Compare and Contrast the Classical Liberal position with the Conservative position on the issue of drug use amongst young people and explain how this affects policy The policies on the issue of drug use amongst young people are significantly shaped by different political ideologies. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast a classical liberal position with the conservative position on the issue of drug use among young people, and explain how political ideologies can influence policy.
This essay will explain how the present issue on drug use among young people is seen by society from the classical liberal position and the conservative position. It will compare and contrast the core values, future goals, strategies and method of actions that are used to address the issue of drug use amongst young people and illustrate how the problems of young people are framed. By outlining these important factors, this essay will identify the ways in which policy on the issue of drug use among young people can be shaped by two different ideological perspectives.
One of the problems that arise when discussing the nature of ideologies is the fact that there is no absolute definition of the term, only a collection of rival definitions. However for the purpose of this essay, 'ideology' defined by (Heywood, 2003) is: "More or less coherent set of ideas that provides the basis for organizing political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power.
All ideologies therefore (a) offer an account of the existing order, usually in the form of a 'world-view', (b) advance a model of a desired future, a vision of a 'good society', and (c) explain how political change can and should be brought about – how to get from (a) to (b)". "A political ideology largely concerns itself with how to allocate power and to what ends it should be used. It can be a construct of political though, often defining political parties and their policy (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)".
According to Heywood (2003, p. 3), political ideologies can influence youth policy in several ways". Firstly, political ideologies present a view of how the "world is understood and explained". Secondly political ideologies "set goals that inspire political activity". Thirdly political ideas help shape the nature of political systems. Finally, political ideas and ideologies can act as a form of social cement by providing social groups, and whole societies, with a set of unifying values ad beliefs.
By "providing society with a unified political culture, political ideas in one way can either help to promote order and social stability or be "enforced from above in an attempt to manufacture obedience and thereby operate as a form of social control" (Heywood, 2003, p. 4). According to (Penington, 1999, p. 1) the "use of substances that alter mood goes back thousands of years in various sections of human society, whether we are talking of alcohol, opium, marijuana, the coco leaf or tobacco".
In recent decades, many countries including Australia have experienced an increase in illicit drug use, particularly amongst young people. "This shift has prompted governments, welfare and treatment agencies, among other organizations to develop systematic programmes and policy responses to the problem of illicit drug use" (Duff, 2004, p. 385). The type of programmes and policies that are created however, greatly depends on what political ideology the political party is influenced by. The different theories people create about the world allow them to interpret the same event differently.
The different worldviews and 'core values' that people hold and what they feel would be an 'ideal world' is significantly influenced by how the people take 'action' to social changes, the type of questions they ask and what they see as the most suitable intervention (Cooper, 2004; Heywood, 2003). By outlining the core values, future goals, strategies and method of actions that underpin the Classical Liberal perspective and the Conservative perspective, will explain how youth policy can be shaped by the two different ideological perspectives on the issue of drug use amongst young people.
An ideology presents a vision of the world, humanity, society and the state, as imagined by a group of people in a particular time and place (Cooper, 2006; Heywood, 2003). People who come from the Classical Liberal ideology for example, see that problems within society are completely related to the way society is structured and if complete change does not occur then the problems within society will continue being they way they are. The Conservatives on the other hand are resistant to change and believe change should only happen slowly if at all.
On the issue of drug use and how this might effect policy, the Classical Liberals believe that present society needs to change its current legislation as they don't believe it is very rational that some legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are more harmful then some illegal drugs (Penington, 1999). The Classical Liberals believe that drug use is a personal individual issue and recreational drug use should be legalized with restriction of access to minors (Help End Marijuana Prohibition, 2006).
The conservatives on the other hand believe that present society needs to strengthen the existing legislation by implementing tougher penalties for deterrence. The Conservatives agree with the Classical Liberals that the current legislation is not rational due to some legal drugs being more harmful then illegal ones. However, the Conservatives still believe that by enforcing a zero tolerance policy it will prevent young people from taking illegal drugs in order to avoid future punishment.
According to (Heywood, 2003), different ideologies have different beliefs that underpin the way an ideology interprets the world. The core values that underpin the Classical Liberal ideology are different to the core values of the Conservative ideology. The core values of the Classical Liberal ideology include equality, freedom, reason and toleration. The core values of the Conservative ideology on the other hand are tradition, hierarchy, human fallibility, organic society and property.
People who come from the Clasical Liberal ideology embrace "individual rights, private property and a laissez-faire economy, a government that exists to protect the liberty of each individual from others, and a consitution that protects individual autonomy from governmental power" (Heywood, 2003; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). In relation to the issue of drug use amongst young people, the Classical Liberals believe that if the young person decides to use drugs, it is their own free choice so long as they are not causing harm to another person or another person's property.
This is very different to the Conservative ideology, which supports the need to protect the good morals and values of the people, because they believe drugs do harm to society. The Conservatives believe in maintaining and supporting the structure of the present society and that by having traditional roles young people will play their part in society, which will give them certainty about their future. They Conservatives also believe that young people should have respect for the laws of society regardless of how unfair it may be . (Cooper, 2006; Heywood, 2003; Liberal vs.
Conservative from a Free Market/Freedom Perspective, 2006) Ideologies not only provide a framework of what people believe and understand about the world but also provide a vision of how the world ought to be . For example, people who come from the Classical Liberal ideology, believe the ideal society would be one where the government plays a limited role and does not impose on the individual's natural right to life, liberty and property. The Classical Liberals "profess in the free market, free trade, economic deregulation and the rule of law. (Heywood, 2003; Liberal vs.
Conservative from a Free Market/Freedom Perspective, 2006; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) The conservatives on the other hand believe the ideal society would be one where history and tradition are respected and maintained. It is a world where people respect society as a separate and higher entity that protects and supports them as long as they conform to the traditional institutions and common morality. The conservatives believe that if society needs to change it can only be done slowly in order to maintain social stability. (Heywood, 2003; Liberal vs.
Conservative from a Free Market/Freedom Perspective, 2006; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) In regards to the issue of drug use and policy, the ideal society for the Classical Liberals would be to have soft drugs such as marijuana legalised so that it can be sold in shops and taxed like it is done with tobacco, alcohol and gambling (Help End Marijuana Prohibition, 2006). This is very different to the view the Conservatives who believe an ideal society would be and that is where no one uses illegal drugs. The conservatives believe they can achieve this by using force and the restriction of freedom if the need is required (Cooper, 2006).
According to Heywood (2003), ideologies always invovle some form of strategy and method of action to bring about change. Depending on the ideology, the type of action that is taken to address issues are related mainly to individuals, to groups of young people or to the structure of society as a whole. For example, People who come from the Classical Liberal ideology would address the issue of drug use amongst young people by offering a combination of individual support, help to groups of young people and change the structure of society.
The type of individual support that Classical Liberals would provide, would be offering a drug counselling service that would be available to any young person that has a drug problem. The Classical Liberals would support trials of heroin injecting rooms and prescription heroin provided on harm minimisation grounds. The type of help the Classical Liberals would give to groups of young people would be by providing education and awareness-raising programmes to encourage personal development and educate young people on the harmful effects that drugs can have (The National Drug Strategy, 2004).
The Classical Liberals would change the structure of society by altering the current legislation and making drugs such as marijuana legal, however only making it available to people who are over the age of 18. They would regulate this by having "Cannabis Kafes with age restrictions, public health and agricultural controls, and taxaction of cannabis for profit". The proceeds that would be taxed from the sales of marijuana could be used to fund education campaigns. The Classical Liberals would implement harm minimisation campaigns ensuring health information is being given to people at the point of sale.
(Help End Marijuana Prohibition, 2006) The forms of strategy and action the Conservatives would have on the other hand would be to work with groups of young people and implement programs that would help them adopt values and behaviour that will support the dominant social values. The types of programmes the Conservatives would implement to address the issue of drug use amongst young people, would be ones that would reject anti-social and criminal behaviour, however encourage respect for authority figures and instil discipline.
An example of such programmes would include the navy cadets, army cadets and boot camps. The Conservatives would reject any education programmes that might imply that illegal drug use will be tolerated. They would not want to change any structures of society and would want to keep the current distinction between legal and illegal drugs. The Conservatives would want to maintain the current legislation and enforce stricter penalties implmenting a zero tolerance policy. They would expect young people to obide by the law even if the law is unjust.
(Cooper, 2006; Heywood, 2003) According to Heywood (2003), ideology provides people with a framework to help them understand the world. An ideological perspective enables people to understand how social interactions and different political events can effect them. Different ideologies have different worldviews. This leads people to have different interpretations of how the world is and frame different questions about different issues. The type of questions people ask is strongly influenced by what they see as the purpose of intervention.
For example, the Classical Liberals might ask questions about freedom, individual rights, civil and political rights. In regards to policy, if a Classical Liberal believed that the law was unfair and oppressive on young people's rights then the Classical Liberals would want the law to be changed. On the issue of drug use amongst young people for example, the Classical Liberals would seek to change legislation and legalise drugs with restricted access to minors like it has been done with alcohol and tobacco.
(Cooper, 2006; Help End Marijuana Prohibition, 2006; Heywood, 2003; Liberal vs. Conservative from a Free Market/Freedom Perspective, 2006) Conservatives on the other hand might enquire about law and order. The type of questions a Conservative may ask for example is why young people do not respect authority and abide by the laws. In regards to policy, the Conservatives would support a legislation that enforces harsher penalties because they believe that it will prevent young people from breaking the law again.
The Conservatives believe such legislation can be achieved by using force and the restrcition of freedom if the need is required. (Cooper, 2006; Heywood, 2003) In conclusion, the theories that people create about the world, the core values that people hold, and the dreams that people have that they believe would be an ideal society, is strongly influenced by how people respond to social changes, the questions they ask and what they believe would be the best form of action .
People who come from the Classical Liberal ideology believe that an individual has the right to do whatever they want so long as they do not cause harm to anyone else or anyone else's property. In relation to drug use, the Classical Liberals believe that if a young person wants to use drugs it is their own free choice and no one should impede on that right. In relation to policy, the Classical Liberals support the legalization of drugs enforcing a harm minimization policy.
The Conservatives on the other hand believe that young people who take illegal drugs have no respect for law and order. They believe that illegal drugs are morally corrupting and young people who use them are less likely to contribute society. In relation to policy, the Conservatives support a legislation that enforces harsher drug law penalties enforcing a zero tolerance policy.
Cooper, T. (2004). Ideology and Youth Work Practice (pp. Lecture notes). Perth: Edith Cowan University.
Cooper, T. (2006). Major Contemporary Ideologies (pp. Lecture Notes). Perth: Edith Cowan University.
Duff, C. (2004). Drug use as a 'practice of the self': is there any place for an 'ethics of moderation' in contemporary drug policy? International Journal of Drug Policy, 15, 385-393.
Help End Marijuana Prohibition. (2006). Retrieved 3 April, 2006, from http://www.hemp.on.net/
Heywood, A. (2003). Political Ideologies (3rd ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan.
Liberal vs. Conservative from a Free Market/Freedom Perspective. (2006). 2006, from http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/weebies/weebies1.html
The National Drug Strategy. (2004). Canberra: Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy.
Penington, P. D. (1999). An Overview of Drug Use and Drug Policy in Australia. Retrieved 6 April, 2006, from http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/lectures/read/980602/Overview%20Transcript%20170599x.pdf#search='an%20overview%20of%20drug%20use%20and%20drug%20policy%20in%20australia'
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (7 April 2006). Retrieved 9 April, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberal
Assignment 1 – Political Ideologies and Youth Work Practice Magda Zylinski: Student # 6040557