How is that drug war working out for you?

The war on drugs is wrong, both tactically and morally. It assumes that people are too stupid, too reckless, and too irresponsible to decide whether and under what conditions to consume drugs. The war on drugs is morally bankrupt. ~Larry Elder

We have been waging a war against some drugs in the USA my entire lifetime. We have put about 8 times more people in prison than Western Europe does and we still are not one bit closer to “winning” the war on drugs than we were the day we started this unconstitutional fool’s errand.

About the only industries doing really well in America at the present time are the war industries (you don’t call it the “defense industry” do you?), the prison industry, and smuggling drugs. We know from the experience with alcohol prohibition that trying to stop drugs that people want to have is not going to work. There will arise a smuggling operation to fill the needs and desires of the customers.

Prohibition gave rise to organized gangs, turf wars for distribution rights, corrupt cops, corrupt judges, corrupt prosecutors, corrupt politicians at all levels, and a distrust of government by the people. Prohibition created vast criminal organizations the like of which this country had never seen before. It was well known that the cops and the smugglers were prohibitions staunchest defenders. But prohibition had be enacted starting with an amendment to the constitution and the people finally demanded that the amendment be repealed. It finally was repealed and some normalcy returned to the land.

With the drug war, the government decided to just ignore the constitution and enact legislation against drugs that people wanted. After all, the US Empire has not really followed the constitution for at least a century. Anyone could see this was not going to end well, and only those who stand to make money off the deal (directly or indirectly) are supporters of the horror. With drug prohibition we have seen vast amounts of illicit money create vast amounts of corruption. Imagine that! We have wholesalers and retailers distributing drugs all over America even into the most back-water places in the country.

So how is the government doing putting down the sale of illegal drugs? Well, they can’t even keep the drugs out of a maximum security prison. That should tell you something. On the other hand, the price of drugs today should tell us something also. Reason Magazine recently published the following chart showing various aspects of the drug war.


Let us see: the number of people in prison is way up since 1970 while the cost of hard drugs continues to decline.

The ineffectiveness of supply-control measures is rooted in the economics of the black market. Illegal drugs acquire most of their value after arriving in the United States. Attempts to destroy drug crops or intercept shipments on their way to the U.S. therefore do not cost traffickers much and do not have much of an impact on retail prices. Nor does busting drug dealers in the U.S. and seizing the relatively small quantities they are apt to be holding. Both the dealers and the drugs are easily replaced. And to the extent that police succeed over the short term in raising prices by raising the risks involved in selling drugs, they also raise the returns from the business, attracting new participants and boosting the supply  … (Reason Magazine)

Look, if the police tell us that there are a lot of drugs in the area but that they can’t find the drug suppliers then we need to ask them how the hell the customers can find these suppliers while the high paid cops can not. But of course the real answer is that many people are getting paid off today just like in the days of Prohibition. Money corrupts just like power does.

There are only two options to find a real answer to the drug problem in the US. One alternative one is to crack down hard and levy severe penalties on users and the other is to legalize all drugs and let people exercise their freedom of choice over what they ingest into their own bodies. Drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin are dirt-cheap to produce and they yield profits that boggle the mind — and corrupt all sorts of people. You can eliminate the profits on illegal drugs by making them legal. Simple really.

If drugs were legalized, then the price would drop dramatically and users would not need to ever commit crimes to obtain them. The cost of prisons and police could be reduced as the drug war is producing the vast numbers of their “customers”. On purely pragmatic grounds this madness called “the war on drugs” needs to end. The government is using this war on drugs to increase its power over the people and it was never legal anyway. End it now!


One thought on “How is that drug war working out for you?

  1. Some very good points, Mark, on government’s inability to do what it says it can – eliminate illegal drugs.

    “The government is using this war on drugs to increase its power over the people” – that really says the whole thing, the reason WHY the charade continues. The propaganda starts off that people are too foolish (not actually stated so but between the lines) to regulate their own behavior and therefore government must protect them by designating certain substances – and mutually voluntary actions, in other cases not even related to certain chemicals – as ILLEGAL.

    Until a large number of individuals in any government area decide that they will be self-responsible – and practice that in their voluntary actions – politicians and bureaucrats will for the most part do little to retreat from their apparent paternalistic, but more often actually power retaining, attitudes. Verbal and in-person protests, while garnering attention from those possibly still uninformed or misinformed, are not enough to end the “war on drugs” and all other “wars on” as well as WAR. Each individual who wants such cessations needs to change his/her way of interacting with others where government may be involved, which is virtually all interactions. Self-responsibility must come to be a major part of each such person’s daily practices and withdrawal of approval/tolerance for those who do not. The real changes to wither away government must start with each individual who recognizes the benefit of a self-ordered society.

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