Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
It's getting crazier by the day. Sir Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader, has endorsed a report that drug users should not be called addicts or junkies. Amid claims that so-called insensitive language may stigmatise, Clegg wants to ban the use of words that offend drug addicts.
He’s suggesting that these words portray drug addicts as lazy and unintelligent. Next, he goes on to say we shouldn’t label them as flawed. So, not only is Clegg seeking to control the words we use, he wants to dictate how we think. All this from a so-called liberal.
Well, I can say, I’m dazed by this nonsense. Having had to deal with a few drug addicts in my professional life, I have some insights. I take the Peter Hitchens view that “drug taking is the purest form of self-indulgence.”
Self-induced stupidity in the extreme, that’s what drug taking amounts too. You intentionally disconnect from the world for a momentary delight, which then needs repeating. The damage done to your body is one aspect. Also, there is a moral argument that you sever the link between hard work and reward, making deferred gratification appear a waste of time.
In one step, you throw all moral principles out the window to pursue your relentless pleasure. Then you expect society to look after you with medical care. By the way, who pays for that medical care? Honest people, who manage to control themselves, hold down a job and pay their taxes.
No doubt the defenders of drug use will summons up the addiction argument. A person takes a drug, gets addicted and needs to keep on going. And yet, addiction cannot be shown by any scientific test. It's the high that the junkie seeks.
The fact is, drug takers are responsible for untold damage to themselves, their families and society as a whole. Thus, I baulk at the suggestion that we should roll over to portray them as victims.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy warned there is a drug perception problem, which is making it harder to help users. I don’t accept that. Indeed, drugs do create a negative perception. That shouldn't be a surprise nor is it a bad thing.
To suggest that different words would be beneficial is facile. I would argue that the very negative image of drugs does much to prevent use. Clegg’s initiative will make it more acceptable to be a junkie.
Clegg doubles-down on his argument to state that portrayals of drug users in the media increases stigma. Yep, he’s right. It does, and that’s a fitting message that drug use has terrible outcomes.
Changing words will do nothing to change attitudes. Clegg's proposals are nonsensical and counter-productive. Meanwhile, as Clegg seeks to protect the sensibilities of drug addicts, I’m offended by his attack on my freedom of speech. He aims to use the law to control words I may use. What next?. Control of my thoughts or addressing bank robbers as ‘value redistribution practitioner’.
Society must express its disapproval of drug use. Never forget that people take drugs because they like it. And then, they expect the cash-strapped hospitals to spend time and money rehabilitating them. With such behaviour don’t expect me to treat them as victims or be too concerned about offending them. Most importantly, I’m offended by their lack of self-control.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.