The Most Shameful Conservative Attack on Drug Legalization

Christopher Bedford is against drug legalization. He is really against drug legalization. He is so against drug legalization that he penned the most shameful conservative attack on drug legalization that I have ever read—and I have read a lot of conservative attacks on drug legalization during the time that I have written over 100 articles on the drug war.

Beford is the author of the article “Drug Legalization Is a Disaster, and Your Leaders Don’t Care About You,” published by The Federalist.

I had actually never heard of Bedford until I came across his article. According to his bio:

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. His work has been featured in The American Mind, National Review, the New York Post and the Daily Caller, where he led the Daily Caller News Foundation and spent eight years. A frequent guest on Fox News and Fox Business, he was raised in Massachusetts and lives on Capitol Hill.

Let’s begin at the beginning with the title: “Drug Legalization Is a Disaster, and Your Leaders Don’t Care About You.” Just the title is enough to dismiss this article as the ravings of an incorrigible drug warrior.

One, drugs have not been legalized, so it is impossible to say that drug legalization is a disaster. It is true that 36 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, 27 states have decriminalized the possession of marijuana, and 18 states have legalized the recreational marijuana. But marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, the possession of marijuana that is not a criminal offense is a small amount, the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use is full of regulations and restrictions, and it is only marijuana that has been “legalized”—not cocaine, not heroin, not fentanyl, not meth, not LSD, not ecstasy.

And two, who doesn’t know that our “leaders” don’t care about us? They care about themselves, their power, and their next election. We have never meant anything to them but a dollar, a vote, and a serf to be told how to live our lives. Who would waste his time writing an article about how our “leaders” don’t care about us? And who would waste his time reading it?

Now we can move on to the first paragraph:

America has been fighting a war on drugs for decades now, and for almost as long we’ve been told by the left and many libertarians on the right that the best way to end the war is to surrender. Legalizing drugs, they say, would solve a bunch of our country’s problems, including high rates of imprisonment, fatherlessness, crime, cartel activity, excess overdose deaths, budget deficits. The list goes on.

First of all, America has not been fighting anything. The federal government is the entity that declared war on drugs, not America or the American people—two things that should never be confused with the federal government.

Second, very few on the left want to end the war on drugs. Many of them want to legalize and tax and regulate marijuana, but not all drugs or even any other drug. When the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate during the first two years of Obama’s presidency, they could have easily legalized some or all drugs on the federal level, yet they didn’t even attempt to legalize marijuana. Neither President Biden nor any other Democrat who ran for president called for the legalization of drugs. Drug freedom is not a tenet of liberalism.

Third, there are no libertarians on the right. Libertarianism is neither left nor right, as Walter Block has famously said. There are Republicans, conservatives, and constitutionalists who are libertarian-leaning, but most of them would eschew the label libertarian and reject some of libertarianism’s precepts.

Fourth, the way to end the war on drugs is to end it. This is a one-sided war. There is no one or no thing to surrender to. There are no drugs storming America’s beaches, dropping from the skies, invading from Canada, jumping out of trees, coming up out of the ground, or trying to break down our doors. The federal government should just acknowledge that the war on drugs has been a disaster for individual liberty and property rights, has failed to stop the availability and use of drugs, has misdirected and corrupted law enforcement, and is a monstrous evil that has ruined more lives than drugs themselves and simply end it.

Fifth, legalizing drugs would help solve a bunch of our country’s problems because it is the drug war that is responsible for a part of the problems. High rates of imprisonment? Partly because of the war on drugs. Fatherlessness? Partly because of the war on drugs. Crime? Partly because of the war on drugs. Cartel activity? Partly because of the war on drugs. Excess overdose deaths? Partly because of the war on drugs. Budget deficits. Legalizing and taxing drugs, even at astronomical levels, would not end budget deficits. These are caused by profligate members of Congress and state legislators who squander the taxpayers’ money. Libertarians don’t believe that the government should legalize drugs so that the drugs can be taxed to alleviate budget deficits. Libertarians don’t believe that drugs should be taxed at all. And yes, the list does go on. Ending the drug war would unclog the judicial system, cut down on violence, reduce unlawful searches and seizures, restore financial privacy, stop hindering legitimate pain treatment, and protect civil liberties.

The rest of the article goes on to blame drugs for “ripping apart your city, your town, your neighborhood” or “your friends, your siblings, your children”; homelessness; encampments “completely overrun by filthy, barely clothed muttering madmen”; walkers on trails reeking of human waste “menaced by junkies on couches blocking the trail and underneath the bridges”; carjackings; the public harassment of women; unemployment; estrangement from families; robberies; and filth-covered lawns.

But drugs are illegal, so how could legalizing them be responsible for conditions that already exists?

Bedford may have written some other things that are worth reading, but when it comes to the subject of drugs he has lost his mind. He has not only written the most shameful conservative attack on drug legalization, but the most stupid one as well. He is an embarrassment to real conservatives.

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