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Mar 27 2013

Rand Paul on the War on Drugs

Like his father, Rand Paul can be maddening. Sometimes he sounds like a complete lunatic and other times he’s not only on the right side but is virtually alone in Congress in taking the right stand. That’s why ThinkProgress says that Democrats should be saying the things he’s saying about the disastrous war on drugs:

PAUL: The main thing I’ve said is not to legalize [drugs], but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of time. I’m working with Sen. Leahy. We have a bill on mandatory minimums. There are people in jail for 37, 50, 45 years for non-violent crimes. And that’s a huge mistake. Our prisons are full of non-violent criminals.

I don’t want to encourage people to do it. I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things you should be doing. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t want to promote that. But I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake. There’s a lot of young people who do this, then later on in their 20s they grow up and they get married and they quit doing things like this. I don’t want to put them in jail and ruin their lives.

Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use and I really think, you know, look what would have happened. It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids. particularly in the inner city, they don’t get lucky, they don’t have good attorneys, and they go to jail for these things, and I think it’s a big mistake.

It isn’t just a big mistake, it is devastating for the country in many important ways. It rips families apart and destroys lives, the vast majority of them racial minorities. And as Paul correctly notes, the criminal justice system is fatally rigged against them. This is something liberals should be screaming about, but when was the last time you heard a Democrat say things like that? Maybe Kucinich, who is no longer in Congress. James Webb was pretty much the only voice we’ve had for serious criminal justice reform in the Senate for the last few decades (Joe Biden, on the other hand, had an absolutely terrible record on criminal justice issues in the Senate; he wrote the law that allows the blatantly unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture powers used by police). ThinkProgress says the same thing:

Paul is right on both counts. Incarcerating people who commit minor drug crimes makes no sense, and his stance is a winning issue politically. In 2011, a poll found for the first time that fifty percent of the nation supports outright legalization of marijuana, compared to only 46 percent who oppose it. Among voters under 30, nearly two-thirds support legalization. Since this poll was taken, two states legalized marijuana for recreational use, and numerous others had previously legalized it for medical use. According to one poll, nearly three in four Americans believe the federal government should back off enforcement against people who comply with state marijuana laws.

So if Democrats cede this issue to the likes of Rand Paul, they will give up a powerful opportunity to engage with young voters — and potentially empower one of America’s most dangerous politicians in the process.

Of course, there is another, even more important reason why Democrats should work to liberalize America’s drug laws — Rand Paul is right that ruining people’s lives if they commit common youthful transgressions is immoral. But if Democrats cannot be moved to think sensibly on drugs because it is the right thing to do, the least they could do is think sensibly on drugs because it is in their selfish political interests to do so.< ?blockquote>

Hear, hear. But I’m not holding my breath.

41 comments

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  1. 1
    Michael Heath

    I perceive four positions which if held, demonstrate the person isn’t serious about responsible fiscal policy. In spite of some so often crying about the enormous debt our progeny will suffer under given supposedly exorbitant interest carrying costs are coming with little to no return on the investments/expenditures which created this debt. Those four positions are:

    If they refuse to cut the Defense budget.

    If they deny we need to do anything about global warming.

    If they support the continued so-called War on Drugs.

    That the market for financing healthcare costs has been broken since the 1980s where best practices require increased governmental participation in financing this sector.

    The math simply won’t allow responsible fiscal policy if a person avoids/denies the underlying facts of these four positions. Where “responsible” to me means growth-oriented with manageable debt taken on either defends present levels of GDP, or that spurs growth. The latter rather than going on spending sprees and boondoggles that depresses economic growth (e.g., Iraq War, Drug War).

  2. 2
    rabbitscribe

    As computerized criminal background checks become cheap, comprehensive, and routine, even an arrest, let alone a conviction, can have devastating consequences on an individual for the rest of their lives. Catch a felony rap for 30 grams of cannabis and you’re done. As things stand, you’ll never be employed in any traditional job. It’s nuts already…

  3. 3
    Kevin

    I gotta disagree with you and Paul on this. In this sense, I think I’m even more “libertarian” (gad how I had the connotations of that word).

    I drink alcohol…it’s a drug. Stop. No, stop. Don’t disagree with me. It’s a drug. Period. I have a bottle of Jim Beam in the kitchen and a bottle of vodka in the fridge. I have a glass of wine (or two spaced out over an hour+) if I’m out to dinner. No one has ever suggested that I be jailed for engaging in my type of drinking behavior.

    If, however, I decided to have 4 glasses of wine and then drive home — well, I get jail time if I run into a check point, WHETHER OR NOT I actually cause an accident.

    It’s not the taking of the drug that matters. It’s the consequences of taking drugs in settings where your drugged behavior may be a danger to yourself or others.

    That doesn’t mean there should necessarily be no social consequences for drug use. Frankly, the guys who worked on my roof stoned won’t be getting a recommendation from me. And I sure as hell won’t hire them again myself.

    I’ve never partaken of any non-alcohol drug other than pain killers for a bad back. The thought of it leaves me indifferent to slightly disgusted that people would think that little of themselves.

    But if Charlie Sheen wants to get wasted every weekend — why not? As long as he’s not driving, and gets to the set on time Monday morning ready to work, is that a problem? One that a legal remedy is needed for? Jail time?

    Of course, it’s not good for his long-term health — but aren’t we then legislating health choices? Doesn’t that lead to the shutting down of McDonalds? The banning of “freedom fries”? Mandating 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise? Yes, the old slippery slope argument — but seriously, what’s the ethical/moral/social difference? Very very little other than the speed at which one form of bad health choices works to undermine your wellness.

    It’s the consequences of drug use that need to be addressed, not the use itself.

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    ThinkProgress says that Democrats should be saying the things he’s saying about the disastrous war on drugs…

    And why do Democrats not say these things? Because when they do, they get savaged by the right-wing propaganda machine for being “soft on crime” and “coddling criminals” and such. Why does Rand Paul say these things? It’s not because he’s braver than the Democrats, it’s because he knows his party will let him get away with it when it suits their interests. He knows he’s harmless, they know he’s harmless, so there’s no need to destroy him before he gets a significant independent power-base. I’m willing to bet that if a Democrat had said the same thing just now, Rand Paul’s party would attack him for it, with no vocal opposition from Rand Paul. (Did Rand Paul ever say the Republicans should quit demonizing liberals over this issue?)

    This is part of how Republicans dominate every policy debate: marginalize and destroy their real opposition; then, when they’re proven dead wrong, let one of their own pretend to be the brave gadfly speaking truth to power (that’s newsworthy, as opposed to a liberal saying it, ’cause liberals are predictable donchaknow); so that people who see the total wrongness of Republican policies won’t see any viable alternatives outside the Republican bubble.

    So what else would Rand Paul do to keep innocent young lives from being ruined? Support better public education maybe?

  5. 5
    Gretchen

    And why do Democrats not say these things? Because when they do, they get savaged by the right-wing propaganda machine for being “soft on crime” and “coddling criminals” and such.

    Since this will happen regardless, why don’t they say them anyway?

    If not, what good are Democrats?

  6. 6
    wscott

    The main thing I’ve said is not to legalize [drugs], but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of time.

    I’m amazed there isn’t more discussion of this option from either side. Personally, I’m all for legalization but I recognize that’s still a pretty hard sell politically (except for pot, and only barely there). But de-criminalization and focusing more on treatment and less on incarceration should be a no-brainer to anyone not making money off of building prisons. But it’s like that option isn’t even on the table.

    @ Gretchen 5: hear hear!

  7. 7
    trucreep

    @ 4

    So you’re saying Democrats choose their own political careers over the well-being of their constituents? I can agree with that for sure.

  8. 8
    jba55

    “I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things you should be doing.”

    I hate this meme, it’s so much bullshit. Many people smoke pot daily and work, contribute to society, etc. You don’t hear as much about them at least partly because they don’t stand out like people who behave like the negative stereotype of pot smokers. Hell, personally when I smoke pot I have more energy and am much more productive.

    “slightly disgusted that people would think that little of themselves”

    Another offensive stereotype. Just because someone does drugs, even daily, doesn’t mean they “think little of themselves”. They might just like getting high. Perhaps you should get over yourself. Although I’m just guessing, I wouldn’t presume to say I know how you feel about yourself based on something so trivial as making a presumptuous comment on the internet.

  9. 9
    Raging Bee

    So you’re saying Democrats choose their own political careers over the well-being of their constituents?

    I’m saying that the Republican propaganda machine has made it politically impossible for liberals to do the right thing and get away with it.

    Since this will happen regardless, why don’t they say them anyway?

    Maybe because they have other things that need doing, and would rather focus on them because they’re politically more doable? Not taking a stand on your pet issue may look cowardly to you, but if it allows them to stay in office to get something else done, then it’s not necessarily a bad or cowardly decision. I’d prefer to end both the War on Drugs and the Iraq War, but ending one is better than ending none.

  10. 10
    Raging Bee

    I hate this meme, it’s so much bullshit.

    I smoked weed every day for fifteen years, and no, it’s not all bullshit. It does diminish motivation, and sometimes exacerbates depression. I’m all for legalizing weed, but not for ignoring its real dangers.

  11. 11
    Raging Bee

    If not, what good are Democrats?

    Good enough for keeping Mutt Romney from getting elected. Can Rand Paul say more?

  12. 12
    jba55

    @10 I didn’t mean to say it never effects motivation or mood just that the image so many people have of “active go getters” smoking pot and turning into mopy, shiftless layabouts is crap. It *can* diminish motivation in some people, especially if you smoke every day, but it doesn’t in everyone. And not for nothing, a lot of things exacerbate depression without the stigma that pot gets for it. It can also help (or not effect) depression, at least it has for me in the past. Not that that’s clinical data or anything.

    Saying “pot takes away your incentive to work” is like saying “alcohol makes you violent”.

  13. 13
    Gretchen

    Democrats: Not quite as bad as Republicans, but not much better and too afraid to be good.

    There’s a winning slogan.

  14. 14
    frog

    It rips families apart and destroys lives, the vast majority of them racial minorities.

    I’m sadly certain this is considered by many to be a feature, not a bug. Racism evolved into more sophisticated forms once assholes couldn’t get away with open lynchings and segregation anymore.

  15. 15
    lancifer

    I smoked weed every day for fifteen years, and no, it’s not all bullshit. It does diminish motivation, and sometimes exacerbates depression. I’m all for legalizing weed, but not for ignoring its real dangers.

    Well after many years I was bound to agree with something Raging Bee said.

    While I’m sure many people can function quite well and smoke marijuana regularly it is my experience (having grown up in the sixties and seventies) that long term use does generally affect one’s ability to function in a way that requires rigorous organization and self-motivation.

    That said I still think it should be legal.

  16. 16
    lancifer

    As a child of the sixties and seventies who has taken his fair share of drugs, and been around scores of people that used drugs regularly for years, there was only one anti-drug “public service” ad that I thought was fairly accurate.

    It showed three guys in sweats, in their thirties, sitting in a cluttered basement “rec room” rolling joints on a table. The guy rolling the joints says,

    “Remember all that crap they told us about pot in school?”

    The other guys chuckle in agreement.

    “Well, look at us. We’ve been smoking marijuana for years and NOTHING has happened to us.”

    The other two guys chuckle back “Yeah, nothing. We’re still the same.”

    A female voice comes from up stairs.

    “Billy are you still down there? Did you look for a job today?”

    Billy scrambles to hide the dope and says,

    “Uh not today mom, but maybe tomorrow.”

    I thought, “Yeah, I know some of those guys.
    That commercial is pretty good.”

  17. 17
    lancifer

    And, of course, Michael Heath manages to drag global warming into his very first post on a thread about the drug war.

    What a surprise.

    He might want to read a current article in The Economist before insisting that people aren’t to be taken seriously about (you fucking name it) unless they hold his opinion on his favorite hobby horse, climate change.

    http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions

  18. 18
    Trickster Goddess

    Kevin: You feel “slightly disgusted that people would think that little of themselves” for taking non-alcohol drugs. Why doesn’t that apply to yourself and your use of alcohol? What is the difference?

  19. 19
    lancifer

    Trickster Goddess,

    Yeah, Kevin really didn’t think that one through. He says that alcohol is a drug (twice to reiterate the point) and then says that people that do drugs “think little of themselves”.

    Hmmm.

  20. 20
    Suido

    @Lancifer:

    The second sentence of the subheading…

    But that does not mean the problem is going away

    Further down the page:

    This study has not been peer-reviewed; it may be unreliable.

    And finally:

    As a rule of thumb, global temperatures rise by about 1.5°C for each trillion tonnes of carbon put into the atmosphere. The world has pumped out half a trillion tonnes of carbon since 1750, and temperatures have risen by 0.8°C. At current rates, the next half-trillion tonnes will be emitted by 2045; the one after that before 2080.

    Since CO₂ accumulates in the atmosphere, this could increase temperatures compared with pre-industrial levels by around 2°C even with a lower sensitivity and perhaps nearer to 4°C at the top end of the estimates. Despite all the work on sensitivity, no one really knows how the climate would react if temperatures rose by as much as 4°C. Hardly reassuring.

    I don’t think that article proved what you think it proved.

  21. 21
    Suido

    @Kevin:

    I gotta disagree with you and Paul on this.

    Really?

    It’s the consequences of drug use that need to be addressed, not the use itself.

    Um. Ed and Rand are both saying that no one should be jailed just for drug use. Neither commented on whether drink drivers should be jailed, or people who go on meth fuelled rampages. No one has said that criminal acts that cause harm shouldn’t be addressed, only that no one should go to jail just for using drugs.

    You’re not disagreeing with them.

  22. 22
    lancifer

    Suido,

    So your “honest” review of the article would be that climate sensitivity is just as was thought by the IPCC in AR4 and we should proceed with policies that prioritize de-carbonizing the world’s energy infrastructure apace rather than re-evaluating this strategy and perhaps considering a adaptation strategy?

    (Remember that I will be quoting the article in my response if your response is “yes”.)

  23. 23
    lancifer

    Suido,

    Oh, and nice job of quoting the only (five) sentences that are contrary to the main point of the article.

    Quote mine much?

  24. 24
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    *shrug*

    Rand Paul — much like the National Enquirer or a stopped clock — is occasionally right.

    And yeah, on this one issue, Democrats could totally stand to take a page from Mr. Paul’s agenda.

  25. 25
    Suido

    No, my review of the article is that it’s picking and choosing a few papers, some as yet not peer reviewed, to create a story about the possibility that climate sensitivity might have been overstated.

    Not yet peer reviewed. Possibilities and maybes piled on each other. Acknowledgement that these studies are in the minority, and are not yet shown to be more accurate than the existing body of evidence.

    MH said:

    If they deny we need to do anything about global warming.

    You responded with this article, which doesn’t at any stage deny that we need to do anything about global warming.

    Let’s try this critical paragraph on for size:

    If, however, temperatures are likely to rise by only 2°C in response to a doubling of carbon emissions (and if the likelihood of a 6°C increase is trivial), the calculation might change. Perhaps the world should seek to adjust to (rather than stop) the greenhouse-gas splurge. There is no point buying earthquake insurance if you do not live in an earthquake zone. In this case more adaptation rather than more mitigation might be the right policy at the margin. But that would be good advice only if these new estimates really were more reliable than the old ones. And different results come from different models.

    First bold – yes, there’s a possibility that adaptation may be realistic (even with reduced climate sensitivity, I still don’t see how large swathes of the biosphere can be expected to adapt on a time scale of only a few generations), but adaptation is still a response. It’s not a denial of a need to do anything. I repeat: I don’t see why you think the article contains any information that would alter MH’s stance regarding denialists. AKA I don’t think this article says what you think it says.

    Second bold – another sentence that I could have used, and you probably would have accused me of quote mining with it. They are important sentences. As caveats and conclusions, they provided context for the article content. I provided caveats to your claims from your source material and you accuse me of quote mining. Facepalm.

  26. 26
    democommie

    Suido:

    Never go against Lancifurious when planetary death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…

  27. 27
    lancifer

    Suido,

    The thrust of the article was that the evidence is pointing to a climate sensitivity (to a doubling of CO2) that is below two degrees Celsius. You claim that you didn’t quote mine but you say, “Not yet peer reviewed” when only one study they mentioned wasn’t yet peer reviewed but the rest were.

    And as far as “adaptation” is concerned humans have been adapting the the climate for tens of thousands of years and no one is claiming that that isn’t still a good idea. No one “denies” that.

  28. 28
    =8)-DX

    @lancifer Suido is right: that article does not actually say what you think it says. It does not deny that something needs to be done about climate change, and it only gives tentative, cherry-picked evidence (two unpublished studies and one that does not contradict the IPCC) that the increase in average global temperatures will be greatly lower than expected and ends with a 2-4′C increase. At best you could say the article raises a load of question marks about the issue. Talk to a climate scientist if you want a better explanation of how much additional factors are being taken into account in IPCC reports, but nothing in that article or in any of the science would recommend doing nothing about global warming.

    Also it uses the utterly idiotic “falling off the scale” graph, which should be instead labelled “global temps fit perfectly with scientists’ predictions”. Opinion piece ftw.

  29. 29
    Suido

    The thrust of the article was that a few new studies have shown evidence is pointing to a climate sensitivity (to a doubling of CO2) that is below two degrees Celsius, all the while acknowledging that this contradicts mountains of other data and needs a shit ton more supporting evidence before it will change the scientific consensus.
    FTFY.

    “No one denies that.”

    What rock are you living under? The US has plenty of denialist politicians, many on science committees. The denialist opinion is also alive and well in Australia too, which I’ve encountered first hand. MH’s opinion was that “true fiscal conservatives” can be dismissed out of hand if they deny that global warming requires action. You took umbrage and failed to prove him wrong. Case closed.

  30. 30
    Michael Heath

    lancifer writes:

    And as far as “adaptation” is concerned humans have been adapting the the climate for tens of thousands of years and no one is claiming that that isn’t still a good idea. No one “denies” that.

    In our first long argument you led off claiming you wrote your congressman to argue the government should do nothing regarding the current damage and future threat climate scientists reported. Your written motivation was that you didn’t believe there was any damage due to climate change, including damage to fauna or flora. E.g., your denial the bark beetle in the rocky mountain states was damaging conifers due to explosive population growth due to global warming. And you also didn’t believe there was a future threat; in spite of the near-monolithic consensus from actual experts. While I have a bookmark to that thread, Scienceblogs.com has killed it; where I’m confident this assertion as I report it here is true.

    Do you now argue we should develop public policy to mitigate the threat of climate change given what I quote here from you? Or are you instead claiming we can optimally adapt by having no public policy which works to mitigate the damage we observe now, work to minimize the threat of more damage, and adapt to what is coming that we can’t stop?

  31. 31
    slc1

    Re Suido

    It is an exercise in futility to attempt to debate climate change with Sir Lancelot. As Richard Dawkins said about Kurt Wise on the subject of evolution, there is no evidence, no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, would ever change his mind.

    Re Sir Lancelot @ #16

    As a child of the sixties and seventies who has taken his fair share of drugs, and been around scores of people that used drugs regularly for years, there was only one anti-drug “public service” ad that I thought was fairly accurate

    Well, that explains why Sir Lancelot is a putz. He’s a textbook example of a former pot head, which adventures have permanently degraded his critical thinking skills.
    And no, I have never smoked pot (or tobacco products for that matter) nor snorted coke, nor injected smack, and am a lifelong teetotaler.

  32. 32
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Good on you, slc1 — what do ya want for buying in to the government propaganda, a fucking medal?

    *bigtoke*

    I *exhales* am a pot head, and I find that, while it slows my thinking down appreciably, it’s quite pleasant because, holy shit, I can sit here and actually follow what’s going on in my own head. My pain levels are reduced, my anxiety is reduced, I have an appetite, and my stupid spastic body is halfway relaxed.

    Benefits > Risks

  33. 33
    lancifer

    Michael Heath,

    Do you now argue we should develop public policy to mitigate the threat of climate change given what I quote here from you?

    Mitigate? No.

    Or are you instead claiming we can optimally adapt by having no public policy which works to mitigate the damage we observe now, work to minimize the threat of more damage, and adapt to what is coming that we can’t stop?

    Adapt? Yes.

  34. 34
    lancifer

    slc1,

    He’s a textbook example of a former pot head, which adventures have permanently degraded his critical thinking skills…

    And no, I have never smoked pot (or tobacco products for that matter) nor snorted coke, nor injected smack, and am a lifelong teetotaler.

    Yeah, I smoked some dope back in the early seventies, and did blow a few times in the early eighties. Big deal.

    I have never smoked pot (or tobacco products for that matter) nor snorted coke, nor injected smack, and am a lifelong teetotaler.

    Yeah, that fits. You strike me as someone with zero curiosity and completely unwilling to take risks.

    A guy that sits on the sidelines criticizing people that play the game.

  35. 35
    Michael Heath

    lancifer writes:

    And as far as “adaptation” is concerned humans have been adapting the the climate for tens of thousands of years and no one is claiming that that isn’t still a good idea. No one “denies” that.

    “No one”? An entire U.S. political party is dead set against adapting to climate change. You’re a classic example of someone who denies even what’s happening now. Just wow; this might even top your recent absurd claim you don’t deny any facts regarding the climate; or one of your first false claims at Ed’s blog. That was your claim that climate scientists are wrong regarding already observed harm to flora and fauna due to AGW.

    I struggle to understand how people like you can deny reality in the onslaught of scientifically discovered facts. Your continued denialism of such reality really boggles my mind. That political ideology is so strongly held, the facts are dismissed while claiming one accepts the facts and then projects their own behavior on their critics. From a rational perspective, you’re on worse ground than Kent Hovind’s kid claiming as a YEC he doesn’t reject the facts relative to evolution, he just has a competing explanation other than evolution.

  36. 36
    Raging Bee

    Heath: that’s not a “political ideology” he’s clinging to, it’s a religion. And like just about all other religions, it ends up serving as an identity-badge and a shield against unpleasant thoughts. Rationality don’t enter in — it was never supposed to.

  37. 37
    Raging Bee

    Well, that explains why Sir Lancelot is a putz. He’s a textbook example of a former pot head, which adventures have permanently degraded his critical thinking skills.

    As someone who smoked weed every day for fourteen years, starting at age 15, I can tell you with absolute certainty that weed alone can’t possibly degrade critical thinking skills to Lance’s level. I’ve met lots of druggies and recovering addicts, and NONE of them were as broken as Lance. PCP might have that effect, but it normally shoves your brain much further down the toilet much faster. My money is on plain old religious/magical thinking, with a hefty dose of redneck tribalism. No chemical assist required.

  38. 38
    lancifer

    “No one”? An entire U.S. political party is dead set against adapting to climate change.

    You are conflating “adaptation” with “mitigation”. Adaptation is what humans have done to changes in their environment for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years. It is part of what has made our species so successful.

    You’re a classic example of someone who denies even what’s happening now. Just wow; this might even top your recent absurd claim you don’t deny any facts regarding the climate; or one of your first false claims at Ed’s blog. That was your claim that climate scientists are wrong regarding already observed harm to flora and fauna due to AGW.

    The observed less than one degree of warming over the last century or so is completely within the bounds of natural variation observed over the last ten thousand years. (Certain poorly crafted, and spurious reconstructions not withstanding.)

    I struggle to understand how people like you can deny reality in the onslaught of scientifically discovered facts. Your continued denialism of such reality really boggles my mind.

    The facts are such that there is nothing observed that is outside of what has happened in the Holocene without contributions from humans. Whatever the affects of anthropogenic CO2 the costs to abandon fossil fuel use would be more than the costs of adapting to these changes.

    That political ideology is so strongly held, the facts are dismissed while claiming one accepts the facts and then projects their own behavior on their critics. From a rational perspective, you’re on worse ground than Kent Hovind’s kid claiming as a YEC he doesn’t reject the facts relative to evolution, he just has a competing explanation other than evolution.

    Project much. I have stated the facts. Do you claim that there has been more than the “less than one degree” of warming in the last century or so that I have stated? Or are you claiming that current temps are higher than any time during the Holocene? Both would be “denying” reality.

    Also your constant appeal to ad hominem attack only reveals the weak nature of your own poorly crafted argument. It is often difficult to discern the difference between your comments on this topic and those of the emotionally and intellectually challenged Raging Bee.

  39. 39
    Dave Maier

    I do wish people (like Paul here) would stop equating 1) recognizing that weed isn’t completely harmless with 2) arguing for decriminalization rather than legalization. The issue regarding legalization isn’t whether weed is harmless (it isn’t) – it’s whether prohibition is counterproductive. If prohibition is counterproductive, then we should end it, no matter how harmful weed may be, and deal with its harms some other way.

    In fact, the first time I heard a good presentation of the argument for drug legalization (from a Libertarian, as it happens), he argued not for the legalization of marijuana (i.e. due to its relative harmlessness), but instead for the legalization of cocaine (this was the 80s), due to the relative harm of prohibition. Only at the very end did he say what I had thought he was going to lead with: that it is I only, and no one else, who should decide which substances to put into my own body – which is also an attractive position, I must admit, but not nearly as persuasive as the rest of his presentation, I thought.

    So, again, bottom line: the issue isn’t legalization, it’s prohibition. But it’s good to see Paul (and others) at least recognizing *some* harm in the drug war.

  40. 40
    lancifer

    Dave Maier,

    When the costs, both the financial costs to society and the personal costs to the lives of the incarcerated, are contemplated one wonders how anyone can see the “war on drugs” as anything but a huge catastrophe.

    Add the libertarian argument you mentioned, “it is I only, and no one else, who should decide which substances to put into my own body”, and it becomes rather obvious that no compelling case can be made to continue the system as it exists today.

  41. 41
    democommie

    “it is I only, and no one else, who should decide which substances to put into my own body”,

    There are still a few issues like DNR orders to dea with.

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