Monday, July 27, 2009

This mad world of drugs and suicide

There is a rather interesting debate going on over at Conservative Home about suicide and assisted suicide. As I would expect the word "God" appears in the commentary, along with saying that suicide is wicked.

The article itself makes no demarcation of the shades of grey in the debate sadly, so the terminally ill, perhaps someone that has been fighting cancer for seven years and is riddled throughout their bones, in sheer agony, drinking liquid morphine, is, at least in the view of the author, committing a wholly wicked act if they decided enough was enough.

There is also the usual and fallacious "slippery slope" type argument where one takes the subject matter and then extrapolates a linear path for leading to the "where will it all end, euthanasia on demand because you feel a bit rough?!!?!?!". The article is, to say the least, largely bollocks.

However, it's in the comments where the really interesting part is. A discussion fired off which went on a slight tangent, and the subject of individual freedom in respect of taking drugs appeared. This led to a Tory councillor from Basildon, Steve Horgan saying the following,
The freedom to take drugs is the freedom for the vulnerable to be lied to by drug dealers pushing their wares and followed by the freedom to become hopelessly addicted to crack cocaine followed by the freedom to sell their bodies for cash to support their addiction.
See that "slippery slope" logic rear its head again? What's more, see how taking drugs leads to you being a crackhead and eventually a whore? Errr hello? Is there anybody in there?* There are hundreds of thousands of us out here that have taken drugs that have not taken that route. We are in the majority Mr Horgan, we are the massive exceptions that disprove your rule. You are, for want of a better phrase, 'chatting more shit' than someone who's pilling their nut off in a rave.

The thing is there is a more important failure in his argument than that. If there really was the freedom to take drugs - and by that I mean the freedom from arrest and criminalisation - then you wouldn't be being lied to by a drug dealers anyway because the illegal market where the criminals control it would collapse. That's why the decriminalisation argument is so powerful and the slippery slope stuff is complete nonsense.

There is a deeper irony here though when we link Councillor Horgan's argument to the wider one of suicide. For Councillor Horgan, drugs lead to the terrible world of addiction, ergo despair, and that a jolly well horrible place to let people be don't you know. However, it appears it is perfectly alright for someone to be terminally ill and addicted to prescribed morphine, and what's more they can;t have the freedom to end it all if they wish.

Isn't it rather quaint to see someone arguing that drugs are bad and lead to prostitution and painful addicting. Yet at the same time appearing to argue that it's perfectly alright to effectively prescribe heroin (for that is what diamorphine is), create an addict on the taxpayer, and then make them live out their days live out their days in excruciating pain?

It's a funny old world isn't it?
* To those who got it, that was a funny reference huh?

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