The great Peter A. Taylor asks an interesting question over at Land’s place.
Do you have a position statement somewhere on drug prohibition? I’m wondering which way the wind is blowing in these parts, and why.
I left some of my initial impressions over there. But I’m curious to see how else you all would address Peter’s inquiry.
On a small subset of that large subject, Peter Hitchens has been writing a lot on the subject as of late and recently got into an argument with Matthew Perry (‘Chandler’ from Friends) on the subject of addiction and related to his recent book, “The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment’s Surrender to Drugs”
Hitchens likes to ‘heighten the contradiction’, as they say, in the progressive stance on drugs and addiction. The progressives say addiction is a real, serious, and severe compulsion beyond the means of normal amounts of discipline, self-control, and willpower.
But, moreover, the use put to the ‘addiction’ ideograph is in its exculpation from personal responsibility, punishment, and stigmatization that it is supposed to provide to its ‘victims’. If it is a ‘disease’, then the enlightened are supposed to ‘treat’ it as a form of temporary mental illness amenable to some form rehabilitation. Paid for out of the public fisc, no doubt, because it would be unfair and socially unjust otherwise.
Well, fine, Hitchens says, but if drugs were actually so dangerous such that a single taste could dissolve one’s will and make one a total slave of the substance, then surely it is right and just and proper to make such chemicals dangerous contraband and expend all the great coercive resources of the state into prohibition. And because it is the demand which creates the dangerous black market supply, we should punish users as much as dealers to achieve the desired deterrent effect.
But the progressives take the very opposite tact, and constantly advocate for less state enforcement, less severe sanctions, and definitely for more benign neglect of users contra the smugglers and dealers.
Hitchens says ‘addiction’ is baloney, and likes to cite Dalrymple’s experience as a prison psychiatrist to illustrate that withdrawal even from heroin is relatively quick process akin to a severe bout of the flu (a case explored in his Romancing Opiates). He would be caught in his own contradiction if he didn’t cite the other deleterious effects of drugs besides ‘addiction’ on the minds and lives of its users, though in this respect I think he has a tendency to exaggerate the dangers.
Anyway, that’s enough context. Have at it fellow neoreactionaries. Is there an undiscovered country of a common position on the subject? Or will it fray into fissiparous camps?
P.S. I’d like to recommend the tublr blog Odd Blots. I wish OddBlot would move the blog to WordPress or adjust the setting to enable replies from people, like myself, without tumblr accounts. But then again maybe there’s some tumblr-ninja magic code to get it done. Anybody know?