[extropy-chat] Drug dealers and their ilk/was Re: Anarchy + Transparent Society + ???

Technotranscendence neptune at superlink.net
Sat Apr 21 15:18:55 UTC 2007

On Saturday, April 21, 2007 9:49 AM BillK pharos at gmail.com wrote:
> On 4/21/07, Technotranscendence wrote:
> > I don't put drug dealers in the same category as the rest.  After
> > they're really not violating anyone's rights -- to the degree that
> > merely sell drugs to willing buyers.  I.e., just selling drugs to
> > willing buyers is NOT, in my book, criminal.
> There you go again. (Not you in particular).  ;)

No, there you go again!  :)

> The whole thrust of this thread is that we are not
> talking about some theoretical fairyland where
> drug dealers might be thought of as misunderstood,
> victimised entrepreneurs. (I'd like to live there as
> well, sounds really cool).
> In the real world, drug dealers are amoral armed
> gangs who kill people to defend their territory and
> their business of destroying the lives of their
> 'customers', who in turn are engaged in constant minor
> criminal activities to finance their addiction.

You must live in a different reality than me.  Yes, some drug dealers
and drug users are criminals -- in the sense of perpetrating crimes with
victims, such as theft, assault, and even murder -- but not all are and
being a drug dealer or user does not necessitate criminal behavior.
(And some scientists are criminals too.  Does that mean being scientist
necessarily involves criminality?)  I'm not sure of the percentages,
but, from my personal experiences, I've known many drug dealers and drug
users who would, aside from the illicit trade, be considered normal if
not good citizens.  I also freely admit that I've used and experimented
with many of these drugs in high school and college.  Needless to say, I
have yet to go on a criminal rampage...

Doubtless with an estimate 30 million Americans who have smoked pot -- 
the number of Europeans, Canadians, etc. who have done so is probably
much larger -- were your view of drug use and trade correct, the entire
continent would look like something out of a Mad Max film.  Ever wonder
why it doesn't?  Could it be that your view of the world is a bit off?

Also, not all users are addicts.  Of course, this might be quibbling,
but I've known and still know many people who use illegal drugs casually
and don't seem addicted in the fantasy TV sense of someone who spends
every waking moment craving his next fix and plotting his next crime to
fund it.

> Let me know how you feel about this after the ruthless
> drug gangs move in to your street, near your family,
> and you get burgled or mugged once a month by druggies.

I've lived and worked in areas where drug dealing is a normal activity.

Also, you're not considering the whole context.  Why is there a large
criminal element involved with illegal drugs, but not with, say, legal
drugs like alcohol and tobacco?  It's mostly because the former are
illegal.  Remove the illegality and almost all the criminal element -- 
the thugs, the gangs, etc. -- will go away.  Don't believe me?  Consider
what happened in the US during Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s and
early 1930s: criminal gangs got involved in the alcohol trade, police
raids with bystanders being injured or killed, and turf wars over who
gets to see alcohol in this city or that.  Suddenly, what had been a
normal part of life -- casual alcohol use -- became illicit, even
dangerous, and involved a heavy dose of violence.

(Side note: the type of alcohol "pushed" also became stronger.  Why is
this?  Economic laws come into play.  Given the same means, high
strength alcohol products (e.g., whiskey) brought in more money than the
previously popular low strength products (e.g., beer).  The economics
drives this: people would rather risk life and limb to fetch a higher
profit than a lower one, other things being equal.  No doubt, the same
applies to current illegal drugs and partly explains why pure cocaine is
smuggled over, say, smuggling the leaves of the plant.  I owe this
insight to economist Mark Thornton.)



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