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View Diary: Supporting medical pot is like supporting civil unions (219 comments)

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  •  There are some differences (1+ / 0-)
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    SFLiberal

    Speed limits involve protecting people from other people.   I didn't say it's not a function of government to protect people from other people.  I belive that is a valid and necessary function.   It is only protecting people from themselves that I object to.  It is a fundamentally different proposition.      I agree that we should have a right that people shouldn't just run right over us, that we have to have some rules to make our transportation system work for everyone.    However, in the case of drug use, I don't necessarily agree that we have a right to demand that other people won't use drugs because we think it's immoral or we just don't like them doing that or even that it's a danger to them, no more than we have a right to tell them they can't skydive, or rappel, or downhill ski, or any of the other activities people do that are potentially dangerous, or tell them they have to go to church because we think that's healthier for them.        And, we have already recognized this, in allowing cigarettes and alcohol, which are both  scientifically proven to cause death.  How much more dangerous can something be?!!!!

    Seatbelt and helmet laws are regulations relating to a shared transportation system, and can be justified in reducing the disruption of our transportation system that impacts all of us. When someone dies due to improper use of a regulated transportation device -- i.e., a car or motorcycle --  it disrupts the flow of traffic to greater degree than a simple collision with no casualties, and we have to send paid public workers to go scrape their remains off our roadways.      Regulating use of vehicles on public roads in a way that keeps the roads operating efficiently for all is more of an argument for the use of seatbelts or helmets than protecting people from themselves.  

    I can justify restrictions on drugs to keep them away from kids.  And, to keep them out of public areas.   And, to keep them from being imposed on others who do not want to participate or be exposed to them.   But, I have a much harder time justifying interfering with privacy and freedom of individuals in their own homes.  And, I think that the history of various attempts at Prohibition backs that up.   A large chunk of our population, so large that it is unmanageable, do not consent to having this area of their lives governed, and they have demonstrated that fact, over and over and over again.

    One issue that does exist, however, is how crazy a person has to be, in order for his rights to be constrained, and for the government to move into a caretaking role, and what do we do when that happens.    While I support the right of people to use drugs, I recognize that drugs can render some of them incompetent, and then we have to have a plan for what to do with them.   However, I object to a "futurecrime" justice system, that takes away the freedoms of everyone, because some people misuse those freedoms.

    There are trade-offs.   We err on the side of constraining freedom in this country, and I think it's a mistake.   The Drug War, and Prohibition, demonstrate very effectively how this approach does not work.  

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