Aug 17, 2009

The Washington Post: Legalize It

The Washington Post ran an article today which read: Time to Legalize Drugs .

On the face, it almost seems like they're going out on a limb there, eh? The article opens by re-creating a drug deal straight out of Hill Street Blues or The Wire - and then say that drug dealers are disproportionately arrested on the South Side street corners, but not in college dormitories.

The article goes on to offer that States should decide their drug policy.

But hold on, it's not the actual opinion of the Washington Post, it's in fact an Op-Ed which means it's opposite of the editorial page. Bigger and better than a letter to the editor, but not a whole hellofalot more.

Anyway, we've all known for a long - long time that Prohibition does not work. Chris Rock said it best, "even if you got rid of all the drugs in the world - someone would still be trying to find a way to get high... check this out..."

But this is Blasphemes, so I feel that I should offer a new or unusual perspective to the debate. Let me offer a simple question. Do you own your own body and what goes into it? Or is the government in charge of your body and what goes into it?

Why do we allow our governments to regulate what substances can and cannot go into your body? Fluoride is great, but cocaine isn't. Twinkes are okay too, but not dope, according to our government. Our government subsidizes High Fructose Corn Syrup and nicotine production, but throws a teenager in jail for carrying too much weed. Seems kind of silly how it's all over the board like that.

But seeing as there are public health and public safety holes all over that Ad Hoc argument I just tossed up there -- let's look to history.

The temperance and abolition movement cultivated in the adding of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The movements realized that in order to curtail your freedoms, a change in the Constitution would be necessary. The government had to limit the freedom of the citizens. Note, up until then, the Constitution was meant to limit the reach and power of the government. Kind of a switch up there.

When it failed, and failed in such spectacular crimson blood spilled streets, the Constitution had to be fixed. Here comes the 21st amendment which repealed the 18th. Experiment failed.

What did we learn? Nothing. Not one thing. Nixon declared war on drugs, and for four decades his prohibition also been a complete failure. If the goal was to reduce overall illicit drug use, that's a fail. But if the goal of the war on drugs was to erode key civil liberties, well, that's a win for the government. Oh, and raising the prices. The government does a good job with that too.

Building prisons instead of schools, a militarization of the police and the streets, killing innocents... destroying neighborhoods, families, incarceration of generations of young men because of insane zero tolerance laws... the perpetual drug war that inevitably fuels the violent, underground market? Why would anyone embrace a philosophy of cruelty and insanity? There's just too much money to be made.

And, pound for pound, nicotine and alcohol are by far more hazardous to human tissue than most underground pharmaceuticals.

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