Skip to comments.End the Drug War
Posted on 06/16/2010 9:58:48 AM PDT by logician2u
I'm confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone, and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old boy -- for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.
Two years ago, in Prince George's County, Md., cops raided Cheye Calvo's home -- all because a box of marijuana was randomly shipped to his wife as part of a smuggling operation. Only later did the police learn that Calvo was innocent -- and the mayor of that town.
"When this first happened, I assumed it was just a terrible, terrible mistake," Calvo said. "But the more I looked into it, the more I realized (it was) business as usual that brought the police through our front door. This is just what they do. We just don't hear about it. The only reason people heard about my story is that I happened to be a clean-cut white mayor."
Radley Balko of Reason magazine says more than a hundred police SWAT raids are conducted every day. Does the use of illicit drugs really justify the militarization of the police, the violent disregard for our civil liberties and the overpopulation of our prisons? It seems hard to believe.
I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm -- wreck lives and hurt people. But that's true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn't work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don't think so.
Everything can be abused, but that doesn't mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.
Many people fear that if drugs were legal, there would be much more use and abuse. That's possible, but there is little evidence to support that assumption. In the Netherlands, marijuana has been legal for years. Yet the Dutch are actually less likely to smoke than Americans. Thirty-eight percent of American adolescents have smoked pot, while only 20 percent of Dutch teens have. One Dutch official told me that "we've succeeded in making pot boring."
By contrast, what good has the drug war done? It's been 40 years since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their "successes." They are always holding press conferences showing off big drug busts. So it's not like authorities aren't trying.
We've locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country. That allows China to criticize America's human-rights record because our prisons are "packed with inmates."
Yet drugs are still everywhere. The war on drugs wrecks far more lives than drugs do!
Need more proof? Fox News runs stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs that smuggle drugs into Arizona. Few stop to think that legalization would end the violence. There are no Corona beer smugglers. Beer sellers don't smuggle. They simply ship their product. Drug laws cause drug crime.
The drug trade moved to Mexico partly because our government funded narcotics police in Colombia and sprayed the growing fields with herbicides. We announced it was a success! We cut way back on the Colombian drug trade.
But so what? All we did was squeeze the balloon. The drug trade moved across the border to Peru, and now it's moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.
That's what I call progress. It the kind of progress we don't need.
Economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: "(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness ... (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays ... ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious ... than that done by narcotic drugs."
Right on, Ludwig!
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.
Those whose cable systems deprive them of the pleasure of watching some hot business-babes--and Stossel, of course, and Imus in the Morning, and now also The Judge--on FBN need not to be concerned that they're missing something the rest of us take for granted. All the previous Stossel shows on FBN are available for viewing after a couple of weeks at hulu.com in wide-screen format (although not hi-def, good enough for a computer screen), as authorized by FBN. All the shows previously posted on youtube have been taken down.
Libertarian ping requested.
How about we end it by everyone quitting using recreational drugs?
I was in a thread here the other day about some woman’s treatment of her children. She was a druggy.
People had comments like “Tell me drugs don’t hurt innocent people!?”
If you accpet that argument, then you must be for gun control too. Right?
I mean, in either case it’s the “thing” rather than the “person” responsible.
how does he feel about child prostitution?
They won’t do it. Its somebody elses fault. LOL
“how does he feel about child prostitution?”
I presume that he favors a legal age for drugs, just like for alchohol.
And if the isse were prostitution, I imagine the same approach would prevail. Make it legal at 18, 21, whatever society decides.
Look man, if I wanna ingest PCP and put your head through your windscreen while screaming about zombies, that's my ****ing right, man!!!
The drug issue has destroyed the Libertarian Party. (Not that there was much left anyway.)
I mean, in either case its the thing rather than the person responsible.
The primary difference being that owning a gun doesn't alter your behaviour or brain chemistry.
Personally, I’m not for telling anybody what to ingest.
I don’t use drugs, but not because they’re illegal and if I wanted to use them, the fact that they’re illegal wouldn’t stop me............and, if they were made legal tomorrow, I’d still not use them.
If they were made legal, I suspect there might be some increase in use, but that may be a temporary statistical spike. I suspect there is a certain percentage of folks who will use drugs regardless of legality.
I’d guess that drugs in the workplace would still be taboo. I’d like to see people arrested not for drug use, but the stupid things they do when high.
These War on Drugs threads are depressing, because they demonstrate just how entrenched the ideas of Big Government and the nanny state are even among so-called conservatives. It is shocking, quite frankly, how many “conservatives” are happy to set Constitutional limits aside when it comes to things they don’t approve of.
You are so right, as most of the others who try to turn liberty into license are so wrong.
Stossel already did a segment on prostitution, which is worth a whole show on network TV. Of course, they'd never get away with it even if so inclined due to fear of sponsor retaliation.
“Look man, if I wanna ingest PCP and put your head through your windscreen while screaming about zombies, that’s my ****ing right, man!!! “
You have the right to ingest the PCP. The rest of it should get you hung with a short drop and slow strangulation, so that you think about the consequences of it before you do it. Being intoxicated, even if legal, is still no excuse.
They need to at least get straight with Commerce Clause.
Hey man, murder's ****in' legal, 'cause it's not mentioned in the Constitution!
Hey man, George Washington was against the War on Drugs cause he grew ****in' hemp, man!
/typical libertarian arguments
You curious about having a child prostitute?
Oh...yeah...I was just “kidding”.