The Instigator
Cody_Franklin
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
ApostateAbe
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

The state should not pass legislation regarding drugs.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,564 times Debate No: 17351
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

Cody_Franklin

Pro

Round 1 is for acceptance; however, allow me to briefly explain the resolution.

Though I could have used "Drugs ought to be legal" or some such formulation, I structured the resolution this way for a couple of reasons:

1. I wanted to indicate a total lack of involvement on the part of the state. Some may claim that we should "legalize" drugs by allowing their use, but also taxing and regulating. I want my position, which emphasizes zero state involvement, to be clear: no bans, no penalties, no taxes, no regulations. Zero involvement. Additionally, the debate will be structured for maximum conflict, as my opponent has advocated on his profile that he is in favor of taxing and regulating some drugs, decriminalizing others (which usually allows for penalization like fines and mandatory rehabilitation), and keeping legal bans on those which he regards as most dangerous. Though the burden of proof is very much on my opponent to justify legal action against drug use, this debate also requires me to defend the position of liberty. Should neither of us make compelling arguments, you obviously render the debate a tie in that category.

2. The resolution doesn't imply a moral obligation on the part of the state. Though it's possible for either of us to make moral arguments, the debate uses "should" in the sense of "You should go to the doctor", rather than in the sense of "you shouldn't kill".

Should my opponent have any comments, concerns or questions prior to accepting the debate, the comments are the proper place for addressing them.

ApostateAbe

Con

I accept the Con position, and I assert that the state should either pass or keep existing legislation regarding drugs. My position is that all addictive substances should be regulated/taxed/criminalized variously according to their level of danger to the general welfare of the public. Specifically, marijuana, shrooms and LSD should be fully decriminalized though slightly regulated and taxed, tobacco should be heavily regulated and taxed, and the "hard drugs" should be criminalized with mandatory rehabilitations (not prison sentences).

Pro's claim that "The resolution doesn't imply a moral obligation on the part of the state" is seemingly absurd, because all statements of "should" are statements of moral obligation. Morals are systems of expected behaviors that depend entirely on accepted values. The example given, that "You should go to the doctor," is therefore just as much a statement of moral obligation as "you shouldn't kill." The former statement is another way of saying, "Your health and life is more valuable to me than your money and time, and therefore my moral priorities compel me to encourage you to go to the doctor rather than to stay home." The latter statement is another way of saying, "The lives of innocent people are more valuable to me than your freedom to end their lives, and therefore my moral priorities compel me to discourage you from murdering."

The debate about drug policy likewise has morality at its core on all sides of the debate. It is a rivalry of values between freedom of all people to use all forms of recreational drugs on the one hand (Pro) and the health, safety, and freedom from addiction on the other hand (Con). As a libertarian-leaning individual, I have sympathy for the Pro side. However, freedom is not my only value. When George W. Bush infamously stated, "There ought to be limits to freedom," it was an uncomfortable truth. We do not and should not have unlimited freedom, or else it would follow that there would be freedom to murder, assault, rape, steal, and violate software terms and conditions. We set limits to freedom, the same as all other values, according to a perceived maximization of our combined set of values.

The so-called "War on Drugs" is almost universally acknowledged as a failure, due in large part to a persistent red herring: the unnecessary criminalization of marijuana. The argument against that subset of the policy is easily won. But, we should not be deluded into believing by the projection of such argumentation that the legalization of all manner of recreational drugs will likewise benefit society. Cody_Franklin advocates the full legalization of even the most dangerous drugs, so I will focus on perhaps-the-most problematic drug threatening the United States: methamphetamine (or meth).

According to a study in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, "The need for speed: an update on methamphetamine addiction," September 2006, meth, described in the introduction as "highly addictive," has the following effects:
  • Withdrawal effects reinforcing addiction - "Terminating the administration of high doses of these drugs in humans and animals induces physiological and psychological effects that are opposite to the acute effects of the drug (Fig. 3); these include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, inability to concentrate and even suicidality."
  • Deterioration of quality of life - "Most of them [youth abusers in Vancouver] perceived an important deterioration in their quality of life due to MA abuse."
  • Neurological damage - "The more prominent of these include a loss of grey matter in the cingulate, limbic and paralimbic cortices of MA abusers, as well as significantly smaller hippocampi and white-matter hypertrophy. Longer-term MA users also displayed an enlarged striatum and subtle alterations in cerebral vasculature. A recent study has identified shape changes of the corpus callosum in abstinent MA users, including increased curvature in the genu and decreased width in posterior midbody and isthmus areas, which connect frontal and parietal cortices."
  • Bodily damage - "In addition to the mental health problems involved with the longer-term consumption of MA [methamphetamine], use of the drug is associated with numerous additional physical problems, including dental caries, infection, heart failure and malnutrition."
Many substances are harmful to the body, but the danger abusers and to society is strongly magnified by the level of addiction. According to AddictionRecoveryBasics.com (http://addictionrecoverybasics.com...):

The epidemic that is crystal meth has reached crisis proportions in North America, and around the world. Meth is generally easy and cheap to produce in simple "labs", often set up in dealer's homes. The drug creates an instant euphoria in the user, but is extremely addictive. The long term effects include brain damage, memory impairment, and extreme mood swings. The withdrawal symptoms have been described as "physical agony", hence the very high dropout rate of addicts from recovery programs. Addiction counselors say the relapse rate (of 92 per cent) is worse than cocaine.

According to that source, meth is almost as addictive as nicotine--crystal meth scores 94.09/100 and nicotine scores 100/100.

The addictive power of such substances is the essential point of the argument against full freedom, because the ability to make the reasonable decision of discontinuing the procurement and ingestion of the substance is all but completely crippled for everyone who is already addicted, and the essential element of freedom--availability of options--is likewise minimized. Everyone knows many people who have earnestly tried and failed to quit smoking.

If meth use negatively affected only the users, then I assert that these arguments would be sufficient. However, the negative effects extend strongly into the larger community, among many of those people who never complied with meth use in the least. According to the abstract of "Methamphetamine Use, Self-Reported Violent Crime, and Recidivism Among Offenders in California Who Abuse Substances," of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, April 2006,

Methamphetamine use was significantly predictive of self-reported violent criminal behavior and general recidivism (i.e., a return to custody for any reason).

I finish my round of arguments on that point, and I await my opponent's case. To be swash, I strongly expect that he has an uphill battle ahead of him.
Debate Round No. 1
Cody_Franklin

Pro

Foreword

Since Con admitted his mistake in putting up the R1 case, it's up to voters on the conduct point..

Framework

Con retorts that we have to look to morality in this debate because it centers on values, but this isn't the case at all. When evaluating political philosophy, it is possible for one to be influenced by ethical theory; however, this is merely descriptive ethics, not normative ethics. That discussion may be influenced by moral principles does not imply that proving a moral imperative is necessary for victory. As I noted, it's perfectly fine for Con and I to make moral arguments, but the resolution is not intended to be framed as a moral imperative for the state. Con attempts to argue that even my "you should go to the doctor" statement is a moral claim, but it's one which makes use of a colloquial notion of "should", which implies "it would be beneficial for you to go to the doctor", rather than "you're morally obligated to see a physician".

Moreover, I would like to point out that Con is making a slippery slope argument. He claims that we shouldn't have "unlimited freedom", because it would force us to accept freedom to murder, rape, and so on. First of all, I never advocated "unlimited freedom", so his objection is irrelevant. Second of all, we're talking specifically about the freedom to use drugs, not to initiate violence against other individuals. This distinction between limitations on self-harm and limitations on harming others is actually central to my case.

Arguments

Argumentation Ethics and Self-Ownership

There are many theories of rights encompassed in ought-ethical theories like utilitarianism and deontology; however, these theories all fall victim to problems of normative contingency and crushing subjectivity. Argumentation ethics explains rights as presuppositions resulting from engaging in the act of argument, rather than engaging in violence. Hans Hoppe argues [http://mises.org... (starting around 339-340)] that we must necessarily allocate scarce resources--our bodies. By the very act of making an argument, I am exercising self-ownership. By arguing, my opponent and I both acknowledge each others' right to control exclusively our own bodies. In turn, we see that the nonaggression principle is also presupposed. Thus, communication with others necessarily assumes self-ownership and nonaggression. Should we attempt to engage in force, we must abandon argumentation, as we are, by using force, necessarily discarding that which is required to engage in argumentation. Conversely, we cannot therefore argue against that which is required for argument. My opponent cannot attempt to convince me to become a slave without running into a contradiction, as he must suppose free and autonomous agency to engage me (an idea originally pioneered by Habermas [http://plato.stanford.edu...].

Discourse ethics is distinguished from traditional "ought-morality", as it does not tell us what we ought to do--rather, it frames human action in a way which explains to us what it is logically impossible to do. Consequently, Con cannot make arguments which contradict concepts like nonaggression and self-ownership without contradicting himself by arguing to undermine that which is fundamentally necessary for communicative rationality.

On Meth and Self-Harm

I accept the harms, but contend they have no impact. Con seems to be presupposing that banning, regulating, or otherwise penalizing self-harm is justified. Whereas my discussion of presuppositions (such as self-ownership and nonaggression) is justified on the basis that we're arguing (the act of argument implicitly validating those presuppositions), Con is merely fiating presuppositions which have yet to be justified.

Legal action against any substance is unjustified, regardless of self-harm concerns. It's true that the government could simply cease with argument and initiate violence through taxes, bans, and regulation; however, at the point that violence is used in lieu of discourse, we can no longer argue about justification. In other words, there is no way for Con to warrant this violence, as he cannot logically justify action to undermine that which he must presuppose to argue his justification.

On Meth and Society

1. Con cites how cheap, easy, and addictive meth is on the black market, and uses that as a justification for a ban. Though saying "X is really addictive, therefore we should ban it" is, despite the emotional appear, a glaring non sequitur, the part about meth being cheap and easy provokes a bit of economic analysis.

Earlier, Con opposed the War on Drugs in terms of marijuana, but argued that we shouldn't let that trick us into letting all drugs go free. Apart from the fact that the "improvements" in meth use (e.g. higher prices and lower use) were basically only temporary as the US heaped on a few billion dollars more (not even counting that violent crime rates didn't shrink) [http://people.ucsc.edu...], Con may still still argue that we have to maintain the WOD for symbolic reasons, as a show of our tough attitude on a social pollutant. Unfortunately, that doesn't hold up to the economics.

The WOD has the effect that sugar tariffs had on sugar and HFCS (sugar, while not being healthy, is at least better than the zero-nutrition syrup, much like how some drugs, while not being good for you, are obviously much better than meth). When putting tariffs on sugar, prices spiked, and HFCS became the cheapest, easiest thing to mass-produce [http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Similarly, the WOD succeeded in driving up the prices and risks of many drugs. Production costs increased, finding ways to distribute became more difficult, and so on. For people just looking for a high, meth offered significantly lower costs, both in terms of money and in terms of risk (not to mention the "forbidden fruit" or "potency" effect highlighting the backlash of prohibitive policies) [http://mises.org...]. On the supply side, savvy dealers can make massive profits because of conditions creating increased demand for meth, sometimes playing with returns of up and around 500% [http://nymag.com...] [http://www5.semo.edu...]. Obviously it varies, but it's often tremendous.

2. His second argument about crime also doesn't offer a compelling reason to ban meth. First, if you're going to punish an individual for a crime involving harm of others, then the drug is irrelevant vis-a-vis crime. Second, the principle here is basically that we can ban things to prevent crime; however, there's no reason to believe this is the case, as A) he's already admitted that he's okay with marijuana, for which arguments can be made about committing a crime while high, and B) he would have to commit himself to banning things like rage and sadness, since those emotions can also severely compromise one's judgment to the point of committing a criminal act. Third, look to the contradictions I listed earlier regarding argumentation ethics--he can't argue a ban without having to abandon the very things allowing him to argue his justification (which is ironic, since he criticized meth as detrimental to autonomy). Fourth, his study also says that meth use isn't significantly predictive about violent crime recidivism, which means that it could just be going back to jail for drugs (which means that his study doesn't justify meth bans). Fifth, you can get the advantages of restorative justice/rehab through private intermediaries, like contracts with insurance companies and employers to refrain from drug use, and mandatory rehab and probation (like higher premiums or routine drug tests) as a stipulation for breaking the terms, which means we don't need coercion.

Good luck to Con in R2.

ApostateAbe

Con

Introduction

I thank my opponent. He has made a more sophisticated case than I anticipated. I will address the most relevant subset of his points, not all of them, given the limitations of space.

Descriptive vs. normative ethics

By all defininitions of "normative ethics," the resolution is fully a statement of normative ethics, not merely descriptive ethics. Any advocacy or counteradvocacy of a political position is normative. Cody_Franklin advocates the political position of "The state should not pass legislation regarding drugs." He claims to be supporting merely descriptive ethics, but he is not merely describing the political position. As he himself has stated, "...this debate also requires me to defend the position of liberty." See this page for clarification of the distinction between descriptive and normative ehics: http://faculty.stedwards.edu.... The reason why this distinction is important is because the Instigator should not dress up his moral arguments as non-moral arguments and demand that I should use only non-moral arguments. Morality can not be avoided in this debate.

One value vs. many values

Pro claims that I used a slippery slope argument and a strawman argument. I intended neither an argument of slippery consequences nor a representation of Pro. In the relevant context, I merely intended to present and justify my position that "We set limits to freedom, the same as all other values, according to a perceived maximization of our combined set of values."

Since Pro is seemingly arguing from only one single value (freedom from government), then I would like to know if Pro shares with me the advocacy of a plurality of values. If so, then he should argue by weighing more than one value.

Self-ownership vs. addiction

Regardless, I will argue my position from this point and onward using the seeming value system of Pro: self-ownership is the only relevant value.

Pro rightly claims that, "By arguing, my opponent and I both acknowledge each others' right to control exclusively our own bodies." Therefore, he wrongly argues, I can not make arguments that undercut this implicit acknowledgment of self-ownership. I share with Pro a general support for self-ownership. However, it does not follow that it is contradictory to claim that a state's force should be applied to prevent substance addiction, because the argument is neglecting the established reality that addicts lose part of their self-control (or their ability to act according to self-ownership) when they become addicted to a substance.

It is naive to think that the only relevant loss of an individual's self-ownership happens through the application of physical force. It should be an obvious reality that the loss of self-ownership also happens very frequently through designed neurological methods. If the actions of a first party are controlled by a second party against the will of the first party, then such a relationship contains the essence of enslavement.

As a most relevant example, according to a 2008 report from Gallup (titled, "Most Smokers in U.S. Want to Quit" from http://www.gallup.com...), "Among the 21% of Americans who say they smoke, 74% say they would like to give up smoking, and 67% say they are addicted to cigarettes."

This social reality is no accident. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health, November 2007, titled, "Pharmacological and Chemical Effects of Cigarette Additives," (at http://ajph.aphapublications.org...) the conclusions are as follows:

Modern cigarettes have been extensively engineered and optimized as nicotine delivery devices developed through major national and international research and development programs. The average smoker has been unaware of these efforts by the tobacco industry and of the extensive manipulation of cigarette chemistry.

Our results indicate that more than 100 of 599 documented cigarette additives have pharmacological actions. Previous research18,21,22 has documented extensive efforts by the tobacco industry to use additives to mask the presence of ETS by reducing the visibility, odor, and irritability of tobacco smoke. Similar to the findings of previous studies, our results show that the tobacco industry used additives (1) that enhance or maintain nicotine delivery and could increase the addictiveness of cigarettes and (2) that mask symptoms and illnesses associated with smoking behavior.

To our knowledge, there has been no systematic evaluation of the public health effects of cigarette additives or their combustion products. The tobacco industry has actively manipulated cigarette content by using potentially hazardous chemical and phytochemical additives that should be regulated. Unregulated use of additives in tobacco products subjects billions of smokers and nonsmokers alike to an uncontrolled experiment with potentially devastating health effects.

If these methods of marketing are made available to entrepreneural producers of newly-legal dangerous drugs, then I challenge Pro to make his case for why this will not be a problem of enslavement well beyond the problem of proportional law enforcement power intended to prevent it.

Proposed libertarian solution

To his credit, Pro made a brief argument for the betterment of society in his closing paragraph:

Fifth, you can get the advantages of restorative justice/rehab through private intermediaries, like contracts with insurance companies and employers to refrain from drug use, and mandatory rehab and probation (like higher premiums or routine drug tests) as a stipulation for breaking the terms, which means we don't need coercion.

There are two problems with this solution:

(1) Such a method is still coercion on the part of civil courts, merely distancing the involvement of law enforcement by one step, not removing it per Pro's postion of "a total lack of involvement on the part of the state," and
(2) this method would require either a penalty of mere monetary damages or the overhaul of the current legal principles of contract law.

To explain the second problem, the greatest penalty that may be incurred for a breach of contract is monetary debt, and monetary debt has been proven to be a vastly insufficient method of coercion, because the power of addiction overwhelms an addict's fear of debt in favor of immediate reward. An experiment published in Neuropsychologia, 2002, "Decision-making and addiction (part II): myopia for the future or hypersensitivity to reward?" (at http://ahealthymind.org...) found that substance addicts persistently made decisions far more in favor of immediate reward than the control group. States the study:

This behavior resembles that of patients with bilateral lesions of the ventromedial (VM) prefrontal cortex. It also reflects the behavior of SDI [substance dependent individuals] in real-life in that they prefer choices that bring immediate benefit (i.e. drug reward), at the risk of negative future consequences (e.g. loss of jobs, home, family and friends). The failure of progressive delayed punishment to deter SDI from seeking immediate reward is consistent with their "myopia" for the future in real-life, which persists in the face of rising negative consequences.

Conclusion

Though my opponent has made a valient attempt to justify his position strictly in terms of high-minded ethical theory, I encourage my opponent to think less in terms of theory and more in terms of practical expectations of proposed law based on scientific examinations and tested knowledge of human psychology and society. The most justifiable political position very typically depends on the latter, not the former.
Debate Round No. 2
Cody_Franklin

Pro

Descriptive/Normative
This is basically a big red herring. I set forward in the beginning that the resolution isn't a moral imperative, and that's that. Basically, we can use moral arguments to defend our positions (contrary to Con's claim that I "demand" that he should only use non-moral arguments, which you can read my R1 to disprove), but it's not necessary.

Values


Con was using both a straw man and a slippery slope: the former by trying to characterize my argument as supporting "absolute" freedom, the latter by claiming that, to be consistent, I would also have to support freedom to harm others (e.g. murder, rape, theft). I never made the "absolute freedom" claim, which makes the latter claim irrelevant.

As far as the "plurality" argument, my advocating freedom--freedom from coercion--makes the advocacy of other values irrelevant, because either they center around preventing coercion of others (which can be addressed under freedom), or personal taste, e.g. premarital sex or drug use, which are questions of personal autonomy. The fact that I personally advocate multiple values, for example, does not imply that I should advocate legally imposing them on everyone else.

Self-owneship v. Addiction

Actually, it does follow that contra-self-ownership arguments are self-defeating. Con is trying to argue that the government should be able to use force against me without my consent. It's similar to me making an argument that Con should be a slave. I cannot argue with him that he should be a slave, because the act of arguing presupposes his self-ownership and free agency. Should he agree to be a "slave", he would not actually be a slave. Similarly, that he is trying to argue (which requires presupposing freedom and the need for consent for the government to take action without peoples' consent is self-contradicting.

Further, he tries to make this argument about drug use reducing agency. Problem is, he's approaching this retrospectively, which is problematic. If I enter into an employment contract, they may stipulate that I can't drink, that I can't work anywhere else, that I have to work for low wages, etc. It may be the case that consenting to the terms of this contract really binds me; however, we cannot say that my agency is lessened simply because I look back on the decision, realize I screwed up, and complain that "this isn't what I wanted!" Meth use promises some utility to the user at the expense of something else--that's opportunity cost, Econ 101. In using meth, I know the risks, and I essentially agree to accept them (which it is no one's right to do but my own) by using. By Con's argument, we would have to ban basically everything, since all actions necessarily involve an opportunity cost (i.e. a limit on one's future options, which Con construes as "losing self-control". Plus, since the high from smoking marijuana (which Con admitted that he's okay with) can be construed as compromising judgment, and therefore compromsing agency. It seems that Con runs into a contradiction with this sort of advocacy.

Con seems to conflate self-inflicted losses of agency (like heavy meth use) with external losses (like being mugged, killed, or legally bound by the state). He tries to construe it as one party exercising control over another (ergo slavery), but meth isn't a conscious second party exercising control over anyone. It's like me inviting you into my airplane with the promise that I won't push you out once we reach 20,000 feet. Though it obviously limits what I can do on my property, I've given such options up by my own agreement, much as meth users cede total guarantee of future agency by engaging in meth use.

The rest of Con's argument here basically centers on "cigarettes are addictive, and Big Tobacco is bad", which aren't arguments for legislation. In the first place, addictiveness doesn't justify a legal ban any more than dependency on paid wages (or on sleep aids, to keep the drug theme) justifies forcing the employer to retain an employee or forcing consumers to ration their Ambien. In the second place, "bad companies are bad, good regulation is good" isn't an argument, since it fails to account for things like tobacco lobbies and regulaory capture, which tend to be extremely common in the biggest industries (USDA and agriculture, particularly corn, FDA/EPA and bottled water, the ICC and railroads). His sources here, like many of his sources in the last round, shouldn't really grant him points because they're essentially supporting red herring arguments. If companies are defrauding consumers so badly, sue them for fraud. No force needs to be initiated.

The "Libertarian Solution"

Addressing his concerns,

(1) It doesn't involve coercion if the terms of the contract stipulate mandatory rehab in the case of broken contract. The individual using drugs would be acting aggressively (fraud, specifically) by accepting payment and employment from a company while breaking his contractual agreement not to use drugs.

(2) This isn't an argument--just a warning that things might be difficult if we have to change contract law. He basically argues that monetary compensation is insufficient (insufficient for what, first question); however, I can grant this without it damaging my argument. I specifically stated that contracts can include things like drug testing, which companies often do under health and safety policies [http://www.direct.gov.uk...], and can include stipulations like drug classes and rehab upon discovery of an employee using drugs. The point is that these things can be integrated into contracts, which renders government totally unnecessary.

Further, he argues incentives, and basically points out that the cost to an addict of monetary loss is less than the utility gained from getting a fix. Problem is, his study doesn't really demonstrate anything significant. The current culture fosters a low time preference [http://wiki.mises.org...] anyway, and it's been repeatedly proven that people tend to prefer immediate gratification to long-term rewards [http://www.tinbergen.nl...]. That addicts had a lower time preference than normal is not indicative that state action is necessary.

Drops

1. Con never really addresses argumentation ethics in detail. He pays it a passing glance near the beginning of his rebuttal by talking about how we should violate self-ownership to prevent people from giving it up (which I've already refuted above), but it's otherwise untouched.

2. Con never hit the WOD/economic analysis.

3. Con never addressed the othe objections presented in Section 2 of On Meth and Society (of importance is my analysis on the beginning about drugs and committing violent crimes). Additionally, to expand on my criticism of his meth/violence recidivism study, I want to point out that they only controlled for self-reported violence, general recidivism, and drug trade involvement [full study: http://www.sagepub.com...]. They didn't control for things like personality traits (e.g. impulsiveness) which could affect meth use and violence, which puts the validity of the study with respect to his argument into question (as the study cites methodological issues to explain an inconsistency between self-reported violent crime rates and violent crime arrests, based on variables for which they controlled, like drug trade involvement).

Good luck to Con in R3.
ApostateAbe

Con

It has been a lively and enlightening debate. I acknowledge that I have left many points and counterpoints unaddressed, and I will leave those and more issues unaddressed, granting Pro the last word on those topics. For my closing argument, I will focus very strongly on a single point presented by Pro: the contract analogy.

To quote Pro:

Further, he tries to make this argument about drug use reducing agency. Problem is, he's approaching this retrospectively, which is problematic. If I enter into an employment contract, they may stipulate that I can't drink, that I can't work anywhere else, that I have to work for low wages, etc. It may be the case that consenting to the terms of this contract really binds me; however, we cannot say that my agency is lessened simply because I look back on the decision, realize I screwed up, and complain that "this isn't what I wanted!" Meth use promises some utility to the user at the expense of something else--that's opportunity cost, Econ 101. In using meth, I know the risks, and I essentially agree to accept them (which it is no one's right to do but my own) by using. By Con's argument, we would have to ban basically everything, since all actions necessarily involve an opportunity cost (i.e. a limit on one's future options, which Con construes as "losing self-control". Plus, since the high from smoking marijuana (which Con admitted that he's okay with) can be construed as compromising judgment, and therefore compromsing agency. It seems that Con runs into a contradiction with this sort of advocacy.

Since Pro has framed his arguments in terms of an employment contract, then I will use my last round to build on that perspective. It is commonly agreed that some contracts are morally permissible in our society, and other contracts are impermissable enough to be against th law (i.e. slavery contracts). I will write an analogous contract that corresponds to the implicit "agreement" of someone who is entering into addiction to methamphetamine. The source for the effects of meth addiction and withdrawal is http://alcoholism.about.com...

______________START OF CONTRACT______________

I, the undersigned, hereby implicitly agree to be addicted to the consumption of N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine (meth). I agree to pay any pharmacist as much money as is needed to satisfy this addiction for as long as the addiction lasts. I consent to the strong-potential occurence of all of the most serious effects of meth addiction, including loss of brain mass, violent behavior, auditory hallucinations, paranoia, anorexia, extreme tooth decay, and cardiac death. If, at any time, I decide to cease this addiction to meth, I agree to accept the strong-potential physiological conditions of irritability, depression, fearfulness, tremors, nausea, palpitations, hyperventilation, and extreme craving for meth, all such effects persisting for as long as several weeks if no meth is consumed. Further, I consent to these terms regardless of my age or economic status. For example, being as young as thirteen years old is no excuse for not abiding by these terms. Further, I agree that it is impossible to breach this contract.

No explicit signature is required. All it takes to "sign" this implicit contract is to consume meth in a few consecutive instances so that the onset of addiction occurs. Though the contract is implicit, realizing the terms of this contract is not required for a binding agreement to the terms.

_______________END OF CONTRACT_______________

I assert that such a contract is highly offensive and dangerous to our society, and I assert that state action should be taken to discourage the prevalence of anything closely analogous to it, in much the same way that slavery contracts are prohibited and strongly penalized by law.

If Pro disagrees with the accuracy of this implicit contract, then I would like to know how he would rewrite it. If Pro agrees that the contract is accurate, then I would like to know if Con believes that such a contract should be legal in our society. If so, then I ask "Why?" If not, then he has relinquished the resolution.

I will not use Round 4 for anything except a closing acknowledgement, per the agreement in the comments section. I thank Pro for this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
Cody_Franklin

Pro

Given that he has admittedly left many points unaddressed--argumentation ethics, the economic analysis, Section 2 of On Meth and Society, and others--I believe it's now impossible for Con to win this debate. Too many critical arguments have been dropped. Since Con has agreed to simply give a final acknowledgement in R4 (to make up for the R1 blunder), I won't extend these analyses. I'll simply redirect to my arguments in R3 to highlight the importance of dropped points, and will concentrate only on the "Contract Analogy".

One point of clarificaton--Con comes from a viewpoint of "common agreement" whereby some contracts are considered legally impermissible, giving the example of "slavery contracts". Extend the argumentaton ethics analysis here, because A) contracts are voluntary agreements, in which case one cannot use legal action to control the contract without running into the problem of force and the dissipation of contract rights, and B) there is no such thing as a "slavery contract". The very notion of slavery is defined as involuntary servitude. That I am asking you to sign a contract binding you in lifelong service forces me to suppose free agency and the need for your consent. That I engage in negotiation demonstrates that you aren't a slave, and that it is logically impossible to bind you in "voluntary involuntary servitude".

At the very heart of the contract analogy are the arguments about retrospective agency and opportunity cost. Though I may enter into a contract which severely compromises my future options (say, consenting to a major lobotomy), it does not follow that we should control such contracts by virtue of their nature. In the case of meth, the writing of the "implicit contract" is irrelevant (though I disagree that one is necessaily agreeing to addiction as much as agreeing to the risks). By using meth, individuals accept the opportunity costs in using their time and money for some other pursuit. Additionally, they accept the risks. By acting, people necessarily give up retrospective agency (i.e. the ability to look back on a bad decision and say "But this isn't what I wanted!") in nearly every conceivable case (though I'm sure exceptions can be found, like trying on clothes in a dressing room and deciding you want a different shirt. We could argue about how one cannot retrospectively change their decision to where they didn't try that shirt at all, but it's really neither here nor there). This is especially true of meth given the facts about its use as presented by Con.

Regardless, Con doesn't make a compelling argument here where he simply reasserts that meth use is dangerous and harmful, thereby warranting legal action. He seems to take the position that this should be illegal by default, and that it is my burden to disprove this. "Why", he asks, should these self-regarding contracts be legal? Well, these answers have been given again and again throughout the debate.

They have been dropped.

What we are arguing is whether such contracts should be permissible--whether legislation regarding drugs should exist. After several rounds, Con's final strategy is simply to restate his initial thesis with no additional warrant or analysis. I've given reasons why self-harm should not be regulated (see: On Meth and Self-Harm), and why social problems resulting from meth can be dealt with in other ways (see: On Meth and Society). The social, political, ethical, and economic arguments all sway overwhelmingly in my favor. Checkmate, Con.

Cheerio.
ApostateAbe

Con

Since I violated the rule of "Round 1 is for acceptance," I give up this round. Give conduct points to Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kow 2 years ago
Kow
Drug debates tend to completely ignore the vast majority of drugs - prescription and OTC - and mainly focus on the Schedule/Control drugs.

It's difficult to only discuss "recreational" drugs alone unless you specify which recreational drugs you are referring to as prescription drugs may be illegal used as "recreational" drugs, and Schedule II-IV "recreational" drugs are also prescription drugs. Drugs are innately tied to FDA regulation regarding their pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics and thus the reasoning for their drug categorization as a Schedule/Control, Prescription, OTC, or Dietary Supplement. These are all often ignored, though, in drug debates.

Since Con is running his argument on meth, he should have taken into consideration the fact that methamphetamine is NOT a Schedule I or banned drug. It's not entirely illegal in the US and has medical use. Since drug regulation in the US is based on categories and usually not specifically on the individual drugs themselves, and since meth is Schedule II in the US, arguments regarding it would likely also apply to other Schedule II and essentially any non-banned drugs not in Schedule I - so discussing other drugs like Advil would not entirely be red herring.

If there were to be absolutely no regulation on drugs - and thus no FDA mandate to thoroughly research medications before it goes to market - goodness, completely trial and error dosages on narrow therapeutic index medications would be quite scary...
Posted by Double_R 3 years ago
Double_R
It was a good debate. I'm shocked that I am the only one who voted on it.
Posted by ApostateAbe 3 years ago
ApostateAbe
Cody_Franklin's account is no longer active. Shame, it was an awesome debate.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 3 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Edit: When I say--

"The current culture fosters a low time preference [http://wiki.mises.org......] anyway, and it's been repeatedly proven that people tend to prefer immediate gratification to long-term rewards [http://www.tinbergen.nl......]. That addicts had a lower time preference than normal is not indicative that state action is necessary."

--I mean "high time preference/higher time preference than normal". Semantic error.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 3 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Advil and commerce laws are a red herring anyway, since Con is running his whole case on meth.
Posted by LaissezFaire 3 years ago
LaissezFaire
It's obvious from the context and the arguments presented that they're talking about recreational drugs.
Posted by SenorSwanky 3 years ago
SenorSwanky
You have to be more specific about the types of drugs you are referring to. Advil, for example, is also a drug. Plus when you say pass no legislation, commerce laws already exist that govern the sales of any item. Are you arguing that laws governing commerce and FDA standard be repealed?
Posted by Cody_Franklin 3 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I should have my argument up sometime before the end of tomorrow. I'm trying to look for stuff to cut so I can squeeze in one more paragraph of useful analysis. Apostate and I might end up debating other stuff in the future anyway, so we'll see whether five rounds is plausible.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 3 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
This is one of the few debates I would actually wish to see a full five rounds.
Posted by ApostateAbe 3 years ago
ApostateAbe
Sorry, I just noticed that "Round 1 is for acceptance." To make up for my failure to follow that rule, I will fill my last round with only a statement of my mistake. I will make my concluding statements in Round 3.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 2 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con uprooted the debate structure by starting in the first round. Arguments - Pro delivered the most interesting and original argumentative framework for barring the state from involvement in drug legislation. Pro wedged into Con's contradiction of allowing the decriminalization of marijuana, but making an argument that drugs are responsible for crimes, and the gov should decrease drug availability. Con dropped several arguments, and Pro just had higher level argumentation.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: The argument on people choose to kill themselves was never refuted by con, therefore pro wins his main point. CON never proved the government should dictate peoples drug choices, and why it would be in their interests to do so.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: A very good debate. I'm surprised it doesn't have more voter interest. The question is whether there is any significant public interest in regulating or taxing drugs. I think Con made the case by analogy to the addictive properties of smoking and the crime associated with addiction, even for legal drugs. Conduct is a tie because Con passed the last round, offsetting the inadvertent advantage of starting one round too early.
Vote Placed by Double_R 3 years ago
Double_R
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not adequately refute Pros main contention about self ownership. He relies on the idea that drugs are addicting without fully illustrating why this gives the government a right to take away a persons right to make their own decisions. Con also implies that he does not have enough space to refute all of Pros points while devoting over 1,000 characters to copy-and-past quotes in each of his last 2 rounds. Con loses conduct for round 1.