Legalize Drugs? Is Ron Paul Nuts?

I have to admit I’m somewhat fascinated by some of the libertarian’s ideas.   I’m not sure I agree with all of them, and I do have questions as just how some of their ideas would be implemented.  But it’s tough to fault the philosophy’s constant touchstone of “freedom”.

Recently, I was reading an interview with Newt Gingrich where he spouted the conventional wisdom about “getting tough” with drugs.   This was contrasted against Ron Paul’s ideas that the drug war was a “failure” and that legalization of drugs might be a good idea.   Many people find this a radical idea.  The reality is that prohibition of drugs is a relatively new idea, almost an experiment.

Shortly after the turn of the last century, someone hatched the idea that behavior should be controlled by making certain actions against the law. Criminal law evolved as a means of keeping people from injuring, killing other people or taking their property. All crimes generally had both perpetrators and victims.

There were a few crimes known as “crimes against the crown” where the government, in the person of the monarch, was the “victim”. (Sedition, Treason) Since most (if not all) governments had established religions, there were also religious laws on the books that criminalized activities such as adultery and blasphemy.

We started taking the concept of “sin” and codifying it into criminal statutes. If someone was doing something you didn’t like such as drinking, gambling, drugging, prostitution, or homosexuality, you’d just make it illegal.  None of these featured what you might call a clear cut victim, in the classic sense.

Laws of this type have been disasters, by and large, (prohibition being the best example). They don’t really stop the behaviors they are intended to stop, and there’s very little evidence that have any significant effects at all, save for increasing the likelihood of corrupt police forces, creating black markets and therefore huge untaxed profits for drug dealers. To say nothing of drastically increasing the pressures on our already overloaded and ineffective prison system.  But somehow they’ve achieved a sort of legitimacy, and for some reason there is a common-sense belief that if something is bad, it should be a crime to do it.

From my point of view, I should have the right to put any substance into my body.   If these substances cause me to harm someone else, there are laws to take care of that, and I think that if the police aren’t busy busting pot dispensaries, they’re more likely to apprehend me or stop me from doing so.

The United States will spend over $50,000,000,000 on the Drug War in 2011 alone.   I submit that this money could be better spent in a thousand places.  Mr. Gingrich, like most people who demagogue the drug issue is that we need to have drug laws to “send a message” to our youth that drug use is bad.   Obesity is probably more of an actual threat to today’s youth than drugs.  Do we need to outlaw Godfather’s pizza?

God in a mouse?

Today, my cat came back out of the brush with a fat little screaming mouse in his mouth. He dropped it on the patio, obviously waiting for me to eat it.  If I can catch the mouse after he drops it, I usually assume it’s not going to survive, has terrible internal injuries and flush it down the toilet.   This does trouble me some, but I do get over it.  This particular critter was sort of odd in that it wasn’t easy to catch, but wouldn’t leave the patio area, leaving two cats on the other side of the screen door, just itching to get at it.

I went in and out a number of times, and tried to chase the mouse up the hill into the brush, but NO, he has to run back to the patio.  He’s obviously injured, but I can’t quite get a hold of his tail.   I decide to kill him and find a large rock.   I’m struck by the effort and time it takes to kill him and impressed with and saddened by his struggle to stay alive.  I’m troubled by how badly this has ended. I have a few dark moments as I try to recompose myself while buttering my toast.

Mice are a problem here, they get inside our garage and build nests in our stuff, so I think letting the cats hunt and kill them is probably a good thing, sort of a better alternative that rat poison or traps.

But this brings the whole man as “master of the earth” thing down to a personal level.   By killing the mouse, I’ve killed a little portion, however small, of myself.

And that’s what all of this eventually boils down to.  An economic system is, at it’s base, a method of allocation of resources.  They all assume part of the planet can be claimed by someone as theirs.  All economic systems become unstable when one person or group claims such a large slice of the pie that others can clearly see they are getting the short end of the stick.  We attempt to hold some of this in check by religion or some other abstraction that somehow justifies letting the masses suffer or die young in the name of some lofty ideal.

We slough off our own genocidal history with little sense of shame in the name of taking over a continent that wasn’t being properly exploited.

Most of those who mock environmental concerns are too smart to actually believe their cockeyed theories.  Much of the fight against evolution is centered around the thought that man isn’t just a part of nature and subject to the same rules as cockroaches.    Even those who actually believe in evolution often falsely assume that evolution is a process that ultimately results in man as a crown of creation.

The fact that our own contrived systems are breaking down is a warning that none of them take into account that the planet is the only one we have.  40 years ago I thought that the concept of Spaceship Earth would be widely accepted and naively assumed we were headed for the age of Aquarius.

Maybe the key lies in visualizing ourselves as verbs rather than nouns.   Or realizing that god was in that little mouse.