Drug Policy

The War on Drugs and the "Crisis in Black America"


Over at The Root, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John McWhorter compiles an interesting list of books on race that he thinks haven't received the attention they deserve. There's some provocative stuff here, but his comments on Ethan Brown's Snitch: Informants, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice really stand out:

Brown got a lot of press for his 2005 book, Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler, about hip-hop and murders. Predictably, his next book, unconcerned with 50 Cent and his secrets, didn't get as much attention—but it was much more important, investigating the culture engendered by the War on Drugs. If there were no War on Drugs, I sincerely believe that within a single generation, there would be no perceptible "crisis in black America," and this book shows much of why that's true. The War on Drugs turns whole neighborhoods against the cops—with no discernible benefit after more than 30 years. Brown's book is very The Wire–except the people he writes about are real.

Speaking of The Wire, McWhorter echoes a point here that Wire co-creator David Simon made to Reason's Jesse Walker in 2004:

Look. For 35 years, you've…marginalized a certain percentage of your population, most of them minority, and placed them in a situation where the only viable economic engine in their hypersegregated neighborhoods is the drug trade. Then you've alienated them further by fighting this draconian war in their neighborhoods, and not being able to distinguish between friend or foe and between that which is truly dangerous or that which is just illegal. And you want to sit across the table from me and say 'What's the solution?' and get it in a paragraph? The solution is to undo the last 35 years, brick by brick. How long is that going to take? I don't know, but until you start it's only going to get worse.

NEXT: Part-Time Deregulators

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It seems so blindingly obvious to me that the War on Drugs is causing more problems that it solves. I cannot fathom how the proponents of the War on Drugs can’t see it — what kind of mind does it take to decide we just need to try harder.

    1. A One-Track Mind?

      1. Some people do have a one track mind, like this guy.

        A one racetrack mind, that is!

        1. The mare was not unresponsive.

    2. “what kind of mind does it take to decide we just need to try harder”

      The definition of insanity.

    3. The “If it saves one life.” mindset.

    4. Except, the drug war is a massive industry with many powerful forces deeply invested in it. Plus, it is functioning precisely as it is intended to function serving the purpose it is intended to serve – enriching and empowering those it is intended to enrich and empower. The drug war is not about and has no interest whatsoever in curtailing recreational drug use. Nothing is as it seems and this applies across the board. The trouble with conspiracy theorists is they don’t have the remotest clue how deep the rabbit hole actually goes. They typically serve the purpose of distracting most of us from what is really going on which is generally far deeper and worse than any of their whacko conspiracies.

      1. I can actually understand people that do bad things and lie in public for personal gain.

        But the people that actually believe their own rhetoric and that they are accomplishing something positive by destroying the lives of the little people . . . well those people scare me.

    5. A blind racist mind that ignores al collateral damage as long as the policy empowers the Jim Crow agenda.

  2. From his mouth to god’s ears

  3. Is now an appropriate time for the “that’s racist!” joke?

  4. If memory/stereotype serves, though, most of the politicians who represent these neighborhoods support the WoD for some reason. Maybe they like what it represents in the abstract, because I can’t imagine that if theyu reexamined it, they’d like what they saw.

    1. These simpletons can only be against drugs by being for the WoD. Of COURSE drugs are bad for their communities and OF COURSE they should be against drug use. But that doesn’t mean the WOD is how to do that but they’re too simple to think about it.

  5. When you have guys like Charlie Rangel representing Harlem for decades, it’s easy to see they don’t give two shits about the people of their district. But I bet they get some nice campaign contributions from the drug warriors.

  6. Art P.O.G., It is due to those politicians looking at only one thing. Drugs are bad. They figure if they get rid of the drugs, they will cure all ills in the neighborhood. They don’t look any deeper than that and they aren’t looking in the past or the future for the reasons or results of the WOD. For some unknown reason, it gets votes.

  7. This will never happen but allow me a thought experiment. Imgine if a Republican President in the name of small government repealed the federal drug laws and sent them back to the states where they belong. And in doing so pardoned every federal prisoner there on drug offenses. He would free a whole lot of black people (and white people to). He could then go to black America and say “I am the guy and we are the party that sent your family members home. What have the Democrats and the race hustling black leaders ever done for you?” It would, in addition to being the right thing to do, turn politics upside down in this country.

    Just by proposing an end to prohibition, Republicans would force Democrats to take the position that a disproportionately large number of black people need to be locked up.

    1. Nice, but a President can’t repeal laws by himself. What you propose would require that the Congress be on board also.

      1. True, But imagine if it happened. It is sort of like a Nixon to China thing. If the Dems do it, they will be considered hippie lovers. But if the Republicans did it, the Dems would be put in a very uncomfortable position.

        Also don’t forget, a lot of drug war money goes to police and prison guards who are mostly members of public employee unions. I would be hysterical to watch the Dems explain why unions are more important than their most loyal constituency.

      2. If he couldn’t get the law changed, a President could pardon all federal druf offenders. And there would be nothing anyone could do about it.

        1. John, any member of congress going soft on the WOD down here would be removed from office as fast as possible. Republicans even faster.

          1. I am not so sure about that anymore. I think most people think that, but I don’t think it is as true as it once was. I hang out in pretty conservative pro law and order circles. And I don’t know anyone who is enthusiastic about the WOD. And even the ones that support it, think marijuana should be legal.

            1. Thinking it and acting publicly to make it happen are two differnt things. Always remember: career first, constituents second.

              1. Sad, true story.

              2. The other thing I am noticing is that law abiding middle class white people are starting to get a taste of police power where they never used to. Thirty years ago, the cops were assholes to minorities and poor people but generally didn’t fuck with the rich and middle class. Thanks to MADD, nanny state local politicians, and a general drive for control and revenue, that is not true anymore. It started with the 55 mph speed limit. Then it moved on to the crusade on drunk driving. Then mandatory seatbelt laws. Where I live, the cops hang out on street corners and write tickets for jay walking and not having an ID.

                I at least find that middle class white people have more and more distasteful interactions with cops. And they are getting tired of it. The police are getting pretty damned unpopular. I think we are closer to there being some real changes in this country than you think.

                1. This is true. The number of white, suburban people I’ve met who have disdain for LEOs is increasing quickly. And these are not libertarians.


                  1. But they will be.

                    1. I actually sort of agree with John. Just like real progress on gun control is made by getting Democrats on board, real progress on the WOD is made by getting the GOP on board. Dems are better on drug issues, but they are also very scared of being painted so, and the painters are usually the GOP. If that were removed, then progress could really be made.

                      But I think a lot of people have this mentality noted by others here that the only way to be against drug use is to make it illegal…

                    2. Well said, MNG.

                    3. The thing is that the Dems really aren’t much better than the Republicans on the WOD. The Dems have controled the Whitehouse and the Congress multiple times in the last 40 years, yet the WOD marches on. If only the Dems were better. Both parties play to the police unions and the conventional wisdom.

                    4. No one gets elected by being soft on drugs or crime.

    2. Your thought experiment ignores the fact that the GOPs entire existence relies on a) making white people scared and resentful of black people and b) putting as many obstacles in the way of black people voting as possible (not the least of which is imprisoning a good many of them and then denying them suffrage once they’re free).

      1. And Dems’ existence doesn’t depend on making Blacks, who are overwelmingly social conservatives, scared that all Republicans hate them. And also depends on big money from public employee’s unions that benefit from the war on drugs.

        Your voting comment is just you going full retard and unworthy of response.

      2. Tell us more, Tony. You’re so smart, and I’ll bet you have a gargantuan penis.

        1. Don’t be jealous. Having a massive cock is often mixed blessing.

          1. Tony, you are speculating, because as we all know, Warty has raped you and he said you have a choad. And that you are a choad.

            1. Well, better Warty than Steve Smith. Believe me. :::single tear runs down cheek

            2. Guess that means Warty gave him a reach-around? That was unnecessarily kind.

      3. what decade do you live in?

    3. I’m afraid most of those people don’t want those family members back home, and are glad for any excuse to get rid of them.

      Regardless, repealing the federal drug laws would change very little. It was the states that originated this business and continue to carry it on. Other than some fine points like med mj, it’s not as if any state dissents on the issue.

    4. Pardoning all the drug offenders would be a big problem because a lot of those people really are criminals and would commit crimes upon being released. So you’d have plenty of people pissed off at the crimes caused by low-lifes that the president released.

  8. I can’t imagine that if they reexamined it, they’d like what they saw.

    You should imagine it. They do like it.

    Terrorized and defeated voters are obedient. The remainder are felons.

  9. I agree with the reasons given for “Urban Dem” support for the WoD. I didn’t want to be too cynical so I was curious if someone like MNG or Tony could give me more insight into the philosophies of “Urban Democrats” concerning the WoD.

    1. Don’t forget the influence of public employee unions. Cops and prison guards are unionized. And the war on drugs means a lot of money in their pockets.

      Also, the WOD, by destroying black communities, further exaerbates the racial divide in this country. Who benefits from young black kids joining gangs? I will tell you who, race hustlers who extort money out of white people in the name of the “crisis in the black community” and white politicians who can run as tough on crime and collect police union contributions. That is who.

      1. Yeah, there is that, too.

      2. +1

        Ending WOD leads to lower prison populations, which leads to less need for as many prison guards and other public employees (entire court system), which means less money going to union leaders, which mean less campaign funds for Dems.

        On the other hand, there are the fun police in the Republican party stuck in the 20’s who believe all intoxicants (maybe other than alcohol) are immoral, and the government is their to induce morality through the end of a gun.

  10. A lot of it can be explained by the “but we have to do something mentality.

  11. A President could de facto end the federal WOD, as John notes, by pardoning at least the non-violent drug offenders, telling the AG and US Attorneys not to prosecute drug offenses, and letting them know that he will continue to pardon drug offenders that they get convictions on.

    It would be the biggest political gamble since the Great Compromise.

  12. David Simon has always struck me as someone who would have a massive “a-HA!” moment if someone ever explained libertarianism to him. He rants about “capitalism” all the time, but his rants seem to be very specifically about rent-seeking activities rather than actual laissez faire. Apart from not grasping that distinction and his faith in old-guard journalism, he’s often struck me as a very smart dude. And “The Wire” and “Homicide” were both excellent shows.

    1. I feel the same way after reading a lot of interviews with him. Even one of the dealer characters in the The Wire wonders aloud (I’m paraphrasing of course) why buying and selling drugs can’t be honest and nonviolent like buying and selling everything else. It sounded more pro- than anti-capitalism. I think the corruption and immorality Simon bemoans isn’t the result of capitalism as much as, as you say, rent-seeking.

    2. Remarkable that you simply assume that Simon has not read libertarian tracts and would otherwise be in the camp.

      A lot suggests he does considerable reading. Perhaps he read libertarian arguments and simply arrived at some other place. His argument has been explicit and you fail to present it with much accuracy: He is not anti-capitalism. He has said that he regards capitalism as the only viable means of a modern society generating mass wealth. He says he doesn’t mistake capitalism, however, as anything more than an economic model. It is not, he argues, a vehicle for building a just and inclusive society. He wants capitalism to be mitigated by a social framework. The New Deal, in other words, with the recognition of the part that organized labor played in creating the American middle class that was the true economic engine and consumer class of the last century. You can argue against that. You can debate its merits and flaws. What you can’t do is, without evidence, co-op a fellow because you like his television show and say, if only someone explained to him how right my views are, surely he would believe as I do. That’s, well, really arrogant.

      1. “Take on Me”

  13. I don’t think the WOD is the problem, the problem is drugs. Minorities use to much drugs. Drugs are the number one problem in America today. Think of all the crime caused by people on drugs to get money for the drug. We would eliminate all the problems in these communities if we could just eliminate drugs. In order to eliminate drugs and help these communities, we need to redouble our efforts and once and for all get tougth and get rid of the drugs.

    1. Nice try, but you didn’t quite achieve the real over the top vibe that you need for good satire.

      You sound too much like someone who actually believes that crap.

    2. Of course white people use drugs just as much as minorities. They just get away with it because they are less likely to have any interaction with cops.

      1. Perhaps true, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t arrest minorities, it just means that we need to get more white people into prison.

        1. Now that’s performance art we can believe in!

        2. More people in prison? That’s the ticket. Because putting harmless non-violent stoners in a situation where they have to join a violent gang to survive turns out just peachy-dandy every time.

        3. Yeah, let’s get an affirmative action program going to make our prison population Look Like America.

        4. I think “Susan” is English for “Juanita”.

    3. Susan, the drugs are expensive precisely because they are illegal.

      I think I remember reading that the street price of heroine is 100 times the actually value. So instead of 1 ounce being worth $20, it’s worth $2000 because of the risk of legal action.

      If you stop the WoD, the drug cartels stop making enough money to buy semi automatics and fund small armies.

      There won’t be an incentive for anyone to kill over drug deals anymore.

      1. Whoa, an ounce of heroin for $20. You could get uber-ripped!

    4. Nice try Susan but my heart still belongs to Juanita. The Latina goddes who’s won my heart doesn’t toss ignorant prejudices into her anti drug screeds.

      No poetry for you, bitch.

  14. “Look. For 35 years, you’ve…marginalized a certain percentage of your population, most of them minority, and placed them in a situation where the only viable economic engine in their hypersegregated neighborhoods is the drug trade.”

    Utter Bullshit. I live in the inner-city. Anyone that wants a job can get one.

    1. FTR, I support full legalization of all drugs. But to make the claim that the only economic option for blacks in the inner-city is dealing drugs is an insult to the 98% of the people here that are not in the drug trade.

    2. True. But the drug trade creates the opportunity for very easy money through crime. Imagine if you are a poor kid from a really fucked up background. And you are not that smart. You are not going to take the AP calculus class from the guy in Stand and Deliver. You are going to if you are lucky get a trade and eek out a living your whole life. Given that set of options, dealing drugs and joining a gang, with the membership in a large organization and the big money it provides, isn’t a completely crazy option. Yeah, it is to you and me. But, it isn’t to some dumb kid. The idea is to take away the money and the lure of gangs. Yes, there will always be criminals. And poor neighborhoods are always going to be tough places. But they don’t have to be as bad as they are.

      1. How can you reeeeech these keeeeeds

        1. You’re the man now, dog!

      2. Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. I’ve spent years working with at-risk inner-city youth (gang members, victims of horrific sexual abuse, etc.). The phrase “some dumb kid” is an insult. There are “dumb kids” spread across the entire social landscape. Drugs too. To assert that living in the inner-city makes them more susceptible to commit crimes is right out of the Jim Crow playbook.

        1. There are “dumb kids” of every kinds and in every locations, but gangs on the other hand, really only exist in the city, they are basically non-existent in suburban and rural areas, except for the members that do the transporting of the currently black market goods and commodities.

    3. Really? What city and what cross streets? I live in Detroit, on MLK and Woodward and I call bullshit.

      1. Detroit can’t really be classified as an American city any more. It’s the 7th circle of hell evidenced by your own posts. It doesn’t count for this discussion.

      2. Minneapolis. Plymouth and Penn, but I’ve done outreach work all over the city.

        Your take on inner-city youth is disgustingly racist (and if you happen to be black, JB, internalized.

        1. Excuse me, I mean J sub D.

        2. Congratulations on your outreach.

          Detroit unemployment = 28.9% (August, 2009).
          Minneapolis unemployment =
          7.3% (September, 2009).

          Tell me again all the job opportunities for inner city youth w/ HS diplomas in Detroit (or Flint, Gary, Cleveland, …)

          Kiss my disgusting racist ass.

          1. Well then I guess it’s gangs and drug dealing for the lot of them because blacks, being little more than children, have no moral compass so we might as well just accept that they’re destined to be criminals.

            Racist piece of dog sub shit.

            1. I don’t think JsubD has implied anything racist. He just called you out on the absurd position that the inner-city environment in Minneapolis is anything as desperate as what exists in Detroit, St. Louis, Flint, Cleveland, Camden, Fresno, Muskegon, Cincinnati, Toledo, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, Philadelphia, D.C., Oakland, Dallas, Columbus, Houston, Hartford…

              1. I’m with Meta. I think it’s racist to say that the only option a poor black person has is crime. I would note that during the current recession, crime rates are dropping all over the country. The jobs or crime theory is bunghole juice.

              2. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, and what I don’t think Meta4 is realizing is that the people that people he probably works with comes from or family comes from one of the cities listed by mpp. I blame our overgenerous social programs. You should see the Greyhound stations the first of every month, people showing up for a check, and then going back to their home state.

                1. True, a great many of the kids I work with came here from Chicago, DC, New York. Even from Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Morocco, Somolia. But the idea that for people of color the only true option for escaping poverty is crime is fucking racist. The majority of unemployed people in this country are white. Where are all of the fucking white gangs?

                  1. “Where are all of the fucking white gangs? ”

                    They only exist in prison.

                2. “You should see the Greyhound stations the first of every month, people showing up for a check, and then going back to their home state.”

                  On First Street???

                  [citation needed]

            2. Well then I guess it’s gangs and drug dealing for the lot of them because blacks, being little more than children, have no moral compass so we might as well just accept that they’re destined to be criminals.

              Which is why it is wrong to hate them. You don’t hate tigers, do you?

          2. We’re too dumb and lazy to move to Minneapolis.

            1. Well I’m going to go. But work? Hell no. I’m gonna rob them motherfuckers blind. It’s just what us colored folks do. It’s in our genes. At least I think I heard that somewhere. Musta been on TV though because I quit school at 12 to join a gang and deal weed.

    4. They need job training.

  15. Did this happen in a white middle class neighborhood?

    Yes Mr President and everybody on this page, it really is a War on Drugs Minorities and The Poor and apparently you* do not give a shit.

    * There are probably a minority in the CBC opposed to the War on Drugs Liberty but their silence on the issue is deafening.

    None of the people who killed her in the course of committing multiple armed felonies was tried for murder.

    1. They have had several no knock raids gone bad here in tony Montgomery County Maryland. Ryan Frederick wasn’t a minority. This may have been a “war on minorities” 20 years ago. But it is a war on pretty much everyone now. That is why I think we are getting close to a tipping point.

    2. They should be prosecuted for what they did.

      1. You have now crossed into performance art. Prosecuted for what? Being a 90 year old lady living alone?

        1. They the cops for murder, not KATHRYN JOHNSTON.

          1. My mistake. Sorry.

  16. I’d have to dig for the reference, but I believe the RAND Corporation did a fascinating cost-benefit analysis of drug control strategies, and found that addiction treatment programs provide massively greater value for money than any of the typical WoD activities.

    1. Probably true, but from a moral standpoint why the hell should I pay for some criminals health care. The point is that drug use is wrong, even if the WOD is not effective, and maybe counterproductive, it is the right thing to do morally.

      1. Without the WOD, they wouldn’t be criminals?

        1. Hah, Susan used the buzzwords! Excellent performance art! Should I call her “Juanita”?

          1. Might as well. I’d love to know why drug use is wrong.

            1. Because it isn’t good for us. It steals your soul.

              1. And here I thought cameras steal your soul…

              2. What an ephemeral claim. It also makes baby jesus cry doesn’t it.

                Well, shit, that’s good enough for me.

              3. Women steal your soul. It’s why I am morally talibanesque when it comes to women’s behaviour. STFU susan.

              4. Just the drugs that feel good? Or does penicillin steal your soul? How about morphine? Does that steal your soul when the doctor prescribes it, or only when I get it from my old roommate?

                1. I suffer from a crippling insulin addiction.

              5. “Because it isn’t good for us.”

                Who’s responsible for you? YOU!, right?

                I’m not yet to the point of thinking ALL drugs should be legalized, but if that did happen, the consequences of drug use speak for themselves.

                The government prosecuting a heroine addict doesn’t punish the addict more than using the drug does. His life is already destroyed – to a point.

                Spending the money on rehab programs instead of prosecutions makes loads more sense.

                People are well aware of the consequences of drug use – either through personal experience, ads, or school programs. If someone wants to do drugs, the legal consequences aren’t as much of a deterrent as the physiological/social consequences are.

                1. You gotta help me dude. I need a Wonder Woman fix bad dude.

      2. Mother Nature says doing drugs is just fine by her. You know its immoral to cross her.

      3. even if the WOD is not effective, and maybe counterproductive, it is the right thing to do morally

        If it is not effective and counterproductive, how can it be the right thing to do morally? Ineffective and counterproductive means it is not making people stop doing drugs, so it helps no one, morally or otherwise.

        You won’t find many people here who would say YOU should have to pay for rehab, even if you feel its acceptable for YOU to pay for someone else to be imprisoned. We tend to want people to pay for their own recovery.

        1. Ineffective and counterproductive means it is not making people stop doing drugs, so it helps no one, morally or otherwise.

          It sends the right “no use” message that discourages drug use.

          1. It doesn’t discourage drug use, if anything the illegality adds to the vanity of the use, making it an act of rebellion, which is very popular during teenage years, which is usually where most people start and or get hooked on something.

      4. You’re paying for their health care in prison, btw. And since they don’t have visible income you are paying for their medicaid when they are out of prison (although they may be able to afford their own insurance).

      5. I just love the “I’d support ending the drug war, if you’ll guarantee me that users won’t get gov’t. assistance for rehab” line of reasoning. These folks are fine with spending money to police and imprison drug offenders, go ballistic at the thought of using gov’t funds to help these same offenders with their addictions.

        1. It is not a problem, we do that in some places with drug courts. This is a possible idea for first time non-violent drug offenders, particularly for marijuana addicts.

          1. The use of the phrase “marijuana addicts” reveals your sinister yet hilarious agenda, Susan.

            1. ArtP.O.G., actually, I think she outted herself here:

              Minorities use to much drugs. We would eliminate all the problems in these communities if we could just eliminate drugs. In order to eliminate drugs and help these communities, we need to redouble our efforts and once and for all get tougth and get rid of the drugs.

      6. I hate to tell you this, but people in prison/jail get health care. Paid for by you. Room and board, too.

        I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls?

  17. How about this one?

    The squirrel will now only allow two links per comment.

    The squirrel is going to be the guest of honor at the Reasonoid barbeque if he doesn’t shape the hell up.

    1. I still haven’t figured out how to do links without just posting the link. I thought the {a href} jammy didn’t work. Is there a different code to use?

      1. I have used the old one you referenced and it worked fine for me with no changes. No idea why

        1. Are you throwing in the = and “?

          < a href = ” URL ” > < / a >

          (just remove extra spaces…)

          1. Yeah. Last time I tried it I just got orange text…..

          2. The originator of the term “Sugarfree’d a link” is giving HTML advice. This is like Tony giving advice on how to bang chicks with a huge dick. Or NutraSweet giving advice on how to bang chicks with a huge dick.

            1. That reminds me, Obama has joined Promisekeepers.

              1. Nuh-uh, really? Link please, I’m too lazy to google. 🙂

                1. Too lazy? Dang commoonist parasite;)

            2. It’s an upside down world in this blasted wasteland of post-threaded comment H&R. Black is white, up is down, Episiarch is straight. Topsy-turvy, I tells ya.

              1. It’s Bill Clinton’s fault. Saying that a BJ wasn’t sexual relations with the inventor of the internet so close and impressionable.

      2. wikipedia has a good article and examples on HTML

  18. I think Negro problems are caused by the Jews in the media.


    1. hey!

  19. The point is that drug use is wrong, even if the WOD is not effective, and maybe counterproductive, it is the right thing to do morally.

    Not to engage a troll, but I’d like to address an point that lots of people don’t seem to get: governments should not attempt to legislate based on what’s moral. Governments should legislate based on preservation of individual rights. That is, murder and theft and rape, etc, should be illegal not because of the supposed immorality of those acts, but because those acts infringe on the rights of the victims. Once you start legislating based on morals, you guarantee that some fraction of society will be deprived of their liberty due solely to a subjective difference of opinion with whatever legislative fad is currently in fashion.

    1. Very well said.

    2. I agree that laws should be passed based on the protection of an individual’s rights.

      However, there’s also the argument that every law is going to come down what’s right and what’s wrong – which is, by definition, a form of morality.

      So every law is someone’s definition of morality on some level.

      1. Passing laws based on what’s “right or wrong” is exactly what I’m saying should not be done. Does a proposed law prohibit the infringement of individual liberty? Or restrict individual liberty? Those are the first questions legislators should ask. There are many cases that are not clear cut, certainly, but the focus should be on the rights and liberties at stake, not on what’s subjectively “wrong”.

        1. Your way may be better, but your belief that individual liberty is somehow some ironclad fact about the world, while other beliefs about what constitutes morality are simply subjective, is bogus.

        2. Jay J said what I was getting at.

          You say that that laws should be made based on protecting individual liberty and rights.

          So, it would be “wrong” to violate a person’s liberty or right. So, you’re still defining a moral system through legislation.

    3. This distinction between individual rights on the one hand, and subjective morality on the other, is not a principled distinction.

      There is no scientific experiment, no 3rd person form of objective observation, that reveals “rights,” any more than would reveal subjective moral preferences. It’s all fine and good to believe in rights, but it’s simply rhetorical ballsy-ness that justifies any distinction. In other words, there’s no good reason to see a distinction. I could just as easily say that justice is what laws should be based on, not these subjective beliefs about individuals rights (but I wouldn’t say such a thing).

  20. As a graduate of a public school that was composed fairly evenly of blacks, whites, and latinos in semi-rural Alabama…

    The problem is very much a family problem. As in, many of these kids are raised to “stick it to the man.” This can eventually lead to “success” in the traditionally definition being seen as uncool and undesirable.

    No one wants to grow up and become a “suit.”

    Many public schools just become baby sitting services to keep the kids in bad neighborhoods from joining gangs. Actual education and instruction becomes a secondary goal.

    Susan mentioned job training earlier…well that’s what school in general is supposed to be, right?

    First, you have to have a student who’s willing.

    Look at the definition of the liberal paradigm from WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/…..84932.html

    The WoD certainly isn’t a great policy, but the perception that it’s the only way to be “successful” doesn’t help things either. At this point in history, the only thing keeping minorities “down” is the attitude that the system is against them.

    1. No one wants to grow up and become a “suit.”


      This is a symptom not the disease.

      Successful drug dealers are the “Suits” in these neighborhoods and communities, and considering the money and power they wield that can be seen on a daily basis plenty of youths envy their position.

      Remove their money by ending the drug war and that envy and the drive to pursue what they envy it will be placed elsewhere.

      1. I wasn’t saying that no one wanted to make money. I was saying that no one wanted to make money in the traditional way that society enjoys.

        Yes, the drug dealers are successful and the youth see this as a way to be “successful.”

        So they become drug dealers. As opposed to accountants, lawyers, engineers, secretaries, etc. That’s what I meant when I said “suit.”

        These professions just aren’t popular in these neighborhoods.

        Even with WoD in place, there’s very little reason why the youth in these neighborhoods shouldn’t value an education as a means to a higher standard of living and better paying, legal jobs.

        So I’m saying the WoD (causing drug dealers to have so much influence) in conjunction with the perception that society (The Man everyone wants to stick it to) is creating a type of racial glass ceiling is causing this situation.

        From my experience, many of them have the opportunities. They just don’t take advantage. It’d be seen as “selling out”

        I’m probably overstepping my bounds here a little with the race commentary…but that’s been my experience.

        1. It’s not something unique to the inner city, but maybe it is more of a problem there, but you are right in that the parents one has and the peers one has can steer a person from one route to another.

        2. It is also a lack of examples. No matter what race, most people who are successful move from the inner city to a suburb somewhere. Perhaps the only successfuly people the youngster see are drug dealers.

    2. I enjoyed that WSJ article.

      1. I think the situation is similar. Liberals need to realize that most of the things they were fighting for back when the paradigm was formed, they have now won.

        Minorities need to realize that the Civil Rights movement is over, they have social advantages that they’ve ever had, access to education after high school in unprecedented, and the middle class, white, male is probably the most discriminated against demographic in America.

        1. Last year, New York police stopped 531,159 people, more than five times the number in 2002. Fifty-one percent of those stopped were black, 32 percent Hispanic and 11 percent white.

          From here.

          As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 44.1% of New York City’s population; of which 35.1% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 25.2% of New York City’s population

          From Wiki

          Yep it’s all peaches and cream if you’re black.

          1. I didn’t say that.

            Because diversity has become a goal in so many parts of society, the average white male doesn’t have the advantages that someone coming from a more ethnic background does.

    3. The WoD is a good way to contribute to keeping a minority down. Make illegal something a large group of people like (regardless of color) and you have government controlled oppression.

  21. i am beginning to see why the Dems who have had every chance in the world to end the war on drugs refuse to do so.

    Without a “crisis in black America” Dems lose support.

  22. Sure, the WOD is barbaric, but why a “Crisis in Black America” and not a “Crisis in Asian America” or a “Crisis in White America”, and why did DuBois document the same “Negro Problems” 100+ years ago?

    You won’t find out by reading fluff from Reason or McWhorter.

    1. Well, what was different 100 years ago (yes, I know I shouldn’t answer a question with a question)?

  23. Is it any wonder that the most lucrative profession in the inner cities is the one that doesn’t feature insurmountable barriers to entry via regulatory nonsense?

    Though having driven through Compton, South L.A. and other such neighborhoods shortly after the election of Mssr. Obama, I think the Obama t-shirt trade is becoming a quite profitable one as well. (though those street vendors might have had a run in with police trying to confirm their permits to sell merchandise)

  24. “Is it any wonder that the most lucrative profession in the inner cities is the one that doesn’t feature insurmountable barriers to entry via regulatory nonsense?”

    Preacher or Councilman? It’s hard to tell from your writing. Please clarify.

    1. I think it’s barber.

    2. Happiness consultant?

    3. racial agitator?

  25. These rumblings are the begiining of the end for the WoD. 25 years ago this conversation would have been nearly non-existant as many of us (me included) thought the government really cared (tongue in cheeck) and wanted what was best for society. In light of the abject failure the WoD has been and the massive harm it has done to tens of thousands of lives thousands more and more people are beggining to see the lie. Our kids who will take over from the dead and dying Congress will not lock people up for whatthey do to themselves any more than they lock up wineos and alkies who manage no to hurt others.

    1. I hope your right. But I can’t see society wrapping their minds around the issue like that. Look at Susan above. She represents the popular opinion about WoD.

      “Drugs are bad. We must keep them out of neighborhoods and away from our children.”

      It’s much like the opinion about hate crimes.

      “Hate is evil. Therefore, we must punish it.”

      I wish Congress had called me in to speak on Hate’s behalf. I’d have liked to see some heads explode.

      1. I can’t help but think that Susan is a shill. She can’t be serious and if she is she is part of an ever shrinking minority.
        As far as drugs being bad they are so bad that the government is willing to use any means necessary up to and including Deadly Force to keep us form hurting Ourselves. Talk about irony.
        Hollywood will be one of the forces to reveal the lie in movies that depict the harm versus benefit to society that locking people for what they do to themselves create. Meanwhile…anyone who wants drugs, even children,can get any illegal drug pure or poisoned because they are not regulated.
        What’s the old sying that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” How does that apply when it’s the government ?

    2. I think it is more due to the fact that the generation of hypocritical narrow minded bigots and blue law christians is dying off at an increasing rate and the hippies are replacing them in the seats of power.

  26. Someone mentioned how middle class white people are just recently getting a taste of the abuse by police that black people in many parts of the country have lived with forever. I have always felt that the people we libertarians ought to be reaching out to are those people who have suffered the most because of the WOD and have borne the brunt of this insanity – inner city black people. Middle class people typically still live with the delusion that they are free and they live in a free country. Most blacks know better.

    I know that libertarianism resonates with the inner city culture. I have seen several Rap videos espousing libertarian themes and even a couple dedicated to Ron Paul. The way I see it – we have two group who are ripe for the message of liberty. The invisible, forgotten, fly over country American – the real silent majority, if you will, who feel instinctively that they have no stake in this country as it is – and inner city, young blacks who know they have no stake in it.

    1. Yes, but libertarians can’t offer them money like Democrats can.

  27. Susan; you are blatantly helping to increase robberies and assaults on innocent people. –The high prices of drugs caused by prohibition force many drug addicts to turn to robbery in order to pay for their drugs. Legalized regulation would drop drug prices. Drug users would no longer need to rob/assault innocent people in order to support their drug habit. This violence against innocent people would end if drugs were legally regulated.

    Susan; you have helped clog our prisons and jails with nonviolent people. –Nearly 50% of all people in prison and jail are serving time for nonviolent drug charges. To house just one prisoner for one year costs the taxpayer thousands! The result of these harsh penalties? Drug use has increased!

    Susan; you obviously support organized crime, terrorists and drug cartels. –criminal organizations thrive off the enormous profits caused by drug prohibition. These organizations are responsible for thousands of murders! Many of the people killed or hurt are innocent people who “get in the way” These violent organizations will never be put out of business unless drugs are legally regulated.

    Susan; you are aiding and abetting environmental destruction. –Underground illegal cocaine and methamphetamine labs use toxic chemicals to produce those drugs. The wastes are recklessly dumped in forests and streams. These highly toxic chemicals are causing major environmental damage in South American rain-forests and now also in the UK. This environmental destruction will stop only if drugs are legally regulated.

    Susan; you appear to help lure thousands of young people into quitting school. –It is a fact that thousands of inner-city youths drop out of school to make enormous profits by selling drugs. The incentive to drop out of school would end if drugs were legally regulated.

    Susan; you are helping to make/keep drugs easily available for kids. –In spite of what you may believe, keeping drugs illegal does not keep drugs away from children! Drugs are easily obtainable in almost every school in the US. Legalized regulation would put schoolyard drug dealers out of business! There would be less drugs in our schools if drugs were legally regulated. Drugs would still be illegal for minors!

    Susan; you are subsidizing criminals by letting them reap huge drug profits without paying taxes. –Since drugs are sold anyway, wouldn’t you rather have them heavily taxed so it would reduce our tax burden? You are giving criminals a free ride and it’s coming out of our own pocket. Working people pay 100% of all taxes for the drug dealers! Why do you want us all to pay taxes for drug dealers?

    Susan; the drug war harms/kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people and burdens all of us as taxpayers. The drug war has not reduced, and never will reduce, drug use!

    Susan; prohibition is not regulation; prohibition is a dangerous “free-for-all” where all the profits go to organized criminals and terrorists!

    For shame on you; you should know better!

    1. Susan only knows what the government tells her. Susan is the type of person who if she were on a rural road at a stop light that didn’t work she would sit and sit and sit until it finally told her it was safe to proceed. Propganda and brainwashing are still in use today. But you can’t fool all the people ALL the time.

  28. The war on drugs is doing to the black and poverty oppressed communities of America precisely what it was designed to do: entice under-employed and disadvantaged people into crime, drug abuse and disaffection using easy access to tax free economic opportunity.

    “[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.” H.R. Haldeman’s diary according to former Wall Street Journal reporter Dan Baum in his book “Smoke and Mirrors”.

    The War on Drugs was then and still is today that “system”.

    This is how Nixon and the Dixie-crats of 1970 re-invigorated Jim Crow after the 1965 Voting Rights Act disabled it.

    Jim Crow stood on two legs. 1.) Direct denial of access to polling and elections. 2.) mass criminal disenfranchisement through trumped up morals laws including drug laws.

    The VRA kicked the first leg out from under Jim Crow. The War on Drugs was the crutch that enabled the other leg to stand and grow stronger than ever.

  29. The war on drugs is the antithesis of regulation. It is government imposed criminal anarchy.

    A regulated market would provide adult supervision of drug sales. The Drug War prohibits regulated sales and instead mandates that the only people who can sell drugs are predators who are aggressive enough to think that they can outwit or outlast law enforcement in order to get a piece of the tax free multibillion dollar criminal subsidy that is the black market for drugs.

    The war on drugs is a government imposed total absence of regulation.

  30. The WoD …now there’s one for conspiracy theorists. It is so perfectly destructive to society there has to be conscious intenet to control large swaths of society under it’s disguise.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.