Pullman: legalise drugs
Posted on by Kinders

Philip Pullman commented in an opinion piece on the legalisation of drugs in The Observer today, saying “Should drugs be legalised? Of course, and as soon as possible. … Legalising drugs would have three huge and immediate benefits: it would cut the link between drugs and crime, and empty the prisons; it would ensure that supplies were pure and reliable and not cut with chalk or worse; and it would provide a vast new source of tax for the Treasury.”

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Amateur comic strip artist, photographer and musician; wannabe author and film director; actual web 2.0 nerd and social butterfly. I've been visiting Bridge to the Stars and its forum, the Republic of Heaven, on and off since 2003, when I began making a short documentary about the His Dark Materials trilogy.
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41 Responses to Pullman: legalise drugs

  1. Serafina-tikklya says:

    This is a slippery slope that I am not sure about. If drugs are legalized, the individuals who take them need to be held accountable for their actions while under the influence. And not 5-10 slaps on the hand for DUI like we do in the United States! Someone has to kill someone else before any real action is taken!

  2. Lee_Scoresby says:

    I’m not really a drug user, but I completely agree with Pullman.

  3. Greg says:

    Agreed, Mr. Pullman. I swear, drug controlling has been so weak, just legalize it and tax it! Come on! Common sense here!

  4. Mandi says:

    Well, the question I have is, who’s to say that the people who buy drugs won’t keep buying it illegally, to avoid taxes? The system is pretty set the way it is. (But I do see the positive side of regulation, knowing what you’re actually buying.)

  5. Alec says:

    This would be the Philip Pullman who is something-other-than-an-author, I take it.

  6. Luly/Fujiko says:

    that doesn´t mean he´s approves the use, let´s remember how he shows use of opium in the sally lockhart mysteries…

    it´s a complicated subject, legal or not there´s need of education to prevent it from being used without care…

  7. Skywise says:

    Drugs are just a chemical means of intercision …

  8. iatlola says:

    I disagree completely. When I was a kid, my mother was a therapist and she had clients that took drugs. Ten of her clients almost died. and one came to our house and tried to kill her. So no mr pullman, sure they can pay for their responsibility, but the mark it leaves on people is horrifying. sure some might not be dangerous, but to the ones with whom it might be dangerous with, why risk it?

  9. Paul says:

    Iatola, while I have sympathy with what your mother went through, the point of the argument is the what happens to your mother happened when drugs were illegal, and it still happened. I think it is fair to say that we have tried prohibition on drugs for 100 years or so, and it clearly doesn’t work. People still take drugs with impunity, despite it being illegal. And to pay for the drugs, they rob and steal from people like you and me. And the money they take from you and me ends up in the hands of the scum of the earth, who torture and murder and create great wealth and power of the back of this horrendous trade.

    Furthermore, we have to spend more money keeping these people in prison, or paying for their treatment.

    That has all happened while drugs are illegal, and while millions upon millions of pounds has been spent trying to enforce that illegality. Just about the only thing we haven’t tried is legalisation, of even the minor drugs like canabis and acid. yes, they are dangerous, and they can cause side effects, and can even lead to paranoia and death, but no more so that alcohol, and they are much safer than tobacco. So lets legalise them, tax them, use that money for treatment, take away the money from the drug lords, and see what happens. It has the benefit of paying for itself, and of at least trying something different.

    Sorry, rant over, but I couldn’t agree more with Pullman on this one.

    Paul

  10. Skywise says:

    Does anyone who wants to legalise drugs want to be responsible for what happened to Jenny? Read both sides of the introduction in here:

    http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics/XAN/DisplayXAN.html?page=3

    Similar incidents can happen to all of us!

    “So lets legalise them, tax them, use that money for treatment, take away the money from the drug lords, and see what happens.”

    This shows a total lack of responsibility and fantasy.

    It is — sorry! — naive to believe that legalising drugs will solve any problems concernig drugs.

    Would the drug taxes yield enought money to pay the treatment? Hard to believe! Or, the other way round: If you would tax drugs in order to pay appropriate treatment of the junkies, durgs would be much too expensive for almost everyone. But as there are more junkies now, because of the legalisation, there is more need resulting in an increased black market for drugs. So there will be more drug induced criminality and the drug lords would make more money than before.

    That prohibition failed decads ago does not mean that legalisation of drugs will solve the problem. There is no easy way to solve drug problems.

    “Furthermore, we have to spend more money keeping these people in prison, or paying for their treatment.”

    If you refer to drug lords, then we just need to change the law and impose death penalty on those who make money with drugs. (I think we should rethink our ethics, moralitiy and system of punishment. Prisons are inhumane and cause problems, too, especially according to drugs.)

  11. Paul says:

    “Does anyone who wants to legalise drugs want to be responsible for what happened to Jenny? Read both sides of the introduction in here:

    http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics/XAN/DisplayXAN.html?page=3

    Similar incidents can happen to all of us!”

    Are you suggesting that the people who legalised alcohol are in some way responsible for what happened to Jenny? Or the people who created the motor car?

    Surely it would be the responsibility of the person driving the car, drunk or not?

    I never suggested that legalising drugs would ‘solve’ the problem, in the same way that alcoholism is still a problem, and millions still die of lung and throat cancer from tobacco inhalation. But it is hard to argue that pursuing the current policy is acceptable, when it clearly doesn’t work. We are in essence throwing good money after bad. And if only the prisons were full of drug lords. Our law enforcement can’t get near them, so the prisons are full of people committing relatively minor offences such as possession, or robbery.

    I guess I also have a liberal attitude that says that free thinking adults should be allowed to take their own life in their hands, and put in their bodies, whatever the hell they like. Once that starts impacting on other people, then that is where the law should step in.

    Taxing isn’t the be all and end all, but I would rather the money be in the governments hands than the drug dealers. Your fairly unrealistic appraisal of what might happen to one side (as if there are people today who would take drugs if only they were legal – any that want to, do, legal or not – thats the problem!), your argument that we should essentially murder anyone who makes any money from drugs is frankly offensive, and ignores the simple truth that we apparently have very little ability to catch the people that do make the serious money.

    Just as an aside, Should we kill people for speeding, too?

    the problem, it seems to me, is that too many people just go by the mantra that drugs are bad, and should therefore be illegal. But, sorry, that genie is out of the bottle, they are here and they are freely available. We have tried to stop people taking them, and spent millions, even billions of pounds/dollars/euro trying to stop their trafficking, and it clearly doesn’t work.

    Your solution seems to be spend more, imprison more, kill more, and then maybe, finally, these people will get the message. Sorry, but that to me sounds pretty naive.

  12. Skywise says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/20/drugs-britain-opinion-debate

    Philip Pullmann wrote:

    Should drugs be legalised? Of course, and as soon as possible. Every human society we know about has used drugs to dull pain, to bring about sleep, to prolong wakefulness, to increase physical endurance, to induce hallucinations, or just to feel better and promote good fellowship. The war on drugs, so-called, is a policy of utter and unforgivable folly; you might as well make war on human nature.

    Legalising drugs would have three huge and immediate benefits: it would cut the link between drugs and crime, and empty the prisons; it would ensure that supplies were pure and reliable and not cut with chalk or worse; and it would provide a vast new source of tax for the Treasury.
    No one was a bigger fan of Prohibition than Al Capone.

    #

    ”Every human society we know about has used drugs to dull pain, to bring about sleep, to prolong wakefulness, to increase physical endurance, …”

    This can be considered more or less as a medical application of drugs. Yes, no society can do without this kind of applications. But that doesn’t mean that it causes no harm.

    ”… to induce hallucinations, …”

    Here is where the problem begins, …

    ”… or just to feel better and promote good fellowship.”

    … and here is where it gets totally wrong.

    If you are free to do something, you are also free to NOT do it, right? Being free to do something and being not allowed to not do it means you’re unfree, of course. So if there are some pals taking drungs, there is tremendous group pressure to do so, even if one of them doesn’t want to take drugs.

    Fellowship promoted by drugs? Hey, is it that easy?

    So that pal is forced to take drugs if he wants to be part of that ”fellowship”. He is not really free to decide. Actually, he’s making a deal: He gets accepted by the group, but he must pay for that with his freedom, his health, etc. And, as things go on, that group will get addicted to that specific drug in use and this will sooner or later cause some problems.

    A friend is someone who accepts your decisions and not someone who wants to force you doing something you don’t want.

    So, good fellowship promoted by drugs is an illusion!

    ”The war on drugs, so-called, is a policy of utter and unforgivable folly; …”

    The ”war on drugs” is a catchword, you need not make war to fight something.

    ”… you might as well make war on human nature.”

    Than you have to legalise everything! The point is, that there are some aspects in human nature which yield harm to people or freedom and thus destroy human society if not keept under control.

    ”… it would cut the link between drugs and crime, and empty the prisons; …”

    Drugs will ever be linked to crime, because they induce crime in one way or another.

    As I pointed out in my last post, we should rethink about if we really need prisons at all. They are inhumane. Even so is long term imprisonment. We should also rethink out ethics and morality. There’s so much hypocrisy in it. We’re living in a modern, technical world where it is possible to cause injury and death for many people with relative ease and without even recognizing what you’ve done. But our ethics and morality is based on that of peasants and cattle drover form about five thousand years ago, and raped by an organisation greedy for power for about two thousand years: the church.

    ”… it would ensure that supplies were pure and reliable
    and not cut with chalk or worse; …”

    Really? Even if drugs are legalised, you will have to pay for it, of course. Thats one of the basics of our society, of human nature, of our world! There always will be people, e.g. students, who won’t be able to afford this drugs, even if they are legal and offered for a fixed and subsidised price. But the ones who can will want to make money with it and will sell drugs cut down with something for a lower price. That’s human nature, too. And there will always be people buying cheeper drugs because they are addicts and need the stuff.

    ”… and it would provide a vast new source of tax for the Treasury.”

    … to be spent for the treatment of the junkies, of course! But now, there’re more junkies than before.

  13. Paul says:

    Well, nice enough if you are happy to put your head in the sand and ignore the evidence to the contrary. It also doesn’t help to make so many assumptions about what will happen should drugs be legalised. Much of Pullman’s argument, and to an extent mine, is that it won’t be all things to all people, but it will be better than where we are now.

    But if you take the example of the current legal ‘dangerous’ drugs, alcohol and tobacco, your argument just fails. While there is a market in ‘black market’ tobacco, it is tiny compared to the market of people who pay the taxed price, and dealt with through adequate law enforcement. And the market for tax free alcohol is tiny. It happens, but is dwarfed by the number of people that pay the taxed price. So your assumption that legalising drugs will still leave a black market in cheaper, cut product just doesn’t hold any water. No doubt it will happen, but you give people an abundant, legal supply of sufficient quality, the evidence suggests that the vast majority will choose that option and pay accordingly (no doubt at great cost to the tobacco and alcohol industries, but hey ho!).

    So, again, your only argument seems to be that we should in effect start killing the people that use and deal drugs (in some sort of humane way!) to purge society of them. Then we will win the war on drugs. Not only do I profoundly disagree with that idea on every ethical level I can think of, religious or otherwise, but I firmly believe that history has told us numerous times that that level of state control and subjugation simply would not work.

  14. Skywise says:

    There are different kinds of drugs, so of course we need different strategies to fight them.

    If Philip Pullman writes about whether drugs should be legalised, then the whole discussion is primarily about hard i.e. illegal drugs. But even the legal drugs cause enough harm to people and does cost the society very much, e.g. in health care.

    Every drug does not only affect the life of those who are addicted to it but also does affect the lives of those who are forced to live together with or to be exposed to addicts. It’s not only about crimes associated with obtaining drugs, it’s the whole and unpredictable behaviour of addicts. Sometimes you aren’t able to recognice if someone is addicted.

    Imagine you’re savaged by some odd person in a lonely train station at night. (I once was suddenly attacked by a train officer in a crowded main station by day.) You may need to defend yourself against these people. This most likely will cause you serious problems with the law. The attacking person might get seriously hurt or even might die. In the land where I live in self defence is almost impossible. So you might be punished with long term imprisonment because you caused the attacking addict to be dead in self defence. No, I don’t believe in the justness of our judiciary nor of every judiciary everywhere. There is no guarantee to get out of such an incident without punishment, even if you needed to defend yourself. (Think about the mental problems you might get from such an incident, which may impede you for your life.) That’s because our ethics and morality juggernaut the ”right to live” regardless of the behaviour of the respective person. They use it to gain power over people, see the most idiotic set of rules ever, the ten commandments.

    Also, people can have serious problems not connected to drugs. I can’t afford additional problems caused by drugs or by troubles with drugged people. A already had and still have problems with such people.

  15. Paul says:

    Well, we have probably taken this as far as we can, and may have to agree to differ.

    But I can’t help feeling your argument is predicated on the idea that we can somehow un-invent the idea of addiction, and remove drugs from society in one fell swoop. But, to put in bluntly, we can’t, its here, and nothing we have done or can reasonably be expected to do will make it go away. The issue then becomes what are we going to do about it, and you seem to be advocating persisting with the current (failing) strategy but upping the penalties to draconian levels in order to convince people that their addiction is a bad thing.

    I personally don’t think that will work, and I agree with Pullman that it is about time we attacked the problem in a different way, one that accepts it will happen, accepts that free thinking people will on occasion make bad choices, and puts in place ways to deal with the problem intelligently, rather than persisting with this failed war on drugs.

    There, nuff said

  16. iatlola says:

    OK, Paul, I couldnt disagree more. So you’re saying you would rather take the money and the death, instead of giving the money without the death?

  17. Paul says:

    Well, no, I would rather a world where no one felt the need to take drugs, and society didn’t have to spend billions of pounds trying to stop them and dealing with the consequences.

    But we don’t live there, and I don’t believe the best way to get there is to carry on with prohibition.

    And I don’t really understand what you are getting at with ‘instead of giving the money without the death’.

    Going back to the specific point you made about the issues your mother had with drug addicts, I made the point that despite drugs being illegal, what happened to your mother still happened. I would like to know whether you think the current ‘war on drugs’ is working, and if not, what you would propose in its place.

    You seem to complain about the status quo, but use what happens under the status quo as a reason to keep it as it is. Its not some airy fairy liberal ideal that Pullman is proposing, it is a serious reaction to the current completely failed war on drugs. Keeping drugs illegal hasn’t worked, making them legal might not be pretty, but it will, I believe, be better than where we are.

  18. Skywise says:

    Paul, there is no war on drugs!

  19. Skywise says:

    Even the medical use of drugs can cause tremendous problems, see here:

    http://www.cchr.org/

    http://www.kvpm.de/

    http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/

    And Paul, addiction is no ‘idea’, no invention like the wheel, but a result of our physical existence. Following your argumentation, then also raping someone shouldn’t be a crime … I clearly gave some hints about what strategy I would follow, and that’s clearly not the current strategy.

    Addiction is a bad thing, regardless what an addict
    thinks. Legalising drugs isn’t ‘attacking the problem’
    but closing the eyes on it. Addicted people aren’t free
    thinking people anymore, see your kind of argumentation.
    You fail in following serious arguments, and that’s
    really not intelligent. See the links I provided. Do you
    think all the people there are stupit because they bring
    serious problems concerning drugs to the public.
    You never will be able to deal with a problem intelligently if you constantly ignore the facts.

  20. Skywise says:

    This might be very interesting, especially to iatlola:

    http://www.cchr.org/school_shootings/index.html

  21. Skywise says:

    See here for understanding that even the medical use of drugs can cause serious problems:

    http://www.cchr.org/media/pdfs/Guns_and_Doses_article.pdf

  22. Paul says:

    I really don’t understand where you are coming from on this. You seem to refer to lots of articles about drugs (even prescription drugs) being bad, use personal examples of when people who may or may not have been on drugs, may or may not have attacked you. And yet all of those examples clearly happen within the world we currently live in, during the apparently mythical war on drugs.

    Legalising drugs does seem counter-intuitive, I’ll grant you, but to me it seems like throwing good money after bad just pursuing the same policies we have been following for the last 100 years. They clearly aren’t working.

    Telling people drugs are bad does not work. Cracking down on the people who take drugs does not work. Imprisoning those that deal at the street level takes up valuable police time, clogs up our judicial system, and overpopulates our prisons, and it clearly does not work. Attacking the cartels and the major drug suppliers, clearly does not work, and they have grown exponentially more powerful over the years – so much so that even with 150k troops in Afghanistan, we can’t stop the flow of heroin out of that country and into ours.

    I know you don’t believe in the war on drugs, but all of the above constitute that war, and it is one that has failed on every level.

    Time to try something new, I say. Its not the be all and end all, and the transition will be painful, no doubt.

    But I do seriously believe that if we made all of the major addictive narcotics legal, sold them in controlled circumstances to any that want them, and offered drug rehab to any that asked for it, we would have far less of the ancillary crime like robbery and burglary that causes so much pain to ordinary people, and our police forces could do more effective work catching real criminals with prisons that aren’t stuffed to the gills with druggies and dealers.

    It won’t be pretty, but I believe that society would be the better for it.

    Thats me, banging the drum again…

  23. Grissha says:

    I don’t know how things work in Europe, but here in Brazil I am utterly against legalizing drugs.

    First of all, the tributary charge over the legal drug enterprises should have to be immense to compensate the spent in health system (like it’s done about cigar industries).
    But this way the legal industry would never beat in competition the illegal dealers– after all they won’t pay any tribute, will they? And the purchaser won’t choose the more expensive offer.

    And still, even if the legalization of pot and cocaine reduced the deal of those drugs in the illegal market (which I find unlikely), the drug dealers would specialize they business in heavier drugs.

    So, I’m not standing by Pullman in this one.

  24. Ian says:

    OK, what Pullman is pretty much suggesting is similar to, “Let’s free all of the murderists and tax them for their murders, its going to happen anyways why not just go ahead and let them free.”

  25. Kinders says:

    Ian,

    Not at all. Murder clearly violates a basic human right – the right to life – whereas taking a narcotic violates no human rights. Murder is a matter of one person altering another’s life irrevocably while taking a narcotic is a matter of one person altering their own life, which everybody should have a right to do.

  26. Ian says:

    Well Kinders, Drugs don’t just effect the person, they effect all people around them, same as murder, rape, incest, and others shall I go on.

  27. jrea says:

    I support legalizing the taking of soft drugs (for example, the system present in the Netherlands) and abolishing penalties for drug possession but regulating the sale of hard drugs like what Paul is proposing, that I don’t believe would ever work.

    There is a massive difference between soft drugs and hard drugs and you need to have different approaches to the two. Hard drugs like heroin and meth are incredibly addictive and ruin the lives of addicts and those close to them in ways most could never comprehend and legalising the traffic of hard drugs will not solve that.

  28. Kinders says:

    Ian,

    This is a matter of responsibility. Adults should be allowed the responsibility to make decisions for themselves. This means nobody should murder them, since that would be somebody taking a very significant decision for them. But they should be allowed to inject, inhale, injest whatever they want, since to disallow them that would be for somebody to be taking a decision on their behalf. People should also be credited with the ability to consider the way their actions affect others, including how the risk of drug addiction could hurt their friends and family.

  29. Paul says:

    Jrea, I guess it depends on your definition of working, really. Clearly, right now, the illegal nature of hard drugs isn’t working, people still rob, steal and cheat to get the money to pay for them, and despite 100 years of trying, the traffic of drugs continues unabated.

    I would also argue that tobacco and alcohol have the potential to be both as addictive and as destructive as Meth and heroine, and yet they are legal and probably as controlled as they can be in a free society.

    I am not arguing that legalising all drugs would solve the problem, as I don’t believe the problem can be solved. People will take drugs, no matter what we do. I would say that proceeding with the current prohibition will not improve the situation, and I believe legalising drugs in the right way will improve the situation.

  30. Skywise says:

    Kinders says on October 24, 2009 12:06 pm:

    ”Ian,

    This is a matter of responsibility. Adults should be allowed the responsibility to make decisions for themselves. … But they should be allowed to inject, inhale, injest whatever they want, since to disallow them that would be for somebody to be taking a decision on their behalf.”

    This reminds me on the ”back to the nursery” statement of Mr. Pullman. If you are drugged, you are not in the state of making decisions for your own anymore. So you want to have the right to go back to a state of being not responsible for your actions by using a drug. And you call that ”adult”!
    Rediculous! (BTW, I don’t like to discriminate between ”adults” and others, especially because the so-called adults behave like idiots most of the time.)

    ”People should also be credited with the ability to consider the way their actions affect others, including how the risk of drug addiction could hurt their friends and family.”

    Don’t understand that. Obviously, if you’re drugged, you don’t have the ability to consider the way your actions affect others any more. That’s exactly the point.

  31. Kinders says:

    Skywise,

    Your argument is a vicious circle. You’re stating that people who are under the influence of drugs aren’t capable of making a reasonable decision, which is why they take drugs. But people under the influence of drugs don’t take drugs. People who are sober take drugs. And they should absolutely have the right to choose to do so.

    You’re also massively over-simplifying the effects of drug use. Taking pot, cocaine, heroin, insertnarcotichere, does not necessarily mean losing the faculties that allow you to act responsibly.

    You might be interested in this opinion piece by George Monbiot: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/29/drugs-cocaine-environment-fair-trade

  32. Skywise says:

    Kinders says on October 24, 2009 12:06 pm:

    ”This means nobody should murder them, since that would be somebody taking a very significant decision for them.”

    If you take drugs, you murder yourself, it just takes a little longer!

  33. Skywise says:

    Kinders says on October 26, 2009 10:30 pm:

    ”Your argument is a vicious circle. You’re stating that people who are under the
    influence of drugs aren’t capable of making a reasonable decision, which is why
    they take drugs.”

    No, Kinders, I don’t state that!

    I wrote: If you are drugged, you are not in the state of making decisions for your own anymore.
    Of course, this depends of the kind and amount of drugs you took.

    Have a look on a typical package insert of a medicament.

    A durg may interfere with medicine, resulting in unpredictable effects. You
    speak of drug-usage as if drugs were candy.

    I wrote: So you want to have the right to go back to a state of being not responsible for
    your actions by using a drug. And you call that ”adult”!

    This part refers to your emphasis of the notion of ”adult” in contrast that
    that’s what you have in mind is not what what I would expect form someone who
    claims to be an adult or of adult behaviour.

    ”But people under the influence of drugs don’t take drugs.”

    Are you sure?

    ”People who are sober take drugs.”

    Yes, if an addict is sober, he needs to take his drug.
    Unfortunately, if someone never took a drug, but does it for the first time,
    than your claim holds, too.

    ”And they should absolutely have the right to choose to do so.”

    That’s what this discussion is all about.

    ”You’re also massively over-simplifying the effects of drug use.
    Taking pot, cocaine, heroin, insertnarcotichere,
    does not necessarily mean losing the faculties that allow you to act
    responsibly.”

    Not necessarily, but most likely.

    ”insert narcotic”: do you need surgery?

  34. Kinders says:

    I wish I could just let this go…

    “If you take drugs, you murder yourself, it just takes a little longer!”
    Has the argument really descended to this level of hyperbole? The risk inherent in recreational drug use is no greater than that in ski-ing, horse riding or eating McDonald’s. Should we criminalise those as well? And I contend that people should have the right to murder themselves.

    “A durg may interfere with medicine, resulting in unpredictable effects.”
    That’s another reason to legalise it and package it with information that ensures people don’t take it when doing so might conflict with their medication. If your concern is to reduce the risks, continuing with our current policy clearly won’t work: people are taking these drugs regardless. This is the point that Paul has repeatedly made, and the one that you need to accept before we can have a reasonable debate on drug policy.

    “Taking pot, cocaine, heroin, insertnarcotichere, not necessarily, but most likely, means losing the faculties that allow you to act responsibly.”
    Can you reference this claim please? I’ll reference my contention to the contrary:
    http://www.tdpf.org.uk/WHOleaked.pdf
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/14/drugsandalcohol.socialsciences

  35. Kendaria says:

    Pullman is so up his own arse, he’s always trying to make a statement, always trying to see who he can outrage next, seriously the man needs to get a grip.

  36. Ketzally says:

    This has got really fishy.

    You just showed us the history of all humanity: discord.
    We will obviously get to nowhere as long as there are different ways of thinking, and there will always be.

    To begin with, who decides what’s good or what’s bad? Why are people so afraid of dying?, we don’t even know if someone is making us a huge favor by killing us, since with don’t really know what’s next. But that’s clearly not the point, and I won’t argue about the value of life because it’s something completely subjective and… really fishy as well.

    About Pullman needing to get a grip, sorry, but I just couldn’t disagree any more, in the end he’s just doing what we are doing right here, expressing his very own opinion, and he totally has the right to do so; and if his purpose is “to make a statement, always trying to see who he can outrage next”, well, I don’t think there’s a better way to spend time! That’s the kind of thing that makes people like us think and feel the need to expose our thoughts.

    I also think that drugs must be legalised, but I just think that way because I consider myself a responsible person, and I know I wouldn’t consume them since I don’t smoke or drink that much either. But that’s the whole thing, not everyone is capable for such a mature step (and I’m not saying I’m all that mature), I just think that society is not prepared enough to accept and take responsability over this matter, there is a kind of mind chaos. If there’s a chance to get drugs legalised, then, there must be a change of mentality as well, but it won’t happen in a couple of decades; so, yes, I think that drugs should be legalised, but I also think this is not the right moment. But when will it be anyway? And who is going to decide it?

    Anyway, I respect Pullman even if he is “up his own arse”, going against the masses in the present, assures you a place in the future, that’s what the past geniuses have taught us; you’ll be dead though, haha, just like them…

  37. Kinders says:

    I will end my participation in this discussion with this:

    “You never will be able to deal with a problem intelligently if you constantly ignore the facts.”

    Apt.

  38. Chris :) says:

    i have just stumbled on this discussion, and i thought i would contribute just because i wanted to explore my own thoughts on this.

    I respect pullman very much, but something about what he said here feels uneasy with me. but i can also see his sense.

    I find myself somewhat at a loss of what to do about drugs. because as everybody has said, they are there and being used, illegal or not, and they are and will be used regardless.

    but does legalizing them really truly change anything.

    As human beings we should indeed have the right to take our lives into our own hands and make our own choices about what to do with our bodies….. But the thing is we already do! its just we have to also choose if we want to become criminals by using drugs. if they were legal that moral dilema is removed. does that therefore encourage or at least make easier the choice to use drugs? i dont know.

    similarly as intelligent human beings do we not also have a responsibility to each other to intervene, forbid, prevent behavior thats distructive? again i dont know but i feel like we should do this, but it contradicts the ideas of free will and free choice :S

    What i do think is crime exists not because people use drugs but because there are people who will do anything for money, for glory, for a thrill. Drug lords have found a superb trait in humans to manipulate. that of addicition. legalising drugs isn’t going to stop drug lords. they will simply turn thier hand at something else, or rather some other way to manipulate a system for thier gain. piracy for example. or striking deals with the ‘legal suppliers’ to supply drugs.

    I dont really use drugs. i have used a bit of canabis in the past. but i have never bought it. and why? because one, i had no idea where to get it. Two, the idea of doing shadey awkward deals with unknown people put me off. and three, what if i got caught!!! it could effect my career, embarassment to my family. and thats canabis. the thought of trying to go for harder drugs scares me further.

    The important thing i recognise here is that these fears arent related to the effect of drugs, they are related to the many hurdles i have to get over to obtian the drugs.

    so if drugs were legal, i wouldn’t have these hurdles to contend with. just the question do i want to do this to my body? I dont want to now…. but there was a time…

    would young naive curiosity make me take that step. and then what? do i try again and again?

    who knows. but i know they wouldnt scare me as much as they do now. and i am sure many others would be put into that dilema.

    The other things that occure to me are….

    if we supply legal drugs, they still have to be obtianed….can they be obtained fairly, humainly, and without the involvement of criminals?

    by doing so they must also be paid for. you supply something legally you have to then have a legal industry, paying people to harvest and create the drugs. this is most expensive.

    the drugs would then be taxed. this would make drugs extreamly expensive…. well great! that might deter people…. however we all know….like piracy, there will be those who do it anyway, and wont want to pay that for it, and so we are back to square one with people obtaining drugs for the cheap from dealers….only now the consequences are less, because its not necessarily illegal.

    Also the governement making money from such addictions makes me unhappy…almost as much as criminals making the money. they are already doing it with alcohol and smoking. two HUGE killers. that still makes me feel awkward and i kinda want to government to ban cigarettes.

    I just hate the thought of ”come on kids, lets go a play in the park thats been built with the money taxed from the drugs that killed your mum”. i hate the thought that society is ‘improved’ with money made from peoples cigarette and alcohol addictions/weaknesses.

    i sometimes thing the governements think – ‘Great! this kills thousands of people. but they keep smoking it so lets make as much from it as possible! – just like petrol, there are alternatives to help ease poulltion…subsidised public transport, less pollutant fuels…but they are not as lucrative to the government… and yet they say they care about the envirnement….but not as much as making money. would this mentality apply to drugs… ‘oh look another gravy boat’…but it kills people… ‘ Yes but imagin the tax we make!!”

    here in england they intrdouced 24 hour licensing laws…in theory being able to be open all night so your customers can drink all night would stop people panic and binge drinking…..well its failed catastrophically. because people dont binge drink because the pubs are closing. they binge drink because thats what they do, having more time to do it, has meant more poeple drink more for longer, causing a rise in alcohol related crime, and health problems. thankfully this is now being addressed.

    would this happen with legalised drugs?

    again i dont know. but the thoughts occure to me.

    Something in me feels that legalising hard drugs will not solve anything, the problems might change slightly but they will still be there.

    So what can we do.

    In truth i dont have the answer. If i did maybe i would be in politics.

    But a big part of me wonders if maybe the law needs to be stronger. many people are not afraid of prison, or breaking the law. the consequences are just not strong enough….i mean, many prisons have xboxes, internet, etc.

    for many criminals, as recently pointed out in a tv series with Danny dyer….doing time in jail can actually make you respected and popular within the criminal world!!

    The thing is, if there was nobody selling drugs, there would be nobody buying them. you prohibit the selling of them you might tackle the problem. of course thats what illgal drugs is all about…selling them is already illegal.

    BUT! the thing is the dealers and the users feel that the risk is still worth it.

    what if they thought the risk simply WASN’T worth it! then you might tackle the problem.

    I dont know these are just all the thoughts that pullmans comments made me think.

    thanks for letting me bore you.

    Chris 🙂

  39. Skywise says:

    Hello Chris,

    you didn’t bore me at all. You did great work in tackling the problem in a very humble and fair way. Of course, you didn’t find an answer.

    To my mind, the problem can’t be tackled in the usual way. Not in the way like Pullman supposes it, not in the way some posters here are eager to have it.

    Of course, people should be free to do with their bodies what they like. But, are you free to become unfree? What if everybody takes the freedom to become unfree, meaning to become an addict here? If you tackle it form that side, you always will fail.

    There is a principal problem behind that: You can’t have everything! It somewhat disappoints me that Pullman failed in recognizing that. Maybe he was drugged then.

    What if we would be able to build the Republic of Heaven without drugs? — That would be really terrific!

    Of course, I also feel very uneasy if the state would build a park from drug money and things like that. Pullman simply argues dishonest or just blindfold if he wants drug money for the treasury. (I really like Pullman and Northern lights, but I don’t follow him on every way unreflectedly.)

    Actually, the state already is (indirectly) in the position of some kind of drug producer/dealer/distributor, see the links I provided:

    Psychatry is drugging people legally, if a judge considers that necessary, at least. (But is a judge really able to make a fair/approbriate decision, here? It’s just a formal act to maintain the pretence of a democratic process.) Psychiatry is legal, so are psychiatrists. Do some research on the origin of psychiatry. Psychiatrists play an important role in terrorism/are behind of many terrorist attacks and wars. Psychiatry is used to muzzle people who are agaist the regime. If drugs would be legalized, the addicts would come closer to psychiatry sooner or later. They wouldn’t just loose their freedom to the drug, but to the state, too.

    Drugs are not about recreation, drugs are for manipulation!

    I think the only way to tackle the problem is to be honest, to others and to yourself.

    Why starting with drugs? Just to know how it feels? Because it’s something special? If you make an institution out of it, you can make the people think so. That’s manipulation! But drugs are merely a chemical way of disturbing the way your neuronal system works. This isn’t special, this is just harming yourself.

    Just to have some drug induced fantasies? Don’t you have fantasy by your own? Do you need drugs for that? Are you that boring?

    Do you need drugs for getting friends? To find friends is very very hard, I know, so what kind of ‘friends’ do you get this way?

    Do you need to manipulate yourself by using drugs? Where’s your self-esteem? Note, this is not only about fun drugs, that’s about every drug including some ‘medicaments’

    Ok, if you need surgery, you need to get some drugs to calm down the pain etc., but that’s the only exeption.

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