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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Harper on Drugs

“I also want people to realise what we’re really talking about here when we’re talking about the drug trade.”

In 2010, Prime Minister Steven Harper explains his feelings towards the drug trade and marijuana.  I could tackle many of the things he says here, but let’s consider what he says about legal business.  In the video, he says “I can predict with a lot of confidence that [legal narcotic drug stores] will never be respectable businesses run by respectable people because of … the dependency they create, the damage they create, the social upheaval and catastrophe they create….” so let’s look at what he may be trying to say.

All drugs businesses are selling drugs

Selling drugs is not respectable

/Drug businesses are not respectable

All X are Y

Y are not Z

/X are not Z


Although this argument is valid, the problem is that it is not factually correct.  The argument may only work for someone who believes that selling drugs is not respectable which is a subjective statement.  We have not established whether or not the sale of drugs is respectable in an objective manner.

Even so, if assume that it were, what constitutes a drugs includes caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol.  Does this mean that your liquor stores are run by scummy businessmen who wish to create a dependency?  Do you spit on your neighbourhood corner store employees for selling cigarettes from behind the counter to willing adults after giving ID?  Do you wish famine upon your Starbucks barista and her family for selling ‘drugs’?  No, because they are respectable businesses run by intelligent, rational people who just wish to have a job and make some money just like everyone else.


2 thoughts on “Harper on Drugs

  1. Another awesome post Aidan! You ask some interesting questions around the subject. It’s a great that you bring up that even if you deem any particular business to be “not respectable” that it doesn’t necessarily mean the people involved in the business are not respectable. I think the thing that comes to my mind with this argument is that in saying something like that, it almost sounds like he’s saying that anyone who has anything at all to do with that type of business (and this includes caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol like you said) is not a respectable person. Great example Aidan!

    Posted by dylanaraki | September 30, 2013, 4:37 am
  2. Interesting post, Aidan, I think you explained your topic very well. I just have a few notes on the structure and form of your argument. You say:

    All drugs businesses are selling drugs
    Selling drugs is not respectable
    /Drug businesses are not respectable

    Which translates to:

    All X are Y
    Y are not Z
    /X are not Z

    To make this more clear and logical, I would rather put it like this:

    All drugs businesses are selling drugs
    No one selling drugs is respectable
    / No drug businesses are respectable

    Which then translates to:

    All X are Y
    No Y are Z
    / No X are Z

    This form is much more defined and clear, which can be very important in presenting logical arguments. I agree with you that this argument isn’t necessarily true, since it depends on opinion. Anyway, the rest of your post was very well done and an interesting read. Keep it up!

    – Emily V

    Posted by evandervelden | September 30, 2013, 7:04 am

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