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Why the War on Drugs is--and Always Will Be--Futile and Against Human Nature

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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Most recently, YouTube is filling up with videos of people high on the latest craze: flakka. It’s a synthetic compound, a cocaine substitute, with effects that can only be described as mimicking demonic possession.

    It is being widely assumed that flakka was driving the mind of the Florida State University student who killed two people for no reason and began to eat them. When the cops tried to pull him off, he would not respond to the taser.

    Why would anyone take such a ghastly drug? Well, cocaine is highly controlled, risky and expensive to get in drug markets. A replacement compound is cheaper and more readily available: until the feds catch up to this one and something even worse comes along.

    Cory Doctorow explains:

    Why would people take flakka and spice instead of snorting coke and smoking weed, both of which are much less harmful to users and those around them? Because coke and weed are banned and policed, while the legal system hasn't caught up with synthetic substitutes.

    Prohibition on alcohol gave us the health risks and organized crime problems created by bathtub gin, and the War on Drugs gives us the Zetas and flakka and spice.

    A related problem in the United States is the drinking age itself. In most American towns, access to liquor for people over 21 is open. But a strict prohibition exists for most of a young person’s college years.

    And the results are exactly what we would expect: abuse, secretiveness, law breaking, and ever more dangerous mixtures and potions.

    At a panel recently at FreedomFest, I explained to a roomful of adults what was going on at college campuses—an astonishing consumption of drugs and alcohol at levels most people over 40 would find inconceivable. I noticed looks of incredulity on the faces of the audience. So, I asked the young people in the room to raise their hands if I had described something familiar to them. Among that group, every hand went up.

    Denial and Illusion

    We live in denial about what the war on substances—alcohol, pot, opium, flakka—is doing to our societies. We deny the extent of the abuse that prohibition has engendered, and we live under the illusion that whatever problems there are can be dealt with through more force, though we have 100 years of experience to prove otherwise.

    You might think that the advent of a drug that turns a nice college kid into a face-eating double murderer would cause a serious rethinking. How much better if this kid had an opium den to inhabit when he felt stressed?

    In 1927, Ludwig von Mises anticipated this perfectly:

    No words need be wasted over the fact that all these narcotics are harmful. The question whether even a small quantity of alcohol is harmful or whether the harm results only from the abuse of alcoholic beverages is not at issue here. It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health and of the capacity for work and enjoyment; and a utilitarian must therefore consider them as vices.

    But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora’s box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism...

    We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community, bound to obey the dictates of the majority.

    It is hardly necessary to expatiate on the ways in which such powers could be abused by malevolent persons in authority. The wielding of powers of this kind even by men imbued with the best of intentions must needs reduce the world to a graveyard of the spirit.

    But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora’s box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism...

    We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community, bound to obey the dictates of the majority.

    It is hardly necessary to expatiate on the ways in which such powers could be abused by malevolent persons in authority. The wielding of powers of this kind even by men imbued with the best of intentions must needs reduce the world to a graveyard of the spirit.

    __________

    Jeffrey A. Tucker is director of content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me.




    By Jeffrey A. Tucker - Time/Aug. 27, 2016
    http://www.newsweek.com/war-drugs-it-time-bring-back-opium-dens-492585?rx=us
    Illustration: somethingaboutthebeatles
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

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