The Instigator
Rob1Billion
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points
The Contender
candice
Con (against)
Losing
37 Points

The War on Drugs is unconstitutional, immoral, and a complete failure.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,098 times Debate No: 1033
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (28)
Votes (24)

 

Rob1Billion

Pro

First off, the war on drugs is unconstitutional. While the bill of rights does not specifically address this, the spirit of the document is that of keeping the government out of our personal lives. If someone wants to ingest chemical substances in the privacy of their own home, it may not be the healthiest thing to do, granted, but it is not the function of our government to interfere in activities that are completely personal to us and do not hurt anyone else by us doing them. By ignoring this important fact, we are prying open the door of tyranny and civil rights abuse. We, as United States citizens, are obligated to keep the government true in its duties to us by letting it know when it is overstepping its authority and voting accordingly. We have taken our eye off the ball on this issue, and it is time for action.

The three main reasons why proponents of the drug war justify this endeavor despite the obvious infraction of our basic civil liberties are:
1)Health detriments due to drug use
- It is not the governments job to tell us about our health; you cannot hope to outlaw every activity that may be unhealthy.
2)impairment of judgement due to drug use
- This is the strongest argument here, because you can affect others with impaired judgement, however it is an inherently flawed one. The ends absolutely never can justify the means, and that is what this argument essentially is. We might as well put all autistic individuals to death right away if we go down this road, and if the government is empowered to tell us what state of mind we should be in then we are in BIG trouble. We will have to make due with punishing individuals after the fact that hurt people while under the influence of mind-altering substances. This is the way our justice system works for every other crime; our justice system can only technically arrest people who have already committed crimes, not people who may be in the position to do so in the future.
3)general family values in contradiction with drug use.
- These "family values" arguments made by the christian right are especially distasteful, as they aim to dictate at the end of a gun how people should conduct the nuances of their lives. The family values arguments against drugs are similar in logic to the arguments against homosexuality. If homosexuals want to sodomize each other, its their own business. I hear people say "well I don't agree with homosexuality but its not right for the government to tell them what to do". NO ONE CARES whether you agree with it! Homosexuals are not knocking on peoples doors and asking them whether they agree with them! We are talking about passing laws here; if you pass laws based on opinions then you are taking the path towards dictatorship.

Secondly, The War on Drugs is immoral. The stories of cancer patients being raided by swat teams after states grant them the right to smoke to ease their pain is just the tip of the iceberg here; peoples civil liberties are being smashed to pieces in the name of the War on Drugs and a full third of our prisons are housing drug offenders. Drug addicts need help, not prison sentences.

And third, the war on drugs is a complete and utter failure. Countless billions of dollars spent, countless people's lives tarnished by drug convictions, and the average Joe can still walk two houses down and get any drug he could possibly want. Crack, cocaine, marijuana, extasy, heroine, acid, and mushrooms are so easily available that it is almost laughable. The main difference that the drug warriors have made for us, is that by keeping drugs illegal, you create an especially lucrative market for illegal drug dealers (especially foeign ones!). We could put every evil drug dealer in the world out of business practically overnight by decriminalizing drugs... but who wants to do that :P!!
candice

Con

The Government has a responsibility to protect it's citizens. Allowing a person to ingest illegal (or in your perfect world) legal mind altering substances is hardly a "responsible" government practice. The scenario that drug users will safely do their mind, mood, and motor skills changing substances alone in their home is rediculious. Having people leading their ordinary lives on drugs is a serious threat to those around them. Would you want your nanny on heroine, your dentist on oxycodone, or the trucker next to you on the highway on Methanphetamines? Even marijuana slows your decision making skills. How would you enforce "practical" use for extremely addictive, and dangerous substances? That are known for frequent abuse. That would be even more impossible than the present war on drugs presently is.

Regarding your top 3 Reasons:

1. Highly addictive substances KNOWN to be abused should, and always will be controlled, and in some cases prohibited.

2. A mentally handicapped individual cannot drive, and has a limited roll in society in accordance to his or her abilities. These special people also probably have loved ones helping them with the tasks that they cannot do themselves. Those individuals did not CHOOSE to not function normally in society. Also, we dont' put our present "drugies" to death... they're just nucances to society. NUCANCES... because of babies being born addicted to drugs, accidents hurting innocent people because of detered reflexes and decison making skills, and unstabilty causing unsafety for all the people that come in contact with the person, ingesting foreign chemicals into their body for personal gratification.

3. GENERAL FAMILY VALUES IN CONTRADICTION WITH DRUG USE:
Not only is this a Christian argument... it's a moral one. A mother addicted to crack(or any other drug) is NOT going to be the nurturing woman she could be otherwise. PERIOD. A gay person's love will not cause innocent people to be effected because of lack of judgment and awareness. This debate is not over the Government allowing gay marriage... it's over the Government allowing irresponsible practices that can take over a person's life, and overide previous values. What about the rights of those in danger or foreign chemical users?

"drug addicts need help, not prison"
Your right... drug addicts do need help. Your system would HELP them get the drugs they want! You don't go to jail for being an addict... you go to jail for doing crimes.With addiction comes irresponsibility, shrinking and lack of morals ,previously revered. The United States Government should not aid in this behaviour.
Obviously, since there are drugs available thr system is not totally efficient; but it's keeping more people off drugs than your system would. This lucrative market you speak of will in turn be controled by the American government.
THEY will choose:

1. Where the drugs come from
2. Who grows them, and makes a profit.
3. Potency
4. Where their sold.
5. How much they are taxed.What they DO with those taxes...
6. Quantities in which you could buy at a time.

Giving the Government in which you say should have LESS contoll over this matter ULTIMATE control! This would not put drug lords out of buisness... it would help them with their taxes.
Debate Round No. 1
Rob1Billion

Pro

Thank you for accepting my challenge!

Candice, you sound like an intelligent, moral person, and my disagreement with you is over technicalities in the way I believe our gov't should operate, not the substance of your beliefs.

My thesis was that "the war on drugs is 1) unconstitutional, 2) immoral, and 3) a complete failure". You failed to address any of these points in your argument. Instead you transformed my argument into "1) highly addictive substances should be available to everyone 2) drug addicts are just as innocent as the mentally handicapped 3) general family values in contradiction with drug use are wrong.

I will address each point in your argument even though you ignored mine. Please address the three points I made in my initial argument in the next round.

In your opening paragraph, you say that the gov't has a responsibility to protect its citizens. I can't argue this point, because this statement is very broad. However, at what lengths should the government go to "protect" us? Can you agree with me, Candice, that the gov't SHOULD have a very limited ability to influence us in this respect? Let me reiterate in case that sounds vague: Should there be limits on what the gov't can and cannot do in the interests of keeping us safe? If our civil liberties (right to free speech, bear arms, etc.) are lost in the process, can we not say the gov't should back off and let us be? You would no doubt say (if you had addressed my thesis) that the War on Drugs does not violate our civil liberties, because you don't recognize the "right to smoke crack" and neither does the constitution. However, the constitution does not grant the gov't the power to dictate family values either. In fact, you could say that the very reason this country was formed was for us to escape policies that are made to enforce religious family values! You are happy with our policy right now, Candice, because it happens to be YOUR family values that the government is perpetuating right now. Recognize that tomorrow it may be someone elses, and you will be in my spot arguing with frustration.

Your next point is that drug users will not stay safely to themselves while their "mind, mood, and motor skills" are impaired, thus threatening the rest of us. The nanny on heroine, the doctor on oxycodone, and the trucker on methamphetemine. Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble, Candice, but these people are already doing that! The examples you use seem straight out of my personal life! I had a doctor giving me stitches one time in the emergency room that was intoxicated, and I was in an AA meeting one time with a trucker that jack-knifed his semi and sent it hurling down a busy road into a building while he was high on meth. If you had addressed my third argument, where I posit that the War on Drugs is a complete failure, you would see that our very un-democratic drug policies do not do anything to quell our dilemma. In essence, the only actual results our policies achieve are keeping illegal drug lords in business, and keeping drugs in steady and easy supply to drug addicts.

Next are your 3 "counterarguements".
1) "Highly addictive substances KNOWN to be abused should, and always will be controlled, and in some cases prohibited". I don't see why you wrote this, it doesn't really support any of your arguments or provide evidence against mine...

2) on my analogy to autistic individuals. This was not a major point in my discussion, but if you want to make it one then we will take it there. My argument was that the civil rights of the mentally handicapped are threatened by the gov't's ability to arrest people based on their mental competance. Like I said, the strongest argument you can make against me is the fact that people, while under the influence, can make bad decisions that affect others while their mental and physical skills are impaired. If this argument prevails, how can you protect autistic individuals? Further more, who says you can't raise the bar a little and say that anyone who doesn't take their flintstone vitamins is in danger of becoming mentally impaired and should be... rehabilitated accordingly. You see, mental competance cannot be scientifically measured and is a dangerous concept to introduce into our legal system. This is different from an officers very scientific tests that measure a persons motor skills and BAC to determine if they are fit to drive a vehicle. I am not against arresting individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but I am against the gov't preventing us from consuming drugs and alcohol in the first place. Remember prohibition in the 20's?

You then talk of the difference between the innocence of autistic individuals versus the guilt of the drug addicts. Are you sure you have the capability to judge drug addicts in this way? What would Jesus have to say about your decision of guilt toward people who fail to control their drug habits? I don't mean to bring up Jesus in a disrespectful or sarcastic way, I bring him up in my arguments as a tool of empathy.

3) Your third argument, if I could pick a main thesis statement from it, seems to be "it's over the Government allowing irresponsible practices that can take over a person's life, and overide previous values". Then you go on to talk about the rights of those who are in danger from substance abusers. I have already addressed these points, and I will further establish my point that irresponsible activities should not equate to illegal activites, because "irresponsible" depends on your perspective. Consider the term "irresponsible" from a religious person's perspective. Based on their religion, the term irresponsible can mean anything from not going to church on sunday, to not being a part of a very specific religious sect, to failing to blow yourself up in the name of Allah. Our laws ought to be based on a purer form of reasoning. In order to achieve pure justice, or fairness, we need laws that are free from personal beliefs or perspectives. This includes taking into account the perspective of the poor souls who are being victimized themselves from these dangerous substances. We hunt them down, put them in prison, ruin their records, and if they are lucky enough to survive the terrible health consequences of the drugs and the justice(less) system then they are let out on the streets with no hope to ever get a good job and recover because of their prison records, so they might as well just start using again. Wouldn't you if you were them?

Finally, you say that my system would help people get more drugs. I pointed out that it is very easy to get them already, so what benefits of our current system are you actually trying to hold on to? You then twist my words and say that "Giving the Government in which you say should have LESS contoll over this matter ULTIMATE control!" I said the government should have less control over ARRESTING DRUG ADDICTS not the drugs themselves! It would be great to have the gov't take control of the drug industry. Then the illegal drug cartels will vanish and we can have real regulation, that JUST MIGHT end up being able to control how much drugs enter our streets. We could even hypothetically lure the drug addicts in off the streets, away from you and I, and into a place where they can get high under professional supervision and help and can be detained until they sober up to be released. Think about it!

I will conclude this with a quote from a great man, who understood this issue far better than most people:

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded"-Abraham Lincoln, 1840
candice

Con

There should be no limit for the enforcement of RESPONSIBILITY. There are limits and restrictions to our freedoms. I can't call an airport, and say I'm going to bomb it because of free speech. Nor, could I carry a concealed weapon without a permit. This is because these precautions protect those free citizens around me who have a right to happiness, and safety. This argument is not only about "family values", this is a serious legal matter effecting the well being and reputation of our country. I would also like to bring to your attention I make it a point not to bring religion into my debates, so please take notice of this.

Yes, some people ARE using these drugs presently; but not legally, and endorsed by the U.S. Government. How will this (legalizing drugs) help qwell these bad occurances? Being a victim of intocicated idiocracy yourself I'm suprised you seek to insure it's legal existance.

Supporting my counter arguments:

1. The government has a right to stop the use of substances which are known to cause heightened crime, and abuse. What about that doesn't explain why certain laws should impede their use?

2. As I previously stated, autistic citizens did not CHOOSE to be mentally impaired as a leisurely drug user does. Lack of vitamins is not what this debate is about. It's about the government having the right to hinder drug use. I don't personaly remember the 20's... but I hear they were roarin. I honestly have no empathy for people who put substances before their responsibilites. As I said previously... I don't use religion as a leaning point in debates. The government has nothing to do with Jesus, so let's leave the Big Guy out of this one.

Of course the drug addict would start using again after being released from prison. His life is ruined because of his decisions? What a wonderfull thing for an addict... a juicy rationalization! How convenient... a REASON to do his drugs, expecially if he could pick them up with the milk and eggs.

Benefits of our current system:

1. Insurance rates for drug users would go up, and open a whole new reason to raise premiums.

2. Campaigning corruption from drug lords( which undoubtedly you will say all ready exists) is not legal and if it were, politions will officially be selling out to drug lords.

3. Legalizing drugs will lead to MORE government because of regulation of use, taxes... etc.

4. Think of all the lawsuits if drugs were legalized! We presently don't have to deal with that insanity. (See tobacco industry).

5. Present system keeps more people OFF drugs.
Debate Round No. 2
Rob1Billion

Pro

Well, I made a lot of good points, I think, and I am not going to regurgitate them at everyone, because they are long and no one wants to go through that again. If you think she refuted my arguments in my thesis effectively, then cast your vote for her. I will address her main point in round two, which I think reflects a lot of the logic she used against me. "There should be no limit for the enforcement of RESPONSIBILITY". This argument is really bad, I'm sorry. I mean it sounds REALLY GOOD, and I'm sure a lot of you really think it is a great argument and are throwing your fists in the sky in triumph over it, but look at it more closely. What does responsibility mean? It means "what you ought to do". So you are basically saying to me that "There should be no limit for the enforcement of what you ought to do." I'd like to hear your definition of the word, inputted into that sentence, that makes better sense to you. But if you believe that there should be no limit, for what the government thinks it ought to do, or for what your ideologies think ought to be done, then I am sorry.
candice

Con

Responsibility- a particular burden or obligation upon one who is responsible.

Personally, I have faith in people. Faith that they can do the right thing, and kick bad habit's. There are plenty of addicts in my acquaintance. All of these people aren't bad… but they are selfish. This comes with the territory of letting something take over your life. The last thing that people who are addicted and screaming our for help need, is the American government selling them drugs. Please tell me, what help to the children of a junkie would this be? There are so many homes broken by drugs every single day. As you read this, a child IS being neglected or abused by someone on drugs. Sure, drugs may be fun. People WANT to do them, yet as responsible people we cannot always do what we want. We need to do what is right. Not only by a Christian view, a family view, health view… but an overall view of the big picture. Drugs ruin lives… they should not be legal.

We should not allow backwards motion on the war on drugs. The current system is not 100% effective. I would rather help deter the use of drugs instead of aid it. Crime related to drug use would not disappear because drugs are legal. Heart break would not end, because drugs are legal.

Our rights are protected by the Constitution. As I said earlier, there are limits to these rights , to insure the rights of those around us.
Debate Round No. 3
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
By your logic, then, no policy can EVER be a complete failure. If you had just written this sentence and NOTHING else in the debate, you might have been able to make that argument (as cheap as it would have been). But instead you chose to lock horns with me and debate benefits versus detriments, in which I clearly show more detriments to the policy in the form of its goals (keeping people off of drugs) and the constitutinal principles behind them (encroaching our civil liberties). Since I demonstrated more detriments than benefits, I showed that the policy is a complete failure. It doesn't keep people off of drugs in a general sense and it violates our liberties as citizens. Does it keep even a single person from taking drugs? Of course! But by that logic, the government could make the policy "all blacks shall be shot on site, all non-christians shall be shot on site, all jews, mexicans, asians, and arab people shall also be shot on site" and you could say that "that policy isn't a complete failure because it stopped at least one robbery or mugging or rape somewhere along the line". Ridiculous.

So you see, you have the choice of
A) making the logical absolute argument "no policy can ever be a complete failure", in which you should have not said anything BUT this and not tried to also argue me on content, or else

B) argue me on content (in which I clearly provided more substance in the form of incompetence and civil liberties violations.

In B) you just plain lose. In A) you have a point, but this is just attacking the semantics of my title, which is a pretty cheap shot at my wording. If people continue to just pick apart words in titles when the meaning is OBVIOUS, the quality of debating will go down fast on this site, as it already is. If I just put up "War on Drugs" and we went pro and con, you could use still use semantical cheap shots to attack the title. It is hard to imagine a title you can't take some kind of cheap shot against.
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
I don't know why I'm loosing this debate... I prooved without a DOUBT that the war on drugs was NOT a COMPLETE failure. I debated the poo out of this fact. I should be wining.
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
hehehe, those are my babies. :)
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
yeah I see. You look a little younger in that one.
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
By the way, rob1billion, I changed my pic. so you didn't feel threatned. ;)
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
I guess this is what I get for coming on this website with people who love to argue! Good Grief!
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
Oh I see now... since you couldn't proove that it was a complete failure... that part of the sentence is null and void. How convenient that is for your argument! The word complete implies... complete. So the premise YOU stated this debate was over... has prooven to be false.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
Well, as far as the title goes, I already conceded it to preacherfred when he made the argument that only the supreme court can ultimately rule on "constitutional" or "unconstitutional", so legally my thesis would be null. Of course, the word "complete" implies a perfect failure, which is impossible in the real world. The only part of my thesis that would apparently stand is the "immoral" part, because it is the only part of the sentence that is even debatable by us in this forum.

I guess the question is then, how much we can get hung up on the semantics of the title. I say "unconstitutional" as in "does not appear to follow the spirit of the constitution" and I say "complete failure" as in "has not achieved its ends, and creates more harm than good". I guess in a strictly logical sense you could say that a perfectly complete failure is not even possible in nature, no matter what you are arguing about. Does this mean that any debate with "complete failure" in the title is dead on arrival? There is an upside and a downside to this hair-splitting practice. The upside is that we are, after all, debating logically and we should really stick to strictly logical arguments, which would definitely include nullifying 2/3rds of my thesis automatically. The downside is that it hampers the creativity of the debate, and without a little breathing room in the title it would be very difficult to pose any debates that couldn't be constantly disqualified based on trivial, insignificant semantical implications.
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
This was a good debate, but I believe I ultimately won. If the war against drugs keeps one person clean, then it's not a complete failure. Thanks for the debate!
Posted by candice 8 years ago
candice
hehehe... I happen to like cats. Don't feel bad opponent... haven't you ever seen the bumper sticker a real man loves cats? Please don't think anything into this... it was joke.
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