Here are some thought-provoking excerpts from around the blogosphere commenting on this month’s edition of Cato Unbound.
I’ve always found Erowid to be an extremely interesting and remarkable website, not simply because it contains so much information about a somewhat taboo subject (although that’s fun too) but because it takes such a principled stand in favor of the value of access to information. Erowid’s founders write:
Public information sources should prioritize accuracy and completeness over maintaining a single, politically driven message. It is inconsistent with the democratic ideals of American culture to corrupt information in order to support public policies. The issues are complex and sources should reflect that.
This should not be a controversial position in our society. Indeed, it should be a principle that we struggle to support, because democracies don’t work very well when voters are deliberately misinformed.
Heal Spiel: Narcotics Unbound:
Earth and Fire Erowid effectively argue that the notion of responsible drug use has as much relevance now as it does for an idealized post-prohibitionist future. Today, many, many Americans practice self-control regarding psychoactive substances, which are relatively easy for otherwise law-abiding citizens to obtain, especially if one includes legal “drugs,” such as alcohol or caffeine. And no matter the endless shuffle of kids charged with “possession,” who languish in the Juvenile Hall next to my school, or the bluster and spectacle of high-profile raids on marijuana dispensaries that cater to cancer patients. These shining examples of the DEA’s good work (as well as its upcoming “Target America Campaign” which first takes aim at Los Angeles in October), do nothing to temper the reality that even the most socially isolated individual can gain access to the Internet and access to drugs, practically within same Charter Bundle Package.
Stop the Drug War.org: Jonathan Caulkins vs. the Boring Drug War Debate:
I just don’t agree that following the law is always inherently “responsible,” except to the extent that the law will sometimes get back at you for non-compliance. Moreover, [Caulkins is] responding to an article that went to great lengths to explain how prohibition interferes with the ability to use drugs responsibly (e.g., unknown purity of black market merchandise, breakdown of communication between users and medical professionals, laughably bad anti-drug education, etc.). Caulkins is entitled to his belief that it’s always irresponsible to break the law, but that’s somewhat beside the point.
The concern that you can’t use drugs responsibly in violation of the law is a problem with the law, not a problem with drugs.
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