Between Punkerslut and ProEthics
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2007
I recently discovered the website whosarat.com and then I discovered that it was criticized by ProEthics. Here's the link:
How are we supposed to "resist" an authority's tightly-controlled dissemination of information? To those of us who oppose the government's policy of harassment, imprisonment, and sheer exploitation to the drug-using population, how would you have us resist? What mode should we take? You assert that we are unethical for publishing websites with our opinions, with information on how to defend ourselves, and informing the public of the dangers posed to them by an ego-maniacal drug-tzar with unchecked power. Under your ethical system, what would be *RIGHT* for those members of a democratic group to resist the tides of dictatorship? I assume the only choice you would give us would be to sit in our homes, watch our television sets, and consume consume consume... feed yourself with addictions where the profit goes to corporations that hijack your government and media outlets for vicious and inhumane Capitalist endeavors. What an astounding moral system you have there.
Your argument is clear, "The disingenuousness of Bucci's speech is breathtaking. First of all, people aren't in jail 'because the government dedicates most of its resources to the 'drug war'' (most of its resources???); they are in jail because they chose to break the law."
This brings up an even more interesting question. When a population is subjected to an authoritarian rule that tightly controls the flow of information, is it unethical for citizens to resist? ?ydowska Organizacja Bojowa, or the ZOB, was a Jewish resistance group that led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Nazi troops. When their opponents had started to burn them alive in their homes, was it unethical for them to resist on the same standards that were being brought against them? The United States government spends billions of dollars annually to maintain an enormous police department with hundreds of prison, the envy of the gestapo, even at its height. Massive propaganda programs and censorship, denying all experiments that attempt to prove the beneficial uses of drugs, a prison sentence waiting anyone who experiments with personal liberty, supplying weapons to illegal cocaine groups for overthrowing democratic movements in third world countries -- yes, there is quite a bit of involvement by the United States government in the field of the public's use of drugs. Our struggle against the armed thug of government is being fought on many levels and in many ways. Whosarat.com is a simple publication that informs their readers of individuals seeking to encroach upon their personal liberty.
"Let's see: you know an activity is illegal, you know it is illegal because society has determined that having a high proportion of its population habitually on consciousness-altering and performance-impairing drugs is harmful in dozens of ways, you know others have been imprisoned for violating the resulting anti-drug laws, and you break the laws anyway. This is the government's fault??"
If the law prohibits individuals from practicing their religion, then those who continue knowingly break the law. Simply change. What if the law requires certain handicaps for those of different races? Simply change. If we are enslaved, just learn to love the clanking of the chains. Simply change. PEOPLE must change for the law. The state is the eternal code of righteousness, justice, and honor -- when there is a conflict between the will of the people and the organized system of coercion and repression, the people must sacrifice their interests to the greater good of the established, social elites in society. In fact, this is the model of government as presented in your idea; yes, humans can change for the law. We can stop our behavior, stop reading our books, and eventually, maybe the ideas and thoughts will go away. And by the end, this means that the law, and the privileged sector which supports it, have won. Perhaps you should post a listing of unethical websites that support Christians in China who are suffering persecution for their religious ideas. Why not walk up to those who are languishing in prison and enduring brutal torture, and tell them, "Let's see: you know an activity is illegal, you know others have been imprisoned for violating the resulting anti-Christian laws, and you break the laws anyway. This is the government's fault??"
"This is an unethical web site and a dangerous one." Somehow, I'm not surprised that this is coming from a website that models itself as an authority on "ethics."
to: Andy Carloff
Better late than never.
I've learned from bitter experience that arguing rationally with individuals who hold a parallel universe view of reality is both fruitless and frustrating. Needless to say, I think a Messianic complex and heroic pretensions regarding getting high is absurd; that we do not live in an authoritarian regime that tightly controls information, that comparing restrictions on religion, race and freedom with laws against drug dealing and using shows a value system beyond comprehension, and a system that arrests people for disobeying democratically determined, judicially overseen and completely reasonable laws is far from "the Gustapo," and anyone who can't tell the difference needs 1) a history lesson and 2) a vacation. It is not hard to stay out of jail in America, and I have no sympathy for those who disobey the laws and then get the expected results. Laws change when a majority of the voters in the US think that it's a good idea to change them, and it elects people who will do it. It's called a republic. The laws against drug use are proof that it works.
You want a stoned out anarchy. Great, but forgive me if I am not supportive of the living Hell you would impose on the rest of us. Ethics involves doing what's good for everybody, not just a group of narcissistic drug-lovers who can't think of anything more productive to do than fight anti-drug laws and get ripped. The vainglorious pretensions to martyrdom in your note are just jaw-dropping....funny, but jaw-dropping. You're right...my comments would not apply in a totalitarian system where brutal laws crush the human spirit, They also would not apply on Alpha Centauri, but they do apply to this country, the drug laws, and Whosarat.com.
Thanks for your feedback.
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2007
I'm familiar with the system of the republic, but it is not the only way the laws of America came about. Brown Versus Education was the Supreme Court Decision that abolished segregation, something our republic's representatives were unwilling to abolish. Roe V. Wade is another outstanding case where the people elected their parties and those politicians failed to carry out the will of the people. Many of the specific rights of the Bill of Rights have been verified by court challenges. These court cases were the productions of the social movements surrounding them; they are the natural and logical consequence to years of resistance, organization, and social agitation. You are relying upon a body that historically has violated the interest and the will of the people to dictate your daily behavior. Is that unethical or just unconscious?
We hold parallel universe views of reality? I am curious, where do you think the field of Ethics and Philosophy were developed? Plato outlined the evils of organized states in his Republic, and Aristotle's Athenian Constitution outlined the ideal government, or social functioning, as one with the most restriction on authority. The ideas of Rousseau and Godwin? They certainly contained the sentiment that coercive government is mankind's greatest evil. Not to mention that the study of ethics, as it relates to political philosophy, through the philosophy of Locke and others, underlined liberty (absence of authority) as the cornerstone to genuine government. Those parts of ethical philosophy that suggest obedience to a state need to be dropped, just as the morality of Kant, which demanded us to always tell the truth, even if we were interrogated by a homicidal murderer seeking a victim.
At one point would your comments of persecution not apply to the American drug-using population? The US government is putting millions of people behind bars for practicing their habits in private. I'm sorry, what's the definition of oppression again? That's clearly not what is happening here. This government has established a secret police with thousands of informants, all with the interest of arresting individuals under the guise of "protecting the public." So, as long as it's only 1927-1945, we can use the word Gestapo? Throw the words out the window, if you like. Using marijuana endangers someone to the risk of state authority. The same risk doesn't exist for those who smoke tobacco, or those who eat bad food, or those who watch unstimulating television. At the same time that alcohol was prohibited, there were many bills proposed to outlaw refined sugar and aspirin. If someone was imprisoned for two years for possession of aspirin, to be added to the millions already confined to overcrowded and brutal conditions, would you scoff, or would you tell them that understanding and responding to oppression is the equivalent of immorality?
to: Andy Carloff
Andy, you're obviously an educated and intelligent guy, and it's nice, for a change, to chat with someone who knows their basic philosophy. And you're not the first such person I've encountered in my life who flabbergasts me by applying that intelligence and passion to the cretinous and destructive activity of drug use. I was a student at Harvard between 1968-1972, after all. Keith Stroup was a friend of mine in DC. I've heard all the arguments and rationalizations. I don't buy them.
If we all lived in caves and were self sufficient, there would be no reason, ethical or practical, to make laws against drug use. But the society pays for addiction or just abuse through broken families and wasted educations, accidents, higher insurance premiums and premature deaths. Your right to be irresponsible or to disable yourself ends when I have to pay for it or when it makes my home town and nation a crappy place to live. Anti-social behavior is what drug use is; and society has a legitimate interest in declaring that it's selfish and wrong. It's a lot easier for me to convince my son that drug use is a mistake and wrong if the nation's laws agree with me. You may have read Lon Fuller's The Morality of the Law. He's right. When the state says something is legal, it is hard to argue that it is wrong. Yes, lots of things are wrong that aren't illegal. But the law helps.
I'm willing to lose this argument, you know, if you and yours can convince the public otherwise. The fact that imprisonment is expensive or "doesn't work" is an ethically bankrupt argument against making conduct legal...we don't decide whether something's right or wrong out of convenience or whether there's a remedy or not. Drug use flunks ethics balancing tests because the value is minuscule compared to the risks and costs. Recreational drug use has all the social utility of eating Twinkies, and as long as I have friends who once had genius IQs and now have to write their phone numbers on their hands because they dropped one tab too many, I'm not going to cry over what you call "persecution." And again, comparing segregation to prohibiting pot use is pretty audacious.
Are some drug sentences excessive? Yes. Is the distinction between crack and coke idiotic? Sure it is. Is the distribution of drug sentences unjust? Absolutely. If you want to address those problems, I'm with you. But undercover drug agents are helping to stop what I and the majority of the public believe is destructive behavior that society would be better off without. They are doing a legitimate job, and don't deserved to be killed for it.
Again: do I have your permission to put this exchange on the Scoreboard? It's a hell of a lot more provocative than arguing over American Idol.
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2007
Well, we are deciding on something, right? If we cannot decide that this doesn't work, then we must decide upon something that does work. The government stands a very difficult case of proving that there is considerable public interest in maintaining its drug laws. If there is no way of making a valid, ethical case for the imprisonment and persecution of drug users, then on what grounds should we continue in obedience to these laws?
Ah, ethics balancing tests? So our meta-ethical systems are derived from Bentham and the theory of Utilitarianism? So good that we're on track. Here's a great ethics balancing test: kill person A and use their organs to save the lives of person's B and C. It does pass the balancing test: the end-result produces a good that is greater than the performed evil to achieve it. This isn't an uncommon or rare scenario in discussion, either. Peter Singer and other modern Utilitarians have referenced this theoretical argument. Would you consider that example to be moral?
My comparison of racial segregation to marijuana prohibition isn't quite as you put it. The example of segregation was brought up solely to demonstrate that the courts, at the agitation of social unrest, gave the people a true, genuine voice in the political process -- what some would call Democracy. The first and second cases of Brown V. Board Education and Roe v. Wade were possible only after years of activism, civil disobedience, and the resistance applied by the people. These created two unbelievably precious rights for the people; they both are cornerstones of the development of a true egalitarian spirit in the Western world. My point was not to compare them with Marijuana prohibition, though I consider them to be similar evils. My point was to demonstrate that the most important parts of human rights were not realized through the legislature, and not through the executive branches -- the people had to be oppressed, they had to suffer, and after years of state-organized tyranny, they demanded to have their case heard. Your argument was that the great Republic is the people's perfect mode of expression, and history proves that the legislature's code doesn't always reflect the genuine will of the people, nor does it protect the rights of the individual.
Individuals who are caught using drugs are subject to harassment, prison, and loss of property. This is the living manifestation of tyranny.
What destructive behavior? All destructive behavior, or just those specific ones that have been designated by the United States drug code as it exists today? Perhaps we would be better off without hard liquor, or alcohol altogether. Perhaps we can slowly ween the population off of caffeine and tobacco, slowly inculcating them into leaving behind their refined sugars and empty calorie foods. Anyone can feel confident in making a suggestion to stop everyone from using these products, and to achieve it by mobilizing a massive police force and an enormous prison system. They can make their arguments about how respecting the authority of the law is, in fact, respecting the authority of the people, while people are serving years in concrete boxes for victimless crime. Yes, anyone can feel validated in making a claim to recall certain habits from the human lifestyle. At the same time, some of those more analytical thinkers might realize that it would just be another restriction to human behavior, especially when it is with the threat of a coercive organization. And we are not discussing behavior that infringes directly on to the rights of others. Believing that something is destructive and that society is better off without is not enough to impose that restriction on others. That's my opinion of the Dixie Chicks, but thinking that anyone needs to go to prison for listening to their albums would be ridiculous. Since the law enforcement agency and the laws of the legislative branch are incompatible with the will of the spirit of the people, it should be considered a moral behavior to expose those seeking the imprisonment of drug-users.
One quarter of the states in America have medical marijuana, and over half of them have statutes that decriminalize the use of peyote for religious use by Native Americans. Both of these laws are in complete violation of the federal scheduling policy on drug use and criminal penalty, and this was something that even the Supreme Court agreed to. Timothy Leary was expelled and then imprisoned for his research. There's an international ban on research. In fact, most of the positive attributes that we know of marijuana come from research with endocannabinoids, a drug that is naturally produced by the human mind. It has therapeutic ability for treating depression, neurodegeneration, post-traumatic stress, and a variety of personality disorders. There is an international ban on Marijuana research, created at the constant battles of Harry J. Anslinger. Americans for Safe Access, group of Marijuana activists, is suing the government for lying about the medical uses of Marijuana. There is good reason to believe that if the means of providing information to the public are sabotaged, then the will of the people is only the puppeting of Nationalist leaders. What you may call "the general consensus" is actually a storm of misinformation, deceit, and ignorance; even if the public's view of drugs is much different than that of the laws, it can still be skewed in a great way. There is nothing legitimate or noble about working in a field that profits from the exploitation of those who commit crimes without victims.
The first state was simply the organized, coercive force employed by the wealth of the upper classes. After this violent force has the obedience of the lower-class, the poor start demanding that the state interfere to keep justice between themselves. And the state has always been this: an organized body of coercive force, working for the interests of a few social elites while propagating the idea that they represent the public good. Remember, at the same time that the Ancient Romans were guards and defenders of the people, they were also oppressors, exploiters, and conquerors. No defense can be made on behalf of the informants and agents listed on that site. They knowingly chose their professions and knew that the major part of their career entailed putting human beings in concrete boxes for a long sentences as punishment for victimless crimes. It is almost unthinkable to know that there are individuals who live, eat, and sleep with earnings from that "occupation."
Yes, of course. I love provoking thought.
to: Andy Carloff
Andy: Thanks. I'll save most of my rebuttal for the Scoreboard, and when I have a little more time.
You're all wet about the Courts, however, Brown didn't over-rule the legislature: it correctly enforced the Constitution and the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments as well as the Declaration and over-ruled its wrongheaded decision in Plessy. Roe DID end-around the legislature, and it's been a disaster...bad law, bad reasoning, bad policy...and it never has reflected a majority view. Most of the public does not support abortion on demand. Roe was an anti-democratic ruling ; Brown wasn't. Using the courts to avoid the public will expressed in the legislature is a dead end.
to: Andy Carloff
I know you have corresponded with Jack Marshall. Just to be clear: I agree with him. You are no victim. If you choose to engage in unlawful activities, so be it. The government is inordinately kind to drug users, less so to drug sellers. Sit back, smoke up a storm, and enjoy. And lay off this ridiculous victimization routine. Or move. Why are millions beating down the doors to get into the US? Move to Canada and make room.
Grace Bowen Marshall
Posted by Tom Fuller on February 27, 2007 at 14:59:58:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Whosarat.com is unethical? posted by Jack Marshall on February 26, 2007 at 22:07:21:
Jack, your commitment to responding to all comments is commendable, but give it up here. Andy's incoherent ramblings about Aristotle, Locke, and Kant in connection with illegal drug use are just stupid and wrong. There is no need to refute them by copious argument. If he has a genuine point to make, let him make it, by all means. Otherwise, he's just wasting bandwidth with illogical junk.
Posted by Jack Marshall on February 27, 2007 at 19:26:15:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Whosarat.com is unethical? posted by Andy Carloff on February 27, 2007 at 19:00:57:
Well, you did it, Andy...set off my "Rant-O-Meter." I don't have the time or energy to respond to all that, except to say that 1)I do not believe in the application of only one ethical system; they need to temper each other. Singer's brand of Utilitarianism is absurd. 2) The fact that we have imperfect means of stopping destructive conduct, especially when there are advocates trying to convince the young, gullible, egocentric, irresponsible and dumb that it is heroic and harmless, doesn't argue for abandoning the effort or stopping imperfect measures, like locking up those who violate laws. 3) It's not tyranny. You're being silly. 4) Your judicial examples don't work, and not just because the idea of an unelected court-dictated society is scary and wrong. Brown simply enforced a law on the books, in the Constitution. Roe, legally and ethically was a mistake, badly reasoned and misguided. Abortion needs to be worked out in the legislatures and in public debate, not declared good by court fiat. 5) The fact that all destructive behavior can't be addressed doesn't mean that none should be. Undeniably, we would be better off without alcohol and tobacco too, but both were too culturally entrenched. You want to entrench yet another addictive and destructive habit in the name of "freedom." How noble. 6) Anyone who really thinks drug abuse is a victimless crime is either deluded, stoned, completely self-involved, or dumb as a brick.
For any future comments, see my first response, re: parallel universes.
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Jack Marshall, thank you so much for the time and the pleasure. As long as we're wrapping things up, I'll try to be brief.
"The idea of an unelected court-dictated society is scary and wrong." So, you agree then that the American political system is scary and wrong, but not worth disobeying? What's your message? Either, America is just enough, that we must follow its laws, or America is so unjust (when it abolishes segregation and legalizes abortion), that it is immoral and wrong?
"Anyone who really thinks drug abuse is a victimless crime is either deluded, stoned, completely self-involved, or dumb as a brick." Where's the victim? And I'm going to laugh if you say, "The user is the victim!"
Tom Fuller -- my quotes about Aristotle, Locke, and Kant weren't "in connection with illegal drug use," but rather were in connection with the proper functioning of the "realized form of justice": the state. Yeah, that does sound pretty incoherent: I'm trying to support drug-decriminalization, so bringing up the original purpose of law enforcement sounds, as you stated: "incoherent, just stupid and wrong."
Grace Marshall -- "And lay off this ridiculous victimization routine." All right, I quote Kant and told I'm incoherent; now I can't even use the word "oppression" without defining it with a dictionary? Here. "Oppress: to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power." Even Jack was willing to admit, "Are some drug sentences excessive? Yes. Is the distinction between crack and coke idiotic? Sure it is. Is the distribution of drug sentences unjust? Absolutely. If you want to address those problems, I'm with you." This "ridiculous victimization routine"? You don't face imprisonment or loss of property for watching television; you would face loss of life, though, in certain monarchical states. But, of course, the point here is that this is DRUG USE that is being persecuted, and as long as you it is not TELEVISION, we're fine and ethical. Argue about whether it is right or wrong, that's logical. But to deny that imprisonment and criminal penalties, i.e. oppression, await those who use drugs is a bit weird. Your style, though... Flow with it!
In Anarchy and Communism,