Is taking drugs immoral?

nonseq

New member
johneffay said:
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.

johneffay said:
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

New member
johneffay said:
Just as a point of interest, almost exactly the opposite is true
:eek:

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

New member
dominic said:
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.

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

dominic said:
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.
 

dominic

Beast of Burden
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

New member
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

there are no accidents
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

New member
nonseq said:
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

New member
dominic said:
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.

dominic said:
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.

dominic said:
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.
 
O

Omaar

Guest
nonseq said:
.....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
 

nonseq

New member
Omaar said:
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

New member
Omaar said:
"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:

Omaar said:
" ...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.

Omaar said:
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

New member
King Ink said:
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.
 
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nonseq

New member
Omaar said:
"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

New member
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

Taking History Too Far
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.

ambrose said:
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

New member
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

New member
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

New member
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

New member
nonseq said:
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.
 
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sufi

lala
suburban reality glare

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
 
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