INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS and DRUG USE
Drugs and Religious FreedomPart of religious freedom is the freedom not to believe, not to live the life of the faithful. Hedonism is one natural response to disbelieving traditional Christianity. Our government's attempt to prohibit drugs restricts the rights of unbelievers. Like the religious, the materialist or humanist has the right to pursue satisfaction of their philosophy of life, despite their atheism. If seeking physical pleasure is part of an individual's philosophical perspective, should the government prohibit their satisfaction? Can such a prohibition work? Will the individual feel denied a basic right and seek satisfaction despite the prohibition?
Other people believe in God outside traditional Christianity, often viewing drugs as nature's gifts to enhance life and understanding. To them, moderate drug use is part of life.
Does the fact that Christian morals are traditional in our country require that we use force to impose them on unbelievers?
Drug Use is a Basic RightInalienable rights cannot be taken away. If you are alive, you will try to stay alive, and live a good life. Other people and the state may try, even succeed, at killing you. But, you do not have to cooperate. You have, by virtue of being alive, the right to your best effort at staying alive. More so, we all pursue happiness as long as we live, no matter how impossible the world makes satisfaction. We are also radically free, we can do what we want. Other people, or the state, trying to prevent us from acting are just natural limits to freedom (like our own bodies, location, or time). A living person will try to stay alive, be happy, and is a radically free agent. A government does not grant these rights, it can only recognize them. The failure to recognize the rights of its citizens leads a government, ultimately, to failure.
Alcohol abuse was prevalent during early American history, but our founding fathers made no attempt to legislate temperance. Alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment. The first federal drug prohibition was in the form of tax legislation, because the legislature did not think it was constitutional to prohibit drug use directly.
Two of the rights not listed, but included in the Ninth Amendment are the freedoms to use alcohol and to medicate oneself. Because our founding fathers never thought the government would attempt the impossible task of such prohibitions; they did not specify what were, to them, obvious rights.
Now is the time for our government to recognize its citizens' basic rights to control their bodies and pursue happiness as they see fit.
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Copyright © 1989 Timothy M. Radonich