“I don’t mind adopting a policy that seems strange to you if the result of it is going to make society improved…”
– William F. Buckley Jr. re: drug legalization
When drug policy reformers say “legalization”, it strikes fear into persons who have only experienced and imagined society under the effects of modern drug prohibitions. Most cannot picture a world where drug addicts were not safely locked away, criminalized, marginalized and cordoned toward the poor areas of our country. Those who cannot afford to escape those neighborhoods have never known a time when drugs were not so expensive that addicts must rob to afford them; when gangs did not violently compete on their streets for the drug market; when pushers did not offer a free taste to their children or entice them into the trade with easy money; when a large number of their fathers weren’t incarcerated or weren’t trying to find work with a criminal record; when police did not look upon them without suspicion.
None of us have known our southern border without the constant rush of harmful substances into the country, nor the reverse flow of billions of dollars and weapons into the hands of cartels that murder ruthlessly. None of us have seen peace south of our border; the existence of the coca plant seems to guarantee endless killing.
More prisoners; more violence; more harmful drugs; more spreading of infectious disease; more dangerous areas; more damage of foreign lands and peoples; fewer civil liberties; less respect for law enforcement; more assurances from our leaders that “our drug policy is a success”; more promises and goals of a drug-free world; more dire warnings that any alternative would certainly lead to the destruction of society.
Has it always been like this? This is how the world has worked as long as I’ve been alive, so this is surely its most natural and stable state, and how it must continue. After all, I’m told the alternative is unimaginable:
“It is hard to imagine an aspect of American life that would be enriched by millions of new cocaine, heroin or marijuana users.”
– John Walters re: drug legalization
Perhaps our ancestors could survive without a War on Drugs, but humanity simply no longer has the necessary skills to survive in such a free world; we would surely collapse into Mr. Walters’ imagined chaos. We can no longer educate our children that some legal activities are dangerous; we need our government to protect us from ourselves no matter the cost.
Please do not waste any time imagining a different world; our drug czars have done this and it didn’t look good. Definitely do not bother with the fascinating history of our drug laws, or how other civilized countries are having success reducing harm. These countries may save “lives” and money, but they are breaking our treaties.
The latest example of law enforcement solutions to reducing drug use.
Police raided the home of a couple in the hunt for a drug factory because a [moss phlox] plant in their garden smelled like cannabis. … the couple, both in their late 70s, returned home to find that the drugs squad had battered down their front door. … No drugs were found…
At least they didn’t have dogs at home.
Retired engineer Mr Wiltshire, 77, who, ironically, has no sense of smell following an operation on his nose, has now pulled up the plant. … [The couple has] lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
This plant could aid marijuana criminals by deterring detection and investigation. Begin the countdown to its restriction near U.K. homes.
Meanwhile the black market contributes to public safety:
The couple’s next-door neighbour was even threatened by a drugs gang who demanded: “Give us the weed, man.”
Today’s Wall Street Journal features two opinion pieces, one by our commander of the War on Drugs, John Walters, and the other by one of the war’s most respected critics, Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Mr. Obama and members of Congress,
Rather than supplying any current auto manufacturers with a bailout, which I think will only delay the inevitable, please consider investing (and encouraging private investment) in efforts to standardize the components of a new generation of automobiles. With free and open standards, such as those used to build the web and the coming generation of mobile phones, we can rebuild the auto industry by transforming it from a small number of manufacturers devoted to closed designs and increased waste into a greater number of specialty industries that create components of great variety, of guaranteed compatibility, and which will create longer-lasting vehicles.
In the U.S., dealership lots and ad papers swell with recent model used cars in great condition. Sometimes near-working vehicles are abandoned. People around us choose to buy new cars they can’t really afford every day, or at least they were.
If you’ve fooled yourself that this is not true, you need only to check yesterday’s New York Times to sober up. In cultures where women still have little value, for at least a dozen years some men have thrown acid on the faces of women, and are rarely punished. In a recent case, girls with the audacity to seek an education were attacked.
Acid attacks and wife burnings are common in parts of Asia because the victims are the most voiceless in these societies: they are poor and female. The first step is simply for the world to take note, to give voice to these women.
Since 1994, Ms. Bukhari has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.
The follow up has a few solutions.
In the pursuit of drug law reform an acquaintance told me, “Having logic on your side is nice, but money and grassroots organization is better.”