Sunday, September 14, 2008

Profound Comment on America

Amsterdam Judge Ruter says, "You cannot solve social problems by making them taboo." The Dutch don't drive their human weaknesses underground. The minister of justice of Holland's conservative govt says, "The aim is to prevent as much as possible a situation in which more harm is caused by criminal proceedings than by the activity itself."

Legalization allows the govt more flexibility than criminalization. A prostitute undergoes regular health exams and measures are taken to prevent disease. One result is an astonishing low rate of AIDS infection: less than 1% as compared to America's illegal but plentiful prostitute population at 30-40%. Allowing prisoners conjugal visits with loved ones reduces prison tension and curbs aggressive in-prison homosexuality.

Marijuana loses much of its attraction to young people because it's no longer forbidden, making it into an unsensational item. In fact, the proportion of teenage users in Holland is a fraction of US use and crack is virtually non-existent. Also the violent druglords are taken out of the picture.

Dutch schools teach sex education and birth control pills are cheap and available. Yet Dutch girls are no more sexually active than American girls. Holland's teen-age pregnancy rate is 1/7th that of America's. American teen-agers have 12 to 14 times more abortions than Dutch teens.

The Dutch treat prostitutes, drug addicts, teen-age pot smokers and the terminally ill with respect. Not surprisingly, respect breeds responsibility, not license. The heroin addict uses a clean needle. The prostitute does not transmit disease. The teen uses birth control.

The Dutch's sense of mutual respect and collective responsibility is deeply rooted.

In the 1600s they were the most prosperous nation on earth. Riches bred a "collective conscience" that demanded generosity for the needy and tolerance for those with different religions and different habits. Obligations to community, to society came first. The 300-year tradition continues. They know the most fertile breeding ground for irresponsible behavior is the slum. They offer the world's most comprehensive social support programs.

This prosperous country of 14 million has much to teach us, for tolerance has never been an American trait. We have a long history of demanding moral purity of our neighbors and eagerly locking them up if they transgress. We rely on force to solve our social problems, not wisdom.

Today America imprisons a larger portion of its citizens than any country except South Africa. The Dutch watch in amazement our descent into social anarchy. They cannot understand why a nation would willfully destroy itself to control its citizens' personal behavior.

-excerpted from "Collective conscience breeds Dutch tolerance" by David Morris


Rocketstar said...

here here

Sarah said...

i have a profound comment for you...

i like cheese.

Thomas said...

I like cheese as well, but must watch my intake due to the high amount of saturated fat it contains.

In other news, just got finished eating some KFC. I only eat their stuff every month or so, but have to say it really hit the spot tonight (course doing 65 minutes on the treadmill earlier this afternoon may have had something to do with that).

Timothy Smith said...

Tom, did you see "American Drug War: the Last White Hope"?

Drugs are cheaper, more pure and easier to get even though 1.5 million have lost their liberty at our cost.

Its tragic.

Thomas said...

Tim, I haven't seen that film, but just looked at a synopsis of it on Netflix. I'll add it to my queue. Thank you much. My queue was down to about 6 movies.

I'm probably not as knowledgeable as you on the matter, but have to agree that it's a travesty all around.

Timothy Smith said...

Its been on the movie channels a lot if you get any of those. If you have Tivo or a like service try searching for it.

I use to read a lot about the matter but that one movie sums it all up pretty well from an average citizens point of view.