For a really bizarrely bad column, check out Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald with Tolerance a recipe for drug misery
It leads off with a huge picture of a cute family – fiancee, father, little boy.
And then immediately plunges into the dark side.
Stathi Katsidis lived faster than 99 per cent of Australians. He rode racehorses for a living. He took illegal drugs. He was reckless and self-indulgent. He didn’t make it past 31. At lunchtime on October 18 last year, Katsidis and his fiancee began drinking at Brisbane’s Hamilton Hotel.
As they lingered, Katsidis began taking drugs. By evening, with friends back at home, he had taken fantasy [GHB], and ecstasy, and cocaine, and crystal meth. He had also kept drinking. The binge lasted 12 hours before he passed out on his couch. Katsidis was found dead in the morning.
The coroner’s report, obtained by Brisbane’s Courier-Mail and released at the weekend, found he had nine times the lethal limit of fantasy in his system. His blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit.
OK. Stop right there. I see where this is going.
But is he really going to use this as an example of a larger picture? It’s like advocating for laws against fatty foods because of the case of a 400 pound man who eats a 10 pound steak, three large pizzas, a couple pounds of bacon, two whole chickens and a chocolate cake in one sitting and dies of heart failure.
Yep, he’s using it.
A victimless crime? Katsidis left behind a young son, a distraught fiancee, and the more than 1000 people who attended his funeral. He didn’t have to steal to pay for his drugs but so many addicts do, creating real victims of real crimes. Tens of thousand of them.
Give me a break. This isn’t about drug tolerance causing victims. This is about a really, really stupid person dying. That’s all.
When I was in high school, two students died from huffing kerosene. They left distraught families (and I’m sure there were a lot of “victims” who attended their funerals as well), but it wasn’t tolerance of kerosene that caused their deaths. They were morons. Just like Stathi Katsidis and Paul Sheehan.
Some believe it would be better to legalise drugs and remove the criminal world that supplies them, using the money saved on enforcement to fund drug treatment programs. The libertarian side of me is comfortable with this. People should be allowed to take whatever drugs they like, so long as they harm only themselves.
It’s that last part, the myth of the victimless crime, that causes me to drop my libertarian bias on this subject. The death binge of Stathi Katsidis is a part of the mosaic of human folly that will lead me, despite a strong streak that favours less government intrusion and more personal freedom, to take a non-libertarian position tomorrow night in a debate entitled ”All drugs should be legalised”, the latest in the IQ2 debate series.
I don’t know Paul Sheehan, but I suspect he has no clue what the word “libertarian” means, let alone having any kind of streak of it at all. I suspect his kind of libertarianism is along the lines of “The government should allow free speech as long as they agree with what’s being said.”
I mean, really. Take a look at what he said.
People should be allowed to take whatever drugs they like, so long as they harm only themselves.
It’s that last part, the myth of the victimless crime, that causes me to drop my libertarian bias on this subject.
So he’s just refuted himself. Apparently his libertarianism is only applied to hermits who know nobody and to whose funeral no one would come.
By that same token, he should be fully prepared to make it illegal for me to eat chocolate, because that could lead to obesity and early death, and some “victim” might be unhappy if I died.
He spends some time on the analysis of public opinion and then gets to this one…
This is a highly emotional debate for many people. At a dinner party at the home of a judge recently, one of the guests, upon hearing that I was preparing a column critical of the Kings Cross heroin injection centre, said to me: ”So you don’t care if drug users die in the street?”
This is the sort of emotionalism, the assumption of higher moral ground, reflexively used to club people in this debate – that you don’t care about the welfare of vulnerable addicts.
Yes, you wouldn’t want to use emotionalism or the assumption of a higher moral ground, would you Paul? Have you already forgotten the beginning of the article you’re currently writing???
Stathi Katsidis dead leaving behind a young son, a distraught fiancee, and the more than 1000 people who attended his funeral…
- Emotionalism? Check.
- Assumption of higher moral ground? Check.
Let’s move on.
Drug legalisation advocates also love the word ”tolerance” because it masks a position of moral relativism, the default position of progressive politics. Moral relativism encapsulates several mantras which favour victimology: social disadvantage is the root of social problems; addiction is a disease not a crime; prohibition drives crime, not consumption; underground markets drive underground behaviour.
Once again, it’s Sheehan who played the victimology card earlier (remember, the the more than 1000 people who attended his funeral).
And besides, it’s true that prohibition drives crime and that underground markets drive underground behavior.
But here, we get a glimpse into Sheehan’s real internal freak show, and it’s about desiring a moral absolutism against drug use, backed up by the power of the state. And that’s as far from libertarianism as you can get.
Go ahead, Paul, and play “libertarian” dress-up whenever you want lower taxes, but don’t insult us by claiming to be one.