Saturday, 27 October 2018

QotD: On 'addiction'

"Religious and medical propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, I hold some simple truths to be self-evident. One of these truths is that just as the dead do not rise from the grave, so drugs do not commit crimes. The dead remain dead. Drugs are inert chemicals that have no effect on human beings who choose not to use them. No one has to smoke cigarettes, and no one has to shoot heroin. People smoke cigarettes because they want to, and they shoot heroin because they want to."
~ Thomas Szasz, from his article "The Protocols of the Learned Experts on Heroin" in The Libertarian Review


  1. Christ that’s a load of shit, Peter. It only sounds nice if you ignore reality, Objectivist.

    1. No, Judge. It's only logical that the medical profession is wrong about addiction and Rand was right. After all, she was the greatest thinker of all time after Aristotle.

    2. Do either of you have anything to contribute other than insults? Here, I'll make it simple:

      Issue: Is addiction a disease?
      Conclusion: No.
      1) People use these things by choice.
      (Assumption: Diseases are unchosen malfunctions of the body.)
      2) Calling addiction disease places the blame on inanimate matter, an obvious contradiction.

      Now, can you provide a counter to this?

    3. Dinwar - Given the unlikelihood of a rational reply from either of the above, I'm going to be devils advocate and make their case as strong as I think could be made: The body over time, after being exposed to certain chemicals adapts to that exposure - such that it's hard to continue without it. Your body starts to crave in the short term that which is detrimental to you in the long term.

      That of course doesn't contradict anything in the Szasz quote. A few rare exceptions excluded, there's generally human choice in
      exposing yourself to the chemical in the first place; and until the stage it kills you, you retain human choice to wean yourself off that dependency - even if it becomes increasingly difficult. The motivation for calling it a "disease" (i.e. unchosen) is usually to excuse the poor choices, or make the consequences of those poor choices someone else's responsibility.

    4. I agree that there are physiological shifts in biochemistry associated with addiction, and that this is the strongest argument for it being a disease. In fact, from a medical sense it may be considered, if not a disease, at least a disorder--the body isn't functioning normally. But that's a very limited, highly technical sense, one that doesn't really translate to everyday life, and certainly not one with any moral implications; the doctor would, in this sense, be looking at the body as a machine, and simply saying "It's not working right. Let's repair it."

  2. On one side, Mark & Dinwar, we have Thomas Szasz; a thoroughly debunked crank cut from the same cloth as L Ron Hubbard.

    On the other, virtually the entire medical profession. Granted - addiction is not as black & white as malaria, for example. But that doesn't make addiction a choice of morally weak people.

    The arbitrary classification of disease used by Szasz was debunked decades ago (he didn't believe there was such a thing as mental illness either). Since then more & more genes have been discovered predisposing one to alcoholism and other addictions.

    I recommend getting your education from modern medicine, not some dead crackpot.

    1. This post isn't an argument. You have NO idea where I get my information, NO idea what my connection with the medical establishment is, and have demonstrated NO connection between your post and my arguments.

      Take, for example, your statement "...a choice of morally weak people." I said nothing that can honestly be interpreted as such a statement. You put that in there after the fact.

      To have the audacity to criticize someone else's education after such behavior is laughable.

      Please try again. Read my post, and respond to what I actually say.

  3. “Predisposed” does not eradicate choice. And I don’t have to know anything else about Szasz, nor whether I agree with him on most other things to know this quote is valid, and identifies a simple and obvious truth the addiction industry is keen to obscure.


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