Another Isolated Incident

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This is an inevitable (unintended, surely) consequence of Prohibition.

    People out there are using substances. Bad substances. These substances cause them to destroy themselves slowly and cause harm to their loved ones in the process.

    To prevent this great wrong from happening, we have to give certain members of society certain powers.

    And the problem doesn’t go away.

    So we have to give them more powers.

    And the problem, still, doesn’t go away.

    So we have to give them more powers.

    And now plain-clothing police are shooting pastors in a convenience store parking lot.

    I cannot comprehend the argument that says that we need to give the police more powers at this point. I cannot even comprehend the argument that says that the police have enough power.

    The arguments against drug legalization, at this point, seem to be analagous to the screaming over the dangers of legalization of bathtub gin and the wickedness of drunkenness.

    Surely something new must be tried. I don’t know why the solution we used for the last Prohibition wouldn’t be workable. Someone explain it to me, please.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

      If only we could find someone capable of explaining it beyond saying “so you’re going to allow drug dealers to stand on every street corner without interference?”

      The handful of defenders of drug prohibition I’ve come across capable of rationally discussing this issue all seem to concede that the manner in which the Drug War is being pursued is unacceptable and needs to be scaled back or a completely new strategy taken.Report

  2. I don’t think it’s possible to rationalize drug prohibition in its current form as a law enforcement or social policy. There’s simply too many things that keep going wrong with it that are simply unacceptable. Decriminalization of possession and use, and a reemphasis on tackling demand (through rehab programs, etc.) rather than supply seem to be a considerably more reasonable way to move beyond the present stalemate.

    On the other hand, I think it’s a bit difficult to make the case that full fledged legalization (and subsequent commercialization of currently prohibited substances) would create a net social benefit. One could make a case that it would create a new tax base, but that would in effect be another consumption based sin tax that would more often than not target the people with the least amount of money to give. While some substances like pot are fine to fully legalize, are opiates and the like things we want to be doing the same with? Should they be treated differently?

    I think in general the more important issue isn’t even the drug prohibition in this case as it is of due deference to authority which seems to permeate the system. Why don’t cops get disciplined more often for this sort of thing? Taking their word that it was a “mistake” shouldn’t be an acceptable substitute for disciplining people we entrust with powers of life and death. The degree to which Americans worship firefighters, police and soldiers is a bit out of hand.Report

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