Empires of the Empathy Industry?

In my ideal world, Insite (North America’s first legal supervised drug injection site) would be even more effective in a legalized drug regime, supplying clean controlled drugs and eliminating the black market, rather than being simply a place to safely inject drugs obtained on the street.
However, the supervised drug injection site is an important element of harm reduction within today’s prohibition world, particularly when combined with the health, counseling and referral services at Insite. It makes a real difference.
But the SadoMoralists can’t stand the idea of any kind of policy that includes the possibility of non-judgmental use of recreational drugs, regardless of its effectiveness.
I didn’t think anybody could top Margaret Wente’s babbling in the Globe and Mail, but Tousaw Law has discovered this gem by Karin Litzcke in the National Post.

The people who speak out the most vociferously in favour of Insite are addicted, not to the drugs themselves, but to the living they earn from serving drug addicts or, less concretely but just as dangerously, to the ecstatic feeling of beneficence that comes from believing they are helping the downtrodden.
These are the people to whom Insite really matters; not the drug addicts themselves, but the bureaucrats and politicians who will have smaller empires if Insite is closed. They are selling Insite to the public on the basis that harm reduction represents the compassionate way to deal with addiction. They are the empathy industry.
But the comfort offered by harm reduction is as empty, as fleeting, and ultimately as destructive as the comfort offered by drugs themselves.

Tousaw responds

Karin Litzcke‰s opinion about harm reduction is some of the vilest spew I‰ve read in quite some time. Tragically, she doesn‰t even see the irony of spouting off about the so-called empathy industry allegedly making its living off the backs of addicts while ignoring that police, prosecutors, prison officials and the like all make their livings off the back of drug prohibition. Drug prohibition that, by the way, is directly responsible for most of the evils that harm reduction attempts to mitigate. Drug prohibition that is also responsible for most of the damage that addiction causes to both the addict and society.

It’s a really dirty part of prohibition – a form of psychological projection – attributing your own faults to others. Sometimes, in the more pathological prohibitionists, this is done unconsciously. More often, it’s an intentional Rove-ian-type ploy to shift the blame for failed policies.
For example:

  • Use poisons to spray crops in Colombia damaging the ecosystems and driving the traffickers into the clear-cutting in the rainforest… thus blame drug users for damaging the environment.
  • Use prohibition to increase black market profits for major international criminal enterprises… thus blame pot smokers for funding terrorists.
  • Receive millions of tax dollars for deceitful, ineffective government propaganda… thus complain about the well-funded pro-pot movement.
  • Be part of a world-wide massively funded prohibition regime that destroys everything it touches… thus rail about the “empires” of the harm reduction volunteers in the “empathy industry.”
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