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  #1  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:53 AM
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Default What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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  #2  
Old 07-05-2011, 11:23 AM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

Yay, Mark Kleiman!! Welcome back.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2011, 11:39 AM
beren beren is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

Kleiman is awesome. And a much-needed antidote to the legalize-everything libertarian crowd that so often dominates debate about drug policy. Data! Let's make our decisions on data, not wishful thinking.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2011, 11:52 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by beren View Post
Kleiman is awesome. And a much-needed antidote to the legalize-everything libertarian crowd that so often dominates debate about drug policy. Data! Let's make our decisions on data, not wishful thinking.
Too bad all that data didn't point to any direction. It continues to be a huge dilemma.
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:56 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Too bad all that data didn't point to any direction.
Says Bozo, not Kleiman.
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  #6  
Old 07-05-2011, 12:00 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

Mr. Kleiman never explicitly says this, that many currently illegal substances even if made legal would not damage society measured in lives/productivity lost from violence, incarceration, & overdose as legal alcohol does now so why are we having the state making the consumption and distribution of these substances illegal?, but we are meant to infer this. This is a clear motif on this subject. I'm not sure I agree with the assertion, but regardless, this line of thinking as it is found here is incomplete.

Traffic accidents kill more then many practices that are legal yet no one even suggests we should make illegal personal automobiles. We all implicitly realize it's not the absolute harm that is resultant of some practice that is important here but the fraction of utility over harm that matters. I will postulate that this fraction can be approximated by the fraction of users that lead a "normal productive life" over users that do not live a "normal productive life". Merely anecdotal though I have lived near both endpoints of the economic spectrum found in America; This fraction is much worse for hard drugs (Does not include weed) then it is for alcohol.

I'm still for legalizing weed, though I am much more ambivalent about legalizing harder drugs, because of ancillary arguments. It's just this one argument's persuasiveness does not match up with it's saturation and persistence.


*Whatever that means
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2011, 12:04 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by graz View Post
Says Bozo, not Kleiman.
OK, that's probably fair because I didn't listen to the whole diavlog. But looking at the list of subjects, I didn't see much of a program proposal except what was mentioned at the end (which I did listen to) about jail and consequences. That seems to be pretty much what we have now and how's that working?

I'm sure all of the data is good and true but what to do?? People like to get high, so much so that they'll risk anything for it. And some people have lives in which there isn't anything to lose.
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:23 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

I love McWhorter, and I'm loathe to ever request more Reason/Cato participants given their over-abundance here at BHTV, but in this case I would have loved to hear a Libertarian discuss these issues with Kleiman.
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:28 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Yay, Mark Kleiman!! Welcome back.
Yep -- I was delighted to see this diavlog.
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:28 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

I think it would be interesting to hear a diavlog on the history of the marketing campaign aspect of the drug war. The gov did all it could (reefer madness etc.) to try and paint marijuana as a terrible monster, but only with limited success. However, even among people I know who are fairly open-minded to drug experimentation, cocaine still maintains that scary image. Some of that is obviously due to results (coke ruins more lives, people see that and judge accordingly) but I bet a good amount of the public perception also has alot to do with the narratives that ad campaigns and movies tell.
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:31 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
I love McWhorter, and I'm loathe to ever request more Reason/Cato participants given their over-abundance here at BHTV, but in this case I would have loved to hear a Libertarian discuss these issues with Kleiman.
I actually thought McWhorter was good at bringing up some of the issues and asking some of the obvious questions. I suppose a Matt Welch type would have made for an interesting debate -- perhaps we can have that on a future date -- but on the whole I'm not excited for more libertarian ideology, which increasingly seems to me based on faith rather than data. Maybe another wonk with a more pro-legalization view would have been good, though, so they could get into a debate. I'm sure one could be found.

Ultimately, also, there's only so far you can go without acknowledging the political road blocks, which Kleiman brought up here. It's the refusal to do that when talking about the issue as a whole that tends to frustrate me with Welch.
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:37 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
Mr. Kleiman never explicitly says this, that many currently illegal substances even if made legal would not damage society measured in lives/productivity lost from violence, incarceration, & overdose as legal alcohol does now so why are we having the state making the consumption and distribution of these substances illegal?, but we are meant to infer this.
If I'm following this sentence correctly, you are suggesting that Mark's implication was we should legalize other drugs, since they are causing fewer problems than alcohol now? If so, he specifically said otherwise (with the exception of pot). He thinks legalization would increase the problem from currently illegal drugs, but that there are alternatives to the drug war that would not.

He also thinks -- and this goes to the alcohol comparison -- that once a drug is legalized it will be quite difficult to go back. (I'd say that's different than making a drug illegal when we first recognize it as a problem, probably.) Alcohol, of course, is the extreme example of this, since it's so widely accepted and socially significant.
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  #13  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:53 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

Agreed. Fwiw, I only got through about 25 mins.

Will Wilkinson was sorta who I was thinking of as he tends to dig into data/research pretty well. Though you're right that Libertarians usually want to speak of ideals rather than practical reality.
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  #14  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:55 PM
RandomAmber RandomAmber is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

No, the current drug regime isn't logically consistent. Alcohol and tobacco are certainly more harmful than marjiuana. However, Kleiman is in favor of restricting alcohol and tobacco use through increased taxes, not legalization of less dangerous illicit drugs.
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2011, 02:02 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by RandomAmber View Post
No, the current drug regime isn't logically consistent. Alcohol and tobacco are certainly more harmful than marjiuana. However, Kleiman is in favor of restricting alcohol and tobacco use through increased taxes, not legalization of less dangerous illicit drugs.
Out of curiosity, is there a reason you replied to my post and not Starwatcher's? I'm just not seeing a connection to what I said.
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2011, 02:03 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
Will Wilkinson was sorta who I was thinking of as he tends to dig into data/research pretty well. Though you're right that Libertarians usually want to speak of ideals rather than practical reality.
Will would likely be good, I agree.
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  #17  
Old 07-05-2011, 02:47 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

Count me as a pro-legalization advocate, everything from heroin and cocaine to psilocybin and LSD, with the substances taxed at a reasonable level a la alcohol and regulated a la other drugs. I don't like taxing them but I don't see a realistic way to traffic and safely consume without regulation. Marijuana is a different animal and I'm not sure how regulated it should be because it's one of the rare drugs that seems so harmless.

I feel that there will be a cost benefit from lower crime and way way reduced law enforcement costs to offset the increased costs of addiction and abuse but the only way to see for sure is to try. Pretty radical yes but what's going on now is not working. Not sure how practical that is but that's my two cents. Since I'm not a recreational drug user the only effect this will have on me is through the effects on society.
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  #18  
Old 07-05-2011, 04:27 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by harkin View Post
I don't like taxing them but I don't see a realistic way to traffic and safely consume without regulation.
Kleiman said the case for government monopoly is strong.
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  #19  
Old 07-05-2011, 04:44 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

I'm curious what the case against taxing them is so long as we're stipulating legalization.
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  #20  
Old 07-05-2011, 05:54 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I'm curious what the case against taxing them is so long as we're stipulating legalization.
It was interesting that in the diavlog Mark focused on the relationship between taxes and prices and demand. With cigarettes, of course, and also, for example, he said that one reason why legalizing marijuana was unlikely to lead to the spike in usage that he fears with other currently illegal drugs is that current availability and price means that with taxation you could reasonably make the cost only about 50% of what it is now. The other drugs would be so much cheaper that taxes could make much less of a difference, without just having a serious black market, of course.

This stands to reason, but in my mind the mere illegality/availability effect are greater. Probably just because I'm sheltered and all.
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  #21  
Old 07-05-2011, 06:38 PM
chamblee54 chamblee54 is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

There was minimal discussion of marijuana in this diavlog, which was directed more at cocaine and heroin. The point was made that decriminalization/ legalization would not produce a large increase in the number of pot smokers.
The biggest deterrent to using reefer is employment related drug testing. If you get rid of that...a big if, even with legalization... then you are likely to see an increase in the number of pot smokers.
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  #22  
Old 07-05-2011, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by chamblee54 View Post
There was minimal discussion of marijuana in this diavlog, which was directed more at cocaine and heroin. The point was made that decriminalization/ legalization would not produce a large increase in the number of pot smokers.
The biggest deterrent to using reefer is employment related drug testing. If you get rid of that...a big if, even with legalization... then you are likely to see an increase in the number of pot smokers.
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  #23  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
It was interesting that in the diavlog Mark focused on the relationship between taxes and prices and demand. With cigarettes, of course, and also, for example, he said that one reason why legalizing marijuana was unlikely to lead to the spike in usage that he fears with other currently illegal drugs is that current availability and price means that with taxation you could reasonably make the cost only about 50% of what it is now. The other drugs would be so much cheaper that taxes could make much less of a difference, without just having a serious black market, of course.

This stands to reason, but in my mind the mere illegality/availability effect are greater. Probably just because I'm sheltered and all.
The problem with his thinking is that people aren't avoiding using the drugs in question because they're illegal or because they're too expensive--they're not using them because it's very stupid to do so. Very few people use salvia, a legal and cheap hallucinogenic. Not too many people come home and spend their evenings snuffing household products to get high, even though they're freely available and very cheap. I just don't buy into this notion that there are tons of people just waiting to use heroin if only it would come down in price.
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  #24  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:26 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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The problem with his thinking is that people aren't avoiding using the drugs in question because they're illegal or because they're too expensive--they're not using them because it's very stupid to do so.
You'd need to show this with evidence. I'd be perfectly happy to have someone who's researched it and come to different conclusions debate what the research shows with Mark.

It seems clear to me that both cost and the other effects of legality have some effect. I'm not so sure how dramatic the effect is.
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  #25  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:34 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

IIRC, in Brute Force, Kleiman pointed out that coke prices are at historic lows. So I don't know if cost is that big of a factor. Supply is much greater for weed (with all our dispensaries) but it's not like coke is real tough to find either. But I agree, I would love to hear an expert's take.
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  #26  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
You'd need to show this with evidence. I'd be perfectly happy to have someone who's researched it and come to different conclusions debate what the research shows with Mark.

It seems clear to me that both cost and the other effects of legality have some effect. I'm not so sure how dramatic the effect is.
Here's the data on inhalant abuse:
http://www.nida.nih.gov/drugpages/inhalants.html

2.1 million Americans, out of 300 million. 3.8 million Americans have used heroin (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/...ml#extentofuse). My guess is that there's a pretty high level of group membership--those who are use inhalants also use heroin. Most people are smart enough to avoid either.

Those findings sure contradict the fears of an epidemic if we stopped spending resources trying to stop people from doing what they're going to do anyway.
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:48 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
IIRC, in Brute Force, Kleiman pointed out that coke prices are at historic lows. So I don't know if cost is that big of a factor. Supply is much greater for weed (with all our dispensaries) but it's not like coke is real tough to find either. But I agree, I would love to hear an expert's take.
They could be at historic lows yet still be expected to decrease a lot -- I think coke was among the drugs where Mark said the post-legalization price would be about 90% less than now. I have no idea, though -- I'd like to have had a more in depth discussion on this whole aspect.
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  #28  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:50 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Those findings sure contradict the fears of an epidemic if we stopped spending resources trying to stop people from doing what they're going to do anyway.
Findings=the numbers who have used or currently use certain drugs? I don't think that proves what you want to prove.
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  #29  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Findings=the numbers who have used or currently use certain drugs? I don't think that proves what you want to prove.
The claim is that the number of users of currently illicit narcotics will skyrocket if it is legalized and the price drops. The rate of usage of inhalants, which are legal to attain and very cheap, is very low--lower, in fact, than the rate of heroin use. If the claim were true, we would see very high usage of inhalants. But we do not. So there is simply no reason to believe the claims. People aren't avoiding heroin usage because it's expensive. They're avoiding it because it's stupid.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:01 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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The claim is that the number of users of currently illicit narcotics will skyrocket if it is legalized and the price drops.
The claim is that the usage of specific drugs will skyrocket (or in some cases increase by a lesser amount) if legalized vs. what it is now. You can't assume that some other product is a perfect substitute for the substance in question and then assert that people do or don't abuse that other product.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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The claim is that the usage of specific drugs will skyrocket (or in some cases increase by a lesser amount) if legalized vs. what it is now. You can't assume that some other product is a perfect substitute for the substance in question and then assert that people do or don't abuse that other product.
I'm not saying that they substitute for each other--people who would use heroin are not using inhalants because they're cheaper and legal. I am saying that they exhibit the same demand dynamics: demand, in the sense of the binary decision to use or not use, is fixed no matter the costs--this is the same reason why cigarette taxes didn't make a large dent in the number of smokers. Drug users do have some elasticity of demand, but the whole point is that there is a very clear line between those who will engage in hard narcotics usage and those who will not.

There's simply no evidence to support the claim. No evidence in America, with other drugs, and no evidence in other countries, particularly Portugal. It rests in a Galbraith-style condescension toward the American public: that they're too stupid and need to be controlled. Most Americans know that heroin is horrible for them and avoid using it, the same as they avoid inhalants.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:21 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
this is the same reason why cigarette taxes didn't make a large dent in the number of smokers.
Kleiman definitely doesn't agree with you on that.

Quote:
there is a very clear line between those who will engage in hard narcotics usage and those who will not.
I don't think this is true.

Also, the idea that it's somehow insulting to the public to believe that laws affect what people do is just silly. I would agree that rather than assume they have an effect we should look at the research (and here the research on the elasticity of demand, as well as the other effects of legality, such as availability), and I plan to read Mark's book to see what kinds of evidence they relied on. However, you don't seem to be doing that. You seem to be taking a ideological, unsupported view -- that the law can't have an effect -- and insisting that it's true.
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  #33  
Old 07-05-2011, 08:37 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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It rests in a Galbraith-style condescension toward the American public: that they're too stupid and need to be controlled.
New Galbraith or old Galbraith? I've recently read a primer on the new. The theory fits into our existing model and provides an intuitive explanation. But then again, so does Glenn Beck, if you're into that sort of thing.
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  #34  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:14 PM
r108dos r108dos is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

John good interview--you let Mark speak. Mark good job, would like to hear from you more.
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  #35  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:21 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
The problem with his thinking is that people aren't avoiding using the drugs in question because they're illegal or because they're too expensive--they're not using them because it's very stupid to do so. Very few people use salvia, a legal and cheap hallucinogenic. Not too many people come home and spend their evenings snuffing household products to get high, even though they're freely available and very cheap. I just don't buy into this notion that there are tons of people just waiting to use heroin if only it would come down in price.
Well, I am probably about halfway between you and Kleinman on this, but I think you have to at least think about "price" more broadly. Specifically, illegality and the possibility of spending even a night in prison is a big deterrent for a lot of people. Granted, these are people who think about the long term consequences to themselves, but I DO think the high financial price and the high social price probably deter at least some people who would at least try it.

There are a ton of people using cheaper drugs, like meth, although, it's got some really gross side effects and is pretty stupid to use. And cigarettes have pretty obvious side effects, and no where near the upside of heroin and many people still use them.
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  #36  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
The claim is that the number of users of currently illicit narcotics will skyrocket if it is legalized and the price drops. The rate of usage of inhalants, which are legal to attain and very cheap, is very low--lower, in fact, than the rate of heroin use. If the claim were true, we would see very high usage of inhalants. But we do not. So there is simply no reason to believe the claims. People aren't avoiding heroin usage because it's expensive. They're avoiding it because it's stupid.
Not to be flip, but I wonder if your lack of experience with drugs here may be coloring your impressions. The subjective effects of inhalants are very different than the subjective effects of (say) heroin.

Most inhalants have roughly the same effects as a moderate to high amount of alchohol, with unpleasant side effects. And for most kids, alcohol is nearly as easy to obtain.

Heroin is an entirely different matter in terms of how it feels to take. It's much more seductive and much more pleasant in its immediate effects.

I really don't think you can just lump all drugs of abuse together and claim that effects on one necessarily translate to effects on the other.
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  #37  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:50 PM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

I was disappointed that they didn't consider the potential effects legalization might have on Mexico. The current Mexican govt war against the cartels and the various wars amongst the cartels is wrecking terrible havoc in many areas of Mexico. While Mark's ideas might have a cleansing and stabilizing effect on poor black neighborhoods in the US, I don't see how they would have any effect on the problems generated on supply and trafficking side of things in Mexico. It seems that the only thing that might, would be to remove the profits of production and distribution by removing demand in the US. That could theoretically happen by persuading users to stop using, but that seems pretty pie in the sky. Legalization could be another more practical way to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.
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  #38  
Old 07-05-2011, 10:10 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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I was disappointed that they didn't consider the potential effects legalization might have on Mexico.
Oh, the reason for this is pretty simple. Mexicans aren't people. They aren't people because they're brown and poor. How else do you explain 35,000-40,000 dead and the reaction is "meh." Let's worry about Islamophobia, though. Lots of dead Muslims in America. Lots... oh wait.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:17 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Location: Exiled to South Jersey
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Oh, the reason for this is pretty simple. Mexicans aren't people. They aren't people because they're brown and poor. How else do you explain 35,000-40,000 dead and the reaction is "meh." Let's worry about Islamophobia, though. Lots of dead Muslims in America. Lots... oh wait.
I seem to remember you complaining about spurious claims of racism a bit back....
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:25 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: What People Know About Drugs is Wrong (John McWhorter & Mark Kleiman)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I seem to remember you complaining about spurious claims of racism a bit back....
How are dead Mexicans from the War on Drugs related to racism in any way? Is there any portion of your brain that knows how to distinguish between apples and oranges?
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