Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mad Mel on drugs

Has Melanie Phillips been at the crack pipe? In her latest outburst against rationality, she asserts:

The law should transmit an unambiguous moral message: that all drug use is so dangerous to society that it is beyond the pale.
The law should never attempt to transmit any moral messages at all. It should protect the person and the property of the individual while that individual occupies their time in whatever way they see fit, taking drugs if they choose.

In another recent post, she links to a recent Mark Steyn article in which he draws attention to the plight of Iranian homosexuals (in the light of Ahmamadman's Colombia University show). Within the span of my own lifetime, homosexuality was illegal here - for moral reasons. That's what moral legislation does: it persecutes a section of the population whose "crime" is to be disliked by a large number of other people. Advocate what you see as morality by all means, but moral ideas should never ever be expressed in law.

But the assertion that drug use is "so dangerous to society..." is completely deranged. Drug use was entirely legal in most countries in the world before the First World War and was not in any sense dangerous to society. It might have been dangerous to some individuals, but not nearly so dangerous to them as the prohibition we now endure.

And it's prohibition that corrodes society, making law-breaking normal for tens of millions of people, bringing them into contact with genuine criminals and thereby normalising real crime, transferring vast quantities of wealth to organised crime, breaking up families when a member spends their leisure time in ways of which Ms Phillips disapproves, wasting billions of pounds of pointless law enforcement expenditure, taking police away from genuine crime.

A book about crime I recently browsed in a second-hand bookshop, published in the 1960s, felt a need to offer a short glossary of criminal terms in the front. No need for that today; contact with criminals, entirely as a result of the prohibition of drugs, has equipped every middle-class reader with the necessary terminology.

On the other hand, where is the social breakdown caused, not by the laws, but by the recreational habits of tens of millions of citizens? Phillip's approach is completely absurd.

Crime is violence against the person or against property. That's it. Other forms of criminal laws are no more than expressions of tyranny.


Anonymous said...

The most widely used drugs are the legal ones.
My girlfriend developed a psychosis and killed herself after using Skunk.

Fuck you.

Peter Risdon said...

What, and it's my fault?

There's no causality established between skunk (which I've already pointed out is the result of prohibition) and psychosis but even if there were it would affect a tiny proportion of smokers - a few hundred out of millions - and there is no excuse for criminalising millions.

I'm sorry your girlfriend killed herself, but don't come here and blame me for it. Your grief does not give you the right to oppress millions of people, imprison thousands, break up families, and come here and swear at me.