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November 6, 2016 / Congau

Ban Alcohol and Legalize Drugs?

Drugs are banned, but other unhealthy substances are not. That is unjust and illogical, some say, and wish for a world where the laws are perfectly consistent. Alcohol and trans-fat should consequently be outlawed, they suggest, or preferably drugs should be legalized. This kind of argumentation misunderstands the nature of laws and confuses law and morality.

Drugs and alcohol are clearly evils which an ideal society had better be without. That, by the way, also goes for other unpleasant phenomena like traffic jams, unfriendliness and dandruff, and they must also somehow be resisted. But everything cannot be dealt with in the same way. A total ban on all evils would far from eliminate them, but rather create additional evils. On the other hand, a full legalization of everything would immediately result in an unlivable anarchy. Between these two extremes there is no consistently logical strategy. The golden mean includes a pragmatic consideration of the current condition of society.

Alcohol is largely accepted in Western societies, but drugs are not. Whether this attitude is rational or not, it is sufficient reason for keeping the corresponding law as it is and there is no need to get involved in arguments about which is more or less unhealthy. In principle anything unhealthy should be banned, if only the necessary social conditions are already in place.

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