Arguments Against Hedonism

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Illicit drug use cannot be justified by users through their hedonistic intentions. This is evident in the deontological field of natural law, where taking illicit substances is wrong in itself, independent of the consequences. Since drug abuse yields a gross negative outcome, Utilitarianism also forbids it. These ideologies intersect at hedonism – the maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of pain that agrees with the euphoric objective of recreational drug abuse. This paradox is easily misused by drug abusers to condone their actions, particularly in reference to utilitarianism.
Natural law asserts that substance abuse is intrinsically sinful due to its violation of Catholic absolutes. With over 1800 illicit drug related fatalities occurring
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According to Aquinas, ‘knowing God’ refers to the implementation of reason in order to distinguish right from wrong while ‘loving God’ is to be charitable to all people by obeying such instinctive natural law by means of free-will. The compromise in cognition that coincides with the release of dopamine and neurotransmitters caused by illicit drug use weakens a person’s ability to reason. Similarly, the Bible instructs people to “be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls round you” (1 Pet 5:8), emphasising the ability of drugs to inhibit free-will by exacerbating temptations. Hence, illicit drug use is a deviation from the righteous path defined by God, justifying it as sinful. Furthermore, through his crucifixion, Jesus saved humanity from this evil by endowing them with Grace. This gift, along with the physical manifestation of humans as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19) is desecrated during drug abuse, ensuring its wickedness. The Church also instructs that “every … action must be set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of … developing one’s own human potential” (RN), hence, they maintain a goal of meeting the needs of the common good. By engaging in illegal trade, consumers encourage the violence and murder that arises from drug-related conflicts, decrementing this goal…show more content…
Jeremy Bentham’s original ‘act’ theory of utility, argues that a good action produces pleasure, regardless of legalities, condoning drug use. However, Mill averred that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill p. 155), so actions should be assigned quantities based on the extent in which they foster happiness. Here, intellectual pleasures provide sustained satisfaction while sensual pleasures are short-lived and shallow. Accordingly, the shot-term elation produced by drug use may be assigned a relatively low worth of ‘5 hedons’. Conversely, the destruction of families due to the volatile temperament induced by recreational drugs would have a lasting effect – a value of ‘-200 hedons’ would be plausible. In this instance the net worth of drug abuse would be ‘-195’ or ‘195 dolors’. In pursuit of “the greatest good for the greatest number”, the snowball effects must be considered. For example, the poor hygiene associated with intravenous drugs increases the spread of blood contagions, causing illnesses such as HIV in thousands of people thereby endangering their lives. In doing this, healthcare systems are monopolised, diverting taxpayer money away from treating unpreventable diseases. Internationally, 10% of prisoners are held on drug related felonies, uprooting the economy. This war on drugs
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