Anyway, here's something I wrote. Feel free to reply here with your viewpoints. Poke holes in my logic, or agree with individual points, or whatever, but if you reply, I request that you actually back up any assertations you make. "It's just wrong" or "God says so" are not acceptable reasons.
Returning to alcohol prohibition, I don't think it's just economy vs saving lives. The problem was that when it was outlawed, there was such a demand for it that it showed up on the black market. Many more lives were lost due to bad booze and alcohol consumption moving purely to the underground. They couldn't license or regulate it and you really can't find everyone.
Plus, really, with alcohol, it is so generally accepted. Eventually, regardless of what the ruling elite want, if the majority of the populous wants it, then it will come to pass.
As for alcohol related deaths, I think most of them fall into one of three categories. A) Addicts. Someone never knows if they will be an addict until it's too late. B) respiratory failure from drinking way way too much, usually a school or college age problem. C) People getting behind the wheel after drinking.
I think prohibition tries to prevent these, but it wouldn't work, it would just change the social class of people who still drank.
Some young people drink because they're not supposed to. You find this somewhat because when people turn 21, they cut back or stop for the most part.
The problem is that there's not alot of good education on safety. What is available is the propaganda that is legally mandated but nothing more. "Don't drink under-age or you could lose your license". Kids will say "I won't get caught.". The other one is "Don't drink and drive - you could kill someene." to which people say "I drive better drunk!"
There needs to be more education on this from a practical viewpoint. "It slows your reflexes, so you may drive fine in a straight line, then someone pulls out in front of you, or you have a blow out, and kill your neighbor's 5 year old because you couldn't react." and things like "If you're going to drink, find somewhere you can stay put, or otherwise arrange for sober and safe transportation prior to drinkin."
Most of the dangers of alcohol are dangers because people just don't think about it. We need propaganda that makes people thing rather than simply trying to scare or threaten them into what might be percieved as "behaving properly" or "conforming to the system".
For some reason, I think Alcohol is mostly ok when used responsibily, but not opiates. I think caffeine and nicotine, when not cast all over me in a bar, are generally OK, but not amphetamines or cocaine. I don't know why I make this distinction, because there's not as much difference as people might think.
Also, I generally think that LSD, mushrooms and pot are ok, as long as someone keeps their priorities in life all straightened out, but maybe only because they've been used for years and years with very limited adverse reactions.
This pushes aside the fact that what those drugs present to people may be more than they are willing to cope with and without proper babysitting, they may do stupid things. I guess I ignore that because I've avoided the people who aren't generally intelligent enough or stable enough, and so the people I know who have done these have all turned out ok.
I'm iffy about ecstacy. There's the issue of intense euphoria and the opposite side of the swing. I think I try to champion it because there is alot of misinformation about it, specifically about why it's unsafe. Rather than telling the truth of the risk of triggering depression, there are quotes to a study of a small number of subjects in which they all suffered brain damage or death, when that study is irreproducable and was recently announced wasn't even with ecstacy.
I think alot of why it's important to me in general is that I think that a person should be able to do whatever they want so long as they don't impose on anyone unwilling to be imposed upon. This means I think euthenasia and even suicide should be legal so long as provisions are made to sort out things after the fact. I think that, should a person show that they can keep their job and life together, they should be able to take whatever drugs they want, whether it be starbucks or speed, or whatever.
On the flip side, I think that someone who commits certain acts while intoxicated, whether it's vehicular manslaughter, or assault, or petty theft, should be punished at least as strongly as if they had been sober. None of this "It wasn't my fault, the drugs made me do it." which is, in general, absolute BS.
I also think that if someone becomes a burden to society or their family, such as a child who still lives at home, or someone who doesn't have a willing caretaker and isn't providing for themselves, then that person should have no such rights.
I guess such a think is idealistic though. There are alot of people who believe they know better what's good for *me* and I think that my frustration with that colors my outlook on life very strongly.
I think alot of it boils down to the inalienable rights granted by the constitution have all been abridged or alienated "for our protection" and being a peasant, there isn't much I can do about it because my voice doesn't cary very far when it comes to talking to the populous at large.
Really though, I figure that the DEA or the FBI really wants to spend the effort and resources tracking and causing trouble for individuals who are involved in manufacture, transportation or sales of drugs.
Since I've only ever been witness to individual users, or parties, or people who get just enough to hook up their friends, my view is very very different from yours. I'm guessing most of what you have witnessed has been the most negative aspects involving more serious problems than public intoxication.
From that standpoint, I would have to say I still stand behind law enforcement since I think that once you get up into the business of drugs, it's no longer about having fun and friendship, and alot of the traditional rules of business are thrown out. Since it's all shady anyway (can't exactly call the police to say Fredo embezzled a few kilos of marijuana from you), the sorts of dangers that evolve there should be stopped.
The only problem is, it can't be stopped. There is no way to know what everyone is doing without being so Nazi that a civil war breaks out. Hell, even in Nazi war camps, smart prisoners escaped, made aircraft, etc. Without knowing what everyone is doing, people will just get better at hiding what they're doing.
If it were legal, then it could be regulated. The same regulations could be imposed on liquor. Require an advisor of sorts to grant you a license to partake. Require medical examinations for renewal. Proper pharmaceutical companies could make it so people wouldn't get random doses or random mixes. This would remove the rebellion-aspect of drug taking, and allow peoples' use to be tracked and verified.
I don't anticipate this will ever happen though. A) Too many people have their minds made up about all of it. Either their religion, their experience, or preconceptions tell them that it's bad, always. (Jesuits said the same thing about "Yerba Mate", a tea, but lost out and backed down.) B) There is too much money to be had in both the illegal production of drugs and in the prosecution and law enforcement of drug crimes.
The problem I have with "the antidrug" is well exemplified by a friend of mine. He had loaned his car to another friend. This other friend had somehow left the butt end of a joint in the car. I don't recall if it was in the ashtray or unDer the seat or whatever. This guy was pulled over for running a stop sign. They searched the car. He had no idea the butt was there. He lost his license, his car and spent jail time. This made him lose his job and his apartment and most of his belongings.
Noone, anywhere, can justify that happening to him. Even if he had had a bag of weed on him personally, if he was an otherwise law abiding, productive citizen, then no one has a right to take away his life just because they don't like what he or his friends do in their spare time. It would be different if he were leaving it our for kids, or robbing, or sitting on his ass at home all day.
Hell, the ones that sit on their ass all day at home getting stoned never get busted. It's only the ones productive enough to get out of their houses regularly that get in trouble.
So, there's the internals of my mind on it. I like learning other people, so if you're not completely put off by this, I'd like to hear your rebuttal, counterpoints, anything you agree with, etc. It's the best way for 2 people to learn about themselves by hearing other viewpoints and seeing if they can be made to make sense in eachothers' viewpoints.