The Instigator
longjonsilver
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
kvaughan
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The US's War On Drugs ought to end.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,688 times Debate No: 1090
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (13)

 

longjonsilver

Pro

I tried this argument once before and ended up debating someone who doesn't speak. So this is my second shot.

I will save the most of my arguments for when I have loured someone into debating me. Until then I will make a simple argument that initially tilts the scale in my favor.

Everything should be legal until a case for criminalization has been proven. I contend that there are almost no arguments for drugs to be illegal and a multiplicity of quality arguments for the legalization of drugs. I contend that any legitimate arguments for criminalization are not very significant and can be outweighed on magnitude by the benefits of legalization.
kvaughan

Con

I am generally in favor of less restriction on currently illegal narcotics, but your opening statement seems to assert that the US should legalize all or most drugs. This is problematic because drugs with strong addictive properties do have predominately adverse effects and thus their lack of legality is justified. So, while I would wholeheartedly agree that marijuana should be 100% legal, but drugs like: crack and meth should be illegal.

Here's my reasoning: you are correct to assert that "Everything should be legal until a case for criminalization has been proven" because in a liberal democracy things are legal until proven otherwise. We tend to give people the freedom to make poor decisions as long as their decisions do not harm others. Addictive drugs are a problem because they rob people of this freedom. This loss of freedom amounts to a form of coercion or a decision under duress and allowing people to be placed in these situations is unjust. Because these drugs are coercive, the government is justified in protecting people from themselves and stopping them from ever using in the first place.

I usually go longer than this, but in stride with your remarkably short opener, I'll stop at that.
Debate Round No. 1
longjonsilver

Pro

I noticed that you're an LD person too. So, I'm going to debate as close as possible to LD style for the rest of the round.
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I'll begin with observations then move to my opponent's case and finish with my own.

Observation: If I prove the resolution to be more true than false then I have given more reason to vote Pro than to vote Con. Therefore, in this round if I prove that more than half of the Drug War should end then I should win. I believe my opponent will agree with me here, based upon his opening remarks.

Now, to my opponents case.

First, I think it is possible that my opponents case has founded itself entirely off of a false assumption. Once this premise has been corrected, the argument may actually be turned in favor of Pro. My opponent agrees with me that drugs like cannabis should be legal but claims that "strongly" addictive drugs should be outlawed. Given the observation, the implicit premise is that there are more illegal drugs that are "strongly" addictive than are not. I believe that this is false. Here is a graph and table of the addictive properties of drugs: http://en.wikipedia.org... (Page 13).
There is a multiplicity of drugs that are outlawed by the DEA and only a few of those are what can be considered "strongly" addictive.

Second, my opponent has committed a non sequitur fallacy. Refer to his second paragraph. I'll save you the quotations, because his post is right above this one. In this paragraph he agrees that people should be able to do stupid things insofar as they do not harm others. That's fine. However, if you read a little further into his case, he singles out addictive drugs because they coerce the user. The intrinsic act of consuming drugs is, at most, only harmful to the user NOT to others. Certainly my opponent will point out that there are many things that an inebriated person may do to others, however it is not the drug that needs to fought. Purely because drugs MAY lead some to harm others while inebriated is not enough of a reason to blame the drug. For it was the individuals fault for consuming the drug in a place where this may happen. It is his fault for not consuming this in the safety of a private location alongside a designated sober person. I see no reason to crack down on drug consumption/possession as a whole. If harm to others is where the problem exists then that is what should be legally punishable.

Third, as we have seen, my opponent is worried about the effect of "strongly" addictive drugs on the user, but these are actually exacerbated by criminalization. For reasoning, cross apply the health benefits in my case.

Fourth and fifth, although I don't think it is possible, my opponent may convince the voter that punishing harm to others itself is not enough of a deterrence. If so, for two reasons, this is not enough to vote Con. Both of the following responses will serve as separate and distinct attacks on my opponents case.
(Fourth) If we are to analyze this in a rights based setting then maximizing safety is not what we ALWAYS consider just. Sometimes to maximize safety we have to violate the principle of double effect. Allow me to present a similar situation that may help display this. In an analysis of increased crime and the deterrence effect in a small sovereign society, the rulers discover the problem to be lack of convictions. To fix the problem they decide to enact an inside rule to convict the person with the most evidence against herself. This if fine when there is an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to one person. However, as in the case of punishing a responsible drug user, it is certainly unjust to punish the individual with minimal evidence against. In both cases you unjustly punish someone for some benefit.

(Fifth) My opponent has isolated only one effect of the criminalization of drugs. Nicotine is "strongly" addictive but this does not give enough reason to make it illegal. There are many effects of drug laws and we must analyze all of them. This is what my entire case is based on and I ask you to cross apply the reasoning here.

Sixth, there are reasons to believe that consumption of highly addictive drugs will actually decrease with the legalization of drugs.
1. Generally drug dealers are the only rich people in ghetto communities. They drive expensive cars, deal with cash, and live better than everyone else. This creates a regressive cycle. Children and others see these rich dealers and treat them as idols. This softens the negative connotation of drugs which naturally leads to increase in consumption.
2. If we legalize soft drugs but maintain punishment for hard drugs then we have reduced the black market to only hard drugs. When this happens illegal drug dealing criminals have only hard drugs to make a profit on. (I'll talk about who is selling legal drugs in a minute.) Because soft drugs will be sold by others, contemporary dealers will have to make up there lost sales through more hard drugs.

Now to my case. (Keep in mind that my case also serves as the reasoning for my 3rd and 5th responses to my opponent's case.)

My case is constructed as a set of benefits to legalization that outweigh all costs.

Health Benefits:
1. The transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and others blood related diseases is reduced.
Warrant: In a todays drug society people are forced to share nettles or pay for drugs through sex. US Department of Health and Human Services: Injection drug use alone caused 28% of AIDS transmission in the year 2000.
2. Health care improves.
Warrant: Hard drugs may have medicinal uses but scientific research is hindered by the legality of the substance.
3. Deaths from drug consumption drops dramatically.
Warrant: A large portion of today's drug consumption deaths occur from adulterated drugs or unknown potency. This occurs because most illegal drugs are brought to us by at-home-bathtub-brewing criminals. These problems do not exist in a drug legal society seeing that drugs would be manufactured by sterile label-makers that are subject to sanitation checks.
Safety Benefits:
1. International terrorism is reduced.
Warrant: The UN estimates that 87% of illegal opiate drugs (heroin, opium, etc.) come from international Afghani criminals.
Warrant 2: Many other drugs such as crack, cocaine, and meth come from international criminals located in Mexico, Columbia, etc.
2. Modern gangs are reduced to nothing.
Warrant: 21st century Al Capones such as the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and all most every other gang receives their gang funding by selling drugs. According to the UN, the illegal drug market is a $400 billion dollar a year business. If drugs were legalized every penny of this would be striped criminal and put in the hands of the market.
3. Violence reduced.
Warrant: No more drug related black market justice. (Ex. "You didn't pay me for the crack I sold you. Now I'm going to have to kill you since I can't take you to court.")
4. Theft declines.
Warrant: Today drug prices are artificially high because of legality. A large source of theft roots from drug users resorting to theft to pay for the drugs that they are addicted to. In a drug legal society prices are no longer artificially high and theft to pay for drugs is no longer a necessity.
5. Huge economic boost and
6. Much more a much effective police system.
Warrant (for 5&6): Gov. said that the Drug War cost $143.4 billion in 1998 and it's probably much more now. Some of this could spent on fighting violent criminals and some could be returned to the economy.
7. Criminal justice system is sped up and
8. Decrease in violent crime.
Warrants (for 7&8): When drugs are legalized the system is no longer flooded with victimless criminals. Therefore there will be less need for parole. People who have committed violent crimes would be able to face the full sentence that has been delivered by a swift system.
kvaughan

Con

kvaughan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
longjonsilver

Pro

It's times like these when I feel like I'm debating myself.

I could be conceded and think that he didn't post because he didn't have a response but I would probably be wrong. Sometimes I wonder though.

Anyway, there are a few things that I would like to clarify that might have been ambiguous in my last post. I hit the 8000 character limit and had to keep everything extremely short. So allow me to elaborate on this points that were a little muddled.
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For the observation. In his opening statement he said "...your opening statement seems to assert that the US should legalize all or most drugs." He then went on to critique the idea of legalizing most currently illegal drugs. This is what I meant when I started this debate and my observation served as a little bit of a defense. But the main point was that he agreed with me.

You can ignore that "(Page 13)" part in my first attack on his case. That was a typo.

I know the third point didn't look like anything more than an assertion, but I purposely left out the evidence. My evidence was to be found further down the page in "health benefits" portion of my case.

My fourth and fifth attacks were to serve as backup attacks. Sort of a second line of defense. This was to show that even if he were to justify everything that he had talked about in his opening argument, why this couldn't be enough.

Six was meant to be a turn on his case with two justifications. It was meant to show why criminalizing drugs actually exacerbates the problems with them, while legalization serves as a mitigating factor.

On to the clarification of my case.

Health Benefits 1 needed more justification. The implicit point was that drugs are sold at artificially high prices in places where they are illegal. The reasoning is that it costs much more to bring drugs to people. The division of labor is risky, mass production is almost impossible, storage is never safe, and transportation is even harder. All these costs spike the price of drugs. This makes people pay for drugs through sex and then STDs are passed. (This is also the reason why people have to steal pay for drugs.) Furthermore, needles are harder to find and buying them itself makes you look conspicuous so you are forced to share, furthering the spread of blood related diseases.

HB 3 was another great reason to vote Pro in this debate. It serves as one of the biggest reasons why drugs are not as bad when they are legal.

Look for SB1's empirical justification on the internet. It can be found with a quick google search. I'll find it if someone is really curious.

The point of safety benefit 2 was to show that legalizing drugs would make criminals 400 billion dollars per year poorer.

The justification for SB 4 can be found just a few lines above this one.

SB 5 and 6's empirical fact can be found at http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov... on page 13.
And the rest of the case was not intricately explained but the ruff picture was conveyed.

Thanks for reading my ideas. I ask you to vote Pro.
kvaughan

Con

kvaughan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Robert_Lee_Hotchkiss 9 years ago
Robert_Lee_Hotchkiss
Actually fetal alcohol syndrome is just as bad or maybe even worse than crack babies.

I don't think that many would argue that drug use is not a problem. The real argument is whether criminalizing drug use makes any sense.

I doubt that any person any person at all has been saved from drug addiction by the fact that it is illegal. I mean there are so many reasons not to use drugs. Getting arrested has to be way down there. I suppose that there are some people who don't use drugs purely out principal of not breaking the law but I haven't really met any so far.

The reality is despite drugs being illegal they are cheap and readily available. If anything the criminalization of drug use seems to have resulted in cheaper, more potent.

In addition the war on drugs have made us the the largest incarceration entity in history and destabilized nations across the world and created havens for terrorist organizations.

It also costs a fortune in incarceration and law enforcement that could be spent on treatment.
Posted by Kady 9 years ago
Kady
"The intrinsic act of consuming drugs is, at most, only harmful to the user NOT to others". Have you ever heard of a crack baby?
Posted by MattS987 9 years ago
MattS987
very intersting wikipedia article on drug addictiveness in round two
Posted by Kady 9 years ago
Kady
This is a classic Libertarian debate.
Posted by longjonsilver 9 years ago
longjonsilver
Also, the source for the $143.4 billion stat is on Page 13 in http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov...

That's what I was trying to type but I messed up.
Posted by longjonsilver 9 years ago
longjonsilver
Excuse that part where I said "(Page 13)." That was a typo.
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 1 year ago
U.n
longjonsilverkvaughanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by longjonsilver 9 years ago
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