Friday, 16 March 2012

Twelve reasons for not legalising drugs

Whether or not we should legalise drugs is one of this issues that paralyses my brain just as effectively as some Class A drugs (not that I’ve tried any!). There’s something enticing about the way decriminalisers' arguments combine the principles of personal liberty  – we should all be free to go to hell in the handcart of our choice - and practicality (the War on Drugs in unwinnable).

And, given that half of all UK prisoners are in jail for drug-related offences and that the illegal drugs industry is the third largest in the world, we know that drug abuse causes widespread criminality and therefore costs us a fortune. We can also safely conclude that  the criminals who supply drugs are winning the war.

The legalisers also point out that the people who really suffer from the attempts to stop pampered Westerners getting off their tits are those who live in poor countries where the drugs are produced – that’s where the War on Drugs is actually being fought, and where honest cops and soldiers and politicians and journalists (and quite a few criminal bastards, it should be noted) are losing their lives.

My head is full of drugs at the moment, as I’ve just finished Keith Richards’ autobiography (my excuse is that a nephew planted the book on me). A few days ago I came across an article by Daniel Knowles on the Telegraph website about an Intelligence Squared debate on the issue, in which Peter Hitchens and that repellent little jerk Russell Brand had a bit of a ding-dong. And then I came across a November 2011 article by Bruce Anderson on the Conservative Home website, advocating legalisation.

Part of me says, yeah, fine, man, cool, whatever. I’m all for personal freedom and it would nice to be able to save the zillions of pounds currently squandered on trying to control the seemingly uncontrollable flow of mood-altering substances around the globe, and I can see how galling it must be for Colombia that Colombians are dying in order to stop other Colombians from making a profit supplying British degenerates with “bump”, as Richards calls cocaine. Or, for that matter, the “triplesods” and “yellow bentines” Chris Morris so memorably tried to score in Brass Eye. And Mexico appears to have become a veritable hell on earth (or even more of a hell on earth than it was before the drugs gangs took control of large swathes of the country).

But there are at least a dozen reasons why I want drugs to remain illegal:

(1) I have an addictive personality. The evidence for this assertion is convincing: I suffer from a medical condition which is the result of drinking too much (for me, at least) between my mid-twenties and mid-thirties. I smoked cigarettes for 35 years, ending up with a 40-a-day habit. I have twice been prescribed drugs (by different doctors and many years apart) which turned out to be, essentially, and unbeknownst to me, uppers and downers – and I could see (feel?) the attractions of both. As for illegal drugs, I have very little experience. The point is, I’ve only ever been addicted to substances I can buy legally across a counter. I’m not sure whether, especially in my twenties – not a happy decade for me – I would have been able to resist the lure of a 'Drugs “R” Us' corner shop (probably sporting a logo featuring a smiley face with a syringe through its head). Sorry to expect to be saved from myself by others – but I know my limitations.

(2) I’ve moaned about health fascists’ obsessive harassment of the cigarette smoking community – but I would never have been able to give up unless it had been banned in so many traditional puffing places.

(3) I have a teenage son. Having a teenager in the family, especially in London, doesn’t half give you a different outlook on the importance of individual liberty and the need for young people to learn self-discipline: most of us turn into Nazis when it comes to people placing temptation in the way of our children - may they all burn in hell.

(4) Any money saved by legalising drugs would just be squandered on climate change policies or pointless job-creation schemes or reversing “cuts” or on retaining civil servants due for the chop.

(5) Criminals would simply turn their energies to some other socially ruinous criminal activity (such as producing wind turbines).

(6) Lessening the police’s workload wouldn’t lead to any more police on the beat. Evidently nothing would lead to any more police on the beat. You could destroy every police station in the country and double the size of the force and stop them from having to do any paperwork and you still wouldn't see more police on the beat. (No wonder a report out today concludes that our police are too fat - they never get any exercise!)

(7) If the government controlled the sale of drugs, the world’s most profitable business would instantly  start to lose huge sums of money, and we’d end up subsidising the drugs trade through our taxes.

(8) You and Yours and Watchdog and Newsnight and the Today Programme would start demanding to know why some addicts weren’t getting their drugs quickly enough, and why addicts weren’t being offered the same quality “gear” as rock stars. “Minister, surely low-income drug addicts deserves the same opportunities to get wasted as any  billionaire. Isn’t that a question of simple fairness?”

(9) Liberals would blame the exponential increase in drug use on ”the cuts” or climate change or bankers' bonuses.

(10) Decriminalisers often argue that any potentially harmful effects would be curbed by tougher sentences for illegal dealers, especially those peddling drugs to young people. But why do they imagine that the police would be any more successful at catching dealers than they are now, or that the criminal justice system would actually apply the sentences available to them? Just how many young men have actuallyy been sentenced to five years for carrying knives? Imagine some great, wobbling, liberal blancmange like Ken Clarke actually getting tough with anyone (apart, of course, from hate criminals).

(11) As our drinking reaches Hogarthian levels, town and city centres have turned into “Gin Lane”-style hell-holes over-run by puking, rutting, brawling beasts on Friday and Saturday nights. Nobody in our national life seems to have the moral authority or the will to improve this disgraceful state of affairs. Given the prevailing wetness of the people in charge of our leaders, and the general lack of moral direction, who’s to say that drugs wouldn’t go the way of alcohol and become a vice to be indulged in without shame? There are just some things – such as paedophilia, incest and murder – which society needs to say “No!” to, constantly and loudly.

(12) Just because some wars aren’t winnable, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be fought.

As for the Keith Richards book, I got rather tired of all the drugs, but the musical interludes were fascinating.


  1. There's an interesting article by Tim Stanley on this very subject in the Telegraph today. Here's a quote: "In Brixton, London, police experimented with a softly-softly approach to cannabis in the early 2000’s. It was a disaster. Dealers spread the falsehood that the effective decriminalisation extended to other drugs and whole new markets for crack, heroin, mushrooms opened up. Social acceptability didn’t lead to greater maturity among users; it just encouraged immature users to use more without fear of sanction. After three years, police switched to a “zero tolerance” policy."

    He also writes about the disastrous effect on crime in LA's Venice Beach area following the effective decriminalisation of marijuana.

  2. Add to your list the 'toothpaste back in the tube' argument. Once you'd legalised, that would be it for ever. You could never criminalise it again. That's the real parallel with Prohibition rather than the one that legalisers usually put forward. I know that rain forest-related arguments are not universally popular on this blog but Colombia loses thousands of hectares of some of the most beautiful land on earth to the slash and burn narcos every year. I saw the effects in the wrecked fields of the Guaviare province and thought of the double standards of the Hollywood planet conservers.

    It's inconceivable that a legalising Government would do anything other than impose a heavy fag-style taxation on your personal coke and heroin habit, thus creating an instant black market populated by the same criminals who presently have the links and networks to make it profitable. The South Coast has several millionaire farm owners who undercut our booze n' fags policy by taking their white vans off to Calais. I'm sure thay are just about to take over the French minimum price market. Their kind would soon undercut the state run National Narco Service, with its expensive counselling service, IT projects and Health and Safety Purity Inspectors.

    Most important, as you say, there are some policies you just have to do because they are the right thing to do, even if it appears that they don't work.

  3. Simple and Easy to Create Recipes with clear
    step by step instructions you will be able to produce paleo friendly
    meals that get rave reviews from friends and family every- time.
    The fact is, most grains are quite high in glycemic index,
    meaning that they make your blood sugar go up rapidly, and send you
    crashing down soon thereafter. Always check your physician before making any changes to your daily habits.

    my web page :: the paleo diet and crossfit
    Also see my webpage :: paleo diet acne rosacea