Victimless Crimes - Page 7 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Classical liberalism. The individual before the state, non-interventionist, free-market based society.
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By Drlee
#14657168
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By Dr House
#14688132
mdinh1 wrote:What is the argument behind the idea that the state shouldn't be involved in victimless crimes like drug and alcohol addiction? A typical argument I hear is that "we can't just make law based on protecting people, it has to be based on morality, too (and then something along the lines of drug usage is immoral). When we legalize drugs, we're pretty much saying that it's an okay act. Even if someone is just sitting in his house getting drunk or getting high and harming no one else, we are at fault if we do nothing about his problem."

What is the principle behind keeping the government out of victimless crimes (however self destructive they may be)?

It's actually quite simple.
-You own yourself.
-You do not own other people.

If you want a practical perspective on it: Any time the state expends resources controlling an activity where there is not an aggrieved party, it requires the state to intrude into your life. Since government action is by very definition violent, by permitting this to be done what we are saying is "you have not done violence on others, but because you harmed yourself we give the police permission to inflict violence upon you".

John Stossel made a video that illustrates what the problem with that is, exactly.

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By Harmattan
#14688206
Dr House wrote:Since government action is by very definition violent, by permitting this to be done what we are saying is "you have not done violence on others, but because you harmed yourself we give the police permission to inflict violence upon you".

But dependence prevents you to make correct judgments. And it puts you in a position where you will probably harm others to find the money you need.

A similar situation occurs with suicide: there may be valid reasons to end your days but in most cases suicide is committed by depressed people who will see things differently after a proper therapy. Their depression was preventing them to make correct judgments. Blindly following your logic would mean that you should be jailed for preventing a suicide.


I cannot make a decision on drug trade, both sides' arguments are flawed and toxic.

And more generally, as much as I admit the libertarian position's merits in other cases, I simply do not want to live in a world where you can willingly enter slavery or a manhunting TV reality show, or sell your body to the cannibal butchery after your death. I do not want to live in multikuti libertarian district  #19, I want to live in a country that resembles me, with a large but bounded freedom.
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By Dr House
#14688215
It's actually rather puzzling to me that someone could see the police doing harm to people for getting high, and think the drug was was an acceptable compromise. But allow me to offer another practical objection to it then:

The drug war, like Prohibition before it, has had no net effect on addiction rates. Thousands of raids and arrests, lives ruined, and people get high now about as much as they did before. Clearly it isn't working.
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By Hong Wu
#14688217
The drug war was presumably to raise the price of drugs, but since they raised everyone's disposable income at around the same time, it appeared to have no effect, even though the price of drugs did go up (or not go down as much, depending) as compared to if there was no "drug war".

I'm sure someone will post next that the drug war actually lowered the price of drugs because economics racism, let me just say :knife: in advance.

America is circling the drain, I can only imagine how much worse things would be if there was no attempt to keep people off drugs after every plebeian who thinks death wishes are cool gained a lot of disposal income.
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By Dr House
#14688222
Here's the thing though. There's this thing called the Iron Law of Prohibition.

-A thing gets banned.
-Only the most potent (and dangerous) example of that thing gets used by the general public. During Prohibition, people drank moonshine that was virtually pure ethanol, because they had to get drunk as quickly and cheaply as possible. Even the well-off drank distilled spirits only. Beer went virtually extinct.
-The worse effects of these potent illegal things are used as an example for why the things should be illegal.

And so the cycle continues.

Prohibition doesn't make people less addicted, but it does make their lives worse for it.
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By Harmattan
#14688259
The trade of the most dangerous drugs cannot be legal since its managers would be prosecuted under penal laws for endangering people's lives, and since the business would likely not be profitable if it had to compensate victims in front of civil courts. The tobacco industry is borderline, the drugs industry would be way over the border. You would have to make it legal to poison people.

And it is a myth that the prohibition had no effect on alcohol consumption. On the opposite it did significantly reduce it, even if you only consider the latter years. And I suspect the police was more lax and corrupted during those years than they are now, which means that our prohibition would have stronger effects now than their already efficient prohibition.
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By DrSteveBrule
#14688389
Harmattan wrote:And it is a myth that the prohibition had no effect on alcohol consumption. On the opposite it did significantly reduce it, even if you only consider the latter years. And I suspect the police was more lax and corrupted during those years than they are now, which means that our prohibition would have stronger effects now than their already efficient prohibition.


You would be surprised at how corrupt modern American government can be. The only reason that things are better today is that we have federal agencies to bring state and local police departments in line. I highly doubt that Ferguson or Chicago would be reforming their police now if the DOJ hand't stepped in.

The trade of the most dangerous drugs cannot be legal since its managers would be prosecuted under penal laws for endangering people's lives, and since the business would likely not be profitable if it had to compensate victims in front of civil courts. The tobacco industry is borderline, the drugs industry would be way over the border. You would have to make it legal to poison people.


Looking at the market as a solution to drug use is a flawed approach anyways. Most of us would agree that marijuana should be legalized along with alcohol because of the risk of harm is relatively lower, and that a modest tax can be used to offset the potential public risks associated with their use. This isn't going to work with more dangerous drugs where the harm of legalization is far greater than that of prohibition. The Swiss approach gets around this by

    Decriminalizing "hard" drug use
    Opening free drug clinics to encourage safe use in a controlled environment
    Offering free treatment to addicts who are willing to undergo it
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By Harmattan
#14688424
I am fine with the decriminalization of consumption (not trade), but with a few important restrictions:
* in public spaces one must not be in a severely altered mental state.
* the police can also arbitrarily detain someone who seems to have taken an illegal drug for 12h and run biological tests.
* someone convicted to be on drugs must tell policemen where, when and to whom he bought the drug, and let them gather evidences (including giving them the right to access recent communications and other electronic fingerprints). Refusing is a penal offense.
* if his health is worrying, policemen can ask for a medical check-up before he is released, and use force interning for his own good if necessary.
* if one committed an infraction where his addiction was thought to be a factor, he must receive an additional sentence, or follow a therapy with a one probative year after that.
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By Drlee
#14688688
And more generally, as much as I admit the libertarian position's merits in other cases, I simply do not want to live in a world where you can willingly enter slavery or a manhunting TV reality show, or sell your body to the cannibal butchery after your death. I do not want to live in multikuti libertarian district #19, I want to live in a country that resembles me, with a large but bounded freedom


Well this is usually the best argument against the libertarian position: That it is absolutist. It imagines a society that while Mr. Spock might favor its logical position, none of the rest of us would. Civilizations consisting of purely logical people are oh so easy to argue for but for one thing....there are no such people. Further. The libertarian argues for a society in which none of us wishes to live.

"Bounded freedom." Spot on.
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By DrSteveBrule
#14689485
Harmattan wrote:I am fine with the decriminalization of consumption (not trade), but with a few important restrictions:
* in public spaces one must not be in a severely altered mental state.
* the police can also arbitrarily detain someone who seems to have taken an illegal drug for 12h and run biological tests.
* someone convicted to be on drugs must tell policemen where, when and to whom he bought the drug, and let them gather evidences (including giving them the right to access recent communications and other electronic fingerprints). Refusing is a penal offense.
* if his health is worrying, policemen can ask for a medical check-up before he is released, and use force interning for his own good if necessary.
* if one committed an infraction where his addiction was thought to be a factor, he must receive an additional sentence, or follow a therapy with a one probative year after that.


Most of the above seems reasonable and in line with the more "open" nations of Europe. Point 3 is somewhat worrying though, as it would be a significant impediment for addicts seeking treatment. The main point of decriminalization is that it draws a barrier between addict and dealer in the penal system. Forcing users to reveal who their dealers are is going to encourage dealers to retaliate on users who seek treatment and discourage addicts from seeking treatment, providing a boost to demand. That's counterproductive to an approach operating on the premise that combatting the drug trade by reducing the demand is far more effective than any supply side reduction measures.
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By Harmattan
#14689633
DrSteveBrule wrote:Point 3 is somewhat worrying though, as it would be a significant impediment for addicts seeking treatment.

This is a good point but a hospital or a center distributing needles would have no cop asking people who their dealer is. It is entirely possible to make sure that cops only conduct such operations in the street and deal zones.

That's counterproductive to an approach operating on the premise that combatting the drug trade by reducing the demand is far more effective than any supply side reduction measures.

I did not assume such premise and I fail to see why cops should stop hunting for people dealing poison and who rely on lethal violence to control territories. I do believe it is possible to marry a demand-side and supply-side policy, and it is already done to a large extent in Europe.

For me decriminalizing consumption in the terms I mentioned is only motivated by morale reasons.
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By Dr House
#14689855
It's so cute how you guys have these super specific proposals, as if any of you were in charge of the government or had any say in what bureaucrats actually do in service of a stated goal (or rather, in service to themselves pretending to serve a stated goal).

So innocent.
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By DrSteveBrule
#14691561
Harmattan wrote:This is a good point but a hospital or a center distributing needles would have no cop asking people who their dealer is. It is entirely possible to make sure that cops only conduct such operations in the street and deal zones.


I suppose that the extent of police investigations could be limited to instances where it is known that someone is already in possession of drugs, but there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that the risk of retribution from dealers is low. Privacy safeguards would have to be vigorously enforced if a court case were to occur.

I did not assume such premise and I fail to see why cops should stop hunting for people dealing poison and who rely on lethal violence to control territories. I do believe it is possible to marry a demand-side and supply-side policy, and it is already done to a large extent in Europe.

For me decriminalizing consumption in the terms I mentioned is only motivated by morale reasons.


Most proponents of demand reduction will argue that it is beneficial from a morale and efficiency standpoint when compared to a supply side approach. Of course, Europe's combined tactic is a sound strategy, but it should be noted that it only adopts supply side policies that have little to no impact on demand side effectiveness.
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