Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Now there is a novel concept. Practically unknown in America these days. The subject came up because of a comment TMI made to Eric's post the feather yankee doodle stuck in his cap is now a federal felony!. Let me quote the bit by TMI that is pertinent:
Gary Becker’s seminal work in crime and punishment are tested, nearly every day, by Simon. What are the things that make behaviours shift? What are the things that make behaviours exceed the range of normal law enforcement? And, have we adopted ranges of “normal” law enforcement and subsequent punishments in line with the policies we have legislated?

Imagine, if simple possession of marijuana was a death offense, and the likelihood of experiencing the death penalty within 120 days of the discovery of the offense was assured. At or near one-hundred percent. How many of us would be willing to purchase or hold marijuana?
My reply went something like this:


Thank you.

These days I'm more interested in the moral dimension. I have good evidence that the idea of "addiction" is an incorrect concept. Drugs do not make people "addicts". Pain makes people addicts.

To wit:

People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

The question for me then is: is it moral to punish people in pain for relieving their pain with drugs?

The problem is that most people of my generation +/- don't consider PTSD "real" pain. i.e. "emotional" pain is not real. "Real" pain only comes from visible wounds.

If you look at the whole Drug War through the lens of pain what "addicts" do makes a lot of sense. No other concept explains why the laws don't work.

As to sure punishment. It won't work either. Pain is a very powerful motivating force.


So let me ask you: is it the right thing to do to put to death women who relieve the pain of childhood sexual abuse with drugs?

You can't just work in the economic dimension. That is a sterile approach.


Bottom line is: if you formulate the problem incorrectly the solution will not work.

The proper question is: what should be done with people in pain? How much pain for how long?

Morphine for a stubbed toe is obviously not a very good idea.


The best idea I can come up with is that each adult has to decide for himself what the best course of action is in his own case. Liberty.

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