Ending the War on Drugs
Why was the War on Drugs started?
If I steelman the arguments for the idea of controlling substances, I would imagine a different time without the internet when people had access to less information. I am young enough to remember researching cannabis and psilocybin on the internet before I experimented with those substances. There was a time when it was much harder to do your research in order to understand a substance. In those times, the effort to control access to dangerous substances could make more sense than in our current time. I can imagine that parents wanted the government’s help in understanding what substances are too dangerous for their children to encounter. The problem with this line of thinking is that the government can’t be trusted to understand the problem and the solution. A better approach would have been to begin a process by which parents can become educated about substances which the government has deemed dangerous.
If I were transported back in time and allowed to speak on the matter of controlling substances, I would be skeptical of adding any criminal law on the books because these laws allow law enforcers and judges to lock good and peaceful people in cages even though they have done nothing wrong. Every person with a decent mind can understand that we should not lock people in cages when they have caused no harm. There is a way for good people to experiment with every substance in existence without causing harm. A system which punishes good people is not right, fair, just, nor good.
The inevitable result of locking people in cages for experimenting with illegal substances is that smart people will avoid doing the experiments which would be necessary to further our understanding of the substance. The law, in effect, is anti-science and irrational. The law, in effect, is a source of societal ignorance. Instead of developing our understanding and sharing that understanding with society, we have decided to encourage fear of something which we do not understand.
And so these kinds of laws like the Controlled Substances Act are a source of suffering which unnecessarily plague millions of people. People who disagree with the unjust laws are locked in cages and suffer. And the family of the people who are locked in cages suffer. And the society also suffers from the opportunity cost of locking good people in cages. The society perceives the law enforcers, law makers, and judges as being rightfully untrustworthy. There is suffering because the rate of growth of our understanding of the substances is restricted. And the people who would benefit from the better understanding of those substances must continue to suffer because research was discouraged by the law.
The fear of these controlled substances is rational. People can develop addiction and people can die from using the controlled substances. But people can become addicted and die from using many substances which are not on the list. I am a fan of developing and sharing our understanding of substances and their dangers. I teach my children to be cautious about putting substances into their mind and body. And I would love to make it easy for everyone to quickly determine the dangers of a substance they encounter. I would love to live in a world where I can take a picture of a plant in order to easily identify it and understand it.
Why does the War on Drugs continue to this day?
The people in power are not deserving of power. The voters aren’t deserving of power. How can the voters be expected to elect candidates that are deserving of power? How can those candidates be expected to nominate and choose the right people to head up departments in government? How are those department heads supposed to decide who to hire, fire, promote, and demote within their organization in order to move toward a meritocratic organization?
It is obvious to me why our various systems are not good. The existing systems often select for incompetence. And the heart of the problem is our sense making organs. We must figure out how to make sense of our reality. And in order to do that we must focus on allowing the good ideas to surface into our attention. We must be able to discern the good ideas from the bad ideas. And one way to move in this direction is to have our people in positions of power put forth the effort to seek out good ideas in a new way.
This new way of seeking out good ideas must make use of processes and procedures which are not currently being used. You must seek out people who have disagreements with you. You should record those conversations where the confrontation of ideas are presented with the goal of creating something of value which can be shared publicly with the consent of both parties.
This process of seeking out people who disagree with you and recording those conversations should result in opportunities for education and sense making. My hope is that there can emerge an opportunity by which people with disagreements are able to teach ideas which are being ignored by people in positions of power. My hope is that this new way of seeking out good ideas is embraced by people in positions of power. My hope is that people who practice this new way of seeking good ideas are selected to be in positions of power.
Will the POTUS ever practice this new way of seeking out good ideas? Will I ever be able to share my ideas and disagreements with the POTUS? I wish we lived in a world where this was a real possibility.