Saturday, May 10, 2008

Your "War" On Drugs At Work

Take a wacky "war" with irrational, unachievable paternalistic goals, add over-armed, overly-aggressive paramilitary-wannabe cops, and mix in malleable courts willing to give said cops anything you want...and, well, can anything good reasonably be expected to come of this?


Blogger The Mystic said...

I've determined that anyone who supports the illegalization of drugs other than those that make people immediately dangerous to others (PCP, for example) is a total moron.

Events like this are just abhorrent - EVEN IF he had drugs, it would be abhorrent. I just can't get over the idea that people think it's ok to invade people's homes, shoot them, ruin their lives, send them to jail, all of that over psychoactive substances that present no threat to others - only to themselves, and often times those threats to the people who use the substances are in the range of minor to nonexistent when the substance is used responsibly.

Hell, if we're going to illegalize substances because they COULD be abused, we should make food illegal aside from government organized rationing. Look at all the obese people in our country!

It really is unbelievable that these rules exist in a modern society. Every time I think about it, I'm truly shocked with disbelief - like somehow people are surely just around the corner from changing such absurdities.

The worst part is - it's not like people simply make the mistake of trying to let the government protect people from themselves. That would at least be a somewhat understandable mistake. Rather, people willfully attempt to amass misinformation regarding drugs and their effects on humans in order to support their pre-existent notions of the immorality of the consumption of said substances. It's truly a real-life conspiracy theory with the ridiculously over the top misinformation campaigns carried on by the government about such substances.

One could argue that the government truly believes the things it says about drugs, but honestly, a brief look at what they say shows that that is extremely unlikely (see for an incredible rundown of some of the bullshit out there. I was for some reason disinclined to add links to my blog when I wrote that, but you can find the page to which I refer at - it's truly unbelievable to the informed.)

Just saying that makes me sound like a wacko, but honestly, the information is out there in scientific journals and other reliable sources, it's just that there's no one willing to actually change their minds about the moral nature of drug use.

Positively absurd.

11:22 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

While we're on this topic, I'd like to copy over one part of the article I wrote on my blog because I think it illuminates the issue of which I complain quite nicely. This is taken from the talking points brochure I linked you to from that ridiculous National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign:

If your kid says "I know straight A students who smoke pot", you say "Most kids who smoke marijuana don't make straight As. Research shows that kids with an average grade of "D" or below were more than four times more likely to have used marijuana in the past year as kids who reported an average grade of A."

This is the worst of the bunch. It clearly demonstrates the way the government twists statistics to support their statements. The statistics used to back the argument given fail to support the claim being made. The argument is broken down thusly:

1) Kids who have D averages are four times more likely to have smoked pot than kids who have A averages.
-Note: This statistic is NOT equivalent with the claim: There are four times the amount of kids who have a D average and smoke pot than the amount of kids who have an A average and smoke pot.

2) Therefore, most kids who smoke pot don't make As.

3) [Charitable Construction of Implied Conclusion] This proves that, while you may know some people who have As and smoke marijuana, chances are that marijuana will cause you to have a D average rather than an A average.

Let's examine the statistic being used in proposition 1 to support the rest of the argument: did a study in 2003 in which they found that, over a 13 year study, less than 5% of high school students have GPAs under 2.0. A 2.0 is an average grade of "C", so to be overly generous, I'd say that no more than 3% of kids have Ds as their average grades.
-75% of high school students enter college (
-50% of college freshman had an A average ( - sorry - I had to really dig around for this information since NO one will post nation-wide grade breakdowns which is probably why our education system has so many problems).

That means that 37.5% of all high school students have A averages while about 3% have D averages.

So if you take that to be correct (and I think it is at least ballpark correct, given my experience in a most likely statistically-representative high school), we can use this figure to examine the true meaning of the statistics cited by the parent:

The statistics cited by the parent explain a relation. The relation is that the percentage (note - this is not an absolute number, but a percentage of a population) of children with D averages who smoke marijuana is four times higher than the percentage of children with A averages who smoke marijuana. Therefore, this statistic it relates the percentage of children smoking marijuana and attaining a D average to the percentage of children smoking marijuana and attaining an A average. So, the statistic can be expressed algebraically, with only one variable:

Percentage of children smoking marijuana and possessing an A average: x
Percentage of children smoking marijuana and possessing a D average: 4x

Remember that the total amount of kids with Ds is 3%. Of that 3%, x% smoke pot, leaving us with (3 * (4 *0.x)) percent of the entire population of kids in the United States who both possess a D average and smoke pot.

Then you have x% of the A kids, who comprise 37.5% of all students, who smoke pot. That leaves us with (37.5 * 0.x) percent of the entire population of kids in the United States who both possess an A average and smoke pot.

These two calculations generate the following figures:

Percentage of all children in the United States who both smoke marijuana and possess an A average: (37.5 * 0.x)
Percentage of all children in the United States who both smoke marijuana and possess a D average: (3 * (4 * 0.x))

Now, since the figures offered by the parent demonstrate only a relationship and not any hard numbers, we can reduce these equations to give us a ratio of the amount of children in the United States who smoke marijuana and have an A average in comparsion to the amount of children in the United States who smoke marijuana and have a D average:

37.5 * 0.x / 3 * 4 * 0.x =

37.5 * 0.x / 12 * 0.x =

37.5 / 12 =


That's right, that means that for every one child there is out there who smokes marijuana and has a D average, there are 3.125 children who smoke marijuana and have an A average. Whatever figure you hypothesize as the amount of kids who both have Ds and smoke pot, there will be 3.125 times as many kids smoking pot with A averages. The statistic cited by the parent defeats the parent's own argument when understood properly.

11:59 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Yargh, there are some typos in there, but it should be discernable. For instance:

"Of that 3%, x% smoke pot" should be "Of that 3%, 4x% smoke pot". Not a big deal since it's corrected in the actual math.

Whatever, I think that makes my point sufficiently.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Whoa. Nice job, M.

7:09 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

But 'anhedonia' is such a cool word.

Zer vill be no hafing ov fun!

A related story.

4:35 PM  

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