Summary of Gore Vidal’s Essay – Drugs: Case for Legalizing Drugs


In an article entitled “Drugs: Case for legalizing Drugs” by Gore Vidal, Gore Vidal makes a case for legalizing drugs in the United States. In his essay, he declared to the world that to stop drug addiction in the United States, the government should “simply make all drugs available and sell them at a cost”. He explains why making drugs illegal does not stop drug use and trafficking. He explains that he himself has tried everything once, and contrary to our popular belief, he has not become a drug user or abuser. He brings to our mind the ideas that the United States of America was founded on in that every man has the right to do what he wants as long as it doesn’t interfere with the other person’s right to do what he wants. He sites irrational fears such as “if everyone is allowed to take drugs everyone will and the GNP will decrease, the Commies will stop us from making everyone free, and we shall end up a race of Zombies, passively murmuring “groove” to one another”.

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He explains that while some men may certainly want to kill themselves, most men do not. Gore Vidal expands his idea that legalizing drugs would not work. However, forbidding drug use is absolutely the wrong way to go. It only makes people want to use drugs more. If drugs had descriptions of the good and bad on them, people would choose for themselves not to take them. Gore then ends the essay in a negative tone, asking if anything sensible will be done by the American people. He says no, “the American people are as devoted to the idea of sin and its punishment as they are in making money – and fighting drugs is nearly as big a business as pushing them. Since the combination of sin and money is irresistible (particularly to the professional politician), the situation will only grow worse”.

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