Is the War On Drugs Constitutional?
Debate Rounds (5)
Since there hasn't been a clearly posted format for this debate, I will just assume it will be a back and forth that allows rebuttals and presentation of new points in the same post.
I'd like to start off this debate with the disclaimer that as a Canadian citizen, I am not fully versed in the nuances of US Constitutional Law, and will perhaps from time to time rely on external resources. However, I believe that a rational analysis of the subject does not require previous knowledge on the issue, as long as valid and reliable sources can be accessed.
Seeing as how my opponent has initiated the debate, I thought it appropriate to address his comments first.
The first allegation he proposes is the restriction on the substances that a citizen of the US is allowed to put into his/her body is a violation of "the spirit and nature of the Constitution". Rather than listing out all the articles and amendments of the Constitution, I would like to politely place the onus on my opponent to show what parts of the Constitution's "nature and spirit" are being violated. If he would decline to do so, I would be more than happy to go through the Constitution and all of its amendments to show that it is not being violated.
His next arguments involve blaming the War on Drugs for social problems such as racial profiling and overcrowded prisons. Although these are interesting topics to debate, they are not related at all to the constitutionality of the War on Drugs, but rather its inefficient implementation.
His next argument claims that drugs cannot be likened to radioactive materials since they apparently cannot decimate an entire society. I would ask that my opponent research the Opium Wars in China, and respond after doing so.
My opponent's next point poses the question of why the US Government does not also prohibit the consumption of alcohol. Additionally, he mentions the prohibition of marijuana use. I would like to once again remind my opponent that the legalization of alcohol consumption in America has nothing to do with the constitutionality of the War on Drugs. I believe his confusion regarding this matter stems from his belief that the War on Drugs is a war on "all drugs", which is not the case. In fact, the War on Drugs does not encompass rubbing alcohol, bath salts, or over-the-counter medication. Instead, various other government programs are tasked with dealing with alcohol consumption and regulations for non-prescribed pharmaceuticals. The efficacy of such programs is not related to the constitutionality of the War on Drugs.
In summary, the premise of this debate deals with the question of the constitutionality of the War on Drugs. I have appealed to the opponent to shoulder the burden of proof as it relates to the "spirit and nature of the Constitution" that he claims the War on Drugs has violated. In the event he declines to do so, I will willingly do so myself. I then proceed to dismantle various arguments used to support his thesis, as none of them relate to the constitutionality of the War on Drugs, but rather to its inefficient implementation.
I thank opponent for the time he has spent in writing his argument, and I look forward to the next stage of this debate.
...). Big Government is the problem, the drugs need to be legal so that they can be regulated, and so we can put The Cartel out of business (Js, The Cartel doesn't check for I.D., they have no qualms about selling drugs to kids. When you regulate it, the gas station clerk, or doctor, or whoever, isn't gonna risk a $5,000 fine, losing their business license, and possible jail time. The gangsters' resolve is to make money at all costs regardless of morals or ethics. My question is, why do you like such a system, why are you defending a system that victimizes children and minorities!!!???? The outrage, didn't your Mother raise you better than to be brainwashed into supporting an evil system of Law!!!??? You guys in Canada have legal weed, and I'm honestly unsure as to whether you guys have surrendered the Drug War yet *Seems to be*... I will gauge your next response, and from there I will be able to determine whether or not you're bought and paid for, whether or not you're, a shill, because your only half-decent argument was to challenge me to quote The Constitution, it worked only because of your perspective of a foreigner with no knowledge of The U.S. Constitution.....)
Once again I'd like to start by thanking my opponent for his arguments.
I agree with my opponent that the US Constitution was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. I duly noted my opponent's admission that The War on Drugs did not violate any written section of the Constitution, and never accused him of alleging it to be true.
I would like to note that personal attacks are not welcome in rational debates, and as such, I ask my opponent to refrain from commenting on my integrity, my family members, and my citizenship. Additionally, I assure him that I have no reason to diminish the rights of minors or minorities and that a thorough analysis of my argument would conclude no bias towards or for the American Government and its policies.
As before, my opponent brings up an interesting point that is unfortunately not applicable to the current argument. He states that former presidents, including the Founding Fathers, consumed hemp. I would like to remind my opponent that President Washington also sent militia forces to kill Natives in order to make room for settlers. In any case, whether or not a former president, even if he is one of the founding fathers, approves of a current policy does not make it unconstitutional.
My opponent's rejection of the Opium Wars as an example of drug use being devastating to a society is also interesting in that he has completely missed my point. He assumes that death is the sole indicator of the amount of destruction drugs cause to society. It does not matter who provides the drugs and/or funds the drug operation. My use of this example was a rebuttal to his statement that "drugs do not have the potential to devastate our society".
I admit my wording as it regards the ban on alcohol was vague and I would like to reword my argument. My response was meant to present the fact that there are, in fact, government policies meant to regulate the production and sale of alcohol. The fact that people die from excessive alcohol consumption, accidents, and alcohol-fuelled crimes does not in of itself prove the unconstitutionality of the War on Drugs. It simply speaks to the inefficiency of those programs.
As a quick fact check, it interesting to note that marijuana usage is indeed illegal by federal standards, but can become legalized by state laws. Additionally, the reason marijuana is illegal in the US is because it is a high-abuse risk drug, and there are "no established medical uses for it". The second part of that reasoning is highly controversial and does not discredit the War on Drugs itself, but perhaps the inclusion of marijuana as a prohibited substance. If it can be proven that marijuana is a medically established substance (of which topic I do not feel the need to discuss at the moment), the legalization of marijuana is to be questioned, not the War on Drugs.
I do not believe I had made myself clear enough on the issue of legalization of drugs, seeing as how my opponent brings up the dangers created by not legalizing prohibited substances, such as drug cartels etc. The War on Drugs itself is a policy implementation meant to enforce drug laws in the US. What does this mean? If a specific drug is outlawed, there are consequences and punishments. Those punishments are carried out under the program we know as "The War on Drugs". This means that to question the legality of prohibiting a drug does not constitute an attack on the enforcement of the punitive measures, but rather on the laws that require a punitive measure in the first place. In other words, if my opponent wants drug legalization, he should focus his time on the policies that mark those drugs as illegal, rather than the policies in place to enforce punitive measures dictated by the aforementioned policies.
My opponent questions my support for this system that enforces these laws. My reply is simply that I have no issue with the systems themselves, but rather with some of the laws that require such a system to be in place. It is perhaps true that cannabis should not be illegal. That argument alone, however, does not nullify the need to have a system that prohibits, for example, the trafficking of cocaine, which would still be illegal should cannabis become legalized. My opponent argues that drugs should be legal. I do not wish to contest him on this issue, as it is not the goal of this debate. Should drugs ever become legal in the United States, there would no longer exist the need to have a system like the War on Drugs to punish traffickers and users. However, even the abolishing of such a system, if it were ever to happen, would not be due to the unconstitutionality of the system itself, but rather for its lack of utility. Put into other words, until all drugs have become legalized, the War on Drugs is still needed.
Before I end this segment of the debate, I would like to include a final miscellaneous note regarding my opponent's remarks on the "Canadian" War on Drugs. Marijuana has yet to become a legal substance in Canada, although this has been promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If legalized, it will be highly regulated and monitored by government institutions, the structure of which are currently being debated by government officials. These institutions will more than likely include policies that punish offenders who break regulations concerning cannabis usage. It is highly doubtful marijuana will be sold at any location (legally) apart from government-operated retailers.
I would once again like to thank my opponent for his rebuttal, and would like to apologize for my "13-hour" delay between the previous responses; not only do I not spend my entire day on the internet waiting for debate replies, I also happen to be running on a slightly different time schedule due to professional reasons.
In the first section of his remarks, he comments on the style of rebuttals that I have been employing. He accuses me of "trying to refute every single word that [he] said". Unless I am mistaken, most debating styles' rebuttal formats involve the refutation of claims made by an opponent. Additionally, I apologize for not being able to present a more structured approach, as the opponent has failed to provide me with a structured argument.
In the next segment, my opponent seems to suggest that the principles of free enterprise and free market in the United States should be held to be more important than the responsibility for the government to protect its citizens. Due to some of the remarks I have seen in his previous arguments, I would like to make the disclaimer here that my point here is not pertinent to the drug trade, but rather the principle that he has proposed. Indeed, if the American people were to embrace free enterprise and free trade above all else, the sale nuclear materials and chemical weapons should then be legal, with no punitive measures enforced. Obviously, there are instances where certain exceptions to the rule of free market exist. Once again, the question of whether or not drugs falls under this category of exceptions is not the current subject of debate; we are debating the constitutionality of a system meant to enforce punitive measures mandated by other legislative acts. In other words, if you are being arrested on drug charges, it is the law at blame, not the police.
The next rebuttal is to my claims that my opponent was presenting ad hominem attacks during his first rebuttal:
"You also accused me of personal attacks and attacking your family, all I did was question why a Canadian citizen wants to debate U.S. Law with a U.S. citizen, as I will always have the home-field advantage over you in that respect. I also questioned why your Mother raised you to not question anything..."
I believe this quote speaks for itself.
My opponent's remarks on China were short, yet straight to the point. He believes, unless I have misread his argument, that the wars following Britain's introduction of opium to China were the real source of the problems, not the opium itself. What he seems to be saying then, is that opium addiction on a large scale (4-12 million people) did not happen. Although I strongly disagree with him on this point, the dangerousness of drugs is not the point of contention here, and therefore I believe it a waste of time to continue with this line of debate.
( https://books.google.co.uk...;, page 34)
I still do not understand how my opponent could infer from my statement that I was accusing George Washington of being an "Adolf Hitler" type leader. I simply brought up the fact he did indeed allow the resettlement and migration of many native tribes in order to make space for settlers, sometimes at the price of Native lives. At this time, America's Independence had already been declared.
( http://millercenter.org...;, see 08/20/1794)
My opponent's argument that States' Rights can be rescinded easily does not, once again, prove the unconstitutionality of the War on Drugs. Rather, it exposes what some may perceive to be a flaw in the Constitutional legal system in America. Once again, this is not the debate topic. Additionally, I was not aware that it was against debate rules to use legal wording that is written by the US Government. In fact, from my opponent's opening remarks, I had assumed (perhaps erroneously) that his support for the Constitution was also symbolic of support for the Government, and that any problems he had were directed towards specific policies, not the institution itself.
Furthermore, a lot of research is being conducted into the viability of marijuana as a medical-use substance. I did not, in any way whatsoever, suggest that marijuana does not qualify to be a medically viable substance, neither did I question the legitimacy of any researchers who would say the same.
At this point, I was once again accused, with my opponent using language that can only be construed as an attack on my person:
"You're an animal, a monster; didn't your Mother teach you better, to question things around you, than to just mindlessly support such cruel barbarity without even acknowledging the elephant in the room!!!!!??????? "
The next section deals with the market mechanisms at play when a substance is deemed to be prohibited. I have no problems with any of my opponent's reasoning, which goes to say that my opponent has perhaps not read my last post carefully. I did not, in any way whatsoever support the idea of keeping drugs illegal in a non-regulated black market system. In fact, I encouraged my opponent to continue supporting the legalization of drugs, but directing his attention to the laws that require punitive measures, rather than the laws that enforce those punitive measures.
I strongly condone my opponent's use of the word "racist" in the sentence preceding his closing remarks, as he fails to provide evidence for allegations of such severity. However, I applaud his attack on the laws behind the prohibition of drugs, rather than the mechanisms to enforce those laws. This is the first time in this debate that he has done so.
As like before, whenever my opponent correctly attacks the legislation behind the prohibition of certain substances, I must acknowledge his proper conduct. In his closing remarks, he once again refers to the Prohibition, and the subsequent 21st Amendment. I would suggest that he view the current topic of debate in the same light. The police officers and prisons were not at fault for the Prohibition, and my opponent has rightly chosen to not attack their actions. Instead, the legislation that mandates punishment should be abolished (in the case of Prohibition, this was the 18th Amendment). In the situation of our current debate, I would like to redirect my opponent's scathing remarks and aggression towards the Controlled Substances Act. Indeed, the only reason there exists a War on Drugs is because of that piece of legislation. In fact, to abolish a War on Drugs would actually prove illegal as the CSA requires by law punishment for crimes that it outlines.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com... (Facts, a source, evidence. You claiming that the Drug War isn't and wasn't racist has been thoroughly debunked, claims to the contrary will result in you being attacked and labeled as a "Shill" and a "Troll". If this happens, you will inevitably protest; this just serves as a reminder to the readers when it comes time to vote... And while I dislike the HuffPo's Liberal bias, they have really good anti-Drug War sentiment that's accepted by the mainstream. The same situation with The Guardian, but applied to Mass Surveillance instead of the Drug War). Citing the U.S. Government is fine, if they have evidence to back their thesis up (They do not, and Laws against marijuana make funding such research extraordinarily difficult, even in States where it's legal like Colorado and Washington). Backing up an argument that bares no weight makes you a sell-out or a Shill in my eyes... In closing, We The People Of The United States Of America WILL update the 21st Amendment (I was not shaming the Police Officers or Prisions of the 1920's for merely doing their jobs, I complain that they failed to speak out against the abuse that was Prohibition, for enabling a system that led to the rise of violent Outlaws such as Pretty Boy Floyd and Clyde Barrow; the irony is that the Outlaws the Police enabled through enforcing unethical Laws, ended up killing their Officers, who eventually killed the Outlaws in shoot-outs in retaliation. What a shameful waste of blood across-the-board, all to control other people's vices and what they consume.....), to END and SURRENDER this supposed "Drug War, we will ALSO add a clause, that SPECIFICALLY stipulates, that it is INDEED Unconstitutional, for the United States Government to banish, or outlaw, vices!!!!! We will end the madness, end the pandemonium, and end the abusive fraud that has been perpetuated, since the 1950's, on We The People Of The United States, using OUR OWN tax payer dollars, you expect me to use my own tax payer dollars, to fund a Law I find abusive and unnecessary (I go in circles here, and I apologize to those reading, except my opponent, SierraOne, but this guy has to be a frickin' Shill man, how do you just blatantly fail to comprehend how the nature of the Drug War violates so many American principles!!??? No matter, see that method of spin??? The more Advocates that Troll Shills using their own medicine against them, the less their mental manipulation of a "moral high ground" works on gullible or uneducated people who listen to this garbage spew and then go vote.....).
I do believe, at this point in the debate, that if viewers were to read the text of the previous posts carefully and thoughtfully, they would understand the following:
- My nationality does not affect the validity of my arguments.
- No explicit or implicit references to a "mini-holocaust" on the part of President George Washington were made. The argument was
simply that hemp should be legalized because a former president used it is not a cogent line of reasoning. If my opponent is unwilling to accept my claims concerning native rights' under his administration, my original point still stands.
- No explicit or implicit references to my support of a "House always Wins" government were mentioned by me. In fact, I specifically stated that people unhappy about certain laws should challenge those laws. However, I pointed out multiple times that my opponent has been criticizing and targeting the wrong legislation in his quest for drug legalization.
- There have been no attempts to "dictate" the substances that my opponent can or should subject his body to, neither have there been attempts to restrict his freedom of speech, whether implied or explicit.
- There have been no statements on my part that have questioned the efficacy of marijuana for medical use. In fact, some of my statements could very easily be construed to support the legalization of marijuana.
I apologize for the brevity of my post in this fourth round, but after carefully reading my opponent's reply, I felt that an argument devoid of real content merited a similar response.
I would like to take this time to thank my opponent for this debate. It was very enjoyable from start to finish, as debates always are with respectful opponents.
I was not aware that it is highly taboo for a Canadian to debate about American politics and law. I would like to thank my opponent for imparting that knowledge to me, whether or not it is true.
Additionally, I was unaware that factual statements about casualties of war (that specifically pertained to one race of people, and is generally accepted as historical truth) is an automatic implication of genocide/holocaust. I am curious as to how many people share this view. I will look further into this.
My only reply to my opponent's repeated accusation that I employ a "House always Wins" mentality is some advice on quoting and opponent during a debate. "Repealing CSA is illegal" is not the same thing as "In fact, to abolish a War on Drugs would actually prove illegal as the CSA requires by law punishment for crimes that it outlines." Please quote properly in future debates, as a courtesy to your opponents.
It seems as if I am being extra forgetful in this debate. I was quite certain I had addressed my position on drugs?
"I did not, in any way whatsoever support the idea of keeping drugs illegal in a non-regulated black market system. In fact, I encouraged my opponent to continue supporting the legalization of drugs, but directing his attention to the laws that require punitive measures, rather than the laws that enforce those punitive measures."
Perhaps my opponent simply forgot to read it.
Finally, I was unaware that debate arguments, presented in a logical, concise, and legible format are the equivalent of the Zika virus. I apologize in advance for any unsuspecting readers I may have infected. Please contact your local hospital to be quarantined immediately.
I would like to thank the voters and viewers who have read/will read this debate. Enjoy!
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