Drugs: the core issue

I have been thinking a lot recently about drug policy and my position on it, and while I am not prepared to address the broad range of issues inherent to the totality of the discussion, I would like to state my position on one point of contention in the debate.

There have been many on the pro-legalized-drugs side of things that offer up an argument or train of thought in regards to law enforcement that I would like to address.  The argument goes, “If drugs weren’t illegal people wouldn’t spend so much money on them (thus creating a lucrative market for suppliers and distributors), and there wouldn’t be so much drug related crime.  There wouldn’t be drug wars between violent gangs, there wouldn’t be theft to support drug addictions, wouldn’t be so many consumers in prison on the tax payer’s dime, etc.”    

To this train of thought and its variations (the above is my own wording but I believe it accurately frames the logic behind it) I would say…we wouldn’t have so much murder related crime if we made murder legal.  There wouldn’t be an opportunity for evil people to benefit from murder (professional hit men) if murder was legal.  For that matter, we wouldn’t have much theft related crime if we legalized theft, or at least petty theft.  There wouldn’t be professional thieves…wouldn’t be vibrant black markets, etc.

Obviously, those are fairly extreme examples, but do you see what I am saying?   This train of logic, to my mind, is an unacceptable approach to the issue logically and is blatantly un-biblical besides.   Where does the Bible say that the government should reward evil and not reward good?  In what way does logic decree that a completely unrestrained society can be just or functional?  Regardless of what you believe to be the proper function of government, in order for you to believe in government itself you must believe in some sort of basic order…order that allows society to function.  Whether enforcing this established order is challenging or whether this established order presents an opportunity for ingenious criminals and evil people to profit by circumventing and breaking laws  is also beside the point.  The point is, “What is right?”

The issue properly at the center of the drug debate is not “Would legalization cut down on crime (by taking away the opportunity for crime) and expensive law enforcement?”   The issue is whether the regulation of drugs is a proper function of the government.   To that specific point I will say nothing in this post.   All I want to say is that laws by their very nature create a positive and a negative, crime as the negative and law abiding as the positive.  We don’t eliminate the positive because it creates a negative if we believe that there is such a thing as right and wrong. 

If one believes in no laws then by all means they should say so…only a free, open and honest exchange of ideas and beliefs can lead to intellectual sharpening, moral stimulation and steeling strength.  But, if you believe in having some structure of society then it seems you must agree with me that the above outlined argument (to which I am responding) is quite wrong, unproductive, and blatantly un-biblical.

I am of course open to being proven wrong or hearing any insight and wisdom others might have to offer.   I probably don’t know fully the limits of my knowledge and wisdom (such as it is) thanks to the curse called pride, but I do know that I have somewhat easily reached limits. 🙂

As a closing note to explain a little where I am coming from…I don’t believe this nation is a theocracy in the vein of the Old Testament, nor do I believe I am called to advocate an Old Testament type theocracy.   I believe the Bible speaks to the issue of civil governance in limited quantities.  But I also believe that, as a Christian, I must advocate a God honoring basic social structure when and how I can with the understanding that my influence on the actual making of law (thus creating the positive of law abiding and the negative of law breaking) may be limited.  Not all answers can be found or goals achieved through the government, thankfully.   However, there is a minimum that we must fight for fiercely…because if that minimum is not met not only will we no longer be under the blessing of God as a nation, which is curse enough itself…we will be under His wrath…a truly frightful thing to think of.

 

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

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5 Responses

  1. What does the bible have to do with anything concerning drug laws?
    Your argument loses much credibility with your last few sentences.
    The biggest problem with legalizing marijuana would be that we would no longer be under God’s blessings, and under his wrath? That’s an absolute joke.

    Not all answers can be found or goals achieved through the government, thankfully.

    ^ No answers pertaining to relevant drug laws are found in the bible either.

    The first paragraph where you address what you think is the argument of most on the side of pro legalization is equally preposterous as your closing statements. Are you really comparing smoking weed to murder? I understand your point about where to draw the line, but at some point logic needs to be used in this equation, maybe instead of a fear of a mythical being.

  2. “What does the bible have to do with anything concerning drug laws?”

    My post was not to delineate what I believe the Bible says about it. If it were then I would probably say (at this point) the Bible says little directly relating to drugs and that we have to measure the drug issue against other things.

    “Your argument loses much credibility with your last few sentences. The biggest problem with legalizing marijuana would be that we would no longer be under God’s blessings, and under his wrath? That’s an absolute joke.”

    With all due respect, that is not what I was saying. The few sentences in question (I believe):

    “As a closing note to explain a little where I am coming from…I don’t believe this nation is a theocracy in the vein of the Old Testament, nor do I believe I am called to advocate an Old Testament type theocracy. I believe the Bible speaks to the issue of civil governance in limited quantities. But I also believe that, as a Christian, I must advocate a God honoring basic social structure when and how I can with the understanding that my influence on the actual making of law (thus creating the positive of law abiding and the negative of law breaking) may be limited. Not all answers can be found or goals achieved through the government, thankfully. However, there is a minimum that we must fight for fiercely…because if that minimum is not met not only will we no longer be under the blessing of God as a nation, which is curse enough itself…we will be under His wrath…a truly frightful thing to think of.”

    What I said there (forgive me if I was unclear) is basically; 1), I don’t believe I should advocate a Theocratic government, 2), I don’t think the Bible lays out a blueprint for how government should be structured and directed outside of Old Testament Israel, 3), as a Christian I must always stand for what I believe is true, 4), a regenerate society cannot have God’s blessing, 5), government isn’t always the answer to the problems of society.

    If you take what I said there literally as it was meant to be taken then the last couple of points would suggest that I am open to the possibility that government shouldn’t regulate drug use. It might be one of those problems that government can’t solve. I am open to that being the case. The point of this post wasn’t to broach that question.

    “The first paragraph where you address what you think is the argument of most on the side of pro legalization is equally preposterous as your closing statements. Are you really comparing smoking weed to murder? I understand your point about where to draw the line, but at some point logic needs to be used in this equation, maybe instead of a fear of a mythical being.”

    If you will recall, I said murder was an extreme example, and that even theft was an extreme example. The only reason I used extreme examples is to illustrate where I believe you wind up if you follow the argument I laid out to its logical conclusion. Extreme examples can be helpful in that regard…the refining can be done after the foundation is laid.

    As a btw, I don’t know if you thought this or not, but in the interest of clarity…I don’t think all advocates of drug legalization are basing their argument solely on the logic in question. My reason for addressing this issue was simply that it seemed a good one to repute, as some of the opening words of my post make clear.

    Thanks for the comment, herby3. I don’t know if I answered all your questions/challenges, but it’s late and I need to get some sleep. 🙂

  3. Hi Mark – I enjoyed reading your post. As a libertarian [at least that’s the closest political label that fits me] I find myself at odds with traditional libertarian thought on this issue since I am against legalizing hard drugs. When I read your second paragraph, I thought a nice illustration of your point was to replace the word “drugs” with “guns”:

    “If guns were legal people wouldn’t spend so much money on them (thus creating a lucrative market for suppliers and distributors), and there wouldn’t be so much gun related crime. There wouldn’t be gun wars between violent gangs, there wouldn’t be theft to support gun addictions, wouldn’t be so many consumers in prison on the tax payer’s dime, etc.”

    The last part about “gun addiction” doesn’t really logically fit, but I thought the rest of it was funny. Point being, something being legal does not mean it will not be misused, as in the case of guns. I should add I do not believe in restricting guns, so it’s not entirely a parallel example.

  4. Christi,

    You bring up a good point that I agree with 100%. Just because something can be used badly doesn’t mean it should be made illegal. When I wrote this post I had the hardest time deciding to what extent I should qualify my analogy (I eventually decided not to qualify it too much in order to keep the post to a blog like length) so I am glad you bring that point up.

    As I said, this post was merely meant to show how the line of reasoning in question can lead to faulty conclusions. An extreme opposite line of reasoning can also lead to bad decisions, as you pointed out Christi, so it is important to understand that there needs to be some amount of ideological flexibility that can reconcile sometimes opposite truths.

    In the case of guns and drugs…as you already alluded too, there is a difference in the two, the primary differences being their effects on the mind (you can’t get stoned on a gun) and the fact that the right to protect one’s person and property is a constitutionally guaranteed inalienable right.

    Thanks for the good comment, Christi!

  5. Well, I should say I wasn’t trying to make this point: “Just because something can be used badly doesn’t mean it should be made illegal,” although I guess I indirectly went there. I did agree with your post 100% and I was just trying to show that the pro-legalization people are wrong in thinking that legalizing drugs will result in less abuse, since we have plenty of gun abuse despite it being legal. The analogy stops there though since like you said, there is a good reason to allow guns and no good reason to allow drugs.

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