different"? It's one thing to complain about stereotypes; it's another to convincingly debunk them. So stop carping, and start debunking.

2. It is not legal to drive stoned; it is not legal to drive in Canada while impaired by any substance. In the summer of 2008, Bill C-2 granted police expanded powers to demand field sobriety tests by those suspected of toking and driving and, if necessary, an examination by a police Drug Recognition Expert.

3. Yes, it should, except that in many jurisdictions, substance addiction is considered a handicap, not an offence, and dismissal for such causes leaves one open to lawsuits and human rights monkey trials.

4. Making drugs legal wouldn't eliminate the violence associated with their distribution, because demand is global and a nation that liberalizes drug laws will be a very attractive target for producers and distributors looking for a low-risk base of operations. The only way this could work is if most major countries simultaneously legalized them. Now, how do you plan to accomplish this?

5. How many people would have to become addicted, and lives ruined, before the cost exceeded that of the drug war today? Can you give me a number? Bear in mind China's 19th-century addiction statistics. In fact, it was horror over that nation's plight that led other nations to restrict drugs in the first place. Frankly, I doubt you ever even considered this point.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-11 9:41:23 AM


Shane: "The only way this could work is if most major countries simultaneously legalized them."

Yup! I agree, it's a worldwide thing and needs to be adressed globally.

You're coming along Shane - you're beginning to see the sanity of legalization. Do you admit that a worldwide END to the "war on drugs" as it's currently implemented could make things better?

Shane: "How many people would have to become addicted, and lives ruined, before the cost exceeded that of the drug war today?"

They are ALREADY becoming addicted and ruining their lives - the illegality of the drugs does nothing to prevent this. Making them legal wouldn't help this either but it would have the benefit of ending the gang violence associated with drugs right now.

Posted by: joe agnost | 2009-03-11 9:51:40 AM


Joe,

1. Good luck with that. Among the countries you have to convince are places that sentence a woman to death for being raped, but also for resisting rape. Also places that give six strokes of the cane for spitting on the sidewalk. And the pro-legalization lobby says I'm being unrealistic...

2. Uh, no. I'll decide what I consider progress, not you. And belonging to a pie-in-the-sky movement that seeks to re-engineer a century-old worldwide movement based on an abstract principle of hyper-liberty isn't my idea of sanity. No, I admit to no such premise. Because the alternative is more addicts than we can possibly deal with.

3. You don't know that. You know only that it hasn't prevented EVERYBODY from getting addicted; i.e., the law is not 100% effective. Well, thanks for clearing that up! NO law is 100% effective. It's not grounds to dissolve Parliament and declare anarchy. It's estimated that by the early 20th century, 40 million Chinese--about one in ten--was an opium addict. This also happens to be the point at which their nation was at its weakest and subject to humiliation and domination by foreign powers. Would that be preferable to the Black Death? Yes. To just about anything else, including the drug war? No.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-11 10:59:12 AM


The druggies have surrendered to their drugs, now they want everybody else to surrender..Guess what? we won't surrender to your drugs .

so what next Wipehead militants..?
set yourselves on fire??

Posted by: 419 | 2009-03-11 11:48:57 AM



The comments to this entry are closed.