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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Wesley J. Smith’s top 10 issues in bioethics

Wesley J. Smith blogs at Secondhand Smoke, but he also works for the Discovery Institute. And he’s written a post about the top 10 issues in bioethics.

Here are the top 10 recent bioethics stories:

  1. The ascendance of an anti-human environmentalism.
  2. The growth of biological colonialism.
  3. The increase in American pro-life attitudes.
  4. The struggle over Obamacare.
  5. Legalization of assisted suicide in Washington.
  6. The success of adult-stem-cell research.
  7. “Suicide tourism” in Switzerland.
  8. In vitro fertilization (IVF) anarchy.
  9. The Bush embryonic-stem-cell funding policy.
  10. The dehydration of Terri Schiavo.

Do you know what “suicide tourism” is?

Here’s what it is:

Over the last decade, Switzerland became Jack Kevorkian as a country, its suicide clinics catering to an increasingly international clientele — mostly from the United Kingdom — with the victims ranging from the terminally ill, to people with disabilities, to even a double suicide of a terminally ill elderly woman and her frail husband, who wanted to die rather than be cared for by others. Alas, as was the case with Kevorkian in the 1990s, audacity was rewarded. In the face of a wave of high-profile suicide-tourism stories, England’s head prosecutor published guidelines that, in essence, decriminalized family and friends’ assisting the suicides of the dying, disabled, and infirm. Others mimicked the Swiss. In the U.S., the Final Exit Network appears to have created mobile suicide clinics, leading to the indictment of several of its organizers. Meanwhile, the Australian “Dr. Death,” Philip Nitschke, traveled the world holding how-to-commit-suicide clinics. Still, as the decade came to a close, there was a sense that the tide could be turning: The Swiss government appears poised to shut down the suicide-tourism industry, perhaps even — although this is less likely — outlawing assisted suicide altogether.

Actually, the UK is considering cashing in on suicide tourism, as well.

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Switzerland company to manufacture condoms for 12-14 year olds

From the UK Telegraph. (H/T Caffeinated Thoughts via ECM)

Excerpt:

Extra small condoms for boys as young as 12 are going on sale in Switzerland.

Called the Hotshot, the condom has been produced after government research showed 12 to 14-year-olds did not use sufficient protection when having sex.

The study, conducted on behalf of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth, interviewed 1,480 people aged 10 to 20.

It showed more 12 to 14-year-olds were having sex, in comparison with the 1990s.

Nancy Bodmer, who headed the research, said… “The results of this study suggest that early prevention makes sense.”

[...]Nysse Norballe, a spokesman for the company, said: “At the moment we are only producing the Hotshot in Switzerland. But the UK is certainly a very attractive market since there is a very high rate of underage conception. The UK would definitely be top priority if we marketed abroad.”

[...]The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.

In 1999, the government pledged to halve the teenage conception rate within 10 years.

But data released last week from The Office for National Statistics shows it has clearly failed to make any significant impact.

Maybe the government should commission some research on how premarital sex affects people’s ability to form stable, life-long marriages.

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MUST-LISTEN: 80-minute interview with Mark Steyn on the Milt Rosenberg show

Topics:

  • Major Hasan and Fort Hood
  • Climate Research Unit global warming e-mails
  • Switzerland bans minaret construction
  • Obama’s Afghanistan speech

The MP3 file is here. (80 minutes, commercial-free)

Additional links

Mark discusses a horrible case of anti-Jewish bigotry in an Ontario school, in the first hour. You can read more about that story here while you listen. I can’t believe that this story is true, it’s so disgusting.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MUST-READ: The privatized health care system of Switzerland

Story from the New York Times. (H/T Walker Morrow)

Excerpt:

Like every other country in Europe, Switzerland guarantees health care for all its citizens. But the system here does not remotely resemble the model of bureaucratic, socialized medicine often cited by opponents of universal coverage in the United States.

Swiss private insurers are required to offer coverage to all citizens, regardless of age or medical history. And those people, in turn, are obligated to buy health insurance.

[...]By many measures, the Swiss are healthier than Americans, and surveys indicate that Swiss people are generally happy with their system. Switzerland, moreover, provides high-quality care at costs well below what the United States spends per person. Swiss insurance companies offer the mandatory basic plan on a not-for-profit basis, although they are permitted to earn a profit on supplemental plans.

[...]The Swiss government does not “ration care” — that populist bogeyman in the American debate — but it does keep down overall spending by regulating drug prices and fees for lab tests and medical devices. It also requires patients to share some costs — at a higher level than in the United States — so they have an incentive to avoid unnecessary treatments. And some doctors grumble that cost controls are making it harder these days for a physician to make a franc.

[...]The Swiss government also provides direct cash subsidies to people if health insurance equals more than 8 percent of personal income, and about 35 to 40 percent of households get some form of subsidy. In some cases, employers contribute part of the insurance premium, but, unlike in the United States, they do not receive a tax break for it. (All the health care proposals in Congress would provide a subsidy to moderate-income Americans.)

Unlike the United States, where the Medicare program for the elderly costs taxpayers about $500 billion a year, Switzerland has no special break for older Swiss people beyond the general subsidy.

Read the whole thing.

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