I started this article in December 2000 but stopped about halfway.
Watching Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico address Thursday's
NORML (National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws)
conference has galvanized its completion.
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Barry
McCaffrey recently spoke at the Heritage Foundation on "Drug
Use in America." He referred to "the nut bowl effect,"
"bi-modal distributions," "polydrug abusers,"
and other phenomena.
beyond bureaucratic nomenclature, McCaffrey affirmed his support
for "the aggressive enforcement of anti-drug laws" (not
exactly a surprise). As for the drug users rendered criminals by
those laws, "Their personal behavior is disgusting."
aside the Soviet texture of his agency's abbreviation, such Puritanical
vituperation is to be expected from McCaffrey. He typifies the Cromwellian
crusade called the War on Drugs that has roundly contused constitutional
liberty and instilled an informer mentality among the young. In
the days of England's Lord Protector (and Ireland's ravager), McCaffrey
would have been known as a Roundhead. (The description is more than
figurative; McCaffrey bears a Roundhead's visage.)
McCaffrey is a loyal soldier in the battle against those vile narcotic-fiends
who must feel the State's superiority, ripped from their families
and livelihoods. Oh, what a righteous cause!
also displayed quite a flair for irony in his Heritage speech. At
one point in his tirade against the heathens he declared, "We
live in a free society."
Elder observes in The
Ten Things You Can't Say in America: "A free government
allows maximum personal freedom, liberty, the power to come and
go, to make our own choices, and to experience life as we choose
to. In exchange for this freedom, we must accept that others will
make bad choices. This is the price of liberty."
War on Drugs cannot remotely claim to comport with these entailments
of freedom; nay, it is antithetical to them. It has perpetrated
systematic expropriation, both philosophically and physically.
Thomas Szasz condemns the War on Drugs as a War on Property and
"chemical statism." (See Our
Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market.) He is right
on each charge, and let me be even blunter: The War on Drugs is
a chronic form of multi-dimensional theft.
a free society, the War on Drugs would be prosecuted in newspapers,
pamphlets, websites, and other media. That is, its efficacy would
be determined in the marketplace of ideas by the voluntary choices
of autonomous individuals. In America, the marketplace and choice
have been criminally displaced.
I fear many, look at the victims of the War on Drugs and think,
"Those are just a bunch of bums. Why should I care if they
get nailed?" Traditionalists especially might be less than
perturbed about the incarceration and/or dispossession of narcotics
is how governments implement tyranny: Select an undesirable segment
of society, criminalize it, and incrementally diffuse the policy.
By the time people realize the deviants' (so-called) persecution
has encompassed them, it's too late. (This, incidentally, is one
reason why sodomy laws are so noxious. Assume the power to proscribe
consensual intimacy on private property and further omnipotent government
is logically implicated.)
Barry McCaffreys of America are not acquiescent to or mildly supportive
of the constitutionally corrosive, autonomy-eviscerating drug regime.
They are energetic accomplices in the federal criminality that calls
itself justice. These are hard words, yes, but not excessive for
those that have the effrontery to speak of freedom as they wage
war against it.
Kantor lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.