I can go on and on and give empirical evidence that is indisputable that the war on drugs has been a complete disaster. The insanity is that we are still delusional in thinking that our current policies will eventually change the status quo. It will not.
President Reagan declared the war on drugs in the early 1980’s. It was a moral war which he thought he could win by creating tough penalties, implementing expensive law enforcement resources, and giving long jail terms to stem the tide. The problem with this theory is that a moral law is ineffective in changing behavior. All it does is give the illusion that we are tough on drugs, but if the demand is there, drugs will always be available.
All puritanical laws are doomed to fail. The country must have the mindset to buy into those set of morals. This cannot be legislated. So, we decided to crack down on drugs and even create the idiotic ‘three strikes you’re out’ rule by President Clinton which only resulted in non-violent offenders getting severe sentences for nonviolent offenses. To his credit, President Clinton admitted this week that his ‘three strikes you’re out’ was a mistake. The sheer economic and social costs of these laws were astronomical.
Do you realize that it cost the federal and state government 40 billion dollars a year to enforce the war on drugs? Worse yet, it is completely ineffective as long as demand is there. As long as people want drugs, there will always be a way to get them in the black market. And who benefits from this? The drug lords of course. Who objectively loses? The government! We don’t collect any taxes and we cannot create any regulations since it is a criminal offense.
Just this week, the biggest drug lord in the world, El Chapo, escaped again from a maximum security prison in Mexico. This should not be a surprise. We are at fault. By criminalizing drugs, cartels will fill the void because American demand is there. With the power these drug lords have, is it any surprise that they have all the resources to bribe corrupt officials because of the huge amount of money that they amassed? I am not surprised whatsoever. In fact, it is a logical conclusion.
We also are a country of hypocrites. We pick and choose which vice is legal and which vice is not. Does anyone believe that cigarette smoking is something that is good for us to use? Does anyone believe excessive drinking is safe for our community? Why are these vices acceptable but drugs are not? I have heard the argument that hard-core drugs are much more damaging. That is arguable, but if I concede that premise, isn’t this the responsibility of the individual to decide how they want to destroy their lives?
I have a strong libertarian strain in my politics. If something done by an individual does not DIRECTLY affect someone else, they should be able to do it. America is about life, liberty and property. Lets not forget the ‘liberty’ part please. Do we want government in our personal lives telling us how we should live? I thought we escaped that premise when we broke away from England in 1776?
It is wholly un-American to think that the government can legislate behavior. If it affects someone else directly (like smoking in a public space), then the government has a role. However, if a person wants to ruin their life by taking drugs, let them do it.
So you probably are now saying that this is radical idea. It really is not. We do not live in a perfect world. However, we have choices to make. Not every choice is black and white. Sometimes you make choices for the better of two evils. I agree there are some issues with legalizing drugs. Users can be dangerous and kill people while driving while impaired on drugs. Well, if they use drugs and drive, then we need to put them in jail. No free passes on this. However, if someone wants to use drugs in the privacy of their home, what direct harm is it to the rest of us?
Now, let me show you how big a failure is the war on drugs. We have incarcerated many non-violent offenders. We have destroyed families. We have created drug cartels that are killing hundreds of thousands of people. Finally, and this one is the real tragedy, we have spent over 1 trillion dollars on the war on drugs! Let that sink in!
Just think what our country would be like if we used that money for drug rehabilitation, investment in our infrastructure, education for all, and other universally beneficial things that would have made our country better.
The final point is this. We have wasted over 1 trillion dollars and not one benefit came from the war on drugs. It is time to admit defeat.