The overwhelming vast majority of Americans know that the federal “war on drugs” has been a massive failure. We have spent Trillions and caged millions upon millions of men and women and ruined the lives of many others that did not even have to go to prison. Just a drug arrest on your record can make your job hunts that much more difficult. Yet we still pay out an enormous amount of money each year for this boondoggle. I ask, why?
In a free society, as we claim to be, a man should be able to ingest any food or drug he wants to since any harm done is to himself only. No drug pusher pulls a gun and makes anyone smoke grass; people do it because they enjoy it. Most of us can see laws against murder, theft, fraud, burglary, robbery, and rape since these involve an invasion or aggression against the person or property of another. But if someone else smokes some grass, what is that to me?
The government has no right to try to keep people from engaging in risky behavior, but even if they did, they don’t even try most of the time. Driving a car is the most risky thing you can do most of the time, especially in my city! Playing football as a teen injures many for life and yet that is allowed. They allow sky diving. The American people and their government allow all kinds of risky behaviors by individuals. But the idea that some people might be ingesting some drugs seems to cause many otherwise normal citizens to go bonkers. Why ingesting harmful substances? Why do some people’s attitude change on that issue? It seems that somehow they’ve come to the conclusion that freedom should simply be ignored in favor of government intervention into people’s private lives if some drugs are involved.
Many drug war advocates will tell you that drug use will effect the family and strangers as the user becomes a “criminal” and must support his “habit” somehow. To that I respond that the fact drugs are a felony is what causes most of the crime in the first place — we have driven some, but not all, drugs into the black market where you have to buy them from “criminals” and you are a “criminal” yourself if you buy the drugs. In addition, the black market nature of the drugs causes the price to be much higher than if the product was available in you local stores.
And then there is the blatant unfairness of marijuana being illegal while it’s legal for adults to consume alcohol and tobacco. Now these two drugs have been proven to have killed many more people than marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illicit drugs. The perpetual, destructive war on some drugs allows many dangerous drugs to be consumed but not others. Why is this?
Most everyone I know sees the drug war as a permanent fixture of American life and I am even talking about some who agree with me that all drugs should be legalized as soon as possible. We may see a little change in that attitude after this last election where a vote by the people in two states made a first step towards de-criminalization if not legalization of marijuana.
The war on drugs has caused drug gang’s profits to soar, has caused much violence in producing countries, and has pretty much destroyed our ideas of “civil rights” here at home in America. We have seen massive infringements on our privacy rights and civil liberties. We have seen search and seizure of people’s bodies, homes, automobiles, personal effects, and financial records all justified by the “war on drugs”. Our prisons are jam-paced with drug-law violators, disproportionately black, to the point we have a larger prison population than any country in the world. Up to 8 times the number per capita than Europe. Was the total failure called the “drug war” worth it? Of course not, but what will it take to end it all?
The “war on drugs” is destroying freedom and liberty in America just as surely as night follows day. The drug war must end.