Self Ownership trumps Morality

Ok, so I got into a debate with someone the other day, I assume another man, but I don’t know for sure, and the debate was generally on the the topic of drugs being legal/moral/etc. The genesis for this was the reports that surfaced about one of the Obama daughters getting caught at a concert on film smoking weed. Now, if the person I debated is reading this, first let me say you didn’t once attack or name call, and I respect that. A rare thing these days, and sad that it’s the exception rather than the norm. That being said we agreed on the key point of the discussion, and that is that “Drugs are bad, and you shouldn’t do drugs.” Now that the basic premise on morality is out of the way I can move on to the heart of the debate, at least from my side.

As anyone who knows me is well aware, I’m a Constitutionalist, I’m also a true believer in Liberty, and Freedom. Along with that is the concept of “self ownership.” Simply put, I and I alone own my body. I own all the rights to choose what I do with it, what I put into it, how I use it, and I set my worth in negotiations for selling it (meaning my labor). If you believe that each person owns their own body, then you can’t make a case for making drugs illegal or making any personal activity illegal. Even the ones I’m vehemently against, and would never partake in. This includes things like drugs, prostitution, and some of the more suicidal activities humans like to do. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette in my life much less weed or any “hard drugs.” That being said, them being illegal had absolutely nothing to do with me choosing not to do those things. I never did that stuff because I saw what it did to other people. I was taught by my family and my school the dangers and effects of drugs. I watched my grandmother almost die from lung cancer when I was 10, I knew then I’d never smoke a cigarette, and I haven’t. I wasn’t lied to with exaggerated claims about the horrors of drug use, legal or illegal. My mom and grandparents told me the truth about them, and that along with seeing my peers do them was all I needed to steer far away from drugs. I was never one to be weak to peer pressure either, so if my friends did something I didn’t want to do, I just didn’t do it.

So back to the crux of the debate. I don’t believe anything should be illegal that doesn’t directly infringe upon the rights of others. That’s why Murder is illegal, that’s why Drunk Driving/Driving Under the Influence is illegal. Laws like that are perfectly inline with the US Constitution, which doesn’t confer, but recognizes that we are all, as humans, endowed with unalienable rights primarily Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Murder obviously denies another person their God given right to life. Same with DWI/DUI, you have the risk of plowing into another car and killing someone because your ability to operate a vehicle safely is compromised. There are lots of laws that follow this logic and as such they are Constitutionally sound and I take no issue with those. I do however take issue with any law that limits the choices I can make for myself. How dare the Government try to limit the ways in which I can hurt myself. I own my body, and if I chose to smoke a joint, or do a line of coke in my own home, it is not the business of the Government or any other person for that matter. It’s a slippery slope that thankfully hasn’t been slid down yet, but it’s entirely possible for some arbitrary governmental body to declare that sky diving or motorcycle riding are too dangerous, and outlaw them. There would be a nation wide revolt if alcohol were outlawed again. I rarely drink, but I’d be against the outlaw of alcohol again.Yes it kills thousands of innocent people a year, but the alcohol isn’t the problem it’s the person who for whatever reason thinks it’s ok to drive a vehicle after drinking. The problem is a lack of morals in certain people. Sadly you can’t legislate morality. Morals, by design, are not universal. My morals aren’t the same as say my neighbor’s or my Pastor’s, or even my boss’ morals at work. Because morals are individual to each person, it’s illogical to legislate that, and impossible to enforce. The real key is to change the culture and public outlook on risky behaviors like drug use. It takes time, it’s not easy, and yes people will still choose to drink and drive, people will still choose to end someone else’s life when they’ve done nothing to deserve it. That’s the unfortunate part of society as a whole, we all have Free Will. Nothing screams Liberty and Freedom, more than the concept of “self ownership,” and I believe in it completely, even knowing that with that belief comes the fact that some people will choose the wrong things to do with their bodies. They may do drugs, or be a sex worker, some will sky dive, or even go all Steve Irwin and get way to close to a large wild and unpredictable animal. It doesn’t matter, none of those activities in and of themselves infringe on anyone else’s rights, and without them we wouldn’t have the joy of reading through the Darwin Awards each year. A person’s personal choices are their own, and they bear the consequences, good or bad, for their choices. If you make more “good” choices, your life is better than if you make more bad choices. Life is the world’s best form of discipline, it’s unforgiving, unfeeling, and when it comes to punishing or rewarding the choices we as individuals make, it’s almost always justified and accurate.

Another reason, specifically with one’s choice to do drugs, is the drug war. Everyone knows that “illicit” drugs are illegal, coke, week, speed, crack, ecstasy, heroine, etc etc. But prescription pills, more specifically controlled substances are also illegal to possess or take without a valid prescription. These are Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Testosterone, other hormones, and other strong medications. Prescription drug abuse kills more people a year than “illegal” drugs do. In 2013 over 18,893 people died from prescription Opioid drugs like Oxycodone, while 10,574 people died from Heroine overdose (www.drugwarfacts.org.) Contrast that with a legal drug, Alcohol. Alcohol  caused on average 88,000 deaths a year between the years 2006 -2010, and the numbers haven’t really gone down (www.cdc.gov.) So if the Government really wanted to save lives, wouldn’t they push to outlaw alcohol too? The reason they don’t, tax income, and big business. In reality, if the Government took the time and figured out a way to make safe Heroine, Cocaine, and other drugs that people want for whatever their personal reasons are, and then taxed the heck out of it, they would legalize all drugs tomorrow. While they wouldn’t do it for the reasons I would support decriminalizing all drugs, which is of course personal choice. They would do it because it would give the government more money. Nothing more, nothing less. The Government isn’t the least bit interested in public safety. Regardless of party affiliation, they aren’t interested in public safety, they are however interested in power, control, and money. None of which are conducive to ensuring the Liberty of citizens, and instead take more and more control of our personal lives in a never ending attempt from the self righteous in this country who think they know what’s best for everyone, and should be able to use government to control the thoughts, and actions of The People.

I don’t think anyone should choose to do drugs, whether they be the traditional illegal drugs like weed and cocaine, or they choose to take pills that aren’t prescribed to them. They destroy your life, and hurt your friends and family around you. I’m thankful I never made that choice to try or do drugs, I had to work hard enough to get where I am today in life without the crushing weight of a drug abuse past working against me at every corner. I  hope all of you make the same choice too. You’re life will be longer, healthier, and much more productive, but if you choose to, know that you’ll be living a life paying the social and health consequences of your choices. I personally won’t ever judge you for the choices you make in life. You answer to God for the life you choose to live, not me. Just like I don’t answer to you. If you don’t believe in God, well then I guess you have nothing to worry about, enjoy the ride, however long or short it is. Just don’t tread on me with your choices and we are good.

 

-The Mid `Merican

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