Filed under: Drug Politics
Every so often I find myself actually touched when I come across by a bit of unexpected goodness. Such moments remind me of the capacity for intelligence and compassion that so-called “regular folk” actually possess. Amongst the crap and defilement of normal life – “oh come one, it’s just the [negative] way things are” – I dream once again, be it only for a few exceptional moments, that things needn’t always be this way. Yes, regular people can get it right. In fact, our only hope lies with regular people getting it right. And so, when I find evidence of them getting it right, well I just turn into a sentimental fool.
Here’s an example of regular folk getting it right in an editorial from a local New York state newspaper: Drug Prohibition – lost liberty, money
n On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill put forth the harm principle which should be a basic tenet in a free society: state coercion is permissible only when it is necessary to prevent harm to others. The idea is that the state shouldn’t tell persons how to lead their lives. It shouldn’t mandate what people believe, what religion they practice, what they eat, etc. …
Even if drug prohibition didn’t involve a dizzying lack of respect for liberty, it probably doesn’t pass a simple cost-benefit analysis. A corollary to the harm principle is something like the following: before you restrict liberty, you should have convincing evidence that the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs…
In 2005, the U.S. has 2.2 million people in prison. This gives the U.S. the pride of being the world leader in both per capita imprisonment and total imprisonment. The U.S. has one quarter of the world’s prisoners. A good deal of the problem is drug prohibition.
Like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition tramples on liberty and doesn’t clearly past the cost-benefit test. Sadly, it’s probably here to stay anyway.
Despite the sobering pessimism of its last line, the above editorial was an inspiring read. I appreciate all such reminders that all hope is not lost. Once again I find myself assured by the goodness remaining alive in regular folk. And so, now fueled (yes fueled, not fooled) with optimistic zeal, I heartily proclaim, “yes indeed! our glass is 1/33rd full!”.
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