The Instigator
FourTrouble
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
kasmic
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The USFG should legalize all drugs

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/23/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,314 times Debate No: 81438
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (4)

 

FourTrouble

Pro

First round is acceptance.
kasmic

Con

I accept!
Debate Round No. 1
FourTrouble

Pro

I love drugs. If you read my DDO profile, you'll learn that I eat healthy and exercise regularly (i.e. I take great care of my body) precisely so that I can use hard drugs with minimal repurcussions. I've dropped, eaten, smoked, and snorted everything from MDMA to heroin. I even did meth once (never felt so speedy in my life). And thanks to a combination of all these drugs, I learned to seethe with the cosmos.

I've learned more from drugs than anything else. In particular, drugs have taught me a profound sense of humility, that I'm not in total control, that my ideas and vision and even body don't always operate the way I want. And I've learned how to seethe with the universe, swell with its cosmic tides, surf and drown and frolic in its terrestrial waves. It's good to be 16, tripping on acid and seeing the invisible textures of the universe. And it's good to be 19 and so lit that you can smell the stars.

These experiences prepare us for a beautiful life. They teach you that life isn't defined by your job, it's defined by your relationship with the universe. In the words of Rich Doyle, drugs teach us to be ecodelic. And that applies at all stages of your life, no matter your age—drugs break the constraints of habit, anxiety, and dread. The vast majority of drug users have positive experiences with no downside.

Of course, unless you've done lots of drugs, you probably don't know how educational and life-changing they are. So for anyone unsure about the positive effect of proper drug use, let me explain why the government shouldn't be in the business of interfering with personal decisions about using drugs.

Individuals should have all the freedom they want to pursue their own views of the good life—up to the point where an unwilling person could be harmed. This idea is captured by John Stuart Mill's "harm principle," which holds that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” Freedom thus ends only where the next person’s nose begins.

There's two justifications for this limiting principle. First, it gives our government political legitimacy. In a "state of nature," no political authority exists; individuals are free to do whatever they want. The only reason people give up some of that freedom is to be protected from being harmed by others. This establishes a limit on legitimate government interference.

Second, the harm principle maximizes utility because it lets individuals weigh the costs and benefits of incommensurate goods subjectively (e.g. weighing pleasure from drugs vs health risks). Concepts like pleasure are inherently subjective, so the best way to maximize them is by letting individuals weigh them subjectively, as long as those actions don't harm anyone else.

Under the harm principle, the government's job isn't to ensure people make smart decisions. Nobody should be punished for hurting their own mind or body. That's why suicide is legal. And if suicide is legal, so too should drugs be legal. And it doesn't matter if a particular drug is self-destructive—its use has no effect on anyone but the person using the drug. This puts drugs firmly outside the scope of legitimate government control.

The United States should therefore legalize all drugs no matter how self-destructive it is. And the usual responses—that consuming drugs isn't entirely self-regarding, and that the costs of legalization outweigh the benefits—aren't compelling.

First, drug use is inherently self-regarding. It has no affect on anyone but the person consuming the drug. Any harms related to drug use are caused by the circumstances in which a user consumes drugs, not the drugs themselves. The issue, then, is the circumstances surrounding consumption, not drug use itself.

Second, the costs of drug prohibition outweigh the benefits twice over. In particular, prohibition causes the following harms:

(1) Consuming drugs becomes extremely dangerous because of the potential to suffer poisoning from an adulterated batch, or to overdose because a batch is more pure than believed.

(2) Street drugs are easily available to children.

(3) Dealers charge monopoly prices, so addicts can't spare money for anything else. This drives addicts to homelessness, prostitution, or property crime, simply to afford the drugs.

(4) In drug-dominated neighborhoods, people experience a significant deterioration in the quality of life, which disproportionately harms poorer Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Also, consider the race issue here in terms of the mass incarceration of young (usually recent high school dropouts) drug dealers and drug addicts.

(5) The higher-ups in gangs and drug cartels reap enormous profits. In turn, these illicit drug profits fund terrorism and increase the risk of state failure: "drug revenues support insurgents, other armed non-state actors, and corrupt officials, while counternarcotic efforts create hostility to state power." [1]

(6) In Mexico, drug gangs use advanced military equipment (often better than the army's), have taken over local governments, and some towns have even become uninhabitable. Tens of thousands of individuals have been violently killed, a number greater than the combined deaths of American and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a considerable number of children and other innocent bystanders. [1]

(7) Mexicans fleeing the drug violence have been entering the United States illegally. This has created an immigration problem. (It even gave Donald Trump something to talk about, which links to the risk of Trump winning the election).

(8) The most dangerous harms are those we can't predict ahead-of-time. For example, a major cost of heroin prohibition was the rapid spread of HIV through drug injecting before anyone knew what was going on. Or consider the changes in inner-city drug trade as a result of the crack trade in the 90s, specifically the increase in gang violence, gun prevalence, and so on. Prohibited markets are unpredictable. And that has major risks on public health (e.g. HIV), crime (e.g. gang violence), and other social issues we simply can't predict.

In effect, drug prohibition inflicts more harm to people in our cities, states, countries, and the world than drugs ever will. And each of these harms are eliminated or significantly reduced in a legalized regime. On top of that, legalization creates a number of other benefits:

(1) Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, estimates that legalization will reduce government expenditures by $41.3 billion per year. The savings involve reductions in police expenditures, in judicial expenditures, and in prison expenditures. In addition, Miron estimates that legalization will increase tax revenues by $46.7 billion per year, assuming conservatively that demand for drugs doesn't increase, with a tax rate similar to that on alcohol. The total boom to our economy is thus about $88 billion per year. And that calculation doesn't even take into account the potential income tax on legal drug dealers. [2]

(2) Law-abiding citizens who wouldn't abuse drugs will finally be free to use drugs responsibly, reaping all the benefits of drug use without any of the harms.

(3) Legalization will indirectly increase high school graduation rates, because it would reduce illegal opportunities for dropouts.

(4) There's still the possibility for individual states to prohibit or penalize drug use, which lets states test different policies (i.e. states as laboratories).

The facts show that drug prohibition has been the biggest failed policy in the history of our country; the benefits of legalization significantly outweigh the harms. And luckily legalization isn't just supported by the facts, it also aligns with the central value underlying our government: individual liberty. For all these reasons, vote Pro.


Sources:


1. Mark Kleiman, "Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know"

2. http://pubs.aeaweb.org...
kasmic

Con

Thank you Fourtrouble for this opportunity to debate.

“I personally, and my administration’s position, is that legalization is not the answer." President Barack Obama (1)

Observation:

We are arguing if something should or should not be legal. It is important to note what it is we are not arguing. For example, we are not arguing what punishments are or are not justified. Likewise, we are not arguing about overcrowded prisons, or mandatory minimums, these are not relevant topics to the resolution. Many who argue about drugs often argue that they should be decriminalized. Again, while an interesting and important topic it is not directly related to this debate. For example, It is feasible to argue, as many do, that something should be illegal and decriminalized, or to argue for less stringent punishments for violations. Now that we have covered what is not being debated, we can get to the core issue. This debate rests solely on the question of if all drugs should be legalized. Emphasis on all, if I can reasonabley show why any drug should remain illegal Fourtrouble loses.

I will present my argument in two parts. The first being that the U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs, and the second, that the Government protects citizens through the rule of law. By arguing such it will become clear that the U.S. Government should not legalize all drugs.

Argument Part 1: The Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs.

My case here is quite simple (P = Premise, C = Conclusion)

P1: The U.S. government ought to protect citizens from harm.
P2: Citizens can be and are harmed by Drugs
C: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs.

P1: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from harm

To understand what the government ought to do it is important to understand the Role of government. The supreme Law of the U.S. is the Constitution. The authors included a preamble that summarized the core values and purpose of Government. Some of those values and goals listed were “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare….”

Such governments could only accomplish these goals and realize their purpose if citizens are protected from harm. There can be no justice, tranquility, general welfare etc. if citizens are subject to harm that the government could reasonably prevent. That is to say Governments ought to protect their citizens from harm.

P2: Citizens can be and are harmed by drugs

From the U.S. government website devoted to facts about drugs (2)(3) We find a pleathora of information that demonstrates the harm drugs cause.

For example, We find that Herion can cause "clouded thinking; alternate wakeful and drowsy states; itching; nausea; vomiting; slowed breathing and heart rate..... Dangerous slowdown of heart rate and breathing, coma, death."(3) Furthermore, We find that Cocain can cause "insomnia, restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behavior, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis; heart rhythm problems, heart attack; stroke, seizure, coma." (3)

These are just two examples.

Talk about harm. Drugs harm in many ways. It is not a stretch to assume that someone who’s mood is altered, having hallucinations, is paranoid, prone to erratic and violent behavior, and/or having suicidal thoughts poses a threat to themselves and others.

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Household Survey on Drug Abuse asks individuals living in households about their dug and alcohol use and their involvement in acts that could get them in trouble with the police... those who use cannabis or cocaine were much more likely to commit crimes of all types than those who did not use these substances. Of those reporting use... during 1991, 26.1% also report that they committed violent crimes during the year."(4)

We see that drug use is linked to violent crime. That is to say harm to others. Legalizing a drug does not remove the harms inherent to that drug. Thus we see that Citizens can be and often are harmed by Drug use in the U.S.

Conclusion of Part 1:

As P1 and P2 are affirmed that the U.S. government ought to protect citizens from harm and that Citizens can and often are harmed by drugs it follows logically that the U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs.

Argument Part 2: The Government protects citizens through the rule of law.

How does a government “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility… , promote the general Welfare….?” Simple; through the rule of law.

Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law, including law makers themselves. Put another way. The Government is subject to law as are citizens of this nation. How is it that the government can protect citizens from the harm of drugs as we have established it should if the laws that make this protection possible are repealed? Simply put it cannot. If all drugs are legalized the government cannot fill its duty. Governments ought to protect citizens from Drugs. To do this it becomes necessary for the law to enable the government to do so. Many drugs are harmful and are thus rightly outlawed.

Conclusion:

It has become clear that;

1: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from drugs.

How is that done?

2: The Government protects citizens through the rule of law.

From these two points it logically follows that;

C: The Government through the rule of Law should protect Citizens from drugs.

This is why I am opposed to the resolution; that is to say that the U.S. Government should not legalize all drugs.

Sources:

(1)http://www.nytimes.com...
(2) http://www.drugabuse.gov...
(3) http://www.drugabuse.gov...
(4)http://www.bjs.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
FourTrouble

Pro

Con drops my entire case. Extend my argument that drugs are awesome, the harm principle, and my cost/benefit analysis of legalization vs prohibition.

Con's argument focuses exclusively on whether drug use is harmful. But the issue in this debate isn't whether drug use is harmful or even net harmful. The issue is whether drug legalization is net harmful when compared with the status quo (or some other advocacy like a decriminalized regime). I showed that legalization minimizes the harms of drug use (and indeed maximizes utility on every level).

Con's argument also misses a key nuance: drugs aren't inherently harmful. The harms are caused by the circumstances in which someone consumes drugs. Con cites a number of problems with drugs, things like "clouded thinking," "death," "paranoia," and so on. But these aren't inherently bad things. And doing heroin or cocaine don't guarantee you'll experience these things. These are potential risks. Or potential benefits, depending on your perspective.

Remember, any harm associated with drug use needs to be compared against the intense pleasure they bring, their educational value, their medical value, or their value in accomplishing some specific goal, mental or physical state, or death. There's a reason people do drugs in the first place. They're weighing the potential harms against the potential benefits. And if they keep doing drugs, they're deciding that the benefits outweigh. The idea that drugs are inherently harmful is therefore false.

You can also apply Con's argument against him: If the government should protect citizens from drugs, it should legalize drugs, so that they're regulated by the FDA, sold with warning labels, kept away from children, and users are reasonably educated about the risks. Legalization also lowers prices, which means addicts won't turn to prostitution, property crime, or homelessness. Again, all the harms I argued in R2 were dropped, so there's not much to add here.

Con says the government should protect citizens through the rule of law. But there's other ways to protect citizens than prohibition or punishment. Taxes deter people. Regulatory agencies, like the FDA, help out, too. Also, keep in mind the forbidden fruit effect. In the Book of Genesis, even God couldn't enforce a prohibition. The idea that our government somehow is protecting people from drugs by prohibiting drug use is wrong.

Finally, Con observes that it's "feasible" to argue for "less stringent punishments" or "decriminalization." But Con never says he's advocating those things. I have no clue what Con's advocacy is, since he doesn't clarify whether he's supporting "less stringent punishments," or "decriminalization," or what kinds of punishments or alternative to the status quo. To compare the specifics of his case with a legalized regime, I need to know what those specifics are. The status quo is assumed in the absence of a clear alternative to the status quo. So don't let Con get the benefits of "decriminalization" or "less stringent punishments" when Con hasn't offered a clear alternative to the status quo.

That said, I'll address decriminalization. The reason legalization is preferable is because in a decriminalized regime, you're still punishing people for using drugs, you can't regulate the drugs (via the FDA), you don't get warning labels, you don't get to ensure the drugs are pure, you can't tax the drugs (so you lose out on the economic benefit), the drugs still operate in a prohibited market (and all the attendant unpredictability that brings), and it still leads to the problems in Mexico, since all our drugs will be provided by Mexico (or other Latin American countries). The benefits of legalization outweigh the costs, whether you're comparing it to the status quo or decriminalization.
kasmic

Con

Pro says “Con drops my entire case. Extend my argument that drugs are awesome, the harm principle, and my cost/benefit analysis of legalization vs prohibition.”

To be clear, I did not drop these arguments, I just followed a typical debate structure only presenting my case in round two. I will now address pro’s case.

“Drugs are awesome” Pro presents an appeal to his personal experience with drugs. he also argues that “unless you've done lots of drugs, you probably don't know how educational and life-changing they are.” I am not sure how serious I can take that kind of statement. Is something being “awesome” some kind of justification for legality? What if a pedophile said “sex with minors is awesome and unless you’ve had sex with a minor you don’t know how awesome it is.” Or a cutter saying “cutting yourself is awesome and if you have never tried it, you simply don’t know how awesome and therapeutic it is.

Since personal experience seems to be important to pro I will draw from my own experience. As an adolescent I had friends tell me that they were experimenting with drugs in hopes of inducing a type of religious experience. I thought I would try it… I found my experience to be artificial, superficial and in no way beneficial. The cause of deadening of your senses, or an over sensitivity is interesting, perhaps fascinating but overall dangerous and unpredictable.

“The Harm Principle” Pro quotes Mill “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” And yet dismisses my argument stating “the issue in this debate isn't whether drug use is harmful or even net harmful.” Surely if the harm principle is to be applied, and drugs cause harm, then it is reasonable under the harm principle to make them illegal.

I refer you to Premise 2 of the first part of my argument. Drugs are harmful. Pro says “drugs aren't inherently harmful. The harms are caused by the circumstances in which someone consumes drugs.” this is silly, could I not say the same about his “drugs are awesome” argument. Pro is not arguing that drugs are awesome, rather the benefits of consuming drugs are awesome.

I showed that effects inherent to drugs are harmful including things like "clouded thinking," "death," "paranoia," and so on. To this pro says “these aren't inherently bad things. And doing heroin or cocaine don't guarantee you'll experience these things. These are potential risks.” Pro, If death is not an inherently bad thing… what is? Pro is correct to say there is no guarantee that these negative effects will be the result. However, they are the side “effect” of taking those drugs. In other words, the impact of taking some drugs like heroin is negative. It is far more likely that you will have these negatives if you take the drugs than if you did not.

Remember, the resolution is to legalize “all” drugs. Not just some. It is evident that some drugs are inherently harmful. It is not a stretch to assume that someone who’s mood is altered, having hallucinations, is paranoid, prone to erratic and violent behavior, and/or having suicidal thoughts poses a threat to themselves and others. Thus applying the harm principle to this debate supports the illegality of some drugs. Legalizing drugs obviously would increase the consumption of such drugs. The impact being harmful.

“Cost/benefit analysis of legalization vs. prohibition.” Pro claims that “They're (those who do drugs) weighing the potential harms against the potential benefits. And if they keep doing drugs, they're deciding that the benefits outweigh. The idea that drugs are inherently harmful is therefore false.” This is a specious argument. An addict of drugs does not weigh benefit and harm rationally. Neither does the average drug user. Neither does the fast food junkie. To argue that people make rational cost/benefit analysis of their drug use is naive at best.

Consider,

The result of legal tobacco: The sad truth is having a legalized drug that causes harm, like tobacco, is it leads to a large industry that profits off people addicted and suffering from their product. Where jobs created… yes, what is the cost!?

“Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including an estimated 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.” (1)

“If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.” (1)

The result of legal alcohol: “excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion, or $1.90 a drink.” (2)

By allowing harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco to be legal, our society has monetized a human life. Profits are made and jobs created but society pays the ultimate price in life’s lost. The same would be true if we legalized all drugs. The harms of legalizing a harmful substance far out-weigh the benefits of legalization. This is clear as legalization leads to larger consumption of harmful drugs.

A small note: Pro address decriminalization and misunderstands why that is more feasible than legalization. When people speed they get a ticket. Driving 85 mph in a 25 mph zone is illegal. People who get speeding tickets are not criminals but are in violation of the law. To decriminalize drug use is the same concept. Society through law says x is not ok, but just because you do x does not mean you are a hardened criminal. Thus Drug use would be a violation of law, but not a crime.

Burdens: Pro asks for specifics to what I am proposing. I don’t have any. The topic of this debate is legality. Only after deciding the question we here are debating could we feasible discuss specifics. I am under no burden to show specifics, nor do I have to defend the status quo. Pro has the burden to show that all drugs should be legalized. My burden is simply to keep him from meeting his.

Thus far in this debate it is clear.

P1: The U.S. government ought to protect citizens from harm.
P2: Citizens can be and are harmed by Drugs
C: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs.

How is that done?

The Government protects citizens through the rule of law.

We can therefore conclude that “The Government through the rule of Law should protect Citizens from drugs.” The resolution is soundly negated.

Sources:

(1) http://www.cdc.gov...
(2) http://www.cdc.gov...

Debate Round No. 3
FourTrouble

Pro

Our experience is the source of all knowledge.

Con’s analogies to sex with a minor and cutting aren't relevant or persuasive. Sex with a minor violates the harm principle. Cutting doesn’t. Sex with a minor is illegal. Cutting isn’t. If anything, we shoud treat drugs like cutting. Legalize it. Regulate it. Educate people on it. Get addicts help.

The harm principle is a limiting principle. It only says what the government cannot do. It says nothing about what the government must do or should do. Just because something harms others doesn’t mean it must or should be illegal.

Con cites three harms from drugs: clouded thinking, paranoia, and death. Neither of these states is inherently harmful. Some people commit suicide, because the pain of life is too great. For those people, death is positive.

Others enjoy irrational thinking or clouded thinking or blankness. Maybe clouded thinking gives them a greater appreciation of clear thinking. Or maybe they want to cloud their mind because the truth is too painful.

Different strokes, different folks.

Con singles out heroin. Why? Heroin is an excellent drug. It is intensely pleasurable. It has medical benefits (painkiller). It isn't too addictive (it takes weeks for a physical addiction to form). Studies show that fast food is as addictive, and withdrawals from FDA-approved anti-depressants are worse.

Every drug has side-effects. In fact, FDA-approved drugs kill 100,000 people each year. Is Con saying we should prohibit all these drugs just because there is a risk the drug will kill the user? That's absurd. We weigh costs and benefits. The benefits of using drugs far outweigh the costs. Most drug users agree. And most drug users aren't addicts. They're regular folks.

Con says legalizing drugs will increase the consumption of drugs. But that's just Con's assertion. In reality, drug consumption is unlikely to increase. Most people who will do drugs already do drugs. And most hard drugs have very limited market appeal, so legalizing them isn't going to suddenly create a demand for them. Consider: Millions of people don't smoke or drink alcohol even though it's legal. And these people aren't going to suddenly do hard drugs. Also, consider the "forbidden fruit effect," the idea that people do drugs because it's forbidden. This points toward a decrease in drug use. Whatever the case, Con’s assertion is 100% speculation. It's conjecture, approaching nothing close to a clear probability.

And even if drug use increases, the new users will be be folks who didn't do drugs when drugs were illegal. In other words, responsible, law-abiding folks, folks who care about their health, and so on. These are the sorts of people who won't abuse drugs, won't become addicts, and won't commit violent crimes. Meanwhile, these new users still receive all the benefits of drug use (intense pleasure, happiness, meaning, fulfillment). So if legalization increases drug use, it means there's likely to be increased benefits, not increased harms.


Con says the average drug user doesn’t weigh costs and benefits rationally. Why not? Con offers no answer. Con also drops all the harms caused by prohibition. And Con drops all the benefits caused by legalization. Remember, we're not discussing whether drug use is net harmful or net beneficial. That is not the subject of this debate. The subject of this debate is whether legalization is net beneficial. Con completely drops all my evidence showing that legalization is net beneficial. That alone is reason to Vote Pro.

That said, I'll give Con credit where it's due: at least he's consistent. And by that, I mean that Con is so adamant about prohibiting anything harmful that he even recommend prohibiting tobacco and alcohol... Holy fvck is that position untenable... Remember, alcohol was illegal, during Prohibition era. And guess what? It was a massive failure. It led to a massive increase in the mafia, crime, murder, etc.

Con still refuses to give any specifics about what’s he’s advocating. So hold him to the status quo. Or hold him to a decriminalized regime where drugs are still stold on the black market, they're still not regulated, they're still dangerous because you don't know what you're getting, and all the profits go the illicit market, where it funds terrorism and Mexican drug cartels. So you can extend my cost/benefit analysis to the decriminalized world.

Finally,
Con’s syllogism is sh!t.

If the government should protect citizens from harm, it should legalize drugs, because prohibition causes significantly more harm.


If citizens are harmed by drug use in the status quo, the government should do its best to figure out how to make drugs safer. The evidence shows that legalization makes drugs safer, because the drugs are regulated, they're not sold to children, and they operate in a legitimate economy rather than supporting crime and terrorism.

If the government should protect citizens from drugs, it should legalize drugs so that it can regulate them, lower prices, help addicts get the help they need, and lower rates of homelessness and prostitution and drug gang violence...

There are lots of ways to protect citizens that don’t require prohibition. Legalization, regulation, and education is better than prohibition.
kasmic

Con

What we have learned: An Overview of this debate

“Our experience is the source of all knowledge.”

The above is a quote from pro. The question becomes, what is our experience with legalizing drugs. I demonstrated last round that our experience legalizing harmful substances has led to significant harm.

The result of legal alcohol: “excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion, or $1.90 a drink.” (1)

Pro states that “Con says legalizing drugs will increase the consumption of drugs. But that's just Con's assertion.” The above is clear evidence. The prohibition may not have been an overwhelming success. However, it is clear that Alcohol does far more damage to our society today, then when it was prohibited. This is evident as “1 in 10 deaths among working age adults” is linked to alcohol.

Pro tries to straw man my position stating “I mean that Con is so adamant about prohibiting anything harmful that he even recommend prohibiting tobacco and alcohol...” I never made such a recommendation. What I did was demonstrate that the experience of legalizing harmful substances increases consumption and harm. Alcohol alone proves this.

This clearly negates pro’s claim that “Con’s assertion is 100% speculation. It's conjecture, approaching nothing close to a clear probability.” This is an amusing quote as I have clearly backed up my assertion. Pro on the other hand through pure speculation claims that legalizing drugs does not increase consumption. It is historically factual and logically intuitive that if a substance is made legal, and available that consumption increases.

We can clearly conclude that legalization of all drugs would increase consumption.

The Harm Principle

Pro asserts that “The harm principle is a limiting principle. It only says what the government cannot do. It says nothing about what the government must do or should do.” This is a grave misunderstanding on pro’s part and is why he loses this debate. Recall in his opening argument when he quoted Mill.

“the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

This clearly states that based on the harm principle there is a time when power can be rightfully exercised over a member of civilized community against his will. As clearly stated it is to prevent harm to others. This is Pro’s own standard. To follow this standard and test it against the resolution we must ask, does increased consumption of drugs increase harm to others.

Consider all of the effects I have listed from drugs, which are several. It is not a stretch to assume that someone who’s mood is altered, having hallucinations, is paranoid, prone to erratic and violent behavior, and/or having suicidal thoughts poses a threat to themselves and others. I even cited the following…

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Household Survey on Drug Abuse asks individuals living in households about their dug and alcohol use and their involvement in acts that could get them in trouble with the police... those who use cannabis or cocaine were much more likely to commit crimes of all types than those who did not use these substances. Of those reporting use... during 1991, 26.1% also report that they committed violent crimes during the year."(2)

Clearly drugs are not confined to self-harm. Thus we can conclude that applying the harm principle would justify the illegality of some drugs.

The Burden of Proof:

Finally I ask all reading to consider the burden of proof required in this debate. Pro argued for the legalization of all drugs. The burden rests entirely on him to affirm his position. In this debate pro has attempted to shift his burden to me stating “Con still refuses to give any specifics about what’s he’s advocating. So hold him to the status quo.” My role in this debate is to demonstrate that pro has not met his burden.

I have demonstrated clearly that legalizing drugs will Increase consumption. This will in turn increase the harm posed by drugs. When you then apply the Harm principle it becomes clear that use of some drugs invariably leads to a violation of this principle.

In conclusion:

Pro made three contentions two contentions are soundly negated. Drugs being awesome hardly links to legalization and is merely a statement of opinion and the harm principle would support the illegality of some drugs. To vote pro is to accept his cost benefit analysis which is almost entirely based on money. That is to say, to vote pro is to advocate corporations exploiting and profiting off of human suffering and addiction. Profits might be made, jobs might be created, but society pays the ultimate price in life’s lost. By legalizing all drugs based on pro’s arguments is to haveour society monetized a human life with the blessing of government.

I ask you which weighs more, life, or money…

Pro’s cost benefit analysis is clearly wrong.

We must not legalize all drugs

P1: The U.S. government ought to protect citizens from harm.
P2: Citizens can be and are harmed by Drugs
C: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from Drugs.

How is that done?

The Government protects citizens through the rule of law.

We can therefore conclude that “The Government through the rule of Law should protect Citizens from drugs.” The resolution is soundly negated.

Vote Con.


Sources:

(1) http://www.cdc.gov...
(2) http://www.bjs.gov...


Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

I launch into the arguments, I'm going to cover two overviews of the debate.

To start, advocacies. There seems to be a bit of misconception coming from Con on this point. In a non-policy debate (especially in fact debates), merely disproving Pro's point would be sufficient. When you're in a policy debate, the burden isn't quite so clear. Net benefits requires that you compare two separate worlds " one in which the plan happens, and one in which either something else happens (a counterplan) or nothing happens (status quo). You can't realistically compare a plan to every single available opportunity for Con, and while Con can present all of them as alternatives, the problem with not taking any of them on as advocacies is that you're leaving it open to interpretation. It ends up leaving Con's position with less solid footing, and no real reason to prefer it based on any benefits to might afford.

Secondly, and continuing on this level, I think Con leans too heavily on the Burden of Proof point. It was useful to mention once, but it never really goes anywhere for him, mainly because he never advocates for a partial legalization strategy where everything but, say, heroin is legalized. It might have been smart to argue that since none of Pro's arguments were particularly unique to the benefits of heroin specifically, though it does come with its own risks. Without having done that, though, the BoP point just becomes a passing fancy. Pro actually DOESN'T have to prove that every single individual drug legalization is net beneficial. All he has to do is show that it's net beneficial to legalize all drugs by comparison to whatever case Con has. And that's where the problem with the lack of a case from Con comes in, since I'm left uncertain what to compare this large-scale legalization to in this debate.

Both of these will come into play in this debate. Now, onto the arguments.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

The Harm Principle

Honestly, I was thinking about quite a few different ways to cover the arguments presented, but everything seems to come back to the Harm Principle. I can't find a way to really distance any point from it. As such, I'll start off by being clear on how I perceive the Principle itself.

"the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."

I think this is pretty straightforward, and the level of disagreement I see about it in the final round is confusing. Pro states that it's a limiting principle, and Con states that it represents those instances "when power can be rightfully exercised over a member of civilized community against his will." The key word, from my perspective, is "can," and it appears in both Pro's view of when the Harm Principle is applied, and the quote from Mill. "Can" is different from "should" - it establishes a baseline standard of what's allowed to happen rather than what the best course of action would be. As such, I agree with Pro's view that it's a limiting principle. It tells us when we can step over the line, not when we should do so. I think even Con agrees with this, since he spends much of his final round arguing an increased harm from legalization that exceeds those presented by the illegal status of many drugs.

So the rest of the debate just comes down to world comparison, and on this level, Pro's just doing far more work. To explain, let's look at the arguments Con presents in his final round.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

He starts by saying that there is an increase in the consumption of drugs following legalization. Con presents evidence of this in the form of statistics showing that legal alcohol is associated with a very large number of deaths. This point, however, is all about the context. There's a reason Pro viewed this as an argument for making alcohol illegal: all the point does is present why alcohol causes harm, not why alcohol has caused more harm since its legalization than it did during prohibition. Con also doesn't show that more people indulged in imbibing spirits after legalization than did during prohibition, which was key to Con proving this point true. He also doesn't address the argument that hard drugs like the ones that would be legalized can't reasonably be compared with alcohol, nor does he counteract the argument regarding the "forbidden fruit effect." All of this at least places substantial doubt in the view that legalization will increase drug usage.

But all of this seems to miss the key point. It doesn't matter if more people indulge in these drugs so long as the harms to them are outweighed by the benefits to everyone. Pro made a point of addressing this in his final round, explaining that law-abiding individuals who pick up these drugs aren't nearly as likely to produce the same level of harm to their communities as a result of reduced addiction and criminal practices.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

In general, what Con is arguing is that these drugs cause harm, and therefore they should remain banned. Pro spends a good deal of time arguing that most of the harms are personal, as are the benefits. Since we don't get any particular reason to believe that a government has a duty to protect people from themselves, most of these harms aren't important to the debate. What's left is the crime argument " essentially, that drugs alter behavior to the point that people will do damage to those around them " and that's pretty much what Con has to weigh for his argument. Pro does mitigate this argument to a degree by explaining that many of the harms that lead to this are a result of prior criminal behavior and drug abuse, which may not increase post-legalization, but Con's attempts to address this miss the turns. Pro also argued that illegal drugs can potentially be sold to children, who are more susceptible. Pro also argued that the harms are far more prevalent when illegal drugs are the only market, since it means they're made without any regulatory oversight. Both of these points at least showcase some criminal activity that counters some proportion of Con's argument.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 5)

But the elephant in the room is Pro's arguments with regards to the harms of illegality. Con keeps trying to counter Pro's personal experience and the potential benefits of drug usage, which I agree is personal and difficult to generalize. The benefits of general liberty, which Pro also supports, are similarly difficult to weigh. I also agree with Con that money isn't everything, though it does play a role in the outcome nonetheless since Con effectively concedes those impacts. But what's not difficult to weigh is the points about funding domestic and foreign criminal enterprises. I have clear and present harms that are caused by the war on drugs, none of which Con addresses nor clearly weighs against. He makes a half-hearted attempt to do so in the final round with a limited comparison to legalized alcohol, but that's not enough when he's not giving me statistics for prohibition. On top of these, the spread of HIV, poisoning, and the availability to children make quite clear that there are numerous harms that also affect criminal activity demonstrably.

So what I have to compare is the mitigated and difficult to assess effects of legalization on rising criminal activity, and the weight of all of this evidence and explanation for excessive criminal problems in the status quo. Maybe Con is going to solve for some of these (though Pro does explain how decriminalization has its own problems, in particular with foreign criminal enterprises and a lack of regulation), but without a clear counterplan in play, I kind of just have to assume that the status quo is what I have to compare with. The harms Pro cites with the status quo are far more probable and their impact far better defined, so I'm left with little choice but to vote for Pro.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I'm reading through this, guys. I promise a vote sometime tomorrow.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
I can PM anybody else the RFD if they are having trouble accessing the doc.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
any chance you could paste the contents here or in a message to me?
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
I cant access google docs as crazy as that sounds
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FourTroublekasmic
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FourTroublekasmic
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
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