Evil people, I believe, very seldom believe that they are evil. On the contrary they have convinced themselves that they are good. Or perhaps it’s more correct to say they feel they are better. Better than anyone else. Because of this they feel entitled to behave toward other people in any way they want.
We can call them sarcastically “masterminds” or “do gooders” or we can just call them tyrants. These people exist in all walks of life. They are the people who know better than you. You just can’t see what they see. You’re a wonderful person, but not very smart and not able to see what’s in your own best interest. Don’t worry though, they will manage it all for you, even if they have to use force.
I believe President Duterte in the Philippines is one such person. Ironically this state of mind is often driven by the individual’s own weaknesses and failures or fear. I also think this is the case with Duterte who has his own battle with drugs in the form of pain killers. Legal but still addictive and a possible sign to Duterte of his own shortcomings. Psychologically speaking, if he can’t battle it in himself he satisfies the desire by taking the fight externally. He can claim subconsciously that he’s keeping others from it and by being strong on the issue shows strength where he has weakness. The end result of all this psychology is a murdering madman acting out his cognitive dissonance on the world.
Make Drugs Legal?
It leads one to ponder the greater question: is it time to end the war on drugs? Not just the real war being waged by Duterte but the legal one in the United States as well. This question isn’t just based on the discomfort caused by Duterte’s extreme measures in this war on drugs but is caused by the principles of liberty and self sovereignty.
Why is it the state’s job to decide what a person ingests?
It’s very difficult to have a discussion of this sort because people know the dangers of drug use and drugs are culturally taboo. Be it right or wrong the fact remains that people who use drugs are looked down on by the rest of society. Legalization of Marijuana, though recently appearing popular is still an issue largely thought of as an issue of losers and deadbeats. I suspect that a large part of legalization support comes from people who either want potheads to shut up about it already or who realize that someone else’s drug use is only as harmful as someone else’s alcohol use but not because they actually support the use of drugs.
We tried prohibition of alcohol and that didn’t work so well.
In the Philippines Duterte has made the war on drugs more than just an expression, he’s made it a real war with real killing. I’m a huge fan of the ad absurdum argumentative style. By distilling something down to the logical end we can show quite clearly why something is good or bad. If using drugs is bad, immoral, evil, then killing people who use drugs is the logical conclusion. Warped, but logical. All it takes to get from where we are to one possible ad absurdum end is a madman like Duterte.
It causes one to question the entire notion of drugs being illegal. While being killed by the government isn’t something happening in the United States over the war on drugs (some would argue it is), there are plenty of people in jail because of it. What are they actually in jail for? Of course some will quickly answer “because it’s illegal! They broke the law. What else do they expect to happen?” fair enough. But then I ask, “why is it against the law?” to which they likely answer, “because drugs are harmful. They are bad for you.” Okay, I concede that point as well. They are dangerous and unhealthy; long term use has been proved (even marijuana) to cause cognitive and neurological damage as well as a host of other physiological problems. Anyone who argues these findings is being intellectually dishonest. They do it as a way to overcome those arguments much in the same way Climate Changers bring up the non-existent 97% of scientists. It’s not true but it supports their narrative so they cling to it. They are harmful. Telling people otherwise will simply solidify their view on drugs and not help your cause at all. Telling someone that what they know to be true isn’t does not make them side with your cause.
There is, however, a good argument to be made if people simply answered, “I know they are. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I think it should be up to me, not you, what I ingest or inhale.”
It’s a lot like skydiving. It’s dangerous, you could die, but people do it anyway. For that matter it’s like driving a car.
Does it really help?
According to the CDC the estimated annual deaths from all illicit drugs is around 17,000 a year. Compare that to the estimate of 29,000 for alcohol and we already begin to see a problem. Then see that 35,000 die from car accidents and we have to question how something being dangerous can really be the reason drugs are illegal. In fact the CDC says that drug deaths from both illegal and legal drugs is around 46,000. Take away that 17,000 from illicit drugs and you’re left with 29,000 drug deaths from legal drugs. So the statistics don’t support safety as the reason that certain drugs are illegal. Even if they did one must ask why it’s the government’s job to keep someone from eating or drinking something.
If drugs today why not red meat tomorrow?
Again, ad absurdum but not too far fetched, after all, New York passed its soda ban. Soda doesn’t cause you to drive poorly, loose your inhibitions, pass out in a dorm room, rob a store or neglect your children. But New York thought it was bad for you so you shouldn’t be able to buy it in the sizes you want. Some mastermind do gooder in government thought that you weren’t living your life the way you should and since they are smarter than you, know better what you need than you do, they passed a law.
I suspect it’s much the same with illegal drugs. Though most certainly I think they are bad and they will never enter into my body I have to ask myself which of my rights are violated when you use them? I can’t think of any.
There are many who point out that drugs cause certain behaviors like theft, assault, and in some cases laziness. I can’t argue against that. But in that case we convict for the theft and the assault when they do happen. As for laziness, if we simply didn’t facilitate that through a system of government handouts the drug user would face the consequences of that as well. What about the children? It’s the same. We punish the parent for the neglect. You see, right now we are putting parents in jail for drug use. How is that helping those children?
What to we do Instead?
Addiction is a terrible thing. Anyone who has been around, seen it in others, or felt it in themselves knows this. The desire to protect people from it is a righteous desire in and of itself. But it loses it’s righteousness when the method of help offered is force and the loss of freedom through jail, or the ripping of families apart (families that are already suffering due to the addiction). The above mentioned stigma that is associated with drug users is especially powerful in the United States. Culturally we are a strong, can-do, people who see drug use and alcoholism as weaknesses. Maybe they are. Maybe that’s not something even worth arguing about.
Perhaps it’s just time we accept that it is what it is and, weak or strong, that person needs help rather than jail.
If they refuse help then perhaps they should be left to face the inevitable consequences of their actions rather than being bailed out. The children that may or may not be in the wake of that disaster need not suffer along with the drug user.
There is a program being adopted across the country known as the “Angel Initiative” that seeks to work with government and police to help addicts. It’s a controversial program because it basically flouts the law. Someone can walk into a police station, hand over their drugs, get signed up for counseling and not get arrested. Instead a volunteer, an Angel, is called and they come walk that person through the addiction recovery process. This is hard for some citizens to wrap their heads around. After all the person just admitted to a crime and walked right up the police with the evidence. The program goes so far as to provide a place for the addict’s children to stay while they are getting treatment. There aren’t many statistics on how well the program works, it’s so new. However, police and Attorneys General all over the country have agreed to give it a try. Similar programs with different names exist all over the world.
People are beginning to see that putting addicts in jail might not be what’s best for them, their families, or society. The addict’s use of substances doesn’t take away your right to anything. That’s the key to most of my thinking on liberty. You have rights and the things that should be illegal are the things that harm those rights.
Ponder for a moment how much money would be saved on housing prisoners and how many police resources could be directed toward catching the person that burglarized your house or stole your kid’s bicycle if police weren’t tying up massive amounts of resources arresting addicts. Think of how weakened the drug cartels would be if their black market product was suddenly available elsewhere.
Drugs remain something I personally won’t use and don’t think anyone – ever – anywhere – should use. Yet I am willing to recognize that isn’t my choice to make for you and making it illegal clearly hasn’t stopped people from using them. Just like the prohibition on alcohol failed I think it’s time we admit the same of the war on drugs. We can still preach “just say no” and let everyone make informed choices but when it comes down to it we’re just trying to legislate morality and control the choices people make. I believe people have their agency and as long as it doesn’t step on the rights of others they should be allowed to exercise that agency how they want, right or wrong, succeed or fail.
Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines, our photojournalist documented 57 homicide victims over 35 days.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he personally killed suspected criminals when he was mayor of a southern city to set an example for police. Duterte made the comments in a speech late on Monday night to businessmen as he discussed his campaign to eradicate illegal drugs, which has seen