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Arguments of Today’s Society Essay Sample

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Arguments of Today’s Society Essay Sample

I. Benefits of Legalization

Currently most everywhere in the United States, our legal system penalizes prostitutes and their customers for what they do as consenting adults. Money is still spent on law enforcement efforts to catch prostitutes and their customers. Once caught, justice departments have to process these people through very expensive systems.

What are the end results? Police personnel and courtrooms are overburdened with these cases, having little or no impact on prostitution. The prostitutes and their customers pay their fines and are back to the streets in no time in a revolving door process. Catch and release may work for recreational fishing but it has no deterring affect on prostitution.

Making prostitution legal will allow the act to be managed instead of ignored. Pimps and organized crime figures, who regularly treat their workers on subhuman levels, would no longer control women. In some countries, prostitute rings buy and sell women on the black market, force their women to comply through violence and create unhealthy working conditions. When prostitutes operate independently and in secret, many times they become abused by their own customers.

Legalizing prostitution would prevent underground prostitution that occurs today. When men want to pay for sex, they find prostitutes. These people work in massage parlors, escort services, strip bars and modeling agencies or still work corners as traditional streetwalkers. There are legitimate parlors, dating services, bars and agencies but of the hundreds that exist within newspaper classified advertisements and telephone directories, there are a large number that provide sexual services. A routine search through Google’s Internet news engine for ‘prostitution’ routinely reveals connections between prostitution and these falsetto agencies [Google News Search].

A very important problem in our society is teen prostitution [ABCNews: Loss of Innocense]. If we allow prostitution to remain hidden from view and basically invisible to the law as it is today, we allow a number of teens to be swept up into prostitution every year. When adult women decide to exchange money for sex, it is a personal choice open to them under the philosophy of a free, democratic society. When troubled minors who do not yet have the social survival skills decide to prostitute, they are often manipulated by opportunists who exploit these teens, typically leading to horrific ends. Legalizing prostitution will help prevent these instances through regulation.

Legalized, regulated prostitution has many benefits. Encounters

I. The Effects of Prohibition

The United States is rooted on freedom of speech, religion and trade. The first two are specifically mentioned early on within The Constitution. Those inalienable rights are not given to us by The Constitution, but are instead protected by it. So why violate the premise by prohibiting relations between consenting adults?

Some people believe that governments can make better choices for us, but it wasn’t a vision the Founding Fathers had when they created The Constitution. The U.S. government is designed mainly to be run by the people, which is in direct opposition to modern liberalism that insists it control people. Yet, morally conservative groups that adopted this liberal view of governmentYet passed the Eighteenth Amendment to prohibit the distribution and sale of alcohol.

Recall prohibition from 1920 to 1933 and remember the effects it had on alcohol consumption. Home producers created whiskey and bathtub gin. The price of alcohol skyrocketed in black market sales due to heavy demand and the greedy public officials who secretly monitored it, so it was believed. Bootlegging became an underground industry [Illinois Periodicals Online]. As a result prohibition did literally nothing to actually prevent alcohol from being consumed by the public.

The government, and ultimately the public, suffered huge losses from prohibition. The government lost considerable amounts of tax dollars from bootlegged alcohol and it became impossible to regulate the quality, i.e. safety, of the product. In attempts to prohibit alcohol consumption through the Volstead Act, spending by the Bureau of Prohibition went from $4.4 million to $13.4 million annually. Spending by the Coast Guard was an average $13 million per year in the 1920s for prohibition alone [Mark Thornton]. In fact when per capita costs are analyzed, spending more to curb behavior did literally nothing against consumption, making a total mockery of law enforcement efforts.

Social irresponsibility of this magnitude during the depression was horrific when considering how these monies could have been spent to do good for society. Programs could have been developed to help the unemployed. Healthcare could have been expanded to include social programs to drive down high suicide rates.

It was thought prohibition would put an end to many social problems but it actually created many more. Increasing the number of laws runs a risk of creating more criminals, and that is exactly what had happened. Jails became filled. Government spending to pay for the housing and maintenance of these criminals went up [Mark Thornton]. Compounded by the lack of intake from alcohol tax, it placed huge dents on public coffers.

Prohibition caused many problems related to criminal activity. There was a causal link between prohibition and an increase in homicides. During prohibition, homicide rates increased over 66%. After prohibition was repealed on Dec. 5, 1933, the homicide rate immediately dropped and eventually reached pre-prohibition levels in the mid-1940s [Mark Thornton].

The philosophy of prohibition came from many ‘dry groups’, but the Anti-Saloon League working closely with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union were the driving forces in establishing prohibition [Ohio State University Department of History]. Politics, which is really about solving the problems society faces, became victimized by morally conservative lobbyists. They held a belief that a desire for spirits could be repressed instead of managed. We will see over the course of human history that the philosophy of repression and abolition bears no merit.

Prostitution: Forbidding sale of sex by consenting adults is paternalistic and condescending.

By EDWARD TABASH

The recent arrest and notoriety surrounding the alleged Hollywood Madam brings to light one of the travesties that still blemishes our criminal-justice system. Whatever one may think of prostitution, an argument can be made that the sale by consenting adults of sex for money, per se, should not be a punishable event in our legal system.

Religious-based arguments asserting the immorality of prostitution should be given no legal credence. In a society that separates church and state, no person should lose her or his freedom because of someone else’s religious beliefs. Only those actions that can be demonstrated by empirical evidence, independently of religious dogma, to warrant criminal sanctions should be punished.

The paternalistic argument that women need to be protected from sexual exploitation fails to justify the continued criminalization of prostitution. This argument claims that in order to protect women against such exploitation, society should imprison all women who engage in prostitution. This argument is reducible to a claim that languishing behind bars is a preferable fate for a woman as opposed to allowing her to freely sell her body, if this is what she chooses to do.

A related argument is that prostitution should remain illegal, which means women should still go to jail for engaging in it, because selling sex for money demeans women. Thus, the advocates of this argument would prevent women from being degraded by demeaning them even more severely by locking them up in a prison cell. This has about as much logical force as imposing the death penalty on someone for attempting to commit suicide.

The worst form of exploitation suffered by women who exchange sex for money is from pimps. It is most often the pimp, and not the grateful, gratified and happy customer, who abuses the woman. If prostitution were an unpunished act in our legal system, women could generally conduct business on their own, without having to rely on parasitic and abusive pimps.

An appropriately zoned, taxed and health-regulated legal prostitution industry would free women from jail, free many of our precious few police officers to focus on real crime and bring in much needed revenue. It would also elevate society to a new and desirable plateau of live-and-let-live tolerance.

If anyone still harbors reservations about legalizing prostitution, perhaps the question should be phrased: Should a person be imprisoned for no more than selling or buying sex? Phrasing the question in such a way unveils the true stakes involved in this type of issue. What kind of conduct should land a person behind bars? What kind of conduct, regardless of what one may think of it, should still be left to the individuals involved, without the intervention of the police power of the state? When couched in terms of individual freedom, the notion that prostitution, per se, should no longer be a punishable crime, becomes a palatable and even quite civilized alternative to the present system.

If we, as a society, really care about women, we will not only provide them with equal rights and opportunity, but we will stop turning some of them into criminals merely because they have chosen to exchange sex for money. Women, who, for whatever reason, choose to engage in prostitution, do not need to be incarcerated for their own good.

The old argument of whether I would want my wife, daughter or sister to become a prostitute has nothing to do with the fact that women who do become prostitutes should not be thrown in jail.

Ideas that are commonplace today were once deemed radical. Today’s conventional religions were yesterday’s far-out cults. The time has come to legalize prostitution.

Bad Social Policy

Legalized gambling is bad social policy. At a time when Gamblers Anonymous estimates that there are at least 12 million compulsive gamblers, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have the state promoting gambling. State sponsorship of gambling makes it harder, not easier, for the compulsive gambler to reform. Since about 96 percent of those gamblers began gambling before the age of 14(1), we should especially be concerned about the message such a policy would send to young people.

The economic costs that gamblers themselves incur are significant. Consider just the issue of uncollected debts. The average compulsive gambler has debts exceeding $80,000(2). And this figure pales in comparison to other social costs that surface because of family neglect, embezzlement, theft, and involvement in organized crime.

Proponents argue that state lotteries are an effective way to raise taxes painlessly. But the evidence shows that legalized gambling often hurts those who are poor and disadvantaged. One New York lottery agent stated, “Seventy percent of those who buy my tickets are poor, black, or Hispanic.”(3) And a National Bureau of Economic Research “shows that the poor bet a much larger share of their income.”(4)

A major study on the effect of the California lottery came to the same conclusions. The Field Institute’s California Poll found that 18 percent of the state’s adults bought 71 percent of the tickets. These heavy lottery players (who bought more than 20 tickets in the contest’s first 45 days) are “more likely than others to be black, poorer and less educated than the average Californian.”(5)

Studies also indicate that gambling increases when economic times are uncertain and people are concerned about their future. Joseph Dunn (director of the National Council on Compulsive Gambling) says, “People who are worried about the factory closing take a chance on making it big. Once they win anything, they’re hooked.”(6)

The social impact of gambling is often hidden from the citizens who decide to participate in legalized gambling. But later these costs show up in the shattered lives of individuals and their families. Psychologist Julian Taber warns, “No one knows the social costs of gambling or how many players will become addicted…the states are experimenting with the minds of the people on a massive scale.”(7) Families are torn apart by strife, divorce, and bankruptcy. Boydon Cole and Sidney Margolius in their book, When You Gamble–You Risk More Than Your Money, conclude: “There is no doubt of the destructive effect of gambling on the family life. The corrosive effects of gambling attack both the white-collar and blue-collar families with equal vigor.”(8)

Bad Governmental Policy

Legalized gambling is also bad governmental policy. Government should promote public virtue not seduce its citizens to gamble in state-sponsored vice. Government is supposed to be a minister of God according to Romans 13, but its moral stance is compromised when it enters into a gambling enterprise.

Citizens would be outraged if their state government began enticing its citizens to engage in potentially destructive behavior (like taking drugs). But those same citizens see no contradiction when government legalizes and even promotes gambling. Instead of being a positive moral force in society, government contributes to the corruption of society.

Ross Wilhelm (Professor of Business Economics, University of Michigan) says,

State lotteries and gambling games are essentially ‘a rip-off’ and widespread legalization of gambling is one of the worst changes in public policy to have occurred in recent years. . . .The viciousness of the state-run games is compounded beyond belief by the fact that state governments actively advertise and promote the games and winners.(9)

The corrosive effect legalized gambling has on government itself is also a cause for concern. As one editorial in New York Times noted, “Gambling is a business so rich, so fast, so powerful and perhaps inevitably so unsavory that it cannot help but undermine government.”(10)

Legal and Illegal Gambling

One of the standard cliches used by proponents of legalized gambling is that if we institute legal gambling, we will drive out illegal gambling. This argument makes a number of faulty assumptions. First, it assumes that people are going to gamble anyway; thus, the state might as well get a piece of the action. Second, it assumes that given the choice, people would rather gamble in a state-sponsored program because it will be regulated. The state, the argument goes, will make sure that the program is fair and that each participant has an equal chance of winning. Third, it assumes that if the state enters the gambling arena, it will drive out illegal gambling because it will be a more efficient competitor for gamblers’ dollars.

The arguments seem sound, but they are not. Although some people do gamble illegally, most citizens do not. Legalized gambling, therefore, entices people to gamble who normally would not gamble at all.

Second, legal gambling does not drive out illegal gambling. If anything, just the opposite is true. As legalized gambling comes into a state, it provides additional momentum for illegal gambling. The Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice found that “the rate of illegal gambling in those states which have some legalized form of gambling was three times as high as those states where there was not a legalized form of gambling.”(11) And one national review found that,

In states with different numbers of games, participation rates increase steadily and sharply as the number of legal types of gambling increases. Social betting more than doubles from 35 percent in states with no legal games to 72 percent in states with three legal types; the illegal gambling rate more than doubles from nine percent to 22 percent; and commercial gambling increases by 43 percent, from 24 to 67 percent.(12)

Legalized gambling in various states has not been a competitor to, but rather has become a stimulator of illegal gambling.

The reasons for the growth of illegal gambling in areas where legalized gambling exists are simple. First, organized crime syndicates often use the free publicity of state lotteries and pari-mutuel betting to run their own numbers games. The state actually saves them money by providing publicity for events involving gambling. Second, many gamblers would rather bet illegally than legally. When they work with a bookie, they can bet on credit and don’t have to report their winnings to the government. These are at least two things they can’t do if they bet on state-sponsored games, and this explains why illegal gambling thrives in states with legalized gambling.

Another important issue is the corrupting influence legalized gambling can have on society. First, legalized gambling can have a very corrupting influence on state government. In the last few years there have been numerous news reports of corruption and fraud in state lotteries. Second, there is the corrupting influence on the citizens themselves. Gambling breeds greed. A person is seven times more likely to be killed by lightning than he is to win a million dollars in a state lottery.(13) Yet every single year, people bet large amounts of money in state lotteries because they hope they will win the jackpot. Moreover, states and various gambling establishments produce glitzy ads that appeal to people’s greed in order to entice them to risk even more than they can afford.

Society should be promoting positive social values like thrift and integrity rather than negative ones like greed and avarice. We should be promoting the public welfare rather than seducing our citizens to engage in state-sponsored vice.

Economic Costs

Legalized forms of gambling (state lotteries, pari-mutuel betting, and casinos) are often promoted as good economic policy. Proponents say they are painless ways of increasing state revenue, and they can point to billions of dollars raised by state governments through various forms of legalized gambling. But there is another economic side to legalized gambling.

First, the gross income statistics for legalized gambling are much higher than the net income. Consider state lotteries as one example. Although about half the states have lotteries and the figures vary from state to state, we can work with some average figures. Generally, the cost of management, advertising, and promotion is approximately 60 cents of each dollar. In other words, for every dollar raised in a lottery, only 40 cents goes to the state budget. By contrast, direct taxation of the citizens only costs about 1 cent on the dollar. So for every dollar raised by taxes, 99 cents goes to the state budget.

Second, gambling adversely affects a state economy. Legalized gambling depresses businesses because it diverts money that could have been spent in the capital economy into gambling which does not stimulate the economy. Boarded-up businesses surrounding casinos are a visible reminder of this, but the effect on the entire economy is even more devastating than may be at first apparent. Money that could be invested, loaned, and recycled through the economy is instead risked in a legalized gambling scheme. Legalized gambling siphons off a lot of money from the economy. More money is wagered on gambling than is spent on elementary and secondary education ($286 billion versus $213 billion in 1990).(14) Historian John Ezel concludes in his book, Fortune’s Merry Wheel, “If history teaches us anything, a study of over 1300 legal lotteries held in the United States proves…they cost more than they brought in if their total impact on society is reckoned.”(15)

Sports Gambling

Although sports gambling is illegal in almost every state, there has been a push over the last few years to legalize it. One concern is how sports gambling has affected the integrity of the game. Illegal gambling has already adversely affected sports; legalizing it would simply make matters worse.

One issue revolves around how sports betting is done. Betting is done against a point spread. A team is picked to win by so many points. I have been surprised at how much the point spread has become a part of the game. You have probably gone to sporting events at which people in the stands were disappointed that their team did not beat the point spread. Even though the team won, some of the fans were upset that they did not defeat the team by enough points to cover the spread.

True fans are concerned if the team wins or loses. Gamblers, however, are concerned with whether the team was able to beat the point spread. Winning by one point is not enough if the point spread was three.

Sportswriters and sports broadcasters routinely announce that a team is favored by a certain number of points. They argue that reporting such information is appropriate because it is relevant to the game. But is it? I believe that when the headlines of a newspaper boldly state, “Denver Broncos favored by 6 points,” they have gone far beyond merely reporting about a sporting event and are actually promoting sports gambling.

Sports gambling has affected sports by introducing organized crime into the sporting arena. Past scandals at Boston College or Tulane illustrate how gambling has adversely affected the integrity of athletes, coaches, and colleges. Players have been involved in point-shaving scandals and the problem could only become worse in an environment where sports gambling is legalized.

Another area of concern is how government would be involved in sports gambling. Legalizing sports gambling opens up the possibility (even the necessity) of governmental investigation. A wise sports decision might be questioned by a government oversight body. Imagine a football team picked to win by more than three points but leading by only one point with less than a minute left. Even if they were on their opponent’s 20-yard-line, they might decide not to kick a field goal. To do so would risk the possibility of a blocked kick perhaps allowing the other team a chance to score. A wise coach might tell his team to sit on the ball and let the clock run out. The team would win, but not beat the point spread. Citizens who lost money would certainly call for an investigation to see if fraud was involved.

Obviously sports gambling takes place, even though it is illegal. There are good reasons why we should not legalize it. It is bad social policy, it is bad economic policy, and it is bad governmental policy. Sports gambling would not only be bad for these reasons but also because it would adversely affect the integrity of the game.

Biblical Perspective on Gambling

Even though the Bible does not directly address gambling, we can derive a number of principles from Scripture. First, notice the contrast between the Bible and gambling. The Bible emphasizes the sovereignty of God (Matt. 10:29-30), while gambling is based upon chance. The Bible admonishes us to work creatively and for the benefit of others (Eph. 4:28), while gambling fosters a “something for nothing” attitude. The Bible condemns materialism (Matt. 6:24 25), while gambling promotes it.

Let’s also look at the “fruits” of gambling. First, gambling breeds a form of covetousness. The Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20) admonishes us not to covet. Coveting, greed, and selfishness are the base emotions that entice us to gamble. I believe Christians should be concerned about gambling if for no other reason than the effect it has on the weaker brother and how it will affect the compulsive gambler. State-sponsored gambling makes it harder for the compulsive gambler to reform. Legalized gambling becomes an institutionalized form of greed.

Second, gambling destroys the work ethic. Two key biblical passages deal with the work ethic. In Colossians 3:23-24 the Apostle Paul says,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

And in 2 Thessalonians 3:7,10, he says,

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example….For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat.

The Twentieth Century Fund research group commented, “Gambling’s get-rich-quick appeal appears to mock capitalism’s core values: Disciplined work habits, thrift, prudence, adherence to routine, and the relationship between effort and reward.”(16) These core values of the work ethic are all part of the free enterprise system and are part of the Christian life. Gambling corrupts these values and replaces them with greed and selfishness. Rather than depending upon hard work, gamblers depend instead upon luck and chance.

Third, gambling destroys families. Gambling is a major cause of family neglect. Many of the social costs associated with gambling come from its mindset. As people get caught up in a gambling frenzy, they begin to neglect their families. Money spent on lottery tickets or at horse tracks is frequently not risk capital but is income that should be spent on family needs. In 1 Timothy 5:8 it says that a person who refuses to care for his family is worse than an infidel. Parents must provide for their children (2 Cor. 12:14) and eat the bread of their labors (2 Thess. 3:12). When gambling is legalized, it causes people to neglect their God- mandated responsibility to care for their families, and these families often end up on welfare.

Fourth, gambling is a form of state-sponsored greed. We read in Romans 13 that government is to be a minister of God. Government should provide order in society and promote public virtue. Legalized gambling undercuts government’s role and subverts the moral fabric of society through greed and selfishness promoted by a state-sponsored vice.

Gambling is bad social policy; it is bad economic policy; and it is bad governmental policy. Moreover, it undermines the moral foundations of society and invites corruption in government. As Christians, I believe we must stand against society’s attempts to legalize gambling.

The Pagan Origin of “GOOD LUCK”

“Good luck!” I suppose I have used this phrase hundreds of times. Many, over the years, have wished me the same. But, the origin of the phrase is associated with one of the oldest vices known to man — GAMBLING. Here’s the history…

The Romans worshipped a false goddess named FORTUNA. She was the goddess of FORTUNE & CHANCE. The Roman poet Juvenal wrote of her saying, “Thou wouldst have no divine power if we were prudent.” The Romans thought she was so powerful that even the greater gods feared her whims. The Romans paid her great reverence holding festivals in her honor and even erecting several temples for her. One of those temples was called Felicitas which means “good fortune” or “good luck.” Her name or the name of her temple was invoked to wish someone well who was gambling or taking a chance. It is plain to see “may Lady Luck be your companion” or “good luck” is a pagan expression and not a Christian one.

I was interested to read what 19th century historian Andrew Steinmetz said about the false goddess; “Fortuna, a selfish creature who could be placated only by cards, counters, and dice, give birth to a ‘misfigured child’ known as ‘Gaming. Then Gaming herself give birth to hideous twins. They were called Duelling and Suicide, and they became Gaming’s constant companions.” (The word GAMING is a synonym for gambling). He’s right. Twenty percent of compulsive gamblers attempt suicide and while gun fights are not the problem they were in the 1800’s, at least two-thirds of compulsive gamblers turn to crime to finance their addiction and the crime rate in gambling communities is nearly double the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Gambling has long been recognized as a malignant sore on society. The Roman lawyer and satirist Juvenal (60-140A.D.) characterized it as a domineering vice of the foolish. Historian Steinmetz looked at gambling as a disfiguring, destructive vice, that often involved murder or suicide.

Legalization Of Drugs: The Myths And The Facts

Robert L. Maginnis, Familly Research Council

Despite data which strongly supports the continuation of effective drug abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement programs, some prominent Americans support legalizing illicit drugs. For example: George Shultz, former President Reagan’s Secretary of State, says that “Legalization would destroy dealer profits and remove their incentive to get young people addicted.”[1]

Nobel laureate in economics Milton Friedman says that the criminalization of certain drugs undermines respect for the law and creates “a decadent moral climate.” He states that legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine would “thus strike a double blow; reduce crime activity directly, and at the same time increase the efficacy of law enforcement and crime prevention.”[2]

U.S. Federal District Judge Robert Sweet says the nation should learn the lesson of prohibition and the crime that ensued when alcohol was illegal. “Look at tobacco, the most addictive drug, and we’ve reduced [use] by a third.”[3]

Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke commented on former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders’ call for a study to legalize drugs. “I think what the Surgeon General said was absolutely courageous and correct.”[4]

Aryeh Neier, president of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’s Open Society Institute, states, “The current [drug] policy is wasteful and it promotes crime and disease…. From every standpoint, it is a failure.”[5]

Many other officials disagree. Lee P. Brown, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, labels legalization “a formula for self-destruction”[6] and warns that decriminalization of drugs would mean genocide for the black community.[7]

Wayne Roques, a much-published Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman, says, “Drug policies which legalize drugs would decimate the inner cities and gravely wound the suburban populations…. Legalization is a morally and intellectually bankrupt concept.”[8]

Legalization Of Drugs: The Myths And The Facts

Robert L. Maginnis, Familly Research Council

Despite data which strongly supports the continuation of effective drug abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement programs, some prominent Americans support legalizing illicit drugs. For example: George Shultz, former President Reagan’s Secretary of State, says that “Legalization would destroy dealer profits and remove their incentive to get young people addicted.”[1]

Nobel laureate in economics Milton Friedman says that the criminalization of certain drugs undermines respect for the law and creates “a decadent moral climate.” He states that legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine would “thus strike a double blow; reduce crime activity directly, and at the same time increase the efficacy of law enforcement and crime prevention.”[2]

U.S. Federal District Judge Robert Sweet says the nation should learn the lesson of prohibition and the crime that ensued when alcohol was illegal. “Look at tobacco, the most addictive drug, and we’ve reduced [use] by a third.”[3]

Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke commented on former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders’ call for a study to legalize drugs. “I think what the Surgeon General said was absolutely courageous and correct.”[4]

Aryeh Neier, president of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’s Open Society Institute, states, “The current [drug] policy is wasteful and it promotes crime and disease…. From every standpoint, it is a failure.”[5]

Many other officials disagree. Lee P. Brown, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, labels legalization “a formula for self-destruction”[6] and warns that decriminalization of drugs would mean genocide for the black community.[7]

Wayne Roques, a much-published Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman, says, “Drug policies which legalize drugs would decimate the inner cities and gravely wound the suburban populations…. Legalization is a morally and intellectually bankrupt concept.”[8]

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