Legalize It!



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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11 Responses

  1. I generally support legalization, but I think meth should not be legalized. I’ve seen its effects up close, and the result is not just addiction but certifiable insanity. Meth addicts are as likely to get arrested for bizarre property crimes like setting a car on fire (because, say, Satan told them to) as for the usual crimes that accompany illegal drugs.Report

  2. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    Meth would not be a problem if it weren’t for criminalization of other drugs. Now it’s too late.

    People have been using drugs for as long as civilization has existed. In the late 19th century, Progressives criminalized them because god wants you to rely on your own resources. Something like that. They thought, and think, that people are not capable of using drugs without killing themselves, so the state must control them. This is plainly false since people have been using drugs for thousands of years. If it was good enough for Aristotle, then it’s good enough for me.

    The illegal drugs industry in Mexico brings in more revenue than tourism and it surely employs more people. If you add on the piracy industry, then you may have the majority of working Mexicans and the nation’s top revenue earners, above oil. If it weren’t for this, Mexico would probably be in much worse economic shape than it is right now. Does it seem like any war can defeat such a behemoth?Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Agreed Roque, except wasn’t the prohibition an unholy alliance between nanny state progressives AND social conservatives? I don’t think that the banning of drugs can be laid only at the feet of the left.Report

  4. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “social conservatives.” Progressives were Republicans before the Democrats took over the movement with Wilson. The FDA was founded by Roosevelt, Mr Progressive Republican. Pot was criminalized in 1937, under the second Mr Progressive Roosevelt. Is it possible that Progressives are social conservatives, and have been all along? Aren’t social conservatives just nanny state progressives with issues that leftists disagree with, in spite of the fact that both propose undue government regulation? Don’t both groups think that government can bring out our better natures, make us more productive, or whatever? Don’t both groups refuse to just leave us alone to figure out what stuff to put into our bodies, or not? In other words, isn’t the social conservative/progressive dichotomy something like the Bolshevik/Menshevik one? Don’t both have the same goals, but differ only on the means to the end?Report

  5. Avatar Dr. Lou Jellyfinger says:

    We need to sit back and look at this war on drugs rationally. Repeal the regualtions. And please give back some freedom to us individuals rather than mandating your collective brilliance upon all of us who aren’t that brilliant. Let us have a few things that are just flat “bad” for us to enjoy. After all isn’t the role of government to serve us not rule us?Report

  6. Avatar Art Deco says:

    The author begins:

    In the 40 years since U.S. President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” the supply and use of drugs has not changed in any fundamental way.

    Consider the following:

    Which estimates that 314,000 have made use of heroin (Mr. Nixon’s principal concern) in the last month. Ca. 1980, the commonly cited figure (made use of by James Q. Wilson, among others) for the number of heroin addicts in the United States was 500,000. The commonly cited figure for ca. 1970 was 900,000. Our national population is half-again what it was in 1970.

    All of which is to say the author is talking out of his ass.

    All laws are imperfectly enforced and for only a modest selection of crimes (e.g. homicide and bank robbery) are most perpetrators apprehended. To say that law enforcement is of no account is not sociology but social ideology. If you wish to make a normative argument against the drug laws, do it.

    And as for that, you have to contend with the reality that the free use of stupefacients is incongruent with the maintenance of a productive and orderly society. We do not live in a society where the full force of consequences of misbehavior falls on the consumer nor do we live in a society where families have a franchise to control and constrain their members. In 1914, our great-grandparents maintained a social order where the discipline of the labor market and the discipline of patriarchs had far greater force than is the case today. The legislators of that time still undertook to supplement these with state power.

    Tell me, Will, what do you think you know that they did not?Report

  7. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    1. Nixon’s main concern was not heroin, but pot. That was because he saw pot as the fuel of the anti-war movement. Therefore his main concern was not drugs at all, but attacking his political opposition. At first Mexico declined to allow their national sovereignty to be violated by the newly-minted DEA. After Operation Intercept, however, they sang a different tune. This created huge bottlenecks at border crossings and with them unacceptable losses in reveue for Mexico’s tourism industry. That amounts to out-and-out mafia-style extortion of a sovereign nation in the service of Nixon’s political career. Does this make you happy?

    2. One of your main points is a varient on the classic bait-and-switch: the supposed decline in heroin use since the ’70s. So, what? What does this have to do with anything? Criminalization/the war on drugs was sold to the public as a way to prevent or reduce violent crime and crimes against property for which drugs were seen as a “cause.” So: why don’t you compare apples and apples, instead of apples and oranges: compare the statistics on violent crime today with those of the ’70s and those of the turn of the century as well. I expect you’ll see a clear, hockey stick-type increase. Therefore, criminalization and the war on drugs has not worked even minimally to solve the problems it was designed to. In fact this system has disrupted and destroyed many more lives that drugs themselves ever could. The solution for politicians is to change the problem. Use the memory hole yet again. Now the problem turns out to be that too many people are getting high and you can show that this has decreased. Prestochango! The system works!

    3. You say that reality mandates that “the free use of stupefacients is incongruent with the maintenance of a productive and orderly society.” I’d love to see you support this with rational argument, or anything from the realm of reality that isn’t some varient on “everybody knows.” I really don’t think you can do it because to achieve this, you’ll have to consider the reality that drug use was criminalized at the turn of the twentieth century. This means that for the thousands of years of human civilization before that, there was “the free use of stupefacients.” This means that for you to support your conclusion, you’ll have to show that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Indians, Chinese, and many others were “unproductive and disorderly” as well, along with the European Enlightenment, etc etc.

    The writers and publics of Greek tragedy were getting high as a matter of course. They were passing the opium bottle around while they sat through the Oedipus Rex at the festival of Dionysious, the god of tragedy and god of “the free use of stupefacients.”

    Any why woundn’t they? For them, as for any rational person, drugs were not the problem but the solution for the problem of life’s being too nasty, violent, and short.Report