12/12/09

Liberal Lie: Prohibition was a Failure

Prohibition Worked!: Legalizing Drugs by Rewriting History
By: Jonathan Harris

In the current debate to legalize marijuana and other drugs, the argument is given by social libertarians that, "after all, alcohol and cigarettes are legal!" I suppose if two society rotting items are considered permissible the flood gates should swing wide upon right? I mean, we're all about freedom here in America right? I've watched many liberal/libertarians debate this topic, both on television, and in person, and I think I can honestly say, some good points are brought up. Namely, that the constitution delegates the states as responsible for handling what substances are legal, not the Federal government, and that the items themselves are not evil, but rather the people who abuse them. No qualms there with a Biblical worldview, in fact much the opposite. Biblically speaking, there is precedent for checks and balances in the form of local authority, and certainly the idea that man is evil is all through the Scripture (not substances being evil). However, I loose marijuana advocates when they start saying, "You shouldn't legislate morality!" and, "People are just going to do it anyway" From an atheistic stand point, these arguments seem consistent, but that's about the only worldview that they seem consistent in. Every decision we make is moral, whether it's putting in a stop light to save human life or charging a tax to pay for defense. The question is, who's morality is being legislated? God's or man's? The idea that people are going to get their hands on marijuana either way may or may not be true. The level of usage would certainly rise if it were legalized just like every other evil practice which has been legalized (i.e. abortions sky-rocketed after roe v. wade). But even if it didn't rise, why should the government seek to put its stamp of approval on the practice? If everyone was going to murder any way, we should just make murder legal right? I've heard the argument that, "Well, guns are used to kill people but we believe in the 2nd amendment, therefore the negative effects of marijuana should not dissuade us from legalizing it." Nice rhetoric, but no cigar. Guns are useful for defense and hunting. They save lives. Just because some people misuse them doesn't mean we make them illegal. Marijuana however has only one use: Getting high. We already universally allow the use of "marinol" (medical marijuana that's ingested, not smoked) in the hospitals, but why would we want everyone on the street having free access to it? There's no legitimate use! (I wrote a paper on marijuana's negative societal effects a couple years ago. You can read it here.) The biggest problem I have with those who advocate the legalization of marijuana are those who use the argument that "Prohibition didn't work either!" Oh really? History has been so rewritten in recent years, we're all like zombies trained to repeat the mantra, "Prohibition was a failure, prohibition was a failure." Let's see if this is really the case. Below I have linked three articles. Please, take a look at them, especially if you believe that prohibition didn't work. The way we think about prohibition will shape the way we think about narcotics.

Actually, Prohibition was a Success - NY Times 1989

Prohibition had its Pluses - Albany Times Union 1990


Prohibition Worked - Chicago Sun Times 1988

11 comments:

  1. Very very interesting, your discussion on the legalization of marijuana. I'm really torn on this topic, and I can see convincing arguments on either side. One argument that I don't think you debunked in your video is the principle that is raised as to what exactly the government has the right to prohibit. As you pointed out, all law is essentially based on morality, however, not all immoral actions are punishable by law. If you lie to your friend about where you were last night, this is obviously immoral, but he can't send you to jail for it. If you commit adultery, you will probably get burned, but it isn't the government's place to burn you. So it's a question of whether or not hurting yourself with drugs (while being wrong) should be punishable by law. If you purposely cut yourself with a knife, should you be sent to jail? Now of course people do end up hurting other people often times when under the influence. But isn't that the crime that should be punished by law? Not the substance abuse itself, but the damage to life and property committed while high on the drug, just as it is with alcohol?

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  2. Hey Tim, I'm glad you're thinking through this issue. That's good to see, and you raise a good point which ultimately gets at the philosophy differentiating conservatives and libertarians. As a Biblical conservative, I believe in realms of influence. I.E. God has ordained authority figures at different levels. There are "spheres of influence" with God being the ultimate final judge in all matters. Children are under the authority of their parents. Local governments are responsible for local emergencies and education. State governments manage state-wide emergencies and manage waterways. The Federal government provides for the common defense of all the states and manages interstate commerce. This is not a thorough list, but you get the idea. The libertarian says essentially, "I don't want any authority over me because I'm autonomous!" The conservative says, "I want the right authority over me!" Which will be just God in some situations (situations pertaining to the laws between God and man like idiolatry) and will be God and men in others (situations pertaining to laws between men and men like lying, adultery, and murder)I.E. a child does not want the federal government punishing them for biting their brother, when that's up to parents to deal with. As a conservative, I believe in local control because that means local accountability as well. Only when it's absolutely necessary do we give any power to Fedzilla. So no, the Federal government doesn't have any business regulating such petty things as cutting your hand or getting a divorce (except when it interacts with interstate commerce), but there may be a state, local, or religious authority who is responsible in that sphere of influence.

    So number one: Spheres of influence do exist, with local accountability being the most powerful.
    Number two: God has set up laws dealing with man-God relationships and man-man relationships. The government enforces the man-man relationships when justice is not done.

    When we're talking about marijuana, we have to ask ourselves does this lead to the violation of a man-man command (it certainly violates a man-God command). The answer is no, it doesn't, but it can lead there quite easily. I.E. car accidents, broken families, etc. It's a plague on society, not because its inately evil, but because people are. If we could punish the crime without punishing the substance I would be all for it. I.E. If we could implement the death penalty for every marijuana user that kills someone on the road because they're high, I would be the first in line to legalize it. However, our government won't ever do something like this. Just look at alcohol. We tie things up in court, and send people off to jail for a couple years. Instead we should be strict and swift. So since I realize this isn't an option, I say don't legalize it. Prevent it as much as possible.

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  3. Dude you are too right. Weed sucks anyway. I'e had a horrible experience with weed. No, i've never smoked it, but my girlfriend used to really really smoke pot. She started out small a long time ago but ended up getting addicted to it. Now i know people say it's not addicting but at the same time you have to look at the emotions and actions of oter people. For example, sex feel amazing and wonderful. It's obviously not addicting because, as you well know, there are no chemicals or anything like that involved in it. But at the same time we call people sex addicts and people sometimes can't live without sex, hence people raping and molesting others. Although scientifically they say you can't get addicted because there are no adicting sbstances in it, but in reality you can. MY girlfriend is (or was depending on how you look at it) a prime example of this. When she first smoked weed i guess it was amazing, you know... feeling high or whatever. So once she found that she was stressed she ended up smoking more and more until one wasn't enough. she had to smoke two, three, four ect. It got so bad that when me and her had problems or when she came to me with a polem she would be like "God damn it matt i NEED some weed! just let me smoke once!" basically begging. SO i think we can agree that it is in fact addicting and it's just as hard to stop as it is to stop smoking a ciggarett.
    Another point i'd like to add onto is how people clearly don't have a right state of mind when high. My girlfriend used to swear to me tat she had common sense when she was high and other potters i know did too. But one unfortunate night we were talking and i could tell something was wrong with ehr and i didn't let it go. She admitted that she had gotten high with her ex girlfriend the week prior to that night and they ended up having sex.
    i was torn apart hearing this and it almost ruined our relationship. Weed screws up your mind and moral. i understand how Tim was saying how the government should punish the crime and not the source or whatever. but thin of it like this. Do you really want to wait for that crime to occur? Do you really want to wait for a major car accident killing families and ruining the lives of so many? or people making unwise decisions effecting relationships or careers or education? I say stop it at its core and never legalize Weed or any drug like it instead of legalizing it and just waiting for something to happen.

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  4. Hi and first off thanks for a very in depth and thorough blog ... Now I do not actually live in the USA I live over in England so this law would not make a difference (directly) to me but I do feel strongly about the topic. Where I do agree that weed, however technically not as harmful as alcohol or tobacco, can cause damage if miss used, I have to in the nicest way possible disagree with your comparison of guns and weed because at the end of the day the purpose of a gun is to kill. Wether it be a human or an animal its' primary purpose is to kill. The purpose of weed is to get high which in the short term does not cause a noticable amount (if any) of damage. Obviously if overused for long periods of time then there will start to be long term effects...I don't need to explain because it is clear you have done a lot of research. So what I'm trying to say is when it comes down to it, in my opinion guns are more dangerous than weed and yet which one is legal? I'm not saying that weed should be legalised but surely if guns are legal then something needs to change. Also, this is just me, but I personally am not scared of dying and it being my fault. So if I get addicted to weed and die from drug use then silly me. I am scared of dying from something that is out of my control e.g being shot by someone else. I do not know where I stand in this argument but I will consider your points when trying to decide what I would do.

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  5. "So what I'm trying to say is when it comes down to it, in my opinion guns are more dangerous than weed and yet which one is legal?"

    Remember, guns can be used for good purposes (scaring off criminals, home defense, hunting) or bad purposes (robbery, murder). Weed is used to "get high." I would argue that in the vast majority of circumstances (in the 90 percentile at least in the US) it is used for recreation. I believe this is a misuse of the drug, and it can lead to consequences including driving under the influence, etc. which does kill others.

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  6. I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree

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  7. Actually, I think the author of this post is way off base with regards to cannabis. It has been documented many times that cannabis shrinks cancerous tumors, that hemp oil can cure cancer!
    Which of course, is a main reason why the pharmaceutical companies have such a big stake in keeping it within the realm of a "scary gateway drug". If we don't keep coming back to the doctors for more chemotherapy, which has been shown to be less than helpful in eradicating cancer, then they are out of a job and no more perks.
    What about the Biblical verse Genesis 1:29? While not a green light for marijuana use, it would seem to imply that using a seed that God Himself called good, shouldn't be placed in the "drug category"
    Also, before the illegalization of cannabis in the early part of the 20th century, hemp was widespread, even our american constitution was written on hemp. I would like to know your thoughts on this.

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  8. I'd like citations to back up your arguments before commenting.

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  9. You want citations....proof abounds on the web about the safety and medicinal quality of cannabis. All you have to do is look for it.
    Run from the Cure www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjhT9282-Tw
    Also, please check out rense.com/general93/canna.htm
    There are many, many sources of true info on cannabis. It should be common knowledge to any american citizen, that our constitution was written on hemp, so I won't provide proof of that. And as for the Biblical reference, well that speaks for itself. Please comment.

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  10. So....I'm left wondering if the citations I gave are not to your liking, or whether it has left you speechless, or ...what? No comment, nothing. Too inconvenient for your "worldview" perhaps? Nevertheless, facts are facts, you can't deny that, are you hoping that by ignoring the facts, it will just go away?

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  11. 1st link was basically a home video, the second link didn't exist. I don't have time to respond to citations that aren't citations.

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