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Frank Schnittger:
You are trying to set me up for an argument I cannot possibly win.

Not I, said the Little Pinko Hen, I'm merely trying to bring some rigor into this discussion so that our terms don't keep slip-sliding all over the place.

Frank Schnittger:

The problem is there is NO RATIONAL WAY of distinguishing between what drugs should be legal and which not.

I had understood you to be in favor of prohibiting certain substances (and allowing others to be used and traded). Do I take it you would be willing to do so even absent a rational framework?

As a thought experiment, we could start by ranking substances in terms of their overall harmfulness, using the criteria

  • toxicity (acute and long-term)
  • physical harm to others (e.g. passive smoking)
  • risk of antisocial behavior or secondary self-destructive behavior

Presumably tobacco (at least smoked) would score very high in categories 1 and 2, and alcohol in categories 1 and 3 (we've all been there, I imagine), making them more "rational" candidates for prohibition than cannabis (relatively benign in all categories), heroin (relatively high in only one category) or even cocaine (moderate to high in two categories). Not that I am advocating (pace Caol Ila Gang) prohibition of alcohol, but this framework would have the advantage of being more transparent, less arbitrary and thus more subjectively "fair".

And, by making these distinctions without reference to the intoxicating properties of the substances, such a system would avoid stigmatizing intoxication as such - IMO a major draw back of all other prohibition regimes to date.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 12:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure rationality comes into it, even if it where possible to devise a rational schema that everyone agred to.  (Is that not what the current classification scheme attempts to do in any case?).  

If the market is absolutely flooded with cheap E and "everybody is doing it" is there any further point in criminalising it and a huge slice of the population?  It might be preferable to have it issued in quality controlled dosages through pharmacies with all the relevant warnings etc.  It could then be used by adults in private.  (Public drunkenness is still an offense).

However there really needs to be a global response, otherwise those countries (and internet sites) with liberal jurisdictions will become suppliers to those who don't, and there will be "competitive" pressures for everyone to match the most liberal regime or lose out on the "business".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 12:35:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As opposed to the US forcing the hand of most of the world, and bombing a few countries, to ensure compliances with its policies ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 12:48:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
doesn't seem to have worked terribly well - although someone needs to tell the CIA

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 02:06:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I'm not sure rationality comes into it, even if it where possible to devise a rational schema that everyone agred to.  (Is that not what the current classification scheme attempts to do in any case?).  

If it's not rational, how can it even begin to be defensible?

Frank Schnittger:

However there really needs to be a global response, otherwise those countries (and internet sites) with liberal jurisdictions will become suppliers to those who don't, and there will be "competitive" pressures for everyone to match the most liberal regime or lose out on the "business".

So where's the problem? :-)

Except in this case I think we may safely replace "liberal" with "rational".

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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