Instructions:Write an essay (of approximately 1000–1250 words) summarizing and evaluatingonepassage from the three choices listed below. Be sure to use the appropriate criteria in your evaluation, depending on what kind of argument or theory is being presented.
Note:The passages identified with page numbers are from J. Cederblom and D.W.Paulsen,Critical Reasoning, 7thed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012.
pages 332–334, passage
“Legal Drugs Unlikely to Foster Nation of Zombies”
1This overview was prepared by Marshall Hopkins, a former tutor of Philosophy 252.
You may use this overview as you prepare to write the final assignment (the critical essay) and when you study for the final examination. It will not take the place of a review of the course material, but it will remind you of many elements of the course and how they fit together. It will also help you figure out how to begin writing the critical essay and also the parts of the exam in which you summarize and evaluate short argumentative and theoretical passages. While writing your essay, you may refer to this overview for specific guidance.
5. Convergent arguments
1. Informal Fallacies
2. Empirical Theories
Empirical theories involve three kinds of
a. statements describing observations or data,
b. statements describing regularities, and
c. statements of theory.
The first thing to do when summarizing a theory is to distinguish among those statements in the text of the theory.
Often, in short passages offering a brief account of a theory, statements describing the observational data are brief or altogether non-existent. However, it is rare for statements describing regularities to be non-existent for it is the regularities which are explained by the statements of theory.
Keep in mind the following two key ideas.
a. Observational data give inductive support to statements of regularity (so the relation is one of inductive generalization).
b. Statements of theory explain regularities (so the relation is one of explanation, notargumentation).
3. Conceptual Theories or Definitions
Message: critical essay for pages 332-334 passage 5, “Legal Drugs Unlikely to Foster Nation of Zombies” J.Cederblom and D.W. Paulsen, Critical Reasoning,7th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth,2012.
Would Legalized Drugs Produce A Zombie Nation?
March 15, 1990|By Stephen Chapman.
There is good news and bad news about cocaine. The bad news is that captive monkeys given unlimited access to the stuff will spurn everything else to get high, until they die of starvation.
The good news is you`re not a monkey.
In a society of lower primates, who are incapable of prudent restraint in the use of mind-altering substances, legalizing cocaine and other illicit drugs would probably be a bad idea. When it comes to humans, the issue looks a bit different.
We know that a 20-year government effort to stamp out illicit drug use has been a colossal failure. We know it has swallowed vast amounts of money, prison space and police time. We know it has spawned epidemics of violent crime in the inner city, much as Prohibition sparked gangland wars.
What we don`t know is what would happen if drugs were legal. Would we become a nation of zombies-a “citizenry that is perpetually in a drug-induced haze,“ as drug czar William Bennett predicts?
Bennett says we don`t have to try legalization to know how horrible it would be: “We have just undergone a kind of cruel national experiment in which drugs became cheap and widely available: That experiment is called the crack epidemic.“
But what keeps clean-living citizens like Bennett from becoming crackheads? Is it the fear of jail? If crack were sold at a legal outlet around the corner, would he pick up a case? Would Miss America? Would you?
Not likely. A poll sponsored by the Drug Policy Foundation asked Americans if they would try illicit drugs if they were legal. Of those who had never tried marijuana before, only 4.2 percent said they would try it. Fewer than 1 percent of those who had never used cocaine said they`d take it out for a test drive.
That 1 percent can be mightily grateful to Bill Bennett for deterring them. The other 99 percent gain essentially nothing from the drug war. In fact, if they live in the inner city, the drug war puts them in danger every day, by reserving the business for violent people with lots of guns and ammo. The poll confirms the few experiments with drug tolerance. After the Netherlands practically legalized marijuana in 1976, its use declined. In the various U.S. states that decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s, pot grew less popular.
Even if everyone were tempted to sample the newly legal drugs, very few would imitate monkeys. The government`s National Institute on Drug Abuse says 22 million Americans have used cocaine at least once. Of these, 8.2 million have used it in the last year. Just 862,000 use it every week. That doesn`t sound like a ferociously addictive drug.
When it comes to crack, a smokable form of cocaine which is allegedly more tenacious in its hold, no one knows how exactly many addicts there are. But NIDA says fewer than one in five of the 2.5 million people who have tried it are regular users, blasting off at least once a month. Bennett`s
“epidemic“ has afflicted no more than one American in 500.
Crack is supposed to be uniquely destructive because of the severe damage it does to fetuses. Propagandists for the drug war claim that 375,000 “crack babies“ are born every year, requiring billions of dollars in extra medical care. But the government itself says there are fewer than half a million people who smoke crack regularly. Apparently we`re supposed to believe that four out of every five of them give birth each year.
In fact, despite being cheap and widely available, crack hasn`t produced mass addiction. Why not?
The best explanation comes from Dartmouth neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga in a recent interview in National Review magazine. Only a small portion of the population is inclined to abuse drugs (including alcohol) and these people will systematically wreck themselves with whatever is at hand, he says. But those who aren`t prone to abuse won`t become addicts regardless of what drugs are legally available.
“In our culture alone,“ said Gazzaniga, “70 to 80 percent of us use alcohol, and the abuse rate is now estimated at 5 to 6 percent. We see at work here a major feature of the human response to drug availability, namely, the inclination to moderation.“ People allowed to make free choices generally make sound ones.
But a recognition that humans can use freedom wisely is not one of the distinguishing traits of those behind the drug war, who can imagine all sorts of costs from legalization but can`t see the real ones from prohibition. If the citizenry ever emerges from the haze produced by the drug war, it may realize that the greatest harms are the ones we`ve already got.
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