In the comments of an earlier post, I expressed the view that the War on Drugs is a total failure. I said I think that recreational drugs should be decriminalized, as they have been in Portugal.
My exact opening words in my first comment: "...My thoughts on pot are similar to my thoughts on guns and liquor. Passing laws and creating an illegal subculture is the problem. Would it be better if people did not smoke pot? Yes. Would it be better if people didn't drink alcohol? Yes. However, prohibition fails. It failed with booze the same way it has failed again. It creates an artificial market, high prices, organized crime, etc. How many murders happened during Prohibition, for money or alcohol? Untaxed alcohol, moonshine, is still a problem where I live. Why? Because high taxes create a market for the homemade stuff. And we all could go on all day about the effects of gun laws."
I was met with this reply:
"ASM826 has pegged the meter and will win the 2018 Unintended Irony
Award in a walkaway, just about the time he realizes he has made the
perfect rational and logical argument for getting rid of laws against murder.
Because prohibition never works.
That's quite a Brave New World for which you've inadvertently advocated.
The crowd will now watch as you extricate yourself from this predicament."
My response, in full: "Laws against murder don't prevent murder. They just provide penalties if
you get caught. You, me, anyone, can commit one murder. What stops us
isn't any law, what stops us is our personal morality. Our sense of what
constitutes decent behavior, based on our upbringing and beliefs, is
the check on most of our behavior. It is why we don't commit assaults,
robberies, littering, and as you mention, murder.
"prohibition" as commonly understood refers to laws on personal behavior
usually related to pleasure or entertainment. Drinking alcohol, doing
drugs, sexual behavior, for example. Those laws make the goods or
services more difficult to acquire. This never results in an elimination
of the activity, it just raises the price.
Scarcity of goods or
services by any means always has that effect in the marketplace. If
heroin was legalized and freely available, the price would plummet.
Whether the outcome would good or bad is immaterial to this effect.
Current prices are a result of artificial constraints on the market.
intervention in the form of law and law enforcement raises prices, make
selling more profitable, brings in criminals willing to take the
associated risks (Al Capone being one example), but never succeeds in
eliminating the activity. This creates a larger law enforcement
presence, sometimes higher penalties, and a greater burden on the
citizens paying the taxes to support the ongoing efforts.
not winning the "War on Drugs". It would make more sense to legalize it
and give it away to anyone that wanted it. Property theft and strong
arm robbery would drop because most of that is related to drug seekers
trying to get money to make purchases. Some people would die from
increased use, but most would continue to use at whatever level provided
them with the kick they seek. Nothing about the drug use would change
except the ongoing cost of police, courts, and jails would be removed.
isn't even a theoretical argument. Portugal did this 16 years ago and
there is statistical data available. They decriminalized everything from
pot to heroin. Drug use has dropped, HIV infection rates are way down,
and deaths from overdoses are rare. The expected result of skyrocketing
drug use and resulting deaths did not occur.
This not an
argument that drug use is a good thing. Alcohol when abused has lot of
very destructive side effects. Long term sustained drinking will kill.
Tobacco still causes the premature death of tens of thousands every
year. Pot makes people lethargic and may, as mentioned in the previous
comments, may be far worse to smoke than tobacco. Opioids, amphetamines,
and barbiturates all can destroy the users lives, ruining their
productivity, their relationships, and their health.
is simply that laws against their use have failed to effect usage rates
and effectively result in the militarization of the police, increased
incarceration rates, additional tax burdens, and higher crime rates.
This went on.
The commenter replied, "So, to be absolutely clear, you're against government going after Al
Capone or Pablo Escobar for wantonly violating laws enacted by the
directly-elected representatives of the people in a republic, including
murder, because that militarizes the police, but you're in favor of
using the IRS to demand, at gunpoint if necessary, and on pain of prison
or death, that I pay taxes to provide unlimited drugs to whomever
should wish them, from out of the fruits of my labor?"
He sets up a straw man, something I did not say. Did not mean. DO NOT BELIEVE. Then he knocks it down. I don't know why.
cut and pasted, one more time, is what I said, while talking about why the Volstead
act was a failure, "Government intervention in the form of law and law
enforcement raises prices, make selling more profitable, brings in
criminals willing to take the associated risks (Al Capone being one
example), but never succeeds in eliminating the activity. This creates a
larger law enforcement presence, sometimes higher penalties, and a
greater burden on the citizens paying the taxes to support the ongoing
I believe that. If you put out bird feeders, you get birds. I believe our efforts to stem the tide
of recreational drug use is such a failure that we should do something
else. We create the conditions that allow ruthless criminals to make
huge profits and accrue power. The cartels in Mexico have made things
worse. South America is worse. The U.S. inner cites are worse.
I know my view is a minority among
conservatives, I do not expect anyone to agree with me, I do not expect the laws to change, but I do not
want to be misquoted and misunderstood. Be polite and fair in the comments, this time I will delete efforts to twist my words.