Drugs Debate “Junk yields a basic formula of “evil” virus: *The Algebra of Need*. The face of “evil” is always the face of total need. A dope fiend is a man in total need of dope. Beyond a certain frequency need knows absolutely no limit or control. In the words of total need: “*Wouldn’t you*?” Yes you would.
You would lie, cheat, inform on your friends, steal, do *anything* to satisfy total need. Because you would be in a state of total sickness, total possession, and not in a position to act in any other way. Dope fiends are sick people who cannot act other than they do. A rabid dog cannot choose but bite.” There is a large variety of recreational drugs available today and it is evident that they do not all have only detrimental effects. There are essentially two categories of drugs: mind expanding drugs and mind constricting drugs.
It might also be useful to consider a category of drugs which are neither mind expanding or mind constricting, though, it would be difficult to find any recreational drugs which would fit in this category. The division of categories should be based on how the drug affects intellectual stimulation. The drugs in the mind expanding category should broaden the scope of perception and knowledge for the user. The drug should educate the user and “expand” the user’s mind. The drugs in the mind constricting category should deter the user from learning, and even if one did claim to gain some sort of knowledge from the high, the knowledge, in the end, would amount to meaningless, confused thought.
The rare drugs which stimulate violence, such as angel dust, must definitely be considered mind-constricting because not only does the user not gain knowledge from the experience, but the user destroys self-control and liberty and triggers desires to act immorally. This division of drugs into categories does seem to be of the nature of platonic perfectionism but the ideology is not entirely based on this ethical theory and some arguments might seem to conflict with its philosophy. Using mind constricting drugs leads to immoral outcomes and therefore, mind constricting drugs must be illegal in order to at least minimize the amount of such outcomes. Making mind constricting drugs illegal prevents people from using substances which can only lessen one’s quality of life and inevitably, destroy many societies. The use of mind expanding drugs cannot produce direct or indirect immoral outcomes and in fact educates the user. Drugs that are mind expanding or neither mind expanding or mind constricting must be legal.
To make these drugs illegal would only unnecessarily infringe on people’s liberty. Forming laws against the use of mind constricting drugs is actually necessary for providing liberty to citizens. It is generally the case that in retrospect, a previous user of a mind constricting drug, when sober, or even in some cases, when high, regrets consuming the drug. The opening quote of this essay describes William Burroughs’ view on opiates and he was in fact using them at the time when the passage was written. It is evident in his words that he realizes the immoral outcomes of using opiates and the “sickness” which it produces.
Most users simply couldn’t resist the temptation of using the drugs because of either the desire to consume the “fobidden fruit” or the temptation of possible euphoria or relief from emotional or physical pain: “weakness of will”. In this case, a public policy preventing this possibility forces people to act upon their true desires, even when considering subjective values. The problem lies in the fact that the realization of this true desire might arise only after seeing the consequences or only in inchoate form. In an ideal world, effective police forces could eliminate any mind constricting drugs and this would unarguably be an ideal situation. Since an ideal world doesn’t exist, reducing the amount of mind constricting drugs available and creating troublesome consequences for dealing or using them, leans closer to an ideal world than allowing its use. From a utilitarian prospective, the use of mind constricting drugs is immoral since it, if not immediately, eventually, diminishes collective total happiness.
For example, if a country were in a recession and mind constricting drugs were legal, many people would turn to them to forget their problems and distress. People who would ordinarily not use these drugs may turn to them since they are readily available and legal difficulties would not exist. If there was an increase in addicts of mind constricting drugs, productivity would decrease. Even when considering that some people, such as Bill Nelles, a senior manager in Britain’s National Health Service, are addicted to opiates and lead functional lives, the majority do not and productivity would therefore decrease. If productivity were to decrease further during a recession, the society would collapse. They would have to turn to loans and if they wanted to treat their drug-addicted population, they would need extra money and they would find themselves falling deeper and deeper into debt and recession.
This may seem like a rare case for affluent countries such as Switzerland, but nevertheless, a possibility. Some people may think that the consequences previously mentioned of legalizing mind constricting drugs would be similar to the consequences of legalizing mind expanding drugs. There is a clear difference between the consequences though. For example, mind expanding drugs have affected some of the most influential literature and fine art of the twentieth century. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Degas and Vincent Van Gogh were regular absinthe users for example.
Their works are inspirational, influential and they broke societal boundaries. Without absinthe, the works of art created by these revolutionaries would not exist as they are. If a substance can have such an extraordinary affect on people and help to bring into this world exquisite masterpieces, then it would be devastating to prohibit its use. Mind constricting drugs do not have this effect. Although many significant writers of the “Beat Generation” used mind constricting drugs, they all concluded that its use led to horrible circumstances. In most cases, mind constricting drugs have the opposite effect on the mind as mind expanding drugs do. To put both of these discernible categories together would be ignorant.
To prevent people from choosing to consume substances which, although might increase risks of bad health and communication problems, do not lead to unacceptable consequences and furthermore, stimulate creativity and thoughts which would otherwise not exist, is to infringe on rights of choosing one’s own values. If a person values perceiving the world through different eyes, for example, over being able to communicate efficiently with friends and family, that is a personal choice which should not be made by a government. There are far more injuries from sports than from the use of mind-expanding drugs, yet competing in sports is encouraged. On the other hand, if one wishes to consume a substance which affects one’s morality, rationality and ability to learn, such as mind constricting drugs, the consequences are that one infringes on the rights of oneself and others and in this case, the government must interfere. The argument that drug use is a victimless crime and therefore should not be illegal is one of the stronger ones for legalizing all drugs, including mind constricting drugs.
John Stuart Mill said that users who commit crimes should be punished for “real” crimes such as stealing or murdering, and not for using drugs. But what about the fact that, as Burroughs said, an addict will do anything to satisfy their need? It is not the users fault that s/he is committing the crime, it is the drug’s fault and had the user not consumed the drug, s/he wouldn’t have committed the crime. Furthermore, drug use is not a victimless crime except in the extreme case when a person consumes the drug in complete privacy and even then, the person’s personality might be altered and this could victimize the person’s friends, family and co-workers. In cases such as using angel dust, where the user becomes violent, the victim is obvious. In cases where a pregnant women uses mind constricting drugs, such as crack, she gives birth to crack babies (30,00-50,000 crack babies are born every year) and is statistically more likely to abuse her infants than mothers not using crack. Anyone using certain mind constricting drugs is more likely to abuse their children and …