There are lots of people that use drugs because otherwise they'd recognize how dissatisfied they are with their lives. I think this is a failure of virtue – not an uncommon one, but an important one, and I think life is a struggle for virtue, this being a struggle worth enduring.

I think lots of people agree, drugs are bad. Particularly if you really like them. They're concerned about virtue and want a society where we expect more from each other. That's what I want too.

I'm not sure the way you do that is by incarcerating drug users. The strategy makes no sense.

Isn't one of the dangers of drugs that of addiction? How would an incentive structure alter addiction?

Isn't quality of life a major predictor for drug use and abuse? How does prison improve that? How is prison ever an environment that could foster virtue?

I mean, if you take the premise seriously, you'd want more immediate feedback for drug use (to combat the immediate high), and allow them to live their life in virtue as easily as possible. When public beating sounds like a more effective social policy, it might be time to right the ship.

And yet in the public battle for virtue, there is little persuasion. "Just say no" is wrong – don't just say no. Have wants and values, so no for a reason. Understand those reasons, articulate them, defend them, if you can. There is only a marshal will, a desire to use violence to impose yourself on others. I'm concerned this lost more than the war on drugs, it might have lost quite a few souls in the process.