Continuing on my list of things that the common man would find appealing in a broad coalition with libertarians, we will look today at The Drug War and at Crime in the Streets.
I wrote in the original list of items that a large populist movement could agree upon the following:
7) Take Back the Streets and end the Drug War: By ending the drug war and legalizing all drugs, we can then put the police to working on stopping rape, murder, theft and other crimes against the people. To hell with the state saying what I should be allowed to ingest into my body.
It is obvious to all reasonable people that the drug war is totally lost and that Nixon was totally wrong to start the latest version of the drug war.
In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants
The fact of the matter is that outlawing drugs was unconstitutional from the beginning. Consider the prior alcohol prohibition in the United States and how it was handled.
Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. The constitution was amended with the 18th amendment to begin alcohol prohibition and was ended with the 21st amendment. Alcohol prohibition gave rise to an astonishing proliferation of organized crime and violence in the US. The “wet” proponents cited personal liberty, reduction in crime, and tax review as reasons for ending the horribly wrong experiment in government mandated morality.They proved to be correct in all respects. The thing to notice, especially, is that prohibiting people from consuming a drug was seen to a power that the government did not have without a constitutional amendment.
There is no difference in alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition other than the US gave up on trying to follow the Constitution and just used raw federal power to make drugs illegal. Enormous civil liberties were cast aside and the idea of the police knocking on your door at a reasonable hour and producing a court ordered warrant to search your house without destroying the place was overturned in the madness to find the “evil doers”. When the police breaks in now, you are guilty till your are proven innocent.
As the war continued, ever more tyrannical measures were taken against the entire population in the hopeless attempt to stop people from doing what they wanted to do in the privacy of their own homes. We have come to see SWAT teams break down the door at all hours of the night, murder pets, shoot the people inside for little reason and with impunity. Living right is no defense as many have died simply because the police went to the wrong address. Know this: the SWAT team is there to kill people. And they do that very thing.
We are at a point were legalizing at least some drugs would be possible in the US at a federal level and that would help enormously with the crime problem in this country. Legalization would help protect people from the militarized, out of control, trigger happy police and SWAT units. For that reason alone I think the “man in the street” and libertarians can agree on this issue. But there is more …
If the prisons were emptied of those drug offenders who are unconstitutionally convicted of using or selling drugs that the feds don’t like, then we would have the space for arresting real criminals like murderers, rapists, thieves, and all the rest of the violent criminals we don’t seem to have the manpower to pursue at the present time. There are vast, vast resources going to the “drug war” at the present time. We could save billions of dollars and still have much safer streets in this country simply be following the constitution and allowing people to buy and ingest whatever they so desired. It is also important to realize that some of the users commit crimes to support the illegal habit and with legalization the crime rate would automatically fall.
Cigarettes are legal and there is no one giving out “free samples” to get your children hooked on the product. The same will be true of any legal drug. For the sake of the children we need to stop the unconstitutional drug prohibition.