The Corner

Fatuous and Self-Indulgent

Andrew – I have neither the time nor the inclination to restart an argument we’ve (meaning all of us at NRO) have had many times before. But let me say for the record that I’m often astounded by the inability of drug war opponents to treat with respect or good faith those they disagree with.

I know you obviously meant no offense to me personally, but the phrase “fatuous and self-indulgent,” it seems to me, could very well apply to countless legalization advocates who refuse to recognize that there is a good faith argument on the other side. Indeed, I think many of the folks who glibly talk about legalization as if it were a cure-all, a nigh-upon utopian remedy to the very real problems of the drug war miss a simple fact: If we legalized drugs tomorrow, America would have a lot more drug addicts the next day. Not a lot fewer. That would mean a lot more ruined lives. Having watched what drugs have done to people very close to me, including one friend who died in his twenties after years of heroin addiction, I don’t think a lot more cases like his would constitute huge progress.

Indeed, I think it is fatuous and self-indulgent to think so. Fatuous because there are simply no truly good answers (except perhaps in some future technology which makes for better drugs or better treatment) and self-indulgent because so many people who’ve used drugs and stopped think it’s just as easy for everybody else to do the same. I like personal responsibility too Andrew, but personal responsibility requires humans to have the capacity to be rational actors. Drug addiction robs many people of precisely that capacity.

I understand that there are real problems of constructing public policies around the misfortune of a relatively small number of individuals. I just wish more pro-legalization conservatives would make the small concession of admitting that they are comfortable with the fate they will in all likelihood be consigning those individuals to if they got their way.

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