…for getting people talking!
The blogosphere has been alive in the past day with talk of the drug war (as of this point, Feedster tracks about 50 blogs discussing Tierney and meth since his article appeared). All because a New York Times columnist dared to question it.
Oh, sure, there are debates about the numbers he used for use/abuse/addiction. The biggest critique (from Mark Kleiman) appears to be that the numbers are wrong because we don’t have good enough system to accurately identify the numbers.
But none of that is able to derail the major points that Tierney boldly lays out:
- Prohibition isn’t always the answer
- Media hype doesn’t help the problem
- Drugs are both good and bad, depending on how they’re used
- “Meth is bad. I know someone who was addicted. It was horrible. How can you want to legalize it?” (this is usually in response to someone who notes that prohibition actually caused the more dangerous aspects of meth)
- “I suppose you’d be OK with making murder legal as well, wouldn’t you?” (this is usually in response to someone who notes that meth exists as a problem even though it’s illegal)
Lots of blind spots out there. But discussion is good. Discussion is great!
People read the New York Times. And look at what they’ve been reading lately:
- Column: Debunking the Drug War (8/9)
- Cultural Differences Complicate a Georgia Drug Sting (8/4)
- Column: Handcuffs And Stethoscopes (7/23)
- Editorial: Cutting College Aid, And Fostering Crime (7/20)
- Column: Punishing Pain (7/19)
- OPED: Let A Thousand Licensed Poppies Bloom (7/13)
- Editorial: Playing AIDS Games In New Jersey (6/30)
The first step is getting people so they’re actually able to talk about alternatives to prohibition. Many people don’t realize how huge a leap that is for those who have been conditioned all their lives.