Continuing my discussion of morality, let's move on to hedonism and specifically drug taking. Earlier this week, the Guardian produced a special report on the effect of heroin in the UK. It makes for disturbing reading:
Latest figures indicate there are 327,000 hard-drug users, although drugs charities worry the figure could be as high as 500,000.
Drug use...continues to fuel high levels of offending and scar entire communities.
Addicts spend an average of £10,000 a year feeding their habit.
So there is conflict within society between those people who want to take drugs and those people who do not. What does the drug user want though? Addicts may only want to sit in their room and take heroin, all day every day for the rest of their lives. Who am I to say that such behaviour is wrong? Compare that to a nun who spends her entire adult life worshipping a god that isn't real. Why is one behaviour better than another? But heroin users cannot often supply themselves constantly. They must pay for their drugs, often causing violent and distressing crime, because they cannot afford that £10,000 a year.
Now we have a choice as a society. Do we care more about victims of crime or about hedonists who do not want to be part of society? We spend billions of pounds in the UK trying to stop people taking drugs. Trying to stop people selling drugs. And then criminalising anyone for almost any involvement in the illicit trade. Then tax payers money is spent on prisons, methadone programs, and the whole gamut of different strategies to stop people taking drugs.
To what end? Again it seems to me that if somebody wants to not be part of society, then that is their choice. Is there anything we can do to improve the current state of affairs? Ultimately heroin is derived from poppies which could easily be grown legally and supplied by government to those that want it. What would be the consequence of such a policy? That crime would exponentially decrease, as those people who cause crime are not forced to rob the innocent, but are allowed their pleasure without fear of prosecution, or exploitation by the black market.
Today there is another article in the Guardian, which mirrors this thinking:
Cut crime at a stroke: let clinics prescribe enough heroin to addicts daily to stop them mugging, stealing and turning to prostitution to support a habit. Lives can be stabilised on regular heroin and that is also the best hope of getting chaotic addicts into rehab.
What is the alternative? There is no god. Nobody is in charge ultimately. Is it really better to take away people's freedoms than let them have what they want? When is enough, enough? Finally aren't there better things we could be spending all of that time, energy and money on?Go Top