• RSS Ludwig Von Mises Institute of Austrian Economics

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Republican Liberty Caucus

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Freedom Watch

  • RSS Free Talk Live

    • Free Talk Live 2014-10-24
      Should you turn off the news? :: The Job of the Newscaster :: Dangers of News Consumption :: Is online news worse than other forms? :: Attention to News :: Negative News :: Authoritarian News :: Editors :: Supposed Experts :: People's Choice of News Sources :: The Most Trusted News Outlet :: Ten Questions To Determine
    • Free Talk Live 2014-10-23
      Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality :: React Channel :: XXX Virtual Reality :: Teledildonics :: Sex with Cartoons :: Augmented Reality :: Communicating With Progressives :: Right to Secede :: People With Whom Libertarians Are Fed Up :: Bus Driver Story :: Shire Sharing
    • Free Talk Live 2014-10-22
      Voluntarist Fire Department Solution? :: Caller Loves Paying Local Taxes :: Stealing from Neighbors Via Government :: Mark Loses Libertarian Credentials :: Bond Scam :: Pugnacious Pete :: Dave in NY Wants an Apology :: Stop Free Keene Members Blaming Cantwell and Ian For Riots :: Talk Radio Rules :: Jury in a Civil Case :: Liability for a Slip-and-Fall :: Ca […]
  • RSS Break the Matrix

    • Berkeley Students Protest Bill Maher Visit: Proclaim Him Racist
      Bill Maher was tapped to give the keynote address at UC Berkeley’s graduation, but some say he’s the wrong choice. HBO The University of California, Berkeley, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement this fall, but some students aren’t happy having an outspoken free-speech advocate on campus. Followingnews Tuesday that Bill Maher has been […]
    • Cop Burns The Body Of A 3-Yr-Old Child For “Not Letting Him Sleep”
      SPRING HILL — Cody Marrone, a Hernando County cop, was taken into custody over the weekend after it was discovered that he used the hot end of a hairdryer to repeatedly scorch the body of a 3-yr-old toddler. The toddler did not belong to Marrone but was left in his care. The 3-yr-old was found […] No visits yet The post Cop Burns The Body Of A 3-Yr-Old Child […]
    • Man Calls aA Suicide Prevention Hotline, SWAT Team Shows Up And Kills Him
      Roy, Utah – A Roy, Utah man, Jose Calzada, 35, placed a call to a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and threatened to kill himself, seven hour later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement. According to ABC 4, neighbors described Calzada as a quiet, friendly man, who […] (Visited 6 times, 6 visits today) The post […]
  • RSS Schiff Radio

    • Governments Need Inflation, Economies Don't
      In an article in the UK's Telegraph on October 10, veteran economic correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard laid bare the essential truth of the nearly universal current embrace of inflation as an economic panacea. While politicians, CEOs and economists talk about demand stimulus and the avoidance of a deflationary trap, Evans-Pritchard reminds us that in […]
    • The Sound Money Business: Four Years Past and Future Forecast
      Yesterday, I launched a new website and announced the rebranding of my gold bullion dealer from Euro Pacific Precious Metals to SchiffGold. I started this company four years ago to provide a trustworthy option for my Euro Pacific Capital brokerage clients, but it has since grown to become a major US gold dealer in its own right. This landmark for my company […]
    • Economic Atonement
      This Friday is Yom Kippur, the day when Jews around the world ask forgiveness for their transgressions from the year past. Rabbis remind the penitent to dwell on their sins of omission, in which they did nothing when a more thoughtful and proactive action was needed, and sins of commission, in which they actively participated in an unjust action. And while n […]
    • A New Fed Playbook for the New Normal
      While many economists and market watchers have failed to notice, we have entered a new chapter in the short and checkered history of central banking. This paradigm shift, as yet unaddressed in the textbooks, changes the basic policy tools that have traditionally defined the sphere of macroeconomic decision-making. The job of a central banker is supposed to b […]
    • Doubling Down on Inflation
      Friday's release of disappointing August payroll numbers should have been a jarring wake-up call warning Wall Street that the economy has been treading on thin ice. Instead the alarm clock was stuffed under the pillow and Wall Street kept sleeping. The miss was so epic in fact (the 142,000 jobs created was almost 40% below the consensus estimate) that t […]

Prohibition Never Works: Ending the War on Drugs

On January 19th, 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution, enacting prohibition.  This meant that the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the United States for beverage purposes was prohibited.  It failed miserably.  On December 5, 1933 the 21st Amendment was passed, repealing the 18th Amendment (the only amendment to be repealed in its entirety).

Prohibition was the crowning jewel of the temperance movement in the early 20th century which had worked tirelessly to demonize alcohol.  Like most things from the progressive movement, it was a grand social engineering agenda based on good intentions.  Violence and debauchery needed to be purged from society, and alcohol undoubtedly fueled these sins.

The unintended consequences caused by prohibition were disastrous.  Crime rates soared as gangsters made millions of dollars on illegal alcohol sales, the most notable at the time being Al Capone.  The newly created black markets allowed Capone to reap obscene profits and because of this he was able to build one of the largest crime syndicates in the country dedicated to the smuggling and bootlegging of liquor.  Soon corruption was rife as law enforcement officials in charge of enforcing prohibition went on the take, from beat cops all the way up to the office of the United States Attorney General.  The actual harm caused by alcohol abuse was made worse, thanks to the economics of prohibitions.  Black market alcohol was of dubious origin, unregulated by market forces, and tended to be more potent and more dangerous.  Therefore, hospitalizations related to alcohol soared.  To sum it all up, wealthy industrialist John D. Rockefeller stated in a letter “When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”

Flash forward to the present day and prohibition is still alive and well, just in another form: the War on Drugs.  Now the federal government has taken prohibition to the next level thanks to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, and this time they’ve disregarded any pretense of following the constitution (despite the failure of prohibition, at least it was passed constitutionally by adding an amendment).  Even states where medicinal marijuana is legal (ie CA), the DEA is not afraid of trampling over the state’s rights (the 10th amendment) and will shut down medical dispensaries and arrest patients.  Nearly 40 years after the CSA passed, we have 400,000 people in prison for nonviolent drug crimes, a domestic police force that often looks and acts like an occupying military force, nearly a trillion dollars spent on enforcement both here and through aggressive interdiction efforts overseas, and urban areas that can resemble war zones. Yet illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana are as cheap and abundant as they were in 1970.

Throughout the past year, a civil war has been waged in Mexico between giant drug cartels and the government.  If it weren’t for our War of Drugs and the ridiculous black market profits from illegal drugs, none of these Mexican gangs could exist.  If we ended our prohibition on drugs, we’d immediately pull the rug right out under the gangster’s feet by crippling their primary source of revenue.  But for now, the heart of the problem is being ignored by our government, and instead we’re preparing for military intervention in the border cities of Mexico and the US where gang violence is growing.  Instead of the Al Capones, our prohibition has now led to the rise of the cripts and bloods, the Mexican gangs, and even terrorists organizations such as Al-Qaeda which uses illicit cocaine sales to fund most of their activities.

It’s pretty clear that the War on Drugs has been an abject failure, but our government is not willing to realize it.  Instead, the government will continue to throw money at the problem in order to fix it, instead of cutting their losses and scrapping it altogether.  However, most hardlined anti-drug officers won’t admit this and continue to argue for the Drug War as a matter of self preservation.  Just like the prohibition era, the drug war has corrupted many police departments and they’ve resorted to using drug busts as a source of primary revenue.   With unjust asset forfeiture laws, police can reap double the benefit of drugs busts by not only getting paid for the bust, but also gaining profits from the seized cash and property.  It’s a sad day when our law enforcement engages in legalized theft to exist.

The hypocrisy of the War on Drugs should be quite clear to most people who see politicians abusing other legalized drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, and pain killers.  These politicians think it’s perfectly fine for certain drugs of their choice to be legal, but will fight vehemently against others they don’t like.  One can make the argument that alcohol is a much more dangerous substance compared to others such as marijuana, but the politicians will immediately rebuke it using the silly gateway drug argument.  Sadly, they’ll ignore any evidence that decriminalizing drugs actually has worked, such as with Portugal.  According to a report entitled, “Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies,” while drug use across the European Union has risen steadily since 2000, Portugal, which has the most liberal drug laws of any country, has actually seen its prevalence rates decrease in various age groups since it decriminalized all drugs in 2001.  “I think it’s bizarrely underappreciated what’s been done in Portugal,” said Salon writer Glenn Greenwald, who authored the report.  The problem of drug abuse should be a medical issue instead of a criminal one.  As Greenwald writes in the report, “By freeing its citizens from the fear of prosecution and imprisonment for drug usage, Portugal has dramatically improved its ability to encourage drug addicts to avail themselves of treatment. The resources that were previously devoted to prosecuting and imprisoning drug addicts are now available to provide treatment programs to addicts.  Those developments, along with Portugal’s shift to a harm-reduction approach, have dramatically improved drug-related social ills, including drug-caused mortalities and drug-related disease transmission,” the report continues. “Ideally, treatment programs would be strictly voluntary, but Portugal’s program is certainly preferable to criminalization.”

In a free society, individuals should have the liberty to choose what they can put into their body.  The War on Drugs completely opposes this principle and turns ordinary citizens into criminals for violations of laws without victims.  No matter how tyrannical a government, laws intended to modify human behavior will never work.  If an individual is addicted to hard drugs, that individual will find a way to get high no matter what is legal and what is not.  It is time to end the war on drugs and usher in a new era of tolerance and freedom.  The old styles of thinking are going to end, regardless of what the hypocritical politicians, who fear political suicide for opposing the War on Drugs, think.  Will it take 10 years for it to happen?  Or will it be sooner?  I believe the latter.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

http://www.reason.com/news/show/130383.html

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Portugals_drug_decriminalization_bizarrely_underappreciated_Greenwald_0406.html

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers