The Instigator
Ultranothing
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
henrywu
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Drugs should be illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
henrywu
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,067 times Debate No: 38666
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Ultranothing

Pro

Like everyone else in America, I had never really listened to the arguments of the drug legalization crowd because ... it's not going to happen. These people are like scholars whose area of expertise is an obscure bug in a Third World country. Their theories could be completely insane, but no one cares enough to bother listening to them.
The most superficially appealing argument for drug legalization is that people should be allowed to do what they want with their own bodies, even if it ruins their lives. Except that's not true. Back on Earth, see, we live in a country that will not allow people to live with their own stupid decisions. I have to pay for the stupid decisions of others.
henrywu

Con

"The most superficially appealing argument for drug legalization is that people should be allowed to do what they want with their own bodies, even if it ruins their lives. Except that's not true. Back on Earth, see, we live in a country that will not allow people to live with their own stupid decisions. I have to pay for the stupid decisions of others".

Why isn't tobacco illegal? "Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States" (US Department of Health and Human Services) and "Exposure to secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States" (CDC). Secondhand smoking is not something you can control, so are you saying that if drugs effects others that it should be illegal? I would also like to point out that alcohol contributes to a greater amount of "stupid decisions" lol.

Furthermore, I would like to say that drug related violence due to the illegality of drugs, outnumbers drug induced death.
Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 2
Ultranothing

Pro

Precisely because you can see a difference in smoking a cigarette and smoking crack means there is a huge difference between the top of the slope and the bottom -- which is why pure slippery slope arguments are always stupid. Let me just ask: Before he serves you, would you prefer that your bus driver or investment banker had smoked a cigarette, or meth?

English philosopher, political economist and civil servant John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) said there were some things people could not be permitted to choose to do with their own bodies in a free society: "The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be free not to be free. It is not freedom to be allowed to alienate his freedom." Drugs enslave people.

So do cigarettes and alcohol, you might argue. Indeed, alcohol and cigarettes are likely no better (and probably worse) than many illegal drugs.

As Gary Johnson, governor of New Mexico (and only the most recent Republican to figure out that the path to fawning media coverage is to adopt a dumb liberal idea) puts it (as summarized in a fawning article in The New York Times): "Last year 450,000 people died from smoking cigarettes. Alcohol killed 150,000, and another 100,000 died from legal prescription drugs. How many people died last year from the use of marijuana? Few, if any. From cocaine and heroin? Five thousand."

Accepting all the drug-legalizers' statistics at face-value, I'll demonstrate that their arguments are still dumb.

The 450,000 number refers to all "smoking-related" deaths. A "smoking-related" death is any death that under any circumstances could be connected to smoking, including heart attacks and a plethora of cancers. If an obese 100-year old smoker dies of a heart attack while shoveling snow, his death is placed into the category of "smoking-related."

Indeed, the books are so cooked on the "smoking-related deaths" alleged by the American Cancer Society that a 1993 article in the American Journal of Epidemiology was able to show that by using the exact same methodology, smoking SAVES 277,621 lives each year. (The methodology also proves that 504,000 people die each year from insufficient exercise, and 649,000 die from improper diets.)

It is known that marijuana smoke, for example, is much worse for the respiratory system than is cigarette smoke. The only reason you don't hear about a lot of people dying from marijuana is that -- well, for one, like the old man shoveling snow, a pot-smoker who dies of emphysema goes down as a "smoking-related" death.

Also, people don't smoke pot like they smoke cigarettes. One reason for that is: Marijuana is illegal.

Even granting the pro-legalization community their manufactured stats: Assume (correctly) that even legal substances such as alcohol and cigarettes induce dependency, ruin lives, cause disease, depression, countless traffic injuries and fatalities, and increase the incidence of homicide and suicide.

This is supposed to be an argument for legalizing other drugs like them?
henrywu

Con

"The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be free not to be free. It is not freedom to be allowed to alienate his freedom" (Mill).

Mill's argument is inconclusive. Everyday, people willingly engage in contracts, giving up some of their freedoms, in exchange for goods, services, or experiences. But lets focus on your claim that drugs enslave people. Do you have proof that drugs enslave people? If, for example, a man uses recreation marijuana for the first time, is he enslaved? Sure, you might argue that marijuana is addictive, but people can be addicted to caffeine. The truth is, people willingly participate in drug use, and just like entering a contract, they accept the terms. You might try to say that contractile slavery is still illegal, but the simple fact is that drugs are no more to blame than Starbucks.

Your argument about deaths from smoking is valid, but it is a undisputed fact that drugs are not the leading cause of death. Like I said before, drug violence accounts for a greater number of deaths than a heroin overdose or a coke-head murdering his friend. We can look at the mexican drug war as an example. After Felipe Calderon's crackdown on drugs, "an estimated 70,000 people died in violence related to the country"s ongoing drug war" (FOX News). Legalizing drugs would diminish the black market, and protect innocent lives.

I apologize for not mentioning this earlier, but your definition of drugs is vague. Should medical marijuana be illegal? What about those people that abuse painkillers? Should we outlaw those as well? The fact is that you might think cocaine is bad, but in some cases cocaine is therapeutic. Drugs are a broad range of compound and simply saying that drugs should be illegal means that we can't use advil.

So I must redefine my argument as well. All drugs need to be regulated, but recreational drug use should be permitted in appropriate amounts (not for me to decide).
Debate Round No. 3
Ultranothing

Pro

Ultranothing forfeited this round.
henrywu

Con

henrywu forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Ultranothing

Pro

Ultranothing forfeited this round.
henrywu

Con

henrywu forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 3 years ago
KroneckerDelta
@Ultranothing. You say it's not an emotional argument that you are making, so show me the study that actually proves that illegal drugs are addictive. Show me the study that actually shows they are harmful. Where is your proof to support your initial argument "You mean, by providing easier access to life-destroying substances?" <-- this seems to be your argument. Assume a priori that drugs are life destroying yet you provide no evidence to support that claim.

As an aside, which was the original intention, when I said "here's your medical meth..." that was intentionally somewhat of a joke. None of the researches believe that people should do meth as a cure for the flu, but the the science is there. Methamphetamine fights the flu--there is some science to be done as to why this is the case. You can "faceplam" all you want, but the truth is that there ARE "medical" benefits to crystal meth whether you want to believe it or not.

This goes to my whole point of an emotional argument. Perhaps it would be better stated as an anecdotal argument. The point is that you have yet to provide any evidence to support your initial stance, so I have to believe you take your stance based on incorrect assumptions you have already predetermined based on your outlook of illegal drugs--not science.

I mean you continue: "Do you honestly believe that drugs are not addictive? Honestly?"

Yes I believe this because I know people that have used meth, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, etc. and are certainly not addicted to it. Furthermore the scientific research corroborates these observations. Where is your scientific study that supports your assumption?
Posted by Ultranothing 3 years ago
Ultranothing
And furthermore, let me just point out that carefully bred rats with documented genetic histories are used in animal testing for a number of reasons, including their frequent reproduction, genetic purity and similarities to human biology. Not because they think like humans.

And the Rat Park experiments were to prove that drugs are not addictive. Do you honestly believe that drugs are not addictive? Honestly?

Does drug addiction not affect the rich and the poor alike? Two classes or people with WILDLY different environmental and lifestyle conditions. Rich people have many more balls and exercise wheels at their disposal. but can still become addicts. How is this so?
Posted by Ultranothing 3 years ago
Ultranothing
"...this is a pretty classical emotional argument against drugs, not a rational one..."

There's no logic in my argument? How do you read it and see only an emotionally-driven response? It's quite well laid out. Read it again...

"...HUGE misconception that illegal drugs like meth, crack, cocaine, heroin, etc. are so extremely addicting that doing it once and you're hooked for life."

I never said that, or even alluded to thinking it.

"We all know the experiment which showed that if you give lab rats morphine..."

We're not lab rats.

"... hardly ever chose the morphine laced water. .."

Oh! Well I'll be sure to tell the next junkie I see, that he or she needs to just get out there and climb more things. Maybe put down the needle and invest in a jungle gym.

"...On the lighter side..."

(facepalm)
Posted by KroneckerDelta 3 years ago
KroneckerDelta
No offense Ultranothing, but this is a pretty classical emotional argument against drugs, not a rational one. It's a completely circular argument: Assume drugs are bad, therefore they should be illegal to keep them away from people because they are bad.

I mean, this is the missing part of all of this. Where is your actual proof that drugs, even drugs like heroin or crack, are actually harmful? The more we study illegal drugs (which is very difficult to do), the more we learn that they aren't nearly as harmful as we have been brainwashed to believe.

The biggest obstacle to the mindset that you and a large majority of people have is the HUGE misconception that illegal drugs like meth, crack, cocaine, heroin, etc. are so extremely addicting that doing it once and you're hooked for life. This notion is starting to be debunked by scientific research.

We all know the experiment which showed that if you give lab rats morphine, that they will choose the morphine over food until they essentially starve to death. What we don't ever look at is the actual experiment which put rats into tiny cages by themselves. When the experiment was rerun with different environmental conditions, the results are starkly different. Rats that were placed in social environments (with other rats--because rats are social animals) and had plenty of room to roam around and were given stimulating play opportunities (like places to hide, things to climb, etc.) hardly ever chose the morphine laced water. Furthermore, rats that were given morphine on a continual basis, to the point that they became physically dependent, actually chose to go through the painful withdrawal when put back into the "rat park" rather than continuing their addiction.

http://the-mouse-trap.com...

On the lighter side, here's your medical meth (it fights the flu): http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Posted by themohawkninja 3 years ago
themohawkninja
If all drugs were illegal, than the pharmaceutical industry wouldn't exist, and we, as mankind, would be set back to before penicillin (if not farther back).

"How is drug related violence violence better than any number of drug induced death"
People will always die because they OD'd, but if a drug is legal, than only very, very few will die from violence due to the accusation of the drug, instead of many more deaths due to underground markets, and gang violence.
Posted by Ultranothing 3 years ago
Ultranothing
"[T]he legalization of drugs HAS happened in a way because of medical marijuana."

Marijuana would be the least of my concerns, as far as drug legalization is concerned. In fact, it is my belief that marijuana should be legal, for those who benefit from its use. However, I don't see a future in which "medical meth" is happening.

"Therefore, if drugs were to become legal we would need some type of system to make sure it wouldn't effect regular tax payers."

Such as, say, "You're free to do all the drugs you want, but you'll be automatically disqualified from any taxpayer-funded benefits, including food assistance ,housing, medical care, etc." Yeah, that'll go over well.

"[I]f it was legal drug usage could be more controlled by the government." Just what we need. More government control.

"Drugs do have a use and a purpose." Some. Not most.

"[S[ince you were so ready to say our country was so 'superior' to the third countries, doesn't it mean we are obligated to better the lives of our citizens as best as we can?"

You mean, by providing easier access to life-destroying substances?
Posted by nailah_pierce 3 years ago
nailah_pierce
How is drug related violence violence better than any number of drug induced death, or vice versa. Both need to be stopped and legalizing might take away the drug violence, and if it was legal drug usage could be more controlled by the government. That seems like batter solution than simply saying its better to keep it legal just because people die more in one situation than in another. NOt that I'm necessarily pro-drug legalization, but its prudent that both sides of the argument are carefully analyzed.
Posted by nailah_pierce 3 years ago
nailah_pierce
First off I don't think that its true that no one listens to the debates on whether drugs should be legalized. Although it isn't one of the 'big' issues, its still a problem that we need to address. Also, the legalization of drugs HAS happened in a way because of medical marijuana. The people presenting the argument that drugs are not insane to be thinking in a different way. It is also unfair to compare the minds of this in our country to those in others with lesser resources. That has nothing to do with whether drugs should be legalized and says more about you than the people arguing that drugs should be legalized. It is definitely a valid point that if the drugs were only affected the people abusing them, this might be a easier question to answer about whether or not drugs should be legal, but i agree it isn't fair that others should have to pay for others mistakes. Therefore, if drugs were to become legal we would need some type of system to make sure it wouldn't effect regular tax payers. Drugs do have a use and a purpose, and its important to remember that they weren't always used int he way they are today. Some of these drugs DO help people and improve their lives, and since you were so ready to say our country was so 'superior' to the third countries, doesn't it mean we are obligated to better the lives of our citizens as best as we can?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KroneckerDelta 3 years ago
KroneckerDelta
UltranothinghenrywuTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This is a very weak vote for Con. Pro never really showed why drugs should be illegal. The only argument is that drugs are harmful to individuals. Con refuted this by showing that currently illegal drugs are generally safer than both alcohol and tobacco AND prescription medication. I'm confused by Pro's second round (3rd round technically). On the one hand, they state that tobacco deaths are inflated (and I do agree with that assertion as did Con). But then next, Pro states that these legal drugs are bad, so why do we want more? Either legal drugs are worse than illegal drugs or they are both equally bad. Con's sources that there are fewer deaths from illegal drugs convinces me that illegal drugs are less bad than legal ones therefore the "why have more drugs" argument fails. Furthermore, Pro never addresses Con's claim that more harm is caused by the illegality of drugs than the drugs themselves. In the future, Con should point out the lack of arguments to help voters.