If we wish to be allowed to live as we see fit, it is accepted that we must be responsible for our own failures too when they occur. And obviously that means we should equally allow others to do the same.
Almost the same reason for people to fall down in life is seeking and becoming immersed in too much pleasure. This article addresses that and tries to make the point that trying to enforce people to lead less pleasurable (and therefore ‘better’) lives has resulted in more harm than good. We are especially seeing this in the growth of violent gang warfare- often openly occurring on our streets.
We have had our gin palaces, our opium dens, and gambling halls. They all brought down a lot of people, but civilization survived and most people were not affected by the problems they brought. There is only so much one can do to save other people even within a family setting, and I am arguing it is better to see those few fail than what we have now.
Why there is a need
Man has always looked for, for want of a better word, thrill-seeking. alcohol, smoking, adrenaline rides, drugs, gambling, food, or even pastimes which can themselves be all-consuming such as reading, watching telly, social media, or porn.
All of these are things that can be pleasurable, but pleasure is not the same as true happiness. It is destructive in nature and needs to be moderated. And if you cannot moderate, Thomas Aquinas suggests abstinence. Unfortunately for some that is a difficult thing to do and they can all too easily descend into circles of deeper and deeper addiction. It becomes all-consuming to the ruination of the rest of their lives.
As bad as all these things can be to society, especially if taken to excess, they are within society and all people partake of at least some of them on a regular basis. When these things are used it creates a market, and where there is a market there will always be people to supply to the market at a price.
If illegal, the market won’t go away, it will just go underground and then a market supplied by a criminal underclass often coming together to form gangs. They then have territories to protect and they’re often fighting each other to enjoy the spoils. A danger premium is added to the cost of obtaining that pleasure for the poor addict.
An awful lot of police time is involved in dealing with these criminal gangs, activities in a futile attempt to eradicate these markets. Therefore it makes sense to control all of these markets rather than make them illegal. The vast majority of people can make use of and keep a normal life going if these markets are legal. Where, if it is illegal it is often the chase for the next high that destroys their lives, more so than the addiction itself.
What light controls can we bring in
Some people will always want to pay for sex. That means legalising brothels. And protecting workers of the night. They have a right to make of their life what they can in their own way. There are a small minority that enjoy their work.
Drugs (whatever they are), could be prescribed for personal use, no questions, along with treatment programmes for those that request them. In fact, it may be far safer to control the sale of cannabis, MDMA, and certain amphetamines; and not require most young adults to want to experiment too far away from them. My sneaking suspicion is that teetotal groups and similar would start to become more prominent again.
Gambling is already regulated and the people that fall foul are people who would anyway. Making it illegal would only make the situation worse as we found with alcohol.
As I’m against duty, alcohol will be cheaper. This will mean it is cheaper for people to socialise. It has its downsides too.
A return to smoking areas in pubs. Secluded rooms would have little impact on the health of non-smokers.
Society can encourage moderation and the better self but in the end it is down to the individual to make their own choices in life. The main effect of legalisation (and treatment programmes – run by charities) would be to take away sources of income from criminal gangs. The extra initial minor drug problems – if that was even the case, would be more than mitigated by the lack of the unsavoury people hanging around our neighbourhoods, creating no-go areas and inflicting violent crimes on each other.
Another point is that social media and smartphones may not cause direct violence & crime but they may well be doing more damage to society than the rest combined.
- The overriding aim of policy in this area is to take away revenue and with it, power, from criminal gangs.
- Smoking areas to be allowed in pubs & clubs
- Alcohol to be left alone. It will be vastly cheaper without duty – so maybe we can afford far better quality? Yes, there will be more alcohol-related problems.
- Brothels to be legalised. On industrial estates at first. Laws that can cause problems for prostitutes to be repealed. Police to be aware of the vulnerability of these people and to keep a lookout for their welfare.
Gambling laws to be kept as they are.
- Main drugs to be licenced. Clean E’s for partying, Cannabis without the nasties. Same for heroin & coke. With these well-known highs, if cheap, they would be more controllable. And crucially, far more difficult to find for new users. Hopefully this would also stem the need for the proliferation of many more damaging substances.
Next up – Living as and protecting a unit: Part 14 – Family
© Jerry Mandarin 2022