The Idiocy of the Drug War

As a libertarian, I believe that individuals should have the right to do whatever they wish with the condition that they are not affecting anyone else’s liberty. That includes putting whatever substances one wants to put inside his or her own body. After all, if a person cannot choose what to put and what not to put inside their own body, do they really own their own body? Or are they instead a slave to other individuals who have the good fortune of making the rules?

In society today, we have laws that would confirm the belief that the latter is actually true. Certain substances are not allowed to be traded, possessed, or consumed, for a variety of reasons but all generally under the category of “keeping people safe.” But it seems obvious to anyone who actually chooses to examine the so-called “war on drugs” that this war is failing. Not only has the government failed to keep the drugs out of people’s hands, but they have failed to keep people safe as well. It seems rather that they have achieved the exact opposite.

So when I read an article last week describing and commenting on some of Ron Paul’s positions, I had a good laugh. Jeffrey T. Kuhner states:

“His support for homosexual rights and the legalization of drugs, including cocaine and heroine, represents an assault upon traditional America. His libertine libertarianism would lead to a more permissive society and widespread drug use, especially among youth.”

But wait a second! Isn’t that how it is… right now? “If drugs are legalized, then even teenagers are going to start doing it and everybody will be on drugs!” The irony of statements like these makes me

When it comes to drugs, a good question to ask is “Why is there so much violence?” The obvious answer is that the drugs are illegal. If cocaine was more abundant, would people be willing to shoot each other over it? If the price of cocaine wasn’t so high, would people be willing to shoot each other over it? If each and every person was allowed to produce, trade, and consume cocaine, without fear of being imprisoned, would people be willing to shoot each other over it? Obviously not.

Further, a commonly held opinion is that “Monopolies are bad!!” Most of us hardly give it any more thought than that. Most don’t even think to make the connection of monopolies to the drug war. After all, isn’t the drug war itself just the government giving gangs a monopoly on drugs? Perhaps an oligopoly would be the correct term to use, because there are multiple gangs, but the point is still the same.

States like California give some hope with their partial legalization of marijuana, but with the federal government still involved, full legalization of drugs may be an extremely long time away. Even if the federal government chooses to legalize it, even if the states choose to legalize and regulate, I doubt we will see much of a difference. The regulation of these drugs, whether from federal or state governments, will undoubtedly lead to the same situation we have now, just in slightly different terms. Unfortunately, we can expect to see the drugs monopolized by certain big corporations through the force of regulation, the same corporations who are trying to keep the drugs illegal right now. Money speaks in politics, and when you see a law that may not make very much sense to you, ask yourself the question “Who does it benefit?” and you are sure to understand why the law is in place. This being said, the companies that want drugs with medical benefits to stay illegal, are the same companies who would be hit the hardest if the drugs were legalized and their services were no longer needed. So even if the drugs were somehow legalized and regulated, it wouldn’t be very bewildering to find out that a few big companies were the only ones with the ability to produce and sell them. Hell, they probably would have been the same ones that lobbied for and helped write the legislation for the regulation. This is the undying nature of all political systems.

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Posted on December 31, 2011, in Economics, Ethics, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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