The Instigator
seraine
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Drug Legalization

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Ore_Ele
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,751 times Debate No: 17734
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (4)

 

seraine

Pro

The first round will be for acceptance.

Please abstain from semantics, introducing arguments in the last round and ad hominem attacks.

Pro will argue that it is best that all drugs should be legalized.

Con will argue that only some or no drugs should be legalized.

The burden of proof will be shared.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments, but please do it before you accept.

Thanks in advance, and I hope we will have a great debate!
Ore_Ele

Con

I accept and I will await my opponent's Round 2 arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
seraine

Pro

The War on Drugs is a failure. In fact, all wars on drugs have and will be a failure. It has not had any real effect on drug use, and even if it did, it is still immoral, still costs thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and still leads to a deterioration of society. The war on drugs mirrors prohibition- in everything from "bathtub gin" and "designer drugs" to gang activity fueled by the alcohol and drugs, Al Capone and the drug cartels, lives lost and crime. Why is it that we memorize dates and names from history, not the actual lessons?

Before I begin my argument, I'd like to ask my opponent a) Is the war on drugs different from prohibition and why and b) If it isn't, is the war on drugs justified?

1. The drug war has a immense cost- in lives, money, and to society.

1A. Lives and money

The war on drugs costs the US an estimated $52.3 billion and 15,000 lives a year[1]. When we are facing a debt crisis, throwing money around is hardly fiscally responsible. In fact, $52.3 billion a year is almost enough to pay for universalized health care. It also has lead to approximately 23,000 Mexican deaths by June 2010[2]. The figure has only continued to rise.

1B. Society

Gangs

Drugs are made profitable by the War on Drugs, and gangs like these profits. One cartel is estimated to make $7 billion a year in the US alone[3]. A lot of gang violence is due to fighting over drug dealing territory. Making drugs illegal leads to an increase in price, and this is very tempting to many. This money, in essence, is the "food" that lets gangs grow and thrive.

The Justice System

In addition to feeding gangs, the War on Drugs has lead to a deterioration of the US justice system and America in general. Cops have inflicted horrible injustices. A SWAT team in a drug raid recently fired 71 bullets at an innocent man[4]. 60 hit and the man is now dead.

In addition, Americans are very likely to be imprisoned for nonviolent crimes, presumably to protect them from themselves. Over 50% of federal prisons are in there for drugs[6]. Since the beginning of the war on drugs, the US incarceration rate has quadrupled[9].

No knock searches are where the cops come in at night with little or no warning, hence no knock searches. This is typically justified by saying that they need to surprise the suspect in order that he doesn't destroy evidence. In a no knock search, they converge on the house in the middle of the night, and destroy the door with a battering ram or explosive. They then run in, force everyone to the ground at gunpoint, handcuff them and search the premises. If they do decide to announce their attacks, it is only a few seconds before attack[5].

An obvious problem with this is that the people being raided often do not realize that they are being assaulted by the police (as if that makes much of a difference). They then go to defend themselves and WAMMO! Another 60 bullets in another innocent man. These cases are unfortunately quite common. Another death was Todd Blair. The police break into his house, and one sees him holding a golf club. Needless to say, another one bit the dust[5].

Songs such as Drug Raid at 4 A.M. and No Knock Raid show how the common man (and woman) are beginning to fear the American justice system. Like No Knock Raid says,

"For my protection?
Who's gonna protect me from you?"

2. The War on Drugs has been having little success and will have little success.

The war on drugs does not have much effect on the amount of people using drugs. Since the war on drugs began in 1971, we have experienced an approximate 3-4% change in marijuana use for students in 12th grade[7]. In fact, marijuana is used more commonly than cigarettes among 12th grade students.

The Netherlands hasn't had any real problems with weed, even though it is legalized. Americans have used it approximately twice as often lifetime and in the last year as occupants of the Netherlands[8]. Clearly, legalizing marijuana does not lead to runaway use or greatly increased use. In fact, a vast array of governmental and academic studies show that legalization does not lead to any substantial difference in drug use and frequency.

3. The War on Drugs is immoral.

I have saved the best for last. What is it called when one person(s) owns another? That's easy, it's called slavery. Can we truly say that we actually own ourselves and that the government doesn't when the government dictates what we are and are not allowed to ingest? We are nothing but the slaves of the government if they can dictate what we can and can not ingest.

Why is it that the government should be our nursemaid and master? Why should people be able to dictate to other people what is good for you and force you to follow that belief, even if you believe otherwise? How is it and why is it that a small group of people is able to decide what is good, and then force the rest of the society to follow suit? If that's not morally wrong, then I don't know what is morally wrong. Many people say the failing of democracy is that it has the right for 51% to rule over 49%. If illegalizing drugs is a textbook example of this, which it definitely appears to be, then we should rectify it as soon as possible.

Conclusion

The War on Drugs and all other wars on drugs will all be costly and immoral failures. Why should we continue with policies that are both immoral and costly, especially when we know that we will fail? The government is not our nursemaid. If you disagree with ingesting drugs, then don't use them! What gives you the right to force your beliefs on other, especially when others believe otherwise?

Sources

[1] http://www.esquire.com...
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[3] http://www.time.com...
[4] http://azstarnet.com...
[5] http://www.copblock.org...
[6] http://www.drugwarfacts.org...
[7] http://drugabuse.gov...
[8] http://drugwarfacts.org...
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Ore_Ele

Con

I would like to start by thanking my opponent for his well written round. I will address each section in order. But the first thing I'm going to do, is toss out marijuana. Since, as PRO allowed in R1, I can argue for keeping only some drugs illegal while allowing others to be legal. PRO has already stated that he is for all drug legalization.

1)Cost

1.a) Lives and Money

My opponent mentions that the cost of the WOD is estimated at $52.3 billion a year, however, 80% of that is just from Marijuana, $41.8 billion [1]. That leaves only $10.5 billion for all other drugs (and only $2 billion is spent money, the rest is claimed lost tax revenue, which will be addressed later in the gangs section). Now, we must also look into the claimed loss of life. Let's dig into PRO's source 1 (repeated here [2]). "…that's 6,487 dead Americans. Throw in overdoses and the cost of this country's paralyzing drug laws is closer to 15,000 lives." Obviously, Overdoses are not a cost of the drug war. Overdoses are caused by taking too much of a particular drug, and the drug war makes people hide their habits and some people fight for their habits, but it doesn't make people take more drugs. So the 8,736 lives that the source just tacks on is illogical. In fact, he even refutes himself. He says that overdose death should count because there is no quality control. However, he admits but dismissed that 61% of all overdoses come from prescription drugs, which do have plenty of quality control.

Another thing to look at is where did the 6,487 come from? Well, it came from guessing that 50% of all murders are drug related (no source given to back that number up), and he even admits that it is a guess. He believes that most of it is gang vs gang and innocent people caught in the gang's cross fire. I'll address in the gang section why removing the drug laws will not stop these deaths and so cannot be contributed to the war on drugs.

1.b) Society

My opponent says that gangs use drugs as a source of money. This is true, but he seems to suggest that if we legalize drugs, this money will go away. There are two massive flaws with this. First, the nature of free markets. Anyone that has studied supply and demand and macro economics in general, will know that regulations (of which prohibition is an extreme regulation) push markets away from their equilibrium, the point where maximum profit is made. While the profit per unit of drug may go down, the quantities sold will go up, ultimately sending more money into drug cartels. Second, the nature of drug dealers and gangs. Someone may stand up and say that with the introduction of competition, much of the profit of those drugs will leave the cartels and go to mom and pop shops. But how do the current gangs treat competition? They don't lower their prices to try to be competitive in the market, they flat out kill people. If a drug dealer has no qualms against killing another drug dealer, there is no reason that they won't kill another legal drug seller (in both cases it is murder). As such, violence will continue and likely go up, since the drug dealers no longer need to hide.

As said with the justice system, The USA made almost 13.7 million arrests in 2009, only 1.66 million (about 12%) are drug arrests, and almost 860 thousand arrests for marijuana alone [3]. Legalizing pot, but not other drugs would cut out over half the drug arrests in the US. PRO says that over 50% of federal prisoners are drug offenders. This is true, but a little misleading, since it only looks at federal prisons and not state prisons or probation. In fact, federal prisons only account for 3.1% of all people in the prison system (state prisons make up 22.5% and probation makes up 74.4%) [4]. All in all, 26% of all inmates of the justice system are for drug related crimes (including federal, state, and probation), the majority of these as marijuana crimes. Which we can ignore for this debate.

2) Success

First, my opponent addresses marijuana consumption, this can all be ignored. Moving on to the Netherlands, my opponent has made a major mistake. This can be looked at in different way. But I'm just going to focus on one. Since I'm only caring about hard drugs and not marijuana, it should be pointed out that the Netherlands has one of the highest spending to GDP on their own war on drugs. In Europe, they spend more than any other nation in regards to GDP [5]. The next highest in GDP spending is Sweden, which has a drug usage of about 1/3 the European average [5]. We can also find that Japan has the lowest drug use of the developed world, which more stricter laws than our own [6]. This clearly shows that our two options are not, legalize everything and status quo. We can still fight drugs in a more effective way.

3)Morality

My opponent argues that if the government can tell you what you can and can't do with your own body, that makes you a slave. This is a non-sequitur. Someone telling you that you can't put A inside your body does not make you a slave to them. If it did, that would mean that all children are slaves to their parents, and that most employees are slaves to their employers while on the job (can't drink alcohol on the job). PRO can either argue that telling others what to do is not slavery, and go back on his moral point, or he can argue that it is slavery and parents are slaveholders. Then he must either accept slavery, or that parents cannot tell their children what to do.

I will now move on with my points. I will argue that only some drugs should remain illegal. This boils down to what is government's role. This, will likely be the center of the debate. I believe that the government's role is to protect people (namely, its citizens) and their rights. I also believe that a proactive approach to prevent harm, rather than a retroactive to punish after it has been done. As such, I agree with drunk driving laws, and conspiracy to commit murder laws. While under an NAP mindset, drinking and driving certainly doesn't violate anyone's rights (not until you crash into them), it has a greatly increased risk of doing so, and so preventing before the violation occurs is ideal.

Really, cost in dollars doesn't matter. Surely my opponent wouldn't argue for legalizing homicide and rape even though they represent over 104,000 cases a year [7], and cost billions a year. Though we would surely agree that we should try to find ways to maximize success while minimizing the cost, but flat out legalizing it would never be on the table. Why should drugs be any different? If it should be legal, then it should, regardless of cost. If it should be illegal, then it should, regardless of cost. But in both cases we would want to minimize cost.

As with Sweden and the Netherlands, drugs represent a health issue above a criminal issue. Simply locking people up for X number of days and letting them back out is not going to change their behavior by itself. But before we even get to there, we must first argue that drugs are bad. Drug users are more likely to commit other crimes (pretty much across the board) [8]. Now, many will say that they are only committing crimes to feed their drug addiction. This doesn't matter. Legalizing cocaine is not going to make it less addictive. The drugs effect the mind to the point where people think that having the drug is more important than not mugging some guy at knife point, and whether the drug is legal or not, it will cause that same problems.

Conclusion - Drug laws are not slavery, there are better, more efficient ways of dealing with drug problems than to flat out legalize them, and legalizing all drugs will not make their problems go away.

Thank you

All sources - http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
seraine

Pro

Before I start, I would like to ask my opponent "What makes marijuana different from other drugs?

Refutations

1A. Money and Lives

10 billion a year is still a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere or better yet not at all. I will admit that the cost in US lives is suspect, though it is still high. He personally knew one cop who was killed, and mentions another case where drug dealers burned a mom and her 5 children to death.

In addition, you ignored the 23,000 deaths in Mexico because of the drug war. Is a government nursemaid forcing everyone to do what they want you to do really worth 23,000 deaths a year?

1B. Society

The money will largely go away. Why would gangs be the ones selling drugs if there are legal venues with quality control and little danger? It is a rare man who prefers to buy his drugs from a gang rather than a legal store that isn't notorious for violence and crime. You bring up an interesting claim that drug dealers will kill everyone who is selling drugs. However, that is not the case. The only reason most people buy drugs from gangs is that it is the only option. With legal options open, gangs would in effect have to become a legal operation. Killing everyone wouldn't work, as the government would intervene and you would have to go underground, thus losing vast amounts of profit.

Perhaps it is best to look at a historical precedent. During prohibition, the murder rate spiked up from 1920-1934 (Prohibition years). However, right after Prohibition was ended (1933) the murder rate quickly dropped[1]. In addition, the murder rate remained low until the 1970s-1990s, when drug prohibition was more strictly enforced.

I find this quote interesting

"As such, violence will continue and likely go up, since the drug dealers no longer need to hide."

They don't need to hide murder? Legalizing drugs does not mean legalizing murder. If anything, violence would go down.

You state that the actual figure is 13%. I will accept that, as that number is still unacceptable. We are, in essence, imprisoning people because we decided that we know how to run your life better than you actually do, and we don't care if they disagree.

2. Success

You claim that since it addresses marijuana, it can be ignored? I do not agree with that. If we prohibit marijuana and can only change usage by less than 5%, how can we expect to change cocaine usage by any substantial amount either? Even though you support marijuana legalization, it still shows that prohibiting something doesn't really change anything.

There may be more effective ways of fighting drugs. Whether or not that is something to be desired is another thing.

3. Morality

I admit that it was a bit of a mistake to say that we are slaves of the government. I will address your points then restate my main points on morals. I support people's ability to own their property. If you are on their property, then they have a right to kick you off. Similarly, if you sign a contract in which it states "You cannot drink on the job" then you can't drink on the job.

If you break that contract, then you lose your job. If your employer tells you to not go to work high, then you can still go to work high. You will just lose your job. If you don't like those conditions, then you can find a different job. In addition, employers do not attempt to rule your private life.

However, with the government, you do not sign a contract. They forewarn you, but if you don't like the conditions, you can't "quit" your country. If you break that, they force you to give them money and lock you up, even though you never signed a contract. You have no say in the matter. And they do attempt to rule your private life.

Parents can tell their kids what and what not to do, as long as they don't use violence or steal their money. They can take away things that they give to you away (i.e. dinner, the computer, etc.). Parents will generally stop giving, not take your stuff and lock you up.

And then there is the issue that the government is not your parents, your parents are your parents. The parent is generally supposed to raise you. The government is supposed to protect you, not be a nursemaid who steals your stuff if you break rules.

3A. Restating morality.

First off, can we truly say that we own ourselves if the government controls what we can ingest? Isn't it the government's job to protect us, not to be our nursemaid and master?

Drug prohibition is one small group thinking they know what is best, and then forcing everyone else to follow it, whether or not they agree with it. How is it and why is it that a small group of people is able to decide what is good, and then force the rest of the society to follow suit? This is a textbook example of 51% ruling over 49%.

4. Riskiness of drugs.

You seem to be saying that you do not support people taking drugs because they may become high and begin driving. If that is the case, then find people driving while high and punish them, not ban drugs altogether. Banning drugs to stop driving while high makes no sense, just like banning alcohol to stop drunk driving makes no sense. Instead of banning alcohol, ban drunk driving.

5. Does money matter?

The cost in dollars matters. I would not support legalizing homicide because it costs money, because homicide affects others. Spending billions to force people to ingest what you think is good and prohibiting what you think isn't good wastes the money, because you do not prevent harm to others.

6. Drugs and crime.

You say that drugs are bad because more drug users commit crimes. First off, this is a classic example of correlation and causation. Does being high cause you to murder someone, or is it that people who get high also are more likely to be criminals? Black people commit more crimes, but that doesn't mean that their skin color tells them to commit crime. It may be a simple case of correlation.

You may argue that while high, you are more likely to commit crimes. This is likely, but so what? Numerous things make you more likely to commit crimes: epinephrine, alcohol, dopamine, greed, pride, lust, hate, etc. Why should we ban one of the many things that increase the likelihood of crimes without banning everything else?

Conclusion

Prohibiting drugs is an affront on freedom where a certain group of people decides what is good for you, and then force you to follow through with it, whether or not you like it. It costs a lot of money and lives, and has little success. In addition, it is just plain wrong.

Thank you

Sources

[1] http://eh.net...
Ore_Ele

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his previous round and would like to dive right in to his arguments. First, I'll address the question he asks of me, "what makes marijuana different from other drugs?" The answer is the level of addictiveness, and how that addictiveness affects people's free will. But I'll go deeper into that in the morals section.

1A) Money and Lives.

My opponent states in section 5, "I would not support legalizing homicide because it costs money, because homicide affects others." I have the feeling that even if the drug war only cost $10,000 a year, my opponent would be against it on principle, just like he is against murder on principle. If this is not the case, I request my opponent tell me just how much cost is acceptable for the drug war?

Regarding the lives lost, the number of dead in Mexico was not addressed because I didn't have the character count to address it like I did for the US deaths. This can also largely be ignored, as this merely shows that there is a wrong way to fight drug usage, it does not show that legalizing is the only viable alternative. I have already pointed out the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan, all nations that spend a great deal of money on fighting hard drugs, and have been very successful with it.

1B) Society

My opponent says, "Killing everyone wouldn't work, as the government would intervene and you would have to go underground…" Since the government already intervenes in murder cases, this would be nothing new to them, and so not a new cost of doing business for them. My opponent also states, "Legalizing drugs does not mean legalizing murder. If anything, violence would go down." One of the things about murder, is that it is an individual crime. If a member of MS13 commits murder, you can't just go arrest any MS13 gang member, you have to get the one that pulled the trigger (and any that helped). This means that the individuals working the stores are not going to be the same pulling the trigger, so there is no need for them to hide themselves, nor their shops.

I will restate, gangs already show that they are willing to kill their competition. My opponent has shown nothing that they will change their ways because drugs become legal.

When it comes to individual crime, my opponent says (in his point 6), "this is a classic example of correlation and causation. Does being high cause you to murder someone, or is it that people who get high also are more likely to be criminals? Black people commit more crimes, but that doesn't mean that their skin color tells them to commit crime. It may be a simple case of correlation." This is just wasting my character space. Drugs affect the functioning of a person's brain (while they are high), anywhere from altering their mood, the distorting their senses, to blacking out and doing things that they don't even remember. Since drugs alter one's ability to make rational decisions (the degree depends on the drug, some are so minor effects, that they don't really matter) they increase the chance of irrational decisions.

We also come into the effects of addiction, and how addiction drives people to feed that addiction (often through crime), though I will bring that back up in the moral section.

2) Success

My opponent makes the argument, "If we prohibit marijuana and can only change usage by less than 5%, how can we expect to change cocaine usage by any substantial amount either?" I would like to point him back to one of my sources from round 2 [1]. Going to Sweden, we can see a 94% decrease in Amphetamine use from their peak in 1959 to 2003 (from 6.4% to 0.4%), with more than 70% of that drop happening in the first 6 years.

This is solid proof that it is possible to effectively fight drug usage. My opponent even goes on to broadly admit this, saying, "There may be more effective ways of fighting drugs," even though he follows up with questioning if we really want to do that. This is just more evidence, that its success and cost don't mean a thing since my opponent is not against the effectiveness of the drug war, but against the principle of it.

3) Morality

Since my opponent says, "I admit that it was a bit of a mistake to say that we are slaves of the government." My points criticizing his use of that term don't need to be countered, and his counters don't need to be addressed. My opponent clearly says twice, "The government is supposed to protect you…" clearly, many hard drugs are unhealthy for you, and their addictive properties make them a hard poison to kick and some are extremely painful to kick [2]. And considering that thousands of Americans die from overdoses each year (from my opponent's R2 [1] source), it isn't hard to come to the conclusion that preventing people from drugs is protecting them from those drugs (as my opponent said is the responsibility of government).

We can go further to see that addiction (especially powerful addictions that have nasty withdrawal symptoms) takes away the user's free choice and free will. We can see with cigarettes that many people want to quit, and try to quit, but their addiction causes urges too powerful for their conscious mind to fight [3]. The same is true with many hard drugs, like Heroin, Crack, and Meth. Once addicted, one's free will to simply quit when one wants is compromised by the chemical alterations done to the brain [4]. As such, it is needed to protect both people, and their freedoms.

In conclusion, keeping drugs illegal has been shown that, if done correctly, can work, and is morally responsible to protect people, as what PRO said was the reason of government. I'll fully admit that the US government is currently doing things the wrong way, and that needs to change, but legalizing is not the answer and won't solve anything.

I'll now pass this back to my opponent for his closing round.

[1] http://www.unodc.org...
[2] http://addictions.about.com...
[3] http://www.simplysearch4it.com...
[4] http://science.howstuffworks.com...
Debate Round No. 3
seraine

Pro

Before I start, I would like to thank my opponent for his well written rounds that made this debate much more enjoyable for me.

Refutations

1. The Cost of the Drug War in Money and Lives

I am against the drug war on principle, and as such am against it no matter how much money is spent on it. However, to intrude in peoples' lives and keep drugs out of your country will always cost a lot of money. In the US it is approximately $10 billion a year, which is a very large amount of money. Many schools are facing financial crisis and we are facing a debt crisis, and throwing money around to fix pseudo problems is not a good idea.

I concede that it is very likely that the gangs and violence could probably be reduced by following a more sensible plan in the war on drugs. However, I think that they will always be present due to the high cost of drugs and the resulting profit motive.

1B. Society

On crime after drug legalization.

Your arguments are all theoretical, and it is likely you are missing some theoretical evidence because the empirical evidence speaks otherwise. There have been two periods of high homicide rates in the history of the US- from 1920-1934 and 1970-1990. The 1920-1934 period was during alcohol prohibition, and the 1970-1990 period was when drug prohibition became more vigorously enforced[1].

To quote from my source "Prima facie, this pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that alcohol prohibition increased violent crime: homicide rates are high in the 1920-1933 period, when constitutional prohibition of alcohol was in effect; the homicide rate drops quickly after 1933, when Prohibition was repealed; and the homicide rate remains low for a substantial period thereafter. Further, the homicide rate is low during the 1950s and early 1960s, when drug prohibition was in existence but not vigorously enforced, but high in the 1970-1990 period, when drug prohibition was enforced to a relatively stringent degree."

On drugs and crime.

I was not wasting your time with it. There is a serious body of research that shows that drug use and crime is a correlation, not causation[2]. The main point of the article is essentially that a number of social, physiological and cultural factors can be used to identify both drug users and criminals (i.e. poverty, lack of social values, association with drug users and/or criminals).

What this means is that if you are a criminal, it is likely you are a drug user, and vice versa. This does not immediately mean that drugs cause you to commit crimes. It actually is that if you possess one or more of the predicting factors, you are likely to be both a drug user and a criminal.

My opponent claims that using drugs causes you to be more likely to commit crimes, and I will admit that some drugs do make it more likely to commit crimes. However, drugs such as marijuana and heroin actually make you less willing to commit crimes (though crimes may increase during heroin withdrawal). Not only that, there is a very important body of research you are missing.

You were correct when you said that 25% of criminals had used drugs on the day they committed a crime. However, about 36% of criminals used alcohol that day before committing the crime. Not only that, homicide and assaults were predominantly alcohol related, while robbery and similar crimes were predominantly drug related[2].

Drugs are not the source of all evil.

2. Success

I concede that there is good ways to lower drug usage. They also cost money. Why is it that we will throw money at pseudo problems? There is still no real reason to ban drugs. My opponent has only shown that it may be successful.

3. Morality

My opponent claims that the government should protect you from yourself. When I said that the government should protect you, I meant that they should protect you from others. My opponent's argument could also be applied to forcing people to eat a nutritionally correct meal or locking them in a room to protect them from accidents. It is hard to draw the line when you are protecting people from themselves.

Forcing people to eat correctly would also save thousands of lives. Does my opponent recommend that we also force nutritionally correct meals? Locking them in a small room with stimuli and food would also save thousands of lives. Every person that died from accidents would have been alive now. The trouble is that is it the government's job to be an authoritarian nursemaid protecting everyone from themselves, or a protector and solver of disputes? Is it the government's job to rule over every aspect of your life in order to lessen your risks?

The government is not protecting you from drugs. They are protecting you from yourself. You make the decision to take the drugs. If you get addicted, should the government take the role of a private Drugs Anonymous while ignoring the cries of the majority, or to thoughtfully do nothing?

On free will.

Yes, you can get addicted to drugs. You made the choice, and you are now addicted. However, if the government is supposed to help people regain their free will, what about the fact that they are trampling over the majority's rights? Drug addicts are actually in the minority of drug users[2][3]. The government would essentially be a drug rehab group for a minority while trampling over the rights of the majority.

In addition, why should government take over the role of private drug rehabilitation groups? Not only is it not the government's role private groups have proven themselves time and time again to be more effective. For example, government welfare only gives 25% to recipients while giving 75% to the administrators, while private groups give 75% to recipients and 25% to administrators[4].

"As such, it is needed to protect both people, and their freedoms."

As such, it is needed to protect people from themselves, and to trample over their freedoms.

Summarizations

My Opponent's Case with annotations

The War on Drugs can be relatively costly, but it is also relatively successful. It leads to less criminals (not only is there little to no causation from drugs to crime, crime has historically dropped after prohibitions) and protects people (from themselves, which is immoral).

My Case

I concede to my opponent that the War on Drugs can have a relatively low cost and a relatively high success rate. The problem is that you are throwing money and trampling over rights in order to fix a pseudo problem. Drug use does not cause crime, it is rather a simple case of correlation. Alcohol is a worse problem in regards to crime.

You may become addicted to drugs. However, if they government forced all to stop then they would ignore the rights of a majority in favor of a minority. It is not the governments role to rule over every aspect of your life in order to lessen your risks. Drug prohibition leads to increased homicide and crime rates. The only government whose role is to protect you from yourself is a totalitarian one. The government is not supposed to be an authoritarian nursemaid, it is supposed to be a protector and administrator of justice.

Voting Guide

Spelling and Grammar, Conduct, and Sources are all more or less equal. What this debate comes down to is arguments.

My opponent has successfully shown that drug use can be reduced relatively successfully at a relatively low price. He has not shown that drugs are a problem, however. He has attempted to show that drug legalization leads to crime (false) and that it is the government's role to protect you from yourself (false). Pro deserves arguments.

Thank you.

Sources

[1] http://eh.net...
[2] http://www.parl.gc.ca...
[3] B.K. Alexander, Peaceful Measures. Canada's Way Out of the War on Drugs, University of Toronto Press, 1990
[4] http://www.lpmn.org...
Ore_Ele

Con

Since this is the final round, I will mostly summarize, however, because my opponent made new arguments and revised some of his old arguments, I have no choice but to address these.

1)Cost

My opponent states, "I am against the drug war on principle, and as such am against it no matter how much money is spent on it." This clearly shows that there is no reason in arguing this point as it is basically a strawman for the real argument at hand. He also states, "I concede that it is very likely that the gangs and violence could probably be reduced by following a more sensible plan in the war on drugs."

2)Society

My opponent says that my arguments are theoretical and that the empirical evidence supports that prohibition increases crime. This, however, is false on two levels. First, this is a generalization fallacy. These murder rate trends do not show that prohibition increases crime, they show that the method of prohibition that we used increased crime. To believe that the only option are what we are doing and legalizing would be a false dichotomy. Second, my opponent has completely ignored the empirical evidence from Sweden, Japan, and the Netherlands. These nations have all shown how to do it the right way, and they were all ignored.

3)Drugs and Crime

Let us simply look into my opponent's source, shall we [1]? "The scientific studies conducted over the past two decades provide evidence which tends to show that drug use is one of a number of factors that may explain why some people commit criminal acts." So the report comes right out and says that drugs ARE a factor. It also says, "Many people who have developed an addiction to expensive drugs such as heroin and crack/cocaine and cannot afford their habit will commit crimes to buy drugs. However, they do not represent all or even most illegal drug users, especially in the case of marijuana users." We've already tossed aside marijuana, so the way in which marijuana dilutes to studies must be considered. The research clearly shows that there is a degree of causation between the two (which is dependent upon whether the person is an addict or not).

4)Success

"I concede that there is good ways to lower drug usage." My opponent has conceded this point.

5)Morality

First, I never claimed that the government should protect you from yourself. That is a strawman. I based an argument around, not what I believe or claim, but what my opponent said he believed, "The government is supposed to protect you" (from his R2). My opponent then commits a slippery slope fallacy by suggesting that because there is a fine line, that it must be way off to the extreme. Such is not the case and can be proven to not be the case by applying it to his own argument of protecting from other. Where is the line? To what degree? Should we protect them from people that say mean things about them? Should we protect them from people that look at them in a mean way? As such, that clearly shows that using that kind of reasoning is faulty.

As such, my opponent gives no reason at all as to why we should accept that government's job is to protect you from others and not simply protect you in general.

Any government by the people, ultimately, has the responsibility to do what the people want. There are currently two main schools of thought of the people on what the government's role should be. One Is to protect the people, flat out, not just from others, not just from themselves, but to protect the people. In that case, my arguments of keeping dangerous drugs illegal, still fits that responsibility.

The other is the libertarian view (but not anarchist) that the government's only role is to protect people's rights. One of the key tenets of libertarianism is that your rights are absolute. They cannot be taken away, only infringed upon. Even if government says "you can't have free speech," you still have it. It isn't gone and hasn't been taken away, they are merely infringing upon it. My opponent seems to view that you can give up your rights (by saying "You made the choice, and you are now addicted"). Like if the people of the USA voted (made the choice) to give up the right to free speech, they would simply no longer have that right. That goes entirely against libertarianism, in that you will always have that right and government (and no one) can take it from you, only infringe upon it.

My opponent also goes to suggest that the majority of drug users are not addicts. However, his source is, once again, including marijuana users in its numbers. We've already established that I'm not arguing against ALL drugs, and so grouping them together to get a favorable statistic is a fallacy.

My opponent then links to a rather bias source, suggesting that the government welfare pays 75% to administrators. Looking at the source, it just makes this up. In fact, the actual numbers are about 10% to admin [2], according to the CATO institute, which, if anything, would be bias in favor of inflating that number. Medicare is only 4% [3].

So summing up what has been said over the course of this debate, every argument, other than the subjective morals has pretty much been either dropped or conceded. My opponent has admitted, "I concede to my opponent that the War on Drugs can have a relatively low cost and a relatively high success rate." And in regards to the only thing left, morality, my opponent has given no reason to accept that government's job is to protect you from others. I've shown that whether you believe the government should be protecting its people, or protecting their rights, the illegalization of some of the more addicting drugs does fall under their responsibility. I have also shown that it is possible for the government to be successful in such an endeavor.

I suggest a Con vote,

Thank you

[1] http://www.parl.gc.ca...
[2] http://www.downsizinggovernment.org...
[3] http://www.consumeraffairs.com...
Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
lol, love Geo's RFD.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
I'll vote on it when I have the time.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
I really hope so to.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
I really hope this won't be decided off of one vote...
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
O'reilly, want to do a drug legalization debate from a moral perspective some time? The rest of the debate seemed like policy BS but the moral argument is what actually kept me reading.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
I enjoyed the debate, Ore_Ele. It was definitely a good learning experience.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
Will have to finish up tomorrow morning.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
Oops. I agree that it would be better to say government should protect rights, not go with the route that protecting people from themselves is not really protecting them at all. Unfortunately, I just posted my argument. Oh well.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
I was thinking that. I was a little confused when you said government should protect the people rather than government should protect people's rights.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
My round 3 argument was a bit of a flop, and I am putting a lot more effort than normal to make my closing round as good as it can be. I am really liking how it is turning out.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
seraineOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was an enjoyable debate, and both sides brought up points I hadn't considered before. Although I thought Pro could have won several of his arguments had he pressed them more forcefully, he ended up conceding too much to take the win. Good debate.
Vote Placed by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
seraineOre_EleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con failed to convince me that drugs should be illegal. The only thing he convinced me of was that he supports global fascist dictatorship.
Vote Placed by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
seraineOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was close for me but con's arguments were more convincing.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
seraineOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The morality argument was definitely the most interesting one. Con wins it. Also Pro made it too easy for Con by allowing him to argue that Marijuana be excluded. An all or nothing debate would have been a fairer challenge.