The Failed Drug War

The Failed Drug War.

Ron Paul is for the removal of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from the issue of DRUGS, which is none of their business, and is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or its Amendments. It is thereby, in accordance with the NINTH and TENTH Amendments, left to the States and the People and their various components to decide (the individual, the family, an organization, club, group of friends, education center, or a work place to apply the societal pressures, and towns, cities, communities, municipalities, counties, districts, and States to write and enforce legislation and regulations).

The Federal War on Drugs has lead to an increase of drug related violence, a higher price for drugs (which is no object to an addict, but only further lines the pockets of the cartels and lords), an increased use in drugs (because the smaller levels, i.e., people and states have become complacent and complicit in the Federal Government usurpations, and thus lazy and indifferent to the plight of addicts and their associates), an increase in the potency or destructiveness of drugs (if cocaine was readily available, there never would have been meth labs), a burgeoning prison system (we are supposedly the least totalitarian nation in the world and yet we have the largest per capita prison population, what a joke!), and another issue for the liars on both sides of the aisle to demagogue their way to power with.

FACT: NO ONE WANTS TO KEEP DRUGS ILLEGAL MORE THAN THE DEALERS, WHO ARE ONLY MAKING A KILLING BECAUSE DRUGS ARE ON THE BLACK MARKET.

FACT: APATHY BEGINS IN THE HOME. PARENTS SHOULD BE THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR. WHEN THIS LINE OF DEFENSE FAILS IN JUST A FEW CASES, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT JUSTIFIES INTRUDING IN ON THE PARENT’S JOB. WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GETS INVOLVED, IT ONLY SERVES TO GIVE FURTHER LICENSE TO PARENTS AND OTHERS TO IGNORE THEIR PROPER ROLE AS A CITIZEN, ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE CARE TAKING OF DEPENDENTS.

FACT: THE SAME PRINCIPLE USED TO JUSTIFY THE WAR ON DRUGS IS APPLIED TO ALL OF THESE OETHR ISSUES: WELFARE, CLICK-IT-OR-TICKET, FOREIGN AID, NATION BUILDING, THE WAR ON POVERTY, THE WAR ON ILLITERACY, AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

FACT: DRUGS ARE OFTEN WORSE THAN ALCOHOL IN TERMS OF THE EFFECTS THEY HAVE ON THE USERS, BUT NOT IN TERMS OF OVERALL DESTRUCTIVENESS OR THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WHO USE THEM. DESPITE ALL THIS, IT IS STILL VERY ARBITRARY TO MAKE ONE ILLEGAL AND NOT THE OTHER. THEY DRAW THE LINE AT RANDOM, AND ENTRENCH THEIR DECISION BY CHERRY-PICKING THEIR EVIDENCE AND MONGERING UPON THE FEARS OF THE PEOPLE. AN AMENDMENT WAS REQUIRED TO MAKE ALCOHOL ILLEGAL, AND APART FROM THE FACT THAT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL HAVE DIFFERENT CHEMICAL COMPOSITIONS, THERE IS NO PRINCIPLED REASON TO NOT HAVE AN AMENDMENT ALSO FOR WHAT ARE ARBITRARILY CLASSIFIED AS BAD DRUGS.

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6 thoughts on “The Failed Drug War

  1. And despite believing all drugs should be legalized- this is exactly why I can’t support Ron Paul on this issue. We need drug policy reform at the national- not the state level.

    First- the president has no power to make- or change, federal laws. As we have witnessed with Obamas amenable position on medical marijuana but the Bush era drug warriors in many federal agencies continuing the assault.

    Turning over this power to the states would be a boon for medical marijuana- and in very limited areas, recreational use. Likewise a boon to harm reduction such as needle exchanges and “good samaritan” laws for OD’s, and naloxone in some states.

    But the pratical reality is- while the west coast, colorado, some states in the NE would move ahead with reforms. But huge swaths of the country would remain unchanged- or move backwards.

    Likewise Paul would not engage with other countries regarding international treaties prohibiting these drugs, nor interact with the producer countries of drugs such as cocaine and opoids.

    He also believes drug use is a purely personal issue- in other words- no money or support for harm reduction or treatment. Every country that has legalized or decriminalized drugs has made both treatment and harm reduction a central tenent of their policy- with amazing results. To legalize drugs without such programs will likely be a disaster- setting back the cause of drug policy reform by decades.

    And the mish mash of state laws will fail to address a central issue- prohibition buts production and distribution in to the hands of organized criminals, and leads to corruption and violence.

    It’s great that Paul is raising the issue, and he would be an important voice in congress. But as president he would be a disaster waiting to happen, doing more harm then good- and the legal issues surrounding his “plan” likely being tied up in courts beyond his term as president- resulting in no benefit to drug users- and likely a great deal of harm.

    • You may be right on some or even all points.

      But…

      Is allowing the states to decided the Constitutional?

      Yes.

      Is having a Federal Program to rehabilitate users Constitutional?

      No.

      Now, I realize that the Constitution is little more than a piece of paper, and therefore should NEVER be the end-all-be-all on any issue, let alone this contentious one.

      So the question arises: is the Constitution itself compatible with any desirable fix to the present problem?

      If the answer is no, we can either amend the Constitution or continue with the current system of unwarranted, illegal, unconstitutional usurpations, the federal regulation and prohibition of drugs.

      If the answer is yes, which I personally hold that it either is or can be, then the only further complications are logistical and educational.

      Logistical complications should only be a problem to the leviathanesque enforcement agencies and bureaucracies. I don’t care a whit about them, and I hope such complications cause them to implode, or at the very least, expose themselves as redundant, obsolescent, inefficient, or undesirable.

      Educational complications appear to be your primary concern. I will address that again, but first let me address each of your paragraphs.

      FIRST PARAGRAPH

      We do need to address drug policy on the national level…by ending the Federal usurpations and giving authority back to the states, and ultimately, the people residing therein.

      SECOND PARAGRAPH

      You are correct, the President has no authority to make or create laws. But he has the authority to repeal executive orders. He has the power to be lax in enforcement of said laws. Where the enforcement of said laws is ambiguously defined in legislation, he has power to hand more over to the states, while still upholding those laws. But most importantly, he can signal to the states that if they decide to nullify certain laws, he, as Commander-in-Chief, will NOT interfere, and will direct executive departments to not interfere. The interference I refer to is both the legal kind that is optional or discretionary and the extralegal kind that violates jurisdiction laws as well as certain clauses in the Constitution itself.

      THIRD PARAGRAPH

      Agreed.

      FOURTH PARAGRAPH

      This is true, and in my opinion, desirable. There is a reason there are 50 states and Americans everywhere have the right to vote with their feet, by going from state to state, and you have just touched on it: things are supposed to be different! I mean, why should every state have the exact same law handed down from on high?

      Is it disingenuous for me to suggest, to quote Murray Rothbard, that there “might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc.” who choose to live in some states as well as “[p]eople who don’t want to push other people around, and who don’t want to be pushed around themselves” who choose to live in other states?

      FIFTH PARAGRAPH

      I have not heard that Ron Paul “would not engage with other countries regarding international treaties prohibiting these drugs, nor interact with the producer countries of drugs such as cocaine and opioids.”

      Is this part of the “isolationist” charge, by chance?

      The President does have power to make treaties, but ultimately, the decision to ratify rests with the Senate.

      Why would he not make treaties to our nations benefit? He may not take extralegal action within or against these nations, but he would certainly engage in commerce and diplomacy with them, sans the arm-twisting that has come to characterize both Neoliberal and Neoconservative; both Republican and Democrat; both Mercantilist and Socialist foreign, border, and trade policies.

      SIXTH PARAGRAPH

      He believes all choices are personal. He does not however, believe that all choices affect only the chooser. He would advocate handling problems caused by the choosers with the aid of other individuals, the family, organizations, clubs, friends, education centers, work places, as well as private entities dedicated, whether charity or for-profit, to rehabilitation.

      So, when you say “no money”, you mean “no money from the tax-payer”. And what is wrong with this? Why should any tax-payer be forced to contribute one red cent to a fund, most of which will be wasted in bureaucratic inefficiencies, the rest of which will go to subsidize someone else’s lack of personal responsibility, whether that “someone” be the user himself or those that, being his supposed loyal friends and loving family, should have been the first line of defense?

      SEVENTH PARAGRAPH

      You are right, to a point. Those states that choose to leave prohibitive laws in place once the Federal Government is fettered, will create a similar situation to that caused by the Federal Government, and that is to create black markets and violent cartels. Presumably these things will be minimized, but perhaps not significantly across the board. But that is part of where the educational complications I referred to earlier left off. We need to educate people that drug violence is caused by prohibition. We need to educate people that if you repeal the laws, even at a slow, state-by-state pace, the price of drugs will go down, and cartels will cease to be profitable. They will either seek a new, less violent business model for pushing their product, or will implode.

      And don’t forget the non-violent drug offenders currently incarcerated. Under the present system, these non-violent offenders are conditioned to become violent ones. This is another educational argument. There are many others.

      EIGHTH PARAGRAPH

      I don’t know that it is right to condemn the man’s candidacy as a disaster solely on his take on drugs.

      And the courts are already tied up, as are the police men. Real criminals roam the streets as a result of the inordinate focus on drug related crimes, especially the non-violent ones. Courts are only tied up, and would only continue to be tied up in those areas that remain intolerant to or become increasingly of victimless crimes. I say, let the courts be tied up. Let things get worse. Let people learn (part of the educational complications aforementioned) these things the hard way. Let failure after failure finally ingrain into the minds of the people as well as the policy-makers that prohibition is bad policy on all grounds: Morality, Legality, Economics, Efficiency, Peace, Order, etc. Let things get better before they get worse. What major issue has not been resolved in this manner?

      I now sign off, in gratitude to your comment. I hope that I have been somewhat clear in my reasoning. I hope I have been persuasive in at least some of my arguments.

      Hank

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