Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should we legalize drugs and prostitution like Ron Paul wants?

The UK Telegraph explains how Ron Paul’s policies have been tried and they have failed.

Excerpt:

Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city’s “red light” district and surrounding area

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex “windows”, from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters.

“We can still have sex and drugs but in a way that shows the city is in control.”

Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000 and its soft drug policy, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows the sale of marijuana and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

But Amsterdam’s toughening line is part of a wider trend in Holland.

Two Dutch cities near the Belgian border want to close all their cannabis shops to combat drug tourism and crime.

The 800-year-old red light district needs to diversify and showcase the city’s history, Mr Asscher said.

“This is a nice, old part of town. We can attract different groups of tourists. You should be able to have a beer at the old church square, watch fashion, and visit Chinatown,” he added.

The Family Research Council explains how Ron Paul’s drug policies don’t actually work as advertised anywhere they’ve been tried.

Excerpt:

Legalizers believe most black market and organized syndicate involvement in the drug business would die and that drug-induced crime would decrease with drug legalization. But these assertions are not supported by the facts. The United States experimented with legalization and it failed. From 1919 to 1922, government-sponsored clinics handed out free drugs to addicts in hopes of controlling their behavior. The effort failed. Society’s revulsion against drugs, combined with enforcement, successfully eradicated the menace at that time.[32]

California decriminalized marijuana in 1976, and, within the first six months, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs rose 46 percent for adults and 71.4 percent for juveniles.[33] Decriminalizing marijuana in Alaska and Oregon in the 1970s resulted in the doubling of use.[34] Patrick Murphy, a court-appointed lawyer for 31,000 abused and neglected children in Chicago, says that more than 80 percent of the cases of physical and sexual abuse of children now involve drugs. There is no evidence that legalizing drugs will reduce these crimes, and there is evidence that suggests it would worsen the problem.[35]

Legalization would decrease drug distribution crime because most of those activities would become lawful. But would legalization necessarily reduce other drug-related crime like robbery, rape, and assault? Presumably legalization would reduce the cost of drugs and thus addicts might commit fewer crimes to pay for their habits. But less expensive drugs might also feed their habit better, and more drugs means more side effects like paranoia, irritability and violence. Suggestions that crime can somehow be eliminated by redefining it are spurious. Free drugs or legalizing bad drugs would not make criminal addicts into productive citizens. Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, expert on drugs and adolescents and president of Phoenix House, a resident treatment center in New York, said, “If you give somebody free drugs you don’t turn him into a responsible employee, husband, or father.”[36] The Justice Department reports that most inmates (77.4 percent male and 83.6 percent female) have a drug history and the majority were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense. And a surprisingly large number of convicted felons admit their crime motive was to get money for drugs. For example, 12 percent of all violent offenses and 24.4 percent of all property offenses were drug-money motivated.[37]

[...]The extent to which individuals commit “drug-related crimes only” is overstated. Most incarcerated “drug”offenders violated other laws as well. Princeton University professor John Dilulio found that only 2 percent — i.e., 700 — of those in federal prisons were convicted of pure drug possession. They generally committed other and violent crimes to earn a sentence.[40]

However, 70 percent of current inmates were on illegal drugs when arrested and, if drugs become cheaper, violent crime could reasonably be expected to increase.[41]

And more:

History provides evidence that legalization of drugs in foreign nations has not been successful. For example, opium was legalized in China earlier this century. That decision resulted in 90 million addicts and it took a half-century to repair the damage.[59]

Egypt allowed unrestricted trade of cocaine and heroin in the 1920s. An epidemic of addiction resulted. Even in Iran and Thailand, countries where drugs are readily available, the prevalence of addiction continues to soar.[60]

Modern-day Netherlands is often cited as a country which has successfully legalized drugs. Marijuana is sold over the counter and police seldom arrest cocaine and heroin users. But official tolerance has led to significant increases in addiction. Amsterdam’s officials blame the significant rise in crime on the liberal drug policy. The city’s 7,000 addicts are blamed for 80 percent of all property crime and Amsterdam’s rate of burglary is now twice that of Newark, New Jersey.[61] Drug problems have forced the city to increase the size of the police force and the city fathers are now rethinking the drug policy.[62]

Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent.[63]

Sweden legalized doctor prescriptions of amphetamines in 1965. During the first year of legalization, the number of intravenous”speed” addicts rose 88.5 percent. A study of men arrested during the legalization period showed a high correlation between intravenous use and a variety of crimes.[64]

Dr. Nils Bejorot, director of the Swedish Carnegie Institute and professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, believes the solution to the growing drug problem is consistent social and legal harassment of both users and dealers.[65]

Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well.[66] And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the “legal” addicts.[67]

The Swiss opened a “legalized drug” area in Zurich seven years ago and local addicts were given drugs, clean needles, and emergency medical care. Unfortunately, the liberal policy backfired and the number of addicts surged to 3,500; violence surged, too. “Needle Park,” as it came to be known, was a place of open warfare among rival gangs, and even police faced gunfire. Their cars were attacked and overturned. In February 1995, officials ended the experiment, conceding that it had evolved into a grotesque spectacle.[68]

Why does legalizing drugs increase crime? Because drugs are addictive and they cost money to obtain. Addiction reduces the ability to hold down a job, which is a legal way of getting money. Therefore, addicts will resort to crime in order to get the money to buy their drugs, since their addiction impairs their ability to hold down a job.

Here is an article that takes a look at Ron Paul’s views on social policy and one that looks at Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy.

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9 Responses

  1. Thank you for the info. It is good to know for when a conversation about legalizing and putting a smile on the black market comes up again. God bless.

  2. Thank you for posting this, WK.

    Ron Paul apparently has a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of law–one that is completely counter-intuitive, if not delusional.

    Notwithstanding the wide variety of convincing empirical evidence you cited in your article, common sense alone should be enough for any rational person to see the logical cause-effect correlation between law and crime. Simply stated, if the restraints and penalties associated with a crime are removed, then incidents involving that crime (which, if legalized, would no longer BE a crime) will increase.

    Laws exist to deter and restrict sinful people from harming one another and trampling others’ inalienable rights. Remove them and societal unrest and widespread immorality will inevitably ensue.

    That brings me to my next point. Ron Paul’s deeper error lies in a naive underestimation of the fallenness/depravity of man, as well as an overestimation of man’s willingness and ability to do “good.” In the interviews and debates I’ve watched, Paul’s reasoning (if you can call it that) on this matter goes something like this:

    “Oh, if a state legalizes heroin or prostitution, that doesn’t mean people will suddenly go out and start doing those things! I think people are smart enough to know not to do what will harm them, and they know they’re accountable to God!” To be blunt, this line of thinking is fatuous, inane, and maddening.

    Furthermore, I think Paul’s liberal/anarchic social policies raise an important issue–that of the relationship between law and morality. Certainly, the two are not equivalent. A destructive substance (e.g., heroin) or behavior (e.g., prostitution) does not cease to be harmful, immoral, or evil simply because it has been legalized by a government. Abortion is a case in point.

  3. [...] Should we legalize drugs and prostitution like Ron Paul wants? [...]

  4. Les Taylor says:

    A question related to this topic: Should the gov’t make a law that requires people to eat only healthy foods, exercise, and generally watch their weight and health?

    • Of course not. Are you saying that eating green beans, tuna and rice is the same as snorting cocaine, with respect to addiction, job performance, costs, effects on family and children?

  5. Drew says:

    Even assuming the accuracy of this entire post, who really CARES? Congress is not going to legalize drugs. Most of the state legislatures are not going to legalize drugs. On the issues that actually MATTER right now, Ron Paul is certainly the most dependable candidate. I absolutely can’t stand how Rush Limbaugh and every other supposed conservative seem like they would seriously back someone like Newt “Climate Change” Gingrich, or Mitt Romney-Care, before they would even consider Ron Paul. Are fighting the gays and the drugs — and warring with Iran — seriously the issues that matter most right now? I don’t think so. (And anyway, if we actually put forward a formal war declaration, I doubt that even Ron Paul would have much hesitation about demolishing another country.)

    And I know you aren’t explicitly endorsing a candidate in this post, but elsewhere you have stated that you would prefer Newt Gingrich as your second choice after Rick Santorum. This is madness.

  6. Another Drew says:

    Did anyone actually listen to Ron Paul, or just read the stuff printed on this site?

    It seems that Ron is not encouraging drug use, it even seems that he is against the use of drugs.

    But it seems that he feels even more strongly that this is not something that the federal government should be addressing. He feels that the Constitution (remember the Constitution – it used to be studied and followed by US leaders?) should be honored. To that end the states would decide, each for themselves, what is legal and what is not. This does not make drugs legal but, rather, it forces the people in each state to make their opinions known and felt through this strange process known as voting while, at the same time decriminalizing drugs at the federal level.

    I suppose the only real concern here is if you live in a state where you believe heroin will become legal. If that is the case I suggest you move. If it seems unlikely that your friends and neighbors are looking forward to getting hooked on heroin and meth then you should be safe where you are.

    It really is that simple.

  7. From my perspective, drugs shouldn’t be legalised as this would increase the consumption. Purchasing drugs will become much easier, and the chances to affect other people that are not drug users would increase, but on the other hand, prohibition is a wrong approach. Interdiction determines increased desire and the actual legalisation could mean more access to information and may turn drugs into a less of a taboo.

    Check out my article on drug consumption: http://ethicalblabbing.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/drug-use-and-abuse-a-victimless-harm/
    Looking forward to see your comments and your opinion on it

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