Friday, March 06, 2009

A Nation of Law Breakers

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them.  One declares so may things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.  Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens?"
- Dr. Ferris, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, p.404, 50th Anniversary Edition, Signet Books

I never intended this blog to become political.  It was just a place for me to complain.  I'm not an unhappy or unsatisfied person by nature, but every once in awhile one just needs to vent.  And so this was going to be my place to do it.  And you can tell by the sparseness of the posts, that I feel pretty good about my life and my environment.  But then I read a book.  A book that changed the way I thought about everything.  Well, perhaps not.....  yeah, actually EVERYTHING.  (That sounds like this book changed me into an unhappy or unsatisfied person.  It didn't, I am just more aware now.) 

Enter Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  Although it changed the way I thought, I must tell you it did not change my opinions, desires, or values - only the way I thought about them.

Now before I get into my opinions and beliefs, let me tell you that I don't know everything, and I'm not a good debater, at all.  I'm no challenge, so if you are looking to debate something I've said, I'm really sorry, but you won't get much of a debate.  Unfortunately, my mind just doesn't work like that.  I really wish it did though.  And if you really want a debate, I'll try and indulge you, but just know that most likely, I will be going to my hubbie as a resource.  Cause he's a genius.  No question about it, and he always seems to know just the right way to put the thing that I am trying so hard to orate.  And one more thing.  My BIGGEST pet peeve is the person who believes in something and has no idea what it is.  Like the person who I spoke to while I was in college who claimed to be a Christian because she believed in Jesus, but knew nothing about Him.  Mind you I was a religion major and knew more about most people's life long religions than they themselves did.  I almost could not discuss religion with people because I would get so frustrated at people's ignorance in their own faith.  But I digress.  The same principle applies to politics.  There is nothing more irritating and infuriating to me than the person who voted for Obama because "America needs a change."  Or the person who voted for McCain just because they didn't want Obama or Democrats in the White House.  Shoot me now.  Wait, what I meant to say was, shoot them now.  Those are the kinds of people who go to celebrities and those women on The View for political advice and direction.  (Not that there's anything wrong with celebrities or those women on The View.)  And who deserve to be misled my the media.  Whichever way that is.  I'm off topic again though.  So, I may not address all issues within a particular topic - like this one today - but that's because I won't take a stand on something I don't understand or know anything about, and I hope that you will give me the same courtesy.  If not, know that I will make fun of you - a lot.  And the word moron may be used - a lot.  On the flip side, I totally respect and even admire those who have different opinions as I do (as wrong as they may be) as long as they can back them up.  Because you see, opinions are just that.  Opinions, and I can admit that everything is relative.

So, we come back to a nation of law breakers.  I have thought for a long time that drugs should be legalized.  (And have recently added prostitution.)  Bottom line: people are going to do drugs whether they are illegal or not.  If drugs were legal we could be making billions of dollars in taxes, instead of spending trillions - that's right TRILLIONS, for the war on drugs.  Thousands of lives could be saved every year from the law enforcers to the innocents caught in between.  Even in healthcare.  How many people do you think lie about illegal drug use when giving their medical histories?  The money saved and made could go to better health care and programs for addicts and their families or victims of addicts.  This is one of those things that is just like "Duh..." for me.  I mean I don't see how this doesn't make sense.  Have we learned nothing from prohibition?

And did you know that more people are killed by alcohol and tobacco each year than cocaine, heroine, and marijuana combined?  The the tune of more than a half a million people.  That's right.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse around 520,000 people are killed each year from tobacco, alcohol, and sidestream smoke from tobacco.  Whereas cocaine kills about 2,200, heroine about 2,000, and marijuana 0 - that's ZERO.  There has never been a recorded death due to marijuana in all of US history.   Aspirin kills around 2,000 people every year, but marijuana?  None.  Perhaps we should add Aspirin to our list of illegal narcotics.

And prostitution is kind of the same thing.  The government could be taxing these people if they were legitimate.  Professional and legitimate prostitutes could also be getting healthcare and other benefits - like regular STD tests or whatever.

I want you to know that I don't condone or participate in any of these practices.  I only think that everyone should be able to choose that for themselves - not have it forced upon them.  Government's primary purpose should be to protect it's people.  That includes their right to choose.

There.  I've said my peace.  Amen.

But I'm not done.  Look for a whole series of political opinion posts inspired by quotes from Atlas Shrugged.  And even a light book review of Atlas Shrugged.   And feel free to ask me any questions.  Not that you all want to know anything about me, or any of my opinions, honestly, they aren't worth a whole lot and they probably aren't very original, but I just want it out there that I welcome questions and comments.  At the risk of sounding like my least favorite political female you should know that I really do want this to be conversation.

PS - Here are some of my resources.  Although I recognize that there are resources out there that could refute or backup any of my resources.  That's just the way research, trials and surveys work.


Amy said...

Interesting. I'm gong to have to ponder/think about this one for a bit. I agree with legalization of certain things to a certain extent. I am definatly going to check out your book recommendation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jennie said...

I understand what you are saying, and have even thought about the same things about legalization, etc.

For me, I feel that it kinda relates to the 10 commandments. These are laws set so that we can learn how to live so that we can be happy. Truely, God established those laws for the happiness of man.

Man made laws are "usually" meant to do the same thing.

I do agree, that we can't start setting laws about EVERYTHING to the point of ridiculousness, because then it would cause it impossible to NOT break a law.

I know that we cannot force our religion on others, they have to accept it for themselves.

But at the same time, WE know what the real plan of life is. It is up to people who know the truth to establish true laws that will benefit the people and under God's inspiration we won't get to the point of ridiculous laws about everything.

I know that sounds idolistic, but the law is there because it is wrong to sell drugs, and it is wrong to have prostitution (which I know you agree too).

And when things get very thinky thinky and philosophical (and confusing), I just remember what our Prophets and the Apostles are saying, what they are doing. I can't go wrong emulating my life after these righteous men.

Anonymous said...

Charmaine, you absolutely right in asserting that people should be able to choose for themselves in matters that primarily concern themselves. When we attempt to force others, for any reason, to adhere to our code of ethics or morals, we are following quite a different plan than Christ's. Christ's plan is predicated on choice. Without choice, men will not be able to be rewarded or punished. When we seek to restrict their choices, we feel like we are helping them, but are inadvertently hindering their eternal progress.

Those laws restricting these two heinous practices, namely drug abuse and prostitution, should be repealed. When drug use becomes legal, prostitution goes way down since so much of that industry is tied to women who are hooked on drugs which they can't afford to pay for in normal ways. With legalization of prostitution, rapes go way down, women who place themselves in health-compromising situations goes way down, and legitimate tax revenue goes on to benefit society instead of the millions of our dollars spent to "punish" those who engage in this practice... a method which has been shown to have next to no effect on reducing prostitution.

Additionally, when drugs are sold at the local pharmacy, their prices drop drastically because of new suppliers trying to make money. This puts drug lords and crime lords out of business. A huge portion of violent crime in the U.S. is due to drug trafficking. So, we'd have safer neighborhoods in poor areas, over a trillion dollars (through cutting out the money paid for "the war on drugs" and taxation on the drugs themselves), violent crime would be reduced, prostitution would be reduced, etc.

Would more people try drugs and get hooked? Certainly. But the amount of good such measures would cause would vastly outweigh the cons. Plus, with all of the extra money, lots could be apportioned to helping those people out.

Molly Mormon said...

Thought you might want to see this:

Shelly Beson said...

Does this new thinking conflict with your religion? Most Ayn Rand followers are atheist. I thought you made some intelligent observations unlike your friend Jennie.

Schatz said...

I've heard the saying before that you shouldn't legislate ethics or morality. Maybe this is one of those things. I do think legalizing it would help in some aspects. It would immediately stop the killings in Mexico and Colombia right now. As with proabition in the 20s, it created a whole new criminal underworld. My biggest problem I see about legalizing drugs and prostitution is that America never seems to do things in moderation. Look what Amsterdam did with it. It became a Mecca for partying and lost weekends. I've heard they're making pot much more harder to get now because of all the problems it's created(social decay and rise in organized crime). I just think if nice little ol' Holland had it legal and then it turned into the haven of the red light district and scores of "smoking bars", what could America do with it? ie, Look at Las Vegas. Just imagine.
Also, as far as the taxing issue. I don't think we should legalize something just to get tax money from it. It kind of bugs me when our states need more money, they say, "ok, let's tax cigarettes and alcohol more because they're a vice". If its so bad, why not just ban it? They seem to want it both ways.(the product is bad, but I sure do like the revenue it brings in).
So what's my take? I would have to say, yep, legalize it, only because we can't make laws for a secular society based on what is morally acceptable and unacceptable to us. Our house will choose to follow God's Law, I just don't want to have to explain to my kids about the billboard that says "Miss Kittie's Whore House Exit 154".

Brian said...

The statistics you gave about drugs (both legal and not legal because alchohol and tabaco are drugs) are sobering, but I don't feel that it supports the argument to legalize anything; rather it supports my belief that the 21 amendment should be repealed and tobaco should be regulated the same way aspestose is because it has by far more carcinigins.