The following is the majority of the text of a comment I left on RichardDawkins.net in response to their link to a guest commentary by A C Grayling featured in the Scottish edition of The Herald which you can read here.
Bravo to AC Grayling for this wonderful essay. Long have I worried that I was the only one who believed that criminalisation of the sex and drug trades are part of the problem and not in any way a solution. As many people have indeed pointed out legalisation of such trades is not the ultimate solution as criminal trafficking still persists in areas where prostitution and drug distribution is legal, however the majority of the problems and indeed the criminal landscape surrounding these industries would certainly be greatly diminished. As AC so lucidly points out, criminalising these industries tends to push the victims of trafficking and other illegal activities away from where we could potentially act to help them down a never-ending rabbit hole that few people can hope to return from.
It is a shocking state of affairs that such significant time and effort has been expended over the past so many decades around the world to fight against such benign issues as cannabis which has arguably been responsible for very few deaths in comparison to the amount of deaths that can be directly and distinctly linked to alcohol abuse alone. As I’m sure most people can appreciate even during times of recession criminal enterprises thrive through their drug and prostitution industries, however, if such industries were government supervised, funded and taxed, society as a whole would benefit significantly from the increased revenue availabe both to the state and to potential business and entrepreneurs.
Paralell to this, society as a whole would benefit greatly from the air of openness and freedom that would be promoted by the breaking down of the walls of legality and morality surrounding such issues as being “caught” visiting a brothel or partaking of cannabis or cocaine for recreational purposes.
While users of hard drugs such a heroin and cocaine do indeed tend to be on the wrong side of the law, they are merely forced to be so due to the prevailing laws regarding the use of such substances and despite this technicality are as likely as any other person to indeed be moral, upstanding members of society. Quite a number of alcohol imbibers are moral upstanding people. Quite a number of tobacco smokers are upstanding moral people. Quite a number of steroid users are moral upstanding people. The only dividing difference between these people and users of illegal drugs is that society brands them en masse as deviants and criminals (as a general label not specifically based on their contravention of the specific drug laws in question) based on their use of substances arbitrarily outlawed by certain governments.
As a related point, it has been shown by study after study that forced and intentional repression of sexuality leads quite often to sexual deviancy and in some cases sex crimes such a rape and molestation. Sex is a natural part of human life, and to repress that part of oneself is to compress a volatile substance tighter and tighter until the smallest hint of a spark can ignite the entire concoction and unleash severe mental trauma both on the repressed individual and anyone caught within the unfolding devastation.
At this point the logical progression of my comment has somehow escaped me and I simply reiterate, fantastic piece AC!
Just to summarise my main points in this comment:
– Criminalisation of the sex trade and the drugs trade creates more problems than it solves
– Criminalisation of the illegal drugs industry works against society
– Legalisation of the illegal drugs industry and government supervision of this new industry would promote economic growth and provide governments with large new revenue sources for tax and trade