"Who Are You To Tell Me How To Live??"

2014-12-04_10-28-12The above title seems very American in its character. We Americans, me included, just don’t like others telling us what to do or especially what to think. To some extent we are all rebel rousers in that regard. Some take this to an extreme by there “don’t confuse me with the facts”. We just don’t like being told what to do.

Prohibitionist tried to mandate what we do. We let a small handful of extremists convince us that drinking beer and such was the root cause of all our problems. If only we kept people from drinking we could shut down our jails and send our policemen home as all crime was related to alcohol.

Many religions try to tell us how to live and I believe that is the primary cause for the continuing decline of religion in this country. Some insist that we are all just miserable sinners who can’t do anything right. That alone raises the ire of so many of us. America is the land of opportunity and to be told we are incapable of doing anything right just grates on us.

The similarity between Prohibition and our current drug laws is striking. We incarcerate more of our citizens than any other nation and many if not most of those imprisonments are drug related. What was once legal in now considered a crime. Coke was named such because it once had a small dosage of cocaine in it to make us happier.  Ironically we as a nation, especially the more conservative ones among us, want to tell you how your are to live.

Is it really necessary to lock someone up for years at a time for doing something that primarily affects only them? If someone wants to get high on this drug or that is that reason enough to deny them their freedom? I know this is a radical stand but it seems to at least be partially playing out in our current discussions of the legalization of marijuana. How much money could we save if we legalized all drugs? If you want to destroy your life that should be your option.

Now let me step back a little on this issue. I am not advocating eliminating all responsibility of the consequences of drug use. If you steal to get your drugs you will be prosecuted. If you harm others directly or indirectly you will be prosecuted. This is kind of like the gun issue although I suspect most people advocating guns have the opposite view on this issue. You have a right to a gun even if it means that your young son ends up killing himself with it. You have a right to abuse your body if you want to.

Who is the government to tell me how to live my life?

I need to end this post with a personal declaration. I have never tried any currently illegal drug myself. I did smoke cigarettes for thirty years and hope that the past 25 years without them have cancelled their health effects. I have a beer now and then but do so responsibly.

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