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War (on Drugs) Is Not The Answer! February 28, 2008

Posted by federalist in Healthcare, Natural Rights, Regulation.

As if the FDA’s regulation of pharmaceuticals weren’t damaging enough, we now have the Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency trying to expand the War on Drugs to involve more chemicals with bona fide medical uses.  (Where are all the voices who lamented the expansion of the War on Terror from Afghanistan to Iraq?)  WSJ has a number of good letters today explaining why the whole War on Drugs is a vain endeavor.  Suggests Joe Reimers:

The so-called war on drugs of today is very similar to Prohibition of the 1920s-’30s. It has built multi-billion dollar criminal empires, made criminals of people who would otherwise be little more than dead-beat losers at worst, and corrupted large chunks of government and law enforcement in various places around the world, including here in the U.S.

Why not legalize drug possession/use (as long as it’s not associated with another crime or DUI) for adults, while at the same time eliminating any legal barriers to discrimination against users by any entity, public or private, for any reason, or for no reason at all. This would remove the drug problem from the criminal justice system and address it by societal discrimination.



1. David Thomas - March 7, 2008

Our choice to give the illegal drug market (20$ billion a year) to the evil Mexican cartels is not with moral impunity. There should be legal sources of all addicting drugs.

2. Hamilton - April 8, 2008

Those in favor of legalization are just too detached from the ‘reality on the ground.’ Drug abuse, legal or illegal, causes massive collateral damage for those who don’t have a choice – namely, children. Legalization is a fantasy, and the issue is not at all like Prohibition.

Jesus drank alcohol. He didn’t smoke crack.

3. Bob - April 10, 2008

I hate that condescending argument that pro-legalization advocates have their heads in the clouds, in fantasyland, and not focused on reality.

Civil rights are not fantasy land material, you wouldn’t need civil rights in a fantasy land. If I’m not physically harming anyone I should have the right to do to my body whatever I wish, most especially in my own home.

Drug abuse, legal and illegal, are currently, right now, destroying families and screwing up children. The illegality of drug use and abuse does not stop this. Furthermore someone who is in prison for abusing or selling drugs is taken away from their family and unable to provide income for their family.

How is this helping the situation?

Additionally, why should single people who do not have a family be denied the right to use substances just because some parents who have children will abuse those substances and neglect or abuse their children?

Stop fearing the boogeyman, grow up, join the world of adults who have the right to make their own decisions and are responsible for them, whether they are on drugs or not.

4. federalist - March 17, 2009

Anthony Gregory quotes Human Action by Ludwig von Mises:

The problems involved in direct government interference with consumption. . . concern the fundamental issues of human life and social organization. If it is true that government derives its authority from God and is entrusted by Providence to act as the guardian of the ignorant and stupid populace, then it is certainly its task to regiment every aspect of the subject’s conduct. The God-sent ruler knows better what is good for his wards than they do themselves. It is his duty to guard them against the harm they would inflict upon themselves if left alone.

Self-styled “realistic” people fail to recognize the immense importance of the principles implied. They contend that they do not want to deal with the matter from what, they say, is a philosophic and academic point of view. Their approach is, they argue, exclusively guided by practical considerations. . . .

However, the case is not so simple as that. Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious, both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.

These fears are not merely imaginary specters terrifying secluded doctrinaires. It is a fact that no paternal government, whether ancient or modern, ever shrank from regimenting its subjects’ minds, beliefs, and opinions. If one abolishes man’s freedom to determine his own consumption, one takes all freedoms away. The naïve advocates of government interference with consumption delude themselves when they neglect what they disdainfully call the philosophical aspect of the problem. They unwittingly support the case of censorship, inquisition, religious intolerance, and the persecution of dissenters.

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