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Should Drugs Be Legal?

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A crime is an act that infringes upon another's rights.

Fair enough. But you'd have to quantify what rights people have, because what's in the Bill of Rights (at least in the US) is certainly not all we're guaranteed to. I believe the writers of the document made that clear.

 

And are you advocating the illegalization of self-harm, or are you just being argumentative.

False dichotomy. I am advocating the illegalization of self harm when that self harm brings significant risk to others. Drunk driving is not illegal because you are damaging your liver, it's illegal because you may just end up killing someone.

 

And do explain why the events that would have to occur would be unlikely?

Because the illegalization of one thing does not suddenly make the US like the civilization described in 1984. There's a lot more that would have to happen that is all very unlikely. Such as the establishment of a mind-reading secret police force.

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Because the illegalization of one thing does not suddenly make the US like the civilization described in 1984.

 

Oops. I had a hunch you were going to range too far in your otherwise excellent refutation. You appear to have just used one of the same logical fallacies that you chastised him for using earlier! :D

 

Anyway, in my opinion thechronic does have a valid point. There's nothing wrong with you pointing out that we don't have an inherent right to harm ourselves. And you were absolutely right to point out the logical flaw in interpreting that as meaning that we shouldn't be allowed to do anything that might harm us.

 

But there is also a legitimate point to be made that that exact same reasoning could push society into an overprotective mode. And the law of unintended consequences also plays a recognized role here (side effects of prohibition and the war on drugs come to mind).

 

You and I (and our friends in the forum here) think these things out carefully and take steps in our reasoning to make sure that we don't cross a certain line. But not everyone is capable of doing that -- in fact most people don't seem to WANT to do so. And history has shown that those who get a little taste of power are notoriously poor at using that kind of careful, thoughtful reasoning. (This is the point I was trying to get at in the other thread about how the "jobs are a right" issue is manipulated and misunderstood.)

 

So I think thechronic has a legitimate point, however inadequately phrased.

 

IMO, the trick is to find a nice balancing point between overprotection and underprotection. This gets back to something that I've harped on before here and I hope people will forgive me for harping on again, which is that if there's one thing we've learned in the last century of political experimency it's that ultimatums never work. It's never one thing or the other. It's the happy medium and the middle ground that win the day and move society forward.

 

That's why I personally don't worry about drug legalization. Or any other single issue, for that matter. Some future society may condemn us for the number of babies we killed or the lack of freedoms we allowed. But I am content in my belief that that future society will not be AROUND to condemn us if they don't learn our most important lesson of all: How to compromise.

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Oops. I had a hunch you were going to range too far in your otherwise excellent refutation. You appear to have just used one of the same logical fallacies that you chastised him for using earlier! :D

Hush, I'm the one with the logic textbook sitting in front of me! :D

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False dichotomy. I am advocating the illegalization of self harm when that self harm brings significant risk to others. Drunk driving is not illegal because you are damaging your liver, it's illegal because you may just end up killing someone.

 

yeah, but, you'll note that it's drink-driving that's illegal, not drinking. similarly with beating someone up in a drunken fit; violence is illegal, not drinking.

 

so, arguing that drugs maybe should be illegalised to stop people from becoming irresponsible and hurting others is kinda out-of-line with our atetude to alcohol (or tobacco, for that matter).

 

And the law of unintended consequences also plays a recognized role here (side effects of prohibition and the war on drugs come to mind).

 

one thing that comes to mind here is what the dutch call 'seperation of markets'. cannabis is pretty safe, and a whopping girt big number of people do it as a result. because it's illegal, this means that those people:

 

#come into contact with illegal drug dealers, who may also sell crack, heroine, etc

#loose the psycological barrier towards doing illegal drugs

#come into contact with other illegal drug users, who may use crack, etc.

 

by quasi-legalising cannabis and making sure that coffy shops don't also sell hard drugs, the dutch now have the situation whereby if someone does pot, they don't neccesarily come into contact with people who do/sell harder drugs, and theres still a psycological distinction between cannabis and harder drugs, and thusly hard drug use is pretty low in holland.

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Why would anyone want drugs to be illegal?

 

The answer changes depending on who wants the law involved, and which drugs are being referred to.

 

Making prescription drugs illegal when not sold on prescription has four effects.

1. It protects the profits of the relevant drug company by making it more difficult for a company which has not invested money in research to profit from the drug,

2. It makes it more likely that the drug being sold will be pure.

3. It helps keep the price of the drug high.

4. It stops people being able to decide for themselves that they are going to take a drug.

 

The overall effects of restricting these drugs appears to be good, but there is another, generally ignored effect. When people learn to rely on doctors who rely on drug companies to produce drugs, the only drugs researched and sold will be those that can be patented, to ensure profits. This means there may be many easily accessible and safer substances which will increase health and cure disease, but there is no money to research these things to prove any effects, as there is no great profit to make from them.

 

Keeping the illegal drugs illegal also can have unintended consequences.

People often confuse "making a substance illegal" with "preventing the use of that substance". However there is not necessarily a logical connection between the two. I contend that making heroin, (for instance,) illegal, only benefits those making money from supplying the drug illegally and those paid to enforce those laws, and damages individuals and society by increasing the numbers of addicts and criminals.

 

For as long as a drug is illegal, drug pushers can make money by selling it. Increasing the power of law enforcement never works, as people making a good living from an activity have a higher motivation to find ways to continue it than law enforcement officials can ever have to prevent it. And we are all aware that the law enforcement officials sometimes become pushers themselves, and are in the ideal position to protect their own activities.

 

Drug pushers can only make money if people are using their drugs, so it's common practice amongst pushers to befriend susceptible people and give them enough to get them addicted, so they can them drain them financially. Thus we have a group committed to creating new addicts out of people who would otherwise have no interest in addictive drugs. Then the addicts may well become pushers themselves in order to fund their own addictions.

 

I've done some voluntary work in heroin rehab, and the patients there fell neatly into 3 categories, the pushers, the prostitutes and the thieves, as it was necessary for them to find a way to support their habit. The heartbreak I felt was not over the addiction itself, as that could be treated. It was over the terrible effect the illegal lifestyle forced upon these kids had on their lives long-term. I'm a masseuse, and the ones who had resorted to prostitution, often choosing that because at least they were not hurting anyone else that way, at first could not bear to have their bodies seen or touched, as they hated themselves so much for what they had done. And when they had got over their addictions and left the rehab, their pushers would be waiting at the gates for them with open arms.

 

Legalising addictive drugs (sans advertising) could mean you would have far fewer addicts, as you remove the motivation for addicting others. At the same time you are improving society by making addiction-induced theft, irresponsible prostitution with its associated spread of disease, and drug pushing itself into unnecessary anachronisms.

 

Marijuana is a separate case completely, as it can be argued to do a lot more good than harm. Some people argue against using it medicinally merely on the grounds that it can get you stoned too. I'd suggest that a periodic break from reality can in itself be good for both your physical and emotional health. There has to be some reason why drugs and alcohol have always been a part of human culture, and, to assume the reasons are inevitably bad is neither logical nor scientific.

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yeah, but, you'll note that it's drink-driving that's illegal, not drinking. similarly with beating someone up in a drunken fit; violence is illegal, not drinking.

 

so, arguing that drugs maybe should be illegalised to stop people from becoming irresponsible and hurting others is kinda out-of-line with our atetude to alcohol (or tobacco, for that matter).

The problem here is that in moderate amounts, alcohol is just fine. People can have a drink after dinner with no problem at all. With most drugs, however, the desired effect includes a loss of judgment - people aren't doing them just because they taste nice.

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The problem here is that in moderate amounts, alcohol is just fine. People can have a drink after dinner with no problem at all. With most drugs, however, the desired effect includes a loss of judgment - people aren't doing them just because they taste nice.

 

yeah, but then you can inpair your judgment in a safe and responsible way; eg, when people go to the pub to get tipsy/drunk, they are inpairing their judgment, but most people still dont get violent or drive after having done so, dispite the fact that they've inpaired their judgment.

 

same holds true for drugs. you can go out and get wrecked, but then not do any thing stupid. the trick is to know your limits, know how you'll behave on the drug, and make descisions whilst sober. eg, if you know you get violent on crack/alcohol, descide not to do it. if you know that extasy turns you into a dangerously retarded tit, don't do extasy. etc.

 

fwiw, many people treat cannabis the same way as 'a drink with lunch', eg they just have one spliff in order to be a bit more chilled/relaxed, not 10 buckets to be paraplegic.

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The problem here is that in moderate amounts, alcohol is just fine. People can have a drink after dinner with no problem at all. With most drugs, however, the desired effect includes a loss of judgment - people aren't doing them just because they taste nice.

 

People don't drink alcohol because it tastes nice, either. Well, they do, but that's hardly the only reason. If it were, non-alcoholic beer would dominate the industry.

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The problem here is that in moderate amounts, alcohol is just fine. People can have a drink after dinner with no problem at all. With most drugs, however, the desired effect includes a loss of judgment - people aren't doing them just because they taste nice.

 

You're basically advocating taking away rights where we "believe" people can't be trusted to their rights - before they've done anything to deserve it. Then what's the point of rights in the first damn place if you're going to use that disclaimer to remove them. We can apply that same logic to food, the fair, rock climbing, hang gliding, parachuting...all of these things can get people to do things they wouldn't normally do, due to their excitement factor. Their judgement is going to be different free falling from 10,000 feet than when sitting calmly at the office.

 

I'll bet I'd be more likely to commit manslaughter too, since, out of fear, I could grab onto another parachuter and cause him to die. That's judgement out of whack.

 

Come on, that's a slippery slope if I've ever heard one and not very strong to support trampling on freedom and putting someone in jail for doing it. Someone's dad, mom, husband or wife - a caregiver of some kind. When you meet a kid who grew up without their dad, many in here can relate, and it turns out it's because he smoked a plant the rest of us don't agree with - I find it deplorable and shameful. Yes he broke a law. But I don't get prison for running a red light. Why should he?

 

The government is clearly hypocritical on the issue - not consistent in the least. So, we know for a fact that people are spending years and years in prison, lives and families ruined, for using a drug that is safer than the legal alternative. We all know this, but we allow them to rot in prison anyway. We come up with goofy arguments to make it ok to jail a grown human being with dependents. That's sick.

 

Drugs are a victimless crime. Period.

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Come on, that's a slippery slope if I've ever heard one and not very strong to support trampling on freedom and putting someone in jail for doing it. Someone's dad, mom, husband or wife - a caregiver of some kind. When you meet a kid who grew up without their dad, many in here can relate, and it turns out it's because he smoked a plant the rest of us don't agree with - I find it deplorable and shameful. Yes he broke a law. But I don't get prison for running a red light. Why should he?

 

Which raises the separate issue of punishment. Personally, I want most non-violent criminals hooked to an electronic tether and working to pay off their crime.

 

The three strikes laws of many states are god-awful.

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Which raises the separate issue of punishment. Personally, I want most non-violent criminals hooked to an electronic tether and working to pay off their crime.

 

The three strikes laws of many states are god-awful.

 

I've also been interested in the Japanese design. I like the idea of your punishment involving the actual people you commited the crime against. An electronic tether sounds like a good idea for non-violent offenses. I have infinite tolerance for victimless crime, as I simply don't believe in it. But I have equally infinite intolerance for violent crime - specifically murder and rape. I would like all of our victimeless crime resources to be diverted to this.

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Drugs are a victimless crime. Period.

 

And who are you to decide they are no victims? What about addicts who can't stop taking drugs and steal and break the law to buy drugs? Or the guy who got shot because he was walking down the road when a drug deal went bad? Drugs include many victims at all levels. I would like to see how you support there being no victims.

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And who are you to decide they are no victims? What about addicts who can't stop taking drugs and steal and break the law to buy drugs? Or the guy who got shot because he was walking down the road when a drug deal went bad? Drugs include many victims at all levels. I would like to see how you support there being no victims.

 

Because the examples you give are a result of drugs being illegal. There is no one getting shot over beer, dude. What about people who can't stop drinking and break the law to buy more alcohol? What about people who can't stop over eating and break the law to buy more food? Clothes?

 

There are no victims because our constitution was drafted under the idea of your rights end where other's begin. You have a right to kill yourself with food, aspirin, mountain climbing, drugs and etc. I don't have a right to keep you from killing yourself doing these things. Period. One man's fun is another's sin. Too bad. I guarantee we can pick apart your life and outlaw half the stuff you love using the same mentality you use to condemn drugs.

 

But, that's not a free country and we have strayed quite far away from personal responsibility. To really accept freedom, you have to accept that people are free to do stupid things. It's really that simple. Those accustomed to casting judgement on others, are so used to butting in everyone's business, the thought is unimaginable to them.

 

Taking drugs is victimless. Just like mountain climbing. Just like parachuting.

 

As far as people stealing to buy more drugs, you're connecting the dots again. Why do you insist on punishing those who haven't stolen anything? Do you realize that most drug users are legitimate wage earners and taxpayers? Don't assume everyone is a homeless addict wandering around committing random crimes to feed their addiction. That's TV. And that's about as stereotypical as it gets.

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taking drugs isn't 100% victimless. anything from dependancy-induced crime, to usage-induced violence, to drugged-driving, there are lots of ways that an 'innocent' third party could get hurt by someone taking drugs (all of the above are independant of the fact that drugs are illegal).

 

for alot of drugs, i dont think this is enough to warrant illegalisation of the drug itself, but still, drugs are very rarely completely victimless.

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I think pot should be legal. Some might want something stronger but they'd probably space out how to contact their heroin dealer. :P

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taking drugs isn't 100% victimless. anything from dependancy-induced crime, to usage-induced violence, to drugged-driving, there are lots of ways that an 'innocent' third party could get hurt by someone taking drugs (all of the above are independant of the fact that drugs are illegal).

 

for alot of drugs, i dont think this is enough to warrant illegalisation of the drug itself, but still, drugs are very rarely completely victimless.

 

But you're still ASSUMING behavior after taking said drugs. I'm saying "taking drugs" is victimless. If you rape someone afterwards, then you are guilty of raping them - they are not the victim of drugs, they are the victim of a rape.

 

If 100 of us take drugs and 90 of us watch southpark and 10 of us steal donuts, then how does drug taking assume a victim? 90 of us didn't do anything - we enjoyed ourselves. No victim. You're stuck on the 10 that broke the law and now assume that behavior in everyone - an incorrect assumption. The same kind of assumption that allows the KKK to thrive.

 

A crime with a victim ALWAYS has a victim - not sometimes, or maybe. Drugs are victimless. People do stupid things on alcohol, and will do stupid things on drugs. People do stupid things for a ton of reasons, but we don't do a GWB and premptively strike it all out. We have a duty to require someone break a law before we assume they'll break it...geez.

 

Most drug users are responsible people. You work with them and don't know it. When TV is your only source of drug knowledge, then you are quite skewed. I don't think you've gotten all of your knowledge from TV, but there are quite a few who do. Most, and I mean the major majority, of the anti-drug folk I've run across have never tried drugs - or maybe once in high school. They bought all of the hype from school, and they believe Law and Order is the norm...

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I still don't like using the broad term "drugs" when talking about legalization. As has been pointed out, some types of judgment loss are more tolerable than others. I don't hear too many good stories about PCP.

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If 100 of us take drugs and 90 of us watch southpark and 10 of us steal donuts, then how does drug taking assume a victim? 90 of us didn't do anything - we enjoyed ourselves. No victim. You're stuck on the 10 that broke the law and now assume that behavior in everyone - an incorrect assumption. The same kind of assumption that allows the KKK to thrive.

 

BUT, if those hundered of us would have not stolen doughnuts were we not on drugs, then the drugs have to be held partially to blame

 

i'm not assuming that behaviour in all, btw; i'm just acknowledging that it exists in some people, and that drugs can increase the number of people behaving like that.

 

But you're still ASSUMING behavior after taking said drugs. I'm saying "taking drugs" is victimless. If you rape someone afterwards, then you are guilty of raping them - they are not the victim of drugs, they are the victim of a rape.

 

which was more-or-less why i said that its not neccesarily enough to warrant illegalisation: rape and violence is illegal, wether you do it sober or on drugs; the only question is 'to what extent will the drugs promote rape/violence'.

 

A crime with a victim ALWAYS has a victim - not sometimes, or maybe. Drugs are victimless. People do stupid things on alcohol, and will do stupid things on drugs. People do stupid things for a ton of reasons, but we don't do a GWB and premptively strike it all out. We have a duty to require someone break a law before we assume they'll break it...geez.

 

that's a little untrue. doing, say, 100 in a 30 mph zone, or drink-driving, is a crime due to it's potential to kill people; it's true that its a worse-a-crime if someone actually gets hit and killed, but even if no-one is hurt it's still a crime due to it's potential to have a victim.

 

the same, in theory, could be said of drugs; if they lower responsibility too much, their illegalisation could be justified by the risk of someone gettting hurt.

 

of course, you could just as easily analogise drugs to cars in the above, and point out that we ban irresponsible driving, not cars themselves. which is also more-or-less where i'm coming from.

 

Most drug users are responsible people. You work with them and don't know it. When TV is your only source of drug knowledge, then you are quite skewed. I don't think you've gotten all of your knowledge from TV, but there are quite a few who do. Most, and I mean the major majority, of the anti-drug folk I've run across have never tried drugs - or maybe once in high school. They bought all of the hype from school, and they believe Law and Order is the norm...

 

that's true. also, i feel alot of it is simply bigotry; 'well, I dont, so obvioulsy other people shouldn't be able to'.

 

that doesn't mean that there aren't majour problems associated with drugs, which was the main point i was trying to make.

 

drugs, imo, are not victimless, as they can contribute to non-victimless crimes being commited.

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I think pot should be legal. Some might want something stronger but they'd probably space out how to contact their heroin dealer. :P

 

I always wonder with this debate if pot was the social norm, and alcohol was illegal...I can imagine the reaction against somebody who was pro-alcohol. Imagine the hysteria at spring break, the amount of policing needed when alcohol abusers leave their 'alcohol dens' at night et.c

 

Some stats...8.4% of people in England and Wales have taken illicit drugs, a population of roughly 52 million (albeit it's an estimate) 130,000 people are addicts. Drugs are incredibly easy to get hold of, it's clear most people take it and leave it, it's also clear there are a huge percentage that drink alcohol responsibly. The problem I have with illegal drugs is that it simply hasn't worked, money laundering, no quality control, turning to crime to fund habits et.c et.c

 

The right to take drugs is irrelevant, the right to have pleasure is...and the fact of the matter is that drugs are here to stay, and there's nothing anybody can do about it, so if an individual chooses to take a drug at a weekend for pleasure, that's their choice of pleasure. It sounds contradictory, but there's a subtle difference to having the right to have fun, and the right to take a drug, when the means to have fun i.e a drug, is something that is impossible to eradicate. I hope that makes sense.

 

Paranoia, I have to disagree with drug taking is victimless, that's far too black and white, and doesn't account for the toxicity and dependency of different drugs.

 

http://www.drugscope.org.uk/uploads/goodpractice/documents/bcs2006.pdf

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i'm not assuming that behaviour in all, btw; i'm just acknowledging that it exists in some people, and that drugs can increase the number of people behaving like that.

 

I appreciate your point actually, and agree, but I'm still trying to defend the fact that the act is victimless. Assuming behavior following other behavior as a basis to outlaw something is presumptuous. The theme of our constitution doesn't follow that line at all. That's a more recent development...

 

that's a little untrue. doing, say, 100 in a 30 mph zone, or drink-driving, is a crime due to it's potential to kill people; it's true that its a worse-a-crime if someone actually gets hit and killed, but even if no-one is hurt it's still a crime due to it's potential to have a victim.

 

That's true...good point.

 

drugs, imo, are not victimless, as they can contribute to non-victimless crimes being commited.

 

I still have to disagree since so many things contribute to someone commiting a crime. Their environment, how they were raised, a recent break up...not to mention there are an infinite number of catalysts to any direct crime - so what's the point? Anything you want or need in this world is subject to your commiting a crime to get - food, clothes, TV's and etc. That's doesn't automatically attach "crime" as a result of it.

 

How many people steal for alcohol money?

 

I once heard someone say it would cost under a dollar to make a 20 dollar rock if crack was legal. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, prostitutes have to sell their bodies non stop to pay for a habit like that. But would they if it only costs a dollar? How many satelite problems get dealt with when restoring our civil freedoms to do drugs?

 

I still don't like using the broad term "drugs" when talking about legalization. As has been pointed out, some types of judgment loss are more tolerable than others. I don't hear too many good stories about PCP.

 

Well, I'm quite libertarian on this issue. I really can't distinguish pot from the rest and remain intellectually honest about it. I mean, sure, I will at least argue that pot is FAR safer than alcohol, so there is certainly no parity there. Pot doesn't intoxicate a user to the point of incapacitation - believe me, I've tried. Marijuana is such a milder intoxication, far easier to deal with and less intense than alcohol. Once you feel the booze, it's too late.

 

But, in terms of the legal debate, it all falls under personal freedom. I don't believe anyone should have to prove the "safety" of something that only harms themselves. No "downstream behavior analysis" should be allowed to impede that. If I break a law and hurt someone, then punish me. Whatever I did that led up to that incident is for me to correct if I don't want to be punished again.

 

Since most of us responsible drug users aren't going to change much, most of the criminal action will be where it's always been - robbing liquor stores and such. And now they'll have the newly freed up resources from victimless crime units being closed down.

 

Then the only thing left for the criminal element is prostitution. Another victimless crime...

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Paranoia, I have to disagree with drug taking is victimless, that's far too black and white, and doesn't account for the toxicity and dependency of different drugs.

 

Ah, but the law, to me anyway, should be black and white. I'm using victimless in the context that you cannot be a victim to yourself. You can't commit a crime on yourself. Sure, in a manner of speaking you can, such as killing yourself. But, to me, killing yourself could mean not eating the right foods. Killing yourself to someone else could mean not taking vitamins. While to someone else, killing yourself only happens when you inflict visible bodily harm.

 

I don't like that kind of gray area concerning my freedom. I don't think it's fair to judge what behavior is ok or not ok when someone isn't directly hurting the person or property of another. There's too much room to trample on basic civil rights - particularly rights you don't understand or have an interest in yourself. And civil rights matter.

 

They don't matter to the ego driven arrogant that are quick to mention "you don't need" this or "you don't need" that, but they matter to me.

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Not to change the subject, but here's a tangential but interestingly related query: Should motorcycle riders be allowed to ride without helmets?

 

Last year my state spent a small fortune on medical care for helmet-less motorcycle riders with no insurance. Allstate and State Farm also declared increases in insurance rates for all customers due to helmet-less motorcycle accidents.

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[...] a tangential but interestingly related query: Should motorcycle riders be allowed to ride without helmets?

 

Last year my state spent a small fortune on medical care for helmet-less motorcycle riders with no insurance. Allstate and State Farm also declared increases in insurance rates for all customers due to helmet-less motorcycle accidents.

Technically, it seems easier to compensate for community costs by an appropriate tax to cigarettes (or whatever drug you want to legalize) than by taxing "driving motorcycle without wearing a helmet". So I think the "I don´t want to pay for other people's stupidity"-problem you´re raising here can principally be avoided/solved in the case of drugs.

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You mean just in terms of the logistics of it? I see your point -- kinda hard to track who's wearing their helmets (or not), whereas drugs can be taxed at the point of purchase.

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I appreciate your point actually, and agree, but I'm still trying to defend the fact that the act is victimless. Assuming behavior following other behavior as a basis to outlaw something is presumptuous.

 

i get where you're coming from, but i think if you look at stuff like alcohol and crack, which demonstratably increase the likelyhood that someone will start a fight, you can see peoples conserns more. even tho i don't get violent on booze, i can see the argument that i shouldn't be allowed booze so that bobby McViolentPants, who does start fights when drunk, isn't allowed booze either.

 

i'd guess that from your pov, me and bobby should both be allowed to drink, and bobby incasorated if he gets violent.

 

from my pov, i think the same attetude is correct up to a point, BUT if enough people have to be incasorated in order to keep the violence under tabs, i think you reach a point where illegalising booze would just be the better option, even tho there are still people who can drink it without getting violent. iow, it's not inplying that all drunk people are criminals; rather, that too many drunk people are criminals.

 

 

How many people steal for alcohol money?

 

quite a few, along with for ciggarettes.

 

Not to change the subject, but here's a tangential but interestingly related query: Should motorcycle riders be allowed to ride without helmets?

 

i think this is like seat-belts. ultimately, wearing them is not really a problem, and it can drastically decrease your chance of dying. lots of people who dont wear helmits later regret it, and noone who doesn't wear helmets later regrets it, so i'd feel justified in making people wear helmets.

 

unlike drugs, tho, theres no benifit to not wearing helmets.

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