Skip to comments.The Tea Party and the Drug War
Posted on 06/07/2010 11:20:04 AM PDT by bamahead
Voter dissatisfaction with Republicans and Democrats is at historic levels, and the tea-party movement is hoping to play kingmaker in the November elections. The countrys current breed of discontent is ideal for the tea parties, because economic concerns are foremost, allowing the movement to sidestep the divisions between its libertarian and conservative wings.
As the elections near, however, voters will want to know where the party stands not just on the economy but on social issues. A perfect illustration is drug policy, where conservatives advocate continued prohibition but libertarians argue for legalization. Which way should the tea party lean when this issue arises?
If the party is true to its principles fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets it must side with the libertarians.
Fiscal responsibility means limiting government expenditures to programs that can be convincingly said to generate benefits in excess of their costs. This does not rule out programs with large expenditures, or ones whose benefits are difficult to quantify; national defense is guilty on both counts, yet few believe that substantial military expenditure is necessarily irresponsible.
Any significant expenditure, however, should come with a credible claim that it produces a benefit large enough to outweigh both the expenditure itself and any ancillary costs. From this perspective, drug prohibition is not remotely consistent with fiscal responsibility. This policy costs the public purse around $70 billion per year, according to my estimates, yet no evidence suggests that prohibition reduces drug use to a significant degree. And prohibition has unintended consequences that push its cost-benefit ratio even farther in the wrong direction. Prohibition generates violence and corruption by pushing drug markets underground and inflating prices. Prohibition inhibits quality control, so users suffer accidental poisoning and overdoses. Prohibition destroys civil liberties, inhibits legitimate medical uses of targeted drugs, and wreaks havoc in drug-producing countries.
Drug prohibition, at least when imposed at the federal level, is also hard to reconcile with constitutionally limited government. The Constitution gives the federal government a few expressly enumerated powers, with all others reserved to the states (or to the people) under the Tenth Amendment. None of the enumerated powers authorizes Congress to outlaw specific products, only to regulate interstate commerce. Thus laws regulating interstate trade in drugs might pass constitutional muster, but outright bans cannot. Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it amended the Constitution itself to do so. The country has never adopted such a constitutional authorization for drug prohibition.
Finally, drug prohibition is hopelessly inconsistent with allegiance to free markets, regardless of the level of government. Free markets should mean both that businesses can operate as they please and that individuals can purchase and consume whatever they want, so long as these actions do not harm others, even when such decisions seem unwise. Drug prohibition interferes with precisely these activities.
Thus, if the tea-party believes in its principles, it must choose the libertarian path on drug prohibition.
Many folks are now beginning to see that the WOsD is nothing more than another excuse for the federal gov't to usurp power via the commerce clause, or whatever else the statists' want to use as their rationale-du-jour for dismantling your enumerated rights.
We have much larger issues, of spending, deciding the scope and role of government etc that must be resolved as soon as possible to maintain a healthy future for the USA. Once those are resolved we can start worrying about the Drug War or other single issue hot buttons items.
First we save the future of this country, everything else can wait.
The war on some drugs has shown to be a failure.
Securing the borders would go a long way toward cutting down the scope of our drug problem... and securing the borders is one of the few legitimate functions of government.
to side with it’s true priciples, the good of the people demands that drug use be illegal
That means drug legalization is an abomination.
” voters will want to know where the party stands “
“Party”? I wouldn’t really consider it that. It’s just a bunch of citizens who agree on at least a few fundamental issues.
“the good of the people demands”
Pray tell, what else does “the goiod of the people” demand in your eyes?
Federal laws for whatever you deem appropriate?
We are united by our common recognition that our corrupt political class must be removed.
Uh, no. What we're hoping to do is elect real conservatives who know that the American people are the boss. That's the exact opposite of king-making.
Pot would be a lucrative business if the Government stayed out of the growing and distribution.. Tax it and let the tax revinue go to hiring additional LE officers. But that is a perfect Scenario that would never happen because the gubment would want to control it all..
The tea-party does not "believe" in anything. In fact, there is no "tea-party". There are tea parties in which freedom loving American's of all stripes gather together to protest government statism, irresponsibility, profligacy, corruption, malignancy, usurpation and oppression.
I'm against the WOD. I am also against using "The Tea-Party" to promote any political agenda because "The Tea-Party" does not exist.
That means drug legalization is an abomination.
Then ‘abomination’ was the American norm until the 20th century.
As American as Coca-Cola.
So has every other war against every other crime. Does that mean we should just make it all legal so we don't have to spend money? If not, just exactly where do we draw the line?
Guess what? You have no Constitutional right to drugs. Destroying two generations should be enough for you. You don't get any more.
the war on drugs is perhaps the greatest threat to liberty in this country. When police can storm your home because someone has a plant the government doesn’t approve of, we all lose a bit.
It is also a colossal waste of $$$ at the federal, state and local levels.