Sunday, May 12, 2013

War on Drugs/War on Terror - A Waste of Time?

If the War on Drugs created more drug users, then will the War on Terror create more terrorists?

That's one proposition being posted all over the web lately by the usual libs (liberals and libertarians).

It's flawed logic.  It's the classic propaganda ploy.  Start with a "truth" that isn't true and then extrapolate a false logic conclusion from it.  In this case, if the War on Drugs created fewer drug users, the premise would fall flat.  And there's no evidence that the war on drugs "created" any more drug users.

Reducing the supply of anything, even drugs makes that thing more expensive.  Nothing will get rid of drug use or people willing to supply drugs.  That's true, But let's look at the current administration's relentless efforts to reduce the price of oil and gas in order to raise the price and force us to reduce our consumption.  It follows that if that works, then if you deliberately reduce the supply of drugs and the price will go up and people will have to either quit or use less. 

Making it all okay and safe to peddle drugs as liberals and libertarians suggest only makes for more drug users we have to take care of in the end.  Besides, contrary to the mythology, Prohibition actually worked.  A recent article in the American Journal of Public Health argues that Prohibition actually was a success in many ways and only failed politically.  Prohibition changed the larger culture from one in which alcohol was pervasive to one in which the majority of the Prohibition-era children were raised in alcohol free homes.  It took years for alcohol consumption to rise and again become pervasive in the culture.  We're only now seeing alcoholism rising again and we will bear the health care costs that go with it if we don't continue to insist upon temperance efforts like the prohibition on advertising addictive substances like alcohol and cigarettes.  If we hope to stem the tide, history shows you have to build levees and dikes. 

Repeal was caused by political failures, the Depression and false promises of greatly increased tax revenues.  It passed, sort or, even though prohibition was still widely supported.  The rate of alcoholism remained low for some years after Repeal because many states and counties kept prohibition laws in place and alcohol had been dislodged from its once ubiquitous place in American homes.  I lived in two counties in Texas that are still "dry", 80 plus years after Prohibition. If you drink, you have to really, really want to drink in Smith and Johnson Counties. The nearest liquor store is in the next county.

Legalization didn't reduce either crime or alcoholism.  The criminals simply found other criminal activities to take up.  It became easier for folk who were already alcoholics to get booze.  But the culture that once surrounded alcohol consumption had been taken out of the mainstream in a big way.  Repeal brought some alcohol use back into the culture, but the experience of Prohibition forever attached a stigma to drinking.

In the same way repealing drug laws will only serve to make drugs more "acceptable" in American culture and make it easier for people to become drug addicts. Prohibition it turns out, did a lot of good and actually helped stem a rising tide of alcoholism in the United States that would soon have done irreparable damage to our economy and culture.  Do we really want to see the rates of alcoholism in our nation rivaled by rates of drug addiction?

With addictive substances, you can be certain that the more of it that's out there, the more addicts these substances will create.  Studies showed, for instance, that rhesus monkeys given unlimited access to cocaine, took so much they laid down, quit eating and died. That's a problem with availability. The monkeys didn't take more coke because it was denied to them.  The forbidden fruit theory only works so far as the fruit doesn't become too costly.

With terrorism, taking out the supply caches and leadership makes it harder and more expensive to conduct acts of terror.  The 9/11 operation cost Al Quaeda a good deal of money and manpower to pull off.  Without the money, the operations get tougher to do, so you get fewer terrorist attacks no matter how badly they want to carry them out.  When President Bush was pounding Al Quaeda strongholds and taking out Al Quaeda operatives, there were fewer terror attacks on Americans.  So they started blowing each other up because it was more convenient and attacking American soldiers who shoot back with deadly accuracy. 

Since Obama has let up on the war on terror, terror attacks have only increased and come home to an America perceived as weak once more.  

How many more attacks will America have to endure before the President decides we've all been punished enough for America's "sins" and starts doing something serious about it instead of merely excusing terrorism and blaming it on some video no one ever saw.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King (c) 2013

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