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Article posted Jun 01 2011, 6:57 PM Category: Commentary Source: Jacob G. Hornberger Print

Socialism Meets the Drug War

by Jacob G. Hornberger

The headline of this recent New York Times article highlights the problem: ďDrug Trade Flourishes in Spanish Port Town.Ē The article is referring to the Spanish town of Barbate, Spain, a port town located in the southern region of Andalusia.

Like other socialist countries, such as Greece, Italy, and Portugal, Spain is suffering a severe economic collapse as a result of the massive spending and borrowing for its welfare-state programs. According to a recent BBB article, Spain has the highest rate of unemployment among EU countries ó 20 percent. It also has one of the regionís weakest economies, which contracted by 0.1 percent in 2010. Moodyís recently downgraded Spainís debt rating by a notch.

Itís even worse in Barbate. The Timesí article points out that at 29.7 percent, Andalusia has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Among the hardest hit have been young people. Barbate Mayor Rafael Quiros put it succinctly: ďA youngster has absolutely zero chance right now of finding a fixed job here.Ē

So, guess where young people in Barbate are turning to sustain their lives.

You got it! The drug trade!

Why drugs? Why not liquor or cigarettes or fruits and vegetables?

Because drugs are illegal, which means artificially high black-market prices and profits. The possibility of making lots of money very quickly, needless to say, lures many young people into the business.

According to the NYT article, today there are 300 of Barbateís 22,000 residents serving time in jail for drug-war violations. Five years ago, before the onset of the economic crisis, the number was about half ó 160.

So, while we have becoming accustomed here in the United States to seeing the increasing integration of the drug war and the war on terrorism, in Spain people are getting to see socialism meeting the drug war. Of course, the results are disastrous in terms of ruined lives and social destruction.

An increasing number of young people in Barbate are now engaged in the drug trade. One youngster told the NYT reporter that his back BMW was bought with money he had made selling drugs. Another, a 30-year-old named Paco, had just been released from serving almost 4 years in jail on drug charges.

Meanwhile, as the state cracks down on the new supply of drug dealers, the retail price of hashish has soared, which no doubt will lure more young people into the business, some of whom will end up serving time in jail.

What is occurring in Barbate is just another example of the horrors of statism. Socialism has brought the economic crisis, which in turn is luring young people into the drug trade, which in turn is ruining lots of lives.

In principle, the situation in Barbate is no different here in the United States. Lured by big black-market profits that the drug war produces, increasing numbers of Americans are lured into the drug business. A certain percentage of them are caught and are sent to jail, which then causes drug prices to go up again, luring more people into the business. The cycle continues repeating itself indefinitely, as it has for the past 40 years.

Equally bad, the integration of the drug war and the war on terrorism has enabled government officials to spread their police-state tactics and infringements on privacy and civil liberties in towns and cities all across the nation.

Itís all a vicious statist cycle that brings a mountain of ruined lives, along with death, destruction, and corruption.

Obviously, there is a better way, and that way is libertarianism ó the philosophy that rejects statism in all its forms and variations, including socialism, imperialism, and interventionism ó and embraces economic liberty, free markets, and a limited-government republic.

Libertarianism is the solution for Barbate. Itís the solution for Spain. Itís the solution for the United States. Itís the solution for the world.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Dennis in MI

Posted: Jun 02 2011, 10:04 AM

24213 Socialism hasn't crashed the PIGS, banksters did. The austerity measures that are all the rage in the EU are making it worse and further putting of any recovery. How does libertarianism propose to regulate the banksters?

Posted: Jun 02 2011, 12:45 PM

204112 I'm with Dennis on this one.

Blaming Spain's, etal, problems on "socialism" is, I think, more wishful thinking than reality.

Are we to suppose that the same problems being faced by the US are also due to "socialism"? Canada is not having near the issues and are what many would term "socialist".

And...I would also like to see the answer to the above question to how libertarianism plans to deal with the bankers and health insurance companies. 2 groups that produce absolutely NOTHING of value, or otherwise.
Dennis in MI

Posted: Jun 03 2011, 8:37 AM

24213 Thank you swansong.

Posted: Jun 03 2011, 10:03 AM

8067 Jacob G. Hornberger thinks anything containing the word 'social' is
'socialism' . He also thinks Wall Street puppet Obama is a 'socialist', making one wonder if Mr Hornberger would even be able to recognize 'socialism' if it punched him in the face .
I wouldn't be surprised if he even thinks Hitlers nazis where 'socialists' ..

Posted: Jun 03 2011, 10:08 AM

8067 *How does libertarianism propose to regulate the banksters? *

It doesn't, that would be 'Statist Socialism', in fact ANY regulation of ANYTHING
would be the highway to socialist-hell .
Economic libertarianism is even more reckless than The Chicago-school and
has even less foundation in reality . ALL the ism's purporting to have universal solutions to everything are dangerous pipe-dreams . Ideology stinks !

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