The Drug War: An Awful Failure, and Damn Those Greedy Corporations!

The new Rolling Stone (Led Zeppelin cover--they're back, by the way, praise Odin) has a mega-story by Ben Wallace-Wells tracing the past couple of decades of failed strategies in the war on drugs. It's a story perhaps overly focused on big picture stuff and the Drug Czar's office and less on the day-to-day tragedies the war causes for Americans guilty of harming no one else's life or property. Still, it has been praised by such tough-minded drug reporting experts as Jack Shafer at Slate and is certainly on the whole a quality piece of longform journalism.

However, a couple of bits struck me as tonally obnoxious. It of course has to praise Clinton in comparison to Republican presidents though little about his drug record or decisions deserve it. Also, since in Rolling Stone style it has to take the managerial-liberal rather than libertarian stance on this matter--not something as silly as actual drug liberty, but lots and lots of programs to manage the horrible problem of drug use with treatment and not jail--it takes this little stab at those nutsos who actually think it's no one else's business what we choose to eat:

The real radicals of the War on Drugs are not the legalization advocates, earnestly preaching from the fringes, but the bureaucrats -the cops and judges and federal agents who are forced into a growing acceptance that rendering a popular commodity illegal, and punishing those who sell it and use it, has simply overwhelmed the capacity of government.

It's certainly apt to be true that any eventual collapse in the war on drugs will come not from people coming to any proper ethical conclusions about locking people up for their recreational choices but from realization of the practical impossibility of it all, but still, that "preaching from the fringes" language is a little needlessly insulting to those who were, after all, smart enough to know how this would all turn out ahead of time.

Earlier in the article is some proof of something I've long believed: if ardent drug warriors want to get American left-progressives fully on their side in cracking down on drugs by any means necessary, the ironic first step required is: legalize drugs. The left-progressives will want to crack down on them soon enough as soon as there are recognizable greedy corporate interests on the side of selling the stuff.

See Wallace-Wells' weird shift when he lament mid-article about how the war on drugs really was going to stamp out the meth epidemic, until the greedy pharmaceutical interests who make money off pumping ephedrine and pseudoephedrine into the blood and brain of innocents and their army of wolfish lobbyists stymied the brave and brilliant drug warriors:

Gene Haislip, who served for years as one of the DEA's top-ranking administrators, believes there was a moment when meth could have been shut down, long before it spiraled into a nationwide epidemic. Haislip, who spent nearly two decades leading a small group at the agency dedicated to chemical control, is his own kind of legend; he is still known around the DEA as the man who beat quaaludes.....

Haislip was known around the DEA as precise-minded and verbal.......Assembling a coalition of legislators, Haislip convinced them that the small, growing population of speed freaks in Northern California was enough of a concern that Congress should pass a law to regulate the drug's precursor chemicals, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, legal drugs that were used in cold medicine and produced in fewer than a dozen factories in the world......

All that was left was to convince the Reagan administration. One day in late 1986, Haislip went to meet with top officials in the Indian Treaty Room..... Haislip noticed several men in suits sitting quietly in the back of the room. They were lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry, but Haislip didn't pay them much attention. "I wasn't concerned with them," he recalls.

When Haislip launched into his presentation, an official from the Commerce Department cut him off. "Look, you're way ahead of us," the official said. "We don't have anything to suggest or add." Haislip left the meeting thinking he had won: The bill he proposed was submitted to Congress, requiring companies to keep records on the import and sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

But what Haislip didn't know was that the men in suits had already gone to work to rig the bill in their favor. "Quite frankly," Allan Rexinger, one of the lobbyists present at the meeting later told reporters, "we appealed to a higher authority." The pharmaceutical industry needed pseudoephedrine to make profitable cold medications. The result, to Haislip's dismay, was a new law that monitored sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in bulk powder but created an exemption for selling the chemicals in tablet form - a loophole that protected the pharmaceutical industry's profits.

Jacob Sullum on more recent crackdown attempts on ephedrine, and after you read the Stone article read his magisterial book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use that takes the proper position on drugs: not the state's business.

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  • Christopher Monnier||

    I love Rolling Stone, but you're dead on with this comment:

    ...since in Rolling Stone style it has to take the managerial-liberal rather than libertarian stance...



    Whenever reading a Rolling Stone story I inevitably get to a "rolling-my-eyes" moment where I have to suffer through some "progressive" dogma about how bad corporations are and how good, if only the governement were run by the right people, government would be...At least they get part of the message right.

  • thoreau||

    something I've long believed: if ardent drug warriors want to get American left-progressives fully on their side in cracking down on drugs by any means necessary, the ironic first step required is: legalize drugs. The left-progressives will want to crack down on them soon enough as soon as there are recognizable greedy corporate interests on the side of selling the stuff.

    Hell, in grad school the campus paper ran a column by some guy who praised the small-time weed dealer for being an entrepreneur who sells locally grown agricultural products. (Yes, I know, there's no guarantee that the stuff is local, but take that up with him, not me.) He then went on to say that drugs should never, ever be legalized because McDonald's would start selling them and we don't want the big corporations to take over yet another industry.

  • ||

    Anyone who considers themselves a Libertarian or a civil libertarian needs to read and take to heart the message of this article.

    I will distill the important points I got from this article.

    -The present day Democrats and Republicans are locking up a generation of people for non-violent drug offenses,

    -Most people lockedup are black and brown. (Why the African-American and Latinos aren't all over this makes me believe that they are cool with locking up the poor minorities)

    -The pharmacutical firms get their way in the drug war (Pseudephedrine) the citizens get DEA raids if they are sick and use cannabis.

    -Both mainstream parties are so entrenched in the war on some drugs that they can't extricate themselves for fear of losing their jobs.

    $500 BILLION.

    IMHO, prohibitionistas and people OK with the war on some drugs are the same as those who believed that slavery was a good thing.

  • nameless||

    he is still known around the DEA as the man who beat quaaludes

    Man, what a dick, 'ludes were a lot of fun!

  • x,y||

    I don't hang around enough pure lefties (or visit their websites often). What's the standard lefty reason for hating corporations so much?

  • thoreau||

    In the thrill of the moment, clinking champagne glasses with officials from the Colombian police and taking congratulatory calls from Washington, the agents in Medellín believed the War on Drugs could finally be won.

    I love the part about champagne. Do they not see the irony in drinking alcohol while celebrating what they believed to be the end of the war on drugs?

    Wait, these are federal bureaucrats. Of course they don't see the irony.

  • ||

    x, y: Did you see TEAM AMERICA?
    "Let me explain to you how this works. You see, the corporations finance Team America. And then Team America goes out and the corporations sit there in their, ih in their corporation buildings and, and and see that's, they're all corporationy, and they make money. Mhm."

  • alan||

    so sad,
    Gene Haislip, who served for years as one of the DEA's top-ranking administrators, believes there was a moment when meth could have been shut down, long before it spiraled into a nationwide epidemic.

    What an historical moment that would have been, bureaucrats accomplishing something outside the realm of pushing papers. They could have negated the entire demand side of a product if only those darn cooperations didn't stand in the way. Or am I giving the social engineers too much credit?

    BYW, he is still known around the DEA as the man who beat quaaludes 'ludes became
    passé when the market came out with downers that didn't make you shit yourself.

  • ||

    but still, that "preaching from the fringes" language is a little needlessly insulting to those who were,

    Is being labeled "fringe" inherently pejorative?

    It seems to me that we are in fact the fringe. The people who agitate/support/believe in the legalization of drugs are tiny fraction of the population and really are in the fringe. Is stating that fact somehow inherently insulting?

    That particular paragraph didn't come off as insulting, and I am part of that fringe myself. (we were referred to as earnest as well -- isn't that a compliment ? :))

  • ||

    IMHO, prohibitionistas and people OK with the war on some drugs are the same as those who believed that slavery was a good thing.

    For others. Not for them or theirs. When little (white, middle class) Bobby gets caught with a pound of reefer, it's an outrage that he's being charged with a felony.

  • ||

    BTW, It's The War on drugs Sanity/Brown People/Liberty (pick one).

  • ||

    (Led Zeppelin cover--they're back, by the way, praise Odin)

    20 years or more too late. I'm not expecting much.

  • Reinmoose||

    I don't hang around enough pure lefties (or visit their websites often). What's the standard lefty reason for hating corporations so much?

    xy, I do.
    The answer is just about anything you can come up with, true or not.
    - They don't want their pollution to be regulated!
    - They pay their executives a lot of money while paying the toilet-cleaners little money!
    - They don't want their employees to unionize!
    - They don't give enough vacation days to their workers!
    - They make profits!
    - They manufacture things oversees!
    - They own sweatshops!
    - They aren't original!
    - People like buying stuff from them!
    etc.

  • ||

    "The pharmaceutical industry needed pseudoephedrine to make profitable effective cold medications. The result, to Haislip's dismay, was a new law that monitored sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in bulk powder but created an exemption for selling the chemicals in tablet form - a loophole that protected the pharmaceutical industry's profits the public's access to cheap and effective cold and sinus medications and also prevented them from being treated as common criminals; people who's drug use should be considered suspect and monitored at all times."

    I guess it is all in how you write it. Go figure.

  • ||

    "BTW, It's The War on drugs Sanity/Brown People/Liberty (pick one)."

    I didn't know that there would be a test, I didn't study.

    :)

  • ||

    It seems to me that we are in fact the fringe.

    As a 28-year old attorney in Chicago, I suppose my circle of friends may not be representative of my generation as a whole, but I find that most people I talk to are at least in favor of legalizing marijuana if not ending prohibition altogether. I think the bigger problem is most people see it as a fringe issue and therefore don't want to mention it publicly, lest they be perceived as a pothead. The more that people talk about it, the more it will be perceived as a legitimate policy position, and the more "mainstream" Americans will jump on board.

  • ||

    Ironically, Rolling Stone provides a good example of why corporations are bad. Once Rolling Stone got all big and "corporationy," they started taking people like Britney Spears seriously. They cared more about selling magazines than about focusing on quality acts.

    Here's where I differ with the lefties. Where they might propose a low requiring Rolling Stone to only focus on good music (as decided by bureacrats), I voted with my wallet and cancelled my subscription.

  • Russ 2000||

    So to sum up the Rolling Stone - marijuana OK, mormon tea bad.

  • ||

    x/y:

    (1) Corporations are large enough to pollute, collect the profit, then pawn the externality of clean up off on the locals (e.g., they are large enough to buy out local, state and federal politicians).

    (2) Being legal entities with enforceable duties, corporations are not human and frequently take inhumane stances.

    (3) Corporations reduce the diversity of American culture because of basic economic models and mass production.

    (4) Corporations wield increasing power in our daily lives as government seeks to privatize essential services.

    Despite Reinmoose's humorous list, it has nothing to do with oversees (sic) manufacture because lefties buy all kinds of crap from overseas. It isn't about profits because there are plenty of profitable corporations that are left wing darlings. It can't be about getting paid too much or else where would that put George Soros?

    Ultimately, lefties hate some corporations because some corporations allow otherwise decent people to do horrible things.

  • x,y||

    ClubMedSux,

    I'm also an attorney in my late 20s, but I've met very few people in our age group who support legalization (even hippie lettuce). Those who do support marijuana legalization are 100% against legalization of other drugs, e.g., cocaine. They have no legitimate reason to make this distinction, but it's pervasive among those who do.

  • ||

    "They have no legitimate reason to make this distinction, but it's pervasive among those who do."

    Except that MJ is a plant, and cocaine is a highly processed substance not resembling anything natural.

  • Reinmoose||

    Despite Reinmoose's humorous list, it has nothing to do with oversees (sic) manufacture because lefties buy all kinds of crap from overseas. It isn't about profits because there are plenty of profitable corporations that are left wing darlings. It can't be about getting paid too much or else where would that put George Soros?

    Lamar -
    It is indeed lefties who complain about manufacturing things in other countries. They may not object to buying foreign goods, but who do you think the Edwards-supporters are? Lefties, right? Populists, but more specifically leftist populists. "Outsourcing" is seen as a practice used because they don't want to pay hard working American workers what they deserve. And it is perceived that American companies wouldn't have to raise their prices even if they paid to have the goods manufactured in the USA if only we made them take fewer profits on the sale of those goods.

    Anyway, I'm taking this too seriously.
    All I'm saying is that I do hang out with the evil-corporation types, and I know what I've been told.

  • x,y||

    If you want to hate "some" corporations for those reasons, that's fine. But it's the blanket corporation-hate that baffles me (and which appears to be unexplainable rationally).

  • Ryo||

    That Gene Haislip anedocte sounds like it was taken from Frontline's interview with him. That interview was illuminating to me in one respect, the "success" in shutting down the sale of quaaludes has sold Drug Warriors on the idea that eliminating drugs is possible and achievable if only we use the right techniques.

    In reality, quaaludes were relatively simple to stop. They didn't grow out of the ground. The main ingredient, methaqualone, was manufactured in literally a handful of places around the world. By shutting down just a few factories, and they were able to effectively kill off quaaludes.

  • x,y||

    You forgot the [/sarcasm] tag Lamar.

  • ||

    I don't hang around enough pure lefties (or visit their websites often). What's the standard lefty reason for hating corporations so much?

    It's not that lefties hate corporations. It's that they hate the amount of influence over public policy and politicians.

    Look at examples like IP and copyright laws and crap like DRM. The purpose of IP and copyright, as stated in the Constitution, was to spur innovation and creativity, not to guarantee profit margins or to allow entities to control distribution channels and the mediums which consumers can view their IP. Nor is IP/copyright supposed to be about the ability of content providers being able to stifle innovation of products that would allow legitimate consumers of media from being able to play them on say a linux box (remember the DeCSS fiasco) or to prevent time-shifting (lawsuits have been filed preventing products that allow recording of Sat. radio streams/songs) or suing a company like SonicBlue (the makers of replayTV ) to death because the have features like Commercial Skip or the ability to send a TV program to other SonicBlue Users.

    Another example is the recent dustup that BP had with EPA regulators in Illinois. They wanted to dump more crap into the lake, and they were able to get an exception to the limitations on dumping from Indiana. But their dumping would affect not just Indiana, but also Illinois, Michigan and any other states who border the lake. Moves like that are a big reason why many "lefties" tend to have an anti-corporate bent. Instead of playing by the rules of the system, they use their money to influence the rules makers to provide loopholes and exceptions that you and I would never get.

    Many people who would probably describe themselves as liberal-libertarians (like myself) don't like when government tramples on our rights, but we also don't like it when corporations trample on our rights either ( I am simplifying a bit here for conciseness -- there are obviously exceptions). This is a main place where I part ways with most typical libertarians -- I don't want corporations to be given a free hand to do things that I wouldn't want my government doing.

  • Reinmoose||

    If you want to hate "some" corporations for those reasons, that's fine. But it's the blanket corporation-hate that baffles me (and which appears to be unexplainable rationally).

    Part of it stems from popularity. They're seen as anti-cultural

  • ||

    It is indeed lefties who complain about manufacturing things in other countries. They may not object to buying foreign goods, but who do you think the Edwards-supporters are? Lefties, right? Populists, but more specifically leftist populists. "Outsourcing" is seen as a practice used because they don't want to pay hard working American workers what they deserve.

    I don't think it's only "lefties" who take issue with these things. There are plenty of righties who are "Buy American" / They're taking our jobs zealots. Protectionism transcends the left-right spectrum.

  • Ryo||

    Except that MJ is a plant, and cocaine is a highly processed substance not resembling anything natural.



    Cocaine is a highly processed coca leaf. It most certainly does derive from something natural. Even if the refinement required to get there is not natural (whatever that means).

  • ||

    I'm also an attorney in my late 20s, but I've met very few people in our age group who support legalization (even hippie lettuce). Those who do support marijuana legalization are 100% against legalization of other drugs, e.g., cocaine. They have no legitimate reason to make this distinction, but it's pervasive among those who do.

    This has been my experience too. Even friends that I have done blow with in the past, don't support legalization of non-MJ drugs. TO them, weed and MAYBE coke is ok, but heroin and crack...now thats crossing a line.

    Also, many people believe that although they are capable of doing drugs responsibly, many others are not.

    It's kind of funny actually.

  • ||

    "Even if the refinement required to get there is not natural"

    And that is a rational distinction. You can't arrest somebody for growing a plant, but you can arrest them for setting up a laboratory and processing a plant into a highly process substance derived from but in so way resembling its natural form. Did you think I was unaware that coke was from a plant?

  • Reinmoose||

    You're absolutely right. There are a lot of righties who are getting into the populist "they took our jobs!" But that doesn't mean that that's not a reason that lefties also don't like corporations. I apologize if my phrasing implied it was only lefties, as I meant "populists," and many populists are lefties.

  • ||

    It is indeed lefties who complain about manufacturing things in other countries. They may not object to buying foreign goods, but who do you think the Edwards-supporters are? Lefties, right? Populists, but more specifically leftist populists.

    I apologize if my phrasing implied it was only lefties, as I meant "populists," and many populists are lefties.

    1. You didn't "imply" anything. You explicitly stated that its lefties.

    2. Many populists are righties as well. In fact neither side has a monopoly on them nor does either side have an overwelming amount in comparison to the other side.

    Maybe it's because you tend to relate or agree more with the righty populists rather than the lefty ones??

    I dunno, but if you don't want people to get that impression, you should try a little even-handedness or at the very least stop singling out the left for things which are done by both sides in quite equal amounts.

  • x,y||

    I don't want corporations to be given a free hand to do things that I wouldn't want my government doing.



    Corporations lack the coercive power of the state. If you don't like what they are doing, don't purchase their products.

  • Reinmoose||

    ChiTom!
    the question was
    What's the standard lefty reason for hating corporations so much?

    not

    What's a unique quality of lefties (a quality that does not also apply to righties) that causes them to hate corporations so much?

    I had no reason to mention why righties hate corporations. FYI, I don't sympathize with ANY populists.
    And why would I take the time to specify "leftist populists" if I thought all populists were leftist?

    I singled out the left because that was the question.
    Derrrr

  • ||

    "progressive" dogma about how bad corporations are and how good, if only the governement were run by the right people, government would be...At least they get part of the message right.

    Which part of that message is right?

  • ||

    "If you don't like what they are doing, don't purchase their products."

    That scheme has never worked. Why would people be satisfied with that? The way I see it, you have it all backwards. If you don't like their products, you don't buy their products. If you don't like what they're doing, you do something to address what they're doing. That may include boycotting their products, but is not limited to it.

  • ||

    Except that MJ is a plant, and cocaine is a highly processed substance not resembling anything natural.

    Except that MJ is a plant, and cocaine sugar is a highly processed substance not resembling anything natural.

  • ||

    Oh no, the dreaded "men in suits!" The mere phrase "men in suits" lets you know they're evil, right? Because some people can only see the world in caricature.

    I support full drug legalization. And I like Big Pharma. I take lots of medications for conditions that could not be treated by roots and barks and berries and whatever the hell else lefty-greeny-hippy type think would replace pharmaceutical corporations in their brave new world.

    When people start droning about the evils of pharmaceutical companies, I want to ask: why do you want people with AIDS to die? Because all of the HIV positive people living normal, productive lives are doing so through the products developed and sold by big drug companies.

    I like cold medicines too. You know what? Echinacea doesn't do jack crap.

  • ||

    He then went on to say that drugs should never, ever be legalized because McDonald's would start selling them and we don't want the big corporations to take over yet another industry.

    If McDonald's started selling high-grade cannibus, I would never leave McDonald's.

  • ||

    It's not that lefties hate corporations. It's that they hate the amount of influence over public policy and politicians.

    Given that there are myriad corporations and only one government, wouldn't it be more efficient to just hate the government?

  • ||

    Yeah, same with methylchloroisothiazolinone, so what's your point?

  • ||


    Given that there are myriad corporations and only one government, wouldn't it be more efficient to just hate the government?


    Does it have to be an either or scenario ?

  • ||

    You can't arrest somebody for growing a plant, but you can arrest them for setting up a laboratory and processing a plant into a highly process substance derived from but in so way resembling its natural form.

    This is a silly distinction. Ever heard of high fructose corn syrup? Um, rice krispies? And a majority of other foodstuffs sold in the US? I'll play this game all day.

  • ||

  • ||

    Please see my 2:03 pm.

  • ||

    You'll lose that game all day.

  • ||

    If McDonald's started selling high-grade cannibus, I would never leave McDonald's.

    I'm guessing McD's would sell cheap ditchweed loaded with sugar.

  • ||

    I singled out the left because that was the question.

    You answered the question by singling out out the left for something that isn't the exclusive domain of the left.

    In fact, your whole series of responses have been caricatures of "the left". (THE LEFT HATES PROFIT!!)

    But yeah, my bad for thinking that you were somehow using the flawed premise of the question as an excuse for attacking "the left".

    Apologies.

  • ||

    The point is you can't ban a substance just because it's not plucked from a plant and put on somebody's plate. Making a distinction between weed and coke based on what they look like and how much they're processed woudn't get you a 'B' on a middle school science paper.

  • ||

    You can't arrest somebody for growing a plant,

    What?

  • ||

    Chicago Tom: MJ is a plant that grows naturally. That's the distinction between coke and MJ. Mike thinks we're arguing about the foundation for making things illegal because he didn't read all the above posts. The real counterexample is hash, but shhhhh, mike hasn't figured that out yet.

  • Reinmoose||

    I'd just like to add, that while the "profit" statement may have been a little characturish (is this a word?), that I am not one of *those* libertarians who only hangs out with righties and watches intentionally offensive TV shows (Family Guy, South Park, etc.) while talking badly about specific women because I'm such a manly-man (not at all because they'll never bang me).

    I really *do* hear that kind of shit from my very liberal friends. I'm sure they have more intelligent (or at least, elaborate) arguments than I give them credit for above, but I am certainly not speaking from the standpoint of an outsider.

  • ||

    As someone who legitimately suffers from allergies, let me say how grateful I am that my government sees fit to protect me from the evils of allergy medication that fucking works and forces me to get put on a registry for buying an over the counter product.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Lamar - still not sure what your point is, but thanks for the added douchebaggery, as opposed to clarification. That helps.

    Are you arguing that, for example, you can't arrest a farmer who has pot plants on his property because they could be growing naturally? But you can arrest him if he has it in little plastic baggies? Or processed into hash?

    Probably a better example in the US is muchrooms, which grow in pastures all over the place. You can't arrest dairly farmers who have mushrooms growing in their fields, but you can arrest them, if they're cultivated and dried out?

    That point I could understand, although it's still an entirely arbitrary distinction in determining if something should be illegal.

  • ||

    If you want to hate "some" corporations for those reasons, that's fine. But it's the blanket corporation-hate that baffles me (and which appears to be unexplainable rationally).



    "Corporation" is just a signal word. They don't hate all corporations. For example, they hate Microsoft Inc., but tend to be supportive of Apple Inc., and some like Nader are downright gleeful about the existance of Redhat Inc. If Microsoft were a private non-corporate sole proprietorship, the lefties would still hate it.

    If you substitute "big business" for "corporation", it starts to make sense. The Left hates wealth concentration. That's all you need to explain it. Leftists equate wealth with power. They literally believe that rich people can coerce poor people with their money. While Leftists do dislike the legal privileges corporations receive, their big beef is with the bigness. Corporations allow a greater degree of wealth concentration than unincorporated businesses could otherwise accumulate.

    "OMG! Microsoft is so rich they could buy up all the food in Seattle and starve the poor people to death if they don't submit to manorial fealty! Only the power of the government can stop this!"

  • Reinmoose||

    Brandybuck -
    I think you touched on a very good point. The Microsoft/Apple contrast is an interesting case in this discussion. Some of my friends who previously hailed Apple products are starting to fall off because they have "shoddy" products. They protected Apple's shoddy products with zeal back when Apple was a small company infiltrating the industry dominated by Microsoft. But now that Apple is sufficiently large, suddenly their products are no-good.

    It's a strange set of criteria for determining which products they will consume, and I haven't quite identified those criteria yet.

  • ||

    Though I am anti-corporate to an extent, I should at least recognize that many anti-corporate types do so out of sheer vanity. That would explain quite a bit of the Apple/Microsoft equation...and Apple's marketing has played into that vanity quite well....

  • ||

    They literally believe that rich people can coerce poor people with their money.

    Attention, rich people. I am willing to be coerced with your money.

  • T||

    As someone who legitimately suffers from allergies

    How does one suffer illegitimately from allergies? Who legitimates suffering? Is there an agency that determines this? I'm so confused now.

  • ||

    ChicagoTom,

    In your 1:04 post, the examples you give for why leftists hate corporations all involve government favoritism. That's the main reason big corporations get so much power; they can influence government agencies in a way that a small business can't.

    If you restrict the government to a very limited set of powers (as libertarians would like to do), big corporations would not be able to exploit this advantage. That's why libertarians tend not to emphasize the badness of big business; once you get rid of big govt, the problems with big biz go away.

  • ||

    Your allergic reaction is illegitimate!

  • DJ Voton||

    If McDonald's started selling high-grade cannibus, I would never leave McDonald's.

    I'm guessing McD's would sell cheap ditchweed loaded with sugar.

    Deep-fried, with a choice of dipping sauces.

  • ||

    It's not more efficient to hate the government than corporations. I get to elect my councilpersons, my county commissioners, I have a say in my political party (whichever it is) to influence the selection of those who serve at deeper levels of government.

    None of this is true in a corporation. I don't get to vote on who my supervisor, manager, VP, President or Board members are (well, maybe board members, if I'm wealthy enough to own voting stock in the company).

    The free market is not free. Even the ocean has boundaries. The "freedom" of the "free" market is a delusion that only cold hard logic can pierce. The free market enslaves, just like any other system. And like any other system, when it falls, its proponents will be the first up against the wall. Those who own the playground of "free trade" act as if they own you, too (remember HR?), you're probably just a commodity or a pawn.

    Clinton's carrying on the war on drugs was ineffective for at least the reason that he inherited 12 years of totally warped (but well-meaning) policies.

  • FreeGirl||

    regarding distinctions between substances (raw vs processed): these are normative statements, and impossible to solve to everyone's liking. The real question is, who gets to make these highly subjective determinations? What is the proper role of government in a free society?

    Regarding corporations:
    There seems to be a great deal of confusion about corporations/corporatism. In our current corporatist state, there is a very fine line between government and industry. The anti-corporation types want more corporate regulation, but in many ways these corporations ARE the regulators. They write their own legislation, often to hobble competition, and have it rubber stamped by their sponsored politicians. They buy their friends into office, and wait for the payback after the elections. It is the very ability of legislators to dole out favors that makes select corporations so unnaturally powerful. This arrangement puts the little guy (both individuals and businesses....even *gasp* small,less-connected corporations) at a real disadvantage unless they join the game.

    We as individuals represent the *real* free market. D.C. Backroom corporate deals are often sold to us as "free market" but that's a tough pill to swallow when it's wrapped in collusion.

    Profits are not evil. Superior products and production methods are laudable, but neither justifies making a particular business plan the focus, much less the priority of our "self" government.

    War on drugs, or for oil, anyone? Can you see the connections between the two for the well-connected corporations? The domestic war on drugs long ago bled over into the military-industrial complex, and as a result has become camouflaged and impossible to extract. It is a major issue at the root of how we perceive the role of our government, and the injustices we tolerate in our foreign and domestic policy. No amount of tweaking minor details will remedy this malignancy. We need to amputate.

    I would not trust a government-corporate arrangement to mete out the best types or proportions of medicine for my own good...there is far too much baggage attached. The black market for drugs could teach us a lot about ourselves, if we care to look.

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