Fisking and punk smacking for Monique Stuart, Aisle 10

by CynthiaYockey on March 27, 2009

Monique Stuart at HotMES is on about de-criminalizing recreational drugs today, as a follow-up to Obama’s town hall meeting, which I would leave alone although I disagree. But because she based her argument on conflating pharmaceutical drugs, aka medicines, defined as “any substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” with recreational chemicals that frequently have addiction as a side effect, I must administer unto her the first fisking and punk smacking of my blog.

The indented material is Monique’s.

I’m sorry that Mexico is having experiencing problems related to drugs. And, I’m sorry America has its own drug-related problems to deal with. But, drugs aren’t the problem; they are a symptom of the problem.

1. The drugs are a symptom? Could this symptom be cured by, say, penicillin?

We pretend to be a culture that is against drugs, yet we are not. We have a “War on Drugs,” as new drugs are advertised every day. At some point, our government made the decision that some drugs were acceptable and others were not. This is where the problem lies.

2. We do not as a culture have contradictory attitudes towards drugs because, as a culture, most of us are able to tell the difference between drugs that have the purpose of curing a disease, slowing its progress or alleviating a symptom. Legal drugs do one or all of those three things. That is why we, through our government, aka our elected representatives, have decided that these drugs, aka medicines, are acceptable.

Illegal drugs are taken recreationally. They are not necessary. The ones that are highly addictive are extremely dangerous and change the behavior of the people taking them for the worse. That is why we have decided they are unacceptable.

It’s one big contradiction. Either we’re against drugs, or were for them. Make up your mind. Heroin isn’t acceptable, but clinics hand out methadone, while doctors prescribe Oxycontin (which makes you feel like you’re on heroin from what I’ve been told).

3. Do read up on logic and “false choice” and the “straw man,” which are the names of the devices that you use above.

We do not have to be either for drugs, or against them. It is totally legitimate to pick and choose.

So we are not being at all capricious or contradictory at all when we legalize antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, hormone replacement therapies, chemotherapies, pain medications and a host of other pharmaceuticals that have targeted and legitimate purposes.

Neither is it capricious or contradictory to ban drugs that are recreational and highly addictive. An addiction may be triggered in some people with one dose. The addiction dramatically changes the behavior of that person for the worse. It is worthwhile for society to make and enforce laws to guard against this.

The reason it’s a contradiction is because drugs aren’t inherently bad, just as guns aren’t inherently bad. It’s how people choose to use them. To be quite honest, I don’t see the difference between someone who smokes a joint at the end of the day versus the person who is having a couple martini’s. In fact, one could argue, the former is preferable to the latter.

4. Beg to differ. Crack is inherently bad because it is addictive. Ditto for heroin. The addiction by definition removes the ability of people to choose whether or how to use them.

Why aren’t all drugs, legal, though? Whether prescribed or proscribed, all drugs are the same: most offer some benefit when taken in moderation. As of the year 2000, the “War on Drugs” was estimated to cost over $40 billion, annually. I’m sure it’s costing much more, now.

Legalizing drugs would put the Mexican drug gangs out of business a lot quicker and a lot more effectively than anything our two governments can come up with. Put that at the top of you checklist and you should be done.

5. No, it would legitimize the fortunes of the drug lords, so they would stop doing their legitimate money-laundering businesses like the New York Times — a big chunk of which is now owned by a Mexican “real estate developer” — although I bet now that it’s his PR puppet it is not technically money-laundering but a legitimate business expense, so bad example — and they still would not be willing to pay taxes to support water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, electricity, schools, roads and hospitals for all citizens of Mexico.

(It also is worth noting that Mexico is an oil-rich country that certainly could afford to do these things for its people if its people ever really wanted these things to happen.)

Obama mocked his online audience in his “town hall meeting” yesterday—to the laughter of the elitist DC crowd that surrounded him in the room—for asking about legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.

You’re right, Mr. President, it may not remedy our economic woes, but why can’t this be taken into consideration? I believe it’s a serious question, with serious implications, and should be seriously addressed. You are not a comedian, Mr. President. Stop trying to be funny!

I don’t smoke pot or do any other illegal drugs. I don’t take many legal drugs, either. Maybe some Tylenol, here and there. Lately, I have been hitting up the Sudafed (I have some cold that I have named The Illness that won’t seem to go away). But, what’s the difference between the person who pops some Xanax for their anxiety and the person who takes a hit from the bong?

All legal drugs are achieving some goal that could be achieved by an illegal drug, they’re just doing it synthetically instead of naturally. Where do you think the drug companies came up with the idea in the first place? Mexico wouldn’t be having the issues it is, and neither would America, if drugs became legal. People are going to use drugs and some of those people will abuse drugs. The legality of the drugs doesn’t matter.

6.First, Obama mocks people because he is a narcissist and that is what they do to people who have shamed them. Obama does not have a sense of humor.

Second, WTF??? Aspirin might come from willow bark and digoxin from foxglove and penicillin and the -mycin antibiotics from fungi, but I’d love to have your source for where baclofen, carbamazepine, phenytoin, Avonex, and metoprolol — just for starters — came from in the wild.

Or do you think that ALL drugs are really some form of opioid?

Could you REALLY not have have bothered to read up on countries that HAVE decriminalized recreational drugs? Try reading this, as a sample. Decriminalizing recreational drugs has multiplied problems, not mitigated them.

Addendum: This issue has a face for me — my brother’s best friend, who died this time last year of liver failure due to 30-plus years of taking methadone, the treatment for his heroin addiction. He was so big and strong in his youth I thought nothing could ever beat him. We all miss him so.

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  • Either we are for large, fuel-laden airliners, or we are against them.
    Either we are for knives (and surgeons, and kitchens), or we are against them.

    I was going to call her piece “Sophistry,” but it isn’t quite clever enough. Her points are more like a mirage: They seem to mean something until you approach too closely, and then they disappear into thin air.

    No doubt legal drugs can be abused, but that is not an argument to make a drugs legal. Entire sections of cities are not blighted by crime, prostitution, and official corruption because of the local hospitals curing disease.

    Ugh!

  • She will say those problems are caused by the illegality. No, they are caused by the addicts, and the organizations that supply them.

    It’s called personal responsibility. Harsh! I know!

    Sorry for the after-thought post.

  • Pingback: At the risk of being dogpiled in an inflatable tub full of Jello… « The TrogloPundit()

  • Roy Lofquist

    Dear Ms. Yockey,

    I think you are seriously misinformed about a number of things here. This is understandable as we have been bombarded by anti-drug propaganda for over a hundred years.

    Fully defending the above statement would take far more time and effort than I am willing to expend. I will, however, offer brief assertions. I will expand on them if anyone is interested.

    1. Anything you think you know about the effects of illegal drugs or addiction rates is wrong.

    Why? Because it is illegal under Federal law to study them.

    Getting a handle on actual addiction requires a lot of guesswork. The methodology is to estimate the total number of regular and casual users and the number of addicts.

    This is extremely difficult. First, the numbers from official sources as to the amount of drugs consumed are self contradictory, often to an extreme degree. Second, there is no standard definition of addiction and no consistent method of reporting it.

    In other words, when people talk about drugs it usually issues from the wrong orifice.

    2. There is no known incident, ever, where a single dose of any drug caused addiction. This myth is just like the myth of the needles stuck in halloween candy – it never happened. Very little is actually know about the course of addiction. It is illegal to study it. The only evidence we have is anecdotal – from addicts, those paragons of trustworthiness.

    3. The use of street illegal drugs is regular and widespread in our armed forces. The pilots of the billion dollar B-2 bomber take them. They are provided by the military.

    I hope I have raised some questions in your mind. Any debate about drugs is driven by parochial interest and is all hot air.

    Regards,
    Roy

  • What caught my eye was our hostess’ reference to “recreational chemicals that frequently have addiction as a side effect,” as though this were somehow a unique characteristic of the class. I have entirely too many non-recreational chemicals around the house, all of them legitimately prescribed for me, which might well cause addiction if I’m not careful.

    And yet some people, I am told, actually do take some of these things for recreational purposes.

    There are times when I’m tempted to ask, “If it doesn’t have side effects, it’s not really a drug, is it?”

  • I was amused to read Heinlein’s “Have Space Suit Will Travel” where the teenage protagonist laments his failure to stock his space suit with speed. The kid worked for a pharmacist and it was written in the 1950s when such was legal.

    Obviously, there were bad things happening when laudanum was legal, and when speed was legal. Some politicians got it in their heads that the bad things happening when alcohol was legal was so bad that the country needed Prohibition. Alcohol and tobacco are both recreational and addictive substances. They cause bad things, but those bad things were not as bad as Prohibition. So, the feds repealed Prohibition.

    Milton Friedman once said that illegal drugs are expensive drugs. And the high profit margins from them go to bad people who spend their money in bad ways. He favored legalization just to get the profits out of the business. If we did legalize the stuff, some of the bad things like no-knock police raids and drug gangs would go away. Without high margins, drug dealers won’t bribe judges, politicians and policemen.

    Legal drugs might be sold in state stores, like Ohio’s state liquor stores. And they can be taxed like tobacco and alcohol are taxed.

    But drugs are addictive (fine, more tax revenues!). And all those bad things happen to people who use those drugs.

    Legalization or prohibition each cause bad consequences. Which are worse? Let’s tally up the costs either way.

    I happen to believe an individual should take responsibility for himself without a paternalistic authority passing laws to protect him. I want helmet laws repealed, and I wear a motorcycle helmet. I want drugs legalized and I don’t do drugs and I tell people who choose differently they’re choosing stupidly. But we not use the power of the state to force that choice, because I think the bad things to society due to prohibition are greater than the bad things to that individual who’d use the drug.

    • Hi, Steve!

      Or, the drugs that are illegal because they are addictive and/or destructive in other ways are REALLY easy to grow (marijuana, coca, opium poppies) and need little or no processing, or they are easy to make in a lab (meth). I think ease and profit attract the criminal, who has no regard for the destruction he causes in other lives.

      Cynthia

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