These mixed messages on drink and drugs are the road to social ruin

By Rightnow289 · Aug 5, 2009 · ·
  1. Rightnow289
    Holding the line is a key element of any military defence strategy. If the line is breached, the enemy can pour through.

    View attachment 9993
    So it is with the defence of civilised values. Both the law of the land and informal networks of social stigma or disapproval play a crucial role in holding the line for the values of a society.

    By establishing certain acts as crimes, the law sends out a powerful message that these are activities a society deems to be beyond the pale.
    Cannabis joint

    Confused messages: Some would suggest it is no longer possible to stop drug use, and so the best that can be done is to minimise the harm that drugs do

    Maintenance of law and order rests upon those laws and social signals being applied consistently.

    If the messages get muddled, the whole thing breaks down. Since this Labour Government came to power, those messages have indeed become fatally confused, resulting in rising levels of crime and disorder.

    Take illegal drugs, for example. It is widely believed that 'the war on drugs' through law enforcement has failed. But for many years now, there has not been a 'war' on drugs.

    Law enforcement has instead been undermined by mixed and confusing signals. The latest such muddle surfaced last week in a report by a body styling itself the UK Drug Policy Commission.

    This said that since the UK drug market can never be eradicated, police action against drug dealing should be focused on where it is doing the most harm. This is absurd, dangerous and just plain wrong on every level.

    To see how ridiculous it is, just imagine a report which said that crime could never be eradicated, and so to minimise the damage the police should henceforth deal only with the most serious murders, assaults or burglaries.

    Such a proposal would be laughed out of court as a recipe for anarchy. Yet when it comes to drugs, this absurdity is put forward with a straight face and given pride of place on the BBC's Today programme. Now consider a similarly brilliant proposal, by academics at the University of London's Institute of Education, to allow 15-year-olds to drink alcohol unsupervised.

    The reason? Official guidance that 'childhood should be alcohol-free', and that 15 to 17-year- old drinkers must be supervised, may be unachievable.

    So even though the volume of alcohol consumed by young drinkers is said to be 'amazing', these academics' reaction is not to suggest ways in which such control might be achieved, but that the adult world should no longer even try to do so.

    Such daft ideas about both drugs and alcohol arise from the deep defeatism of an adult world that is no longer able or willing to control the behaviour of the young.

    So it has given up trying to stop drug or alcohol use (which it has tacitly encouraged by slackening controls) and instead tries to minimise the damage that it causes. But since self-restraint rests upon the unequivocal message that abusive behaviour is not to be tolerated, this approach merely ratchets up the misbehaviour to ever more harmful levels.

    The progressive demoralisation over drug abuse stems from a policy driven aground by several false assumptions.

    Failing to grasp that it was vital not to dilute the message that all drug use was wrong, police strategy was built on the mistaken belief that soft drugs were less of a problem than hard drugs, and that the main targets of law enforcement should be not drug users - who were actually seen as 'victims' - but the pushers and the dealers.

    This was terribly wrong because - apart from the belatedly-grasped fact that cannabis does terrible harm to the brain - illegal drugs form one unbroken line. Users are often pushers; dealers trade in both soft and hard drugs; if the market gets flooded with cannabis - as it did - dealers move seamlessly into cocaine and other 'hard' narcotics.

    Misguidedly, the British police treated drug-dealing as the problem while largely ignoring drug users. But demand for drugs pushes the supply. Only if demand is choked off can supply begin to be curbed.

    These fundamental strategic errors were made worse in recent times by the arrival of the badly flawed Serious Organised Crime Agency, whose success rate in drug seizures has been correspondingly poor.

    Now despairing officers complain that arrests and drug seizures have 'no apparent long-term impact' on reducing supply. But that's not because law enforcement is the wrong strategy. It's because the law has not been consistently and intelligently enforced to deliver one unswerving message.

    With the police and politicians so demoralised (in every sense), they have been all too susceptible to the siren song of the drug legalisers who use the defeatist camouflage of 'harm reduction'.

    This holds that it is no longer possible to stop drug use, and so the best that can be done is to minimise the harm that drugs do.

    The inevitable outcome of harm reduction is that drug use must be legalised so that its damage can be monitored and controlled.

    Precisely such an attitude lies beneath last week's report. While carefully saying that the law should be enforced, it nevertheless says, in effect, that the harm done by some drug dealing can be tolerated in order that the police can concentrate on the really dangerous stuff.

    This would merely mean, however, that the most harmful drug trade would promptly relocate itself in those areas the police had conveniently vacated.

    And since one of the main reasons our drug laws are in such a mess is that the police already prioritise one type of drugdealing over another, the proposal is likely to exacerbate the problem even further.

    The fact is, moreover, that harm reduction is already government policy. Ministers stopped trying to eradicate drug use long ago. That is why our drug problem is out of control.

    A similarly destructive counsel of despair over alcohol abuse - that youthful drinking is unstoppable - lies behind the Institute of Education's idiotic proposal.

    The epidemic of drunkenness among the young is due to a relaxation of controls, from pubs opening all night to supermarkets stocking cheap booze and 'alcopops'. To relax the supervision of the young in such circumstances is to pour more alcohol on to the flames.

    These dotty and irresponsible ideas are being pushed by people who set themselves up as authorities but are no more than collections of self-important busybodies, ideologues pushing dubious agendas and dodgy academics.

    Given the damage the Institute of Education has done in our schools over the years by promoting one idiotic education theory after another, a period of unlimited silence from that quarter would be a blessing.

    As for the UK Drug Policy Commission, which was described breathlessly by the BBC as 'authoritative' and 'respected', it is nothing of the kind. It is a self-appointed body comprised overwhelmingly of 'harm reduction' zealots.

    Apart from further undermining drug or alcohol policy, such foolish people also help create the general impression that all authority is bunk and there are no limits to behaviour.

    The result is increasing general disorderliness as all these mixed messages deliver the one unmistakable signal that the line of social order is not holding.

    With rising levels of misbehaviour merely causing yet more barriers to collapse, the result is a progressive drink and drug-fuelled free-for-all as authority allows itself to be mocked and the nation staggers ever further down the road to social ruin. aggers ever further down the road to social ruin.

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  1. elpatto
    Ohhh my, that dude is a tad loopy or something. I kinda dug the way he like boldy reinforced his points with zippy little one-words.

    hahahh-even made me laugh
  2. missparkles
    I'd love to see the evidence to support the highlighted part of this quote.;)
  3. LostCelestial
    Woot woot the daily bloody mail.

    For the non-brits, the daily mail is the voice of the morally outraged middle classes. It's not even really right wing. It's just hysterical and continually demands that everything be made illegal, including immigration, speed cameras, being young and enjoying ones self.

    It's always good at describing pretty much anything it likes as being a sign of the break down of society, especially if it involves treating any minority group as if they were actually human beings.

    It genuinely makes me sad that people in what is for the most part quite a cool country actually take this kind of stuff to heart.
  4. Nature Boy
    Eh, that doesn't actually sound like too bad an idea.

    So typical. The British Isles probably has the worst track record in human history when it comes to treating children. Whether it was work houses in the past or the antisocial behaviour laws of today, in the UK & Ireland kids are treated like shit. As if childhood is some kind of horrible stage in a person's life where they cause nothing but trouble. No wonder filthy paedophiles lurk around playgrounds licking their lips. By isolating and mistreating children, they become more vulnerable and they can feel dehumanised before adulthood. Maybe it's something that's common in all English-speaking countries. The old puritanical control freak method of parenting results in over-rebellious whippersnappers throwing tantrums and vandalising everything in sight. If you've experienced other world cultures, this really isn't the norm.

    Two mistakes here. First of all, SWIM smokes cannabis daily and has done so for five or six years. He had a full medical recently and was given a clean bill of health. Add this to the fact that cannabis is non-addictive, has never killed anyone and doesn't clash with other drugs and it doesn't look so dangerous afterall. And no, cannabis dealers don't necessarily sell cocaine and other hard drugs. Many dealers buy small amounts and sell off a few bags in order to cover their own demand. Of course there are weed dealers that sell cocaine but this problem can be avoided by legalising cannabis and keeping everything above the table.

    You think the UK has enough prison spaces to hold every single drug user in the country? Ha, good luck on that one.

    Who wrote this piece of lunacy anyway? They come across as a narrow-minded prat. Hopefully assholes like this will be remembered and compared with the likes of antisexualists and racists in the future. The ideas put forth in that article sound misguided and malicious.
  5. 354bottle
    As long as bureaucrats and polititions are responsible for managing the war on drugs society will continue to see the same results. Drug use is a public health issue. Polititions care about votes and they will adjust drug policy based on the direction of the political wind. Law enforcement bureaucrats will enforce the law so that it generates statistics that make the polititions policy generate votes. This ensures funding from tax paying constituants that are informed with propaganda spun to make all drug use evil. If possesion and use of drugs were legal, the bureaucracy that wages the war would be no more. This being the case, it is in the best interest of the bureaucrat to maintain the status quo, right or wrong.

    Never forget that bureaucracy has no regard for a persons time, money, freedom or liberty. The war on drugs is all about money and power, not about public health.

  6. Dickon
    You learn something new every day, don't you, especially if you read The Daily Mail?! This really is a classic piece of journalism, and I must make the effort to read a copy of this paper someday. It would simply be laughable were it not for the fact that there are probably rather a lot of readers who support this way of looking at things.

    I love the sentiment that admitting you will never stop crime completely is not even tantamount to but is opening the floodgate to anarchy! Help: society is crumbling. Speaking as a father, I'm damned if I can control the behaviour of my "young", and he's only 2. Would I want to? Sure, to some extent. I'd rather he didn't play with light bulbs and buffet the windows, but beyond that and his Jackson Pollocks on the walls, I'm pretty happy for him to do his own thing.

    I can't really get angry about this sort of journalism, but it saddens me on twin fronts: that it is distributed to a mass market, and that it is lapped up by a mass market.

    Of on a slight tangent, I've been playing around with Orwellian ideas of late: "War is peace" in particular. For those who haven't read 1984, as far as I understand it, the concept is roughly an unwinnable war (by either side) reaches an equilibrium position; i.e. some kind of piece - an obvious and simple idea. But I suppose Realpolitik is beyond the frothing-at-the-mouth readers of this. This is the only kind of peace a war on drugs will provide.

    What is scary is that the writer of this drivel probably churns it out in a coked out haze (does anyone else think it has a cocaine tinge to it, or is that just me?) or at the very least sloshed out of his head, head in a pint of bitter, and simply doesn't believe a word he is writing. It is a product pushed on to the vulnerable masses incapable of making their own minds up without tight controls, and stringent policing: come to think of it, this kind of writing should be AGAINST THE LAW, and we should PROTECT OUR YOUNG from it at all cost, or ANARCHY WILL ENSUE. [Yep, I'm not as good as MrG with the big fonts and bold and such-like, but I hope you get the message - Ed]

    Someone get me out of here before I start complaining about the youth of today.

    Dickon [starting every sentence "In my day...."]
  7. dyingtomorrow
    I love how they neglect/forget that England was at the height of its power and genius when people were allowed to use/snort/inject morphine, heroin, cocaine freely.
  8. Routemaster Flash
    And yet many parents these days seem to have gone the other way, letting their sprogs get away with anything and simply failing to give a shit about where they are or what they're up to. Or unfailingly sticking up for them, against teachers, the police, other kids, regardless of what they've done, thus giving them the sense of entitlement that they should be able to do whatever the fuck they like and anyone who says otherwise is "disrespecting" them. This is why kids are generally so unwelcome in pubs in Britain; it's because they run around raising merry hell. On the Continent it's perfectly acceptable for kids to be in bars because they behave themselves.

    I'm not saying "discipline is the answer", per se - though in some families a bit certainly wouldn't go amiss - just that I think your conclusion that too much discipline is the problem is a bit out of touch. Or maybe it's the wrong kind of discipline that's the problem...letting your kids run wild for whatever reason and then going apeshit and hitting them or something when you finally lose your rag. Or just wondering where you went wrong when they're in the young offenders' institute or the chokey. Or, to get back on topic, a substance clinic, enforced treatment programme or whatever.

    You're right that there's something many parents over here get badly wrong, of course. And it goes without saying that anything spewed out by the Daily Heil is repugnant trash by default. Hey, isn't there a totally spurious 'cancer' scare/miracle story they should be covering somewhere? Or something about the Queen?
  9. Routemaster Flash
    Yes, there's a sort of tacit agreement between the three superpowers to keep the war going continuously (which at any time is being fought by one against a temporary coalition of the other two, which rotates occasionally) because the state of simply being at war is advantageous to each superpower to help maintain internal state power and control; none of the actors is fighting to win, because that is both impossible and not even particularly desirable. Excellent analogy with the drug 'war'.

    Edit: sorry, you said "for those who haven't read...", I thought you'd said you hadn't read it.

    Ha, in a way I'd like to think that. You have to wonder how any sober person could be that obnoxious and deluded...sadly I think they probably mean it, or at least most of it. As opposed to those who write the red-tops, I think.
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