The illegal use of drugs presents seemingly insoluble problems for modern societies. Ever more draconian laws and punishments, and campaigns of public education and deterrence which threaten basic civil liberties have little or no effect. Drug abuse and addiction continues to spread and proliferate, now beginning to touch our children.
A significant part of the problem seems to lie in the difficulty modern societies have in distinguishing between the variety of uses to which drugs are put, i.e. therapeutic, social, recreational etc., and between their medical and legal characteristics, i.e. addictive and non-addictive, legal and illegal, etc.. Since the Society of HumanKind regards all drug use, for whatever purpose, as morally the same, it can at least avoid those complications.
The general position of the Society of HumanKind on moral issues is set out in the Treatise on Morality . In that Treatise a beginning from the Axioms and Dogma ends with every individual having an inescapable, non-transferable, personal moral responsibility for all their actions and decisions during their mortal life. The Treatise goes on to describe a method of making such moral decisions, setting up a double gauge for them based on the Conditions of the Dogma . The practical effect is that the Society, together with all its members and adherents, is provided with a means to praise or condemn any decision or action, whether by adherents of the Society or others, on the basis of a judgement about the likely consequences for the achievement of its Aim .
The Essay on Sin further develops these ideas and concludes that, due to the all-pervading uncertainty created by the Axioms, the Society as a whole can never put itself in the position of laying down universal or immutable laws of moral conduct, either for its membership or for anyone else. It must leave it to those who support a particular action, decision, pattern or behaviour or way of life, including therefore those who might wish to advocate or defend any form of drug use or abuse, to defend or justify their actions. The Society will however, then be able to make a judgement about the proposed behaviour, and support or praise, or condemn or damn it, according to the extent that it can be shown to contribute to the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma and thus to the achievement of its Aim.
Drawing these threads together, the Society will apply the same test to drug use and abuse as it does for every other moral issue. Whether the use is for medical, social, recreational, inspirational or any other purpose, and whether the drugs in question are legal or illegal, addictive or not, it will be for each individual involved to justify their own behaviour. And all those using or abusing drugs will need to do more than show that their actions are irrelevant to, or likely to be neutral in their effect on, the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma. To avoid condemnation by the Society proponents must show that, in total, their habits and practices contribute to its Aim. Specifically, that they add to, rather than subtract from, the realisation of the potential of each individual. And that the proposed drug use makes a positive, rather than negative, contribution to our social order.
The Society will therefore require the medical practitioner and the ghetto drug pusher to pass the same moral test. Irrespective of their purpose, motivation or intention, what is the effect of their actions? If a prime face case can be made that their use or supply of drugs contributes to the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma and thus to the Aim of the Society of HumanKind, then the Society will not intervene. But, in the words of the Essay on Sin , in the absence of any such prime face justification '...the Society will be entitled to begin with the presumption that the behaviour should be condemned.'
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©Lawrence Thornton Roach
June, 2001 AD