Decent People Have Given Herd Immunity to Criminal Drug Users | Adam Garrie

Recently, The Mallard published a thought-provoking piece by Mr. Calvin Robinson called Why Can’t the Left Discuss Abortion?. Although that particular topic is one that I do not discuss in public, like any issue, debate surrounding abortion cannot and must not be censored because of the tyranny of the prevailing orthodoxy. Mr. Robinson’s article gives those of us who might have little particular interest in abortion arguments, a profound insight into what is faced by those who bravely decide to enter that particular fray.

But when it comes to raising one’s voice against the prevailing orthodoxy of opposition to the enforcement of the legal prohibition against narcotics, I have a great deal of personal experience. The wider debate on narcotics is even more surreal than debates on abortion. This is due to the fact that whilst those opposed to the proliferation of narcotics are literally defending the established legal order, we are treated as though we are an awkward group of pariahs who have no place in civilised society. The question therefore is, how did this come about?

In order to try and find an answer to this question, one must ignore those who campaign for the legalisation of so-called “recreational drugs” because they want their pre-existing drug taking to be instantly transformed from an illegal activity into a legal one. For much the same reason, we can also ignore those who want to legalise drugs so that they can partake in the use of such substances for the first time. In Parliamentary nomenclature, these people have failed to declare their interests, although these interests become clear enough after one realises that their role in the debate on drugs is little different than a Ferrari salesman campaigning for the abolition of speed limits.

But what of those who have never taken drugs and have no desire to do so? Why do they also treat those who wish to enforce existing drug laws as though we are the butchers of bats at a Wuhan wet market?

One possible answer is that pop culture has normalised the usage of drugs to such an extent that those who personally dislike the very idea of drugs are afraid to look as though they are behind the times or socially priggish. Others yet may have bought into the absurd 1960s era leftist view that somehow a drug user is a victim of circumstance rather than someone who has taken the voluntary decision to do something illegal because he gains a sick form of pleasure from poisoning his mind and body with no regard for those around him.

These hypotheses are legitimate but still not fully satisfactory. Sadly, it would seem that the main reason that those opposed to drug legalisation are so readily ostracised by those who have no personal interest in drugs is in large part owed to the fact that for decades, there has been no real war on drugs and therefore, the proliferation of drug use even among seemingly respectable people, is so alarmingly high.

The statistics and analyses of the phoney drug war are laid out masterfully in Peter Hitchens’ book The War We Never Fought. If one therefore accepts the conclusions of Mr. Hitchens and has seen for himself just how widespread drug use is among those who are educated, employed and materially well-off, one begins to realise why even respectable people who do not take drugs, often shudder at the idea of enforcing the law against those who do take drugs.

Such people would appear to be vicariously defending the actions of their friends, neighbours or even family members who flout our largely unenforced drug laws. In other words, even among those who privately agree that the proliferation of drugs is a bad thing for society, they refrain from saying so because they would not wish to see anti-drug laws enforced against their marijuana smoking nephew, cocaine snorting lawyer or LSD dropping artist friend.

In this sense, one witnesses a kind of psychological “herd immunity” developed around drug users, whereby otherwise reasonable law abiding people will take the side of the drug users in order to shield their relations from both disapprobation and prosecution.

In terms of Machiavellian strategy, the drug lobby have done a remarkably good job of normalising the use of narcotics to the extent that one hardly even knows if his acquaintances have a drug habit of their own. As a result, people take comfort in the safety net of the herd, rather than risk offending someone whose drug filled lifestyle one privately finds abhorrent.

Just as one might not want to offer one’s private thoughts on someone else’s religion in polite company for obvious enough reasons, the same phenomenon is now true of drugs and for the same reason – one doesn’t know if the person a few chairs over is a drug user or the parent of one.

Thus, one sees how honesty is yet another victim in the war that the drugs lobby have pushed on normal society. Honest people are now afraid of expressing their own views for fear of exposing the frailties those around them.

Once this is established, it is not difficult to see how such people would be easily led towards associating themselves with the arguments of the pro-drugs brigade. After all, it is far easier to say that one is in favour drug legalisation as a matter of principle than to admit that one is merely in favour of drug legalisation because one doesn’t want to see one’s family members in prison.

This is a sad reality of our age. People would rather accept the faults and criminality of those around them, before voicing one’s honest opinion on a vital social issue. Oddly, if drugs were literally legal, perhaps some of those who self-censor their opposition to drugs would feel more comfortable with voicing their views in public. It is after all far easier to voice support for a “quaint” lost cause than to support a position that remains that of the establishment, even if the men and women in today’s ruling establishment appear to be deeply embarrassed by the fact that they occasionally have to pretend to enforce laws that they do not believe in.

If one is looking for a happy conclusion to this analysis, I’m sorry to say that there isn’t one.


Photo by Mikey G Ottawa/Street Photographer on Flickr.

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