Brother Dave and Immanuel Kant

 Posted on March 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

I first met "Brother Dave" when he was the case agent for an informant on a cocaine case I was trying. It was a state-court case, but the witness against my client had worked off a federal beef in part by making the case against my client, so Special Agent Brother Dave of the DEA held his hand through my interview of him, and then testified at trial.

Brother Dave is a very devout Christian who loves everyone. He testified against my client without rancor, I cross-examined him and his snitch without ill will, and my client was acquitted (proof that cross-examination does not have to be angry examination).

Brother Dave and I have run into each other a few times since then; I cherish the thought that I may be able to bring him around to my way of thinking on the matter of our shared expertise - the War on Drugs - and I expect that he has the same delusive belief about me.

Frustrated that there's more cocaine on the streets at lower prices than there was when he started fighting the WOD thirty years ago, Brother Dave favors adopting the Singaporean approach to drugs: capital punishment for small quantities.

So it surprised me when Brother Dave shared with me this quote from Immanuel Kant:

"Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end."

We might say that we're punishing people for their own good, but almost universally we're not. Brother Dave favors executing drug traffickers not for their own sake but for the sake of everyone else - to deliver others from temptation. Whether we're hanging people at Changi Prison at dawn, caning them, or "just" locking them up, the WOD is all about using people as a means to an end.

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