Re: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 15:03:35 MST

> Yet why is it that both alcohol and gambling are legal activities for
> adults in most jurisdictions in the US, yet many perfectly normal adults
> completely ruin their lives, and the lives of others (spouse/children
> going homeless/malnourished, drunk driving homicides and injuries, etc)?
> If the criminality of the substance were the only factor as you claim,
> then alcholics and gambling addicts should have no negative impact on
> society. The fact they do have one disproves the criminality theory.

There's no reason to resort the silly simplistic black-and-white
thinking here. We're obviously talking matters of degree, not
fundamental nature. Yes, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling lead to
some social problems in those who don't deal well with them--but
far /fewer/ problems than medically similar things that happen
to be illegal. Alcohol and tobacco companies don't create street
gangs, kill judges, bribe police, etc. Those acitivities carry
a high cost, which is only borne by drug dealers because the laws
drive prices high enough to cover. Without the laws, things like
marijuana and cocaine would cause social problems about on the
level of what alcohol does now--that's not zero, but it's quite
tolerable, and we've learned as a society how to deal with it.

I should also point out that the case of gambling addiction
actually weakens your argument: you contend that illegal drugs
reduce one's capacity for responsible action, and that's true
(just as it is equally true of legal drugs). But clearly that
isn't the case with an activity like gambling, so you can't
blame anti-social addictive behavior on the chemical unless the
effect of that chemical is well beyond the expected variation
in human behavior. You could probably make that case for PCP,
heroin, meth, and alcohol. You probably couldn't make that case
for marijuana, LSD, or tobacco. Marijuana in particular is about
the silliest case I can imagine: widespread use would probably
reduce violence and benefit society immeasurably.

> While I agree that the state should not regulate intake by adults (a
> point which I have NEVER disputed, by the way), this does not mean that
> addicts should not be held accountable for their actions just as
> children and criminals are. Users should be required by their insurance
> carriers (even in a libertarian setting) to adequately insure against
> the externalities of their potential bad behavior while impaired and/or
> addicted. If they do take care of this risk, then they can toke up with
> my blessing.

I could be persuaded that users of a drug that carries proven risks
of anti-social behavior might be required to mitigate the risk. The
one drug that creates the most risk in that regard is clearly alcohol,
and we do have fairly reasonable laws to mitigate that risk: strict
drunk-driving penalties, regulations on bars and liquor stores, etc.
It's actually a pretty good model for what regulation of other drugs
might look like in a more reasonable society (though arbitrary age
limits are silly). And of course, such laws should /only/ apply to
those drugs proven to pose risks to others, and not things like LSD and

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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