Love Thy Neighbor


pexels-photo-145683.jpeg“Death penalty for drug dealers.”

In the US, we like our freedoms with an edge…with a boot to our throats.

“Live free or die”, as the saying goes. And by golly, you will fucking die if you don’t live up to our standards of “freedom”. So it’s only natural that our response to the opioid crisis is to let drug dealers and addicts die.

This conversation has been picking up steam: China and Singapore don’t have a drug problem because of their stringent laws, we should adopt the same policy. I don’t know shit about China or Singapore and their legal system because again, I don’t do research, but does it matter if it’s true? Is it worth compromising our ideals just to eliminate opioid addiction and possibly letting thousands die or subjecting them to state sponsored murder?

You know how to eliminate diabetes? Kill the candy-makers and let the sufferers die. (I’m joking, of course)

“Diabetes doesn’t have the same ill-consequences that drug addiction does.” Someone might say.

It doesn’t? Having large swaths of the population being overweight and unhealthy doesn’t have adverse affects on society?

Letting addicts die (as a recent paper from the Brooking’s Institute seemingly advocated) and killing drug dealers just to solve an epidemic seems to run counter to the purpose of well, SOLVING AN EPIDEMIC. The purpose is to save people, not let them die. Using this cartoon logic that conservatives (and apparently courts in China and Singapore) use, when another outbreak of Ebola or HIV occurs (which I shouldn’t be giving them ideas), we should just round the suffers up and let them die. Problem solved LOL!

Of course, it’s easy to use this logic to appeal to the White suburban reader who largely see themselves as isolated from the problem (they aren’t). But it’s another thing once when they are facing it personally. I’m sure they’d feel differently if their son or daughter was overdosing, and I’m positive (as Chapo Trap House stated) the paramedics wouldn’t want to standby and watch someone OD.

But to listen to Trump and others that advocate this sort of thinking, we should simply forgo our empathy and concern for our neighbors just so we can ELIMINATE a problem, not solve it. We must forceably enact our freedoms, not allow people the choice.

How can this even be considered “freedom”?

I’ll have to apologize once again for evoking Zizek, but when discussing his form of “Christian Atheism”, (perhaps more on that later) he mentioned the commandment “Love Thy Neighbor”. We intuitively understand this and practice it to varying degrees, but CEASE to do so when presented with evidence that our neighbor might not conform to our standards of morality. Suddenly we feel that we are permitted to no longer “love” our neighbor, and can choose to hate or feel indifference towards them. But we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and   “Ourselves” occasionally fail to live up to our own expectations…YET we countinue to love the self. The opioid epidemic has been a creeping one: there is a strong likelihood that YOU know someone close that’s suffering from it, with or without your knowledge. It is, in effect, impacting all of us and by failing to have empathy towards those suffering we are hating or feeling indifferent towards our neighbor and placing  such high expectations on our own moral character that it would be impossible to follow through.

Today, it’s the drug dealers and addicts…tomorrow, it’s you!

That sounded much better in my head…but in any event, a boot to the throat may indeed solve the problem, but without empathy, our freedoms dissolve.

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