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Melchior
17-06-2005, 06:57 AM
Over here (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=1641&page=3&pp=15) nonseq said, in response to my characterising drug use as 'criminal but not immoral' with the following:


Using drugs is not immoral?

Buying drugs means sponsoring a whole system of exploitation, hate, violence, murder, rape. It means destroying individuals, families, economies, countries. It means funding violence and stimulating repressive laws and police actions. Funding dictatorial regimes, Birma for example. It means destroying the environment, for example, xtc labs often dump their chemical waste in nature. It means funding the weapons industry..

I could go on with my rant..

Now it strikes me that this is primarilly a problem with drug laws, or with capitalist modes of production, not with drugs themselves, and that it treats a neutral thing as being responsible for they way it is produced and marketed. Not to mention that it tars all drug use with the brush of cocaine and heroin.

You could argue that my arguement is similar to arguing that 'guns don't kill people, people kill people'. And to a point you'd be right, but the difference is that guns are designed specifically to kill or wound. Drugs are designed (to the point that you can call them so) to get you high.

So I still regard drug use as a perfectly moral thing to do.

Any thoughts?

johneffay
17-06-2005, 08:33 AM
The concept of 'using drugs' is so abstract as to be morally neutral. Of course what, I assume, you mean by using drugs (getting twisted) is categorised by some people as misusing them which does carry negative moral connotations.

However, I think that in order to morally assess drug taking, it has to be contextualised, e.g. taking heroin is not necessarily immoral, but if your addiction leads you into a lifestyle which is detrimental to those around you, then it probably is immoral (although some people would say that addiction is a sickness, which would remove it from the realm of moral actions).

The argument you quote about bouying up the horrors of the drug trade is not a very good argument against taking drugs, but it is a strong one in favour of taking drug production out of the hands of criminals. After all, I could come up with a similar list of problems with the petrochemical industry, but nobody would seriously suggest that was an argument for total abstention from the use of petrol.

henrymiller
17-06-2005, 01:08 PM
The argument you quote about bouying up the horrors of the drug trade is not a very good argument against taking drugs, but it is a strong one in favour of taking drug production out of the hands of criminals. After all, I could come up with a similar list of problems with the petrochemical industry, but nobody would seriously suggest that was an argument for total abstention from the use of petrol.

wouldn't they? it's a *pretty good* argument agin taking drugs, i would have thought. certainly the way otherwise scrupulously fair-trade coffee and organic meat types have no problem with using cocaine has its grimly funny side.
i'm not very interested in drugs, so i suppose for me the choice between i) not using drugs and ii) 'taking drug production' and distribution out of the criminals' hands is an easy one.

johneffay
17-06-2005, 01:56 PM
The petrochemical example was the the first thing that came to mind. Perhaps a better analogy would be that because some clothing is produced in apalling conditions is not a reason for not wearing clothes, although it could be an argument not to buy clothes produced under said conditions. It is certainly a strong reason for protesting about the conditions under which some clothing is made.

My basic point was that it is absurd to say that something so general as 'using drugs' is immoral. That doesn't mean that buying smack from the mafia does not have consequences which could lead it to be characterized as an immoral act, but what about buying cannabis from someone you know who grows it?

I don't know any fair trade coffee drinking cocaine users, but would probably abuse them if I did. I have heard people justify buying smack by claiming that, whilst the distribution, etc. is obviously appalling, at the very basic level, they are supporting the poor farmers whose only potential source of income is opium poppies. I'm not saying that I support this argument, but I don't think that opium production need nescessarily be immoral.

Finally, it should be remembered that pharmaceutical multinationals are hardly models of ethical probity. Does that mean that I should not take analgesics for pain relief because, in so doing, I am 'sponsoring a whole system of exploitation'?

henrymiller
17-06-2005, 02:34 PM
yeah, it's the easiestthing in the world to hate on drug-users when you use legal drugs, i freely admit. obviously there *is* some kind of argument from necessity, but not a strong one. drugs make you act like a twat, which is close to being immoral ;)

jack_yggdrasil
17-06-2005, 03:19 PM
just for the sake of argument, would it really be that hypocritical to buy fair trade products (which incidentally, i've heard can cause more harm than good) and use cocaine? i mean it's not as though they have (and reject) the option of buying fair trade chang...

Randy Watson
17-06-2005, 04:01 PM
They would have to recognise that their demand-led attempts to shift the market did not apply to this product. Given their (presumed) overarching intention is to stop the exploitation of producers in less developed nations then their only option at present is to abstain.

henrymiller
17-06-2005, 04:39 PM
how does fair trade stuff do more harm than good? genuine question.

jenks
17-06-2005, 06:20 PM
how does fair trade stuff do more harm than good? genuine question.

ditto :confused:

dominic
17-06-2005, 08:21 PM
rather than move this conversation over here last night, i instead pursued the point over on the original thread . . . . so now i've just "copied" nonseq's remarks and my response to them over here -- hopefully all that follows won't be too hard to read . . . .


But most drugs are illegal in most places therefore produced and distributed by criminal organizations. Buying from them sustains them and thier devastating effects.

so we should legalize drugs and let phillip morris take over the business?

i.e., people of course realize that if you legalize drugs then hustlers will be made redundant???


I meant destroying families for example in Colombia in the case of coke. The families of kidnapped, murdered people etc, families in destroyed countries with no future for the kids but working in coca fields, constant risk of getting murdered or raped by terror squads. Parents in jail, kids living on the streets. Drug traffickers shot down or cokeballs opening in their stomach killing them, peasants bombed by the U.S. etc etc

isn't this more a function of poverty and imperialism?

why do you see drugs as the root of all evil? -- i.e., why not eliminate money instead


What about crack babies

that's govt propaganda recently debunked


and structural chaos and misery in ghetto's

poor people weren't miserable before the 20th century???

i.e., let's say that drugs first get widely disseminated in western societies circa 1950

(i.e., i don't think heroin and marijuana were all that common in 19th c., barring a few poets and the like (errr, and cowboys smoking green down in texas) -- but correct me if i'm wrong)

and what's so bad about taking drugs to relieve the misery of one's days?

(or assuming that your material condition is not miserable, then to relieve the sheer boredom of your existence?)


ALSO: isn't "structural chaos" more the result of capitalism either setting up shop OR abandoning shop in such areas?


Check out the documentary on the dvd of Cidade de Deus.

i think the "city of god" a wonderful, first-rate film -- but i still don't agree w/ your arguments


The rich are living safely in Europe, snorting coke, and have never even given it a thought what they are paying for. Not the coke, it's cheap. They're funding guns, death squads, corruption, kidnapping, dictators and so on. Western decadence is fuel to the destruction of third world countries.

this is entirely too simplistic an account


Is the destruction caused by cartels really the same level of misery as the life of a girl in a free trade zone making Nike shoes? That should also be changed of course, but do you really think it's comparable?

cartels exist b/c men lust for money and power -- if they weren't fighting for control of the drug trade, they'd be fighting for control of some other trade

and why do cartels have such power in some countries?

(1) absence of the rule of law (and culture of law)

(2) weak states -- which is closely related to point 1

errr, i suppose i've just set myself up for a badiou-style rejoinder against the rule of the law and the normality imposed by strong states?


Of course it's all infinitely more nuanced and complex

indeed


but the general point will remain: buy drugs and you're destroying a lot more than your own health.

drug use is destructive of one's health only if done in excess

therefore, the point is so general as to be very nearly trite = buy anything and you participate in the destruction of a lot of things

(none of which is to suggest that i'd advocate smoking a couple joints a day -- though i guess it's fine if works for you and doesn't hinder your projects -- nor would i deny that drugs are part and parcel of a hedonistic and mindless mass culture)

MOREOVER, the taboo and criminal significance of drug use allows for social exchange w/ people you o/w might not come into contact with or get to know -- i.e., not everyone who uses illegal drugs takes advantage of such opportunity -- and yet enough users do that it's safe to say they lead more interesting lives than straight people who keep to their "own kind"

drugs, music, religion = the great levellers, the mediums of mano a mano understanding = everyone's the same when they're high on cocaine = breaking down everyday identities

you call it immoral, i call it good

dominic
17-06-2005, 08:29 PM
although some people would say that addiction is a sickness, which would remove it from the realm of moral actions

errrr, i think k-punk could make some compelling points here against the tendency to "medicalize" everything

i.e., even if it's the case that drug abusers have some kind of dopamine or serotine imbalance, such an explanation only defers the question, i.e., why do so many people in modern society seem to have such imbalances???

also, i've always found burroughs compelling on the subject of how people become heroin addicts -- i.e., it takes quite a bit of work and determination to become an addict in the first place -- an almost willful surrender whereby you go to the trouble of shooting up everyday for a month, such that you can then achieve addict status

if you only do heroin once or twice and then walk away, then you really haven't tried hard enough and so you won't become an addict

dominic
17-06-2005, 08:32 PM
The argument you quote about bouying up the horrors of the drug trade is not a very good argument against taking drugs, but it is a strong one in favour of taking drug production out of the hands of criminals. After all, I could come up with a similar list of problems with the petrochemical industry, but nobody would seriously suggest that was an argument for total abstention from the use of petrol.

yes, but you do seem to making an argument in favor of putting the drug trade in the hands of exxon or phillip morris

i.e., if you legalize drugs, just whom, precisely, do you think's gonna make all the money = multinational corporations

King Ink
17-06-2005, 09:11 PM
Whether an individual choses to use drugs and/or abuse drugs bears no relation to morality, insofar that he does not encroach on the freedom of anyone around him. I think drugs are great when taken in moderation (i.e. not abused.) I find that they can produce great feelings of euphoria and happiness and all of those great things, again, so long as they are not taken in excessive amounts. Taking drugs and morality are completely separate realms. I would say that our bodies are ours to do with what we wish. I might add that this is based on somewhat of an aetheistic take on morality and that I believe morality requires of us to only do the things that we promise to do or 'sign up for' (usually called contractarianism.) That is to say that I believe that there is no superior, law-giving diety whom we must obey.

nonseq
17-06-2005, 10:19 PM
this is primarily a problem with drug laws, or with capitalist modes of production, not with drugs themselves
Maybe, but I’m talking about buying drugs here and now, not in a hypothetical situation of legalized fair-trade harddrugs.


and that it treats a neutral thing as being responsible for the way it is produced and marketed.
People are responsible for what they knowingly pay for. Everybody knows that if you buy drugs, you are funding criminal activity, which more often than not means violence, corruption, inequality.


Not to mention that it tars all drug use with the brush of cocaine and heroin.
I specified this in my second post in the other thread: drugs supplied by criminal organizations.

Of course there are degrees of negative effects depending on which kind of drugs, where from etc. The price of Amphetamines from the Netherlands pays for smugglers, dealers, corrupt cops. The price of Amphetamines from Burma in addition pays the violent dictatorial system. It is an incontestable fact that buying amphetamines originating from Burma means funding the dictatorship. Your little pill will pay for a small part of this violence and oppression. Now add to this the fact that drugs trade worldwide amounts to astronomical sums of money.


You could argue that my argument is similar to arguing that 'guns don't kill people, people kill people'. And to a point you'd be right, but the difference is that guns are designed specifically to kill or wound. Drugs are designed (to the point that you can call them so) to get you high.
I’m not talking about the effects of drugs on users, but the violence and inequality funded with drug money.

nonseq
17-06-2005, 10:25 PM
Whether an individual choses to use drugs and/or abuse drugs bears no relation to morality, insofar that he does not encroach on the freedom of anyone around him.
I agree. But, for example, buying Colombian coke does encroach on the freedom of the people ruthlessly killed by Colombian militias funded with your drug money. Same with Birmese amphetamines etc.

johneffay
17-06-2005, 10:32 PM
i.e., if you legalize drugs, just whom, precisely, do you think's gonna make all the money = multinational corporations
Which is the case with most commodities of course. Still, compared to the activities involved with the criminal cartels, multinationals would be the lesser of two evils and presumably henrymiller's mates would have the option of getting fair-trade cocaine to go with their coffee...

nonseq
17-06-2005, 10:38 PM
The argument you quote about bouying up the horrors of the drug trade is not a very good argument against taking drugs, but it is a strong one in favour of taking drug production out of the hands of criminals. After all, I could come up with a similar list of problems with the petrochemical industry, but nobody would seriously suggest that was an argument for total abstention from the use of petrol.

We certainly don't need drugs as much as petrol in the current system. While even the need for petrol is debatable on the longer term, it's not feasible to abandon petrol today. But that does not mean we cannot influence what our petrol money is used for. Large groups of people did boycott Shell for trading with apartheid-based South Africa..

But basically taking drug trade out of the hands of criminals is impossible in the current world-political climate. So buying drugs or not comes down to a question of morality: do you want to fund all this violence?

nonseq
17-06-2005, 11:00 PM
My basic point was that it is absurd to say that something so general as 'using drugs' is immoral. That doesn't mean that buying smack from the mafia does not have consequences which could lead it to be characterized as an immoral act, but what about buying cannabis from someone you know who grows it?
Agreed, I also said this in my second post in the other thread. Homegrown cannabis is fine with me.


I have heard people justify buying smack by claiming that, whilst the distribution, etc. is obviously appalling, at the very basic level, they are supporting the poor farmers whose only potential source of income is opium poppies. I'm not saying that I support this argument, but I don't think that opium production need nescessarily be immoral.
It is immoral to me, in the current situation I don't think opium farming is the only potential source of income of farmers. If you look at Afghanistan, under the Taliban they were the largest opium manufacturer in the world. Then, after the regime change, most of the opium production was stopped. I don't know what their new jobs were, but I think there are many plants that could be grown by these peasants.


Finally, it should be remembered that pharmaceutical multinationals are hardly models of ethical probity. Does that mean that I should not take analgesics for pain relief because, in so doing, I am 'sponsoring a whole system of exploitation'?
This is a false analogy, I think. You don't need recreational drugs as much as medicines right?

johneffay
17-06-2005, 11:40 PM
This is a false analogy, I think. You don't need recreational drugs as much as medicines right?
That's true, but it would make morality based upon need which would be a very tricky path to negotiate, because you would then have to entertain the possibility that addicts were less immoral than other purchasers of illicit drugs because they had a genuine need for them and yet addicts are likely to spend more bouying up the drugs trade than occasional users.

There's also the question of using the products of pharmaceutical companies for recreation...

Actually I agree with just about everything you have said. My initial response was to Melchior's characterization of your argument which was far less nuanced.

johneffay
17-06-2005, 11:51 PM
If you look at Afghanistan, under the Taliban they were the largest opium manufacturer in the world. Then, after the regime change, most of the opium production was stopped.
Just as a point of interest, almost exactly the opposite is true:

http://opioids.com/afghanistan/opiumcrop.html

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/121103_afghan_poppy.html

nonseq
18-06-2005, 12:38 AM
That's true, but it would make morality based upon need which would be a very tricky path to negotiate, because you would then have to entertain the possibility that addicts were less immoral than other purchasers of illicit drugs because they had a genuine need for them and yet addicts are likely to spend more bouying up the drugs trade than occasional users.
Yes it indeed complicates questions of morality.

What could be said perhaps, is that drug addicts become addicted by deciding themselves to take drugs, knowing the risk of becoming addicted. Their own choice, to a certain degree. Many patients in need of medicines cannot be 'blamed' for their illness, like addicts can be blamed for their addiction.

There is also another difference between patients in need of medicines and addicts in need of drugs. In many cases, the patients won't have an alternative treatment to choose (the pharma company has patented the only effective drug for their disease), while drug addicts could switch to methadon, go to a clinic etc. So the addicts are not forced to keep buying drugs, while the patients may have no choice but buying their tainted medicine.


There's also the question of using the products of pharmaceutical companies for recreation...
Yes that would be immoral in the case of a pharmaceutical company with bad ethics. Still, I think this has less detrimental effects than buying illegal drugs.

nonseq
18-06-2005, 12:49 AM
Just as a point of interest, almost exactly the opposite is true:o

I did find something that supports the general point though:
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1428150,00.html

"Although opium prices fell considerably between 2003 and 2004 they remain above $100 (£52) a kg - far higher than any other cash crop - and a crucial source of finance for the private armies of the drug warlords in Afghanistan. "

So:
- the farmers do have alternatives to growing papaver
- crucial source of finance for the private armies of the drug warlords

nonseq
18-06-2005, 01:48 AM
crackbabies - that's govt propaganda recently debunkedThen let me replace that passage with: addiction during pregnancy producing addicted children with mothers who cannot take care of them. Actually… scrap that, for this is not really my point. It is not really about the effects of drugs on users. That’s their own choice, although a whole lot of government money is spent on them, but the same holds true for smokers etc. The effects on users would be another discussion to me, it is something else than the ethical question of what drugs buyers are paying for.



But most drugs are illegal in most places therefore produced and distributed by criminal organizations. Buying from them sustains them and thier devastating effects.

so we should legalize drugs and let phillip morris take over the business? i.e., people of course realize that if you legalize drugs then hustlers will be made redundant??? We should legalize softdrugs and stop using harddrugs like coke and heroin. Here in the Netherlands, provided the world political climate would allow it, I’d perhaps legalize “good” XTC produced here (all under very controlled conditions). But as long as drugs cannot be produced and distributed without resorting to violence buying them is immoral.


isn't this more a function of poverty and imperialism? why do you see drugs as the root of all evil? -- i.e., why not eliminate money insteadI don’t see drugs as the root of all evil, and I think I did not say that, but maybe the rant was too vague. Drugs as root of all evil would be an idiotic overstatement of course, but drugs money “funds evil” – it’s used for it, it is a contributing factor. Drugs money directly sustains systems based on violence, violence moreover often directed at innocent people. Complicity to this violence is immoral. Giving these criminals money, while knowing that this money supports their violent order, makes the drugs buyer a knowing accomplish to these crimes. Crimes done on his behalf, in a way, because many of these crimes are deemed necessary to deliver her/him the drugs.

dominic
18-06-2005, 09:37 AM
yes, but don't these same arguments apply to eating beef? or chicken?

i.e., in the case of cattle raised for slaughter, we know exactly what's gonna happen the entire time

whereas in the case of corrupt govts in cocaine- or heroin-producing countries, you really only get killed if caught in the cross fire

and so what if their govts are corrupt -- isn't it really just simply a question of degree?

i.e., the drug cartels have influence over govt in s. america, just as big corporations influence u.s. govt

we sell them weapons and they sell us drugs

Loki
19-06-2005, 11:25 AM
i think this thread just proves how difficult it is to be moral - can't eat meat, wear leather. travel on planes or in cars, take drugs, be against taking drugs... as a regular consumer of magic mushrooms (soon to be legal) but oterwise drug free (even pretty much including analgesics) one thing annoys me and makes me think that the 'true' immorality (being the worst case scenario) is in the criminalisation of drugs: after mushrooms are made illegal I'll have to return to the subterfuge of hanging around in crap bars talking to people with thin moustaches who nod and wink in hieroglyphic codes just in order to have a little innocent mind-bending at the weekend... I really begrudge paying these little creeps...

and secondly, as a father of three kids I pray for the legalisation of all drugs, if only so they're spared hanging around immoral crims when they decide to experiment (I'm assuming they will, though we've elected to be fairly anti-drugs at home since part of the fun is rebellion against your parents and i don't want them thinking they have to stuff crack sandwiches just to shock us...)

Drugs should be legal because they're potentially dangerous and they're consumed...you wouldn't put the entire manufacture and distibution of, say, Steak and Kidney Pies into the hands of non-regulated bodies with no reason to ensure basic hygiene / health and safety standards /product (in fact with good reason not too - more profit and no legislation)...

You can't even buy a legal kite without a kitemark but you can get potentially dangerous neurochemicals - weird state of affairs and hardly moral.

Lastly, i think mushroom use is moral because, on the most part, it comes with (okay, probably illusory) sense of goodwill and belonging (to the world, nature etc): yes, the hippy dream died a capital death but does that mean it was always a bad idea, at least in principle?

zhao
20-06-2005, 08:45 AM
I've just recently given up: 1. alcohol 2. cigarrettes 3. The Killa Buddha Tea 4. meat

but it is purely for personal maximizing of life and fun and enjoyment.

who gives a fuck about morals?

King Ink
20-06-2005, 07:24 PM
I agree. But, for example, buying Colombian coke does encroach on the freedom of the people ruthlessly killed by Colombian militias funded with your drug money. Same with Birmese amphetamines etc.
True, but does it not strike you as unrealistic and impractical to try not to contribute money inadvertently to people who use it as means for bad ends? For example, how do I know that the guy who owns the convenient store down the street is not funding some kind of millitia or using it to buy child pornography? It would be much different if the money were given directly to some crooked military group or to some seedy guy fiending for kiddie porn. My basic point is that people will do what they wish with their money.

nonseq
21-06-2005, 03:01 AM
yes, but don't these same arguments apply to eating beef? or chicken?
Not in my book, because having a chicken raised and killed for you, is something else than the very real possibility of someone having to kill a human being for you. Basically, everybody knows that people get killed by drugs mafia, and that violent regimes are substantially funded with drugs money. So drugsbuyers are not innocent, they know and thus approve of the killings. If they wouldn't approve of drug related violence, they would cease to buy these drugs. Ever heard of a meat eater who really opposed the killing of animals?

Even if nobody got killed during the production and transportation of your portion, the money will guaranteed be used to maintain a system that includes ruthless violence as a standard procedure, indeed, as a core value.


i.e., in the case of cattle raised for slaughter, we know exactly what's gonna happen the entire time. whereas in the case of corrupt govts in cocaine- or heroin-producing countries, you really only get killed if caught in the cross fireSo it's not unethical to finance a few of the bullets in this crossfire? Plus it's not just crossfire, rather structural misery.


and so what if their govts are corrupt -- isn't it really just simply a question of degree?
i.e., the drug cartels have influence over govt in s. america, just as big corporations influence u.s. govt
You're a very good devil's advocate. :) Yes the situation in the U.S. is also bad, but does that mean that we have to stimulate an infinitely worse situation for other people? Also, it is not just corruption, rather wrecked countries. Imprisonment without trial, soldiers raping around (Birma), civil war, guerilla (Colombia). Wreckage stimulated and maintained thanks, in a very real and substantive degree, to the drugs money we send them. The rebels in Colombia, responsible for random assasinations of whole villages, are paid with coke money.

Omaar
21-06-2005, 03:34 AM
.....The rebels in Colombia, responsible for random assasinations of whole villages, are paid with coke money.

The sistuation is a whole lot more complex than that in colombia though - I'm not sure if you're saying that drugs are responsible for messing things up there, I'm pretty sure in terms of structural the issues the US government is directly repsonsible for a lot of this, its not like FARC are the only bad guys there.

"Plan Colombia, due to expire this year, has made Colombia the third-largest recipient of US military assistance after Israel and Egypt, receiving US$3 million per day in military aid. Eighty per cent of Plan Colombia has come in the form of military funding."

"With US training, two-thirds of the Colombian army are now involved in protecting the oil-rich sectors of the country. Under US supervision, the Colombian military recently launched “Operation Shield”, a new attempt to secure oil pipelines, to which the US has donated 10 Huey and Blackhawk helicopters. A new counter-guerrilla unit has been created especially to police the Cano-Limon oil field, in Arauca, near the Venezuelan border, which some fear could become a base for aggression against Venezuela."

" ...despite a 2001 Colombian government report estimating that the guerrillas received only 2.5% of total cocaine revenues — mostly as taxes levied on crop producers. In contrast, around 40% of the drug profits make their way into the hands of the right-wing paramilitaries and their allies."

"A central part of this “anti-drug” strategy has been the spraying of herbicides over the region, particularly a strengthened version of Roundup, or glyphosate, produced by US mega-corporation Monsanto. Over 600,000 hectares of Colombian jungle, the second-largest portion of the Amazon Rainforest after Brazil, has been sprayed in the past five years. The spraying has had a devastating impact on the region, poisoning animals, the water table, crops and the jungle, and causing illness, birth-defects and death amongst the local population."

"Washington justified its Cold War spending on the Colombian military as preventing the spread of “communism”. One of the main effects was the growth of the right-wing paramilitaries, currently responsible for more than 80% of human-rights violations in Colombia, including the assassinations and massacres of union leaders, human rights activists and student leaders."

from here (http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/630/630p15.htm)

Also ...:

"Four U.S. soldiers were arrested in April on suspicion of trying to smuggle hundreds of thousands
of dollars worth of cocaine from Colombia to the United States on a military aircraft.

Two other soldiers were arrested this month on suspicion of trying to sell ammunition to anti-government paramilitary forces that the United States is training Colombian troops to fight against. The two men were reportedly found in possession of more than 30,000 rounds of ammunition in a Bogota apartment."

from here (http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20050525-101102-2663r)

Personally I'm into boycotting Coke (the stuff you might drink) for how they've been playing things in colombia:

"Coca-Cola's main Latin American bottler, Panamco, is on trial in the US for hiring right wing paramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia. Since 1989, eight trade union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces, and the lawsuit, filed by the United Steel Workers of America, charges that the paramilitary worked with the blessing of, or in collaboration with, company management."

from here (http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2005/1075.html)

nonseq
21-06-2005, 03:57 AM
The sistuation is a whole lot more complex than that in colombia though - I'm not sure if you're saying that drugs are responsible for messing things up there, I'm pretty sure in terms of structural the issues the US government is directly repsonsible for a lot of this, its not like FARC are the only bad guys there.Yes the Bush administration is responsible for a lot of violence worldwide. What I'm saying is that buying colombian drugs is a direct way of 'funding' the violence. Voting Bush would be another effective way of promoting violence.

nonseq
21-06-2005, 04:13 AM
"Plan Colombia, due to expire this year, has made Colombia the third-largest recipient of US military assistance after Israel and Egypt, receiving US$3 million per day in military aid. Eighty per cent of Plan Colombia has come in the form of military funding."Yes. I believe the U.S. have often used the drugs-trade as a reasoning for their actions in Colombia. Whether real reaon or just an excuse, the war on drugs has been one of the ways they could convince politicians of the need of military aid, interventions etc in Colombia. So that's one of the unethical effects of buying coke. Also, the drugsmoney certainly fuels the fire, as shown here:


" ...despite a 2001 Colombian government report estimating that the guerrillas received only 2.5% of total cocaine revenues — mostly as taxes levied on crop producers. In contrast, around 40% of the drug profits make their way into the hands of the right-wing paramilitaries and their allies."Dunno where I read my reverse numbers, but either way, the drugs money is used directly for killing.


Personally I'm into boycotting Coke (the stuff you might drink) for how they've been playing things in colombia:

"Coca-Cola's main Latin American bottler, Panamco, is on trial in the US for hiring right wing paramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia. Since 1989, eight trade union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces, and the lawsuit, filed by the United Steel Workers of America, charges that the paramilitary worked with the blessing of, or in collaboration with, company management."Agreed. Both cokes should be boycotted.

nonseq
21-06-2005, 04:27 AM
True, but does it not strike you as unrealistic and impractical to try not to contribute money inadvertently to people who use it as means for bad ends? For example, how do I know that the guy who owns the convenient store down the street is not funding some kind of millitia or using it to buy child pornography?The change of that being the case is of course close to zero, while with drugs you are guaranteed to fund the violence. It's simple: at the beginning of the chain are the cartels. If you eventually get the coke, it's pretty much guaranteed that the cartel, paramilitaries/Farc, the smugglers etc got their (i.e. your) money. It's a chain of transactions. If the money is not being channeled all the way to the cartels etc, the transactional chain breaks. You won't get your coke, someone won't get their money, and someone will be killed. No money, no coke. I don't see how it could be a question whether those criminals will really get your money.

nonseq
21-06-2005, 06:38 PM
"A central part of this “anti-drug” strategy has been the spraying of herbicides over the region, particularly a strengthened version of Roundup, or glyphosate, produced by US mega-corporation Monsanto. Over 600,000 hectares of Colombian jungle, the second-largest portion of the Amazon Rainforest after Brazil, has been sprayed in the past five years. The spraying has had a devastating impact on the region, poisoning animals, the water table, crops and the jungle, and causing illness, birth-defects and death amongst the local population."Yeah, this shows the environmental and human destruction that comes with buying coke. It also shows Monsanto's Janus face again. One side of the company is making people ill, the other sells them expensive medicines. This was also mentioned by Herbert, I believe in a The Wire interview. At least some artists are not that cynical to no longer talk about anything but their music. Like johneffay mentioned earlier, 'pharmaceutical multinationals are hardly models of ethical probity', but Monsanto seems much worse than your typical pharmaceutical company.

ambrose
24-06-2005, 07:47 PM
what effect does the relative inexperience we have of drugs have on the argument? eg use of E and speed etc are relatively new, and theres little hard facts about the effects of such drugs on the body and mind. Doesnt there need to be some more scientific evidence before legalisation can be advocated?

what the portuguese experience going like?

i think henrymillers arg. is the most convincing:
"drugs make you act like a twat, which is close to being immoral"

;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

is there any drug that doesnt make you act liek a twat in the eyes of non participants? save maybe tobacco/nicotine?

Melchior
27-06-2005, 12:25 AM
Sorry I've ignored this thread... I don't have much to add, except possibly that yes, Phillip Morris would have to be better (noting that better =/= good) than completely unregulated drug gangs.


what effect does the relative inexperience we have of drugs have on the argument? eg use of E and speed etc are relatively new, and theres little hard facts about the effects of such drugs on the body and mind. Doesnt there need to be some more scientific evidence before legalisation can be advocated?

No, because the point of legalisation isn't about health, it's about "liberty"


what the portuguese experience going like?

Which particular portuguese experience? Have they legalised something?


i think henrymillers arg. is the most convincing:
"drugs make you act like a twat, which is close to being immoral"

;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

is there any drug that doesnt make you act liek a twat in the eyes of non participants? save maybe tobacco/nicotine?


If he said "drugs CAN make you act like a twat" I'd agree. As it is, drugs don't have a monopoly on making people twats. Should we ban love as well?

If doing something with a minimum of inherent enjoyment, that does harm those around you directly and is enourmously addictive isn't somewhat twatish, then I don't know what is. Most of the time you don't always know if people are on drugs regardless. One beer doesn't make you look like a twat, and neither does one joint, or even a small toot of chang or speed. Or quarter of a pill. Or anything else.

Peak
06-07-2005, 12:46 PM
seems to me the reason why this debate has any legs at all - why we are talking drugs rather than coca-cola, petrol, clothes - is the hangover of that 60s idea that drug use is positively moral . revolution in the head, a moral rejection of an immoral world, that sort of thing. Nonseq effectively trashes that idea, but then more straightforwardly 'political' types were trashing it at the time.

10:02am
06-07-2005, 06:13 PM
Don't people take drugs to avoid morality, to be taken to a place without such division or polarity? The stoner watching 2001 , the raver on speed, the artist on smack. More often than not, these are people for whom drugs allow reprieve from questions of morality, the impact of one's indirect contribution to the world's problems, one's unwitting complicitness in such problems, the heavy weight of consequence and neurosis that clouds modern life for nearly everyone, etc... It lends this discussion a certain irony.

And I think that if other drugs were legal, people (at least the ones I know) would take them as often as they drink.

nonseq
06-07-2005, 07:03 PM
Yes its very ironic indeed, and this irony is exemplary for the current state of the world.

What I think is that people currently are so cynical, numb and depoliticized that they don't (want to) see how the political is precisely in the details of everyday live, and that opening your eyes to this reveals a horrific spectacle, a kind of underworld like in David Lynch movies, hidden under the everyday suburban reality glare, beyond the veneer of democracy and the glitzy propaganda of Kapital. The revealing of this tableaux is completely Lynchian, because there too the greatest horror of it all is the realization that you yourself are corrupted, implicated in the underworld, the hidden machinery* feeding your, our desires. See for example Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks (note the drug issues), Lost Highway. See also Assayas' brilliant Demonlover, and more tangential, the excellent Rammstein video Die Sonne: dwarfs digging gold for decadent Snowhite, who injects it as a drug.

* note the steam engines and other machinery with an industrial-era feel in many Lynch films, for example in Blue Velvet it marks a passage to the darker sides of society

10:02am
06-07-2005, 07:54 PM
What I think is that people currently are so cynical, numb and depoliticized that they don't (want to) see how the political is precisely in the details of everyday live, and that opening your eyes to this reveals a horrific spectacle, a kind of underworld like in David Lynch movies, hidden under the everyday suburban reality glare, beyond the veneer of democracy and the glitzy propaganda of Kapital.

But these are not the people or motives I refer to. The drug-users (and abusers) that I referenced through very general examples are precisely not those who are fooled by 'suburban reality glare' etc. You mention cynicism, but your language seems to imply ignorance. Most drug users that I know are not ignorant to their realities. Most drug users I know willingly submit to a feeling of morality-lessness, political-lessness, which speaks nothing of their concerns, actions, and guilt during the sober hours. It may sound cyberpunk of me, but drugs often seem to be an escape from too much information. Perhaps this temporary erasure of morals is necessary to balance the burdens of a socially/politically/emotionally over-aware mind? Just riffing here.

sufi
06-07-2005, 08:46 PM
that's interesting 10:02: drug users are currently excluded from legitimate society, which forces them into a perspective that questions validity of the whole 'system', (man!). perhaps this means they are also more likely to commit other types of immorality? :eek: yikes

i think apathy is immoral anyway

nonseq
06-07-2005, 08:47 PM
But these are not the people or motives I refer to. The drug-users (and abusers) that I referenced through very general examples are precisely not those who are fooled by 'suburban reality glare' etc. You mention cynicism, but your language seems to imply ignorance. Most drug users that I know are not ignorant to their realities.
Actually I wasn't just talking about drug users but people in general. I put the '(want to)' in 'they don't (want to) know' i.e. there are people who have a vague idea of their complicity but don't want to see the truth in all its horrific detail. Many drug users probably fall into this category. What they are exploring is their own head/bellybutton/arse, not the corruption and violence inherent to illegal drugs.


Most drug users I know willingly submit to a feeling of morality-lessness, political-lessness, which speaks nothing of their concerns, actions, and guilt of the sober hours.
Yes this is terrible. As if one could 'turn off' morality during the night. Otherwise a murderer on one day, would be a good man the next.

nonseq
06-07-2005, 09:08 PM
i think apathy is immoral anywayI think strictly speaking 'immoral' means bad 'mores', bad manners, so that would exclude thought per se, without actions. On the other hand, doing nothing is also an action...

Melchior
06-07-2005, 10:47 PM
See, reckon that people predominantly take drugs (at least in the beginning) because they are

FUN

They keep taking them for a whole range of reasons, but mostly people start taking drugs for fun. Lots of people don't find them fun, or regard the risks (or complicity with nastiness) and unacceptable trade off for fun. And there's nothin wrong with that.

I think the point about an idea that drugs are inherently moral or good is both common and bullshit. The only reason I mention it is beacuse I would hate, because I personally find that arguement so annoying, for people to think that I was saying that drug use is inherently moral by starting this thread.

sufi
06-07-2005, 11:01 PM
FUN is immoral isn't it?

10:02am
07-07-2005, 12:23 AM
Yes this is terrible. As if one could 'turn off' morality during the night. Otherwise a murderer on one day, would be a good man the next.


Drugs 'turn off' many things. And by letting go of morality whilst on drugs, I of course don't mean that to be taken to the extreme. The goal and (hopefully) the result of recreational drug use (i.e. FUN!) is not to become amoral or to have the freedom to act harmfully without regret. But the thoughts that obsess and concern the conscious, aware, and intelligent person (especially in a world where it may seem that morality, in politics and elsewhere, is scarce) dissolve a little, not entirely, and allow for more immediate and weightless pleasures that can be healthy. Not terrible. And not involving murder.

PS - I realize I run the risk of sounding like some sort of extreme escapist/hedonist that encourages everyone to take drugs at all opportunity. Quite not true. I certainly am aware of personal damage (and terrible behavior) that can come with heavy drug use of any kind. But I also find a value in the pleasures of letting go, and think that it can live comfortably with a moral life, even one that is concerned more than most with the problems that exist beyond it.

dominic
07-07-2005, 02:45 AM
i stand by my position way upthread that drugs are essential to any powerful music scene where everyday social identities are broken down and things are on the level

obviously not everyone who uses drugs sees drug use as a way to access such a transformed social reality, but certainly a good number of users do

for me, it's all about achieving a vision of the good, a take on the good life

and despite all the drawbacks of drugs, the destructive nature of the drug trade, you have to take the bad to have the good

and this is in no way to say that drug use is postively moral or any such hippie nonsense

rather, i believe in music and therefore drugs -- b/c they go hand in hand

and i don't believe in morality as many of the people here seem to define it

for me, morality is about giving people what i *personally* owe them

and so i suppose that if the drug trade has ruined many lives in south america or wherever -- and the burden is on you to show that these lives would not be destroyed by some other renegade trade were there no drug trade -- then i suppose i wash my hands of it

the same way that i wash my hands of everything else that i'm *complicit in* on this earth

dominic
07-07-2005, 11:22 AM
plus none of you have yet to establish why consuming drugs is any worse than eating chicken or beef

and if it's the criminal and often violent nature of the drug trade that makes it so "bad," then you should consider how legality masks the violent foundations of the powers that be -- which is not to say that there's not also a great deal of popular consent to uphold and legitimate the powers the be, the law, the state, etc, merely to point out that the divide b/w what's kosher and what's not is typically established by violent means

Peak
07-07-2005, 02:16 PM
dominic, your last 2 posts crystalise the argument for me, or the two arguments. taking drugs is no worse than eating chicken or beef, all consumption is 'immoral' to the extent that its caught up in the machinations of Kapital, yes agreed.

So why are there this many posts about the morality of drugs rather than chicken or beef? Because like you argue in your previous post (some) people do see their drugs as a moral choice, a vision of the good life /rejection of everyday social identities. A countercultural act.

But if that's true, and I think that is at least part of the thinking for a lot of people, then it is more incumbent on those people to face up to the full social/political implications of their 'countercultural act', moreso than chicken/beefeaters who don't think of their consumption in moral terms in the first place. And more 'immoral' not to acknowledge those implications. Maybe.

Personally the drugs/music/visionary interface is where the category of 'drugs' breaks down for me anyway. Some drugs maybe, others (coke most obviously) just make their users selfish and self-obsessed

dominic
07-07-2005, 09:41 PM
again, i'm not arguing that drugs are good

or that rampant drug use in the west cannot be taken as a sign of decadence (though i'd say drug use reflects need as well as sin)

rather, my argument is more along the lines that precisely because drugs are illegal and outside the norms of the workaday world (i.e., i'm referring not to the adolescent/college world where drugs are okay, but to the adult/workaday world where drug use is frowned upon), the use of drugs helps to define a social space where ordinary identities are largely, if not entirely, out the window

and this is just as true of cocaine as any other illegal drug -- i.e., there's something in the ritual of taking drugs that serves as a great equalizer -- plus all the dealings with people you might o/w never come into contact with

and as for the drugs/music/visionary interface, i do think that drug use has a kind of "religious" dimension, i.e., the contexts in which illegal drugs are used are post-xian/post-organized religion communal spaces

IN SHORT, i'm not arguing that use of illegal drugs is an unmitigated good by any stretch -- rather, i'm saying that if there weren't damn good reasons for using illegal drugs, then i might be more sympathetic to the position of melchior and others on this thread -- but as things stand, i disagree with the prevailing sentiment on this thread

dominic
07-07-2005, 10:33 PM
of course young beautiful women seem to prefer social situations where there are lots of drugs on hand

this is obviously an "immoral" reason, but it does factor into my thinking

i don't know about other people, but i have complex motives

(and, no, i don't usually hit on such women -- simply won't deny that i like to have them around)