ambiguity

February 25, 2010

MDP And Its Uncanny Resemblance To Religion

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 12:36 pm

Just as I’ve never understood Cheryl Tweedy’s attraction to Ashley “Tapped-Up” Cole, similar sentiments surface regarding the willingness of man to kill other man, especially for crimes which, even to the dimmest of individuals, don’t seem to be as serious as others.

I’ve made my stance clear before about the mandatory death penalty in regards to drug trafficking. While the future of Yong Vui Kong remains uncertain, the same cannot be said about Akmal Shaikh. The Pakistan-born Brit was executed in China for trafficking heroin late last year.

It seems the common argument from advocates of this archaic and cruel punishment is that judging by the amount of harm drugs cause, surely people who carry and distribute them should be eliminated from society. These vile, disgusting chemicals, filled with the potential to kill brain cell after brain cell, charged with the task of dimming the already dense human race should not exist, and neither should the ones who provide them. I call this argument, and the people who use it, arrogant.

The very idea that providers of drugs cause all the harm is arrogant, simply because it sounds like they’re saying “if they didn’t exist, the world would be a better place.” This arrogant assertion that drug traffickers ruin people suggest that they don’t believe themselves to be causing any harm, that they’re better. Plain arrogance. Compare that to the arrogance displayed by religion. “I’m sure that if we all believed, the world would be a better place.” Doesn’t look too different, does it.

Besides arrogance, another quality that is being exposed is irresponsibility. It is, after all, easier to throw the broken TV out and get a new one than to fix it. Insisting that these traffickers be executed is essentially shirking all responsibility. Do we not all have a choice? To use or not to use, that is the question. Why is it that nobody ever blames themselves for succumbing to the lure of drugs? This weak-mindedness is what should be addressed. Instead of trying to fix ourselves through education and rehabilitation, the simpletons jump straight to “kill, kill and kill”, simply because it is the only solution they can come up with that doesn’t involve them having to open their minds and liberate their thoughts. Does that ring a bell? If so, does the ringing sound a little like “death to the infidel”?

Finally, ignorance. Which seems to sum it all up, actually. Why is a woman who murdered her teenage daughter in her sleep sentenced to 5 years in prison, while a drug mule faces death? Why is potential for harm worse than actual, direct harm? Why is a 52 year old woman who, under the influences of her alleged mental condition, took the life of her own flesh and blood, given a new lease of life while a 21 year old faces expiration for transporting substances which could cause harm? It makes absolutely no sense to me. To claim that drugs would cause more harm in the long run is a stupid argument because no one can be sure of that. But we can all be sure that Goh Hai Eng’s teenage daughter will not be raised from the dead in three days.

Being pro-death penalty and pro-mandatory death penalty are two different things. Sure, I’m pro-death penalty. But I am not going to advocate compulsory murder. I am not going to subscribe to the belief that anyone caught with a certain amount of drugs should automatically have to die. It is beyond ignorant and unbelievably inhumane. It is a sign that the rule of law doesn’t take itself seriously. It says that anyone who commits the same crime, irregardless of circumstances, should be punished the same way, simply because it is convenient to assume that their intentions are similar. While I am all for convenience and efficiency, it disgusts me that such contempt of human rights can be displayed so openly, just so that the people involved can get to T.G.I.Friday’s in time for happy hour.

While the rule of law and religion falls under the same category(ridiculous), the big difference is that with the rule of law, reforms can be imposed. Alterations can be made. And unlike religion, it will not be mocked.

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2 Comments »

  1. I don’t get your point about arrogance. It seems to be part of the postmodern, relativist spiel that’s in vogue nowadays: “Let he who has not sinned…” But that’s rubbish. Of course drugs like heroin and morphine are harmful. The only issue is whether the law’s response is the right one.

    You then talk about the irresponsibility (of the drug users). Well, the State happens to take a multi-pronged approach, dealing with both the supply of (trafficking) and demand for (possession) drugs, and running rehabilitation programmes as well as imposing criminal penalties. Both the supplier and the user are deemed blameworthy — the user’s wrong choices don’t magically make the supplier’s wrong choices go away. If I supply a friend a gun knowing that she will use it to kill someone else, am I excused simply because of my friend’s free choice to murder?

    The issue is whether the supplier ought to be deemed more culpable (as the current sentencing regime indicates). I think a strong case can be made — although this need not of course justify the use of the death penalty against the drug trafficker. You say that the drug user has a ‘choice’, but this hardly seems to square with reality. If people’s experiences with the two most popular drugs in society (alcohol and nicotine) are anything to go by, there isn’t really an initial, calculated ‘choice’ to take drugs. Instead, people think it’s possible to simply experiment with them, without getting hooked; in doing so, they overestimate their own willpower, and underestimate the withdrawal symptoms. And then they’re caught in the addiction cycle, so that ‘choosing’ to quit becomes a mere theoretical possibility. Even if small, the drug mule’s degree of choice over his actions is surely more than the drug addict’s (trafficking isn’t the only way to make money; getting one’s fix is the only way to keep withdrawal symptoms away). That being the case, why can’t we hold the supplier relatively more culpable?

    Comment by la nausée — February 26, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

  2. It is in no way connected to the casting of the first stone. It is, however, connected to distribution of accountability, and the assumption that society would benefit from the demise of these traffickers. It’s not the idea of blaming the traffickers that is arrogant. It is the consensus that society would be better off without these people. There is a huge difference between the two. One says “it’s their fault”. The other says “kill them cos we, the good people, would lead better lives”. Arrogance.

    Yes, of course the supplier is more culpable. I ask you this then: Who is the supplier really? The drug mule? The transporter? The one who supplies it to addicts. Or the one who supplies to him? Sure, you give a psychopath a gun and he will kill. But if nobody gives you the gun to hand to the psychopath, Columbine never happens.

    I, of course, understand the lures of nicotine and alcohol, and the speech in your head that goes on before you partake. Why do you think it’s there though? Is it because we aren’t educated enough to know the extent of harm that drugs could cause, or are we just that stubborn? Or course, it could very well be a combination of the two. So the question really is whether it is more effective to educate, or to remove the stubborn gene. My money’s on education.

    Supply and demand. Which do you first eliminate? In the case of drugs, eliminate one supply line and another will emerge. Such is the power of drug trading. There’s so much money in it, people would put their lives on the line. But if you eliminate demand, would that not make the drug trade less profitable? Do you think a drug mule would risk his life transporting a pocky box full of cocaine for $100? Would it not make more sense to eliminate demand than to attempt to cut off the supply lines?

    Hold the drug mule accountable. Sure. Nobody’s attempting to absolve him of his crime via his sob story. What I’m saying is don’t be in such a hurry to execute him. I’m saying convict him, but give him a sentence that matches the crime. And if it has to be the death penalty, at least remove the mandatory status.

    Having said all that, i found your latest post extremely insightful. I especially agree that liberals probably don’t realise that they have pre-determined, by their own standards, the definition of democracy and an informed public.

    I’m not a big fan of the “right to life” argument. I find that it lacks substance and on the rare occasion that i do use it, i often feel immense shame immediately after. But what really pisses me off is how much the law makes users seem like the victims. That’s where my choice argument comes in. Since they both made bad choices, why not equal punishment? Why rehabilitate users and slaughter the middleman? Both dealt with drugs. One had money to buy drugs, the other had no money and had to sell drugs. If you’re going to kill someone, take them both. If not, put the rope away.

    Comment by theinkhorn — February 26, 2010 @ 10:44 pm


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