Thursday, 16 December 2010

Peter Hitchens on drugs

Chance would be a fine thing. If ever a man needed a toke, it would be Peter Hitchens. He bewails the failure of the state to prosecute the war on drugs, but ignores the fact America has aggressively done so, without much success, unless you count the huge number of non-violent so-called criminals now working in the prison industrial complex as success. He dismisses the clear parallels to alcohol prohibition, and he gives the most spurious reasons to support his views, even though they run counter to everything he's ever said to defend traditional English civil liberties.

In his latest missive, he justifies his views by claiming that drugs make people more likely to rob, cause car accidents, under-perform in work etc. So, what? Punish the robber for the act of robbery, punish the drugged up driver for the actual harm they have done and sack the lazy worker. In the first case, he is falling for the exact same bullshit that our tender-hearted judges do, every time a criminal plays the violin about how 'it was the drugs wot made me do it'. The day judges stop treating drug addiction as some kind of mitigation is the day criminals stop claiming addiction as the cause of their wrong-doing.

Hitchens' main error, in my eyes, is that he believes that the state should outlaw immorality. When he says that taking drugs is immoral, he has a point, but it is not for the state to rule on questions of morality, which will always be subjective. The only valid basis for declaring something a crime is that the act aggresses against another person or their property. Taking drugs does not do this. It may indeed harm the body, but that body belongs to the perpetrator. You cannot commit assault against yourself, any more than you can steal from yourself.

The state does not own me. It is none of the state's business what I do to myself. I do not need the state to protect me from myself, and I will not accept its claim to do so as a valid justification for violating my liberty and my property, so bring back some Victorian values and get rid of these ridiculous drug laws.


marksany said...

Not everyone is as able as you and I to make our own decisions and protect ourselves. Others have little ability to make good choices for themselves. They need wise government to choose for them. Is it right that these people will have a worse life, just because people like you and me don't want the state to tell us what to do.

Trooper Thompson said...


there is a presupposition lurking under this argument that drug legalisation will lead to these other people who cannot make good choices automatically having a worse life, which I reject.

Under the present prohibition, people still manage to destroy themselves, and there is no reason to think that this would be worse with legalisation, as many of the negative aspects of drugs are caused or exacerbated by the prohibition.

In a free society there would be nothing to stop groups campaigning against drug use, warning of the dangers and offering help to those who are suffering. You could get involved with such things, if you have a burden on your conscience to do so. Better this than expect the chimera of 'wise government' to do it for you.

Smoking Hot said...

You can legislate till the cows come home and the effect would be minimal at best. The government etc know they can't stop it but have to look as though they are doing something ... however pointless.

Added to this, is the fact that many politicians, leaders of industry and such have a cocaine habit. lt's God's way of saying you're earning too much money.

lf drugs enforcement was high on the agenda you'd expect Customs to be in the front line but l can tell you from personal experience that they are not.

l regularly in my extensive overseas travels bring back into the UK a large bag of white and bag of brown. They are in seethrough airtight sealed bags. Approx quarter of a kilo each. They pass UK Customs xray and hand searches without a bat of an eyelid ... but if you have tobacco in your luggage then it's Hawaii Five O time, big style. :)

Oh yeah ... the bags? ... coffee and creamer. As a seasoned traveller who can't do without coffee and certainly has never found a hotel that leaves anywhere near enough of it with the room kettle, l take it with me. Note, l take it in my hand luggage so it goes through airport security when l leave UK too!

Angry Exile said...

Well said, Trooper T. I've had property stolen and I simply don't care what the motive was. It may have been drugs but I'd have been out of pocket just as much if it was for booze or to pay a council tax bill. If a drug user steals then the courts should jail him for theft - that was still illegal last time I looked. Moreover the price of legal drugs would likely be much cheaper than they are in the current black market. Take heroin, for example (er, not literally take heroin). Morphine comes so cheap that hospitals use the bloody stuff like water, but it's a near twin for heroin. So why is heroin so expensive that users so often need to steal? Because it's illegal and it's supply is controlled by criminals, who as well as being greedy bastards price it according to the risks they face in their 'business', that's why. Legalise it and everything changes. Its quality can be regulated, making it much safer, and it can be taxed probably without raising the cost to the current black market levels, which would create revenue for the government rather than add to the cost of policing. Drug theft ought to go down, but the users who don't take advantage of the situation and continue to steal can always be jailed. There really is nothing to lose.

James Higham said...

This war on drugs is so silly - hard drugs maybe but who says one thing is a drug and the other not, among the soft stuff. Grass is as mild as beer.

Bucko said...

I think its all been said above but I will add, I will never subscribe to the theory that something should be banned because some people are incapeable of using it responsibly.

I know from my time working in pubs that a lot of people do take drugs as a matter of course on a night out. I mostly turned a blind eye to it because drug users tend to be a lot more sane than drinkers.

I can responsibly own a handgun or carry a box cutter to work or drive over the posted limit or even take drugs if I wanted to. If someone commits a crime they should be punished for that crime. Crime being interfering with another person or their property. If they do not, they should be left alone to make their own coices, good or bad.

If some people cant make good choices, education is acceptable but blanket bans are not.

Trooper Thompson said...

Bucko, the fact that some people can't make good choices provides all the more reason to curtail the power of the state to tell us all what we can and can't do. The state is made up of people who are just as prone to fucking things up as the rest of us, but when they do it, the effects are more widespread.

Maturecheese said...

Knife law is a perfect example of blanket bans effecting the wrong people and doing nothing to stop bad people hurting others.

I am now 'in the system' after 21 years of being off the radar. simply because I had a small locking utility knife on my keyring when I was stopped whilst driving to the shops with my daughter.

Arrested, cautioned,dna sample and fingerprints taken and all this took 4 hours, yes thats right for 4 hours a traffic cop was not actually doing anything useful.

Blanket bans are stupid!!

Bucko said...

TT - Yes thats also very true. The more responsibility you have, the bigger your ability to fuck up in a big way.

Maturecheese - Fucking hell! Thats terrible

Trooper Thompson said...


yeah, that sucks. Slaves are disarmed, and that's how they see us.