One of the reasons why the issue of drug legalization continues to spark up a public controversy in America, is that the representatives of the country’s so-called ‘moral majority’ (intellectually arrogant bible-thumpers) are still being in the position to influence the social dynamics within the US. Therefore, the discussion of whether drugs should be legalized or not, does not concern the actual issue at stake, as much as it concerns people’s inability to expand their intellectual horizons.
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After all, for those individuals, who retained their ability to think in terms of logic, the fact that the ongoing ‘war on drugs’ is absolutely pointless, appears self-evident. In this paper, I will explore the validity of the above-stated suggestion at length, while promoting the idea that the very laws of history predetermine the eventual legalization of drugs.
The biggest argumentative flaw, on the part of those individuals who support the idea that drugs should remain outlawed, is the fact that they seem to have no idea, whatsoever, as to what causes people to experiment with drugs, in the first place. This is exactly the reason why they believe that, once drugs are being legalized, it will necessarily result in triggering the epidemic of a drug-abuse across the nation.
After all, it represents a commonplace practice among the self-appointed guardians of a public morality to think of the drugs’ addictiveness in terms of a universally recognized truth – even when such a recreational drug as marihuana is being concerned. As Califano pointed out: “Now a body of work indicates marijuana as physically addictive and demonstrates that teens who play with the fire of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana increase the danger that they will get burned by the flames of heroin, cocaine and acid” (2).
Nevertheless, if this author bothered to educate himself on the subject matter, he would know that the reason why, after having tried drugs, many people do turn into drug-addicts, has very little to do with the drugs’ addictiveness. This reason for this is simple – as sociologists and psychologists are being well aware of, the number of potential drug-addicts in just about every human society is static and approximately equals 10%-15% of the total population – the same applies to the societies of highly sociable mammals, such as primates (Chuan-Yun, Xizeng and Wei 29).
Therefore, the ‘epidemic of a drug-abuse’, in which moralistically minded individuals believe, is a myth. The reason why, as time goes on, there appears to be more and more druggies in Western countries, is that the populations of these countries continue to grow progressively enlarged – pure and simply. What make some people more likely to get ‘hooked’ on drugs, as compared to what it is being the case with the others, are the genetically predetermined specifics of their ‘brain-wiring’.
This, of course, presupposes that it is impossible to reduce the rate of a drug abuse in a particular society mechanistically (by the mean of providing ever-harsher criminal punishments for those who do use drugs). Therefore, the practice of keeping drugs outlawed can only result in one thing – putting the lives of the ‘natural born’ drug-addicts at even greater risk, because while being deprived of the opportunity to obtain drugs legally, they would be more likely to consider trying the surrogate ones.
The validity of this suggestion can be illustrated in regards to what were the actual effects of the drug legalization in Nederland, which took place approximately a decade ago. Contrary to the forecasts that this would result in destroying the Dutch society from within, due to the legalization’s assumed ability to dramatically increase the number of drug-depended citizens, this never happened. Quite on the contrary – because of some drugs having been legalized in Nederland, the population of this country’s drug-addicts has even grown slightly reduced (Chapman A23).
This brings us to assess the prospect of drugs being legalized from the utilitarian perspective. According to the utilitarian paradigm of morality, the appropriateness of a particular socio-political policy positively relates to this policy’s ability to benefit as many people, as possible: “We must judge whether an action or kind of action maximizes the total amount of good in the universe” (Bonevac 11).
Given the fact that, as it was mentioned earlier, the ongoing ‘war on drugs’ cannot possibly affect the qualitative aspects of the problem of a drug-abuse, it means that it also cannot be discussed as such that is being capable of benefiting humanity, by definition. Moreover, being the byproduct of people’s endowment with the discursively outdated religious mentality, the policy in question erects obstacles on the way of humanity’s socio-cultural advancement. As such, this policy cannot be considered morally valid – the very fact that it reflects the sheer narrow mindedness of its affiliates, suggests that the situation when drugs continue being outlawed is utterly inconsistent with the laws of history, which presuppose that it is thoroughly natural for people to grow ever more intellectually flexible.
Thus, as of now, there is a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, the necessity of the eventual drug legalization is being recognized by even moderately intelligent individuals. One the other hand, however, Americans in some states continue to be sentenced to the considerable terms in jail, due to having been caught smoking marijuana. What causes this unnatural situation to persist? To answer this question, we will need to mention the fact that, as of today, drug trafficking remains one of the world’s most lucrative commercial enterprises.
In its turn, this is the direct consequence of the fact that recreational drugs are still outlawed. Due to the illegal status of drugs, the affiliated prices remain disproportionately high, which in turn provides drug-traffickers with the opportunity to not only enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, but also to be in the position to lobby their agenda in the government’s legislative and executive branches. Hence, the phenomenon of the bible-thumping governmental officials’ strong opposition to drugs – they are being paid to act in such a manner by the very same people who they believe are utterly evil. It is all about money, as usual. Thus, the ongoing ‘war on drugs’ points to the validity of the allegorical observation that the road to hell is made out of people’s good intentions.
Nevertheless, there is a good reason to expect the eventual legalization of drugs. The rationale behind this suggestion is quite apparent – as people become increasingly aware of what causes some individuals to turn into drug-addicts, they naturally distance themselves from the idea that there can be any benefits to the policy of maintaining the illegal status of drugs. Simultaneously, people grow progressively enlightened, as to the what will account for the immediately felt beneficiary effects of the drug legalization. These effects can be outlined as follows:
- The legalization of drugs will necessarily undermine the emotional appeal of the latter – hence, making it less likely for the addicted individuals to continue to experience a strong thrill, as a result of having been exposed to the prospect of ‘getting high’.
- The legalization of drugs will make it possible for the law-enforcement organizations to exercise a control over the drug-abuse dynamics within the society, which in turn will result in the drastic reduction of the drug-related crime rate.
- The legalization of drugs will produce a powerful blow on the sheer lucrativeness of drug-trafficking, which in turn should result in the amounts of the trafficked of drugs being substantially reduced.
- The legalization of drugs should increase the extent of the would-be-affected society’s ‘evolutionary fitness’, as it will result in the rapid decline of the population of ‘natural born’ drug-addicts. In its turn, this will have a vitalizing effect on the society in question.
It goes without saying, of course, that the moralistically minded opponents of the idea that drug should be legalized, will criticize that the above-mentioned benefits, as being inconsistent with their intellectually inflexible worldviews. However, it will not lessen the likelihood for such a legalization to take place in the future – the very fact that, as of today, the influence of organized religions in the West continues to weaken rather rapidly, paves the way for Western societies to become ‘drug-friendly’.
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I believe that the earlier deployed line of argumentation, in defense of the idea that drugs should be legalized, is fully consistent with the paper’s initial thesis.
Bonevac, Daniel. Today’s Moral Issues: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, 7th edition, New York: Humanities & Social Sciences, 2012. Print.
Califano, Joseph 1997, Marijuana: It’s a Hard Drug. PDF file. Web.
Chapman, Stephen. “Drug Legalization a Disaster? Look Again at the Dutch.” Orlando Sentinel 10 Nov. 1995: A23. Print.
Chuan-Yun, Li; Xizeng, Mao; and Liping Wei. “Genes and (Common) Pathways Underlying Drug Addiction.” PLoS Computational Biology 4.1 (2008): 28-34. Print.