Whose Fault Is It?

I’ve written before about the War on Your Rights, and how ridiculous its officials appear when they feign outrage at the extreme tactics employed by drug smugglers. The latest to exhibit this righteous indignation is none other than America’s own “Drug Czar.” (I hate that title, but it does at least elicit images of the brutal reign of Ivan the Terrible and his contemporaries.) In this story, John Walters, director of the National Drug Control Policy, stands amid the scrub in Sequoia National Forest where a large crop of marijuana plants was found, and whines that, “This is about serious criminal organizations. They’re willing to kill anybody who gets in their way. They’re taking money back to those who kill prosecutors, judges and law enforcement.”

I wonder if it has ever occurred to Mr. Walters that our own government’s untenable policies where marijuana and other drugs are concerned are the very thing that makes these criminal organizations profitable? Eliminate the profit motive, Mr. Walters, and you eliminate the drug problem. All of it. The attendant violence and illegal immigration will also disappear. Let’s have some serious discussion of Congressman Barney Frank’s proposed legislation to elminate the penalties for marijuana possession. It’s not enough, but at least it’s a step in the right direction, and will start people having the right dialogue about this issue. Instead of talking about how to funnel more resources into this failed “war” and going after the “drug lords,” let’s spend some time talking about the lessons we learned in this country from Prohibition some seventy years ago: not only does Congress not have the authority to ban substances, doing so only creates a market for organized crime. You want to get rid of the thugs? Get rid of their market.

But please stop whining to me about the lengths that people will go to in order to profit from these substances that we’ve declared to be illegal. You will never stop them because greed is too powerful a force. Attempting to eliminate them through legislation is like trying to make planes fly by legislating against gravity. Stop wasting America’s time and money prosecuting this pointless war, and start talking about real solutions.

One Comment

  1. Two things.The “war” on drugs is also profitable for the legal system, so they’re disincentivized to end it. Part of that is corrupt and greedy officials at every level, but part of it is useful and necessary funding for the other services our legal system provides.People who traffic in illegalities don’t do so because they fervently believe marijuana is harmless, guns don’t kill people, or 13-year-olds are plenty old enough to have sex. They do it precisely because there’s great profit in high risk activity (as you said). The only way to combat this is to make every substance/object/activity legal, which has obvious problems. Anything short of that and most of the “drug lords” will just be lords of whatever remains illegal. As long as there will be a market built on what happens to be illegal, I think I prefer it to be something relatively harmless that perhaps doesn’t need to be illegal.

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