Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jan 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Elizabeth Woods


Re: "It's time to lock up addicts for their own good," Jan. 7.

Being cruel to be kind has justified everything from chaining the 
mentally ill to dungeon walls, to burning heretics alive to save them 
from the flames of hell. Its results are spotty at best (most who 
come out of jail "clean" quickly relapse) and horrific at worst.

This notion arises from the same authoritarianism as "the war on 
drugs" -- the assumption that our elected representatives have the 
moral right to act as Big Daddy to adult Canadians by arbitrarily 
deciding which recreational drug they'll approve and which they 
won't, in the name of saving us from ourselves.

In consequence, we suffer grievously from bad laws -- the enrichment 
of organized crime; murder over gang turfs and robbery to support 
habits; billions wasted on law enforcement; and the gross 
underfunding of education and treatment.

The government's proper role is to provide the legal framework within 
which adults can enjoy the vices of their choice in peaceful and 
orderly fashion, ensuring, among other things, that drugs are pure, 
accurately measured, and correctly labelled (including appropriate 
warnings); that games of chance are honest; that brothels are small, 
quiet, and co-operatively owned by the workers themselves; and that 
all who profit from such activities pay their fair share of taxes.

Elizabeth Woods

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