Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just how much damage does the War on Drugs cause?

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It’s very clear that the War on Drugs is a complete failure. In fact, the War on Drugs has had many unforeseen consequences that have threatened to tear America apart. The black market that has emerged from the Drug War has caused high crime rates in many parts of the country, has increased the United State’s incarceration rate substantially, has allowed other criminals to get lighter sentences due to the over-crowding prison population, has devastated the poor and various minority groups (such as African-Americans), further increased racial tensions (as if we didn’t have enough of that already with hate-crime laws and affirmative action), and has cost the government and the taxpayers untold amounts of money. [1][2][3][4][5]

Another effect of the War on Drugs includes the creation of a permanent underclass. How does it do that? Combined with zero-tolerance policies at public schools, the drug war has successfully caused the suspension or expulsion of 80% of all students charged with drug infractions. Most of these adolescents were charged with simple possession, sometimes for something as small and miniscule as a single pill. [1]

Also, under the Drug Free Student Loans Act of 1998, these students are barred from obtaining federal financial loans or grants for higher education, essentially ruining many of their chances of getting into college. This law has also lead to the withdrawal of thousands of college students who have no other way of paying the tuition. People are constantly searching for ways to improve America’s educational system but they ignore this one glaring opportunity to help it. Not only that, but sending these “criminals” to prison gives them a criminal record which severely hampers their attempts at getting a job. This is partially why there are so many minority groups on welfare and unemployed. And as if that wasn’t enough, many states actually prohibit ex-felons (including those convicted of drug-related crimes) from driving or voting. You are also prohibited from collecting food stamps, seeking certain occupations, or even serving in the military. [1]

Drug abusers are punished when, instead, they should be treated. We should learn to help people not punish them. Zero-tolerance policies are just another form of over-criminalization and “getting tough on crime” clearly only creates more crime and despair. [2]

The only question up for debate, here, is should we legalize drugs…or decriminalize them? What’s the difference? Well, decriminalization is a policy that punishes offenses through means other than prisons (usually through fines instead). It is a low priority for the police but is still punishable by law and the policy is usually limited to possession only. Legalization is a system that allows the use and sale of drugs to adults under a system of regulation. [4]

Portugal decriminalized drugs and has since seen a reduction in drug abuse by about half. This, however, is more likely due to Portugal’s expansion in treatment for these abusers. Oregon and 10 other states tried decriminalizing drugs as well in the 70’s but drug abuse remained the same. Portugal’s innovative treatment procedures emerged due to its ending its own Drug War and focusing on treatment rather than incarceration. We should do the same. [3][4]

Other problems of decriminalization include [4]

  • · It still leaves the illegal supplier in place, leaving youth vulnerable.
  • · It’s still costly to law enforcement as it wastes time.
  • · It sustains the hypocrisy inherent in the double standard for alcohol and tobacco.
  • · And it deprives the government of potential large sums of revenue (which we kind of want to have during a time when our debt is as high as the sky).

The research backs up the claims that prohibition does not work, that over-criminalization and zero-tolerance policies do not work, and that the War on Drugs can more accurately be described as a War on Education or even the War on Jobs. We have done nothing but increase the prison population to the point where rapists and other violent felons are released early to make room for these other “criminals” and prisons getting rid of rehab programs for substance abusers who really need it. [5]

By legalizing drugs (not just decriminalizing them), we can virtually eliminate (or at the very least alleviate) all of these problems caused by the failed Drug War. Let us fight for treatment for our friends and family members who are abusing drugs rather than punishment. Let us fight for legalization!

References:

[1] http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/4cs/files/2008/11/blumenson-and-nilsenlawrev.pdf

[2] http://keithpounds.com/?p=373

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

[4] http://www.dpft.org/policy.htm

[5] http://www.squidoo.com/prison-overcrowding-is-quickly-becoming-a-major-problem-in-the-united-states

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Dangers of Multiculturalism

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Recently, I have begun to notice that there are some people out there with a radically different view point on how America should be seen. While I tend to think of the United States of America as a country, some people are trying to convince others out there that America is actually an idea! This assertion is born from the ideology known as multiculturalism. Proponents of multiculturalism seem to believe that America is not a definitive country that just so happens to be diverse, but an abstract concept, a land that belongs to everyone who wants to live there. Because of this, some people have dubbed America as a “universal nation” that should open its borders and encourage a more multicultural society. I, however, firmly believe that people should instead integrate the American culture into their own when they immigrate here, and I firmly oppose multiculturalism. Here is why.

Multiculturalism is a liberal idea and it has many things in common with other liberal ideas such as hate-crime laws and affirmative action: they all are born from the genuine (albeit misguided) desire to promote equality and fight hatred, they sound absolutely utopian in theory, but in the end they just worsen the problem they set out to destroy. I explained how hate-crime laws and affirmative action can be counter-productive in promoting friendlier race relations in my previous article “True Equality.” Here I can show and explain how multiculturalism does the same thing. All one has to do is look at the various countries that implement multicultural policies in order to see just how devastating they can be.

England is the prime example. After waves of immigrants flooded England after World War 2, the country (which had obviously become very racially/ethnically diverse) began implementing multiculturalist policies. This became especially controversial due to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and religiosity among the country’s Muslim youth. The report I placed in the references below (the third one) goes into more detail then I am able to cover in this brief article. Basically, the government began to treat minority groups, especially Muslims, as if they were completely separate races due to their differences. The media played up Islamaphobia as a major problem to the point where they overshot it, making it sound like a worse problem than it actually was. This victimization and special treatment caused many Muslims to feel separate from mainstream society, to the point of being vulnerable outsiders. To feel included, they demand more respect and recognition…which only causes them to feel more different and, by extension, more insecure. Then you lather, rinse, repeat.

This vicious cycle has caused many young people to turn to religion for a sense of community and purpose. It often gets to a point where the young become more religiously/socially conservative than their own parents (which is a completely opposite trend from what you’d expect). This increase in religiosity is a major reason behind increasing tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in England. The majority of Brits would feel uncomfortable living next to a Muslim and many refuse to even consider dating one. Not only that, but many Muslims themselves are outraged by the growing fundamentalism and want people to recognize that the majority of Muslims in England really aren’t like that (and they aren’t!) The silent majority that are the moderates and the vocal minority that are the fundies share very little in common but, under multiculturalism, are grouped together as if they were one and the same.

Multiculturalism fragments society into groups who begin to desire special treatment, undermines national unity, and just creates more racial tension that gets hidden away by political correctness gone mad. Studies have even shown that cities with the most diversity tend to be less charitable due to the extreme amounts of racial tension leading to distrust (even amongst those in the same group)!People seem to think that “culture” is a valid excuse for many groups who want to curtail human rights movements and avoid criticism for it. They get away with this because multiculturalism essentially punishes those who dare to be intolerant of the intolerant. If you criticize a Muslim who thinks that gays should be put to death, then you’re Islamaphobic and should learn to be more tolerant.

While I agree that all individuals should be treated equally, I don’t feel the same way about culture. As politically incorrect as this may be, I feel that, yes, some cultures are just plain barbaric. Human beings have brains. They have the capacity to determine if what they are doing is right or wrong. This is why it is okay to criticize others for feeling that gay people should be exterminated. This is why everybody hates Hitler and Nazi Germany. Nobody uses “culture” as a justification for their barbaric acts and beliefs so why should other people who share similar beliefs get a free ride.

In the end, multiculturalism just causes tribal thinking among minorities (they feel like nobody will look out for them except for the people within their own group so they have to stick up for each other) and makes them aggressive in asserting their identity. It just goes to show how people who base their entire self-worth and define themselves by their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion etc. are truly insecure.

I’m all for people expressing their individuality and having pride in who they are (though if you think your individuality should be based on your race then I suggest you seek therapeutic help) but not at the expense of true equality. Demanding special treatment because your religion makes you “unique and different” is NOT the same as expressing yourself. Everyone is different in some way and for the government to treat each group differently (while treating the people within those groups as if they were all the same) in the name of celebrating differences is clearly just a glamorized form of discrimination.

Ultimately, the best society we can help to create is one in which we show pride in our personal qualities and achievements rather than in more superficial traits such as skin color or religious belief. The best society is one in which we do not define ourselves by the groups that we belong to and do not receive special treatment because of it either. Until then, let us fight to end multiculturalism while also helping others integrate into American life comfortably. Liberty, charity, and true equality…I believe that that is what it means to be an American.

References:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?index=1&feature=PlayList&v=9JWuVNNvMvc&list=PL237CC976B9F0E6E1

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality

http://dvmx.com/British_Muslim_Youth.pdf

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2007/jan/15/00007/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6sYZxZi4qQ&feature=related

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Israel & United States Failing Relationship/How did Iran REALLY get Atomic Energy?

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Israel- United States Failing Relationship/How did Iran REALLY get Atomic Energy?

The United States and Israel seem to be getting a bit close to one another. Is it a bit too close for comfort? However, this closeness was torn apart according to some when recently, the Israeli Prime-Minster has come out and stated that the Israeli people will and should be able to defend Israel for itself and by itself. This shocking statement for the “conservatives” in the United States may leave them with a broken heart. However, this statement will bring Israel as one and make them understand the importance of National Defense and foreign relations with other surrounding nations.

In the case of Iran, the Israeli government, according to a few analysts, has already made it’s mind up on what it will be deciding to do if the Iranian government decides to go and create an atomic weapon. As it stands today, there is no evidence that shows that Iran is seriously thinking of presuming production of an atomic weapon. Iran is currently in a state of which is creating at most 20% atomic energy, which is perfectly legal on the international level (non-proliferation treaty).

Why is the United States afraid of this type of power generation? Don’t we realize that it was the United States who physically gave that region the ability to develop the energy? The Shah was planning to create a nation wide electric grid based on the atomic energy plans given by the United States. However, as everyone knows, the Iranian Revolution occurred, the Shah was gone, and tons of atomic equipment was left.

Something that the United States should currently be doing is removing arsenals, deals, treaties etc… that arm other nations with weapons that could be used against the United States in the future. Just imagine… What if the United States never gave that part of the world the ability to develop atomic energy? Would we still be in situation today?