The Benefits of the War on Drugs


Some ironic sophistry from Crispin Sartwell on why we must keep drugs illegal. An excerpt:

If you think we've got a wasteful bureaucracy now, just wait until the American state is the cocaine kingpin. The government can't even deliver hurricane aid, much less heroin to all the Americans who need it.

At any rate, like any decent proponent of American capitalism, I would far prefer to see Afghan warlords and Mexican organized crime figures make the money and provide these key medical services. The American government will simply use the increased revenue to fund the war/torture machine.
Now I hear your objection. You're saying that the drug issue is not primarily practical but is a matter of principle. You're saying that no government has the right to tell people what they can and cannot put into their own bodies.

You're saying that if a government has such a right, there is no power that it does not in principle possess, that to interfere that intimately with the basic conduct of each person with regard to their own lives is to claim unlimited despotic power.
Well, of course you're right about that. But in public policy debates, we have to be practical. And practically speaking, turning the drug supply chain over to the bureaucracy while increasing the tax base and the credibility of the law would simply be disastrous.