By the way, don’t get me wrong: I’m not arguing for or against drugs. But for the same reason we have laws about smoking in restaurants and speed limits, the personal choices the OP cites are within the sphere of social approval or disapproval because they have an effect on more than the individual making the choices.
I think you already covered the points I would make about two of your examples – prostitution and drugs. IF they were legalized, I’d be all for it. But since they are not legal, and therefore not regulated, and therefore a magnet for crime, RIGHT NOW TODAY I am in the camp of people who frowns upon them.
I’m of the opinion that gambling is just about as well regulated as we’re going to get our society, so go nuts on that front (if you were breathlessly waiting for my permission or anything ).
And homosexuality? I can’t even see this is being related to the other examples. Cue the “one of these things is not like the other” music. Human sexuality is not something that can be regulated. Behavior, on the other hand, can be, and homosexual activities should be subject to the same rules and regulations as heterosexual behavior – no public sex, no sex with minors, no nonconsentual sex, etc.
Hmmmm, after reading this post, it seems that I should move to the Netherlands.
Alright, well, let’s go with homosexuality then. Why do people think that it’s within their realm to tell someone it’s not ok to be gay?
I suppose it could be the somewhat implausible “I’m concerned, in a brotherly way, about the safety of your eternal soul”
But in practice, I think it’s more likely to be something along the lines of “Eeeeew! A disgusting bug! It’s ICKY! Stomp it! Kill it NOW!”
Mangetout: I think I like that explanation.
Why do YOU feel you have the right to dictate what one does in their economic life?
As Dumbguy said, you are actually arguing against littering. Needles don’t only come from drug addicts. They come from a variety of sources, such as diabetics who need insulin shots.
There are plenty of dangerous “aids” spreadable items that could just as easily be replaced by needles in the littering arena.
Smoking is different than drug abuse by needles. Smokers can not control where their drug waste is going, a needle junk (hypothetically anyway) can.
No, I’m arguing that there are secondary effects to heroin addiction that affect more than the junkie, and using littering as an example. Dumbguy seems willfully blind to the fact that there are any noticeable social consequences at all to drug subculture.
I disagree, maybe Dumbguy could clarify. The way I see it, Dumbguy is disagreeing with your example. It’s early and I could be miss reading it, but I don’t think he’s saying that there aren’t noticeable social consequences. He’s just saying that litering isn’t a good choice to use.
And if he’s not, then I am. I don’t think littering is a prime example. That doesn’t mean I think there aren’t social reprocussions however.
Why not? If it were legal, what could stop them?
There are plenty of things I don’t think people should be doing. However, my personal morality does not always match what I believe the government should regulate.
Given how close my past girlfriend was to being stuck by a junkie’s used needle, I don’t think littering is a bad example at all. But since we’re talking about needles, lets talk about how re-using needles are a prime vector for the spread of diseases like hepatitis. The alternative is to spend tax dollars on needle exchange programs. Either way, the junkie’s personal choice affects me noticeably.
Awww…did your parents not let you keep the gay crack-ho you won in Vegas?
You are creating a strawman: I am not arguing for legalization. I am not arguing that the government should fund needle exchange programs. I’m also not arguing whether or not re-using needles spreads diseases. I’m not arguing that drug addicts don’t effect others. I don’t think Dumbguy was either. I agree with you that drug addicts effect others.
All I’m arguing is that needles being found in a park is a problem with litering, not one with drug addicts. If you want to change your example, fine; but as it is I think it’s a faulty example.
You didn’t say it was a “junkies” needle. It could have been a diabetics needle, or just a discarded needle. You have not provided evidence that the needle came from a junkies drug habit.
Not to mention it was in the trash, which people should be careful with anyway. There are a variety of dangerous things that get thrown away.
As I’ve agreed, legalization or needle exchanges are not topic; the topic is social repercussions. I’m responding to yours and Dumbguys dismissing of my examples, which implicitly rejects my premise that there is a social effect to an active drug subculture.
I’m directly disputing this point with the claim that the litter of drug addicts is different in character than the litter of menstruators or smokers: a junkie’s needles are dangerous, both for the sharp point and the significant possibility of transmitting disease. Not to mention the fact that drug addicts tend to litter more than menstruating women do, at least as far as their respective paraphenelia goes. Everyone knows what a “needle park” is; I don’t know that “maxipad park” is in common usage.
Then that was my failure to be explicit. When I lived on the Plateau on Montreal about eight years ago, the owners of coffee shops were constantly (like, several times a week) removing junkies shooting heroin in the bathrooms. It’s a safe assumption that the used needles in garbage probably belonged to a junkie, not a diabetic.
Not sure if the OP is referring to social stigma or actual legislation, but either way unless you’re a hermit living off the land in a remote area, pretty much anything/everything you do is going to affect your society or community in ways you might not realize.
As others have pointed out, there are indeed specific examples, i.e. property rates, crime enforcement, etc. Even if you don’t feel that what you are doing is directly negatively impacting others, there is a collective impact on society nonetheless. However, I think that the negative impact is far more rooted in psychology and sociology than in individuals being harmed.
With regard to prostitution: while many will object to the actual practice thereof and the specifics involved, I think the larger concern is the demoralization and degradation of women. Many are afraid that if prostitution is legalized or condoned in any way, then that gives the green light to see women and what many consider an extremely intimate and personal exchange as nothing more than a marketable skill. The fear being that this would ‘devalue’ the marketability of women who choose not to engage in this practice, making them less desirable or less able to find a stable relationship. May be a little paranoid and irrational, but I think it’s a factor.
Regarding drugs, I don’t think that most people really give a crap what you ingest and how you treat your own body, but resent what they see as ultimately a selfish act. This kind of intolerance manifests in other areas as well, not just in opposition to drugs. When a behavior is deemed to have no positive social value, it becomes acceptable to become intolerant towards it.
Certainly we all have our own ideas of what is considered ‘acceptable’ behavior, but if allowed to be taken to the extreme, then all the systems we have set up in order to promote the welfare of our society would be broken down.
I think that a lot of what people and society object to can be boiled down to irresponsible behavior. It is within the best interests of all of us to promote responsible behavior in others, but we don’t always hold ourselves up to those standards.
Your rights in a free society end where you start to become a burden to society.
As for homosexuality, go knock yourself out. Doesn’t make a bit of difference to me.
Drug use- no. Drug users are a burden to the health care system, they reduce the economic productivity of the users, the innocent children of drug users are at increased risk for health problems, and the drug business profits organized crime and terrorism.
Gambling- no. Compulsive gamblers are a burden to their families, who then may wind up taxing the social safety net. Illegal gaming has long been a moneymaker for organized crime. Limit it to state-supervised and taxed opportunities and provide help for the compulsive gambler.
Prosititution- no. Prostitution is too great a temptation for men to stray from the monogamous relationships that our society is built on. Not to mention the risks of disease. The money spent on prostitution would be better spent in more productive sectors of the economy where it can be taxed and provide jobs.
Similarly, you have no right to ride in a car without a seat belt because statistically, you will more likely be an economic burden to society than if you buckle up. Likewise for riding motorcycles without helmets.
When it comes to drug use, Erek, I wouldn’t say a word against tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. However, I have advised a teen-age boy against huffing glue and similar shit because of the potential health risk. Ingesting fumes from shit like toluene is not healthy. I would also advise you against trying cocaine (expensive, overrated, addictive to many people, and turns addicts into assholes), speed (also addictive and I had a friend die of a heart attack in his 30’s, a death I blame partially on his speed habit), and hallucinogens (I believe you can use these safely, but I also believe you had better have a strong sense of self and a level head).
Whenever possible I feel is is my duty as a human to advise people as I did the aforementioned teenager. When it comes to illicit drugs you can profit from my vast experience.
Gambling? I don’t often advise people about this, but I think a cursory inspection of the laws of probability makes it quite clear that the odds always favor the house. Then there is that old saw about a fool and his money.
Prostitution. Should be legal, IMO, but until our government wises up and regulates it, it does carry some degree of health risk.
Sleep with whomever you want. Just don’t come bitching to me when you get AIDS, an STD, or an unwanted pregnancy.
Are you trying to say that if prostitution were legal then men, in general, would rather pay to have sex with a prostitute than expend a little effort, find a nice girl that mom would be proud of, and settle down?
There are other examples, which you’ve even brought up. that are better than your current example. I’m not rejecting your underlying thoughts about the subject-I agree with them.
The “litter” you have used as an example can come from a variety of places, it isn’t the sole property of drug users. Is an insulin needle from a diabetic with aids any less dangerous than a junkies needle? Do you have any evidence that addicts litter more than menstruating women, or for that matter, more than other non-addict people?
Okay, it’s a safe assumption that it’s a junkies needle, that’s fine. I still maintain it’s the junkies littering that are the heart of this particular example, not that he/she is a junkie.
There are many reasons why addicts have an effect on people. You listed spread of disease and tax dollars being spent to fight the problem and I’m sure there are a lot of other reasons too.