Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Perspective and the War on Drugs

NewScientist has an editorial up on the tunnel vision approach of politicians when it comes to illicit drugs. A snippet:

IMAGINE you are seated at a table with two bowls in front of you. One contains peanuts, the other tablets of the illegal recreational drug MDMA (ecstasy). A stranger joins you, and you have to decide whether to give them a peanut or a pill. Which is safest?
You should give them ecstasy, of course. A much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA.

This, of course, is only a thought experiment; nobody would consider doing it for real. But it puts the risks associated with ecstasy in context with others we take for granted. Yes, ecstasy is dangerous and people who take it are putting their lives on the line. But the danger needs to be put in perspective.

Politicians find it safer to take a monolithic view of drugs. Politicians are more than willing to fling a sensible approach to an issue right out the window if it keeps their ass out of the fire. It will take a statesman, not a politician, to have the courage required to dare take a sensible approach.


Dan tdaxp said...

An excellent piece! The lack of real thought on these issues -- as opposed to legalistic moralisms -- is probably the fault of our subpar political class.

Unfortunately wrt written laws, while the subpar may shift from one set of biases to another, I don't see the best and brightest going into government any time soon...

Mike said...


Story about AZ universities issuing travel advisories against spring break trips to Mexico. I'm obviously not surprised, but going to open some people's eyes I think.

Jay@Soob said...

Dan, couldn't agree more. Have you given a political career any consideration? ;)

Jay@Soob said...

Mike, thanks much for a great link.