Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wow, Lookit The Bales!
Another news report showed the authorities burning the pile - and I couldn't help myself - there was a time when being downwind would have been a dream come true.
All joking aside - the War On Drugs is doomed to failure as long as there are people like I used to be consuming the products available. No amount of property seizures or major drug busts are gonna stop the flow. We can argue about border security with the attendant issues of illegal immigration, the increasing power and boldness of the drug cartels, and possible smuggling of terrorists all we want, but until we control our urge to consume what they are smuggling - we are destined to have this albatross around our collective necks forever.
So what is the solution? I fear that like so many divisive issues there is no actual single solution. There is no black or white - only shades of gray. Clearly the path we are on isn't working. Prison sentences for minor drug offenses higher than violent crime? Something wrong there. Confiscating property right and left? Yeah, the LEOs like that - they get all sorts of tacticool urban warrior goodies just in case they need to go to war with the populace they are sworn to protect and serve. Yeah, that's not quite working so well either. Severe punitive measures sound good for a political sound bite (Vote for Me! I'm NOT soft on crime!).
Well, how about decriminalization? Or making certain drugs legal? After all, we allow alcohol - and pot isn't as "bad" as booze, right?
The moral equivalence argument really doesn't work because after all, booze is based on just one drug - alcohol. You can get the same effect from drinking just about any booze - it just might take more or less to achieve the same level of drunkenness. Drugs are decidedly different. Beer equals pot, but Everclear doesn't equal heroin or meth. Marijuana is a gateway drug - more often than not leading to harder abuses. Another argument I've heard is that natural selection would eventually win out - the drug abusers would kill themselves off and help clean up the gene pool. Yeah, like that's gonna happen in these days of entitlement programs run amok? "Free" health care? Who do you think the health care bureaucracy is gonna want to save - your grandma, who has lived a full life (not going be able to vote for much longer anyways, except in Chicago), or this poor, misunderstood self abusing youngster over here (who, when not stoned, votes)? Plus, this poor unfortunate can't afford their drugs. We'll have to make sure they get a "free" supply. It's a right, right? That's what America is all about, right? Compassion for our fellow citizens who are downtrodden? That's in the Constitution somewhere I'm sure (/snark). Cuz that's what America is all about. No, decriminalization or legalization of drugs would just shift our problems to other areas, not solving anything.
No, the problem is cultural. We will always have drug addicts and alcoholics. There will always be a percentage of people susceptible to addictions. But that doesn't mean our culture should glorify drug abuse - but it does. We can argue and obfuscate all we want, but our cultural problem is a lack of morals problem. The Christian in me cries out that everyone should get back to God - but that is something the government cannot do for us. However, the government does not need to attack Christian ideas, either. We do a lot of wondering what the Founding Fathers wanted. It's pretty clear they were quite the religious bunch. It was the idea that government might support one religion over another that had them fired up - not that government had to actively discourage the whole Christian religion. Christianity does happen to have several moral guidelines that help societies survive.
Does morality require a religion? I don't think so. Anecdotes don't equal evidence, but some of the most moral people I know are atheists. Can we force people to be moral? I think we all know the answer to that. It's voluntary, period. All we can do is try to fight immorality in whatever guise it is in and try to be good examples ourselves.
Until society as a whole sees it that way, we're screwed when it comes to any issue related to morality - which includes using drugs.