Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learning and Teaching are My Anti-Drugs

Perhaps the ultimate goal of education is to learn how to govern yourself.

I was peer-reviewing a friend's paper just now. She is arguing for the "decriminalization" of marijuana. I'm not prepared to say I agree with her arguments, but what I am leaning towards is a system where the innocent aren't having to spend their hard-earned money to punish the guilty. Especially when the guilty are only harming themselves.

This reminds me of the movie Thank You For Smoking. Is it ethical for lobbyists and advertisers to fight for people's right to buy and entice people into buying tobacco, alcohol, or guns (all of which are legal but have killed many)? If you haven't seen the movie, it follows a tobacco lobbyist. He is good friends with a gun lobbyist and an alcohol lobbyist. They say that people have the right to choose.

This right to choose our vices makes me think of all the other things people choose for their lives. Do I have sex on the first date? Do I spend $50 a week on make up? Do I watch four hours of television a day? Do I curse in front of my grandmother? Do I eat whatever I want to and never work out?

None of the aforementioned things are against the law. None of them are beneficial to my life either. I have come to realize, since I've been at college, and since I've let go of religious dictates, that I am smart enough and I love myself enough to make good decisions about my behavior.

I think that when a person or an institution sets him/her/itself up as authority figure and begins setting down mandates, he/she/it runs the risk of losing the validity behind the rule of law. If the law is meant to protect us, perhaps part of that protection is making sure that we are capable of knowing how to protect ourselves.

I don't smoke weed. But based on the research that I saw laid out in my friend's paper, it's looking like that should be another right we give back to the people. If you are not hurting anyone outside your person, perhaps it is detrimental to the system to try and regulate your behavior.

I learn something new everyday.
Learning and teaching are my anti-drugs.

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