Why We Must End the War On Drugs – Simplified

Alexander Chrisotomou looks at the argument for decriminalisng drugs. This blog was originally published on Alexander’s own site which you can check out here.
There are 3 main approaches that attempt to explain why people start an addictive habit such as the use of drugs, and for the sake of this argument, let’s assume there are genetic influences for some, some people do learn that drugs may make you happy or look cool, and some people do start using drugs as they believe it is the best way to ‘self-medicate’. Now, let me tell you in light of the information we have, why the ‘War on Drugs’ or the ‘War on people’ (being that it’s not the drugs that go to prison, it’s the person using the drugs that goes) is fundamentally unethical. (Maybe I shouldn’t say ‘unethical’ as ethics and morality is subjective, but rather it doesn’t make any sense).
According to the governments prison population statistics 14% of the prison population in England and Wales are drug ‘offenders’. It’s clear then that this is a problem which must be dealt with. But as Ron Paul said ‘You want to get rid of drug crime? Fine, let’s get rid of all the drug laws.’
Forget your personal opinion on drugs for now, adopt reason and you’ll conclude that we must end the war on drugs, there is no alternative. This sounds counter-productive when the notion is first heard of by many, but let’s be logical. Put briefly, recent studies tend to suggest for the most, addicts have been harmed by a specific set of circumstances, which have led to specific brain problems, which people attempt to self-medicate with drugs.
When exposed to extraordinary stressors in life, your dopamine system and endorphin ‘system’ does not work very well at all. When exposed to drugs, it’s often these people then feel ‘normal’ and ‘how they should be’ so when they stop using that drug, their actual state becomes agonizing, so they learn to do the drug again to feel good again. Weren’t you always told ‘don’t blame the victim’? Research Gabor Maté; he’s spent many years working with some of the most substance dependent people around and in that he found not one person that was not a victim of abuse as a child, and I’ll let you think for yourself what this suggests. Genes are not the underlying cause, they’re literally turned on and off by the environment, and when it comes to learning, our environment has a big role to play in your thoughts also.
Does it make sense to put vulnerable people in jail where they will be more stressed, which is most likely the main reason they were addicted in the first place? Here’s a clue: it doesn’t. They should be helped, not caged up. You can really look at it as a physical brain injury. Imagine we made wheelchairs illegal… People with wheelchairs would have to fight and steal to get a wheelchair to help them, they’d be criminalised and also wheelchair prices on the black market will rise, leading them to more crime (the need to steal).
I said it’ll raise prices because not only does criminalisation protect the drug cartels that are effectively monopolies on drugs as prohibition stops the market from working, criminalisation also drives people from mild drugs to hard drugs. How is that? Well, for example, weed is easier to interdict than cocaine, so weed prices go up, meaning it’s likely some people will move on, that’s what drug prohibition does.  For example, crack was created because cocaine was so expensive, and I don’t even want to get started on Krokodil, but read this.
Research Portugal’s system where drugs are not criminalised. Where drug addicts are not criminals, meaning they’re able to speak up and get help without the risk of persecution. Things very much did improve. Note that I’ve said all of this without pointing out that the use of drugs does not violate the non-aggression principle; it does not directly initiate force on anybody. Some call this an axiom, I just say that it’s logical, preferable to me and I feel this principle has the strongest case. By prohibiting drugs, you’re claiming ownership over a person’s body, because they can only possibly be harming themselves by using drugs. The logic behind prohibition of actions that are victimless is ‘I don’t like it so let’s ban it’.
They say that the best way to defeat idiocy is to listen to it, and just repeat it back. So is ‘I don’t like it’ a good reason to incarcerate people whom voluntarily choose to put substances that can possibly only harm them into their own body? My point is, using drugs may be unwise, but it shouldn’t be punished with a prison sentence. Let’s not forget that some drugs are great for creativity, and are not harmful (psychedelics in general come into mind), why not do some more research on them? I did enjoy ‘DMT: The Spirit Molecule’ for one. What about the seemingly endless possibilities of hemp also?
Let me end with this. Making people criminal for something that people may not approve of is completely is destructive, it destroys lives just as much as drugs POSSIBLY could, but let’s help them. The case for prohibiting drugs is as strong or as weak as the case for prohibiting over-eating. No victim, no crime.
By Alexander Chrisostomou


[Image Credit: nima; hopographer]

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6 thoughts on “Why We Must End the War On Drugs – Simplified

  1. Hello, I assume your article is direct a counter argument to my article (Drugs, Addiction and Fantasy), I think it would be perhaps too much of a coincidence to assume otherwise. If not then I am the belligerent. In which case I welcome/instigate reasoned and well mannered debate and appreciate you taking the time to respond/write.
    Your article begins thusly: ‘There are 3 main approaches that attempt to explain why people start an addictive habit such as the use of drugs, and for the sake of this argument, let’s assume there are genetic influences for some, some people do learn that drugs may make you happy or look cool, and some people do start using drugs as they believe it is the best way to ‘self-medicate’. Your first sentence hangs on the presupposition that ‘addiction’ exists and that certain behaviours are ‘addictive’. Further on you compare addicts with people who have brain injuries. I ask *again*; define addiction in an objective, testable and measurable way in which proves that the user is addicted to the substance they take, and that they are *not* choosing of their own free will and better judgement to keep taking the associated substance. Also if you are forwarding that the disease of ‘addiction’ does really exist you will have to define at what point the user acquires the disease. The burden of proof lies with the advocate not the doubter, otherwise we would live in a world in which everything were true until dis-proven.
    I must establish I have sympathy for anyone who gets themselves into trouble, many pleasurable behaviours are difficult to give up, I often scorn myself for indulging in pleasurable behaviours which are unhealthy, but I do not blame anyone else or claim I have a disease or no choice in the matter. All the advocates of addiction, either explicitly or implicitly, rely on the claim that the ‘addict’ is ‘compelled’ or ‘forced’ or in some other absolute way, then consequently left with no choice about continuing with his habit despite the risks, dangers and legal status.
    ‘For the sake of argument let’s assume there are genetic factors for some’. Why should I assume this, give me objective evidence and reasoned argument on why I should suppose such this claim to be true?
    ‘Some people do learn that drugs may make you happy or look cool, and some people do start using drugs as they believe it is the best way to ‘self-medicate’. I am sure people do start taking drugs because of these things, here we agree. None-the-less it is a *choice* which is a silly, dangerous and selfish one, as I’m sure you do not think that taking: cannabis, cocaine, heroin, leads to happiness or is better than visiting a doctor. Furthermore I assume ‘learn’ is a word you are using loosely and in a subtly ironic way. The word ‘learn’ usually means the information you have derived is factually true, it doesn’t seem appropriate in the context you used it in, some quotation marks would have denoted the irony and cleared this up, I apologize if you think I am being pedantic.
    According to the governments prison population statistics 14% of the prison population in England and Wales are drug ‘offenders’. I am aware of these statistics and they do not mean that 14% of the prison population are in prison for *solely* taking drugs, what it means is that they have drugs offences on their record, and in most cases numerous offences which are not drug related. If you wish to go to prison purely for drug possession you have to be very committed and be caught numerous times before landing yourself in prison, by which it is often too late to interdict the users behaviour. A harsh deterrent law which interdicted the drug taker early on in their drug using would deter them from future use. Fear is an important component in justice, we choose not to do something because we believe it to be morally wrong or because we are scared of the consequences. I have met many drug users in my life and they are *not* scared of the consequences of their actions. It is a misconception that there is a draconian campaign of prohibition being waged against drug users. There is also the admission by the head of the flying squad that: ‘Cannabis has been a decriminalised drug for some time now. Although still illegal, somebody found by police in possession of a small amount for their own use will probably just get away with a caution these days. There is no record taken, no evidence that anything has occurred.’ (John O’Connor, former head of Scotland yard Flying Squad, article in The Daily Express 15 February 1994). When harsh penalties came in for drunk driving many people initially went to prison, over time as people realised the serious consequences of doing such dangerous and selfish things. I personally know many people who have been caught with drugs numerous times and they never entered into the penal system.
    ‘It’s clear then that this is a problem which must be dealt with. But as Ron Paul said ‘You want to get rid of drug crime? Fine, let’s get rid of all the drug laws.’ Of course the enforcement of any law which prohibits drug taking is going to be difficult to enforce and in a sense all crime is caused by law but the idea that if we only abandoned our futile drug laws all the gangs, misery and black market would dissipate is absurd. Two substances which are detained in very high amounts at customs in Britain are *legal* alcohol and cigarettes, which are in one case smuggled and in the other distilled to avoid the duty imposed on them. If you think the chancellor of the exchequer would resist the temptation to tax legal drugs then you living in a world of fantasy. The existence of the legal status of certain poisons in society does not stop criminal enterprise getting involved in them. A second point is that although law is difficult to enforce we do it because we believe it to be worthwhile, although prosecuting wrong doers is difficult and can involve us in protracted battles for control over the streets, whether it be drugs, murderers or any other criminality it is fundamentally worthwhile. By *starting* to fight the war on drugs we will save many people from mental illness and misery.
    I don’t know if you have read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ but in it he shows what a doped out, stupefied society looks like, they are nothing more than content and high, fodder for totalitarianism. Instead of confronting the many ills we face, whether it be, corrupt government, inequality or whatever, instead of addressing these things in a thoughtful, earnest way, we decide to sink into an arm chair and dope ourselves into contentment.
    ‘Put briefly, recent studies tend to suggest for the most, addicts have been harmed by a specific set of circumstances, which have led to specific brain problems, which people attempt to self-medicate with drugs. When exposed to extraordinary stressors in life, your dopamine system and endorphin ‘system’ does not work very well at all. When exposed to drugs, it’s often these people then feel ‘normal’ and ‘how they should be’ so when they stop using that drug, their actual state becomes agonizing, so they learn to do the drug again to feel good again’ The word ‘tend’ all ready shows someone who is not talking objectively or with much conviction. How do I know if your further claims are true, what are you basing them on, people get brain problems from being stressed, and taking drugs (which drugs?) makes them feel normal. Can you explain this further providing credible evidence?
    Finally you quote the selfist mantra: which translates; ‘I am sovereign over my own body no-one can tell what to with my own body, it only effects me.’ Well I know people who thought they were only effecting themselves when taking drugs but when they ended up in a mental institution for six months, causing their parents un-tellable misery, causing their loved ones un-tellable misery and costing the taxpayer enormous amounts of money, I can assure you they caused *many* people sadness, grief and pain all because they selfishly *chose* to do something pleasurable. Many people do not know how psychoactive drugs will affect them, and many people do not know if they have a genetic disposition to schizophrenia and psychosis. If we had harsh deterrent laws which struck fear into people, my friend would have not dared to take cannabis and would have not caused enormous grief for his loved ones. He was lucky, he recovered, many people do not and in consequence ruin their lives and also their loved ones.
    ‘Some drugs are great for creativity’, this so subjective and nothing more than a statement based on personal conviction. The relationship between drugs and creativity is entirely subjective, it sounds fun and hip to think about taking hallucinogenic and seeing the *true* reality, but I’m sure many of the parents of the sixties acid casualties would rather just have their sons/daughters back. Even if it could be verified (it can’t) that great songs did come out of taking acid, is it really worth it? I don’t want to sacrifice people for five minutes of light entertainment.

    • I saw your article after I had sent mine in, it was a coincidence, otherwise I would have directly attacked the points that you made. But I shall respond now, and I appreciate your response.

      I’m not going to bother appealing to the authority of psychological research because I’m assuming you’re aware there is much evidence that people do indeed become addicted to substances or types of behaviour that basically make them feel good. You obviously feel the supporting research is faulty, so I shall instead ask you why you think people close to death as a result of the use of hard drugs literally keep going until they die. I’d like to hear your answer. Yes their actions are freely carried out, and the use of any drug will be a decision made by the individual in that position, but are you going to deny withdrawal symptoms exist? I’m sure many would beg to differ. ‘If you are forwarding that the disease of ‘addiction’ does really exist you will have to define at what point the user acquires the disease’ Why must I KNOW that? I’m sure it depends on the tolerance of each and every individual, our bodies are far too complex and none are similar. But let’s assume addiction wasn’t a real thing for the sake of getting to the main point of your argument. How does this justify prohibition?

      ‘But I do not blame anyone else or claim I have a disease or no choice in the matter.’ Nobody is claiming there is no choice, but rather it is made hard. I’d say it’s softly deterministic. There is clearly an effect on the body. If you were to deny that then you wouldn’t have anything against drugs. ‘‘All the advocates of addiction, either explicitly or implicitly, rely on the claim that the ‘addict’ is ‘compelled’ or ‘forced’ or in some other absolute way, then consequently left with no choice about continuing with his habit despite the risks, dangers and legal status.’’ The addict is not forced absolutely, and nobody said there is no choice.

      ‘’‘For the sake of argument let’s assume there are genetic factors for some’. Why should I assume this, give me objective evidence and reasoned argument on why I should suppose such this claim to be true?’’ I’ve studied psychology, there is a countless amount of studies. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/06/genes-addict.aspx was the first on a quick google search. But as I said, I’ll assume addiction doesn’t exist for you. I still want to know why that justifies prohibition, even though prohibition simply does not work, history tells us that.

      ‘’‘Some people do learn that drugs may make you happy or look cool, and some people do start using drugs as they believe it is the best way to ‘self-medicate’. I am sure people do start taking drugs because of these things, here we agree. None-the-less it is a *choice* which is a silly, dangerous and selfish one, as I’m sure you do not think that taking: cannabis, cocaine, heroin, leads to happiness or is better than visiting a doctor.’’ Yes, but so what? Some people may make irrational decisions… But so what? ‘’Furthermore I assume ‘learn’ is a word you are using loosely and in a subtly ironic way. The word ‘learn’ usually means the information you have derived is factually true, it doesn’t seem appropriate in the context you used it in, some quotation marks would have denoted the irony and cleared this up, I apologize if you think I am being pedantic.’’ See: Pavlov, Skinner, Bandura etc. ‘Learn’ does not always concern factually true information. Behaviour is learnt, behaviour can’t be ‘factually true’. You haven’t made an argument.

      ‘’If you wish to go to prison purely for drug possession you have to be very committed and be caught numerous times before landing yourself in prison’’ Simply not true. ‘’A harsh deterrent law which interdicted the drug taker early on in their drug using would deter them from future use.’’ Because that works, doesn’t it? See: The 13 year constitutional ban that begun shortly after WW1 on the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.

      ‘’Fear is an important component in justice, we choose not to do something because we believe it to be morally wrong or because we are scared of the consequences.’’ I’m sure your bio says you believe in liberty? You may as well ask for that to be changed. ‘‘Cannabis has been a decriminalised drug for some time now. Although still illegal, somebody found by police in possession of a small amount for their own use will probably just get away with a caution these days. There is no record taken, no evidence that anything has occurred.’ (John O’Connor, former head of Scotland yard Flying Squad, article in The Daily Express 15 February 1994).’’ So let me get this straight, you want hard penalties inflicted on people smoking weed? ‘’I personally know many people who have been caught with drugs numerous times and they never entered into the penal system.’’ GOOD

      ‘’If you think the chancellor of the exchequer would resist the temptation to tax legal drugs then you living in a world of fantasy.’’ I believe in the abolition of the state. No strawman arguments please. ‘’Although law is difficult to enforce we do it because we believe it to be worthwhile’’ Who is ‘we’? And why should peaceful individuals be treated like animals because of opinions backed by guns? ‘’By *starting* to fight the war on drugs we will save many people from mental illness and misery.’’ Lol I don’t think you realise how absurd your argument sounds… ‘’Let’s chuck them in prison (where drugs still manage to get smuggled into) to save their lives!!’’ Sounds like a great idea.

      ‘’Instead of confronting the many ills we face, whether it be, corrupt government, inequality or whatever, instead of addressing these things in a thoughtful, earnest way, we decide to sink into an arm chair and dope ourselves into contentment.’’ Yes because if drugs were to be legalised today everybody would suddenly start snorting cocaine and injecting themselves with heroin, because people can’t think without ‘muh laws’.

      ‘’Finally you quote the selfist mantra: which translates; ‘I am sovereign over my own body no-one can tell what to with my own body, it only effects me.’ Well I know people who thought they were only effecting themselves when taking drugs but when they ended up in a mental institution for six months, causing their parents un-tellable misery’’ So what? How on earth do you even conclude from that that these people should be incarcerated? ‘’and costing the taxpayer enormous amounts of money’’ I don’t believe in being forced to fund any inefficient government program, so I agree with you here that this is a problem ‘’I can assure you they caused *many* people sadness, grief and pain all because they selfishly *chose* to do something pleasurable’’ This argument is terrible. Must I really explain again?

      ‘’‘Some drugs are great for creativity’, this so subjective and nothing more than a statement based on personal conviction. The relationship between drugs and creativity is entirely subjective’’ Again, what’s the point you’re making? ‘’I don’t want to sacrifice people for five minutes of light entertainment.’’ Don’t take drugs then, it’s pretty simple.

      You haven’t actually made an argument without appealing to emotion as to why drugs should be prohibited and as to why prohibition will work *Hint – it doesn’t, and never will* Your main argument seems to be as I said ‘I don’t like it so it should be illegal’ But I really don’t understand why you think making people criminal for putting substances in their body will actually benefit them… It really does make no sense. Your article was well written, but its conclusion was asinine.

      • If you think my conclusions to be asinine then I would urge you to not pay attention to them, I think you are wrong, I do not think what you say is stupid or foolish. Saying that, thank you for your response.

        Drug takers knowingly indulge in taking pleasurable substances which could cause themselves, their family and the state infinite grief and difficulty. This is selfish and destructive, any right minded individual would want to deter such behaviour and we do this by prohibition. Having harsh deterrent laws provides a defence against all the peer pressure people face. Deterrents *do* work as shown with penalties for drunk driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol is a completely different subject with a completely different status in society, I am not pro banning alcohol, it would be impossible.

        Oddly enough if want to know the cause of the subject at hand, that cause of many phony illnesses such as ‘addiction’ – it is the cause that demands absolute personal autonomy, and the cause which denies personal responsibility for actions and failures. It is the most powerful cause in modern civilisation, and it is so intertwined with selfish personal desires that it hates with a passion any voice which suggests it may be wrong. It hates, especially, the idea that there may be a God and any absolute source of law, justice or goodness. I call it ‘Selfism’.

        Yes I have read your psychobabble which masquerades as hard objective science, it is somewhat galling sifting through pseudoscientific twaddle, the internet is bursting its banks full of it. What precisely is ‘psychology’? It sounds scientific, but it is not based upon hard, objective, testable science at all. It benefits from the lay-person’s confusion of it with psychiatry, and is often wrongly believed to be a medical science. Even psychiatry is a soft and inexact body of knowledge, constantly altering, with many competing theories, and now in severe decline, but is more or less respectable because it is practised by people with proper objective medical qualifications. Those qualifications play little part in psychiatric practice, though – crucially – they allow practitioners to prescribe drugs, a fact much exploited by the pharmaceutical industry in its campaign to persuade us to take expensive pills to ‘treat’ various supposed mental illnesses. Pills have supplanted older therapies, since the Pharmaceutical giants became so generous with their conferences in nice resorts, free scuba-diving holidays and other rewards to doctors who recommended their pills. So psychology, despite its grandiose Greek name, is removed from hard science and is about as ‘scientific’ as social work or sociology. Its claims are not gospel.

        A consistent list of observable, recordable*physical* symptoms would do in defining addiction (you have made no attempt to do this because you cannot), symptoms which could not, in that form, be present in a healthy person, and which were distinct signs of that disease and that disease *only* , and which could be independently identified and confirmed by more than one qualified practitioner, and further confirmed by a specialist in that area of medicine. The crucial word is objective.

        I think you would accept that Parkinson’s for instance, can be pretty reliably identified through a number of distinct *physical* symptoms. If you don’t have them, you haven’t got Parkinson’s.

        Also, Parkinson’s like most diseases, is not a matter of choice. But the alleged ‘addict’ has chosen his or her ‘addiction’, and pursued it with some diligence and determination. Nobody sets out to get Parkinson’s or embarks on a series of behaviours that are known to lead to Parkinson’s . I realise as I say this that there are some ‘lifestyle’ diseases, lung cancer being the most obvious, which people can pursue and often obtain in this way. But large numbers of people give up their dangerous habits (often at the cost of great effort) rather than continue. Willpower and responsibility once again come into the question, or none would give up.

        The fact that someone voluntarily goes in search of criminal dealers, voluntarily breaks the known law by buying from them, pokes heroin into his arm or eyeball, or voluntarily drinks too much whisky, after a long, slow and deliberate process during which he or she has ignored a thousand warnings and pleas from his family to stop, and in the case of heroin has repeatedly broken the criminal law, is simply not in the same category as the rather compulsory, and much feared, signs of the presence of Parkinson’s.
        If Parkinson’s sufferers could stop experiencing the things that their bodies do against their will and desire, they would. They really can’t. To confuse the two things is not just a category error, but a bit rude (I put it mildly) to sufferers from real, compulsory diseases. Nobody goes in pursuit of Parkinson’s.

        Furthermore, no doubt the frequent use of pleasure-inducing chemicals habituates the brain and other organs to those chemicals, and creates conditioned reflexes of many kinds. It undoubtedly increases the *desire* of the person for these things. But increased desire is not the same as compulsion. It merely makes it harder to stop.

        And if ‘addiction’, so called, is not compulsion (and we have already established that it isn’t) then it lacks the crucial characteristic of a disease, the characteristic that makes us sympathise with the sick and has created the great professions of medicine and nursing, and which sustains the NHS with willingly-given taxes – that a disease is something you get whether you want it or not. The thing we call ‘addiction’ has to be energetically and knowingly sought over a long period, in defiance of morality and social disapproval, and often of law, and there is no evidence at all that the ‘sufferer’ cannot throw it off if he wants to. On the contrary, there are tens of thousands, possibly millions of cases in which people have given up heroin, alcohol and cigarettes.

        The gap between much of the pseudo-psychobabble-hippy-twaddle which you peddle and real hard science is being widely debated in the current controversy over the American Psychiatric Association’s latest Diagnostic and Statistical manual – DSM 5 , which treats a large number of human conditions as medical problems, conditions which used not to be so treated. A good lay description of these difficulties can be found in the book ‘Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good’ by James Davies.

        If you do not think the state should exist and/or have the power to punish its citizens then there is really no use in the prohibition debate because the ideological chasm is so vast. My argument is based on the pre-supposition that the state should exist, I am just concerned of the nuances of how it should deal with dangerous and harmful behaviours such as drug taking. I get the impression you feel people should be free to destroy their body’s and cause others enormous grief if they wish, if so that’s fine, I shall not argue with someone who thinks that. I *am* pro liberty, I just do not think the ability to get doped out, stupify yourself and muddle your faculties is comparable with the liberties of thought and expression. Doped out contentedness makes you fodder for totalitarianism. I feel I have pretty much exhausted all of my points now, none-the-less if you make a point I do not think I have covered in this comment or previous comments/articles then I will reply, if not, I wont reply, I shall not repeat myself, it is boring, the unforgivable sin. The exchange has been enjoyable.

  2. ‘If you think my conclusions to be asinine then I would urge you to not pay attention to them’ I respect that you don’t believe addiction is a real thing. I don’t respect that you believe in incarcerating peaceful people for putting potentially harmful substances in their own bodies with the justification being it harms their own family. Words can ‘harm’ families, but there should be no limits on free speech rather than those damages on reputation that may be a natural consequence. Where there is no physical harm, you’re doing nothing other than allowing your feelings to dictate your logic.

    ‘This is selfish and destructive’. Nobody should be forced to help them, so they can take that risk as long as they expect nothing from anybody else if ‘things don’t go to plan’.

    ‘What precisely is ‘psychology’? It sounds scientific, but it is not based upon hard, objective, testable science at all.’ Critique some studies then, when there is much supporting research for something, it does tend to become accepted. I never claimed it was a science though, but I’m pretty sure most scientists believe in addiction, but as I said before, I really don’t care if you do. My problem is your conclusion.

    I’m aware of what you’re talking about, but I feel there is no chance that you’ll change your opinion anytime soon as a social conservative. Assuming you’re involved with UKIP, I’m hoping you may adopt some more libertarian ideals in the future (as many somewhat moderate libertarians have been lurking there).

    So I’m not going to bother replying to the rest (a mixture of tiredness and not actually caring about the nature of drug use, but rather what should happen to users). You know my position, and I feel the majority would agree with mine over yours, hence I see a more libertarian future. So I wish you well.

  3. completely agree with you Alexander, it seems the other poster somehow feels people go searching for addiction, when in reality it is the other way around.

  4. @’sammace’

    Dear, *Read* and *think* about my previous posts and comments, you clearly don’t understand my position. If you believe you do, *answer* the questions I have posed.

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