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Discussion: (117 comments)

  1. morganovich

    my suspicion is that for all of the (valid in my opinion) ethical and practical arguments for drug legalization, that is not what is going to ultimately drive the process.

    it’s going to be money, just like it was with casinos.

    many states are in real budget trouble.

    if they, like colorado, legalize some or all drugs and impose taxes, it’s going to become a revenue source that states will get addicted to.

    colorado taxes pot 3 times.

    growers pay 25% when they sell to processors. processors pay 25% when they sell to retailers. retailers pay another 25% when they sell to a customer. that’s quite a bit of tax.

    add to that dropped enforcement and incarceration costs, and it could be a meaningful swing in budgets.

    if this helps plug budget holes, i suspect other states may start looking at this revenue source very seriously.

    while this may be an example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason, that’s better than doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

    1. to take the point a bit further the motivation of Pierre DuPont, who lead the battle to repeal the 18th amendment was motivated by a desire to reduce the income tax once liquor taxes where back. So there is precedent much more on point. In both cases the desire was to prevent folks from harming themselves. Clearly we do need to develop reliable standards for testing for being under the influence of drugs, because the old drunk driving has become driving under the influence of xxx. Then set standards for convicting folks of driving and advisory standards for other machine operation, and for allowing folks to be fired for showing up to work under the influence. Perhaps we can divert the money spend on useless social science research to develop these tests.

      1. morganovich

        alternately, we could legalize drugs, tax them, and pay for such a system out of the tax revenues and savings on enforcement and incarceration.

    2. morganovich, this is a very good point. The thing you must understand is this:

      Politicians may be draconian, but they are spineless. They will do what they need to if it helps them stay in office.

      The people, however, can change. They can realize that something isn’t working and fight for change. When they force politicians to change, most of the work to convince the remaining few that cling to an old idea has been done.

      1. morganovich

        cody-

        part of the difficulty here also comes from public unions.

        the police who get extra staff and outlandish seizure and sale revenues from the WoD throw a lot of money at pols.

        so do the prison guards.

        such focused giving allows them to wield disproportionate influence.

        but i think demographics will ultimately win.

        drug legalization is far more popular among the young.

        as the old reactionaries die, votes will swing more and more into the legalization camp.

        i expect to see it in happen in the next 30 years.

    3. I think it was at the Mises Institute site where I read an article asserting that the repeal of prohibition came about largely because the feds needed the money.

  2. morganovich

    one other dichotomy that i have found interesting:

    when the US banned alcohol, it did so by constitutional amendment. this would seem to imply that the federal government understood that such a ban was beyond its constitutional powers.

    the war on drugs was initiated by simple legislation.

    somewhere between the two “wars” the federal government seems to have decided that it has the power to enact such law (though damned if i can find it in the constitution).

    i can see the argument that states might have such authority, but the federal government is limited strictly to enumerated powers. the claims that somehow intrastate drug commerce and overall prohibition fall under the powers of the commerce clause (as argued in gonzales vs raich etc) seem tortuous and strained to me.

    the commerce clause reads:

    “Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:[3]

    [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

    within such is no power to limit intrastate commerce. attempts to apply “necessary and proper” seem even more strained and to directly contradict the 10th amendment. even if (and i do not believe this is true) the necessary and proper clause was intended to allow such, the 10th amendment (as any amendment) superceeds it. the whole point of an amendment is to superceed or extend the existing text.

    for those that have forgotten, the 10th amendment reads:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    if the government has the power to do anyhting “necessary or proper” then the 10th amendment is utterly meaningless. (as, alas, it has largely become)

    it’s also interesting that (apart from a few prohibitions on opium dens though not opium itself) drugs were legal during prohibition.

    some drugs were taxed and subject to truth in labeling laws (which do seem to fall within federal purview) but were not actually illegal.

    1. somewhere between the two “wars” the federal government seems to have decided that it has the power to enact such law (though damned if i can find it in the constitution).

      That’s because the constitution became mostly irrelevant between those two time periods.

      Before FDR scared those craven scarecrows with court packing, SCOTUS held legislation to a high standard. The onus was on the government to prove that its legislation was restrained to within its enumerated powers. After Stone’s “switch in time that saved nine” in 1937, every liberty-crushing, government power expanding POS legislation was fine and dandy with SCOTUS. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that SCOTUS once again found anything the Potomac Swamp dwellers inflicted on Americans unconstitutional.

      Forget about the dream of the constitution and accept our reality: we’re in a death match.

      http://blog.independent.org/2013/01/03/the-salmon-trap-an-analogy-for-peoples-entrapment-by-the-state/ (merci to Don Boudreaux for linking to this at Cafe Hayek)

      1. Based on SCOTUS decisions like Wickard v Filburn, Gonzales v Raich and now NFIB v Sebelius, I don’t think there’s much Constitution left.

    2. BTW, it’s not as if FDR was the first thug to threaten judges.

      in 1861, when a judge found Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus to be unconstitutional, el presidente issued an arrest warrant. Although, it was never served. He also tended to send sentries to the homes of judges suspected of taking issue with his suspension of habeas corpus in order to intimidate them. After Lincoln died, and posed no threat to them, the SCOTUS censured him.

  3. PeakTrader

    “…another important factor in inner-city neighborhoods is the temptation to drop out of school in order to profit from the drug trade.”

    So, they should enter a business they personally know a lot about. Sure, legalize drugs and we’ll have more experts on drugs. Why rely on just a limited model by Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy.

  4. PeakTrader

    Brazil has a higher murder rate than Mexico:

    Brazil ex-president slams drugs bill
    2012-12-26

    “Considered the world’s largest market for crack and the second for overall cocaine use, Brazil since 2006 has had an ambiguous law on the books that lets authorities decide who is a user and who is a drug trafficker.

    A bill calling for tougher sentences for drug possession and mandatory internment of addicts in Brazil has drawn fire from ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a strong advocate of drug decriminalisation.

    “Brazilian society, which is faced with the scourge of drugs, wants tougher legislation against use and possession of drugs, according to lawmaker Osmar Terra, who said there were enough votes for passage of the bill.

    The controversial bill, which is to be debated in Congress in February, has a good chance of being adopted in plenary session after already winning unanimous approval from a special panel.”

    1. PeakTrader

      Without some effective enforcement, you get this:

      Brazil’s Drug Epidemic: Welcome To ‘Crackland’
      January 01, 2013

      “The Luz district of central Sao Paulo was once grand, with its old train station and opulent buildings. Now, this neighborhood is known as Cracolandia — Crackland.

      “They’re here all day,” she says, “smoking crack.”

      Crack has been in Brazil since the 1990s, but its use exploded in the past six years, according to health and police officials.

      Eloisa Arruda, the secretary of justice for Sao Paulo state, says the market is alluring.

      She says the problem is similar to the crack crisis in the United States in the 1980s, when the drug engulfed cities and generated waves of violence.

      “It’s a big growth of people using crack in public,” Arruda says. “People permanently in the street consuming drugs day and night.”

      The Brazilian approach has been to treat the problem as a health care crisis.”

      1. PeakTrader

        Brazil’s new 2006 drug law:

        Feature: Brazilian President Signs New Drug Law — No Jail for Users
        August 31, 2006

        “Under the new law, drug users and possessors will not be arrested and jailed, but cited and offered rehabilitation and community service. The new law marks an important shift in Brazilian drug policy, with drug users now being officially viewed not as criminals but as people in need of medical and psychological help.”

        1. PeakTrader

          Brazil to spend $2bn tackling ‘crack cocaine epidemic’
          8 December 2011

          “We are facing an epidemic in our country,” said Health Minister Alexandre Padilha.

          “He said the number of cases of drug dependency in Brazil had increased ten-fold between 2003 and 2011, spreading to previously unaffected areas.

          “Crack has become a deep social wound, given its capacity to destroy families,” Mr Padilha said, as the programme was unveiled in Brasilia on Wednesday.”

          1. morganovich

            this all seem like an irrelevant argument. lots of things cause harm from beer to kitchen knives.

            so what?

            until you can answer this simple question, there is no point in even discussing harm:

            why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?

            get high and drive recklessly or rob a store or beat your wife, great, throw the book at them. but get high and watch scooby doo at home? whose business is that but yours?

            the cost argument is even more flawed.

            i do not want to pay for rehab costs either. so legalize drugs, tax them, and pay for such costs out of the tax revenue.

            i’ll bet you could pay all the rehab just out of savings on law enforcement and incarceration.

            users pays is a much better system.

            you want a bridge, pay for it with tolls, not out of taxes from people that never use it.

            why is rehab any different?

          2. Brazil is in AWESOME shape after all. This seems like a valid point guys.

        2. Under the new law, drug users and possessors will not be arrested and jailed, but cited and offered rehabilitation and community service“…

          Hmmm, say peak were there any guesstimates offered regarding the costs of rehab and community service?

          1. PeakTrader

            Juandos, there wasn’t anything about that in the 2006 article by StopTheDrugWar.Org

          2. Juandos, there wasn’t anything about that in the 2006 article by StopTheDrugWar.Org“…

            Hmmm, I’m not the least bit suprised peak

            For what its worth there is this article from 2011 from and outfit called Daily Finance: The Real Tab for Rehab: Inside the Addiction Treatment Biz

            This was money line for me but how it compares to the cost of indictments, trials and incarceration I don’t know: “The addiction treatment industry in America is expected to have revenues of $34 billion by 2014, an increase of 55% from 2005“…

          3. Or more to the point given that incarceration costs a lot of money about $129/day, how does that compare to the cost of rehab? Given that putting some one in prison sort of ensures that the person will be back in prison later.

          4. lyle says: “Or more to the point given that incarceration costs a lot of money about $129/day, how does that compare to the cost of rehab?“…

            OK from what I’ve been able to glean is that prisons on average cost $180/day per prisoner…

            Regarding rehab costs, well there is a very wide swing in prices…

            I was a shop steward for some 12 years and one the situations I had to deal with was the enrollment of a fellow union member was failed a drug test…

            In the years between ’87 and ’99 the average price for rehab was just shy of $200 a day where the enrollee had to stay on the facility even if it was located where he/she lived…

            I’ve since been informed that the same services now a days are on the order of $280 to $360 per day per enrollee…

            The real problem with both rehab and prison is the recidivism rates…

            I’ve seen numbers from documents claiming that prison recidivism rates are anywhere from 50% to 80+%…

            The recidivism rates we see from our own experiences with rehab centers seems to be in the approximately 50% area…

            Users just get smarter about use and testing…

            Is prison the answer for mere users/consumers?

            I don’t think so or at least not a very good one but I’m not sure if present day methods used in rehab are worth the cost either…

            Just don’t know what any practical alternatives there are right now…

  5. How would Becker and Murphy feel about a store front meth distribution point on a block in their neighborhood?

    1. I’m guessing they’d feel better about it than having a secret meth lab in their neighbourhood and suffering a SWAT team raid on their houses because of bad intel.

      1. methinks says: “I’m guessing they’d feel better about it than having a secret meth lab in their neighbourhood and suffering a SWAT team raid on their houses because of bad intel“…

        Which should show you what you don’t know about meth labs, the people who run them, and the consumers of said product…

        One is not better than the other…

        1. I confess, Juandos, I have no personal experience with meth labs. How the hell do you know so damn much about them?!

          1. I confess, Juandos, I have no personal experience with meth labs. How the hell do you know so damn much about them“…

            Hopefully (and I mean it!) you’ll never have any first hand knowledge of such a situation…

            Six years ago (March ’06) I lost a friend who was burned to death by a meth lab exploding in the basement of the house next door…

            His wife was also disfigured and disabled by the same incident…

            The amount of destruction caused by that one meth lab was extensive on that block…

            Three houses totally obliterated for all intents and purposes and four others suffered varying degrees of burn and explosion damage…

          2. That is a tragic story, Juandos.

            Meth is illegal. The meth lab was still in operation (as are many meth labs around the country). Was your friend helped by unknowingly living so close to a secret meth lab?

            If we decriminalize drugs, there would be no reason to run a secret meth lab in a residential neighbourhood which exposes people to dangers they aren’t even aware of.

          3. Was your friend helped by unknowingly living so close to a secret meth lab?“…

            The lady who lived next door had passed and the property belonged to her heirs but at time was empty while the surviving family members were deciding what to do with it…

            Would it have been different if meth had been legal?

            Well I can’t imagine that someone who intends to make money off the meth he/she makes would want to spend the money it would take to set up a proper lab…

            How would a city zone something like that? How would a local government go about licensing an individual who wants to manufacture meth? How would dosages be figured out?

            There’s more to this decrim game than meets the eye…

          4. Yeah, I do think it would have been different if meth were legal.

            If it were legal, it – or even a less dangerous substitute – were legal, then it wouldn’t be worth the risk of cooking in a secret lab in a neighbourhood. Why bother to cook up a dangerous substance that can be easily acquired without the additional risks?

            Well I can’t imagine that someone who intends to make money off the meth he/she makes would want to spend the money it would take to set up a proper lab…

            Why? People who intend to make money off businesses spend the money to set them up properly all the time. How many moonshine operations exist because people don’t want to invest the dough in a proper distillery or liquor store?

            How would a city zone something like that?

            You do realize very dangerous chemicals are produced in the United States all the time. Any chemistry lab can technically blow itself up. We have apparently found a way to deal with it. Why should this be different?

            How would a local government go about licensing an individual who wants to manufacture meth? How would dosages be figured out?

            Well, clearly not by you! :). Look, people figure out this kind of stuff all the time. We have potentially massive bombs every other block. Yeah, even in our neighbourhoods. We call them “gas stations”. Somehow, we figured out how to deal with it. Drugs are no different.

            You know what you can’t do anything about? A meth lab run by two yahoos next door you know absolutely nothing about and can’t protect yourself from. Really….would a legal alternative be any worse?

          5. Why bother to cook up a dangerous substance that can be easily acquired without the additional risks?“…

            Ethyl ether (engine starting fluid) is one of the necessary componets and is highly flamable…

            Maybe there are substitutes for that part of the cooking process but it will of necessity be some sort of ether…

            People who intend to make money off businesses spend the money to set them up properly all the time“…

            These tend be rational people methinks

            How many moonshine operations exist because people don’t want to invest the dough in a proper distillery or liquor store?“…

            I know two shiners in Arkansas and everything they use is because their grand daddy did it that way even though all of the equipment can be bought legally…

            Go figure…

            I don’t know how prevalent that attitude is though…

            You do know methinks that it is legal to make a certain amount of shine for personal consumption, right?

            Would decrim stop this sort of behavior? I don’t know but I don’t think so…

            Disfigured woman charged over meth lab

            An explosion at a suspected drug lab disfigured Heather Raybon’s face, but that hasn’t stopped the 31-year-old from manufacturing crystal methamphetamine, police allege.

            The Florida woman suffered third-degree facial burns and – despite extensive surgery – was left physically scarred by the 2004 blast in what police say was a methamphetamine lab. (there’s more)

          6. juandos

            Would it have been different if meth had been legal?

            An interesting question with no clear answer.

            Well I can’t imagine that someone who intends to make money off the meth he/she makes would want to spend the money it would take to set up a proper lab…

            At the very least, if legal, it wouldn’t be necessary to hide the operation, so that people with no regard for laws, or rules or concern for the safety of themselves and others others are the only operators.

            In addition, you could ask the same question about anyone considering making a legal product. Why would they spend the money to do it in a safe manner? I think the answer is that most people aren’t careless of the safety of others.

            How would a city zone something like that? How would a local government go about licensing an individual who wants to manufacture meth?

            Well, I’m not a big fan of zoning, and I’m opposed to all licensing, so that’s a tough question for me, but I would imagine it could be done in the same way any other potentially dangerous operation is regulated. Propane distributor? Welding supply store? Gas station?

            How would dosages be figured out?

            Not an issue. That’s already been done.

            It’s possible that fewer mindless idiots would consider manufacturing meth if it were legal, as it’s my understanding that it’s fairly cheap and easy to make. That, and the prospect of high profits attracts people who shouldn’t be allowed to tie their own shoes.

          7. Well, I’m not a big fan of zoning, and I’m opposed to all licensing, so that’s a tough question for me, but I would imagine it could be done in the same way any other potentially dangerous operation is regulated. Propane distributor? Welding supply store? Gas station?“…

            Well ron h not being a homeowner myself I’m guessing one of the reasons zoning came about was due to the ‘nimby‘ attitude people would have regarding their home and investment…

            Not an issue. That’s already been done“…

            Really ron h? How was that done?

            I mean there’s not only weight and height to consider when figuring up a dosage but also what about people who insist on some even though they may have heart conditions of one sort or another?

            Don’t get me wrong, someone wants to zombie out on meth and its legal well then cool but don’t do it around me…

            I’ve seen how people get crazy on that crap….

          8. “People who intend to make money off businesses spend the money to set them up properly all the time“…

            These tend be rational people methinks…

            Exactly. Rational people don’t want to take the risks involved in making an illegal product. Only irrational bozos are willing to risk life and limb, competitors with guns, police with guns, and long prison sentences to make a high profit margin product.

            If rational people were allowed to make meth, it’s possible it would be less dangerous. I don’t see how it could possibly be worse.

            I know two shiners in Arkansas and everything they use is because their grand daddy did it that way even though all of the equipment can be bought legally…

            There’s something to be said for tradition. :)

            You do know methinks that it is legal to make a certain amount of shine for personal consumption, right?

            “Yes” Says Ron H. in a high voice that he hopes is a good imitation of Methinks.

            Would decrim stop this sort of behavior? I don’t know but I don’t think so…

            Shiners couldn’t possibly hope to compete with large scale operations except for the huge taxes imposed on alcohol. The artificially high price gives them room to compete successfully.

            An explosion at a suspected drug lab disfigured Heather Raybon’s face, but that hasn’t stopped the 31-year-old from manufacturing crystal methamphetamine, police allege.

            The Florida woman suffered third-degree facial burns and – despite extensive surgery – was left physically scarred by the 2004 blast in what police say was a methamphetamine lab. (there’s more)

            She might have escaped this tragedy if she had been working legally, but the more important question is – at least to me – who paid for that “extensive surgery”?

          9. She might have escaped this tragedy if she had been working legally, but the more important question is – at least to me – who paid for that “extensive surgery”?“…

            I don’t think so ron h, Ms. Raybon IMO proved that she’s stupid right through to the marrow…

            Yreah, just who did pay for those operations?

            I’m guessing it wasn’t Ms. Raybon…

          10. juandos

            Ethyl ether (engine starting fluid) is one of the necessary componets and is highly flamable…

            Yes. There’s another example of a dangerous product that is manufactured, packaged, stored, and shipped to local auto parts stores, all within reasonable safety guidelines, and then sold to millions of individual consumers who use it, for the most part, without major mishaps. Why would legal meth manufacture using this this dangerous chemical be inherently any more dangerous than that?

            Me: “”Not an issue. That’s already been done

            You: “Really ron h? How was that done?

            I meant that dosages have already been figured out by sellers and users of meth.

          11. Why would legal meth manufacture using this this dangerous chemical be inherently any more dangerous than that?“…

            Well ron h I making an assumption here but I’m guessing you don’t much if any experience with meth users, right?

          12. mean there’s not only weight and height to consider when figuring up a dosage but also what about people who insist on some even though they may have heart conditions of one sort or another?

            I suppose people could figure out how much meth to take the same way they’re already doing it, or the same way people now figure out the correct dose of alcohol to take. Trial & error, I suppose.

            As for heart conditions, I can’t possibly protect people from harming themselves. They just have to pretend to be responsible for their own actions.

            I certainly don’t want to forbid meth to everyone in the US because some morons with heart conditions don’t know any better.

            Don’t get me wrong, someone wants to zombie out on meth and its legal well then cool but don’t do it around me…

            I agree 100%, but if they do it at home and don’t hurt anyone else? Same with excess alcohol use.

          13. but if they do it at home and don’t hurt anyone else? Same with excess alcohol use“…

            Good morning ron h and right there you’ve put your finger on the problem, all to often these people don’t do it at home…

            Most of the time its due the fact they no longer have a home…

          14. juandos

            Well ron h I making an assumption here but I’m guessing you don’t much if any experience with meth users, right?

            Only what I experienced when my youngest daughter was a meth user in her younger years, and of course her “friends”. Illegal, of course, then as now, which is my point about the futility of the drug war.

            I used scare quotes with the word friends, as It’s my impression that many drug users have no real friends, as I understand the word, only people they happen to associate with because of their shared habits.

            I don’t, have any direct experience of meth manufacturers, but if your point is that users make dangerous producers, then I certainly agree. I included them in that group that shouldn’t be allowed to tie their own shoes.

          15. juandos

            Good morning ron h and right there you’ve put your finger on the problem, all to often these people don’t do it at home…

            Most of the time its due the fact they no longer have a home…

            And all that *despite* the fact that their choices are illegal.

            The cost to others of keeping your friends from trying drugs – in money and lives – is too high.

          16. The cost to others of keeping your friends from trying drugs – in money and lives – is too high“…

            Maybe you can ask people who attend Narconon meetings and see what they say…

  6. Let’s end the long, enormously destructive War on Poverty“…

    Federal Food Stamp Program Spent Record $80.4B in FY 2012

    According to the Monthly Treasury Statement that summarizes the receipts and outlays of the federal government, $80,401,000,000 went towards SNAP during FY 2012, which was a $2.7 billion increase from $77,637,000,000 in FY 2011‘….

    So in a mere two years we’ve wasted an extorted $150 billion plus and what do we have to show for it?

    And that’s only one small facet of this so called war on poverty…

  7. PeakTrader

    We’ll never win the war on drugs, like we’ll never win the war on crime.

    The question is do you want it bad or worse?

    1. Since you and your lot have already taken it from bad to worse, how about we try going the other way now?

      1. morganovich

        drugs were legal for more of US history than illegal.

        funny how the problems are now so much worse.

        this whole argument is just magical thinking. drugs are everywhere. people use them. making them illegal has not stopped that.

        what it has done is massively increase costs, take away liberty from peaceful people, and shift the costs off of users and onto non users.

        1. I think it’s hard for anyone to admit they are wrong, and for those who believe that prohibition and enforcement is the correct response to drug use, to admit that it hasn’t worked and should be stopped means dozens of other issues of prohibition and enforcement that aren’t effective must be questioned in the same way. Perhaps a scary thought for some.

          Where there is demand there will be a market.

          1. morganovich

            ron-

            i think it goes a bit deeper than that. drugs are a topic that triggers deep reactionary responses from many conservatives and liberals alike.

            it’s a paternalistic “i know best” mentality that says “i think drugs are bad and everyone else needs to think so too”.

            drugs users are like airplanes. you only hear about the ones who crash. steve jobs can take LSD and then go on to be a titan of industry. cast numbers of college kids take drugs and then go on to live happy productive lives.

            but somehow, they all need to be punished to support this reactionary moral imperialism. it’s funny how these same reactionaries drink and smoke and how they believe in guilty until proven innocent until it comes to drugs when suddenly no one is capable of responsibility and all must be treated as guilty even if proven innocent.

            it’s simple moral imperialism in the same way folks oppose gay marriage or any other personal choice that does not harm others.

            that’s where the cognitive dissonance kicks in. they are so wedded to these precepts about what others must do to live their lives that they are incapable of even seeing that the war has failed. when faced with evidence contradicting a strong belief, the reaction of many is, perversely, to ignore the evidence and actually strengthen their belief set.

            if you have not read up on cognitive dissonance, i recommend it. it’s a very interesting and somewhat counter intuitive psychological process, but one you start thinking that way, lots of behavior starts to seem more explicable.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

            the bottom line is that a deeply enough held belief is not subject to contradiction by evidence and actually winds up being strengthened by disproof.

            i know it sounds absurd, but that’s humanity for you.

  8. Sounds about right. Only provision would be that anyone seeking welfare or other government assistance would be required to take a drug test. Users need not apply.

    Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
    – George Bernard Shaw

    1. morganovich

      bruce-

      a question:

      do you envision those tests including alcohol and tobacco?

      1. PeakTrader

        Morganovich, do you believe Americans should have the freedom to buy drugs, alcohol and tobacco with “welfare or other government assistance?”

        And should they have the freedom to make others pay for their social costs, including lost productivity, traffic & work accidents, health problems & drug treatment, mental illness, unemployment, crime, domestic violence, child abuse, and other social services?

        1. morganovich

          peak-

          i believe that americans ought to have the freedom to buy drugs, alcohol and tobacco with their own money.

          i’m not really a huge proponent of welfare in the first place, but if such is going to be provided i have no issue at all with there being strings attached.

          people are free to do as they like with their own wealth, but when they start wanting free stuff, sure, i have no issue limiting what they buy. it’s a good idea. i’d rather see more welfare shifted to “in kind” food, shelter etc and i certainly think it’s reasonable to limit luxury goods and drugs.

          hell, i’d go a step further and favor adopting an estonian type solution where those on the dole lose their vote until they have been off assistance for 3-6 months.

          i think you know quite well that i oppose others being able to foist their costs onto the public.

          but you must realize, this cuts both ways.

          i do not want to pay rehab costs for others. but i also do not wish to pay for a foolish drug war and large enforcement and incarceration costs either.

          they are the same thing: a taking of my money for somehting that i do not wish to pay for.

          how do you reconcile your desire not to pay rehab for others with your desire to make me pay to incarcerate them? they seem like the same thing, it’s just that you agree with one and not the other personally.

          legalize drugs, stop making me pay for a war on peaceful people and the creation of vast amounts of violence as gangs fight over lucrative illegal trade that exists ONLY because of these laws, and tax them so the users pay for things like rehab.

          seems like a win on every front. more liberty and no forcing of the uninvolved to pay the costs of others as the system moves to user pays.

          much of the rest of what you describe is either irrelevant or a false savings.

          if you go to work hungover and are less productive, that’s none of my business. you might lose out, your employer might lose out, and you two might need to discuss it and act accordingly, but it is certainly no business of government.

          the rest are largely false savings. the war on drugs has not stopped any of those things. what it has done is shift the costs onto you and me. if drugs were legal and taxed, the money saved on jail and cops would come back to us and the money raised by taxes could easily pay all those things.

          you seem to have an inconsistent view here. on the one hand, you seem to not want to pay for costs created by drug use. on the other, you support a system that precisely creates such a system and adds piles of new costs as well.

          1. PeakTrader

            Morganovich, so, you don’t want to pay. Yet, given a choice of paying or paying more, you choose paying more.

          2. morganovich

            huh?

            i think you completely missed the argument.

            right now under the war on drugs, i pay for a ton of things i do not want.

            i pay for police, for jails, and for all manner of healthcare ans treatment none of which i want to pay for. i am paying to have my liberty taken away.

            if drugs were legal and taxed, then the cops and the prisons drop in cost, a benefit to me, and the taxes pay for health and rehab issues which is also a benefit to me.

            we move from “everyone pays” to “user pays” while simultaneously enhancing individual liberty and wiping out THE major source of violent crime in the US, fights over illegal drug distribution and sales.

            we used to have this same issue with booze under prohibition. they, we made it legal and gangs stopped shooting each other.

            i have extreme doubts that all in all legal drugs would cost the society more than illegal ones once you factor all that in, but even if we assume they do, so what?

            a user pays system for those costs is better that the one we have now.

    2. If they are applying for help, let them get help.

      Addiction is a sickness as much as anything else. The difference is that it is something that ORIGINALLY involved a choice.

      People will choose not to eat in place of reward seeking. Doesn’t that sound sick to you?

      England gives small doses of heroin to help sustain addicted people and let them get on with life. The right spirit? yes. The right idea? um no.

      My issue is that they apply for MONEY instead of REHAB. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t make it not a problem.

  9. PeakTrader

    Morganovich has cited Steve Jobs and the Beatles as drug “winners.” How do you know Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been wealthier than Bill Gates if he didn’t do drugs and how do you know the Beatles wouldn’t have been better without drugs?

    How does Morganovich know someone wouldn’t have been better if he wasn’t gay, for example? He talks about “proof” when he really only talks about speculation.

    1. morganovich

      this argument does not make any sense.

      we can always play hypothetical. how do you know that if you had tried acid, you would not have had a creative flash and would up running apple or that without it, steve never would have had his insights into user interface?

      the fact is that steve did just fine and credits drugs as a significant positive influence. he may be right, he may be wrong. but clearly, drug use did not stop him from achieving a level of success that puts him in the top few people ever.

      is that not enough? why should you have any say or even care?

      if you worked an extra 10 hours a week all your career, you likely would be wealthier too. so what? does that give someone the right to make you?

      it’s your life. why should you not be free to decide how many hours to work and what to do with your leisure time? so long as you do not sponge off others, that seems like it is entirely your business.

      this is not about how to live the most productive life possible. it’s about personal freedom to make your own choices, support yourself, and, so long as you do not violate the rights of others, be left unmolested.

      what would entitle you to tell me to work more and ski less because i would be richer? perhaps i do not care. i am happier this way.

      1. PeakTrader

        Morganovich, that’s my point. You don’t know. Why pretend there’s proof when there’s only speculation?

        1. morganovich

          no peak, you have missed the point.

          the point is that individuals ought to be allowed to make their own choices so long as they support themselves and do not violate the rights of others.

          steve jobs chose to use drugs. this did not stop him from being self supporting, successful, and social useful. that IS proven. all that happened. no one argues it.

          it is your argument that is nonsense. you claim that he “could have done more”. that is the hypothetical. what i described is true and proven.

          steve used drugs, liked them, and led a successful productive life that contributed to society.

          whether he could have contributed more is no more your business than the fact that you could have done so by working 10 extra hours every week is of mine.

          that is your choice, not mine.

          you seem to have this all backwards. you are the one trotting out hypotheticals.

          all i am saying is that if you are self supporting and do not violate the rights of others, your recreational choices are your own business and no one else’s.

          you are somehow trying to twist that into some standard about maximizing your wealth or contribution. that is not a valid standard in a free society.

          we could all work more and play less if we wanted to, but what if we don’t? why are you in any position to judge, much less mandate how much steve jobs ought to earn or contribute?

          1. steve jobs chose to use drugs. this did not stop him from being self supporting, successful, and social useful. that IS proven. all that happened. no one argues it“…

            Come on morg you’re making incomplete comparisons here dude…

            Tell me do you think if Jobs and Woz had hung out at the gararge in the early days burning phatties instead of solder they would’ve been a success?

          2. morganovich

            juandos-

            they did just that. they used drugs AND solder.

            are you not aware that steve jobs was a BIG drug user and is a serious proponent of them going so far as to attribute his success to using acid?

            “Jobs told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand. ”

            http://www.salon.com/2011/10/08/steve_jobs_and_drug_policy/singleton/

            i know lots of successful people that have used (and use) drugs.

            if they might or might not be more successful had they not is a matter of conjecture and ultimately unanswerable but also ultimately irrelevant.

            self supporting free people should get to make their own recreational choices (just as they make choices about, say how much to work, how much to watch tv and how much to play tennis) so long as they do not violate the rights of others.

            by what standard could you possibly claim otherwise?

          3. they did just that. they used drugs AND solder“…

            You don’t know that morg

            I’ve been to CES ion Vegas in years past and Woz gave a talk followed by a question & answer session…

            Woz had been asked that question and ‘claimed‘ that no they hadn’t gotten into drugs at that particular time…

            They couldn’t afford to even buy reefer back then…

          4. morganovich

            juandos-

            this seems like splitting hairs.

            maybe they did, maybe they did not. my understanding is that jobs had done so.

            but why is that relevant? i know lots of successful people who used drugs while becoming so.

            it’s clearly possible.

            i spent 15 years investing and working in tech in sf and silicon valley. drug use is VERY common and, based on my admittedly incomplete and anecdotal experience, seems to be the norm, not the exception, especially in the .com space. the .com launch parties in 1999 were like studio 54.

            but again, why is that really relevant?

            it is not our right or even privilege to demand that others reach what we feel to be their potential.

            so long as they are self supporting and do not violate the rights of others, it’s none of our business and certainly none of the government’s.

            if the best pianist of our time decides to give it up and live a happy, self supporting life as a ski instructor, well, that’s up to him/her.

            we do not get to force him to play because we think it is socially optimal. that’s how a free society works.

            people make their own choices about happiness. they do not get choices made for them by you or me to achieve “production optimum”.

            taking away liberty (beyond the protection of rights) is a real cost and generally outweighs and alleged benefits therefrom.

            so again, maybe steve would have been better or worse off with no drugs and maybe he started using them before or after founding apple, but it’s simply none of our business.

            i note that you did not address the question about by what standard we could claim otherwise.

            is that an admission that there is no such standard?

          5. but why is that relevant?“…

            Why morg? You’re making at best questionable claims…

            i know lots of successful people who used drugs while becoming so“…

            So you say and it may well be true…

            i spent 15 years investing and working in tech in sf and silicon valley. drug use is VERY common and, based on my admittedly incomplete and anecdotal experience“…

            What came first? The technical proficiency or the drug use?

            it is not our right or even privilege to demand that others reach what we feel to be their potential“…

            What does that have to do with anything?

            The fact is that there are drug laws whether you agree with them or not…

            You don’t like the laws, we have methods of changing them, what are you doing to change them?

          6. moganovich: “it is not our right or even privilege to demand that others reach what we feel to be their potential

            juandos: “What does that have to do with anything?

            Nothing. It just means it’s silly to ask questions like this one:

            “i>What came first? The technical proficiency or the drug use?”

            Or this one:

            How do you know Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been wealthier than Bill Gates if he didn’t do drugs and how do you know the Beatles wouldn’t have been better without drugs?

          7. Nothing. It just means it’s silly to ask questions like this one“…

            Well ron h it really isn’t a silly question to ask…

            Drug usage for many people especially when they’re not yet full fledged adults can inhibit mental discipline…

          8. juandos

            Drug usage for many people especially when they’re not yet full fledged adults can inhibit mental discipline…

            I agree, and it’s really tragic, but this is happening *despite* the fact that such activity is illegal. I don’t believe, seriously, that many more teens would decide to start using drugs if they were legal.

            Most teens I know, admittedly a small number, are pretty smart, and understand the temptations and dangers. At least they say they do.

            Try this: Ask people you know if they would start using drugs of any kind that they don’t now use, if it were legal to do so. I’ll bet you will get a lot of “no”s. I’ve yet to get an answer from anyone that they would love to use drugs, but refrain because it’s illegal. People who want to use drugs are already doing so, and people who don’t want to aren’t, and wouldn’t IMHO. There may be a few on the margin, but I don’t think it’s a number worth worrying about, considering the extreme cost of the war on drugs – and of course the rights issue.

          9. I don’t believe, seriously, that many more teens would decide to start using drugs if they were lega“…

            That’s a guesstimate I wouldn’t bet my life on ron h

            Ask people you know if they would start using drugs of any kind that they don’t now use, if it were legal to do so. I’ll bet you will get a lot of “no”s“…

            Well on that particular score ron h I already know that you’re wrong…

            Everyone I know would at the very least would try out anything and everything…

            Maybe I ought to hang out with a better class of people, eh?

            People who want to use drugs are already doing so, and people who don’t want to aren’t, and wouldn’t IMHO“…

            That has not been my personal experience…

          10. morganovich

            juandos-

            you keep asking all the wrong questions.

            why is it your prerogative to tell peaceful people what to do with their free time?

            i don’t know what your experience was, but there weer sure a lot of drugs in college when i was there, and i went to brown.

            these people then went out into the world and most have been quite successful.

            if they are self supporting and do not violate the rights of others, then what they do is their business.

            they can run on a StairMaster and drink protein shakes, watch the news and drink a cabernet, or smoke a bong and watch scooby doo. that’s up to them, not you.

            you keep ducking this fundamental issue.

            absolutely none of the things you keep trying to bog this issue down in are even relevant unless you can tell me why you or the government has the right to take away the liberty of peaceful, self sustaining people who do not violate the rights of others.

            until you can, it’s just you baselessly trying to demand that everyone have the same preferences that you do.

          11. why is it your prerogative to tell peaceful people what to do with their free time?“…

            What an absolutely bizzare question…

            OK morg show me where I telling some alledgedly peaceful people what to do in their free time…

            i don’t know what your experience was, but there weer sure a lot of drugs in college when i was there, and i went to brown.

            these people then went out into the world and most have been quite successful.“…

            You sure do like making unsubstantiated statements…

            they can run on a StairMaster and drink protein shakes, watch the news and drink a cabernet, or smoke a bong and watch scooby doo. that’s up to them, not you“…

            Yet another bizzare accusation, are you from some blue state?

            absolutely none of the things you keep trying to bog this issue down in are even relevant unless you can tell me why you or the government has the right to take away the liberty of peaceful, self sustaining people who do not violate the rights of others“…

            I asked you a very simple question which you’ve yet to answer, should I repeat it or will it just be the precursor to another bizzare and baseless load of baloney from you?

          12. morganovich

            juandos-

            “What an absolutely bizzare question…

            OK morg show me where I telling some alledgedly peaceful people what to do in their free time…”

            seriously? have you truly not been understanding this discussion at all?

            let’s take it from the top:

            you support making drugs illegal, yes?

            making drugs illegal takes away my liberty to use them, yes?

            that limits the choices i can legally make.

            it’s fine for me to sit on the couch and drink a beer and watch scooby doo.

            but if i chose to smoke a joint instead, suddenly it is illegal.

            thus, you have limited what i can do with my free time.

            let us say that in both cases, i watch 2 hours of tv and go to bed. i have harmed no one. the difference between the two is all but indiscernible except that in the latter case you (and or others that think as you do) have forbidden me from spending my free time as i wish.

            from where do you get that right? if you can tell me, a peaceful, self supporting individual not to engage in an activity that is violating the rights of no one, then what can’t you tell me to do or not do?

            why is what i consume on my couch in such a fashion any business of yours or the government’s?

            this is, at heart, a rights issue.

            are you not seeing that?

            the rest of your comment is simply denial and absurdity.

            unsubstantiated? i am speaking from personal experience. what is it you want me to do, show you pictures of people using drugs in college and then send you their w-2’s? that’s a ridiculous statement and standard. now you are just playing rhetorical games to hide your untenable ethical position.

            your “blue state” nonsense is even more foolish (and fwiw, i live in utah, which is about as red as it gets).

            what does supporting the rights and liberty of the individual against needless and immoral encroachment by the government have to do with the ludicrous team red team blue sideshow?

            and just waht question was this? i have looked, and i don’t see it. i see a lot of obfuscation and attempts to drag the issue into silly “when did they use drugs” side alleys and unsupported claims about harm, but no question.

            mine was very clear and you clearly cannot answer it:

            ““why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

            i have been asking this question for 3 days on this thread and 3 years on this blog.

            not one of you has even been able to answer it.

            until you can, all your claims about social harm etc are moot.

            you make appeals to practice and majority, but those are logical fallacies, not answers.

            it’s just tyranny of the majority and tyrannical paternalism masquerading as ethics.

            you would not accept such arguments around food, speech, association, or your career, so stop trying to make them around drugs. it’s hypocritical.

          13. seriously? have you truly not been understanding this discussion at all?“…

            Still pushing the lie morg but you’re still not answering the question, what are you doing to change the law?

            making drugs illegal takes away my liberty to use them, yes?“…

            Silly lad, most all the drug laws were around before you were born…

            So what are you doing to change the laws regarding drug use?

            that limits the choices i can legally make“…

            Well dang! Let me have a good cry at your predicment but then again what are you doing to change the laws regarding drug use?

            thus, you have limited what i can do with my free time“…

            Boo! Hoo! Boo! Hoo! Yeah, I’m right there making sure you’re not doing drugs…

            So what are you doing morg to change the laws besides whining like some sissy who just got beat up for his lunch money?

            from where do you get that right?“…

            From where did you derive that delusion? Besides whining about something that isn’t happening (me impeding your drug use) what are you doing to change the drug laws?

            the rest of your comment is simply denial and absurdity“…

            Again you’re a liar morg, you’re long on whine and short on substance…

            unsubstantiated? i am speaking from personal experience. what is it you want me to do, show you pictures of people using drugs in college and then send you their w-2′s? that’s a ridiculous statement and standard. now you are just playing rhetorical games to hide your untenable ethical position“…

            Well morg why should I believe what you’re saying? You’ve repeatedly shown yourself to be a liar and delusional with your statements about I’m somehow impeding your desire to put a buzz on (how I’ve accomplished that is yet to be explained) but in the meanwhile you apparently continue to whine but do nothing to change the laws on the books…

          14. morganovich

            juandos-

            it’s very simple:

            as a self supporting individual, i believe that i should posses the liberty to make my own choices about wheat to eat, drink, and how to spend my leisure time so long as i do not violate the rights of others. that includes the liberty to use drugs if i so choose. i don’t smoke pot, but i know people who do and i think they ought to have the right to do so.

            you claim that this right should be forbidden to them, but you provide no basis for doing so.

            until you can, your position is simply paternalistic tyranny and a punishing of the innocent and responsible for fear of what they might do.

            lots of things increase risk. a kitchen knife can be used to chop chives or rob a gas station. onion rings can be a tasty snack or contribute to an obesity issue.

            your position is that we must take away liberty over what might happen. using an aggregate here is not a valid ethical stance. some % of people will use knives in crimes. that is no reason to ban knives.

            the bottom line here seems to be that you do not believe in individual liberty.

            if such a belief seems bizarre to you as your questions would seem to indicate, then i suppose we have an irreconcilable impasse, but i do not think that is the case.

            i think you are just applying your views selectively and inconsistently and hiding behind the logical fallacies of appeal to consensus and practice.

          15. you claim that this right should be forbidden to them, but you provide no basis for doing so“…

            You’re a liar morg and repeating the lie will not make it a fact…

            Again this seems like your attempt to dodge the question I asked you about it being law and what are you doing to change the law…

            the bottom line here seems to be that you do not believe in individual liberty“…

            The bottom line is that you’re liar, that’s so far as I can has been the only established fact…

          16. juandos

            Well on that particular score ron h I already know that you’re wrong…

            Everyone I know would at the very least would try out anything and everything…

            Wow, I’m surprised! But maybe that’s a argument in favor of the notion that everyone who uses drugs at some point doesn’t automatically start circling the drain. :)

            Maybe I ought to hang out with a better class of people, eh?

            You “ought to” hang out with whoever you please.

          17. morganovich

            juandos-

            you either do not understand this issue at all, or, more likely, having been cornered, are now acting as a petulant child.

            you use this foolish logical fallacy based defense about “it being the law”. that’s not a valid argument. slavery and jim crow were once the law too. did that make them right?

            this is called “appeal to practice”. it’s a common logical fallacy and it appears to be the whole basis for your argument.

            http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-common-practice.html

            far from not answering your question, i have answered it repeatedly. i have stated that i think rights have primacy over such tyrannical laws and that your arguments are baseless.

            sure, it’s the law. but it’s also unconstitutional by any traditional reading of the constitution.

            but being the law proves nothing.

            when i lived in california, i voted for decriminalization.

            what am i doing about it? not much. it’s not a huge issue for me. i’m not going to fund lawsuits and ballot propositions. i will support them, vote for them, and would not convict a non violent drug user if i was ever on a jury for one.

            but this is all a sideshow as are your fake claims about my being a liar.

            you support anti drug laws? true?

            anti drug laws limit the liberty of individuals. true?

            so where is the lie?

            you are just desperate and flailing. you were actually the guy i was thinking of when i wrote that comment about cognitive dissonance above.

            the more i prove (and i have proven it) that your views on drug laws are tyrannical, counter to a free society, and ethically indefensible, the more emotional you become and the more desperately you cling to them.

            appeals to majority and practice are not reasons. you could defend apartheid the same way. you have not made any valid arguments, just committed nested logical fallacies.

            if you cannot grasp this basic tenet of logic, then there is going to be no getting through to you.

            i note once more that you have not even tried to answer MY question:

            “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

            this is because you can’t and deep down, you know it which is why you are getting so emotional and angry.

            you have a core belief that you cannot defend but are unwilling to change and you are willing to lie, use bad logic, and ignore straightforward arguments to do so.

            it’s not pretty to watch.

          18. you either do not understand this issue at all, or, more likely, having been cornered, are now acting as a petulant child“…

            Still lying, still whining and still doing nothing about changing the laws regarding drugs, eh morg?

            you use this foolish logical fallacy based defense about “it being the law”. that’s not a valid argument. slavery and jim crow were once the law too. did that make them right?“…

            LOL!

            OK pseudo benny you tell that to the cop if you get busted putting a buzz on…

            far from not answering your question, i have answered it repeatedly. i have stated that i think rights have primacy over such tyrannical laws and that your arguments are baseless“…

            Which means absolutely nothing at all in the real world…

            All your witless whining accomplish nothing when push comes to shove, so what are doing morg to change the legal situation as it now exists?

            sure, it’s the law. but it’s also unconstitutional by any traditional reading of the constitution“…

            That’s your opinion, now all you need to do is find several many million like thinking voters and change who you send to Congress so that dreary little detail called the law can be changed…

            what am i doing about it? not much. it’s not a huge issue for me. i’m not going to fund lawsuits and ballot propositions. i will support them, vote for them, and would not convict a non violent drug user if i was ever on a jury for one“…

            Coulod’ve fooled me the way you’re carrying on about it…

            you support anti drug laws? true?

            anti drug laws limit the liberty of individuals. true?“…

            I’ve never said any of that…

            I’ve always said that if you want to get rid of the war on drugs you should be careful what you wish for….

            You as a naive lad need to be extra careful for what you wish for…

            appeals to majority and practice are not reasons. you could defend apartheid the same way“…

            Ahhh, now if I were to take the morg point of view that line could be interpreted as your opposition to freedom of association…

            this is because you can’t and deep down, you know it which is why you are getting so emotional and angry“…

            morg you’re truly and idiot…

            Its damned easy to defend, its obvious that your fellow citizens and mine for whatever reason keep sending people back to Congress that keep these laws on the books, its as simple as that…

            So quite being a whining simp and get a grip on reality…

            you have a core belief that you cannot defend but are unwilling to change and you are willing to lie, use bad logic, and ignore straightforward arguments to do so“…

            I have a question for you, were you yelling at that the mirror when you cranked out that looney thought?

          19. morganovich

            juandos-

            QED.

            you have just proven my points for me.

            that little rant was all emotional bluster and silly attacks to avoid the actual issue, which, i note, you still refuse to address.

            then you descend into “so what are you doing about it”.

            you often espouse beliefs about needing to end the “war on poverty”. hell, i even agree with them. so what are you doing to make that happen? i suspect it’s less that i do to end the war on drugs. so what? does that make your views incorrect?

            come on juandos, you are just making an ass of yourself here and using foolish arguments that you would never accept if someone used them on you.

            then you go on to flat out lie. you have on numerous prior threads espoused support for the war on drugs, at least most drugs.

            “What are you going to do when someone messed up on bath salts attempts to eat your face?

            Tell him, “hey man, I’m on your side and I think your bath salts should be legalized“…

            See if that works out for you…”

            sorry, was that NOT you arguing that some drugs should be illegal? (and making a bad, illogical argument at that)

            so what, are you tryign to say that you, in fact, oppose the war on drugs? if so, why are you spending so much time arguing for it and making such strident claims about how people who use drugs are not successful.

            alcohol is a drug (and a particularly addictive and dangerous one). i would bet that more successful people in the US drink than do not.

          20. you have just proven my points for me“…

            Well I can almost anything is possible in morg-world

            Nice try though wasting all that bandwidth saying nothing credible or substantial…

            Aren’t you a little to old to incessantly whine and stamp your feet in impotent rage?

    2. CLEARLY peak. Everyone that does drugs is an absolute burnout. Just LOOK at all these LOSERS

      http://www.erowid.org/culture/characters/characters_drug_use.shtml

      Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Ken Kesey, Winston Churchill, Samuel Colt, Charles Dickens, and Sigmund Freud never did ANYTHING useful. Good thing they keep lists of this stuff.

      your argument about what could have been by dismissing what clearly is happens to be so terribly convincing. I’m so glad government knows what’s best for me.

      Oh and by the way; Bill Gates HAS taken acid. Maybe Steve didn’t take enough huh?

      1. PeakTrader

        Cody, that’s an illogical response to what I said.

        However, if that’s what you believe, then why don’t you take drugs to become like Eric Clapton, etc..

        1. illogical?

          I am comparing what is with what is. Not what is to the hypothetical. You’re shutting me down because it was sarcastic and admittedly juvenile.

          I do not understand what is “illogical” about it.

          Hypothetically, if I did, or did know of people who used illicit substances to great avail, would that prove my point to you?

          If realistic statistic evidence would not help, would hypothetical anecdotal? because it really should not.

          1. PeakTrader

            Cody says: “I am comparing what is with what is.”

            What about all the “losers” you didn’t cite who did drugs? And how does that prove drugs made the “winners” you cited better?

          2. morganovich

            peak-

            and what about all the losers who never did drugs or who used legal ones like alcohol?

            this whole argument is pointless. the standard you are using is completely wrong and indefensible.

            the simple fact is this:

            if you are self supporting and do not violate the rights of others, your recreational choices are your own.

            neither you nor i should get any say.

            this is the issue you always shy away from and never address.

            i asked you above:

            “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

            that was probably the 10th time i have asked you that question. you never answer because you cannot without revealing how inconsistent and paternalistic/totalitarian your views here are.

            but, until you can answer that question, you have no basis for any of the rest of your arguments.

        2. Peak

          However, if that’s what you believe, then why don’t you take drugs to become like Eric Clapton, etc..

          Even you must know how stupid that question is.

          There is no claim that drugs are a good idea like eating healthy and exercising, only that drugs aren’t an automatic death sentence or a guaranteed ruined life, as some very well known people, as well as millions of others we don’t hear about, have led and are leading productive lives either because of or despite their drug use.

          Your question of whether those people could have done better without drugs is as meaningless as asking if those who suffer failures in life would have been better off if they had used drugs.

          As was pointed out, you have no idea how many people take drugs without ill effect, because you only know of those who have problems. That being the case, you can’t argue, as you do, that all drug use ends up badly, but only that some drug use ends up badly. You are left to argue relative percentages without any reliable numbers to talk about.

          Your continued use of the “opium wars” example is bogus. Why not tell the entire story in context rather than trying to make a point about only a part of it? If mere availability of opium was enough to addict an entire country, we are left wondering why the people in India and elsewhere who actually grew and processed the poppies weren’t equally as devastated, or for that matter, the English who shipped them?

          But all that is of minor import compared to the fact that it is just not your business, nor the business of government, what peaceful people put in their own bodies if they don’t harm anyone else.

          1. PeakTrader

            Ron, I reflected other people’s statements. If you believe they’re stupid, don’t blame me. I think, they’re ignorant, not stupid.

            It’s quite amazing there are people like you, who attempt to minimize, or just ignore, the devastation of drug abuse on societies and throughout history.

            Just because some people may not be negatively affected by drugs, or don’t negatively affect others, or the benefits of selling drugs outweigh the consequences of using drugs, doesn’t reflect the entire impact on a society.

          2. Peak

            Ron, I reflected other people’s statements. If you believe they’re stupid, don’t blame me. I think, they’re ignorant, not stupid.

            No you didn’t. Others suggested that drug use doesn’t always lead to to devastation and you asked a stupid question that missed the point.

            No one is ignoring or minimizing anything. Throughout history many people and cultures have used various drugs for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes without descending into the abyss, and many still do today. The high cost of the current war on drugs is almost entirely a result of interdiction and enforcement efforts. You have no evidence of any kind, only your baseless opinion, that costs would be higher if drugs were legalized.

            Just because some people may not be negatively affected by drugs, or don’t negatively affect others, or the benefits of selling drugs outweigh the consequences of using drugs, doesn’t reflect the entire impact on a society.

            What impact? If the benefits outweigh the costs, then the impact is positive. Is that what you meant to write?

            You continue to refuse to address the most important issue of liberty, however. A person’s personal drug use is no more your concern than is their excessive fat intake, or the amount of salt they eat. If you wish to address a cost issue, then address it. Advocate eliminating taxpayer provided benefits, medical or otherwise, for those who use drugs, or don’t wear seat belts or motorcycle helmets, or whatever other silliness you prefer, but otherwise just butt out of other peoples private lives and choices.

          3. PeakTrader

            Ron, you deny your statement and my direct response to it, take a word or two out of my statement and take it out of context, alter the implications of other people’s statements, etc..

            Dan Rather would be proud of you.

          4. PeakTrader

            Ron says: “A person’s personal drug use is no more your concern than is their excessive fat intake…”

            It seems, you believe the costs of drug use, society pays (which includes you), are no more expensive than the costs of eating too much fat.

          5. PeakTrader

            Spending $1 to prevent or reduce $5 of social costs improves society, unlike spending $1 to prevent or reduce $0.50 of social costs.

          6. morganovich

            “It seems, you believe the costs of drug use, society pays (which includes you), are no more expensive than the costs of eating too much fat.”

            another bogus argument.

            1. they probably are lower.

            2. they could be shifted to user pays through legalization and taxation.

            3. you ignore all the outlandish cash and social costs CREATED by the drug war

            4. it’s all irrelevant. not only are you making a circular argument (that drug costs created by the drug war are a reason for the drug war) but you start from a position of assuming you get to tell people who have not violated anyone’s rights what to do, a position you have never once even tried to defend because you know how invalid it is.

            you rail about the costs of drug users, but seem fine with making me pay for prisons, cops, and rehab/healthcare that i do not want to pay for. it is the laws you champion that put these costs onto me (and you).

            move to user pays.

            you cannot stop drug addiction. the costs are already there. drugs are ubiquitous and easy to get.

            it’s just a question of who pays for bad outcomes and whether innocent people who CAN use them responsibly ought to be deprived of liberty to get at the few that cannot.

          7. morganovich

            “Spending $1 to prevent or reduce $5 of social costs improves society, unlike spending $1 to prevent or reduce $0.50 of social costs.”

            this is a bogus argument and a bogus formulation in which you assume your premise.

            it is framed full of bad hypothetical that (as places like portugal have shown) are false and ignores all the costs CREATED by a drug war like gang crime, prison costs etc. to say nothing of the vast cost of loss of liberty.

            this loss of liberty is the key determinant here and is why, whatever the numbers, your formulation fails.

            if one society forces everyone to pay for $100 in costs while limiting liberty for all and the second requires the specific people who create a cost to pay $150 out of their own pockets and leave the rest of society off the hook for their choices, it is the second, not the first that is the superior social outcome.

            such a society has more fairness, liberty, and personal responsibility that the first one in which the innocent are forced to pay for the guilty while at the same time being deprived of liberty for the privilege.

            you fixate over and over on these bogus cost issues and yet never address the fundamental issue at the heart of all this: liberty. you act as though being deprived of liberty has zero cost and that being forced to pay for the irresponsibility of others is not a social ill.

            this is why you keep coming up with the wrong answer.

            you are just cashing yourself around in circles and tryign to justify tyranny and the limitation of personal liberty by claiming “net social good” an argument you would never accept around, say, speech against the government.

          8. Peak: “It seems, you believe the costs of drug use, society pays (which includes you), are no more expensive than the costs of eating too much fat.”

            That’s not what I said, but it’s an interesting thought.

            What evidence do you have that societal costs ARE higher for drug use than for eating too much fat?

            Remember to leave out all costs related to the legal status of drugs.

            Spending $1 to prevent or reduce $5 of social costs improves society, unlike spending $1 to prevent or reduce $0.50 of social costs.

            Based on that rational, may I assume you favor enforcing a nationwide 20mph speed limit?

            Or perhaps the cost of enforcing the use of hand sanitizer is a good use of your tax money.

            It’s the rights issue, Peak, not the cost.

          9. morganovich

            this is just going to go around in circles forever.

            the fact, peak, is that you feel entitled to tell others what is best for them and to force them to comply with your views even if they are not violating anyone’s rights.

            that is the mentality of a tyrant. it is not consistent with a free society.

            you refuse to even address this rights issue because you know it’s a loser for you.

            would you accept this around food?

            surely you agree that there are a lot of fat people and that this has social and health costs.

            shall we ban onion rings? cookies? cake?

            surely no one NEEDS these things. they are contributors to a social problem.

            so how about banning them? sure, maybe you or i can consume an awesome blossom responsibly, but clearly, some cannot. shall we, as well meaning paternalistic overlords, not protect these people from themselves even if it means trampling on the liberty of the responsible?

  10. Mr. Perry. I really love your posts. I think a couple posts between the relation of anonymous browsing, Bitcoin, and SilkRoad would be an AWESOME segment explaining the new black markets and how they mirror legitimate markets because of the anarchy of the internet.

    I think you could explain better than anyone just what is going on and it would be a very interesting post.

  11. Benjamin Cole

    If you contend the states and federal government can decide the legality of what recreational drugs you take, then get ready: They can also decide that alcohol and tobacco are illegal too.

    Of course, that did happen in Prohibition with booze, and many states in the 19th century considered outlawing tobacco.

    The more powers you grant to the sate, the more chance those powers will be abused.

  12. Benjamin Cole

    Oh, and btw; The War on Drugs, like the War on Poverty and the War on Terrorism, is not designed to be won, but designed to last in perpetuity, so that federal agencies and interest groups can feast on your tax dollars.

  13. PeakTrader

    In the 19th century, Chinese exchanged valuable goods, e.g. silver, tea, silk, spices, etc., for opium, and even sold their children. They consumed opium rather than work, or even eat, while their families, who depended on them, suffered:

    Opium in 19th century China:

    “As more and more addicts were created, Emperor Dao guang (1821-1850) of the Qing Dynasty became alarmed. He ordered that Guangdong (Canton), the only port then open to foreigners, be closed to all opium traffic.

    But British captains evaded the edict by smuggling opium into China with the help of local pirates.

    Opium presently became so widespread that by 1838, officials in Guangdong and Fujian were notifying the Imperial government that nine people out of ten in these provinces were addicts.

    The Emperor responded by naming as High Commissioner to Canton, a most extraordinary man, Lin Zexu. Lin was given strict orders to rid the country of opium.

    In a letter to Queen Victoria which was never sent, Commissioner Lin chided:

    “… so long as you do not take it (opium) yourselves, but continue to make it and tempt the people of China to buy it, you will be showing yourselves careful of your own lives, but careless of the lives of other people, indifferent in your greed for gain to the harm you do to others: such conduct is repugnant to human feelings …”

    After confiscating and destroying the opium stocks and pipes being sold by Chinese merchants, Lin put pressure on all merchant ships in the harbour carrying the drug to deliver their opium stores to him. Although these stores were publicly disposed of, it did not restrain the British as he had hoped.

    One tension led to another, finally erupting in the war of 1839 to 1842, called the Opium War by the Chinese. It was an epithet bitterly resented by the British, who piously maintained that the war’s purpose was to teach the Chinese a lesson in free trade.

    Just what kind of trade was meant was obvious from the swarm of opium boats which followed the Royal Navy upstream to Nanjing, where the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign a treaty opening China to trade.

    Peace had barely been concluded when the opium boats began to hawk their wares: ‘Opium is on sale very cheap at Sui Shan – an opportunity not to be missed.’”

  14. MacDaddyWatch

    Need American’s look any further than our angry and dysfunctional Oval Office?

    There is a price, and sometimes it manifests itself in places that we least anticipate. When that happens, we suddenly find ourselves completely blind-sided, unprepared and vulnerable.

  15. PeakTrader

    Morganovich and Ron, I’ve shown you extensive data and studies of the many social costs before. Yet, you’ve completely ignored them. Do I have to dig them all up again? You’re in denial and have your head in the sand or worse.

    The Economics of Drug Legalization

    “Proponents of legalization suggest that their policy will save society money…First, we will not have to pay police to enforce the present criminal-justice approach to drug usage. Second, we will be able to tax legal drugs, thereby raising revenue.

    The FY 1994 federal budget allocates $7.51 billion for drug control (supply reduction) which includes criminal justice, interdiction, international programs and intelligence. State and local governments spend even more, $12.6 billion a year.

    The total revenue collected from alcohol taxes at the federal, state, and local levels amounts to about $13.1 billion a year, a paltry sum compared to the social costs associated with alcohol consumption.

    Treating drug addicts is enormously expensive. Take crack babies as an example. In 1988, it cost $2.5 billion for the intensive care needed to keep the babies alive after birth.

    But that was just the beginning of the expenses. It is estimated that it will cost $15 billion to prepare these children for kindergarten, and will then cost between $6 billion and $12 billion for every year of special learning programs.

    Even assuming the low-ball figure, the social costs of educating all of the crack babies born in 1988 – not all crack babies, mind you, just those born that year – will run approximately $90 billion by the time they graduate from high school.

    Already, drug addicts cost the country roughly $33 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and job-related accidents, according to a study conducted in 1987 by the Research Triangle Institute of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

    If legalized, addiction rates would increase and the cost would rise to between $140 billion and $210 billion a year. And who will pay for lost productivity and job-related accidents? Consumers will, of course, in the final costs of the produced goods.

    We spend approximately $20 billion a year on drug control activities. If drugs were legalized, we would see an increase in addiction rates.

    Consequently we would have more crack babies (the kind that already will cost the system $90 billion), decreased productivity (at a cost of between $140 billion and $210 billion), more job-related accidents, and more dead people.

    And given the potential black market effect, it is unlikely that we could raise even several billion dollars in tax revenue.

    From a purely economic standpoint, legalization is not cost effective.”

    1. “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

      Morganovich has been asking this question for over two days. I may have missed your answer. If so feel free to paste it again.

      If you answer yes, please explain how we’re freer and safer with a government that decides whether we can smoke a joint or drink a 32oz soda.

      I already pay for crack babies. It is the government that is violating the rights of others by forcing us to do so. It is government that doesn’t sufficiently punish crack mommies for violating the rights of their babies.

      Your anti-drug arguments are the same ones used by proponents of unilateral personal disarmament; prohibit gun possession by the law-abiding and peaceful, and society will be safer.

      1. PeakTrader

        Brotio, the reality is decriminalizing or legalizing drugs creates enormous social costs, other people pay for, unlike gun ownership.

        Banning or regulating large soft drinks may have a very small effect on improving people’s health. It’s likely not worth the costs.

        I’d rather see schools teach nutrition classes, that are unbiased.

        1. Brotio, the reality is decriminalizing or legalizing drugs creates enormous social costs, other people pay for, unlike gun ownership.

          Yeah, but – “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?

        2. Peak

          Banning or regulating large soft drinks may have a very small effect on improving people’s health. It’s likely not worth the costs.

          It’s just the cost? You would have no problem with government telling people what size soft drink they can buy?

        3. morganovich

          translation:

          i cannot answer the question and am simply playing tyrannical games with others to force my own views upon them.

          i strongly doubt you would be willing to accept this sort of cost/benefit analysis on allowing speech, freedom of association, or the ability to pick you own career and work hours.

          your position is inconsistent and hypocritical.

        4. PeakTrader

          Morganovich says: “translation: i cannot answer the question and am simply playing tyrannical games with others to force my own views upon them…”

          Translation: I don’t understand why government should get involved in people’s lives, e.g. limiting the number of rat hairs they can have in the peanut butter they buy.

          1. morganovich

            that is a complete non sequitor and you know it peak.

            demanding truth in labeling is not the same as banning people from buying and using precisely what they thought they were.

            once more, you descend into rhetorical dodges to avoid answering the basic question:

            “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

            until you can, you have no basis for any of your other arguments.

          2. Translation: I don’t understand why government should get involved in people’s lives, e.g. limiting the number of rat hairs they can have in the peanut butter they buy.

            That’s right. Why should government have the power to tell my how many rat hairs I can consume?

            I doubt that many manufacturers need reminding that finding rat hair in a product might affect a consumers brand preference rather quickly, and a lot of such discoveries might mean bankruptcy, so government regulations are likely redundant and unnecessary.

            Note that *some*number of rat hairs in peanut butter are acceptable, as they aren’t a health concern, only a gross-out factor. I suppose pieces of shell and other debris associated with peanuts, including insect parts, could have a similar chilling effect on sales while posing no health hazard.

          3. Peak,

            In addition you should be aware that large, established manufacturers with reputations and brand names to protect, and who are already extremely careful about the purity and cleanliness of their products, encourage and even lobby for those kinds of government regulations as they erect barriers to entry and higher burdens on smaller competitors, who may then target niche markets like “natural” or “organic” where they needn’t compete on price.

        5. PeakTrader

          Morganovich, I answered your question many times before in many ways. Obviously, you didn’t like the answers.

          Maybe, you’ll understand by answering your own question with an example:

          “why should a government possess the power to limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people, e.g. driving 120 MPH on the freeway, so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

          1. Peak

            why should a government possess the power to limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people, e.g. driving 120 MPH on the freeway, so long as they do not violate the rights of others?

            The short answer is “government shouldn’t possess that power”. The key being “violate the rights of others”. Driving at 120mph on the freeway when others are driving much more slowly can be seen as threatening them with an imminent violation of their rights, as can driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, or firing a handgun in their direction, or dropping rocks off the overpass. Such threats may be countered.

            Note that I can drive at whatever speed I wish on private property – my own, or with permission of the owner, on theirs.

            But the question was about peaceful people who aren’t violating anyone’s rights – or threatening to do so. I suspect you already understand the difference. What’s your answer, Peak?

            And what about that large soft drink? Should government have the power to tell me how much soda I can drink?

          2. PeakTrader

            Ron says: “Why should government have the power to tell me how many rat hairs I can consume?”

            Some people are willing to live next to an open sewer, if the rent is low enough. I know you don’t believe in any standards.

            Ron says: “I can drive at whatever speed I wish on private property – my own, or with permission of the owner, on theirs.”

            Go ahead and drive 120 MPH around your house. Just don’t cross your neighbor’s property line. I know you don’t believe in any limits too.

          3. Some people are willing to live next to an open sewer, if the rent is low enough.

            And you would forbid them that choice. You are quite the dictator, Peak

            . I know you don’t believe in any standards.

            I’m a firm believer in standards. I’m just not in favor of those tyrants like you would impose to limit the liberty of peaceful, self sufficient people who aren’t violating anyone else’s rights.

            Go ahead and drive 120 MPH around your house. Just don’t cross your neighbor’s property line.

            I have his permission.

            I know you don’t believe in any limits too.

            Au contraire. I believe I’ve just about reached the limits of my patience with tyrants like you.

          4. morganovich

            peak-

            if you think that is an answer, then i do not know what to tell you.

            there is no law against driving 120mph. you do not even need a license to do it. you just need to stay on private property. i used to race on the track before i was even allowed to drive on public roads.

            they key word their is “public”.

            if the government wants to say “no smoking pot in a public building or when driving on a public road” that is completely different than saying you cannot do it on private property.

            further, your whole argument is just another logical fallacy – appeal to practice.

            the existence of one practice does not validate the existence of a similar one.

            that’s like saying “black slaves are ok, so chinese slaves are fine too”.

            that’s not a valid construction.

            your standards argument has the same issue along with an additional one of ignoring rights. if i buy the house next to you and turn it into a hog rendering plant, the smell and noise disrupts your use of your own property and does harm to you. that violates your rights. if i sit home and take acid and you never even see me, well, that does you no harm, does it? (unless you are going to claim a right not to be offended by the mere existence of such a prerogative, and i doubt even you are that reactionary and would be unable to defend such a right even if you claimed it as if we all possessed it, it would be absurd.)

            so no, you have never answered the question, just engaged in circular reasoning and logical fallacy.

            so, once more:

            “why should a government possess the power the limit the recreational choices of peaceful, self-sufficient people so long as they do not violate the rights of others?”

            try it from first principles and without using an appeal to practice fallacy.

            i’ll bet you can’t.

    2. Peak

      .Morganovich and Ron, I’ve shown you extensive data and studies of the many social costs before. Yet, you’ve completely ignored them. Do I have to dig them all up again? You’re in denial and have your head in the sand or worse.

      I’ve seen this comment before word for word. What you call “digging them all up” doesn’t appear to be all that hard, as you can just paste the same comment over and over. At least you didn’t pretend that this cut and paste s from an unbiased source.

      From a purely economic standpoint, legalization is not cost effective.”

      Then give up your “purely economic” arguments, and address the individual rights issue. Efficiency and cost effectiveness aren’t very good reasons to limit freedom.

  16. I can’t wait til they win the war on meth so I can buy my Sudafed without getting carded and screened…

  17. melvin polatnick

    One hundred million American adults cannot pass the simple reading tests given to twelve year old kids born in Utah. The state also has the lowest rate of opiate use in the nation which results in less brain damage and smarter children. The shocking amount of illiterates in America might be caused by the heavy use of opiates, instead of hiring expensive teachers, it would be cheaper and more effective to train opiate sniffing dogs that will labor 24/7 for a can of chow.

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