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Thread: Is taking drugs immoral?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    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...

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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?
    Last edited by nonseq; 21-06-2005 at 05:16 PM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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?

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonseq
    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.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonseq
    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/fre...han_poppy.html

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    Just as a point of interest, almost exactly the opposite is true


    I did find something that supports the general point though:
    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/forei...428150,00.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

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    crackbabies - that's govt propaganda recently debunked
    Then 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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    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
    I 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.

  9. #24
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    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

  10. #25
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    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?

  11. #26
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    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?

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonseq
    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.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    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
    So it's not unethical to finance a few of the bullets in this crossfire? Plus it's not just crossfire, rather structural misery.

    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonseq
    .....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

    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

    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omaar
    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.

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