Should Drugs be Illegal?
The following essay examines some of the philosophical and intellectual underpinnings of the current war on drugs in the United States.
This paper explores the issue of drug use, focusing specifically on Stuart Mill’s philosophical perspective of the phenomenon. Mills’ view originates in collectivism, where he hoped to see an ideal society in which reason would bind each person to every other in a society in which the common good was elevated over individual pleasure. The paper compares Stuart’s theories to several other philosopher’s theories, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Kant and Jeremy Bentham.
“If current advocates of the continuing criminalized status of drug use wish to rest their case on the shoulders of eminent philosophers, they will have to pick and choose carefully, for philosophers as a group (at least in the post-Enlightenment West) have generally taken a stand on the side of the sacredness of liberty. There are, of course, some exceptions, such as John Stuart Mill, who might be seen in some ways as inclining towards a certain degree of paternalism or even legal moralism in arguing that one of the essential functions of the state is to provide a protection for people against the folly of their own actions (Dowd 27).”