Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that if he was elected President, he would legalize all drugs. It’s rare that I agree on anything with a radical lefty, but I agree with Buttigieg on this one point.
We have been fighting a futile and never-ending “War on Drugs” for over 80 years. President Trump’s “general” who now directs this war is Jim Carroll. He is the Director of National Drug Control Policy, colloquially known as the Drug Czar.
The fact that the head of our government’s War on Drugs is called the drug “czar” reveals a great deal. Czars were the absolute rulers of Russia for a thousand years. They were totalitarian dictators, above the law. In Russia, there was no such thing as a Constitution or Bill of Rights.
Russia’s people were rightless creatures, most of them serfs. The Czar had absolute control over all property in Russia and could confiscate people’s property with impunity. He could imprison or execute people at his whim. He could regulate all commerce in Russia through arbitrary edicts and regulations. He could dictate to all Russians what they could or could not do, based on the Czar’s moral or religious values.
Unfortunately, our Drug Czar is too close a relative-in-spirit to the Russian Czars. To allegedly “do good” by stopping the flow of drugs, he violates our fundamental liberties and right of free choice. Drug laws promote arbitrary confiscation of peoples’ cars, homes, and bank accounts.
Drug laws condone violent, middle-of-the-night raids on people’s homes by SWAT teams who break down doors without warrants and sometimes kill innocent people. Drug laws let airport police conduct “cavity” searches on innocent travelers’ bodies, and searches of their luggage. They allow arbitrary police searches of cars on our highways without warrants or probable cause.
Drug laws condone long prison terms for millions of Americans whose only “crime” was simple possession of cocaine or a single joint of marijuana. To enforce the law and “get the job done,” our drug warriors repeatedly violate our Bill of Rights in a way that would have shocked our Founding Fathers.
Our drug police always claim that their War on Drugs “protects the children.” Yet, it turns out that the War on Drugs not only doesn’t protect our kids but actually hurts them. Instead of getting kids off drugs, the War on Drugs pushes more kids into taking drugs. How can that be?
Organized crime sells drugs because drugs are illegal, millions of Americans want them, and huge profits are made. Local pushers also make huge profits, so they push drugs on school children. If the profits weren’t there, the pushers would disappear.
If drugs were legalized, they would be manufactured and marketed by pharmaceutical companies. Competition would sharply reduce the price of drugs down to the price of a pack of cigarettes. Illegal drug pushers and drug syndicates would go out of business very quickly, as they would not be able to compete with pharmaceutical companies.
That’s exactly what happened after Prohibition ended in the 1930s. During Prohibition, many people died from adulterated booze. When Prohibition ended, organized crime went out of the liquor business. They couldn’t compete with Seagrams and other legitimate manufacturers who made high-quality, low-cost liquor. In the same way, if drugs were legalized, the quality of drugs offered would be high, so adulterated drugs and dirty needles would be a thing of the past.
Best of all, drug use by teenagers, the teenagers our drug Czar wants to protect, would drop sharply. That statement might seem contradictory. Why would drug use go down if drugs became legal and more freely available?
Because profits are so high, drug pushers roam our schools and local neighborhoods enticing kids (and adults) to take drugs. However, if people could buy marijuana and other drugs for the price of a pack of cigarettes because fierce competition between pharmaceutical companies slashed prices, drug pushers’ profits would be gone. The pushers would be out of business. They would have no incentive to entice kids into becoming addicts. As a result, the number of kids using drugs would drop sharply.
That is exactly what happened when drugs were legal in England for fifty years prior to 1971. Drug use, and crimes related to drugs, were far lower than after 1971 when drugs were made illegal. After 1971, drugs became Britain’s number one crime problem. The new drug laws in England had the exact opposite effect they were intended to have. They increased drug use and drug-related crime. The same has happened here. Drug laws incite drug pushers to sell drugs to children, so our drug warriors are hurting the very children they want to protect.
Besides hurting our children, the War on Drugs also promotes tyranny. Many states, including Arizona, New York, and California, have passed laws legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Yet, Federal SWAT teams still invade the homes of people in these States who use marijuana for valid medical reasons such as AIDS and cancer. The Federal government has told the States, in effect, that we don’t care what state laws your citizens pass. If Federal law still prohibits a drug’s use for any reason, the Feds say, then the votes and wishes of the State’s citizens is null and void. Federal law, they say, is the “law of the land,” not State laws.
Federal drug laws turn States into emasculated, political non-entities if a State law clashes with a Federal law. States’ rights, an issue the Civil War was fought over, is no longer an issue. The War on Drugs lets the Federal government usurp ever-more power unto itself, despite the 10th Amendment to the Constitution and the legal votes and wishes of State citizens.
Our drug warriors rationalize their actions by claiming that the end justifies the means. “What does it matter if we “bend” the Bill of Rights, throw millions of Americans in prison, and confiscate their homes and bank accounts, if we can get drugs off the streets,” they proclaim.
Like the Russian Czars, “the end justifies the means” has been the immoral rationalization of every bloody, self-righteous dictator in human history. In the name of this “moral code,” the Nazis and Communists killed or imprisoned tens of millions of innocent people. All the crimes committed by all the murderers of history are a drop in the ocean compared to the massive crimes against humanity committed by governments who thought that their ends justified their means.
Even if the number of Americans using drugs doubles after drugs become legal, that is a totally irrelevant issue. Yes, irrelevant. Millions of Americans hurt themselves far worse in dozens of other ways. They smoke and get lung cancer, they drink and drive, they have unprotected sex, they eat fatty hamburgers that can give them heart attacks, they send their children to government-run public schools that turn their children into illiterates. Should we make war on everything people do to themselves that might cause them harm? Is personal stupidity the justification for a police state?
In a free country, along with freedom comes risk and personal responsibility. If you do or take something harmful to yourself, you will pay the consequences, as you should. That is part of what freedom means. You reap what you sow. Risk is part of liberty, and risk is part of life. You cannot legislate away personal risk, and should not imprison people for the alleged “crime” of doing harm to their own bodies. To do that takes away our most precious possession, our freedom, our free will. If every person in this country started experimenting with drugs if drugs became legal, that is the right of free men and women, of free citizens. No drug czar, no self-righteous legislators, have the right to abrogate our liberty because drug use can cause personal “harm.”
Even if the War on Drugs achieved its fantasy goal of wiping out all drug use in this country, at what cost would this be done? Who would want to live in a drug-free country as a slave-citizen, obedient to the dictates of tyrannical government “morality” commissars? There are no drugs in prison (in reality, there are), but do we want to live in a country that has become a vast prison?
We cannot win this War on Drugs because we cannot contain human greed or stupidity. Once you criminalize drugs, you make potential criminals of millions of American citizens. You then set the stage for the explosive growth of organized crime. You encourage career criminals to supply Americans with something they want and should be able to buy legally. In doing so, the War on Drugs creates huge profits for organized crime. As a result, we could spend every cent of the annual multi-trillion-dollar Federal budget on this war, but never win.
You cannot stamp out human greed, or the criminal ingenuity that greed fosters. For every drug dealer or drug smuggler we catch, ten more looking for easy riches will take their place. We have been fighting this War on Drugs for over 80 years now. Only insane people and bureaucrats never learn from their mistakes. Only bureaucrats have the arrogance or stupidity to continue policies that are obvious, dismal failures. For proof, see our public schools. Given the power-hungry bureaucratic mentality, future drug Czars will still be spouting their optimistic forecasts of victory against drugs a hundred years from now, when the drug problem is worse than ever.
If we want to reduce drug use, why not respect people’s rights? Why not legalize drugs and use part of the $50 billion government now spends every year on drug police, drug-court trials, prisons, and helicopter raids on Columbian farmers, for a national, continuing, voluntary anti-drug ad campaign directed at kids? With free citizens, the government should only have the right to convince, not compel.