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November 30, 2007

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sbw

Somehow a subscription to Rolling Stone ended up in our house this past year. Thankfully it has expired. I have no desire to sort through so many unreliable articles to find those that might be worthwhile. Why don't the editors care?

There has to be a better way to examine the failed drug war.

Walter

Unfortunately, 'Rolling Stone Magazine Opposed to Drug War' ranks somewhere between 'Dog Bites Man' and 'Bottom Stories of the Day'. I suppose it does rank above the comparable 'High Times' article, though.

It's unfortunate because, just as a stopped clock is right twice a day (& possibly thrice on those days we change to or from daylight savings), the article is a fairly neutral summary of what we've done right and wrong in combatting the scourge of 'controlled' substances.

michael

I am shocked, shocked that Commentary Magazine found a whole different William Bennett in the GHW Bush administration and a different outcome.

Link:
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/
viewarticle.cfm/Crime--Drugs--Welfare-and
-Other-Good-News-10999

BumperStickerist

It's probably best that we lost the war on drugs. After all, there was no plan for winning the peace on drugs.

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sbw

Government "lost" the war on drugs because no understood the battlefield was in the mind, not in the streets.

The more science advanced, the more pressing became the questions. Is one allowed to chemically alter thinking? If so, when? And, if so, how can it be safely done.

Instead drug czars toyed with appearances, trying to pick up mercury. Paraphrenalia laws rid us of perpetrators of junk and kitsch only to encourage handicrafts as people produced their own utensils. They forced lawyers to wade through ludicrous legislation and court interpretation in a futile attempt to discern when an alligator clip is an electronic apparatus and when it is a roach clip.

The tide of the aging youthful generation will change "the drug war" because they were forced to reconcile their "criminality" with the criminality of the robber or mugger.

sbw

Drat! And I previewed, too:

%d`�62no understood" s/b "no one understood"

Sorry.

kim

Tobacco is not particularly easy to grow.
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Patrick R. Sullivan

I'll say it for him, since he's now dead, 'I told you so.'

An Open Letter to Bill Bennett

by Milton Friedman, April 1990

In Oliver Cromwell's eloquent words, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" about the course you and President Bush urge us to adopt to fight drugs. The path you propose of more police, more jails, use of the military in foreign countries, harsh penalties for drug users, and a whole panoply of repressive measures can only make a bad situation worse. The drug war cannot be won by those tactics without undermining the human liberty and individual freedom that you and I cherish.

You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are a scourge that is devastating our society. You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are tearing asunder our social fabric, ruining the lives of many young people, and imposing heavy costs on some of the most disadvantaged among us. You are not mistaken in believing that the majority of the public share your concerns. In short, you are not mistaken in the end you seek to achieve.

Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore. Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, it is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault.

Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike. Our experience with the prohibition of drugs is a replay of our experience with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

I append excerpts from a column that I wrote in 1972 on "Prohibition and Drugs." The major problem then was heroin from Marseilles; today, it is cocaine from Latin America. Today, also, the problem is far more serious than it was 17 years ago: more addicts, more innocent victims; more drug pushers, more law enforcement officials; more money spent to enforce prohibition, more money spent to circumvent prohibition.

Had drugs been decriminalized 17 years ago, "crack" would never have been invented (it was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version) and there would today be far fewer addicts. The lives of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would have been saved, and not only in the U.S. The ghettos of our major cities would not be drug-and-crime-infested no-man's lands. Fewer people would be in jails, and fewer jails would have been built.

Columbia, Bolivia and Peru would not be suffering from narco-terror, and we would not be distorting our foreign policy because of narco-terror. Hell would not, in the words with which Billy Sunday welcomed Prohibition, "be forever for rent," but it would be a lot emptier. ....

kim

The hariscupal Milton.
==============

raymondshaw

"Had drugs been decriminalized 17 years ago, "crack" would never have been invented (it was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version) and there would today be far fewer addicts."

On the mean streets of the USA, crack is prepared by dissolving powder cocaine in water, heating, then adding baking soda to neutralize the cocaine.HCl salt that powder cocaine is. So it isn't a cheaper version of cocaine. It is a different and far more addictive form of cocaine. It is normally sold in smaller unit dosages, because the route of administration (smoking) yields a much more intense high, for a much briefer period of time. Thus, re-administration intervals are shorter. Then, overall consumption rates and expense are higher.

Crack cocaine overall consumption rates declined because the young have seen the price paid by the older addict population, and have taken the lesson to heart. Education, not legalization will reduce the social cost of the drug scourge. The crime fighting/ war aspect of the problem is a holding action until the culture is educated enough to purge the temptation from the system. Maybe when us boomers are all dead and forgotten. At least one can hope.

clarice

SBW--What an interesting observation you made:"The tide of the aging youthful generation will change "the drug war" because they were forced to reconcile their "criminality" with the criminality of the robber or mugger"

Larry

Prohibition didn't work. The war on (some) drugs isn't working, either. In addition to the points mentioned, it has diminished our liberty by giving rise to no-knock warrants and confiscation of sometimes innocent property. Has anyone ever proven Friedman wrong about anything? He's certainly spang on about this.

sbw

Thnx, Clarice.

glasater

Kim---could not find "hariscupal" in the dictionary.

kim

Having to do with divination by peering into the guts of sacrificed animals. See, 'By the bowels of Christ'.
======================

Elliott

Kim,

Do you mean haruspical?

kim

Why yes!
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