Theodore Dalrymple – “Don’t Legalize Drugs”

City Journal, circa 1997. Dr. Theodore Dalrymple advises against the practice of legalizing drugs. (Marijuana is not mentioned but arguments justifying legalization of other drugs are similar and discussed.)

Here’s an excerpt but you should read the whole thing. Heads-up! It’s not a short read but it is an intriguing argument.

The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved. And when such a narrowly conceived freedom is made the touchstone of public policy, a dissolution of society is bound to follow. No culture that makes publicly sanctioned self-indulgence its highest good can long survive: a radical egotism is bound to ensue, in which any limitations upon personal behavior are experienced as infringements of basic rights. Distinctions between the important and the trivial, between the freedom to criticize received ideas and the freedom to take LSD, are precisely the standards that keep societies from barbarism.

 

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