The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
Sam_Lowry
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

The United States Should End the War on Drugs

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/20/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,217 times Debate No: 13183
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (7)

 

Danielle

Pro

Many thanks in advance to whomever accepts this debate.

== Clarifications ==

The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade. This initiative includes a set of drug policies of the United States that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal psychoactive drugs.

As PRO, I will explain why the WOD is unnecessary, immoral, useless and potentially harmful. By accepting this debate, my opponent accepts the description of the WOD, and will argue in favor of its continuation by the U.S. government. They can use R1 to either make their opening case (and have an extra round of arguments), or simply state what they intend to discuss in future rounds and allow me to make the opening argument in R2.

Thanks again to my future opponent, and good luck :)
Sam_Lowry

Con

Thank you for proposing this debate.

I accept the definition of the War On Drugs. However, I would like to clarify that my position is not simply that the status quo ought to remain the same. I will contend that in order for the War on Drugs to truly succeed, it will be necessary to make several changes in strategic strategy that have not materialized within the current system. I will prove this point by providing examples of countries which have employed specific prohibitive policies, as well as the measurable effects and consequences of specific US policies in the present and throughout history. I will also demonstrate the effectiveness of prohibition by measuring the subjective and objective (including both positive and negative) effects of legal and illegal drugs compared to their respective popularity.

I will demonstrate that a strong prohibitionist stand against the sale and consumption of psychoactive substances is a practical and effective means of increasing social stability and public health. I wish my opponent luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Milton Friedman once said that it is not the purpose of government to make people moral or upright. Laws are created to resolve discrepancies in the way people live, act and trade - not command people on how to treat their own person. While together individuals comprise of a collective society, it is not one's burden to contribute or be a productive and functional member of that society. As such, laws imposing on one's body are intrusive and immoral. The issue here is not harming others (which should be illegal or protected against), but rather the act of consuming, buying or selling illegal drugs, which the WOD actively discourages and punishes. As it stands, there is no moral imperative to do either of these things.

My opponent begins by advocating changes to the WOD in the hopes to make it a more effective policy. Throughout this debate I will explain why his suggestions will most likely yield futile results regardless of any proposed alterations. History has shown us that prohibition drastically failed on nearly all accounts, and in fact has yielded even more negative results. For instance, in response to the temperance movement, the opium trade flourished after the criminalization of alcohol. Today, the most abused drugs on the market are legal prescription drugs [1].

The fact remains that humans have sought altered forms of conscious via drugs since the dawn of even the most ancient of civilizations [2]. As such, there is and always will be a market for drugs whether these things are legally available or not. Because of this, the WOD has not been effective at either preventing or inhibiting the widespread use of drugs. Instead of being sold through legal and taxable establishments, gangs and other groups like the mafia have become among the biggest distributors of illegal drugs yielding profits of epic proportions. In other words, it is the criminals who are prospering thanks to this immoral policy that does not accomplish anything substantial.

Let's take a look at the facts. In the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent nearly 3 trillion (!) dollars on the WOD. Still, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling [3]. The Drug Awareness Resistence Education program (D.A.R.E.) has so far cost 230 million dollars alone, yet study after study reveals negligent results [4]. It's not hard to see that so far our policies have been completely ineffective. This is therefore a gigantic waste of tax payer dollars that could better be spent elsewhere in such a way that actually significantly benefits society.

The WOD disadvantages society in other ways too. Scholars suggest that the WOD has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities. Penalties for drug crimes among youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment far more difficult [5].

Consider this: Tobacco kills about 350k people a year, not including the 50k who die from second-hand smoke. Alcohol kills about 80k. All illegal drugs combined kill about 4,500 people per year - or about 1% of the number killed by alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal [6]. In a society that emphasizes the value of life, it is completely non-sensical to wage an unwinnable WOD when the repercussions of said drugs are 99% less harmful than the drugs that are legal.

Additionally, of all psychoactive substances, alcohol is the only one whose consumption has been shown to commonly increase aggression. Drug-related violence is not an issue prevalent because of drug use itself, but due to disputes among rival distributors, arguments and robberies involving buyers and sellers, property crimes committed to raise drug money and, more speculatively, social and economic interactions between the illegal markets and the surrounding communities. All major authorities agree that the vast majority of drug-related violent crime is caused by the prohibition against drugs, rather than the drugs themselves [7]. In other words, the WOD makes things significantly worse far more than it helps. This is true not only because of our specific policies, but the nature of the war itself, which is why Con's adjustments will probably be entirely insignificant.

Regardless of any changes to the system, seeking to eliminate the consumption of drug use is a direct violation of our civil liberties. Considering the inevitable market for certain substances, criminalizing the production and distribution of these 'goods' is only successful at distracting law enforcement from more pertinent crimes and filling our prisons completely unnecessarily. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency [8].

The sale of substances that warrant a profit will continue legally or not so long as there is a demand. However, by forcing it to be done illegally, you are actually putting society at a greater risk because of what will inevitably come with the territory (such as gang disputes, which requires the recruitment of gang members, etc.). Moreover, it's reasonable to conclude that the government enacting such useless, wasteful and dangerous legislation is done so only in the name of their own gain.

In his book 'Drug War: Covert Money, Power and Policy,' author Dan Russell remarks, "Covert government by defense contractor means corrupt wars of conquest, government by dope dealer. When the world's traditional inebriative herbs become illegal commodities, they become worth as much as precious metal, precious metal that can be farmed ... Illegal drugs, solely because of the artificial value given them by Prohibition, have become the basis of military power anywhere they can be grown and delivered in quantity ... To this day, American defense contractors are the biggest drug-money launderers in the world."

It seems the only way to significantly reduce drug consumption in the U.S. is to minimize demand. The only real way to do that is to scare the public out of experimentation and subsequent possible addiction. However, this has yielded completely futile results. For one thing, this is the emphasis of the DARE program which I've evidenced has no real impact. The same can be said about unsuccessful ad campaigns, and the tendency for pundits to depict all drug users as dangerous, scum of the earth. All attempts have failed. Most importantly, the TRUTH as I have explained is that these drugs are not even severely harmful, and definitely not more so than the ones that are already legal and socially acceptable. The only real problem is addiction, thus the focus should only be on educating the public about potential harms (without blatantly lying or exaggerating!) and treatment. No drastic measures to punish offenders, which the WOD would entail, is useful or necessary.

Harvard economists have estimated that abandoning the WOD would inject $76.8 billion a year (!) into the U.S. economy at a time when we need it most. This war is one without a clear enemy, which is why it can never be won. Drug use is a victimless crime and as such need not be punished. The war on drugs has become a war on families, a war on public health and a war on our constitutional rights that hurts society far more than it helps.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
Sam_Lowry

Con

Individuals participate in society because it is in the best interests of all who participate. Left to their own device, people are selfish, cruel, and miserable. Many people simply lack the logic and proper ability to reason to make effective choices even if all the required evidence, materials and information is available to them. In a hands-off approach to society, these people are effectively destined to lead miserable and unfulfilled lives solely because they are born and raised in an environment in which their nature is to fail.

Stating that it is immoral for government to interfere in the lives of individuals does not make it fact. It is an assertion. Defining government any way you wish will obviously allow any moral claims as to the proper role of government to be true by definition. Clearly I can do the same in saying that people of a nation have an implicit social contract with the government, the purpose of which is to provide the maximum amount of happiness to the most people.

The first claim that my opponent makes is that the most commonly abused drugs are "legal prescription drugs". This is a patently false an very misleading statement. Pro's source clearly states that 20% of US citizens have used some kind of prescription medication for non medical reasons. This includes people who have used said medication only one time. Using this same criteria, we find that Marijuana is more than twice as popular as prescription drugs [1], while alcohol and tobacco are almost four times as popular[2][3].

My opponent seems to limit her understanding of the War on Drugs to the legislative and educational effects of specific policies that are included within the War on Drugs. By making this mistake, she makes a clear and confusing contradiction. She argues that:

:the repercussions of said drugs are 99% less harmful than the drugs that are legal.

despite the fact that she must know that illegal drugs are used far less than legal drugs. A drug such as morphine or Heroin is effectively harmless in comparison to something such as alcohol. In addition to being less harmful, morphia is possible to directly substitute for alcohol in even extreme cases of alcohol obsession[4]. However, despite their relative safety, almost as few as .6% Americans use opiates[10], while over 50% of the population regularly uses alcohol.

How can you possibly explain this contradiction? Why would Americans use a substance that is obviously more harmful at a rate that is much higher than than a drug that is much safer and more pleasant? The answer is that the War on Drugs is not simply the sum of legislation and programs regarding drug use and distribution. It is a state of mind. It's a perspective that allows one to hold simultaneously contradictory beliefs without question or doubt. The overwhelming majority of Americans KNOW that drugs like Heroin are far more harmful and dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes. They also KNOW that virtually identical drugs are perfectly harmless when "prescribed" or "prescribable" by a doctor.

In essence, the system itself is it's own ultimate justification. How can you honestly trust a person to make rational health decisions for themselves when they openly admit that their beliefs directly contradict with the most basic rules of logic? Surely one would never argue that a child should be given the opportunity to make negative life altering decisions. This is because they lack the innate ability of rationality that we associate that with adulthood. However, what few want to admit is that rationality does not exist in a static state. Rather, rationality is measured on a sliding scale, with no true reference point. Most adults, while arguably more rational than children, need to their behavior regulated lest the slip into a chain of self destructive behavior. While Pro may be quick to point out that the majority of people are responsible enough to regulate their own behavior, the evidence clearly shows this to be false. The overwhelming majority of Americans have some type of degrading vice, whether it be the inability to control their eating, substance abuse, or any other emotional disorder.

Now, Pro may be inclined to argue that such restrictions on human behavior are severe intrusions on freedom. However, the concept of freedom is arbitrary. There is no evidence that such a thing as free will exists; people are slaves to their own passions and their own nature. By strictly regulating human behavior, we are able to substitute the horrors of human nature (enslavement) for the lesser burden of societal codes. Even if one's natural state is changed by government, there is no reason to reject this intrusion if one clearly benefits from this "intrusion". Even if you regard it as slavery, there is no reason to not choose the more kind of two masters if no other choices are present.

As for the War on Drugs itself, obvious changes need to be made. Much more power needs to be given to the federal government to establish full police power to truly enforce prohibition. One of the reasons why alcohol (and current) prohibitions do not work as well as they could is that the federal government relies on states to enforce the law by proxy. In the current system, States have a conflict of interest when it comes to enforcing drug laws. They have a variety of other important aspects of law enforcement to attend to, and suppressing drug use does not yield immediate benefits. During prohibition, as it is now, resulted in a half hearted enforcement of drug laws. This has shown to be effective in countries that have taken a serious stance as far as prohibiting specific substances such as alcohol[9].

Currently we are focused primarily on the least harmful of substances. Rather, we should focus most of our efforts on the most dangerous of drugs, such as smoked tobacco, alcohol, and methamphetamine. This can be accomplished by slowly reversing the perceived dangers of legal drugs. By releasing a new wave of propaganda and social indoctrination, we can make people understand that the (real) most harmful drugs should be the least socially acceptable, while retaining the illegal status (seeing as all but marijuana are currently at unprecedentedly low levels as it is). There is already a massive movement to criminalize tobacco and once that is accomplished, Alcohol companies can take on the role as the new Evil Villain. Studies showing that alcohol being more dangerous than Heroin and Cocaine will produce cries of moral outrage and condemnation of the companies that have defended and encouraged such horrible concoctions.

The mentality of an invisible War on Drugs has showed itself to be a useful tool for manipulating the behavior of society. To abandon it now will be to have wasted nearly a century of social engineering and experimentation. We've proved beyond a doubt that through social manipulation, use of certain drugs can be pushed into nearly non existence despite their relative safety and medical history. While prohibition has had marginal effects already, imagine how much of a difference can be made by prohibiting drugs that are truly are the most dangerous?

1. http://www.time.com...
2. http://www.ok.gov...
3. http://rileychildrenshospital.com...
4. http://books.google.com...
5. http://www.drugpolicy.org...
6. http://www.nytimes.com...
7. http://pewresearch.org...
8. http://www.scrippsnews.com...
9. http://en.wikipedia.org...
10. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Con begins, "Individuals participate in society because it is in the best interests of all who participate." This does not negate my citation from the last round that individuals do not have a *responsibility* to society, and thus can choose not to contribute. Con's assessment that "Left to their own device, people are selfish, cruel, and miserable" is nothing but his opinion backed up by no tangible evidence relevant to this discussion.

Con's only point here is that the government does, in fact, have a right to legislate morality because he feels we are all bound by a Social Contract -- a contract that is not willingly signed or entered into when being born an American citizen. Of course just as Con notes that my statement was mearly an assertion, the same applies to his statement. We have absolutely no reason to accept that other people have the right to dictate our lives to the point of controlling what we do and do not do put in our bodies.

Of course considering I am the one advocating autonomy of the self - which is inherent - it is my opponent's burden to explain why the SC is mandatory. I, obviously, will explain why this is a flawed and immoral standard. Moreover, since this can easily sidetrack from the meat and potatoes of the debate at hand (the drug war), Con can make this much easier on himself by simply citing places in the Constitution that state the government has the right to impose on our bodies the way Con suggests. Of course considering the Constitution advocates the exact opposite, it will be very difficult for my opponent to make this point.

Moving on, we come face to face with a slew of straw mans and contradictions in my opponent's case. First he challenges my statements regarding the prevalence of legal prescription drug abuse. The government's Office of National Drug Control Policy notes that abuse of prescription pain killers now ranks second only behind marijuana as the Nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem [1]. Of course considering marijuana is barely physically addictive [2] and prescription drugs are, my point stands.

Con takes my statement that illegal drugs are 99% less harmful than the drugs that are legal completely out of context. In this sense, harmful = deadly. I pointed out that the number of deaths resulting from illegal drugs are only 1% of that which occur from legal drugs, meaning the idea of criminalizing drugs to prevent harm (death) is backwards and does not explain why certain things (like tobacco and alcohol) are legal despite their harms.

Next Con points out that less people abuse heroin than alcohol, and even notes, "heroin is effectively harmless in comparison to something such as alcohol" which we see can be verified by sources indicating tobacco and alcohol as the leading cause of hospitalization, death, etc. [3]. However a few sentences later, Con writes, "[The WOD] is a perspective that allows one to hold simultaneously contradictory beliefs without question or doubt. The overwhelming majority of Americans KNOW that drugs like Heroin are far more harmful and dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes." Con seemingly admits that the WOD is contradictory, pointing out that heroin is less dangerous than alcohol, and then says heroin is MORE dangerous than alcohol. Well - which is it?

Furthermore, even if Con's only point is that the WOD is effective at stigmatizing drugs, just because less people abuse illegal drugs does not prove anything -- of course it'd be harder to obtain drugs if they're criminalized (which also makes them more expensive). This does not change the fact that drug use has INCREASED implying that even with the stigma, people are becoming wise to the misinformation spat out by the government and/or their own curiosity and vices.

Perhaps most shocking of all was Con's statement, "drugs are perfectly harmless when 'prescribed' or 'prescribable' by a doctor." This could not be further from the truth, and I'm wondering if Con does not realize that the same drugs he describes as intrinsically harmful (i.e. certain opiates) are exactly what doctors prescribe, because they're pain killers. Addictive pain killers. Narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers and steroids are all becoming increasingly abused in this country, and they're prescribed legally. Pills prescribed by doctors are among the most addictive of all, and moreover, the real issue is that many people are illegally selling their legal prescriptions.

Next Con delves into the philosophical realm of government and writes, "How can you honestly trust a person to make rational health decisions for themselves when they openly admit that their beliefs directly contradict with the most basic rules of logic?" Of course Con has absolutely no authority or right to pass judgment on another's ability to govern their person. He is not my mommy; if I wanted to take heroin, he should have NO RIGHT to stop me, and of course hasn't explained why he should have the right to do so or even that his judgment is "better" than mine. Many people have had positive experiences experimenting with certain drugs. Con nor anyone else is qualified to determine mine or another's ability to handle the repercussions.

Con does raise a good argument: one that ultimately negates and defeats his very own premise. In pointing out that most of society suffers from a vice of some kind, he begs the question why the government doesn't criminalize all harmful things or things negatively impacting society. For instance, the obesity epidemic is rampant. Why not ban McDonalds? Surely if his response is "not everyone abuses it," the same exact thing can be said about drugs. My friends and I are recreational drug takers; we don't abuse them nearly enough to even begin qualifying as problematic (we may indulge every 4 months) implying the same dilemma. Why should WE be punished for the behavior of others? We don't follow that standard in other aspects of society, nor should we. There are innumerable alcoholics; alcohol is legal. We have had school shootings; guns are still legal. As you can see, this argument from Con is not very strong and in fact one he negated himself.

Next Con mentions that free will probably does not exist (I agree), but says regulating human behavior is beneficial. He likens this control over others to slavery and I agree with that too. By being prohibited to act freely against their desires (in a way that does not harm another), one is indeed a slave so I expect a more profound justification of slavery in the next round. I've already explained why this is not only immoral but illegal. We can't force people to act in accordance with the values of others; that's tyranny.

When Con lists a link depicting alcohol consumption by country, you'll notice Afghanistan and Albania top the list of places with the least drinking. Of course, Con completely neglects to report that these are primarily Muslim countries based largely around a religion that prohibits alcohol, making this a moot point.

In conclusion, Con's only suggestion was increasing the role of the federal government - something I am not only completely against but again something that is unconstitutional. Con did not sufficiently defend a violation civil liberties, and he did not even begin to address the complete destruction of the family and one's life when punished for drug offenses. He also ignored my points about the government doling out misinformation on drugs, the government's dirty hand in the drug war (real intentions), the cycle of poverty, our history's insatiable appetite for drugs, and most importantly the inevitable gang violence and other severe, violent crime that is completely detrimental to our society and distracting our law enforcement.

Extend all of these arguments, as they have not been refuted or addressed.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
Sam_Lowry

Con

Thank you for that well thought out response.

I would first like to address my opponent's point regarding the Constitution:

"Of course considering the Constitution advocates the exact opposite, it will be very difficult for my opponent to make this point."

I could easily argue the Interstate Commerce clause or the Necessary and Proper clause, but if Pro will not accept this then it should simply be accepted that I wish to amend the Constitution. It follows quite naturally that if I want the WOD to continue, and that this action is currently unconstitutional, then I would obviously implicitly be advocating the amending of the Constitution.

Pro states that legal drugs are more dangerous, and that this does not explain why current legal drugs are not illegal. This is correct, and as I explained, most drugs currently legal should be banned, and in most cases take priority over drugs currently illegal.

"However a few sentences later, Con writes, "[The WOD] is a perspective that allows one to hold simultaneously contradictory beliefs without question or doubt. The overwhelming majority of Americans KNOW that drugs like Heroin are far more harmful and dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes." Con seemingly admits that the WOD is contradictory, pointing out that heroin is less dangerous than alcohol, and then says heroin is MORE dangerous than alcohol. Well - which is it?"

I admitted nothing. I simply state what the vast majority of Americans believe. Americans seem to believe in two contradictory statements. This proves that not only can prohibition work, but that the substance being prohibited does not even need to be very harmful for it to work.

Pro seems to be missing my point regarding the demand for illegal drugs versus the demand for legal drugs. Drugs like opiates and cocaine are far safer than alcohol, and arguably more pleasurable. There is no logical (from a biological standpoint) reason to use Alcohol over either of those drugs. Thus people are obviously not using these drugs due to the effect that prohibition has had on our culture. In other words, prohibition works extraordinarily well; So well that a drug like morphine can be made less popular than a drug like smoked tobacco. Considering the subjective and physical effects of these two drugs, the disparity in use is almost unbelievable. Prohibition has been an unprecedented success in stopping select drugs from being widely used.

"Perhaps most shocking of all was Con's statement, "drugs are perfectly harmless when 'prescribed' or 'prescribable' by a doctor."

This was obviously taken out of context. I never made such a statement; I simply stated the understanding that a typical person has of the WOD. Most people seem to think that drugs like Heroin are bad, but being prescribed painkillers is fine. This, as Pro correctly points out, is a nonsensical opinion. People are far more willing to use a drug like Oxycontin than they are to Heroin, despite the fact that they have virtually the same physical effects. Again, this was intended to show that prohibition creates an unbreakable stigma on drugs that society considers "bad", even when almost identical drugs are recognized as harmless. It's the modern manifestation of the Orwellian "doublethink".

"For instance, the obesity epidemic is rampant. Why not ban McDonalds? Surely if his response is "not everyone abuses it," the same exact thing can be said about drugs."

Con is incorrect. Fast food should clearly be banned from human consumption. The level of human misery that it causes per capita is astonishing. Advertising fast food to children should be looked upon in the same light as a tobacco company advertising to little kids, regardless of whether or not believes that drugs should be criminalized. I see no evidence that I have annulled this argument other than what PRO has incorrectly implied.

Pro argues that government has no right to intrude on personal autonomy. She is making an arbitrary distinction between government and autonomy. If free will does not exist, then one is just as much of a slave to their own nature as their is to their government. Humans are in a perpetual state of slavery to one thing or another. Pro challenges me to justify slavery. To put it simply, I cannot. If there was some form of freedom then it would likely trump slavery. But the commonly understood meaning of freedom is meaningless. No one can be free, so it is best to instead choose the least cruel master.

Pro argues that there are some people who can use drugs without great harm coming to them. She uses this as an example of Government intervention being unfair. However, I don't see how this logically follows. There is no difference between government coercion and the coercion of one's own nature. By wanting yourself and others to be "free" from government intervention, you are directly advocating that others should then be enslaved by their own passions. There is no inherent difference, other than that more people are able to live happily when government prevents people from making horrible choices. Freedom is slavery.

"Of course, Con completely neglects to report that these are primarily Muslim countries based largely around a religion that prohibits alcohol, making this a moot point."

They prove the point that prohibition can be applied through extra legal measures. Religion is just one method to influence cultural opinions; there are a myriad of others.

"In this sense, harmful = deadly. I pointed out that the number of deaths resulting from illegal drugs are only 1% of that which occur from legal drugs, meaning the idea of criminalizing drugs to prevent harm (death) is backwards and does not explain why certain things (like tobacco and alcohol) are legal despite their harms."

Tobacco and alcohol should take the place of crack and Heroin in society, both legally and culturally. Contradiction terminated. Drugs that are currently illegal should remain illegal to cement government credibility and the perception of moral superiority of the average man over drug users.

In summery, Prohibition clearly works, regardless of the nature of the substance in question. Any increase in crime is clearly negated by the unnaturally low number of drug users. By increasing the power of the federal government, organized crime can be wiped out by removing conflicts of interest and massive amounts of red tape present in the State governments. Through cultural propaganda and legal sanctions, we can criminalize currently legal drugs and eradicate the worst aspects of drug addiction. People will be freed from their self destructive nature and the overall public good will be increased.
Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Con begins by noting that even though the WOD is unconstitutional, he wishes to amend the Constitution. While our Constitution can be amended to make this complete invasion of privacy legal, they shouldn't because it espouses government tyranny and violates the civil liberties that are paramount to our freedom. By giving the government this type of control, we become nothing more than the government's property and no longer live for ourselves but according to a standard we never agreed to but are forced to accept (much like those under dictatorships or other tyrannical rule). Also, Con never explained why the Social Contract was imperative, thus I'm assuming it's a dropped and forfeited argument considering I won't be able to respond.

Next Con writes, "As I explained, most drugs currently legal should be banned." I don't remember Con explaining this, and if he had, I would have pointed out the severe flaws in this advocation. Essentially ALL drugs both legal and illegal serve a medical purpose. For instance, heroin is a pain killer. Other legal drugs like anti-depressants, ADD medicine, etc. also obviously serve a medical purpose. Therefore how can Con suggest that most legal drugs should be banned, when in fact our society relies heavily upon them for essential medication and pain relief? Any drug with a legitimate medical purpose can be (and often is) abused. There's no way of getting around that, so this seems like a really implausible and absurd idea.

Moving on, Con claims that he did not present contradictory statements regarding heroin. Instead of arguing, I'll simply copy and paste exactly what he said and let the audience decide if these statements from Con's R2 contradict each other or not:

1. "A drug such as morphine or Heroin is effectively harmless ..."

2. "In addition to being less harmful, morphia is possible to directly substitute for alcohol..."

3. "However, despite their relative safety, almost as few as .6% Americans use opiates..."

4. "Why would Americans use a substance that is obviously more harmful [alcohol] at a rate that is much higher than than a drug that is much safer and more pleasant [heroin]?"

5. And finally - "The overwhelming majority of Americans KNOW that drugs like Heroin are far more harmful and dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes."

Ladies and gentlemen, let's look at statements 1-4, particularly 4, and then statement 5. You make your own decision about whether or not these statements logically follow. Con consistently says that heroin is less harmful than alcohol, and then concludes that heroin is more harmful. Hmm.

Nevertheless, Con admits that the WOD keeps people misinformed. You shouldn't have to control society through manipulation. Moreover, Con clarifies (in describing the Orwellian "doublethink") that people mistakenly think prescription pills are better for you which he admits is non-sensical. However, he suggests that this is a good thing because it aids prohibition against harder drugs. Of course this is also non-sensical; if he admits that prescription drugs can be just as harmful, than how is this a contention in his favor?

Con writes, "[The fact that society is confused] proves that not only can prohibition work, but that the substance being prohibited does not even need to be very harmful for it to work." Essentially what Con just said is that society can be brainwashed to listen to anything the government says is harmful without actually knowing for sure. This is not a *good* thing. Further, this statement isn't reliable. Simply because more people abuse alcohol than heroin doesn't prove a success in the WOD, but simply the fact that alcohol is more socially acceptable. The fact that it's legal and available for purchase are some reasons of why it's consumed more than heroin. Also, people know heroin is dangerous in general thus avoid the drug. This has nothing to do with the WOD but can be observed or learned about through other means. Con has not offered any evidence that use of hard drugs would significantly increase if legalized. Also, the WOD is not limited to hard drugs; most money is spent fighting marijuana - one of the most harmless drugs of all (including the legal ones).

Moving on, Con notes, "People are obviously not using these [harder] drugs due to the effect that prohibition... works extraordinarily well." Once again, prohibition is only effective insofar as it has become difficult to get one's hands on drugs that are heavily criminalized. This is not necessarily a good thing. Con's entire argument here rests on the fact that prohibition must work because so few of the population engages in heavy drug use. There is no validity or proof to back up this statement. As I've explained in R2, drug use has been steadily on the rise. Just because most people don't do it because they can't or because they have been lied to about the repercussions is hardly a strong argument in my opponent's favor. Many simply don't want to, plus supply is low.

Con says that fast-food should be illegal; there's nothing I can say but "Wow" so let's move on to the next point: slavery and free will. Con concludes that because free will does not exist (which, by the way, is largely debated and most people believe it does exist on both a philosophical and quantum physics level) that we are essentially slaves to our own humanity so why not be slaves to the government. This is a far-fetched analogy that hardly presents a good argument for why our own autonomy should be abandoned in favor of becoming slaves to other people's agenda. Even if free will did not exist, determinism simply posits that every state of affairs is determined by all antecedent affairs. It says nothing about "choosing the least cruel master," and furthermore, there has been NO indication that being a slave to the government is the less cruel route, or that the "government" i.e. our peers should become our "masters."

Because of this, Con's existentialist rant about freedom being slavery (okay, Sartre) is completely irrelevant to the debate. He says I advocate people being slaves to their passion instead of slaves to the government. That's fine. Go with that. You may not be able to escape "freedom from self" but you can avoid freedom from government tyranny. Con hasn't given us one reason why being a slave to the government is helpful but simply says the government is the "better master." I've explained in previous rounds why this is both immoral and non-sensical.

Con essentially wraps up the debate by saying harsh laws prevent consumption, which is good because society needs saving from their own self-destruction. Extend all arguments negating this ideology, including the fact that drugs can have a myriad of positive effects. Also, Con completely dropped the argument noting that people can and will continue to get high whether drugs are legal or not. With pot criminalized, people huff glue, sniff markers, smoke nutmeg and down cough syrup as ways to get high using everyday things in the home.

Furthermore, Con never presented a rebuttal to the fact that the WOD leads to a perpetuation of the under class, destruction of families, a significant deficit and burden on tax payers, government lies, government profiting at their "slaves" expense, and most importantly the inevitable gang violence and other severe, violent crime that is completely detrimental to our society and distracting our law enforcement while simultaneously costing us trillions. He's avoided talking about the economic repercussions at all, and when talking about saving people from their own humanity, he ignores the merits of saving them from an oppressive government that aims to destroy their life, family and opportunities. I pointed out all of these dropped arguments in the last round, yet Con chose not to respond. Considering it's the final round, it's too late now.

Thanks and good luck.
Sam_Lowry

Con

"Next Con writes, "As I explained, most drugs currently legal should be banned." I don't remember Con explaining this, and if he had, I would have pointed out the severe flaws in this avocation."

Second to last paragraph of R2.

"5. And finally - "The overwhelming majority of Americans KNOW that drugs like Heroin are far more harmful and dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes.""

Yes. Most Americans simultaneously claim to know two contradictory things. If you want to make semantic argument as to what the meaning of "know" is, then fine. Taking my statements out of context doesn't change the fact that most people are terrified of Heroin but have no problem doping up on (nearly identical) painkillers, which is a clear contradiction of logic, and not a contradiction on my part.

My opponent still seems to contend the effectiveness of prohibition. She claims that prohibition is only successful because it has made drugs difficult to acquire and that many people have no will to use the drug due to the stigma and misinformation bombarding them. While I do not contend my opponents claims, I do not see how they implicate prohibition as being non effective.

Pro continues to assert that there is no evidence that prohibition is the reason why so few people use hard drugs. However, as I previously explained, it's reasonable to assume that when a prohibited drug that is safer and more pleasurable is used at a rate of almost one hundred time less than a more dangerous drug, prohibition has worked.

"As I've explained in R2, drug use has been steadily on the rise. Just because most people don't do it because they can't or because they have been lied to about the repercussions is hardly a strong argument in my opponent's favor. Many simply don't want to, plus supply is low."

In other words, the War on Drugs works. Small increases in hard drug use are not indicative of a failure. Marijuana use is up because the government has grown passive in it's social engineering and hasn't released a fake/rigged study since the 70's, and hasn't taken steps to censor studies showing marijuana's beneficial effects since the 90's. If manipulation of information can bring about a social good, there is no reason that such action should not be taken.

Pro continues to contend that I have not justified my position regarding government regulation of individuals. However, I have clearly maintained that distinction between the two is arbitrary, and she has not disputed this. Trying to argue that government intervention somehow tramples individual liberties simply begs the question as to whether such liberties exist. If one is bound by the programming of their own personality, then the concept of liberty is simply an illusion. Simply put, I have shown that prohibition prevents destructive behavior. Ergo, government is a better master than personal programming in this specific case.

"Furthermore, Con never presented a rebuttal to the fact that the WOD leads to a perpetuation of the under class, destruction of families, a significant deficit and burden on tax payers, government lies, government profiting at their "slaves" expense, and most importantly the inevitable gang violence and other severe, violent crime that is completely detrimental to our society and distracting our law enforcement while simultaneously costing us trillions."

Dropping the "States Rights" proxy and going with full out federal enforcement effectively solves these issues as per examples already provided, with the exception of cost. That being said, I cannot put a price tag on human life.

Pro argues that people will still get high using legal means. The obvious response is to either make such means illegal or place stringent regulations on such items, such as making markers who's fumes cannot be huffed, banning certain types of glue, or requiring potential ingredients to be adulterated so as to be unusable (such as with morning glory seeds used to make LSD).

In summery, I have shown that through legal sanctions and social manipulation, one can reduce drug consumption drastically. I maintain that there is no distinguishable difference between government sanctions and the programming of one's personality, and as such any claim to personal liberty is arbitrary and nonsensical. Personal autonomy may be preferable in some situations where government cannot physically micromanage something, but I have shown that this is not such a scenario. As such, the government should continue to regulate personal behavior and strengthen its level of enforcement.

Thank you for this interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 7 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
Haha, truththroughlogic! I would have loved to see your reaction when you realized you typed all of that stuff for nothing. That's why I always copy and paste before I post something long on DDO!
Posted by darkkermit 7 years ago
darkkermit
I thought Sam_Lowry had a very interested debating style and was very thought-provoking. Sam_Lowry convinced me that the war on drugs was effective. However, theLwerd stated many negative aspects of the war on drugs, something Sam_Lowry did not touch much on. Ultimately, one is put into serious doubt on whether Sam_Lowry's 1984 society he wants to create with the War on Drugs really is justifiable. Therefore, my vote ultimately went to theLwerd.
Posted by truththroughlogic 7 years ago
truththroughlogic
the question is whether the war on drugs is better than the "legalise and control" solution to the drug problem

i wrote a 1k+ word argument about why the legalise and control solution is better, but i was logged out automatically (i was very pissed off)

basically, the war on drugs is a losing battle, that will never end, the only solution is to make the GOVERNMENT become the suppliers, so that quality and consumption can be controlled, so as to minimize harm, and to remove the organised crime element

also, the fact that having marijuana legalized and available as a substitute for alcohol will mean a reduction in alcohol caused violence alone should be enough to make people want it legalised... drunks getting in fights is a MAJOR problem where i live, and when someone uses marijuana, fighting is the last thing they want to do...
Posted by Sam_Lowry 7 years ago
Sam_Lowry
Yeah, it was pretty difficult but I feel like I could have done better. I had to restrain myself from being overly ridiculous more than once.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 7 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
I was torn until the last round. Con seemed to center his/her entire argument around the short-comings of the human condition, yet not demonstrating why getting high on Marijuana is "destructive behavior".

There were other issues that went unaddressed as well, but that was the kicker for me. Good debate dudzors. I was surprised at how well Con did when considering the position he/she's arguing from -- an untenable position.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Sorry for the delay -- Someone wanted to do a "quickfire debate" where each round was only 1 hour so I've had to postpone this. Plus I'm doing 3 others atm lol :|
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
I didn't say anything about the debate; I commented on the sources.
Posted by Sam_Lowry 7 years ago
Sam_Lowry
Considering how both of seem to be using as much space as allowable, I think that we should refrain from discussing specific aspects of the debate in the comments section.
Posted by Sam_Lowry 7 years ago
Sam_Lowry
I deleted the part of my argument that dealt with those sources (7&8). I basically argued that people are easily swayed by propaganda but ran out of space. Source six applies to the paragraph where source nine is used (in addition to source nine).
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Con's #6 source discussed the impact of Prohibition (citing it lead lead to less alcohol consumption) -- Ignoring the fact that this doesn't have much to do with my case (and if it was brought up in the debate, I'd explain why) what does it uphold or prove from the discussion directly? Con's #7 source is about the growing number of people who think Obama is a Muslim...? And his 8 source is about a government conspiracy of 9/11...? These are all completely irrelevant to the debate and were not accounted for by citations throughout the discussion. It seems as if Con is stacking his sources with things that have no bearing.
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