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Ending the drug war: now a matter of national security
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I see via Instapundit that a US military report warns of a danger of a possible "sudden collapse" in Mexico. The reason?
...its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels.
If Obama and the Democrats want to move beyond rhetoric on their "change" mantra, the drug issue is one of their best opportunities. The drug war could not be much more obvious as a failure. I think the political benefits for them would be large, and the fallout would be small. Except for social conservatives and brainwashed educators, I don't expect widespread opposition.

Libertarians have been warning for decades of the damage to American society wrought by the drug war. It appears the damage in Mexico is even worse, and according to this report could be the factor that tips them into effective anarchy. The effects of that outcome on the US are obviously very nasty.

Bringing drugs within the law would be a huge step towards steering power, money, and influence away from organized crime in Mexico and drug gangs here. The dynamics are the same as ending Prohibition. It would open up a new source of tax revenue and lower costs spent on fruitless, ineffective enforcement. I can't think of a single good reason not to do it.
 
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I believe the War on Drug(TM) is the stupidest mistake the US has ever made. While we’ve done more hurtful things in the past, this is the one we did twice. We so completely failed to learn from prohibition it’s embarassing. "One test is worth more than 1000 expert opinions." Well, even after performing the experiment once, we still talked ourselves into it a second time.
 
Written By: Skorj
URL: http://
I am young, so I am not sure if my assessment is correct, but I think that the Drug War was a proxy for the Cold War.

It is still a failure in that it drives up prices and, not entirely unrelated, leaves it to the criminal element (and Guerillas) to take all of the revenue.

I think that to smooth the transition, people should be made aware of where money is going when they purchase drugs and eventually, when it is seen as fully legit, sanctioned parties will become involved in the production, distribution, and sales.
 
Written By: blackrockmarauder
URL: http://
I am young, so I am not sure if my assessment is correct, but I think that the Drug War was a proxy for the Cold War.
You may be right that the paranoia of the Cold War height contributed. But I’ve studied the era and lived through most of it, and I still don’t get it. I don’t think there’s a simple explanation.

The motivations of drug warriors are an interesting mixture of prohibitionist moralism and an itch to control others. Neither is very healthy for a free society.

The continuation of the drug war is even more puzzling. The cost benefit ratio is so utterly out of balance that I can’t see why anyone supports it. I know there are some who consider drugs "evil", as if the same substance used under medical supervision magically becomes evil if someone chooses to use it themselves.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
Bringing drugs within the law would be a huge step towards steering power, money, and influence away from organized crime in Mexico and drug gangs here. The dynamics are the same as ending Prohibition. It would open up a new source of tax revenue and lower costs spent on fruitless, ineffective enforcement.
Amen, Billy. Whenever I think about drug enforcement, and its results, I think of what someone once told me: you don’t see pushers on street corners selling vodka to kids, do you?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
There are some valid arguments for legalizing drugs, but this isn’t one of them. The Mafia existed before branching out to America, and though it took great advantage of prohibition, it did not start a downhill slide in 1933. It took roughly 40 years after prohibition ended before steps were taken to really reduce its inflence, and the RICO act has had a lot more to do with that than the legalization of alchohol and gambling.
 
Written By: Phil
URL: http://
Perhaps, Phil, but it can’t possibly be good for criminal gangs to deprive them of their main source of revenue.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
There’s no doubt that the drug war is an abject failure. Yet another stink bomb foisted on us by nanny state "progressives" and their idiotic public policy. Along with social security and the great society, prohibition of drugs has metasticized and we’re paying the price. According to this source
Federal prisons were estimated to hold 179,204 sentenced inmates as of Sept. 30, 2007. Of these, 15,647 were incarcerated for violent offenses, including 2,915 for homicide, 8,966 for robbery, and 3,939 for other violent crimes. In addition, 10,345 inmates were serving time for property crimes, including 504 for burglary, 7,834 for fraud, and 2,006 for other property offenses. A total of 95,446 were incarcerated for drug offenses...
What a waste. Approximately 53% of the entire federal prison population is there on drug offenses.

That being said, if drugs were legalized wouldn’t government regulations and taxes lead to a trade in cheaper, black market drugs? I think there is a black market in cigarettes in places with high taxes like NYC.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
The Drug war is the main reason I call myself a Libertarian instead of a conservative. On most everything else I am pretty conservative.

But you can never underestimate the pull of some to control the lives of others.

To a certain mindset on the left, normal people are incapable of running their own economic affairs so it is up to the elites in government to do it for them.

Likewise on the right (and partly on the left) it is believed that normal people are incapable of controlling their passions and desires and so the government must control what they eat, drink, ingest, and who they sleep with.

The thing all the people who think this way would tell you that they believe in freedom and liberty. But they don’t, and they don’t even realize it.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog

That being said, if drugs were legalized wouldn’t government regulations and taxes lead to a trade in cheaper, black market drugs? I think there is a black market in cigarettes in places with high taxes like NYC.
Well sure, if the taxes were too high, on the other hand if any adult could walk into a pharmacy, and for a reasonable price get a known quantity of a drug, with no additives, then that would effectively destroy the largest portion of the illegal trade.

But organized crime and gangs are so large an powerful now they would move big time into protection, kidnapping and other crime, but at least those crimes are easier to deal with.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Not to mention that I would then be able to buy Sudafed without registering every purchase with the government.
 
Written By: mprell
URL: http://
I don’t necessarily agree with the overreaching policies of the drug war, I don’t think you can draw an appropriate analogy to prohibition and alcohol. With alcohol, the vast majority of users are recreational, moderate users. There’s no such thing as a recreational heroin or methamphetamine user. Once you’re hooked, it’s a rapid downward spiral.

If you were to make those drugs as available as alcohol just to collect the taxes, it’s not hard to imagine the immediate and drastic societal effects. While I don’t want such a large chunk of my tax dollars used to lock up drug possessors, I can’t get behind the idea of a narcotic free for all either.

Finally, wouldn’t libertarian policy suggest against the idea of bringing drugs "within the law"? Does that not mean you would legalize with governmental controls? You’re just trading one government beast for another, in my opinion. The next thing you know you end up with the Dutch "heroin distrubution offices." What a creepy world that would be.
 
Written By: TW
URL: http://
Isn’t it great how we only discovered heroine just shortly before the drug war?
How did it escape our notice as a species for so long?

And cocaine and marijuana too!

And these new custom drugs are a sign, we MUST be winning the war, right?
We have fewer addicts, crimes, etc, right?

Right?

Right?!!!!??????

wow.....

Hmmmm, I think there’s a hint in there somewhere.



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The El Paso city council tried to bring this idea up, with little effect at the moment, but it is something.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
There’s no doubt that the drug is an abject failure. Yet another stink bomb foisted on us by nanny state "progressives" and their idiotic public policy.
Huh?? While I’d agree it is an abject failure and that libertarians have consistently voiced outrage at the War on Drugs.... I think this mess pretty much sits on the shoulders of conservatives. They pulled the libs along with ’Can’t be soft on crime’.

The tide does seem to be turning on this with respect to some drugs but it won’t be easy. We’ve built a whole industrial legal complex around the war.
 
Written By: sookie
URL: http://
I don’t necessarily agree with the overreaching policies of the drug war, I don’t think you can draw an appropriate analogy to prohibition and alcohol. With alcohol, the vast majority of users are recreational, moderate users. There’s no such thing as a recreational heroin or methamphetamine user. Once you’re hooked, it’s a rapid downward spiral.

If you were to make those drugs as available as alcohol just to collect the taxes, it’s not hard to imagine the immediate and drastic societal effects. While I don’t want such a large chunk of my tax dollars used to lock up drug possessors, I can’t get behind the idea of a narcotic free for all either.

Finally, wouldn’t libertarian policy suggest against the idea of bringing drugs "within the law"? Does that not mean you would legalize with governmental controls? You’re just trading one government beast for another, in my opinion. The next thing you know you end up with the Dutch "heroin distrubution offices." What a creepy world that would be.
I think the proper libertarian position is if you want to kill yourself, go ahead. You’re a fool if you think I’m gonna try to stop you, unless it effects me.

I understand that this isn’t a happy thought, but really the war on drugs hasn’t done much to remedy the problem. In fact seems to have made it worse in many ways, so maybe practical real life lessons at the expense of some would work better for the remainder.

I do understand that there are many issues such as what do you do with those who use and work in jobs that their use could put others in jeopardy.

The up side is we’d stop giving kids criminal records, that they have to live with for the rest of their lives, for smoking weed when they are young and dumb. I don’t know how hurtful that is but I think it has the potential to be a significant social impact on people’s lives. More so now than it was when I was a kid. Now it’s never going away. A few clicks of the keyboard and it’s all there. 25-30 yrs ago, only the major stuff made it into the current data bases as they were brought online and merged into national databases.

There are no easy answers, but I think the war probably has more down side than up.
 
Written By: sookie
URL: http://

 
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