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Jul-21-2010 20:57printcomments

Who Opposes Legalizing Marijuana?

We happen to live in a State and Country with Constitutions that were written at a time when even politicians would not debase themselves with the idiocy of utilitarianism.

Lest we forget... Mark Phelps; top world athlete, marijuana user.
Lest we forget... Mark Phelps; top world athlete, marijuana user. For logical people, eighty years of false marijuana statements were swept into obscurity in one fell swoop, or would that be... stroke?

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Who opposes legalizing marijuana? After many decades of prohibition, who will stand up and publicly say that they oppose legalization? Which of our representatives in State Government will publicly assert that they still support prohibition?

Some people may jump to the assumption that the prohibitionists are many in number, and that their representatives in Government present an impenetrable bulwark against legal reform.

I would suggest otherwise, and I will show conclusively why the prohibitionist ship is irrevocably sinking, and its passengers should be fighting with each other on the decks for the few remaining life boats on which they may safely float away from its demise.

First, let it be clear: Prohibition is Wrong!

Prohibition is morally wrong. Prohibition is legally wrong. Prohibition is logically and rationally wrong.

Prohibition is morally wrong in that it involves causing great harm to individuals who cause no harm to anyone else.

Propaganda techniques of yesteryear

Under the banner of prohibition individuals are persecuted by police, fired from their jobs, denied employment, denied lawful benefits, deprived of their property, and incarcerated.

All of these acts are immoral because they involve individuals intentionally harming others who have caused them no harm, and caused no harm to any other person.

All of these immoral acts are justified by prohibitionists through the absurdist philosophy of utilitarianism, with the claim that prohibition contributes to the arbitrary fantasy called “the greater good.”

In short, it is claimed that marijuana (cannabis) and other “dangerous drugs” all impair the mystical and unquantifiable “greater good,” and thus all manner of illegal and immoral acts are justified because they result in a “net benefit” to society.

Over the decades many people have argued within the framework of utilitarian moral theory that drug prohibition actually causes far more harm than it relieves. These arguments are all correct, but that is irrelevant to the fundamental moral and legal questions at stake.

Utilitarianism is a fraud. It is nothing more than a debating trick and an arbitrary means of ginning up superficial rationales for unjustifiable moral and legal arguments.

To provide some background for those who have not suffered through academic philosophy and law courses, utilitarianism is a “moral” theory, which asserts that individual and government action should be directed toward providing the greatest “good” for the greatest number of people.

John Ashcroft, a torchbearer in the vilification of
marijuana; many Americans see the role as ridiculous.

This moral theory is at the foundation of modern U.S. legal reasoning and is widely used as a criterion for judgment in many areas of the law. Utilitarianism is also ubiquitous in the medical profession.

The argument of “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” is superficially very appealing. It appears to be rational, virtuous, and just. The only problem is that it is utter nonsense, and this can be demonstrated very easily.

“Good” is indefinable and unquantifiable. On this basis alone, it is immediately apparent that it is impossible to make any judgment “for the greater good” because the “greater good” is something that cannot be defined.

Further, it is impossible be sure of what the consequences of any particular action or policy will be. It is possible to imagine any fantasy chain of events by which an action or policy will result in “good” or “evil.”

Consequently, all utilitarian arguments are nothing more than arbitrary fantasies about the supposed consequences of actions and their ability to create indefinable “good” and “bad” effects that are impossible to quantify, define, or compare.

Using utilitarian arguments, it is possible for any action to be either “good” or “bad,” and for the same action to be both “good” and “bad.” All that matters is the fantasy story of utilitarian consequences that you create, and how you define good and bad. In other words, utilitarianism is by definition irrational and absurd.

As a result of utilitarian logic, it is considered legally permissible in the U.S. to murder someone, as long as the net “good,” measured in dollars, exceeds the value of a human life.

According to Time Magazine, insurance companies place the standard value of human life at $50,000 per year. The EPA, according to an AP report, valued human life at $6.9 million dollars, after they deducted $900,000 in the waning days of the Bush administration.

If this government endorsed murder-for-hire seems bizarre, immoral, and illegal - it is.

We happen to live in a State and Country with Constitutions that were written at a time when even politicians would not debase themselves with the idiocy of utilitarianism.

Our Country’s founding documents provide for inalienable individual rights. They make no mention of “the greatest good for the greatest number” at the expense of anyone who gets in the way.

The use of utilitarianism in law is directly contrary to the intent and clear meaning of the U.S. Constitution, and the body of legal reasoning that came before it. This is no accident. Utilitarianism was specifically introduced into the law in order to subvert the Constitution and the prior body of legal reasoning that had been firmly established before it was introduced.

You are looking at a photo of a DEA pot bust. In order to arrest people for growing a natural
plant, these agents sometimes go to extraordinary lengths. They spend huge money while real
crimes go unaddressed and prescription drug deaths skyrocket. Pot is not lethal, not even harmful.

Instead of murder being murder, theft being theft, and fraud being fraud, utilitarianism opened the door to unlimited legal innovations. Due to the irrational and ephemeral nature of utilitarianism, it can be used to justify anything, and so the use of utilitarianism in law opens the door for the legislature and the judiciary to justify any law they choose.

In the case of drug prohibition, Constitutional guarantees of individual liberty, free enterprise, and property ownership were raped, and replaced with laws that allow the government unprecedented authority to interfere in wholly private activity.

Whereas consensual drug use, distribution, growing, and manufacturing amongst adults is fundamentally a matter of individual liberty, utilitarian moral reasoning permits the government to assault, kidnap, imprison, extort and steal from individuals who are merely exercising their Constitutionally enshrined rights.

Utilitarianism, being an absurd and irrational methodology for judgment, results in absurd and irrational laws.

Can anyone answer why it is that abortion is wholly a matter of private individual choice, although it does harm a fetus, whereas personal drug use, which has no affect whatsoever on anyone else, is illegal?

Can anyone answer why sodomy amongst adults must be permitted on grounds of personal privacy, but drug distribution amongst adults can be punished by years in prison?

There are no rational answers to these questions, because the basis on which these conflicting legal decisions have been made is entirely irrational.

The irrationality of utilitarianism aside, there is a greater irrationality at play in the specific case of prohibition. This is the irrational belief that it is possible to dictate reality by means of legislation.

Is it possible to say to a cannabis plant, “cease to exist?” If you do, will the plant disappear? Not unless you are completely insane.

When the legislature attempts by law to eradicate a part of nature, they are trying on a very grand scale to do what is clearly impossible on a much smaller scale. The absurdity of this proposition is countered with great plans and projects to achieve the impossible, but the end result is only foolishness compounded by folly.

How much closer are we today to the eradication of “dangerous drugs” than we were a decade ago? Two decades ago? Three decades ago? And on, and on…

The inherently wrong nature of prohibition, morally, legally, and rationally, is the key to its demise. The pursuit of irrational and impossible objectives, at great cost, only weakens those who pursue them. Immoral and unjust laws only weaken a government that enforces them.

Thus, as the Rev. Martin Luther King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The day of justice, the end of prohibition, is inevitable and it is near.

The citizens of Oregon are pressing forward with additional reforms of the Medical Marijuana Program in the coming election, while the citizens of California are pressing forward with an initiative for full legalization. Both citizen initiatives are highly likely to pass.

When California becomes the first State to end prohibition the tide will irrevocably turn against the prohibitionists. With our massive neighbor to the South benefiting from full legalization, there will be not a shred of reason or rationale for the prohibitionists in Oregon to stand on. Their game will be over, and the only decision left will be what legal path to take in following suit.


Since it is the prohibitionists who are the criminals; the ones who are guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment, theft, fraud, and a host of other crimes; it is incumbent on them to renounce their crimes and make their restitution.

When I ask who opposes legalizing marijuana, and who in our State Government will speak publicly in favor of prohibition, I am asking who will bald-facedly acknowledge their crimes, and defiantly refuse to show any remorse for the evil they have caused.

I suspect the number will be very few.


Salem-News.com Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance. <

You can write to Ersun at: warncke@comcast.net



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devin May 19, 2011 10:44 am (Pacific time)

legalize it a holes


Bongstar420 March 28, 2011 1:07 pm (Pacific time)

The Constitution was written from a positive utilitarian perspective. Individual rights were enshrined int he document for the "greater good" of the populace. Essentially, liberty for more (numbers of people in both absolute and relative terms) is better then liberty for less. One cannot argue that utilitarianism is a bad philosophy as you would ultimately be arguing against the specifics not the general conceptualization as all good and bad valuations are utilitarian to the entity making taking the position. You are throwing the baby out with the bath water because someone has replaced the water with partially treated sewage (for various unspecified reasons). The answer is to properly change the solvent in the babies tub which has been properly evaluated according to the goals of washing the baby of its filth (use clean water with a gentle surfactant). One cannot wash a baby with sewage and expect it to be cleaner afterwords. In any case, anti-utilitarianism does not provide reasoning for any action as it takes positions independent of any relationships. Its like saying that you breath for no reason what so ever and that you are going to stop breathing for no reason what so ever. No person can reasonably justify doing anything at all under the premise.


Snark Attack August 17, 2010 12:37 pm (Pacific time)

Is this an editorial. I guess it's what passes for journalism nowadays.

In my experience pot smokers are lethargic, have memory lapses, drive while drug impaired, and are underemployed. Does Oregon really need more unmotivated people. Businesses/Jobs are avoided Oregon like the plague.

Oregon's permissive/progressive attitude has attracted a lot of losers to the state. Do we need more of people who can't get it done?

Editor: Sound like you were raised on propaganda and that you ignore the millions of positive reviews.  It is saving lives, so who cares what you think?


Conservative Christian August 2, 2010 2:06 pm (Pacific time)

All of the prohibitionists’ arguments boil down to a single point: If my child (or yours) gets a little off track and starts using marijuana, the prohibitionists want to put them in PRISON. Prison is not good for my kids or for yours, and it’s much worse than the effects of marijuana, so we can pretty well disregard all of the prohibitionist nonsense about keeping it illegal to protect our children. I hope my kids steer clear of marijuana, but I REALLY hope that if they do use a little marijuana, they don't end up in prison. If you're a California citizen (or if you want to pass this along to any California citizens), Californians can register to vote at w w w . sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm by completing the online form and mailing it to the address on the form. For what it's worth, I'm a white, southern, politically conservative Christian, and I think the NAACP is right on the money with their pro-legalization stance. For too long, racial profiling and the drug war have been used as a means to lock up Americans, depriving them of their liberty, their children, their property, and their right to vote.


Drew July 26, 2010 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

I have identified at least 5 groups in answer to the question, "Who opposes legalizing [drugs]?" When that question is asked, various people will say "the cops" or "the prison guards" etc… The problem with those answers is not all cops, prison guards, etc… oppose legalization/regulation. For people who aren't aware of this, I encourage every one to visit http://LEAP.cc Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. However, I approached the question from a different angle, not the angle of what real-life hat the person is wearing, but the mindset of a person. So who is in favor of prohibition? These first three groups think the fight can be won. 1) Holier-Than-Thou-Congregation 2) High Priests of Assigning Permanent Shame 3) False Prophets of Prohibition These two groups DO NOT want prohibition to end. 4) Men (and Women) of Lawlessness 5) Thug Addicts Each group has been written about here: http://ChristiansAgainstProhibition.org/Sitting_in_the_Seat_of_God Just scroll down a bit, each of the above groups has their own page.


observer July 21, 2010 10:08 pm (Pacific time)

Nicely written, cogent. "[I]t is incumbent on them to renounce their crimes and make their restitution." Let's hear this repeated. This needs to catch on. And every time a prohibitionist speaks or is quoted as an authority, let us also ask: how much money has prohibition put in this person's pocket? Do they, as so many other prohibitionists, earn their living off of prohibition? Many do.

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