Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Matt Wardman - What can Portugal’s decriminalisation experience teach us?

Mark Thompson of MArk Reckons has a good post at Matt Wardmans blog about Portugal's decriminalistaion of drug possession and use. The comments are a good read too.

I have tried to reply to a comment by Matt without success. Matt's blog, contact form and email all bounce from me, while others are posting comments successfully, IT glitch I suppose. So I'm posting my comment here instead.

Here's the text I was trying to respond with:


Perhaps I should be clearer: I agree there should be debate about the rule of law and I think a rule of law is important, to protect my life & property from others and to protect others' life and property from me and from each other.

However I think a basic principal is: it's my body and life and I can do with them as I wish.

Of course I can't go raping anyone - that would deny them the right to have the control over their body that I wish to have over my own.

A debate about drugs policy in the sense of "what drugs should we let people take" is what I inferred from your comment. I don't think that debate should happen - We should all be allowed to make our choices in life and live with the consequences, unless those choices impact on others, which is where the rule of law comes in (e.g. we allow alcohol consumption, but we don't allow drink driving).

Let's have medical warnings, drugs workers and education programs, but if after that people choose drugs, so be it. I'm happy to have a drugs policy debate about how to get to Portugal's point and also how to legalise so that we take criminals out of the drugs industry altogether, including the mafia and the taliban. Drugs could be supplied by licensed shops and drugs could carry tax sufficient to cover the cost of education and treatment. Purity and strength could be controlled and clean needles etc., readily available, greatly improving the safety of those who choose to take drugs.

The ideology I was complaining about is the idea you seem to have that some other people, maybe unknown to me, should have the right to restrict my choices, because they are concerned about my dribbling for 30 years.

The other aspect of your ideology I was complaining about is that you seem to believe that restricitions should be used even when it is proven that these restrictions do more harm than good or the restrictions cannot practically be implemented.

If you still think I am extrapolating too much from what you said, let's have more discussion. I certainly don't want to go round upsetting or misrepresenting people. I accept that "ideology" is not the best choice of words, maybe belief or idea is better.

I do think that what I said springs as a conclusion from what you said: "it is reasonable to restrict that course of action" opens a Pandora's box of state control.

My views on the state control you suggest:
1) It is wrong for one person to control the actions of another.
2) It doesn't work, in fact it makes things a whole lot worse."


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that.

    I'll put it into the comments thread, and alos reply here.