If I’m a broken record on the War on Drugs, consider this post to be a 45, not a 33—it’s short, but not sweet.
As I wrote last November in a detailed earlier post, the War on Drugs is pure insanity: Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.
Let me stipulate once more that in a perfect world I wish there were no drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex outside marriage, smoking, pornography, or neglect of one’s family to work too many hours.
And as a Believer I particularly wish that no one became addicted to any of these. But in the real world, some do. Most of these vices seem to have been around since Biblical times; I suspect that they’ll tempt us until Jesus returns. But the only vice on that list that we criminalize is drug use.
The others we battle with prayer, education, role modeling, regulation, taxation, counseling and treatment. We don’t throw those other participants and their sources in jail, immediately creating an alternate dark world where by definition disputes cannot be settled legally—violence, bribery, extortion, and incarceration are the only actions possible. We tried that approach with alcohol, calling it Prohibition, with utterly disastrous results (please see Ken Burns’ documentary) and eventually realized our mistake, though that tragic episode left us with a lingering menace—organized crime.
All of the above I’ve said before. Today I want to emphasize two points:
1. The madness on our southern border and the constant stream of Latin American families fleeing north is largely caused by the lawlessness and violence in their own countries, which we have created and fueled by our War on Drugs. I’m not a young idealist looking the other way as hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens try to enter our country. I’m absolutely for real Immigration Reform, to let us select whom we want to enter our country.
But for now we have a true emergency, and we have to act. In the old model, the husband/father snuck across the border, got a job, and sent money back home. But now families are so afraid of their own neighborhoods that they will walk thousands of miles with their children to try to escape the violence. Who chooses to submit his/her family to that ordeal unless there is a truly dangerous and irreparable life of violence at home? And who created that situation? The Drug Lords and the gangs, because drugs in the U.S. are illegal, and there are therefore huge profits to be made by supplying them.
We need to turn off the supply of fuel to the raging fire of violence, crime, destruction and death in Latin America (and here), which families are fleeing. We need to decriminalize the use and supply of drugs, which will take away the illegal profits, dramatically reducing the influence of gangs and the resulting rush of asylum seekers to our border.
Hopefully our leaders can then use the resulting breathing space to actually reform our Immigration Policy, from top to bottom.
2. There should be instant bi-partisan support for repealing the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and for ending the War on Drugs, decriminalizing drug use and regulating/taxing their sale, as we do with alcohol. What other measure could so quickly accomplish all of the following?
Reduce property crime and personal violence in the U.S.
Reduce crime and violence in Latin America.
Reduce, or more effectively treat, drug addiction, and thereby save lives.
Save many billions of dollars every year, instantly.
Reduce incarceration, freeing space to house real criminals.
Reduce the lives damaged or destroyed by incarceration for distributing drugs.
Reduce law enforcement case load, freeing resources to investigate real crimes.
Increase tax revenue.
Reduce the pressure on our southern border.
Ending the War on Drugs has something good for every political persuasion and policy.
It’s the one best thing we can do right now.
Let’s do it! Please, tell your Congressperson. Tell the President. Pass it on. It’s a win-win-win-win.
End the War on Drugs.