Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Lies, Deceit, DFA and Herschel Baker

The most obvious flaw with pushing Zero Tolerance drug policies and prohibition is that you have to lie. Not just a few ambiguous quasi-facts but straight out deceit. For those who are religious it becomes a major problem as lying is also a serious breach of their self proclaimed faith.

To be part of a mostly Christian group like Drug Free Australia (DFA) who consistently have to contradict facts and science to push their Zero Tolerance message, there must be some compelling motives. And there is. Selfish motives ... conservative ideology, evangelism, fear of a changing world etc. It's not about better treatment for addicts, helping people or being Christian. I doubt that anyone, especially dedicated Christians would support their cruel, non compassionate dogma. Some might argue that they should just be ignored as irrelevant, similar to the professionals who simply overlook them as unscientific, biased and agenda driven. The problem is that they are dangerous. So when I found this comment(below) posted on The Australian Drug Blog from DFA’s Herschel Baker, I decided it was so full of deceit in two short paragraphs that it needed a response.
The cost imposed by alcohol abuse on society exceeds billions annually. This cost is not met by the money collected yearly by alcohol tax revenues. Each day people die from alcohol-related deaths and drink driving. Do tax revenues cover these costs? The major danger and cost of alcohol use results from using alcohol to the point of intoxication. Illegal drugs are always used to the point of intoxication and the users pose an even greater risk of causing death from accidents, suicide, and criminal behavior. The only reason that the death rate from illicit drugs is lower than that caused by alcohol abuse is that such drugs are illegal. Our current system of drug prohibition actually saves thousands of lives and billions of dollars in economic resources.

Drug education and prevention is most effective when it is backed by strong laws and law enforcement. Alcohol, is a legal drug for adults, is by far the drug of choice among young people. Moreover, attitudes toward illicit drugs have become far more negative than teenage attitudes toward drinking. We have yet to determine how to keep over 90% of our high schools seniors from taking a drink. It is ludicrous to think that the temptation of trying legal cheap drugs could be overcome solely through educational efforts.

-Herschel Baker : Drug Free Australia (DFA) - The Australian Drug Blog
When I first read this post, instead of my usual head shaking in disbelief at their stupidity, I was outraged and angry. In what could possibly be the most disgraceful comments ever, Herschel Baker stated that prohibition has saved thousands of lives. The truth is, worldwide, prohibition has caused maybe a million or so deaths over the years including massive suffering and alienation. It also includes the deaths and suffering of people I know as well as my own experience.

Apart from the prohibition fallacy, the post included several other major lies. Is this the standard course of action for DFA? To trick the public, government and MSM into believing their deluded ideology? Is lying acceptable as a means to an end? Do they have a pass from god to lie? Maybe this is why the scientific and medical community treat them with so much suspicion and disdain. Whichever way you look at it, it is deceitful. The really disturbing claim in this post is that prohibition saves lives. There is no mention of those pesky druggies who died or suffered at the hands of prohibition. No remorse for the carnage caused on people’s lives. Just hollow praise for a sick lie.

For those who have died from a dirty hit, overdosed in secret, been a victim of drug crime, killed in the line of duty etc. - What about us!!!

For the residents of Mexico on the US border who have been decapitated, the Colombian public tortured by the paramilitary, the non violent detainees who have died in the barbaric US prison system, the drug couriers executed in SE Asia, the drug addicts jailed and beaten in Russia, the Middle East, China etc. - What about us!!!

For my friends/family who have died or suffered - What about us!!!

Baker’s farcical quest to help drug addicts and improve drug treatment is hypocritical, mendacious and deceitful. His real mission is to enforce his interpretation of god’s law on society regardless of the carnage it causes. Deliberately lying should worry a real Christian but when you support the massive death toll from prohibition over the years and even praise it, then lying is just a piss in the ocean in comparison.
Our current system of drug prohibition actually saves thousands of lives and billions of dollars in economic resources.
For fuck’s sake, the cost of prohibition is the single biggest argument against prohibition. The US spend $69 billion dollars every year fighting the unwinnable war on drugs. Australia spends over $10 billion (Federal, states, local government, policing, incarceration etc) in total with most going towards law and order. The jail costs alone to keep non violent drug users locked up is enormous throughout the world. The resources to arrest pot smokers and process them through court is huge and one of the biggest complaints from police forces. How can Herschel Baker claim prohibition saves $billions in resources? The fact is, it’s a lie and any normal person should know this.
The major danger and cost of alcohol use results from using alcohol to the point of intoxication. Illegal drugs are always used to the point of intoxication and the users pose an even greater risk of causing death from accidents, suicide, and criminal behavior.
Wrong. One standard drink causes a degree of intoxication. That’s the point isn’t it? Otherwise we would all be drinking chocolate milk, soft drink or non alcohol wine. Tricky Dicky Nixon tried that argument in the 1970s and look what that started - The "War on Drugs".

For the purposely ignorant, “a few drinks” has no effect. Not true. Alcohol gives you a mild relaxation effect from one standard drink. About the same effect as one Valium, a few puffs on a joint, a small amount of opiates like morphine or heroin. This old argument of “a few drinks versus getting stoned” was dismissed decades ago but the anti-drug crusaders continue to play on the public’s ignorance. The fallacy that drug users cannot vary their intake like drinkers do is part of the lie that any use of illicit drugs deems the user instantly “out of their mind”. Attaching “the users pose an even greater risk of causing death from accidents, suicide, and criminal behavior [sic]” to intoxication is part of a primary school formula; Intoxication = danger and drugs = intoxication so drugs = danger. The missing variables are drug type, intoxication type, levels of intoxication and harm level of intoxication per type. Much too complex for the public when you can simply lie.

But isn’t this the tried and tested strategy for DFA? Make drug use a simple moral issue and keep the complexities of scientific facts away from the public. The most important variable overlooked here is the type of drug and Baker puts them all in the same basket. When was the last time someone committed robbery purely because they were “intoxicated” from a joint?
The only reason that the death rate from illicit drugs is lower than that caused by alcohol abuse is that such drugs are illegal
Another lie. Drugs are already available everywhere and overall they are inherently less dangerous than alcohol. A survey published in 3 major US media outlets by LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) asked the question, would you use hard drugs if they were legal? 99% said no. Cannabis has already been used by 40% of the western world and many reports claim that teenagers find it easier to obtain cannabis than alcohol and cigarettes. The simple truth is that the drug using population is mostly saturated already. Sure, there might be a slight initial increase but it would have to increase about 10 fold to over 80% to match alcohol use.
Drug education and prevention is most effective when it is backed by strong laws and law enforcement.
Absolutely bullocks. There is no evidence what-so-ever that harsher penalties prevent drug use. This is easily demonstrated by the US having very strict drug laws but remain as the world’s number one illicit drug consumer. Incidentally, they spend $billions on education and prevention. On the other end of the scale, The Netherlands and Switzerland have much more liberal drug laws but use in these countries is below the European average.
We have yet to determine how to keep over 90% of our high schools seniors from taking a drink.
What a statement! Have we really tried to stop all high school seniors from “taking a drink”? (this reeks of the Temperance Movement). We actively promote alcohol through advertising and often encourage it as normal behaviour. Until the recent push by the Rudd government, there has never been a serious attempt at changing our drinking culture. But drinking is not the problem as European communities have been giving their children alcohol for centuries. It’s the countries that strongly enforce total abstinence for kids that introduces the “forbidden fruit” factor. For Herschel Baker and DFA, alcohol takes second place to drugs although it causes more damage than all illicit drugs combined. Adding comments like the above is an attempt to discredit a pragmatic approach to illicit drugs like education and reinforce Baker’s preferred tactic of being “tough on drugs”.
It is ludicrous to think that the temptation of trying legal cheap drugs could be overcome solely through educational efforts.
Ludicrous? It’s been done already. Does Herschel Baker forget about the success of anti-smoking campaigns for one of the world’s most harmful and addictive substances ... tobacco? DFA are a disgrace. Their inane ramblings now stand out instead of being lost in the daily barrage of similar, like minded ideology. The heyday of Howard’s 1950s style Australia is over and they no longer have unlimited government support. Now they must make their own way which seems to include making comments on internet blogs and lying. With the demise of Howard and Bush, organisations like DFA will have to face a future of Harm Minimisation and evidence based policies replacing faith based initiatives. Maybe this pragmatic new era will finally expose the lies and deceit of dangerous and desperate groups like DFA.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I might be a bit naive when it comes to drugs but the comments made by this bloke are a joke and honestly easy to see through. Everyone should do what I did and do a google search on one Herschel Baker to see he will never change his mind even if he's wrong.

Ross B said...

I saw the latest dialogue with Baker on the Australian drug blog and what strikes me most is the assumptions he makes. I too, would question his motives like what Terry has done. I doubt if Baker is objective enough to make rational comments considering his stated position.

I like the latest post Terry on the ADB describing the Baker types as 'parasites' who thrive off the back of the drug treatment industry. You are right in your conclusions that they never contribute anything "scientific, psychiatric or medical" but only a moral component which in reality, has squat to do with a health issue such as drug dependancy.

Anonymous said...

What a moron!!
I am a nurse who sees what prohibition does everyday. It's not nice. They(prohibitionists) dont live in our world cause it's too realistic.
When somebody says; 'Our current system of drug prohibition actually saves thousands of lives and billions of dollars in economic resources.' you have to pinch yourself. Are they for real???

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comments.

Baker has added more muddled up, silly arguments to the ADB. Boy, he is really a black hole of logic.