Good or Bad for the Jews

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, and for many years, I would travel to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. Some lived in Tangiers;...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Difference Does it Make? Another "Victory" in the "Drug War"

It seems that the creepy violent leader of the creepy violent Zetas drug gang has been captured. Good, I guess. Always good to see a mass murdering reptile get nailed.

And now, what?

Does this particular capture, anymore than did the elimination of the Cali cartel, stop the flow of drugs? Will we tomorrow see a dramatic drop in the availability of drugs on the streets of the USA, Canada, or Europe? What does this "victory" mean in the grand scheme of the apparently endless war on drugs? Not much, if anything.

I spent many years in the State Department fussing over, scheming, plotting, designing, and implementing tactics and strategies to be followed in the "war on drugs." I "fought" drugs in Pakistan, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Indonesia, and throughout the Caribbean. I supervised training and eradication programs, dispensed big bucks to our drug allies, and went on lots of drug operations with some truly neat, smart, brave and dedicated DEA types. To what avail? The drugs keep coming.

The "drug war," however, has successfully spawned a HUGE lobby dedicated to keeping billions of dollars flowing to police departments, federal agencies of all sorts, private contractors throughout the world, and to the holding of innumerable conferences and promoting endless numbers of domestic laws and international conventions to "suppress" drug trafficking, production, and use. To what avail? Not much except to provide a good living for that lobby and its clients. The drugs keep flowing.

The absurdity of this "war" was driven home to me one day in Panama. I got visited by some very earnest and hard-working attorneys from the Department of Justice. They were investigating washing machine exports from the US to the Colon Free Trade Zone; the machines were being re-exported to Colombia and Peru. When I said that the American workers making those washing machines in Iowa probably appreciated the exports and the jobs created, these warriors let know me that I was not to be so flippant. This was serious, dammit! There was no way to justify such large numbers of washing machines being exported to South America through Panama and this had to be, it just had to be a drug money laundering scheme (no pun intended). Off they went--on the taxpayer dime--in pursuit of washing machines. I never heard if their efforts resulted in reducing the number of drug-addled zombies on the streets of our cities.

It is time to end this charade. Legalize drugs. If people want to put junk into their bodies, let them. They are doing it now regardless of how many conferences you hold, cops you hire, phones you tap, assets you seize, or how many young urban blacks and poor white hillbillies you lock up. Our "drug war" has failed to stop drugs but has succeeded in making international gangsters, including the Castro brothers and a slew of Venezuelan generals and politicians, richer than Croesus, and in turning many cities and even countries into no-go zones. The "drug war" has generated violence on a massive scale in places such as Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Honduras, Bolivia, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Russia, and on the streets of every major city in the western world. It has promoted corruption in governments around the world, the development of a massive court-police-prison-industrial complex, and to circumscribing freedom at home and abroad. And, of course, the drugs are still available.

Drug use is a matter for the individual, doctors, and the private sector. If, as I have said before, an employer does not want drug users in his employ, he should have the right to test and fire the using employees. Airlines, trucking companies, the military, the police, for example, could all make clear that they do not want and will not employ drug users. With drugs legalized their use would continue, of course, and the drugs would continue to wreak havoc among users. The violence and the collateral damage that results from that violence, however, would largely disappear. The worst effects of the drug trade come about because of its illegality.



  1. I see your point, Dip, and to an extent agree with it. But then one? Do we want our parks to be full of junkies as his happened in Switzerland or the Netherlands?

    Do I want to have to worry if the guy flying my plane has snorted a noseful before boarding? If legalized, would the law be anymore likely to affect drug use than it currently does drunk drivers?

    Maybe it's not so much a question of legalizing it as it is taking the right measures. The current "war" doesn't seem to be working. Why not actually treat it as a war?

    That opens a new can (or several cans) of worms, but I'm just thinking out loud.

    The real issue, for, me is that if legalized you are making a statement (intended or otherwise) that it's OK to use drugs.

    Not sure I'm willing to go that far. Some drugs aren't like alcohol, which can be used in moderation. You'll still have inner city crackheads killing people for money to pay for their next fix.

    1. All good points. The problem is that all those negative things are happening now, anyhow.

      Legalizing drugs poses problems; the devil is in the details. But I would rather be having a discussion of those details than the current absurdity we are now conducting.

    2. I had this same discussion earlier this week. In addition to the lobby, I also argued the militarization of the police is primarily due to drug enforcement.

      The counter argument I got was that some people avoid drugs solely because they are illegal and legalizing them would make that group more likely to try them. On the other hand, some people are drawn to drugs simply because they are illegal.

      I suspect if we legalized drugs we would have more people using them, but putting our money into treatment and anti drug propaganda would be cheaper and more cost effective than what we are doing now.

      It may have take 40-50 years, but smoking is much more shunned than it was 20 years ago.

  2. I expect you will get some disagreement on this one. :)

    I don't mind legalizing drugs IN THEORY (I define freedom as the ability to make "bad" choices), but I am not sure that there are enough protections for the innocent (non-drug users) at the present time. In other words (to express this selfishly), I don't care as long as it doesn't affect me, but I believe that it would.

    In particular:

    I don't want to be paying health care costs for the problems created by drug use.

    I worry that legalization would lead to more drivers operating vehicles while impaired (maybe driverless cars will eventually solve this problem).

    Even assuming significantly lower costs (although that would stimulate demand), there would still be people who would need to steal to support their habit. That could significantly increase other crime (most of the people in jail on drug charges aren't exactly model citizens).

    I guess I just don't have a lot of confidence in human nature to believe that most people would use drugs "responsibly" under a legalized regime.

    And your point about employers is a must have. If they want to offer a drug free work place, they should be able to test employees at any time, and be able to terminate those who fail drug test with zero cost (good luck getting that included as a condition of legalization).

    1. You are not wrong. The only problem is that those problems you identify are happening right now. Legalizing has problems and complexities but I think we should be having that conversation instead of waging this ludicrous "war."

    2. "The only problem is that those problems you identify are happening right now."

      Keep repeating this; eventually it may sink in...

  3. Someone once pointed out that with regard to mind-altering drugs, we had a choice between two problems: we could either have a law-enforcement problem, or a public health problem. Either, or.

    1. It seems that right now we are having both problems.

    2. Right now, if caught using illegal drugs you can be (and people are) fired at my current place of employment.

      If you legalize drugs, how do you address that? Given the jobs some people do, I'd just as soon not add a new potentially disastrous factor to the mix.

      Again, that assumes the problem would grow with legalization--arguments pro and con on that one, I think. I tend to think it'd make things worse, but as you say, it's not exactly working.

      Unfortunately, our DOJ is busy setting up Stalinist style purges against private citizens and can't be bothered with serious issues right now.

    3. Yes, but people can also get fired for using alcohol now and alcohol is legal.

  4. Matt, the seventh readerJuly 17, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I think it was a mistake for drugs to have been criminalized in the first place. From a libertarian point of view I see the freedom to destroy your life and or health as something the government has no business curtailing.

    While legalization will certainly have many of the problems that other readers pointed out, to one extent or another, there is another consideration to discuss. The criminal organizations will still control much of the distribution of certain drugs, particularly ones like cocaine and heroin that are derived from plants that only grow in certain areas. The major gangs will be able to maintain prices that are not completely beholden to market forces. This will give them a steady source of income to go along with their other crimes like extortion, counterfeiting, human and weapon smuggling and so on. Also, the major gangs would be able to launder their money through the now legal sale of drugs.

    Despite these considerations, I am in favor of legalization. Unlike our leftist friends, I am aware of the fact that not all problems have solutions and often the pursuit of solutions by government action only exacerbate the problems. We must be prepared for the trade-offs and opportunity costs that would accompany legalization. But, as in most things, I would rather trust in the diffused mindlessness of my fellow citizens than that of the concentrated, institutionalized incompetence and malice of politicians and their lackeys.

  5. In an earlier age, sans welfare, legal drugs were just another way to die at a young age in a gutter of your choice. We now live in an age where SS apologists suggest we can end SS when we can stand by and watch grandpa lying in the street. We have made freedom untenable with the imposition of the socialist state and a national socialist mindset where everyone is entitled to a middle-class life regardless of personal choices.

    In this setting legal drugs will only further entomb our citizens in a dependency lifestyle requiring more government intervention of a more personal nature. Whether this is the desired result, I leave to others to divine.

    As to the "war on drugs" being a lost cause; well, it was a lost cause when governments decided to stop enforcing the laws in the 60's. Our failure now is not a failure of right and wrong but a failure of strategy. When the law is applied only to "pushers," and daddy's little angel gets a walk, enforcement will fail. Taking out a "pusher" is like taking a Coke out of a pop machine; there's always another one waiting to take his place. We could win the war if we had the cojones to put the casual users in jail. They have the most to lose.

    As to the efficacy of the laws themselves I am an example of their success. At a vulnerable age the laws were a bar to me. Drugs could be found, if you wished to look, but to most, were unavailable. Someone might score a bottle or six-pack but drugs? Not very much.

    As to the efficacy of ending "the war on drugs" remember that to reap the gains you must go all the way. Those that suggest ending drug laws quickly switch the conversation to marijuana forgetting, conveniently, that pot is only one drug. To end the drug war you have to extend amnesty to all drugs and all potential users. Just like the pop machine, if you remove pot as the "entry-level drug" a new one will take it's place (cocaine, meth, pcp, crack, etc). The "ending the war on drugs" becomes the never-ending "ending the war on drugs" as we slide down the scale of an ever worsening list of drugs. Not to mention the bizarre notion of stopping grandma from picking up her heart meds because her prescription hasn't gotten there yet, while junior scores his Quaaludes at the checkout stand.

    Not to mention product liability. Can I sue Acme Cocaine for the overdose of my son?

    Not to mention drug re-hab. If such a thing is even possible in a drug saturated society. How do you re-engineer the human wreckage of drug induced zombieism?

    Which brings us full circle. Can we, as a society that recognizes no personal responsibility and cannot condemn any personal failing, survive the addition of such seductive and corrosive agents of personal destruction?

    Brad Ervin

    1. You bring up good issues. I think all drugs must be legalized and legalized in all countries, or most of them, anyhow. You don't want drug tourism. Will use increase? Maybe, at least initially. Will the violence and loss of freedom be affected in a positive way, absolutely. There are many issues that wold need to be addressed, e.g., prescription drugs, how much government control over sales, etc., but that discussion is much better than what we now do. Drugs are freely available. My kids could get almost any type of drug right now, despite the illegality of it all. Drug usage would be combatted by social pressure--e.g., what has happened with smoking--and education, not prison and cops and violence.

  6. Well, maybe it's just me, but I think it's hard to win a war when you're paying for both sides in the war to keep at it. This could be prevented, I suppose; the former junior Senator from Illinois could issue an executive order and suspend the law of supply and demand for a couple of years.
    He's good at that sort of thing.

  7. The seminal work by the late Jane Jacobs, Systems of Survival, posits two "Syndromes," separate sets of values common to each of the two well-recognized groups of ways of making a living, which she dubbed "Guardian" and "Commercial." These syndromes correlate closely with the concept of "Shame" and "Guilt" cultures, but with much more explicit detail and a reasoned approach to both syndromes and why or how these values were adopted. Recreational drug use is part of the Guardian syndrome for two reasons, one is the recreational part, which sturdy bourgeois types hold in a good deal of contempt. The other, unfortunately, is the ostentation part, so common to drug dealers. Our society is suffering enormously from the drift away from the dominance of the Commercial Syndrome and into the Guardian Syndrome, or worst of all, mingling the two, which she describes as "A monstrous hybrid, intractable corruption." (If she sounds like Plato, here, that is not a coincidence.)

    As a nurse, I have worked in some of Austin's finest private loony bins, and done some detox care. It's not as much fun as terminal cancer work. When we look at the total impotence of drug interdiction to fight this poison, legalization seems like the correct course of action. However, then we consider the destructiveness of drugs, and I can not see that legalization would do anything to solve this problem. With the Rousseavian Left seeking to destroy Commercial/Bourgeois society anyway, easy drugs, plus an SSI check, sound like a recipe for a societal poison pill.

    I've read some Lefty reports, decrying the rise of a kind of Social Thatcherism in Britain, and, fi the response to the likely economic collapse here follows a similar pattern, we might find enough contempt for layabout stoners, in a few years, that we'd develop another disincentive to self-destruction by intoxication, and then we could move toward legalization, because we ought never to have gone down the path of prohibition anyway.

    However, not yet.

    Michael Adams

  8. When a society expects to be provided for in the form of public health care and welfare, the provider (look in the mirror) has the right to set the conditions. And currently one of them is no drugs. Enduring the misfortune of having a "Crack W - - - -" for a neighbor and being exposed on a daily basis to the chaos of her life, the notion of legalizing that behavior sends chills up my spine. When she is on a bender and finds the need to light up her chainsaw at 2 am, the Chinese method of dealing with junkies is very appealing. Yours truly, to right of Attila the Hun.

    1. I know what you mean having lived next door to a dope addled zombie. The problem was the law was on the books but didn't do any good. He still got the drugs.

  9. Too many washing machines? Probably some sort of con.

    The Tanzanian government tried to keep a tight rein on foreign exchange in the seventies (might still do so) and traders (obviously) looked for ways around the controls. As it turned out, Wilkinson razor blades sold at a premium in Tanzania because the locally-produced blades were horrible.

    The import of used refrigerators from India seemed like commerce of small importance to Tanzanian customs agents and the duty was low. Not many even appeared in the marketplace, so they did not compete with locally-produced refrigerators. Then someone thought to look inside them.

    It turns out they were packed with new Wilkinson razor blades, manufactured in India. Customs duty on those blades would have been prohibitive, while duty on used refrigerators was minimal.

    Did anyone look inside the washing machines?

  10. It's a tough one.
    Personally, I don't like the lack of predictability involved in people who are on drugs. That's what it really comes down to for me. We are a society and have to interact with others. Drugs drastically widen the set of possibilities of how a normal person might have to interact with any particular random person (the police officer, the grocery store clerk, the guy passing on the street).
    If the effect of a policy change is to increase/reduce the likelihood of 'normal' people interacting with 'drugged' people, the standard of interaction will probably become more unpredictable.
    I think reducing that predictability will lead towards social instability.
    (Or as I think of it, the greater the chance that I'll be interacting with someone on drugs, the more stressful my life will be, which will commensurately affect my family and everyone around me.)

    1. True, but that happens already with drugs and alcohol.

    2. If the expectation of the 'war on drugs' is complete eradication of drugs in society, then it has definitely failed.
      At this point, our current efforts might be holding back a tide of drug addictions that would result from legalization/normalization. Or legalizing could provide only a marginal increase/decrease in addictions/usage while resulting in a dramatic reduction in associated violence (in the US and elsewhere).
      It seems like a matter of speculation as to whether legalization would make it more prevalent/problematic or less. Unfortunately, with the ebb and flow of economics and national events, it's nearly impossible to experiment with such policies in a vacuum.

      I suppose I'm allowed to oppose the federal war on drugs while not supporting legalization, even though that might make me *appear* to be a hypocrite to some.

      Those groups promoting legalization need to put together a clear plan that would make my kids less likely to be approached by pushers at school. I think that's where the 'war on drugs' has gotten all of its support. It's pretty much the only effort claiming to be making a difference there. Too many people promoting legalization take the goofball strategy (stolen from southpark):
      Step 1) legalize drugs
      Step 2) ???
      Step 3) fewer drugs in schools

      I imagine you have a unique perspective on the war on drugs precisely because you've spent so much time in the foreign countries where drug violence plays out tragically? At the same time, not being a user, my issue is mainly about reducing exposure probabilities for my kids and keeping the behavior of the vast majority of random people we interact with within some bookends.

    3. I'm kinda in your corner on this. As a primary care provider, I see the ravages of drug use in my practice several times a day. Truly, at the bottom of all this, is that people are BORED. If you have no job and little money, and mostly, no (sense of) responsibility, you look for SOMETHING to do. When drugs are available and fairly cheap, guess what, you do drugs to relieve the boredom in your life. The more unemployment there is in a certain area, the higher the rate of drug use.

      I'm not sure what the realistic answer is, but cutting back benefits to the point where you eat and pay the light bill OR do drugs; forcing employment of some type to be a prerequisite to receive ANY benefits (unless annually verified by the court to be truly disabled, but that's another subject); or legalizing and taxing drugs prohibitively should all be part of the solution.

      As far as being afraid of the guy responsible for your safety at any given moment: the fireman, the cop, the pilot, the bus driver, the heavy equipment operator working on the building next door, etc., it's already a problem. Remember the crane that killed the people in the Salvation Army store next door to its construction site? The operator was stoned on "just" pot when he was operating the equipment.

      My only concern is, if we legalize drugs, how do we illegalize their use while "on the job". Any employer, anywhere, should be able to determine the terms of employment without lawsuit interference because "I was using a legal substance". And some drugs, especially pot, remain in the system for 2 weeks!


  11. Seems to work in Portugal, maybe we should try it here.

  12. The War with Drugs won´t stop, because It is a War the best solution is the Legalization, there is a lot in the Game of Drugs and that is because it´s a Business and there is money involved.

  13. I am one of those DEA types. I was branded a heretic for espousing the same views as you back in the 80s and 90s. We ran in the same circles. I've been retired for 15yrs. Keep up the good writing....

    1. I have a lot of respect for the DEA folks. They did some incredible things--a lot of them extremely dangerous. I just think that they, and we all, were and are fighting a fight not worth fighting.

  14. Joe. I am unsure about that. Marijuana has MANY bad effect potheads shrug off.

    Watch this. Check those figures.
    Think about the facts that are presented vis a vis prohibition and the drug trade.


  15. OOOPs


  16. I've worked the in the mental health trenches in every venue known in psychiatry except child psych for decades and I wish I had an answer. The stats on turning a substance/alcohol dependent person into totally clean for the duration of their life are abysmal. Some substances create deep brain pathways that some day in the future pharmacology might reverse. Don't look there for a solution. I'm all for de-criminalizing marijuana and recreational cocaine users. It's stupid spending down-a-rat-hole money and time arresting those folks. And, those arrested for that are often capriciously over-charged with dealing by a cop.

    My aging addled brain thinks that the late William F Buckley wrote a compelling article along Diplomad's libertarian thinking. Theodore Dalrymple, a forensic psychiatrist and writer, has his views. Some people aren't salvageable.

    I agree we've lost the War on Drugs. On my end try finding a detox/rehab program if you are lucky enough to have the rare bird that really really wants to turn their drug-addled life around is impossible for all of the blather.

    Great comments. Thanks, Diplomad, for supplying the forum and your astute topics.

    Penny....reader #13

    1. Thanks There is no easy or perfect answer to all this. I realize that legalization could take many forms and the devil is in the details. BUt, as I have said before, I would rather have that debate than continue with the insanity on which we are now embarked.

  17. I, too, favor complete legalization. I suppose the Portugese approach might be a good half-way point, but I see hard-drug addiction as a self-correcting problem. Legalization would mean lower prices as RJR/Nabisco went head-to-head with the cartels and the US government backed the producer that actually paid taxes.

    With lower prices, the people with a serious problem will buy all they can, overdose, and die. End of *that* problem (why yes, I am a heartless bastard!).

    Laws, or at least regulations, already make the use of currently-legal mind-altering substances fireable offenses in many jobs I believe (I could be fired for bringing a beer to my place of employment), especially those where other people's lives hang in the balance, so that model could be applied to other drugs as well.

    Anyone caught committing a violent felony while under the influence could be given a choice: do your time and undergo mandatory detox, followed by some period X of mandatory probation and drug tests, or we lock you in a nice clean room with all the high-quality drug of your choice and you get the best, and last, trip of your life. Either way the rest of us are safer.

  18. I agree that the "war on drugs" has become big business and must be latered. However there are 2 big presumptions on your part that are errant.

    The biggest one..and one I always hear from legalization advocates is, "Legalizing drugs would end the crime and violence."

    Just simply is not true. Legalizing drugs is not the same as making then free. The vast majority of drug deaths are violent ones: from robberies, from under the influence, for scoring $20 for another hit at knife point, for holding up 7 elevens to home invasions, shady deals gone bad to a nodding junkie crashing his car into a family in a mini van-- also there are gruesome suicides from desperation, destroyed families and child abuse...I could go on and on however the point is..these things won't stop from legalization--these things would only explode exponentially. The insidious nature of drug addiction ( and I haven't even touched on deaths from OD's and legal pharms)is that good kids can become junkies and dependent very quickly.

    A desperate junkie will still commit random acts of violence for his next hit/fix--the only difference with your idea is that there would be tens of more millions nationally who are using and experimenting and hundreds of millions of more people in altered state of minds around the world---not a world in which I want to live.

    PS: Also as a society, we need to stand up and say that we believe drug usage is wrong, damaging and destructive to freedom of the human mind and potentially dangerous to Liberty minded individuals who choose to live safe lives away from stoners smokinbg crack on doorsteps or shooting up dope in Mc Donalds bathrooms........

    Fighting for right is simply right--even if we are doing a poor job of it we cannot give in to evil and give evil free reign while law abiding citizens cower....

    1. Yes, there would be some violence as there probably is now with drunks robbing people for beer money. It would pale, however, in comparison with what we see now; we see violence on a massive scale in places such as Juarez and Honduras and on some our own streets. You don't see that sort of violence over alcohol distribution since Prohibition was dropped.

  19. Drugs can be legalized after the welfare state is dismantled. Along with dismantling the welfare state, employers also need to be able to fire someone who is using drugs.

    Most businesses have an employee handbook or some sort of company rules an employee has to agree to before he or she is hired. If the potential employee finds the conditions of employment too onerous, they are free to seek employment elsewhere.


  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Not yet!

    The problem is that in the United States (and many other western countries), the government and culture have attempted (with great success) to prevent people from accepting responsibility for their own decisions. Everything is always someone else's fault, and the government sees intervention (supposedly offering help, but actually destroying self-reliancy) as a way to promote addiction to the government (the effects of which are as bad as any drug).

    As soon as people must suffer the consequences of their own choices to use drugs, then by all means let's legalize them, but I don't believe we are any where close to that at the present time.

  22. Thanks Dip. Agree with you, and anon too. Cant have freedom for choices without making people accountable. Thats going to mean lots more sleeping in gutters and under bridges, I suppose, but nature takes its course and culls the herd, which is where we are headed as a society anyway, despite the best efforts of the Empty Suit in Chief.

    Spent a little time in Panama flying planes with some of those same Customs and DEA guys. Impressive bunch. Heres a story - One time just after Just Cause it was so busy on Howard AFB they had no rooms in the BOQ, and as hotels in town were a bit sketchy- they had to put us up in these nice clean air conditioned conex boxes, which was actually nicer than the old barracks on base, because it was so doggone hot and humid, and these things were cooooollll to the point of needing four blankets each bed. We figured out the reason the thermostat was not adjustable on the inside was they were portable morgues, thankfully not needed, and still in use a few months after the operation.

  23. I have a problem with the 'War on Drugs' program as it has been run over the past few decades. American's accept excuses for everything, where there are no possible excuses possible for premeditated murder (sale of drugs to people) under the guise of a 'good time'. I believe this is an application of the typical Liberal worldview, which can only result in abject failure. Common sense and reality says the individual needs to be held accountable for their actions - and even more so, as their actions affect not only themselves but those in the community at large. History has repeatedly shown, regardless of the euphemism employed, that there will be no utopia on spaceship Earth. Liberalism is the major deceit of conceited self-worth. This conceit flees in the face of personal accountability imposed by society upon it's members. Those who can learn, will learn.

    To win the War on Drugs only two things are really needed.
    1] Sentence anyone convicted as a user of illicit drugs to 12 months of intense therapy, with a follow up of 6 months of out patient counseling. People will be happy to give up drugs.
    2] Sentence anyone convicted of supplying, selling, importing or producing illicit drugs to public execution - this would include both the money men financing the drugs and the 'mules' or street hustlers. Apply this standard without bias to age, race, sex, social standing, etc.
    3] AND stop the constant string of appeals on technicalities. If a person is shown to be guilty, then they have 90 days in jail to get their affairs in order before the sentence is carried out. They can also spend that 90 days locked up and work through a proxy. Once they're locked up, they stay locked up - unless proven innocent, or they finish their sentence.

    The way you deal with rabid dogs is to 'put them down', not try teaching them to stop biting people. Drugs, and the mindset behind them, are a corrosive destroyer of western societies. Get rid of the disease vectors and the plague will vanish quickly.

    RP is me.

  24. Many, though not all, of the problems mentioned in regard to legalization could be addressed by requiring those who receive taxpayer-funded welfare to pass regular drug tests. And by "welfare" I include unemployment compensation, student aid, and subsidies of all kinds as well as what we conventionally label welfare.

    The civil-liberty people would scream about this, of course, as would many libertarians. Too bad! If you want MY money you must be drug-free, whether you are my child or merely the recipient of my taxes.

  25. Well, ain't it just jim-dandy that with all the pressure to legalize marijuana, we're screeching and hollering about tobacco smoke and bankrupting the Phillips Morris Co. with lawsuits. Yet marijuana not only gets smoke (second-hand, in some instances) into people's lungs, but addles their brains as well.

    Part of me is for legalization, on the grounds that trying to save fools from their own folly will just fill the world with fools. But Hollywood's making smoking glamorous did a lot of damage to the generations of the '30's-'70's. Will we have another generation or so rendered unhealthy when Hollywood glamorizes marijuana and crack use after they become legal?

    I understand the point about how utterly useless the war on drugs has been. As long as we have a culture that honors vapidity, irresponsibility, romanticizes self-destruction, and the like, we're going to have druggies. Absent a real spiritual revival (which is in the hands of God rather than ours), I don't see much hope.

  26. At this point I'd be happy if one was permitted to allow the smoking of tobacco on one's own property.

    The war on tobacco was an early victory in the leftist war on liberty. Anyone who approved the persecution of smokers thereby offered himself as a target of future persecutions.

    1. Well, I'm with you on people smoking tobacco on their own property; or even in open public places--but I am smoke sensitive, and so if I have smoking friends, I try to stay upwind.

  27. Legalize drugs for adults and focus law-enforcement on those who sell to young people. Enforce the property laws and laws against violence. There are people who function while taking illegal drugs, why throw them in jail and instead of being somewhat productive citizens they are just drags on the economy.

  28. Ok, I'm going to preface this by saying that I hate drug use and very much want it curtailed and would consider doing what is required to stop it Singapore style, which in the U.S. would mean wading ankle-deep in blood for a while executing all the sellers and users.

    Now, that said, I'm also a realist and know that Singapore-style prohibition isn't going to be applied in the U.S. Much as that might be the preferred alternative, it's not going to happen. Period. Consequently, since we can't have prohibition effectively enforced, we need to stop fighting the war. Right now what we have is the worst of both worlds, and even more depressing is the fact that the people who are getting hurt worst are people who aren't doing drugs.

    What do I mean by that? I mean that the normal, non-drug-using population is now suffering the ravages of a militarized police force, a rapaciously avaricious legal system that thrives on asset forfeiture for anything they can tie to drugs even in the most tenuous fashion, and STILL HAS DRUGS ABOUNDING IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN! In short, we're paying the price for the war on drugs but we're still losing the war.

    What would be better is to legalize them all. That's right, all of them and make it legal to fire/refuse to hire anyone who uses them. Moreover, anyone caught driving a vehicle under the influence should be locked up and the key melted. Do that and you immediately put the major repercussions for drug use on the USERS and not the INNOCENT BYSTANDERS. Yes, I know there will be people who get hooked that might not otherwise have done so. However, I don't think our system of government can afford the complete destruction of trust in the policing agencies of the government which is proceeding apace as they more and more clearly become oppressors/enemies of the people due to the fight against drugs. Remember: druggies primarily hurt themselves. The drug WAR hurts all of us by corrupting our government and daily bringing us ever closer to living in a police state.

    Is this choice a good one? Absolutely not. Is it the best we can do? Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I think it is. Either way a heavy price is going to be paid. If we as a society are going to have to pay that price, it is better and fairer to have it fall primarily on those who are choosing to indulge in the detrimental actions.

  29. Was it Hayak that said, "If you want more of something, subsidize it, and if you want less of something, tax it?" Why not apply that to the drug industry? Legalize it. Lift all the barriers against growth, possession, use, etc. Then apply a tax against all drugs, including home-grown marijuana, with all receipts being sequestered solely for the treatment of drug addiction for those who willingly wish to end their addiction. Force all sales through legal outlets, and limit purchase to minors, just as we do today for cigarettes and alcohol. It won't prevent children from experimenting, but it may be a better solution than filling our jails and destroying our liberty in a war we cannot win.

  30. Here is an interesting link about a "casualty" in the war on drugs:

    Of course, he wouldn't have had so many customers if drugs were legal, but on the other hand, he wouldn't be staring at another two decades in jail.