Thursday, November 19, 2009

The "War on Drugs" and the Bill of Rights

I don't have anything to do with drugs and recommend everybody on the planet do the same; every drug problem in the world would vanish within five days if the whole world were to do that...

Nonetheless that's never going to happen, hence the "War on Drugs(TM)", instituted under Richard Nixon. This is the single biggest issue I have with Republicans and there is little if anything to choose between demmy and pubby pols on the issue. The "war on drugs" leads to

  • "No-knock" raids, which are a clear violation of the fourth amendment and of the common law principle of a man's home being his "castle". In fact technically a homeowner who were to shoot and kill one or more government agents in the process of conducting a "no knock" raid would be entirely within his or her rights.
  • The incarceration of large numbers of people who would otherwise never have had contact with prison systems. For many this amounts to a career training program for serious crime.
  • Gang wars, drive-by shootings and the like.
  • Corruption, the rise of drug cartels, and outright civil wars in other nations which supply drugs to the illegal drug enterprises here.

It is that final item which some would use as a pretext to eviscerate the second amendment, which is the link pin of the entire bill of rights. Consider the following from the former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the Bush administration no less:

Washington Times article

"The former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection called Monday for the U.S. to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons and take other measures to rein in the war between Mexico and its drug cartels, saying the violence has the potential to bring down legitimate rule in that country.

Former CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner also called for the United States to more aggressively investigate U.S. gun sellers and tighten security along its side of the border, describing the situation as "critical" to the safety of people in both countries, whether they live near the border or not.

Mexico, for its part, needs to reduce official corruption and organize its forces along the lines the U.S. does, such as a specialized border patrol and a customs agency with a broader mandate than monitoring trade, Mr. Bonner said in an exchange of e-mails.

"Border security is especially important to breaking the power and influence of the Mexican-based trafficking organizations," Mr. Bonner said. "Despite vigorous efforts by both governments, huge volumes of illegal drugs still cross from Mexico..."

The problem here clearly is not guns and it is clearly a problem of economics. The drugs one of these idiots would use in a day under rational circumstances would cost a dollar; that would simply present no scope for crime or criminals. Under present circumstances that dollar's worth of drugs is costing the user $300 a day and since that guy is dealing with a 10% fence, he's having to commit $3000 worth of crime to buy that dollar's worth of drugs. In other words, a dollar's worth of chemicals has been converted into $3000 worth of crime, times the number of those idiots out there, times 365 days per year, all through the magic of stupid laws. No nation on Earth could afford that forever.

A rational set of drug laws would:

  • Legalize marijuana and all its derivatives and anything else demonstrably no more harmful than booze on the same basis as booze.
  • Declare that heroine, crack cocaine, and other highly addictive substances would never be legally sold on the streets, but that those addicted could shoot up at government centers for the fifty-cent cost of producing the stuff, i.e. take every dime out of that business for criminals.
  • Provide a lifetime in prison for selling LSD, PCP, and/or other Jeckyl/Hyde
  • Same for anybody selling any kind of drugs to kids.

Do all of that, and the drug problem and 70% of all urban crime will vanish within two years. That would be an optimal solution; but you could simply legalize it all and still be vastly better off than we are now. 150 Years ago, there were no drug laws in America and there were no overwhelming drug problems. How bright do you really need to be to figure that one out?

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