What Do Prohibition, Drug War Have in Common?

What Do Prohibition, Drug War Have in Common?
Posted by FoM on October 24, 1999 at 07:41:28 PT
Sure failure
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Let's take a short quiz on liquor prohibition. In 1919, the Constitution was amended to ban the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Prohibition was repealed in 1933.
Did Prohibition succeed in banning liquor? No.Did Prohibition cause the formation of powerful criminal gangs? Yes.Did Prohibition cause violence as a result of these gangs fighting over territory? Yes.Did Prohibition cause a huge amount of public corruption? Yes.Did Prohibition result in a general disrespect for the law? Yes.When Prohibition ended, did the United States suddenly go to Hades with everyone becoming an alcoholic? No.All right now, let's fast-forward to the war on drugs.Has the war on drugs succeeded in banning illegal drugs? No.Has the war on drugs caused the formation of powerful criminal gangs? Yes.Has the war on drugs caused violence as a result of these gangs fighting over territory? Yes.Has the war on drugs caused a huge amount of public corruption? Yes.Has the war on drugs caused a general disrespect for the law? Yes.If we ended the war on drugs, legalized these drugs and allowed people to buy them by prescription or from carefully licensed and regulated dealers, would the United States go to Hades and everyone become an addict? I don't think so. For evidence of that, we have pre-drug-ban history, during which life went along pretty much as normal.Then, how can we justify continuing this failed effort that has caused more damage to the Constitution than it has to the drug dealers -- all of whom, of course, are replace-able.I don't think that people should take drugs, not even most of the ones their doctors prescribe. In a free society people should be free to choose and free to suffer the consequences of their own choices.The current drug war is a racket. Everybody but the taxpayer is making money on it, and, after nearly 40 years, illicit drugs are flowing as freely or even more freely than before. In the meantime, the government uses the drug war as an excuse to whittle away the traditional rights and liberties of all American citizens. And taxpayers are taking it in the gazoo.A drug is a drug is a drug. If people become addicted to them -- and thousands become addicted to doctor-prescribed drugs already -- then that's a health problem, not a police problem. There is nothing inherently evil in morphine, heroin, marijuana or cocaine. They each produce certain effects, just as other drugs do, but those effects do not cause people to commit crimes.What causes the crime is drug prohibition. It limits the supply to illegal dealers and therefore drives up the price. Addicts will sometimes resort to crime to finance their own habit if they have no other source of income. But it is important to understand that the criminal behavior is produced by the legal prohibition, not by the drug.The drug use, in a legal setting, would cause no problems other than to the user, which is the case in alcohol consumption. We could still have laws against operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, just as we do in the case of alcohol.I wonder how long the American people are going to put up with government officials making saps out of them. That's what they're doing. They feed you propaganda and then extract billions of dollars from your pockets to waste chasing people who are simply supplying a product for which there is a demand.Published in The Orlando Sentinel on October 24, 1999.
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Comment #5 posted by observer on October 25, 1999 at 13:30:05 PT
re: proverb
''Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.''[The more corrupt a republic, the more laws.]  -- Tacitus, Annals III 27 
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Comment #4 posted by Jeaneous on October 24, 1999 at 12:21:19 PT:
I saw this in a game and it certainly it true and hits home regarding the marijuana issue... in fact the whole issue of drugs or anything said illegal by our government.The More LawsThe More Offenders
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Comment #3 posted by Uncle Bob on October 24, 1999 at 09:15:20 PT:
Prohibition is stupid.
Amen! Makes good sense to me! UB
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on October 24, 1999 at 08:15:54 PT
P.T. Barnum had an answer for you....
The ugly truth is that many Americans have given more thought as to what they are going to have for dinner tonight than they have about the deleterious effects the War on (Some) Drugs have had on civil liberties. Largely because they think themselves unaffected by it.But, lets say, the quintessential Joe Blow has to take a random drug test tomorrow. Let's say a tech who's paid $5 an hour makes a mistake, and that Average Joe is now told he will lose his job because of a false positive. Just ask the New York Transit Authority metro motorman that had to fight in court to get his job back if it doesn't happen.Or, lets say, you have a falling out with your neighbor. He hears somewhere that the police will raid your home solely on the basis of an annonymous tip that drugs were seen there. He drops a dime on you... and your door is busted in by machinegun wielding, ninja-suited narcs who shoot you dead because you didn't comply with their demands fast enough. Again, this is not speculation, it has happened. Ask the ghost of Mario Paz if it doesn't.The American people think themselves immune to police state tactics. The Germans of the Weimar Republic era felt the same way. Modern Germans know better. Do we have to learn the same lessons, or can we benefit form History's examples?
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Comment #1 posted by observer on October 24, 1999 at 08:06:37 PT
on target editorial
Columnist Charley Reese hits the nail on the head here!
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