[FoRK] The Shift...

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri May 27 15:37:56 PDT 2005

You were tainting your anti-prohibition argument by questioning the 
related medical science.

 From a different point of view, outlawing smoking altogether is the 
most consistent thing to do.  Smoking is a drug; drugs are regulated for 
the most part (with mildly-pharmocogenic herbal remedies excepted until 
they become a "problem").  Highly addictive drugs are regulated even 
more.  Highly addictive drugs that are also carcinogenic, that's not 
even an option for anything but tobacco.  Interpret recent legislative 
acts as gradual outlawing of a drug and it may make more sense.

The other two classes of legal drug are far far less addictive: alcohol 
and caffeine.  Both take long term saturation to become dependent on and 
even then the dependency is relatively mild (with caffeine anyway).

Now, you may want to continue to argue that this is a prohibition: 
something outlawed more for the cleanliness and morality of it than the 
health risks, but I don't buy it.  The only valid argument is that all 
drugs should be legal for adults to take risks with.  Idealistically, 
I'd probably support that; pragmatically, if I were President, I'd 
likely have to veto it.  At some point, everyone will have access to any 
drug they want ("Holy Fire", "Diamond Age"), but society will need a 
generation of experience for this to go well and the transition will be 
messy.  This is not unlike introducing democracy or common handguns into 
a society.

Drugs are a special class of freedom in the US.  I don't know if they 
should be in the end, but they are.  This is quite different from 
arguing about sex acts, or skydiving, or scuba diving, or inline skating 
in traffic in DC at night, or bullfighting, or whatever.  I think you 
are arguing that drugs are the same kind of freedom and therefore all 
other freedoms are in immanent danger.  While maybe the should be, in 
the US drugs are a special class.  Sex is much less of a special class 
than it used to be, although it will take a while to make clear how many 
blue laws are unconstitutional (re: recent Supreme Court ruling).

If you want to protect rights, help me argue against the prohibition of 
using my local high school's track because of "insurance reasons, 
liability, you might get hurt".  This at the same time that a number of 
"churches" use (rent???) the local schools to hold services on the weekend!


Jeff Bone wrote:

> Look, Stephen, none of this makes a BIT of difference in my  
> argument.  I've lost the plot anyway, but you're merely obfuscating  
> the essential points:  that there are MANY things that are far more  
> dangerous than smoking (*much less* second-hand smoke) that are  
> nonetheless tolerated;  that the MAIN thing smoking has against it  
> politically is not health but mere fashionability (or lack thereof);   
> that there is a TREND in this country towards completely despicable  
> meddlesome behavior on both the right and left;  and that we're  
> dangerously lacking consistency in how we deal with these kinds of  
> "issues."  None of that, really, is in any way controvertible OR  
> controversial.  And you know it!
> If anything, you're just proving my point about how *desperate*  
> Prohibitionists are to justify and rationalize the undermining of  
> liberty and the application of inconsistent and unreasonable  
> standards in this case.
> It wouldn't matter ONE BIT if you conclusively proved that smoking  
> causes lung cancer 100% of the time.  You still have not justified  
> disallowing people to engage in that behavior nor in disallowing  
> people to choose to be around others engaging in that behavior.
> jb
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swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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