Our failed war on drugs


5:12 pm - March 2nd 2009

by Neil Robertson    


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For a politician, I’m not sure there’s anything more humiliating than defending your own failures. A few days ago the President of Mexico was forced to deny that he was presiding over a failed state. As his country prepared to send two thousand more troops into the troubled city of Ciudad Juarez, Felipe Calderon insisted that he wasn’t losing control of his country and that victory was just around the corner – contrary to growing fears in the United States that their neighbour is close to becoming a narco-state.

In a technical sense, Mr Calderon is correct that Mexico isn’t yet a failed state, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t failing. Since assuming office in December 2006 and immediately escalating the doomed ‘war on drugs’, there have been over 8,000 drug-related executions.

Thanks to the wealthy, powerful and vengeful cartels, there are towns and cities plagued by corrupt police forces, widespread extortion and untramelled violence. Just a week ago, gunmen killed a police officer and prison guard and left a note by their bodies promising to kill an officer every two days until the police chief resigned. He quit before they ever had the chance to carry out their threat.

This is what the war on drugs buys you. In its long and undignified history, Presidents have come and gone; cartels have risen and fallen; street dealers have become rich, been shot or imprisoned; millions of addicts have killed themselves and many millions more have been exploited at every stage of the supply chain. Meanwhile, cartels have infested the law enforcement of Latin America; West Africa has become a vital part of the illegal trade route and the people of Afghanistan are caught up in a war where both the sale and destruction of opium crops can help strengthen Taliban insurgents. All these millions dead, all these billions spent, and both supply and demand remain as strong as ever.

Earlier this month a commission led by three former Latin American heads of state called prohibition the failure it is and suggested that the continent should treat narcotics as a public health problem, rather than a problem for law enforcement.

But even if Mexico, Columbia & Brazil were to legalise drugs overnight, it still wouldn’t diminish the power of cartels to erode civil society, as they would still have to break national & international law to smuggle their products to overseas markets. No, the only way we could effectively end this cycle of violence, corruption and exploitation would be for the drug cartels’ biggest export markets – the U.S. and Europe – to agree to some kind of controlled legalisation.

The drugs trade is only filled with such violence because it’s illegal, and whilst decriminalising wouldn’t exactly bring immediate peace, it would at least make it possible for that peace to emerge.

If the bloody, anarchic events in Mexico and throughout South America were instead happening in Britain, ending prohibition would be the great moral & political cause of our time. For decades these countries have been waging a futile war on our behalf, and only when we call a truce will they be able to mend their fractured societies.

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About the author
Neil Robertson is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He was born in Barnsley in 1984, and through a mixture of good luck and circumstance he ended up passing through Cambridge, Sheffield and Coventry before finally landing in London, where he works in education. His writing often focuses on social policy or international relations, because that's what all the Cool Kids write about. He mostly blogs at: The Bleeding Heart Show.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Crime ,Foreign affairs ,United States

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Reader comments


Yeah, that’s all Wall St. needs right now. Take away its drug money-laundering business.

Sadist.

Heh Aaron.

I have to say though, the situation in Mexico is horrific. I have cousins who live in LA and used to head down to MExico and now the cross-border travel is down to nil. People get hacked, shot and beheaded during the day randomly… drive-bys are common and drug wars have gone completely out of hand.

The real question is – why has it exploded so suddenly (early last year) and so violently? It simply beggars belief at how fast Mexico’s drug problem has become so massive.

Of course it is prohibition that causes the criminality, violence and misery and I feel desperately sorry for the Mexicans.

But allowing individuals the freedom to choose which drugs they choose to put into their own bodies would also be quite a liberal thing to do.

Wouldn’t it?

4. the a&e charge nurse

I agree with most of your analysis Neil – I would only quibble with one point.

I do not think we should ‘medicalise’ drug taking even though physical complications such as hepatitis, endocarditis and premature death are self-evident. – taking drugs is NOT a disease in my opinion.

If drugs are legalised in the UK, and personally I think they should be, it should be with a provisio that the existential fall-out from taking smack, dope, uppers, downers, hallucinogenics, etc is a problem for the individual and not the medical profession to sort out.

5. Shatterface

Personally, I think all drugs are great (except for ketamine, which is for horse-rapists) but can anyone realistically see drugs being legalised in this country when the press and the politicians are increasingly illiberal even where legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol are concerned?

6. Dick the Prick

And Guinea Bissau seems to have had a coup d’etat today, Colombia’s European warehouse. Funny old world.

…and in Scotland the next step towards prohibition of alcohol is taken.

8. Shatterface

I grew up in the 80’s when everyone I knew was using cannabis (at least) and naturally assumed that my generation would have a far more sensible attitude to drugs when they got into power.

Of course my parents, being children off the 60’s, assumed the same.

Sunny- its not that the drugs problem has become massive overnight. The cartels have been about and huge for a long time. What has stepped up is the level of violence and confrontation, especially with the forces of the state.

The other issue is a bit more complicated. Mexicos cartels used to be paid in hard cash by the South American cartels. Improvements in US border security, and increased popularity of US made marjuana and synthetic drugs has hurt the profits in that. This has resulted in the South Americans paying the Mexicans part in cash and part in a portion of the drugs shipped. The Mexicans are now building a local consumer market so they can make a profit out of this, hence the increased local violence as opposed to when they largely did transit.

Also, the old dictatorial PRI had deals with the cartels which the PAN did not continue. There are accusations that various parties only attack certain drug groups ect, its not like the political establishment is clean on this issue.

Legalisation is on the table for debate in Mexico (many drugs are already legal for personal use, I think), and given a lot of the problems come from the pushing of a market in Mexico this would probably help to a fair degree. But… Catholic Church. Given the country still has guerillas holding the south it would still be a transit lane, but there would be much less reason to attack the social order in the current fashion.

#4 A&E Charge Nurse,

Interesting comment. I’m wary of straying too far into hypotheticals here, mostly because I don’t believe I’ll ever see legalisation in my lifetime (and I’m only 24), but just off the top of my head, I would prefer for drugs to be legal to buy and therefore taxed, and for the tax revenue to be diverted into the NHS in much the same was as tax on tobacco is. Whether that is practically feasible or not, I don’t know, but I certainly share your concerns about the burden that could be placed on the healthcare system – particularly when the NHS is burdened enough as it is.

#5 Shatterface,

but can anyone realistically see drugs being legalised in this country when the press and the politicians are increasingly illiberal even where legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol are concerned?

No, I can’t. Ever. But it helps to have a good moan every once in a while…

11. Mike Killingworth

[10] What proportion of the cigarettes sold in this country do you supposed are smuggled? Legalisation won’t abolish the criminal gangs, they will either turn to smuggling to provide tax-free drugs or simply to kidnapping (probably a bit of both). Look at that recent Irish bank job for a glimpse of the future.

Mike, while there will always be criminal activity, and we would not expect gangs to disappear over night after legalisation, controls on contraband are a particularly effective way of generating violent gangs and a great ways of maintaining them. It is because such trades are essentially about willing sellers and buyers. When the state tries to come between these people, it simply encourages both to recognise non-state enforcement agencies, as both sides have an interest in being able to protect the trade.

By contrast, kidnapping is a zero sum game where one side simply attacks the other, meaning the victim will always seeks redress from the state if they have a reasonable chance of getting a better outcome that way. It would be pretty difficult to base a largescale criminal conspiracy on it (it would be rather like having a state which NEVER did any good whatsoever for who it ruled over, essentially unstable).

[10] What proportion of the cigarettes sold in this country do you supposed are smuggled? Legalisation won’t abolish the criminal gangs, they will either turn to smuggling to provide tax-free drugs or simply to kidnapping (probably a bit of both). Look at that recent Irish bank job for a glimpse of the future.

I suppose the answer is: don’t make the level of taxation a reason to import smuggled drugs. What use is the high rate of tax on smokes if people just buy them off smugglers?

Tax as a method of control is pointless if it can be circumvented so easily.

Just going back to the Mexico thing for a minute, Foreign Policy has a fairly lengthy piece on the situation here. Worth a read for anyone who wants more than the brief sketch in this post.

15. Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Oh hum,

…yet more liberal handwringing.

There is no “war on drugs”. If there was an all out assault on the drug barons we would have won.

Not once has there ever been an all out assault, a proper sustained war on drugs with no holds barred.

If you want to beat the cartels, here is what you do.

They threaten to kill a Police Officer every day until they achieve a desired goal. Societies rsponse should be:

Ok, we will send paratroppers into your compounds, your estates. your country homes, your factories & legitmate businesses with the sole intention of eliminating the “management” of all of your assets.

The cartels kill one police officer, society kills 10 drug employees.

They would run out of soldiers & bullets long before any state.

So my woolly liberal friends, until we are actually fight this scum with an “All Out War on Drugs” then we will continue to bury of young in the west whilst the cartels & drug lords amass fiscal & political power.

We know who the bosses of the global drugs industry are, so why dont we go & kill them as an example to all other wanna be “Scarfaces”?
.
For decades now we have allowed them to win because we lack the inner strength to do what is necessary – & what is necessary is to remove the human rights from all people involved in the drug supply industry & call open season on them.

Or we can wait anoter 50 years & the next generation of semi literate liberal muppets like you can wright the same story over & over & over again.

You liberals, thank god you were not in power in 1939, & whilst your ridiculous failed matras hold sway over policy we will not catch a cold on a flu ward.

Muppets.

16. Mike Killingworth

[12] I have no doubt that some dealers will take the opportunity presented by legalisation to go “legit” as happened after the repeal of prohibiiton in the US. That would be the rational thing to do.

However, for a hard core, criminality itself is important – practical libertarianism, if you like, or extreme machismo. At present, the police treat kidnapping as the worst of all crimes (after murdering one of their own) and will prioritise it over all others. As a result, it is very rare.

As you imply, if this were ever to change it would imply that the State had effectively failed. But we live in such strange times that it is difficult to rule anything out…

17. the a&e charge nurse

Mrs Righty Right Wing – humans have ALWAYS taken drugs ………… ways have, always will.

BTW do you have any addictions ?
sugar ?
salt ?
The health dangers associated with these two are far greater than ecstasy, for example.

18. councilhousetory

15
I haven’t heard such simplistic bollox in ages. Would make me laugh, except I know a lot of blokes who’ve been to Afghanistan and NATO have been trying this for years without success:

”’Ok, we will send paratroppers into your compounds, your estates. your country homes, your factories & legitmate businesses with the sole intention of eliminating the “management” of all of your assets.

The cartels kill one police officer, society kills 10 drug employees.

They would run out of soldiers & bullets long before any state.”

In real life it’s a little more difficult than a Tom Clancy novel. Note you didn’t offer one reason why this nonsense policy of prohibition should continue.

19. Dick the Prick

Surely we’re making money out of Afghanistan.

[15] I believe your approach has been tried before in Colombia. Strangely enough, I recall it failing. It also wouldn’t work in the consumer nations in the West because we’re desperately trying to cling onto something called “due process.”

Here’s an interesting statistic;

For every £1 the government spends on cracking down on the supply and distribution of drugs, £4 of crime is generated by addicts being forced to commit more crime to meet the subsequent rise in the price of drugs.

21. Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Sigh.

Until we have tried taking these miscreants on in a sustained & meaningful way that they understand (strength) please do not bleat on about the failure thus far to beat them.

Look at Afghanistan (sorry council house tory, you may know peole who have been there BUT YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT ALONE IN THAT RESPECT) we have British troops doing nothing as opium that is manufactured into heroin for Britains streets growns unmolested & unabated.

In the time British troops have been dying in Afghanistan heroin production has increased exponentiallly t the point where heroin is cheaper now in real terms than in 1967.

That is an abject failure to our youth.

Our troops are out there dying as the junk that is grow there is unleashed onto western streets to kill our young.

And whilst liberal sentiment & BS about the human rights of drug cartels & their employees prevails we will continue to bury the youth of the west – destroyed by heroin & the western liberal ideologues & PC taliban who deny us the opportunity to take the fight to the cartels..

You muppets just cannot grasp what needs to be done.

All out war is the answer, where no quarter is offered to that scum – from top to bottom of their organisations we should make it known that none of them can sleep easy ever again.

But hey, by all means carry on wringing your hands & writing the same tired old liberal tosh every generation or so, that really works, doesnt it children?.

Muppets.

“Muppets” ~ Loser troll type Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Hey!

I resemble that remark.

The ‘War On Drugs’ is lost. I know it, you know it, the world and its dog knows it, but we will never have a grown up conversation about it in this country or particularly in America. So another piece is written but of course nothing will change.
Its particularly ironic considering the current debates about free market economies, re banking, when basic supply and demand is so evident in this trade.

“For every £1 the government spends on cracking down on the supply and distribution of drugs, £4 of crime is generated by addicts being forced to commit more crime to meet the subsequent rise in the price of drugs.”

You’re falling into the trap the other side falls into here. That stat is completely unquantifiable and entirely meaningless.

25. Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Thank you Aaron for engaging in debate with a differing opinion to yours. As the strength of your arguments against my post are somewhat lacking in substance I can only assume that you have little faith in the veracity & morality of your own stand point.

You are a true modern day liberal.

Well done.

See matron for another piece of tuck.

Nothing to see here, move along….

Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

I’m trying to follow my own advice, but…

If you turn up here calling everyone a muppet, you can’t very well play the honest debate card, now can you?

FAIL.

27. Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Aaron,

And your opinion on how to tackle the plague of heroin on our streets is…….

More understanding? More taxpayers cash for drop in (out) centres? More drug advisory officers? More needle exchanges? More British troops to guard the opium for the Taliban & the Afghan farmers as we win their “hearts & minds” & convert them into good little democrats?

How about a re-run of Switzerlands famous “needle park” policy?

Legalisation?

What is your view? I have opened myself up to vilification on enemy liberal territory by giving you an alternative view to those usually posted here on Liberal Conspiracy, so the very least you could do is enlighten me as to the great liberal plan for dealing with a tsunami of cut price bargain basement heroin on Europes streets & boulevards?

Thanks in advance.

Regard
RRW (mrs)

I vote for a “war on sugar”. It is after all the western world’s biggest killer of the next generation. It fulfills all the criteria of the UN as a drug.

Oh bollocks. I give up. Heroin is next to harmless when managed properly.

I’ll bet Mrs Righty Right has a penchant for a cup of caffeine stuff occasionally. Maybe some St John’s Wort to calm her down a bit after “debating” on Liberal Conspiracy.

Shatterface – you’re just wrong on Ketamine. All politicians should do some K – give them that nihilistic feeling that they are impotent to change anything whicih would be a good thing.

You cannot win this “war” – you don’t need opium. You can synthesise diamoprhine quite easily. Even if not, the active ingredients of diamorphine can be so condensed that you can fit a supply for an addict for an entire month in the space under a postage stamp – how are you supposed to police that.

The Pro-Death Alliance need to be seen for what they are – perpetrators of a mass killing spree that no government has the moral right to commit just in order to control what people put into their own bodies for all sorts of reasons.

I enjoyed this:

Or we can wait anoter 50 years & the next generation of semi literate liberal muppets like you can wright the same story over & over & over again.

Yeah, but I’m sure that in another 50 years, there’ll be a next generation of semi-literate right-wing trolls to set us all straight…

I’m a savage right winger, and I think we should legalise drugs. Mrs Righty Right Wing (who clearly downloads her opinions from “daily mail tower” in the manner of I robot) asks

“And your opinion on how to tackle the plague of heroin on our streets is”

I would turn the question around. The only way for a chav to fund a decent heroin habit is to become a dealer himself (or, if female, a prostitute). Prohibition therefore ensures a highly efficient pyramid marketing scheme for smack. The smack they are getting is filthy, and it is this which gives them the track lines and general cadaverous palor – medical grade morphine does not do this to them.

Street smack is dangerous. Everything else is pretty harmless. So if we legalised drugs, the long run demand for the serious stuff will fall, the harmless stuff will become more harmless as quality improves.

All the problems associated with drugs will disappear, not quite overnight but quickly, if all drugs were legalised.

Ergo, we should save the billions we spend on interdiction and treat the very small number of genuine addicts, and leave the recreational user alone.

Simple really. Everything government touches it turns to shit – a lesson you pinkos should learn and apply to other areas of Government intervention in our lives. Leave us alone.

Jackart

Righty Right Wing (Mrs)

Actually I don’t have all the answers. I tend to believe that prohibition has never succeeded, and unless we’re prepared to see the country locked down like some dystopian police-state, it’s a “war” we’ll never have a hope in winning.

The US has proven that draconian punishments don’t work either. Fact.

In the Nordic countries, particularly Finland, targeted drug rehabilitation programmes have proven incredibly successful. Fact. Of course our problems are much worse, and a roll-out of such programmes here may be impossibly expensive.

I think that if you want to smoke, snort coke, or inject Worcester Sauce into your eyeballs while you smoke a banana, it’s your decision and nothing to do with the state.

If we decriminalised drugs, we could control the price and quality of the substances, and discourage people from using seriously daft stuff that could kill a panda, never mind an 8st girl in a club toilet.

I think we’d see a drop in crime and social disorder if we took the trade off the criminal types.

We can’t win a “war” that’s un-winnable. A smart society picks its fights.

Name drop: Jon Snow has this little phrase he used in his lectures here at Brookes –

“You can’t win a war on a noun”.

I had started writing my response before I saw Jackart’s. Not a million miles from my own thoughts.

34. Fred Dibnah

Why not try all these ideas at once.
Total legalisation of drugs with harsh laws and penalities for adulteration of product.
A Blitzkrieg level assault on all known top level gangsters/cartels and confiscation of all assets.
Assets seized put towards advice, healthcare and addiction treatment programmes for those who want them.
Everybody wins. RightyRightWingbat gets her murderous war. The commies get to print millions of pamphlets and get quality inspector jobs with nice shiny clipboards. I get left the fuck alone to smoke weed and type at people. Oh wait I already have that…

The only way of killing a criminal activity is to remove the incentive.

Criminals sell drugs because customers want to buy them, and the government won’t let them. Criminals make money from selling drugs, which makes them rich. Other criminals see how easy it is to make money and also try to sell drugs. As the whole market is illegal, the other laws that normally apply in business don’t, so the only answer of competition is violence.

The answer? Remove the ability of the criminals to become rich through this incentive.

Make drugs legal, flood the market with drugs so that the street price is only a few pence. The rebellious reasons for drug taking soon disappear as the novelty disappears. (How many people still sniff glue after their 18th birthday?) Criminal gangs dissipate while there is no ability to fund their power base.

There will be a short term problem with excessive drug use, but this is best dealt with through health experts, in much the same way that fat people do diets etc!

everyone ends up happy – except the politicians who have to find something new to help build their powerbase!

36. Mister Right Wing

Righty Right Wing, I would support your policy if it were aimed at dealing with Islamo-fascism (though we need to address the fascism at home first), but when it comes to drugs you are flat-out wrong. The more you attack the drug producers and distributors, and hence the more you restrict supply, the higher the price goes and hence the higher the profits for getting involved. This leads to more entrants to the drug industry, and a further increase in corruption worldwide. That is, you are NEVER, ever going to get rid of it. And you know what? We shouldn’t. It should be completely legal. Crime would drop so massively we could lay off half the crime enforcement sector, at least. The only criminals left would be those in government.

Muppet.

Righty right wing – you don’t have to be a leftie to be against drug prohibition. The IEA, one of Thatcher’s favourite think-tanks, is against it: http://www.iea.org.uk/record.jsp?ID=429&type=book

In the US, they have found you could break up a whole gang and remove the drug trade from a city, but a new one would replace it in three weeks. The cause isn’t the drug barons but the fact that a lot of people actually quite like buying drugs!

This is why I don’t get democracy – I believe themajority of people in the US and the UK want drugs legalised. Why isn’t it happening?

“I think that if you want to smoke, snort coke, or inject Worcester Sauce into your eyeballs while you smoke a banana, it’s your decision and nothing to do with the state.”

Aaron, it patently does involve the state if you expect the State to look after you when you go blind from putting Worcester Sauce in your eyeballs. This is what I don’t understand about liberalism – its all about the right to do what you want without having to take responsability.

Please can anyone explain this to me?

There’s a suggestion was going round last week some time that Congress should try and have a sensible debate on drugs, by firs having something they called an “anonymous straw poll” so that instead of all the posturing in a public recorded vote, they could reveal the level of support for change before the debate got underway and then against that backdrop they could all be a bit more honest knowing that most of their colleagues thought something similar.

Lilliput, I don’t personally think there is a clear majority in favour of legalization. In fact, I might even suggest that as with capital punishment there may in fact be a majority in favour of getting tougher, zero tolerance, on drugs.

It is a big job to convince people whose estates’ problems appear all to be wrapped up with the crack house down the road and the blokes in the balcked out beamers that anything other than public lynching for dealers and users alike is the way to go.

And many of us cateorically do not believe is rights without responsibilities. Some of us even think that we should be paying anyway, through mutual schemes and so on, for our healthcare.

But if we took the idea that the state has an interest in anything that could possibly ever end up costing the state some (of our) money to an extreme we would be banning things like sugar so that the NHS did not have to provide diabetes care for half the next generation.

Anyway, the antidote for Worcester Sauce in your eye is quite cheap and simple – Tabasco in the other. You soon forget about the Worcester Sauce…:)

Bizarrest bit in the troll’s trolling is “How about a re-run of Switzerlands famous “needle park” policy?” – ie a successful concept which paved the way for Switzerland’s current ‘safe places to take safe drugs prescribed by the state’ scheme, which works better than that of anyone else in western Europe.

…and yet she says it like a bad thing…

“Aaron, it patently does involve the state if you expect the State to look after you when you go blind from putting Worcester Sauce in your eyeballs. This is what I don’t understand about liberalism – its all about the right to do what you want without having to take responsability.

Please can anyone explain this to me?”

Well, I think people (ideally) should pay for their own health care. In our current context, some limits on drug use/sale would be necessary. One of them, however, is not heroin which can be taken safely indefinitely (especially if the dosage is clearly labelled and understood). Most forms of cannabis aren’t any more threatening than alcohol/smoking so with a small tariff, could support the health provision required for it. Damn… I am sounding terribly social democratic now…

Well, I think people (ideally) should pay for their own health care.

Do you guys mean more then what we are currently paying for the NHS – because contrary to popular belief – the NHS is not free – we pay a percentage of our salary? Or do you mean like in America where you pay a greater percentage of your salary to a medical insurance company?

“banning things like sugar so that the NHS did not have to provide diabetes care for half the next generation.”

Lets go the whole hog and ban food – Id save so much money!

“Do you guys mean more then what we are currently paying for the NHS – because contrary to popular belief – the NHS is not free – we pay a percentage of our salary? Or do you mean like in America where you pay a greater percentage of your salary to a medical insurance company?”

I mean in the sense of Switzerland or the Netherlands, where people have the choice to decide which health care insurer/provider to use, and pay more if they engage in more risky activities. I don’t mean like in the US where (crazily) it is usually one’s employer who decides what healthcare scheme you will use, and a combination of government regulation and doctors using cartels allows healthcare costs outside of insurance schemes to rise exponentially.

Lilliput,

I have private medical care, if they decide that injecting Lea & Perrins into my retinas invalidates my coverage, I only have myself to blame. No?

Likewise the NHS. Why does the NHS continue to fund the treatment of people who refuse to act with some personal responsibility towards their healthcare?

If someone makes a commitment to getting off of drugs, then we help and support them. If they ask for help losing weight, we provide some level of assistance. If someone continues to reject medical advice, why should continued and expensive treatment continue?

I think this is the height of mutual responsibility.

Also, America is not the only example of private healthcare – it’s just the worst! The current problems in American healthcare have as much to do with lobbyists and legal coverage, as they do with actual treatment.

Aaron – the problem there is someone might be rejecting medical advice but still paying a load of cash in taxes to the NHS. If the NHS refuses to treat them for whatever reason, shouldn’t they at least have the right to take their money and seek treatment elsewhere?

My girlfriend has a major issue with NHS doctors on this front. She smokes and whether she smokes or not is non-negotiable. When she gets ill, the doctors tend to whinge about the fact that she smokes and that tends to be the sum of their diagnosis. They don’t look as deeply and are not as willing to consider treatment than they otherwise would be. This generates an odd power relation where rather than the doctor being there to serve the patient, the doctor becomes the gatekeeper to treatments held back for the ‘deserving’.

Aaron and Nick, I’m in complete agreement with you – but I bet we won’t get much support here on Lib Con for our “Responsability based Healthcare”

and Aaron, for G-d’s sake, don’t tell anyone here that you’ve got private health care – or they will start mess up your comments like they do to newmania. Its such a conservative thing to do.

I would have it – if I could afford it – but don’t tell anyone!

Lilliput,

If my comments are disemvoweled, it can only make them more sensible.

Also, you’d be surprised how many “classic” liberals read LC. This site is about building a bustling coalition, not a dogmatic church.

I am all for universal healthcare. But I think it should be about a contract between healthcare provider (be it the state, semi-private or private) and the client, ooops, patient.

Nick,

Well, there will always be nuance, and there will always be people dissatisfied with any system. I’d like to think that patients can seek an alternative viewpoint – and appeal if treatment is limited.

Aaron, that is true but that also requires some diversity in policy, something that the current anti-professional and ‘postcode lottery’ hating administration has been keen to eliminate. Of course, I am not dogmatically asserting that private agencies are the only option, only that different forms of ownership are one way of supporting diversity in services.

51. Shatterface

I have to laugh everytime I read that money from pirate DVD’s goes towards funding the drug trade.

I mean, if you can’t make a profit from selling crack and have to subsidised it with hooky copies of Transformers you are in the wrong business.i

Rightly Right Wing’s argument seems predicated on the belief that drugs are always bad things and people must be protected from them, even if they wish to take them knowing the risks (usually however people are too stupid to know what’s good for them).
In this view (which seems to be the view of the authoritarian left and right) drugs are bad, even if they are harmless.

Drugs are inherently evil in this worldview, so they should be prohibited.

There’s little arguing with people like that, although perhaps we can pursuade those who assume those people are correct because they shout loudest…

53. burnttwiggy

The only question anyone should be asking here is: “who the hell are you [government or otherwise] to tell me what i can and cannot imbibe in my home on my time? Who among the 6 billion human beings in the world has the right to tell me what my morality will be and what i will and will not do? Who has the right to tell me that i cannot do something becuase i MIGHT become addicted? With the proper information regarding dosages and responsible use provided to users, the addiction rate, i think, would plumit dramatically. It’s one of the first rules of retail. BUYER BEWARE. At that point, not a single addict would have to be provided for using goverment funding since it would be stated that they are using this substance at their own risk and if they want to get treatment for any subsiquent addiction that came with using the substance then that would be their problem. So again i ask, who has the right to tell me what i will and will not do in regardds to my on body, especially when it poses no credible threat to society at large?

Answer that question and the rest of the house of cards that is the US War on Drugs will fall. The inherent problem here is that all of the self rightous poloticians in American and throughout the world all seem think they are given the right to dictate morailty when elected to office. The government needs to step back and leave issues like “drugs” and health care to the citizens and to the state so that they, the people who primarily are engaged in this ridiculously complicated system, can figure out what is best for them. Be it unified governmental healthcare or privitized healthcare. Its an issue for the states, not the federal government. Its time to put the monster that is the US government in its place and remind the powers that be that they are ellected by the people, of the people and for the people. Not for political or personal gain. And certainly not to tell us what we can and cannot do based on their own morality. It all comes down to personal responsibility and people being held accountable for that responsibility.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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