Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does The Fall Of Rome Provide Insight To Our Future?

 On  JUNE 1, 2011, I wrote an article: Marijuana Can Lead To Irreversible Changes In The Brain.  I was surprised at how many people wrote me to say that there is no way to win the war on drugs, and that legalization of drugs is the only sensible answer to this "social" problem; Making drugs legal is a personal issue, and doesn't hurt others, thus there is no need  for government control of drugs.  Wow! I only wish that things were this simple. Most of the responders said that by legalizing drugs the price will drop, and crime will go down because drug dealers will not be able to have a monopoly on the drug supply.  And furthermore, the use of legal drugs can only be of negative detriment to the user, so that an overdose, or abuse, doesn't reflect on taxpayers in the way the "war on drugs" does (enforcement and imprisonment). Well, if things were easy, then everyone would have a degree from Harvard, and be a millionaire. But in life there are no easy answers to questions of personal satisfaction. Here are my ideas on drugs and life, and the future of this Republic.

Drugs have a legitimate use as a temporary method to reduce pain.  It seems to me that too many persons in the US take drugs to alter their mental state,  rather than to reduce physical pain.  And when I mention drugs, this includes alcohol. What reason is there to use alcohol when it doesn't taste good, and it impairs all thought and physical coordination? The idea that legalization of drugs will stop crime, and put drug dealers out of business is an example of Johnny Walker reasoning (No, Johnny Walker is not a philosopher. It is a Scotch Whiskey).  When drugs are made legal the government will establish laws making legal drugs a monopoly, and suddenly, drugs will cost more than they did in the past (how will legal drugs be able to compete with drug dealers who are not licensed by the state, or pay taxes? Competition will increase for the new customers, and black market goods are always cheapest, believe it or not.). Isn't it bad enough that we have so many alcoholics in this country? Just think about legalized marijuana, for instance.  Do you want to be in a taxi, or on an airliner, with a "pilot" who smokes marijuana?  When Alaska legalized marijuana in the 1970's, teen use, of this drug, jumped to twice the national average. This is one reason that in 1990, Alaska re-criminalized it. The US taxpayer should not finance any "drug wars" except in this country. What others do in their own country is their business....but, anyone bringing mind altering drugs into this country, excluding for medical use, should  face immediate arrest, and immediate death upon conviction, and the same would hold true for anyone selling any type of mind altering drugs in this country, not prescribed as "medicine". This idea that the government should tax drugs, for personal recreational use, to help with our revenue shortfall is nonsense. Bad behavior is bad behavior. The legalization of drugs holds a huge amount of unintended consequences, and a tax on bad behavior produces revenue in the negative column rather than the positive one. Look, prostitution might be the oldest business in the world, but it has never been looked on as a positive step towards civilization. I am sure that the legalization of this vice would bring in tax dollars, but the unintended consequences far out weigh making it legal, or it would already be legal in hundreds of countries the world over. Life is a complex balance of Ups and Downs, and drugs can not make things less complex or easier.  History repeats itself over and over. Few seem to "listen" or "take note", but here are some things that destroyed Rome. Rome, you say? What has that to do with what is happening in the US today? The decline of Rome started in the 2nd century, and took about 320 years for the complete "fall".  One major feature was that Rome engaged in many wars, and thus needed to increase taxes. Another enduring feature of the decline was in it's coinage. The values on coins changed, coins were made out of base metals instead of silver or gold, and often coins were "struck" of lesser metals clad in thin "shells" of silver, thus making for hyperinflation; this hyperinflation was the undisputed cause of the decline and fall. Rome's economy was based on slave labor (don't we buy the majority of our goods from countries that pay their workers "slave wages"?), and it exported few real products (sound like the US today?). The financial needs continued to increase dramatically, but the means of meeting these demands steadily eroded, and taxes necessarily skyrocketed (see a parallel here?).  Oh, did I forget to mention that, during these 320 years of decline,  morals declined in favor of "Personal Pleasures"? And then, the once great Rome was "dead".  Do you think that electing a Palin or a Romney or any of these other ego driven pretenders, that the media has placed before us, will save this once great Republic? I don't.  Paul E. Vallely, MG US Army (retired), is my choice, and I believe that if Obama is not removed before the elections of 2012, there will be nothing more than a  Coronation.
Lord Howard Hurts

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