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Rush Limbaugh and the War on Drugs
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, June 30, 2006

Via Hit and Run, Taylor Buley has a good article in the Baltimore Sun on the quagmire that is our War on Drugs...
Local, state and federal governments directly spend more than $40 billion a year on what's typically called the war on drugs. Virtually all of that money is spent on trying to interdict drugs as they enter the country or arresting drug users and drug sellers. Our current aim of preventing people from becoming addicted to harmful substances misses the mark.

A better focus - and one that would eliminate the violence and crime associated with black markets and reduce the social harms of addiction - would be to ask: What's the best way we can encourage people who have drug problems to seek treatment?
Presumably, the vast majority of people reading libertarian blogs don't need to be convinced of the moral, economic and consequentalist cases for the end of the Drug War — in case you do, please see this excellent post on the "odious arsenal" of the drug war — or of the fact that it's possible to oppose the use of many drugs but not support the war on drugs.

Unfortunately, the very real danger posed by drug use — both to users and non-users — seems to weigh more heavily in the minds of voters than do the dangers of the War on Drugs. At the very least, voters seem to be unconvinced that there is a better alternative to criminalization, interdiction and widespread imprisonment. This is probably unlikely to change without some clear evidence of a more effective path, and the only practical way to provide such evidence is through the "laboratories of Democracy". As Dr Jeffrey Miron points out in a TCS Daily article, federalism allows us to maximize social utility...
Few people favor every implication of the federal approach, but most also appreciate it on certain issues. And that is the point: by making many people somewhat unhappy, federalism avoids making some people become truly alienated. That is essential to a free society.
Of course, none of that will do us much good unless the 10th amendment returns to fashion. In the meantime, I have in mind one person who — because of his position, his credibility among Republicans and his experience — could conceivably do more to end the War on Drugs than any other. If he wanted to do so.

Rush Limbaugh.

Nobody else is in such an uniquely influential position to declare the War on Drugs lost. As Walter Cronkite was to Vietnam, Rush Limbaugh could be to the Quagmire on Drugs.

Imagine Cronkite's Vietnam editorial, adapted to the modern Drug War...
Today, back in more familiar surroundings in Florida, we'd like to sum up our findings in the Criminal Justice System, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Drug War? I'm not sure. The drug dealers did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may say we all lost. On the political front, past performance gives no confidence that the US government can cope with the problems of drug violence, which are compounded by its own laws criminalizing the market.

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders to have faith any longer in the promises of 'progress' in the War on Drugs. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of the Drug War is to end in a stalemate. And with each escalation, the citizens of the United States lose a little more freedom.

To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we have not curbed the use of drugs at all is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. It is increasingly clear to this pundit that the only rational way out then will be to decriminalize drugs and regulate them as we do cigarrettes or alcohol, not as prohibitionists, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend freedom, and did the best they could.

This is Rush Limbaugh. Good night.
Rush Limbaugh need not fear such a step. The National Review has editorialized that "it is our judgment that the war on drugs has failed, that it is diverting intelligent energy away from how to deal with the problem of addiction, that it is wasting our resources, and that it is encouraging civil, judicial, and penal procedures associated with police states." William F Buckley Jr has cast opposition to the Drug War as a positive moral obligation for conservatives, writing that "It is the duty of conservatives to declaim against lost causes when the ancillary results of pursuing them are tens of thousands of innocent victims and a gradual corruption of the machinery of the state."

Ending the War on Drugs will require a significant change in the public perspective on the drug war and in federalism. All of that—a positive 'duty of conservatives'—could begin most effectively with Rush Limbaugh. If he chose to do so.
 
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Comments
You need something more like "Nixon goes to China".

Limbaugh has had a problem with drugs, so it would be difficult to accept his new position as something other than expediency.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
The first and last drug warrior I ever voted for was Ronald Reagan in 1984. If Rush ever screwed up the courage to do this I might actually listen to him.

:peter
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Even if Limbaugh were moved to such a position, his lawyer would kill him were he to announce it during his probationary period. It would attract the ire of the prosecutor’s office like little else could. And, as Mark Flacy notes, he would be accused of adopting a self-serving position.

Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t, I just don’t think he ever will.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
I think Mona is correct that Limbaugh’s legal staff would oppose it. However, I believe he could do much by enlisting the support of privacy warriors like the NYT and LAT with their misbegotten privacy concerns over NSA and SWIFT. His medical records search was seriously intrusive and yet nary a peep from these "defenders of privacy" and many proclaimed Libertarians.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Of course Limbaugh might surprise youze guyz and simply say, "I support the War on Drugs." Also under the Nixon going to China approach. Just thought I’d point that out....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Of course Limbaugh might surprise youze guyz and simply say, "I support the War on Drugs." Also under the Nixon going to China approach.
Good one!
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Tom Scott writes:
His medical records search was seriously intrusive and yet nary a peep from these "defenders of privacy" and many proclaimed Libertarians.
This was and is a matter of Florida law. ACLU [of Florida] Asks Court to Protect Confidentiality of Rush Limbaugh’s Medical Records


PALM BEACH, FL - In a motion filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said state law enforcement officers violated Rush Limbaugh’s privacy rights by seizing the conservative radio talk show host’s medical records as part of a criminal investigation involving alleged "doctor-shopping."

"While this case involves the right of Rush Limbaugh to maintain the privacy of his medical records, the precedent set in this case will impact the security of medical records and the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship of every person in Florida," said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Let me get this straight, the libertarian view is that all drugs should be legal and obtainable with out control, both prescription and "recreational"?
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
This is probably unlikely to change without some clear evidence of a more effective path, and the only practical way to provide such evidence is through the "laboratories of Democracy".
Better watch it. Start hinting that you could accept anything less than the total and immediate nationwide legalization of drugs and you’ll get kicked out of the Libertarian Club, followed by a beatdown in the parking lot with hardback copies of Atlas Shrugged.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Let me get this straight, the libertarian view is that all drugs should be legal and obtainable with out control, both prescription and "recreational"?
Why would you think that to be Jon’s view?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Let me get this straight, the libertarian view is that all drugs should be legal and obtainable with out control, both prescription and "recreational"?
Well, this libertarian’s view is that it isn’t the state’s business what mood-altering substances any adult chooses to sell to another adult, or which such any adult chooses to ingest, inhale or inject. Now, when it comes to prescription drugs like many antibiotics there is a valid state interest in controlling access to those, since popping them like candy when they are not needed causes them to lose efficacy, which poses a public health threat vis-a-vis contagious illness.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Rush Limbaugh and Drugs.

Recently the great pontificator, Bush Limbauth
was detained because he had some Viagra without a
prescription in his name. He was returning from a vacaion in the Dominican Republic.



Why would somebody who lives on the ocean in Palm Beach, Florida take a vacation in the Dominican Republic? To find out, I suggest that you Google
"Dominican Republic" and "gay travel" or
"Dominican Republic" and "sex tourism."

 
Written By: Kirk Muse
URL: http://
Thank you for that Mona. But I was really angling for the Libertarians. What did Radley Balko have to say about the outrageous invasion of privacy. Here is the only post I could find.
Given Limbaugh’s childish comments on medical marijuana last month, he doesn’t seem to have learned much of anything from the Florida prosecutors’ exuberant persecution of him.
Wow! That’s an exuberant example of defending privacy. Balko wants to replace the War on Drugs with a War on Conservatives. Take a look at his Obligitory Duk LaCrosse Post. See also the typically snide closing remarks. Radley views everything through a racial prism that bends his views. Just like the seriously erroneous Corey Maye and the "all white" jury. Wrong.
His site search engine appears not to be working.
Please to note that the ACLU was less concerned with Limbaugh’s privacy then they were with future doctor-patient relationships.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Try Googling Dominican Republic resorts

Then try Puerto Rico and gay

Or Puerto Rico and sex tourism

Or for that matter just about anywhere with those combinations.

Brilliant comment, just brilliant. Inuendo by Google ... what will they sink too next?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Stampede to the gutter? Whatever are you talking about? It’s no doubt only small web sites, and not worthy of condemnation. Now, let’s talk about how foul Coulter is and that knuckledragger Rush.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Please to note that the ACLU was less concerned with Limbaugh’s privacy then they were with future doctor-patient relationships.
When one is defending a polarizing person hated by many, it is only intelligent in a publicity release to point out that the issue is beyond that person, so that the release garners larger support for the legal position. But the point is, the ACLU came to Limbaugh’s defense. Out of principle.

As for Radley Balko, I agree with his comment about Rush. Further, he publishes corrections when he is wrong about something, including any details of the Corey Maye saga.

Libertarians, I will say again, are not conservatives. We have no obligation to speak out on every aspect of a Florida prosecution of Rush Limbaugh in order to observe that he has demanded long prison sentences for those who use drugs illegally, and to note that now he is one of those who supposedly should rot in prison. Rush’s hypocrisy about the legions he happily condemns to hellholes is breathtaking, and whatever you contrive of Balko’s failure to sufficiently opine about the medical records issue, is as nothing in comparison.

Radley Balko, btw, also attacks the food Nazis of the left, and has a whole web site dedicated to doing so. I admire his work.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Browse the comments threads to the Kelo posts at Kos or Atrios. Note how much more outraged the commenters are than the pundits. Commenters at these sites are rank and filers. They’re the conscience of the left. Principle still matters to them. That’s why they’re generally outraged by Kelo. And it’s why they’re shocked to find themselves on the same side as Thomas, Rhenquist, and O’Connor — three figures the Elite Left have misled them into believing are evil concentrate.
Radly Balko; a libertarian who, as such, gets that it isn’t about left v. right;just read the whole thing.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
I think a better spokesman for the abolition of the "drug war" would be Neal Boortz rather than Rush Limbaugh.
 
Written By: whosebone
URL: http://
Wow. All these posts and not one mention of Richard Paey. If we talk about Rush, drugs and "intrusive record searches" we better bring Paey’s name into the equation.

 
Written By: allan
URL: http://www.mapinc.org
Commenters at these sites are rank and filers. They’re the conscience of the left. Principle still matters to them.
Unless, of course, the commenters are saying something that Mona doesn’t approve of: say, threatening the life of some figure on the right or something else similarly extreme. Then you should ignore whatever they say because mere commenters are just extreme, unprincipled outliers that are hijacking the threads and not "representatives of the "conscience of the left."
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Terry writes:
Unless, of course, the commenters are saying something that Mona doesn’t approve of: say, threatening the life of some figure on the right or something else similarly extreme. Then you should ignore whatever they say because mere commenters are just extreme, unprincipled outliers that are hijacking the threads and not "representatives of the "conscience of the left."
First, that was Radly Balko’s quote, and my point was that he was outraged at Kos and Atrios for not understanding how vile Kelo is, and noting that the spontaneous reaction of their commenters was morally correct — notwithstanding that, according to Balko, these commenters have been "misled" into believing that justices Thomas, Rehnquist and O’Connor are "evil." Radly Balko entirely understands how some of the leftist agenda is, well, putrid, and he isn’t shy about saying so.

Second, the left, like the right, does have some core impulses that are good (and others no defender of liberty would accept.) On matters of civil liberties I am far more partial to the left than the right, where authoritarianism tends to overcome commitment to individual rights. Nobody can rage more aggressively than I about the many sins — some amounting to treason — of the Stalinist, Communist Party USA members in 20th century America; but the fact is they, and many other non-communist leftists, got right the evil of Jim Crow and racism when National Review was still defending it.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
If the War on Drugs is ever gong to end, it will require the support of millions of people to do so. That boils down to getting people to understand two simple ideas: first, we don’t actually have the right to punish people over what they do to themselves; and second, we don’t really have a reason to either.

The "no right" issue should be blindingly obvious. And the "no reason" part of the equation comes courtesy of the US federal government having collected data about various aspects of drug use and its impact on society over the past four decades. However, they never provide it in form that can be easuily understood by the average person — so I did it for them.

Visit my site and you’ll find all the ammunition you need: http://www.briancbennett.com

And to get some idea of the breadth and depth of the information I’m making available (and more importantly, very easy to understand) have a look at the "sitemap:" http://www.briancbennett.com/pagelist.htm
 
Written By: Brian Bennett
URL: http://www.briancbennett.com
"National Review was still defending it"

National Review was defending rascism and Jim Crow? Sorry, but I find that difficult to believe.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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