On the Times Online again, I came across this woeful piece by Roger Boyes.
The British have always been beastly about the Swiss. Oscar Wilde thought the Alpine republic was inhabited solely by theologians and waiters; Sydney Smith argued that it was an inferior version of Scotland. The consensus seems to be that the Swiss did not deserve their extravagantly beautiful landscape. Ethnocentric claptrap, of course. We just resent that you can prosper by avoiding wars; wimps win.
Actually, it's been widely acknowledged that you can prosper by avoiding wars. Many Canadians got rich during the US Civil War by buying stuff from one side and selling it to the other and it is well known that Swiss banks did very nicely out of Nazi Germany thank you very much. Unfortunately, that did little to help the Jews. Wimps don't win, but they can get very wealthy by avoiding moral decisions.
Anyway, the purpose of Boyes article is to promote the legalisation of drug use.
Heidi can now collect her heroin on prescription, collect her needle from an injection parlour and take a warm shower after shooting up. And a good thing too. Although I admit only to an addiction to Toblerone, it is clear the Swiss do more than cuckoo clocks. They do extraordinary social experiments, putting into place ambitious legislation from which we have been shrinking for decades.
Well good for Heidi. Does that actually solve the problem? Do Heidi's parents feel better now that their once beautiful and now drug ravaged daughter is able to shoot up for free? Will it stop Heidi getting together with her mates to poison themselves in some filthy drug den? Of course not. Boyes uses another ages old and equally discredited argument to promote his own cause.
“Around 600,000 Swiss citizens demonstrate that you can go to work, live a decent life and pay taxes and still consume cannabis,” said Beat Aegler, a businessman who has been lobbying for a “yes” vote.
Yeah, yeah - and Operation Ore demonstrates that thousands of British subjects can go to work, live a "decent" life, pay taxes and still consume child pornography - should we legalise that too?
I often find it strange that people who support drug use frequently refer to how other nations deal with the issue - as long as that nation doesn't actually deal with the issue. Their favourite example used to be Holland - until it was revealed that Holland has suffered an explosion in organised crime that can be specifically linked to their relaxation of the drug laws. Not only that, but the relaxation never actually solved the problem anyway - it just allowed people to do it openly and for more people to be swallowed up by it.
They never use Singapore as an example, do they? Singapore has a tiny drug problem in comparison to western nations. Ever wondered why? Could it be that, rather than adopt "social experiments" they chose to use severe punitive measures on users as much as suppliers. As I keep trying to tell people, the drug war will be won not by attacking supply but by curtailing demand. If no one wants to buy the crap, no one will supply it.
If we must look at Switzerland then perhaps we could look at some of the other "social experiments" they use. How they handle immigration for example? Or gun laws? They have the highest per capita level of gun ownership in the world - but very little gun crime and bugger all burglary (I wonder why).
Boyes arguments have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. More cuckoo than a million Swiss clocks.