A University of Pennsylvania psychology study published this week suggested that the war on drugs is part of a ‘larger attempt to advance the cause of committed, monogamous reproductive strategies’ with anti-drug advocates in reality more bothered about promiscuous sex.
"If you were to measure people's political ideology, religiosity and personality characteristics, you can predict to some degree how people feel about recreational drugs,” said chief researcher Kurzban, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.
“But if, instead, you just measure how people feel about casual sex, and ignore the abstract items, the predictions about people's views on drugs in fact become quite a bit better,” he said.
Researchers quizzed a thousand students and workers in Florida about their political inclinations, religiosity and ‘disgust sensitivity’ and correlated their responses with their attitudes towards illicit drugs.
“People develop complex differences in their sexual and reproductive strategies. One key difference that creates strategic conflict arises in people's orientations towards casual sexual activity,” the scientists said.
“The relationships of people following a more committed, monogamous reproductive strategy are put at greater risk when casual sex is prevalent,” they explained, “(while) on the other hand, people pursuing a less committed lifestyle seek to avoid having their choices moralized, forbidden and punished.”
“Condemnation of drug usage might be best understood in the context of strategic dynamics,’ Professor Kurzban continued, “with individuals influencing moral rules in a way that favors their own competitive reproductive strategies."
The sex and drugs connection was highlighted just as Independent star columnist Johann Hari highlighted the close correlation between criminality and supporting drug laws in a review of Daniel Okrent's latest book, 'Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition'.
“One insight, more than any other, ripples down from Okrent's history to our own bout of prohibition,” Hari suggested, “Armed criminal gangs don't fear prohibition: they love it. He has uncovered fascinating evidence that the criminal gangs sometimes financially supported dry politicians, precisely to keep it in place.”
“Legalizers are the only people who can bankrupt and destroy the drug-gangs, just as they destroyed (Al) Capone,” he added, “Only the prohibitionists can keep them alive.” (Independent)
Daniel Okrent; Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition; for sale here on Amazon)
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