Enough Already

Here’s an item I meant to mention a few days ago. Published on December 5th, the 75th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal, it is an eloquent call for an end to our nation’s misguided war on drugs. While our neighbor to the south sinks into violent anarchy, and the Taliban enriches itself producing opium, we continue to fight a puritanical, unwinnable and immeasurably costly crusade against a natural human appetite, and fill our prisons with an arbitrarily created criminal class — when all the while we could be reaping enormous fortunes in taxes and tarriffs, and depriving civilization’s foes of a virtually limitless source of income.

I lean to the right on some issues, but not this one. With the recent shift of fortunes in Washington, perhaps we can finally get something done about this insane policy.

I realize that people have strong, and divergent, opinions on this issue. Your thoughts?

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9 Comments

  1. JK says

    Ah well I realize Nancy said, “Just Say No.” I realize too that who was it, Nixon? Anyway somebody declared a War on Drugs. Not Vioxx mind: just the ones not subject to IRS supervision, and Bush tax cuts. Anyway, Richard Nixon delared a war on drugs. Nancy said “Just say no” and the Contras partly fund their war on the Sandinistas with drug money.

    (Oliver North notwithstanding.)

    While I’m uncertain whether sending Christian missionaries to South American countries is a whoopie idea, I am pretty certain that having the DEA order a shootdown of a missionary mom and 14 month old daughter… I don’t know. It don’t seem Christian. I defer to the authorities. But dammit, had I suspected she was smuggling something besides a poopie diaper and breastmilk into Peru… The plane was headed south after all.

    Again. I don’t know.

    I admit. I’ve smoked a bit of pot. (Well perhaps a bit more than that indicates – but it has been awhile – whether I liked it or not). And at the behest of the Government of the United States… well, that was under orders.

    The thing is, I was the eldest of four children. And while none of my siblings added to the burgeoning population of the US prison population: I rather wish they had. I’d be able to visit them at a prison. As it is…

    Life when directed makes no sense when the directions are to do what you shouldn’t to catch your fellow Americans in the act of rolling a doobie. Then sending in a budget request to continue the same damn thing.

    It would be very nice to speak with my sisters.

    Posted December 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says

    I’ve never smoked anything in my life, and have probably consumed no more than a beer can-ful of alcohol in 39-plus years, but I agree the war on drugs is a misguided effort. Government regulation of drugs would be a big-government advocate’s wet dream — why not hyper-regulate that traffic and ease up the tax burden in other sectors of the economy?

    Then again, adopting a more libertine approach to drugs might lead to unintended consequences. The recent news about the possible closing of Amsterdam’s red light district cited the prevalence of criminality there. Legalizing drugs in America might mean a large income stream for the government, but would it necessarily lead to less crime?

    Of course, the Tao Te Ching has something to say about all this:

    The more prohibitions you make,
    the poorer people will be.
    The more weapons you possess,
    the greater the chaos in your country.
    The more knowledge that is acquired,
    the stranger the world will become.
    The more laws that you make,
    the greater the number of criminals.

    -TTC, 57

    Kevin

    Posted December 10, 2008 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    My! No more than “a beer-can full”? I’ve topped your average yearly consumption in the last fifteen minutes. The stuff doesn’t agree with you?

    Posted December 10, 2008 at 12:29 am | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Anniversaries come but once a year. Mail comes always.

    Occasionally the addressee is nervous.

    Friends act, whether or not.

    Posted December 10, 2008 at 2:13 am | Permalink
  5. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm,

    I’ve probably missed out on all sorts of social networking opportunities because I don’t drink. Got funny looks in France when I asked for juice or water at the dinner table; stopped being invited out to bars in Korea when students and coworkers caught on to the fact that I’m a teetotaller. Yes, I lead a boring, comfortable, unwatered (to borrow a French expression) life.

    Kevin

    Posted December 10, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  6. bob koepp says

    Even though I inhale, I know perfectly well that recreational drug use is a vice. But we all choose our own vices. And on any plausible scale, criminalizing drug use is usually much, much more vicious than the drug use itself.

    Posted December 10, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
  7. pdg says

    I’remember trying hemp flowers and leaves in my past… I never exhaled! at least I tried not to…Slick Willy Clinton lost my respect when he claimed to never have inhaled -now thats just dopey…
    love to all-PDG

    Posted December 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Permalink
  8. Joan says

    Hey, well, Malcolm, the Economist agrees with you. So do I.

    For that matter, my sister runs a legal medical marijuana pharmacy in California. She’s made a good go of it, turned her financial life around. She was a minimum wage waitress before that. It was what they call a real business opportunity. Who wants to sell stuff illegally on the street? The paranoia the jail time the cops the hoodlums. No thanks.

    We regulate alcohol and cigarettes, and marijuana is demonstrably safer than either for long term use. Marijuana smoke can causes cancer, no doubt, and other respiratory problems, but you ain’t gonna puff a joint every half hour like a pack a day smoker. No reason we can’t do the same with pot.

    Heroin and crack and meth though should never be legally sold (it should not be criminalized though). Those users need help. Too many friends of mine lost to the needle and the pipe.

    Posted January 6, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  9. Joan says

    I meant to say that use should not be criminalized.

    Posted January 6, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink