Continuing the Drug War is Stupid

by Jacob G. Hornberger
Feb. 19, 2014

I find the mind of a statist to be absolutely fascinating. Consider, for example, an article by a man named Steve Booher, a columnist for the St. Joseph News-Press in St. Joseph, Missouri. The title of the article is "It's Not Time to End War on Drugs."

Is that amazing or what? Booher actually wants the drug war to continue. He seems to realize that it has been a manifest failure but he wants it to continue nonetheless. I find that fascinating.

Consider first that drug laws have not prevented people from consuming drugs. No one can dispute that.

And then consider all the collateral effects of drug laws--the rise of drug gangs, drug cartels, and drug lords; gang warfare; murders and assassinations; bribery to judges and law enforcement personnel; overcrowded prisons; racist enforcement of the drug war; asset forfeiture; muggings, burglaries, and thefts; luring of countless people into the drug trade; and the ruination of countless lives.

So, why in the world would Booher want this inanity to continue? Apparently, the reason is that he's fearful that if drugs are legalized, more people will go on drugs. In his mind, there are apparently multitudes of Americans who can't wait to begin consuming drugs and who will immediately begin to do so the moment drugs are legalized.

How inane is that? I wonder if he's referring to himself. I can just see him pacing the floors in some sort of Reefer Madness mental state, anxiously awaiting the legalization of drugs so that he can immediately start smoking pot, snorting cocaine, and injecting heroin.

I don't mean to burst Booher's bubble but the fact is that anyone who wants drugs today is easily able to acquire them. And they don't give a hoot for drug laws because they don't think they're the ones who are going to get busted.

In fact, there is a big possibility that drug addition will decrease with drug legalization.

Why is that? Two reasons.

One, the forbidden fruit concept. When a peaceful act is made illegal, it lures people into committing it. Once it's legal, it loses its attractiveness for some people.

Two, when drugs are legal, drug addicts are more easily able to seek treatment for their drug problem. They can be more open about their problem, which is the first step in securing treatment. They don't have to worry that someone will snitch on them, thereby enabling the drug cops to secure a warrant, bust down their door, and enter their homes looking for the drugs.

Most important, however, is the simple concept of individual liberty, a concept that statists simply cannot comprehend. Freedom necessarily entails the right to ingest anything a person wants. If a person isn't free to do that, there is no way that that society can be considered a genuinely free society. It's not a coincidence that there are drug laws in Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Egypt, and other totalitarian regimes. Drug laws are the hallmarks are tyrannical regimes.

Booher points out that people die of drug overdoses. He points to the recent death of heroin addict Philip Seymour Hoffman. I wonder if it ever occurs to Booher that Hoffman died in a country and a state that have severe drug laws. What good did drug laws do for Hoffman?

Booher concludes, "I don't think it's time to end America's war on drugs. Maybe it's time to just start doing it better."

Now, what the heck does that mean? He doesn't say. But what he must mean is harsher enforcement. You know, as in putting more drug users into those overcrowded prisons. You know, as in raising those mandatory minimum sentences. You know, like putting more blacks and Hispanics in jail for the rest of their lives. You know, as in bringing in the military to really crack down, just as they have in Mexico, where 60,000 people have died in the last six years alone.

That's not just inane. That's stupid. The statists have had enough time. They have done enough damage to our society with decades of failure, death, destruction, corruption, racism, and violence. The statists are wrong. There is no better time to end the war on drugs than now.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at and from Full Context. Send him email.

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