Amnesia and the War on Drugs

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Our guardians
in the District of Columbia criminalize the consumption of particular
substances. Endorsement of this policy is commonplace among Democrats
and Republicans alike.

Why is this
so? I'm convinced the sine qua non of supporting the War
on Drugs is amnesia.

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget Reverend Elisha Williams
in 1744: u201CAs reason tells us, all are born thus naturally equal,
i.e., with an equal right to their persons, so also with an equal
right to their preservation…and every man having a property in his
own person, the labour of his body and the work of his hands are
properly his own, to which no one has right but himself…u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget the Declaration of
Independence: u201CWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness.u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget James Madison in Federalist
No. 45:

The powers
delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government,
are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments
are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally
on external objects, as war, peace, negociation, and foreign commerce;
with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be
connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend
to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs,
concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and
the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

To
support the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget the Tenth
Amendment to the Constitution: u201CThe powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget Thomas Jefferson in
the Kentucky Resolution:

…if those who administer the general government be permitted
to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard
to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation
of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of
a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence…

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget Jefferson in Notes
on the State of Virginia: u201CThe legitimate powers of government
extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget Frederick Douglass
in 1852: u201CIt is a fundamental truth that every man is the rightful
owner of his own body.u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, a congressman has to forget Lysander Spooner in
1875: u201CVices Are Not Crimes.u201D

To support
the War on Drugs, in other words, a congressman has to forget America.

Drug war advocates
can claim to support individual liberty and states' rights, just
as one can claim that idolatry and murder are compatible with the
Decalogue. Logic compels critical assessments of these claims.

Hopefully
America will be remembered again.

April
25, 2002

Myles
Kantor [send him mail]
is a columnist for FrontPageMagazine.com and director of the
Center for Free Emigration,
which agrees with Frederick Douglass that “It is a fundamental truth
that every man is the rightful owner of his own body.”

Myles
Kantor Archives

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