Should We Favor Drug Legalization Essay

869 words - 3 pages


      In the article “Drug Policy and the Intellectuals,” William J. Bennentt, chides intellectuals who believe drugs should be legalize. Bennett challenges his audience , by attacking intellectuals. However Bennett tries to win over his audience of intellectuals in two ways: by calling upon their talents and by attacking on the arguments of intellectuals who favor legalizing drugs. .He shows an understanding of others’ viewpoints by addressing points of opposition several times during the article. Bennett demonstrates knowledge of the subject by supporting his points with examples and facts.
     In his opening remarks, Bennett comes close to insulting his audience of intellectuals by referring to those he is attacking as "they" (617 ). Early in the speech, he diplomatically praises some intellectuals, especially in medicine and science, who are using their talents to combat the drug problem. Bennett makes clear that his speech will not be politically partisan. Bennett will be criticizing intellectuals, whether on the left or the right, who hold either or both of these views: that the drug problem can be solved by legalization and that the problem is so hopeless we should give up trying to fix it.
      Although some of Bennett's counter arguments are stronger than others, on the whole they are a fair assessment of the views Bennett opposes. Bennett's least convincing arguments attempt to counter the claims that legalization would eliminate the drug dealers' profit motive, that legalization would reduce the crime rate, and that drug laws restrict our liberty. Bennett barely discusses the liberty issue. As for the drug dealers' profit motive, he suggests--oddly, I think--that most drug dealers aren't making much of a profit right now( 614 ). He means that over a long time, they don't profit; but we all know that in the short run many of them make very large profits. Bennett's argument concerning the crime rate is not totally convincing. He refers vaguely to "research" showing that most drug criminals were doing crime before they "got into drugs" and says that most addicts would continue to commit crimes if drugs were legal ( 615 ). While this could be true, surely the extent and seriousness of the crimes would be reduced. Bennett makes one argument about crime, however, that is hard to refute: If drugs were legal for adults, many dealers would shift their market to teenagers, who would be restricted from buying drugs?
     One of Bennett's strongest arguments challenges those who claim that legalization is a simple way to eliminate the...


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