More on drug policy

Stumbling and Mumbling discusses the seemingly strange fact that public opinion is so heavily against the legalisation of drugs that pose a lower social cost than some already legal drugs.

Now the legalisation of drugs is an issue we have discussed at length here (* * * * * *).  Now if society is fully informed of the costs and benefits of drug use, then I am happy for policy to be instituted along these lines.

This does raise an interesting question for me though.  Why do countries with a closer tie to Britain (Britain, the US, NZ, Australia) seem to push an agenda of strong drug regulations when a number of other nations (the Netherlands, Portugal) tend to be more interested in allowing individual action to guide the use of these products?

What makes Anglo-Saxon countries so much more sure of their ability to centrally determine what is the best set of actions for their citizens?  What makes Anglo-Saxon governments so sure of their superiority relative to the people they are “serving”?