Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's my body and I'll do what I want

Hello again!

So first off, orders of business. I agree that Casey shouldn't have to complete a punishment because of blogger's glitches. Alas, the only punishment next week will be mine.

Casey: I completely agree with your soapbox. I was actually going to write about gay marriage as well, but I think you wrote about it in a much more eloquent way than I could have. And you had facts! So, I think you covered it well and it suffices to say that I completely agree.

Carlyn: Interesting challenge! Finding time to do the challenge should be pretty easy seeing as I'm living alone this summer (or at least until my absent roommate finds a subletter), it's the doing-something-I-wouldn't-normally-do that I'll have to think about some more... hmmmm.

Alexandra: I really appreciated your soapbox topic because it made me realize that, even as someone who proudly supports equal rights for all, I hadn't given much thought to the marriage rights of polygamists and polyamorists. I'm quite ashamed that I hadn't thought about it and I think you made very good points that I agree with. I'll touch on this more in my soapbox topic, but I don't think the government has any place to tell us what to do in our private lives and with our bodies. If they can't tell us where to live and where to work, then why can they tell us who we can marry?

Cassie: While reading your soapbox topic I kept being reminded of Harry Potter. Let me explain. It seems that in children's literature (Harry Potter being at the forefront of my mind) that children are much more able than in real life. However, this isn't actually the case! I don't think it's that children are able to accomplish more in fictional works than in real life, it's simply that we are not as cognizant of their abilities in real life, less willing to acknowledge their capacity to influence the world despite their young age. Great topic!

As for my topic? I debated about this for awhile. I initially was going to write about gay rights, but like I said above, I think Casey did a great job talking about it and there's not much else I would add to her argument. I was then going to talk about animal rights, specifically the fad of pets as accessories, which angers and disgusts me. I saw this picture online today, of the monkey from The Hangover at the premiere for The Hangover II, and it made me want to hurl stones and obscenities at whoever thought to do this:


What. The. Fuck. What were they thinking?? That is a monkey! A wild animal! It's not some fun toy there for your amusement, for you to put in a dress and parade around to publicize your movie! Just... Fuck you whoever thought of that and fuck you whoever OKed it!! That is NOT okay.

Okay, so I guess I actually have two soapboxes now that I think about it. The monkey-not-a-toy one being the first, and my second being governmental control of personal rights. Many people are up in arms over Ron Paul's opinion on heroin and prostitution. You see, he believes that both should be legalized. Well, I agree with him. I don't believe that the government should have the ability to tell us, first off, what we can and cannot do with our bodies. If I wanted (which, for the record, I don't) to have sex with people for money, I should be able to. It's MY BODY. I should be able to make money with it however I choose to (as long as I do not harm others), not just by using it to flip burgers or make a latte, but also by providing sexual services. Legalizing prostitution would, of course, also make it healthier for both the customers and the prostitutes themselves, but that is not my main argument at the moment. My argument here is that the government is telling us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies when they really should have no right to do so. As for Ron Paul's support for the legalization of heroin, I also agree. If a person, knowledgeable about heroin's effects and associated health risks, wants to use the drug in their own home, let them. My opinion on this is not focused solely on heroin, but on all drugs. Marijuana, cocaine, LSD... if someone wants to use these drugs without harming other people, why shouldn't they be able to? It's not the government's place to babysit its people, telling them what's good and bad for them and not letting them have their dessert until they've finished supper. If someone wants to have that cake before finishing their spaghetti, that's their decision and they can deal with the consequences of their own decision. As long as eating that cake doesn't somehow affect another person against their will, there shouldn't be a problem. As with prostitution, legalizing drugs would make the drug industry much safer. There would be health guidelines for the drugs, people would know what they were getting, drugs would be taxable (thus helping out the government), etc. However, for this soapbox I'm focusing on the "It's my life and I'll do what I want as long as I don't hurt anyone else!" side. People who know me might find this stance a bit odd seeing as I have never done any drugs and do not plan on it, but there you go. Just because I don't want to do drugs doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to, and the same goes for all of you!

Edit: Discussion in the comments has brought up some good points, so I wanted to edit some things in here. I said this in the comments, but I'm putting it here too for neatness and accessibility: "I also want to clarify some things that I didn’t state outright in my post. Legalized drugs would still have a minimum age limit (personally, I think 18 would be appropriate, but others might prefer 21). Proper licensing would be necessary in order to make and sell drugs. Drug sellers as they are now would not be able to just go about their business as usual; they would need to submit to inspection, meet guidelines, apply for the proper licenses, etc. Just as you can’t sell liquor without a liquor license, you wouldn’t be able to just go out and sell marijuana for a bit of spare cash. Use of drugs and being under the influence of drugs while in public would also be illegal (similar to public intoxication). I think it goes without saying that driving while under the influence of drugs would also be illegal (as it is now)." I will also add that the argument about the highly addictive quality of drugs is one that I go back and forth on a lot as a reason to keep hard drugs illegal. Yes, they can be harmful, but if someone is fully aware of the risks and still wants to use them, why shouldn't they be able to? Please go check out the comments for more discussion, I (personally) find it very interesting!

14 comments:

  1. I agree that prostitution and marijuana should be legalized, but some of those other drugs have much more adverse effects on people's bodies, so I'm a bit iffy on that part.

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  2. I see where you coming from, but I don't really agree. However, I'm anticipating that my comments below will end up arguing both sides, so we'll see where I stand at the end of it.

    I don't think prostitution or harmful drugs should be legalized. People do stupid things when they're allowed to. Yeah, it's their choice, but making it illegal is for the good of themselves and others around them. Like drunk driving. I think more people would dare to drive when they've had a few drinks if they weren't afraid of the legal consequences. Of course people don't want to hurt people, but people have a sense of invincibility, the it-won't-happen-to-me syndrome.

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  3. Using children as an example, they need to be 'regulated' by guardians, telling them what's okay and not okay, or else they'd grow up wild and with no morals. A child would eat a tub of ice cream if no one stopped them, and regret it only when they got sick to their stomach. I don't think there ever comes a point where a human being should not have regulations in their life, because child or adult, people will take advantage of being allowed to do something. And things like prostitution and drugs are things that can lead to addiction and worse. I think it can (not that it WILL but that it CAN) also easily lead to degradation of society and that individual. The government’s regulations are for the safety and decency of society and the individual. (For example, we're not allowed to build a 6-story garage in our back yards, because it would affect the aesthetic of our neighborhoods. You could say that's unfair, but it's 'for the good' of our neighborhood. Also, prostitution and some drugs would contribute to diseases. I know you said it would be regulated if legal, but I don’t think it could be regulated very effectively. And also, concerning safety, drugs would lead to addiction, which is unhealthy and unsafe for the individual.)

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  4. Not everything falls under this category though; the category of things that should be regulated or made illegal. For example, gay marriage should be legal because it's every human beings right to marry who they want. (Though you could, and are arguing that sex, and paying for sex, should be a right for all human beings too.) And also, just because most people think one way doesn’t make it right. Black people used to be considered inferior by the government and by voters and obviously they were wrong in thinking that. My thoughts are just the times that I live in, my upbringing, etc. I do think that marijuana will be made legal eventually, the more liberal society gets. And maybe marijuana shouldn’t be illegal. In all honesty, I don’t know enough about it – how addictive is it? How readily available would it be? How damaging is it to the body?

    Gosh, I’ve been writing this comment for the good portion of the morning! I’ve reread it so many times, the contents of it are jarbled all together in my head, and I hardly know what I’ve written. I hope it makes sense and that I didn’t forget a crucial part of my argument! Feel free to point out holes in my opinion; I don’t want to be naïve about my viewpoints!

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  5. Also, your comment about children having the ability to influence the world despite their age, I thought of this TED speaker a that I watched the other day. http://www.ted.com/talks/adora_svitak.html

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  6. I really like this discussion! I'm going to break up my responses into separate parts to correspond with each argument (and because the whole thing won't fit in one comment). Also I want to preface this by saying that my disagreements with your points aren't an attack against you, which I'm sure you know anyway. :)

    1. I don't think drunk driving is a good example to use because it's not comparable. I very specifically made sure to mention that I support legalized drugs as long as the user is not putting another person at risk or harming them in any way. Alcohol is legal, but drunk driving is not. I think it should go without saying that if drugs were legalized, driving under the influence would still be illegal (in fact it already is).

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  7. 2. I also don't think using children as an example is an appropriate argument against legalizing drugs since legalization would be for adults. Children are mentally and emotionally different from adults. Yes, children need guidance and rules... so that they then grow up to be able to regulate themselves. Also, without getting into the science and psychology of it too much, the sense of invincibility that you mentioned is mainly seen in teenagers and people with damage to the prefrontal cortex. In teenagers, the prefrontal cortex is not fully formed, so they are not able to fully regulate their actions and make logical decisions in the face of intense emotions. Around the age of 20, the prefrontal cortex is fully formed and people are able to make logical decisions, weigh the pros and cons of a situation, consider consequences, etc. I don't think you're giving people enough credit for their ability to control themselves. You could smoke if you want to, but do you? No, because you know it's bad for you and see no point to it. I think it's fallacious to believe that people who don't do drugs now would suddenly go out and scoop them up if they were legalized. Yes, some people would experiment with them if they were legal, but for the most part I believe that those people who don't do drugs now would continue to abstain if they were legal.

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  8. 3. The example of zoning (not being able to build a 6-story building in the middle of two houses) is, I believe, also not applicable to this situation. Zoning exists because the houses, stores, apartments, government buildings, etc. affect the people who live and work around them. I fail to see how properly regulated, legalized drugs would affect the public any differently than, for example, use of cigarettes or alcohol. Just as public intoxication is illegal, public use of drugs or being under the influence of drugs in public would also be illegal.

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  9. 4. Degradation of society. This is a tricky one- everyone has a different definition of what they see as “degradation of society.” I personally don’t think that simply throwing out “it can lead to the degradation of society” is a valid argument because the definition varies so much. I would rather see specific arguments about what would be adversely affected and how. Some people believe that gay marriage leads to the degradation of society; back in the 50s and 60s, some believed that allowing African Americans to use the same bathrooms as white people would lead to the degradation of society. The “degradation of society” is such a varying and vague idea that I don’t think it should be the basis of any political decisions.

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  10. 5. Addiction. On this point I do go back and forth quite a bit. Many illegal drugs have adverse effects and are highly addictive. Keeping these drugs illegal may protect people who would use them. However, if a person is aware of the health risks and addiction associated with a certain drug and still wants to use it, why should the government be able to tell them no? Many addictive substances are already legal: tobacco and alcohol, for example. Smoking is highly addictive and also detrimental to one’s health, but it is up to an individual to decide if the risks are worth it in their personal case. I do think it would be a good idea to have a sort of “drug license” that one must obtain before being able to buy and use drugs. For example, there could be mandatory drug education classes in which the health effects, risks, and addictive qualities of drugs are taught, followed by a test in order to receive a license. As long as people are fully informed of the risks associated, I think they should be able to make their own decisions pertaining to their own health. Also, to answer your question about marijuana, it’s not addictive. And it’s actually less harmful to the body than alcohol. It’s really quite ridiculous that it’s illegal, whereas alcohol is legal.

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  11. 6. Diseases. I’ll quote you for exactness: “I know you said it would be regulated if legal, but I don’t think it could be regulated very effectively.” Well, it could be regulated just as effectively as alcohol and tobacco are regulated now, which, I think, is pretty effectively. Bringing up the risk of diseases is actually, in my opinion, an argument in favor of legalization of drugs and prostitution. First off: prostitution. If prostitution were legalized, much like in Amsterdam, prostitutes would have to undergo health exams and pass disease tests in order to practice. Testing would be very beneficial to both the prostitutes and the clients, keeping them both healthy. (A side note: legalizing prostitution would also be very beneficial for prostitutes because they could be their own boss, as it were, not having to submit to and endure abuse from pimps. They would also be able to find protection against and justice for abuse suffered at the hands of their clients. I believe it would be a step forward in the fight against abuse of women.) As for drugs, as it is now, if someone is buying, say, ecstasy, they have no way of knowing exactly what they are getting. It could be pure ecstasy, or it could be ecstasy with some bleach cut in, a mixture which could prove deadly. Legalized drugs would mean regulation of those drugs. Just as prescription drugs have health guidelines and ingredient regulations, illicit drugs would also submit to guidelines. If makers of drugs had to regulate their ingredients and submit to government inspection, the product they then sell to consumers would be cleaner, healthier (in terms of the drug, that is), and have fewer associated risks. Many diseases are also passed through use of drug paraphernalia (for example, needles used with heroin). If drugs were legalized, users could have access to cleaner equipment, reducing the risk of disease transmission.

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  12. I also want to clarify some things that I didn’t state outright in my post. Legalized drugs would still have a minimum age limit (personally, I think 18 would be appropriate, but others might prefer 21). Proper licensing would be necessary in order to make and sell drugs. Drug sellers as they are now would not be able to just go about their business as usual; they would need to submit to inspection, meet guidelines, apply for the proper licenses, etc. Just as you can’t sell liquor without a liquor license, you wouldn’t be able to just go out and sell marijuana for a bit of spare cash. Use of drugs and being under the influence of drugs while in public would also be illegal (similar to public intoxication). I think it goes without saying that driving while under the influence of drugs would also be illegal (as it is now).

    Phew, I feel like I just wrote an essay! Which I practically did and it was…. fun? I miss college. Let me know what you think about my points, please!

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  13. I don't have time to comment now, but I will later. I also really enjoy this! I always liked writing essays and that's exactly what this feels like.

    I can't find a button that will inform me when this post was commented on.. I guess I just have to keep checking..

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  14. Good job on responding, Beth, haha!
    I'm not going to get into all the topics you guys are eating up, but I do want to mention that the monkey is in the film and is wearing clothing through the whole thing. The filming and the premiere were probably no different to the monkey - camera, bright lights and lots of people, except the premiere is one night and the shoot is several months. So wouldn't the fact that they used a monkey in the film be worse? And concerning that, shouldn't every movie that uses a wild animal be judged similarly?
    Being a high budget Hollywood production, I'm sure the monkey was treated very well, but I'm interested to hear what you have to say, I might change my mind.

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