Drug Policy

End the Drug War

Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

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I'm confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone, and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old boy—for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.

Two years ago, in Prince George's County, Md., cops raided Cheye Calvo's home—all because a box of marijuana was randomly shipped to his wife as part of a smuggling operation. Only later did the police learn that Calvo was innocent—and the mayor of that town.

"When this first happened, I assumed it was just a terrible, terrible mistake," Calvo said. "But the more I looked into it, the more I realized (it was) business as usual that brought the police through our front door. This is just what they do. We just don't hear about it. The only reason people heard about my story is that I happened to be a clean-cut white mayor."

Radley Balko of Reason magazine says more than a hundred police SWAT raids are conducted every day. Does the use of illicit drugs really justify the militarization of the police, the violent disregard for our civil liberties, and the overpopulation of our prisons? It seems hard to believe.

I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm—wreck lives and hurt people. But that's true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn't work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don't think so.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn't mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

Many people fear that if drugs were legal, there would be much more use and abuse. That's possible, but there is little evidence to support that assumption. In the Netherlands, marijuana has been legal for years. Yet the Dutch are actually less likely to smoke than Americans. Thirty-eight percent of American adolescents have smoked pot, while only 20 percent of Dutch teens have. One Dutch official told me that "we've succeeded in making pot boring."

By contrast, what good has the drug war done? It's been 40 years since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their "successes." They are always holding press conferences showing off big drug busts. So it's not like authorities aren't trying.

We've locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country. That allows China to criticize America's human-rights record because our prisons are "packed with inmates."

Yet drugs are still everywhere. The war on drugs wrecks far more lives than drugs do!

Need more proof? Fox News runs stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs that smuggle drugs into Arizona. Few stop to think that legalization would end the violence. There are no Corona beer smugglers. Beer sellers don't smuggle. They simply ship their product. Drug laws cause drug crime.

The drug trade moved to Mexico partly because our government funded narcotics police in Colombia and sprayed the growing fields with herbicides. We announced it was a success! We cut way back on the Colombian drug trade.

But so what? All we did was squeeze the balloon. The drug trade moved across the border to Peru, and now it's moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.

That's what I call progress. It's the kind of progress we don't need.

Economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: "(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs."

Right on, Ludwig!

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

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  1. Threadjacking alert: This is the sequel to an earlier threadjacking of mine in which I announced that I was threatened with homelessness. I’m happy to report that I’ve miraculously found an apartment?under circumstances that are both good and bad for my karma as a libertarian. You can read about it at my new blog post, “I didn’t exactly learn rugged self-reliance, but at least I refused any more help from my mother.”

  2. Yay! A new thread for people to bitch about Stossel!

    1. FIRE THE RACIST BIGOT STOSSEL NAO!!!!!

      1. lol. Well played sir.

    2. i don’t really understand his popularity. Even when i agree with him his articles are incredibly simplistic.

      1. Yeah I’ve noticed the same thing. There’s nothing I disagree with at all in Stossel’s piece — but there’s also nothing I haven’t read a thousand times before either.

        Still though, I’m glad he’s got his show going — the more exposure for reasonable thinking, the better.

        1. He’s Libertarian Lite. Really, really lite. Like, 54-calories lite.

          1. What makes him Lite?

            He’s a libertarian. Period. He sometimes condenses the message into easy-to-digest morsels for the masses (see non-libertarians) but he doesn’t hedge on the ideals. The brilliant Don Boudreaux does the same thing via letters to the editor and no one would call him ‘lite.’

            Stossel is an important torch-bearer for liberty.

            1. He’s a real dumshit, if y’axe me.

            2. The 20/20 ‘journalist” with the scoop that pro-wrasslin’ is actually fake.

              Shit like that is hard to recover from rep-wise….

              1. You’re joking, right? Stossel’s pro wrestling piece was some serious awesomeness. And it aired in the early 80s, when a huge chunk of “rasslin’s” audience did not actually know it was fake.

                1. In the pro-wrestling world it was indeed awesome.

                  Not so much in the world of journalism, I’m afraid.

                  Little kids know that it’s fake

            3. Stossel is a libertarian communicator, like Walter E. Williams. Very few libertarians manage to break into the media, and both are to be applauded. Both, BTW, are active endorsers of the Free State Project. Stossel was keynote speaker at the FSP’s first Liberty Forum, and a big draw.

        2. Whether it’s been written a thousand times before or not, for some reason, not enough people have understood it.

          Remember when our country had a drug problem, so we spent tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on a war on drugs, and now you can’t buy drugs anymore?

      2. Stossel spent years at ABC being the only libertarian voice on network TV. I feel like he’s honed himself as being the easy-to-grasp libertarian. Nothing wrong with being the first rung on the road to Mises and Hayek. Got to start somewhere.

        1. I agree. I always recommend Stossel to people who aren’t familiar with libertarian ideas. His “Sick in America” special was really good.

      3. Because the vast majority of people get their information in sound bites. It’s all about knowing your audience. Stossel’s not writing and speaking to libertarians. He’s writing and speaking to your average American, for whom these ideas are novel and radical, and thus must be broken down into bite-sized chunks to be processed.

  3. One Dutch official told me that “we’ve succeeded in making pot boring.”

    The he gave a sly wink and vanished back into the coffeeshop.

  4. Pot *is* boring. “Duuuuude! I’m really sleepy and my idiotic musings seem profound! Duuuuude!”

    1. My, what an original comment.

  5. Its pretty clear the drug war will never end dude.

    Lou
    http://www.feds-logging.at.tc

    1. War. War never changes.

    2. Why so serious?

  6. I believe the war on obeisity is a back door war on pot – all that unhealthy munching!!!

    1. Or they’re trying to get people to switch from (relatively healthy) pot to (less healthy) cocaine, (much less healthy) amphetamines, and (somewhat less healthy to much less healthy) opiates, all of which inhibit appetite.

      1. Also, all of those drugs can potentially kill. And more dead drug users means they’re winning the war, since it will get people to understand that drugs are dangerous. Just like fewer dead drug users means they’re winning the war, because it means fewer people are using drugs.

        Either way, though, they need more money, because now is not the time to relax vigilance.

  7. The thing about it is, most of the smuggling and crime is brought in from outside the country and happens along the border towns (most not all). Add on to that the fact a lot of politicians drink, drank, but don’t smoke pot and that’s the difference. Alcohol brought crime to major cities (Chicago, New York, etc). and a lot of decision-makers still liked it, but as far as I know, no major politicians smoke weed and the crime isn’t focused in major cities.

    So that’s part of the reason why marijuana won’t be legalized federally soon.

    1. They don’t smoke pot but they do snort blow.

      The politicians don’t care if it’s legal because the laws don’t apply to them so long as they play ball and aren’t really stupid about their drug use.

      1. Which is a stupid dichotomy when it’s so easy to sprinkle some coke on a joint before you roll it up.

        1. I suspect the reasons pot is not the drug of choice for politicians is that it’s impossible to hide the fact you are doing it. Also I think it has a ‘low class’ stigma and most politicians are all about image. Look at our Dear Leader.

      2. “When the president does it, it’s not illegal.”

    2. There’s plenty of drug crime in major cities. Gangs revolve around it. The thing is, we (meaning the collective population) tend to be blind to the social costs of law enforcement…just like we tend to filter out the social costs of *most* government action. Hence, people don’t really weigh the social cost of prohibition vs the social cost of wider drug use; they just weigh the cost of less drug use with more drug use and conclude that legalizing drugs would be an unqualified bad thing.

  8. I have realized that after so many years of ridiculous brainwashing by media and government it requires a hard slap to a “high and mighty” individuals face for them to wake up and see that smoking marijuana is no different from when they are saying “tonight im gonna go to the bar and get fucked up!”

    Well I guess they could kill themselves through a good old fashion alcohol poisoning. Can you kill yourself through marijuana poisoning?

    1. No, but lung cancer is possible.

      1. That research is still a bit contentious. I’ve seen research that says it causes cancer and other research that says THC helps cull cancer-causing cells.

      2. Um, yeah lung cancer is “possible” for anybody, but it has nothing to do with cannabis.

        1. What about emphysema?

      3. The only research that has been interpreted that way only indicates that pot smoke contains some of the same chemicals thought to cause cancer in tobacco smoke. There are no epidemiological studies that I have heard of that actually show any correlation between pot smoking and cancer. Some actually seem to show a negative correlation.

        1. So just in case it turns out that smoking weed can cause lung cancer, use a vaporizer.

      4. can you develop a cancerous tumor in a few hours of smokinmg pot for it to kill you that evening?

        1. I’ll stand correction, but I’ve seen very studies on marijuana and lung cancer and usually they involve relatively few subjects. I think it may be wishful thinking to believe that marijuana won’t contribute to LC or respiratory illness. I hope I’m wrong, though.

          1. Yeah, I dont’ think there’s a version of breathing in smoke of any kind on a regular basis that isn’t bad for your lungs.

          2. Taskin’s UCLA study was pretty comprehensive actually, and he found evidence of inhibition of tumor growth in the lungs.

            Is inhaling hot carbon combustion products into your sensitive lungs good for you? Probably not, but neither is cramming down a Big Mac at 70mph for lunch. Neither one is a particularly dangerous act though.

            1. I think everyone from carl on down missed the Mises quote, “(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs.”

              Health effects have nothing to do with whether or not a substance should be banned/prohibited/regulated.

  9. I’m hoping though, if we can legalize weed in CA this November, that will really acclerate the trend towards freedom.

    It will reinforce that legalization doesn’t cause the world to end.

    I’m hoping that liberatrians everywhere are going to be helping out, because you know the cop/prison unions are going to try and defeat it.

    1. “libertarians everywhere”

      …see, that’s our first problem.

  10. My wife is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor here in NH. I’m a libertarian. Divorce is inevitable.

    1. Is it not possible to understand both that people can and do have serious problems with addiction and that people should have the right to choose what to put into their own bodies? It doesn’t seem like much of a contradiction.

      1. a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

        When all you see, day in and day out, are druggie losers, you think all users of drugs must inevitably become abusers and losers.

      2. Once you learn that “This is bad” does not need to be followed by “This should be illegal,” nor does “This should be legal” need to be followed by “This is good for you,” it makes it easier to get along with others.

        1. +1. It’s really not very complicated, is it?

  11. Nobody in my real life seems to know the answer to this… what happens after 11/2/10 if CA passes this ballot measure:

    “Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.”

    It is currently ahead in the polls… so what will happen if it’s legal (though regulated) per the state, but it’s illegal per the feds? Will it be a very different situation than with medical pot?… on fiscal impact, the blurb reads:

    “Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government…”

    I had assumed that if it passed, the issue would get tied up in the courts. But with all this money on the line… I don’t know. Any informed opinions?

    1. Constitutionally police powers are the purview of the state. Technically the FBI is unconstitutional when doing anything that doesn’t involve interstate commerce and the BATF and the DEA are way unconstitutional.

      But of course the Feds have the army and the money and Cali has spent themselves into poverty.

      I think the feds win.

      1. the DEA are way unconstitutional.

        Not so because of the controlled substances act. Because it cannot be known if drugs traveled interstate, it is assumed they did, therefore it is interstate commerce.

        1. Could they really still assume that in a state that has legalized the substance?

          I think it would be much more reasonable to assume that a person bought it from a shop in-state if it’s legalized.

          1. You could argue that you’d be much less likely to ship it interstate if it is illegal – more risk, which would be reduced if it is legal in its destination state. Of course, this is California, so probably producers would be slapped with a ton of regulations, but be granted a certificate of in-state production to circumvent federal agencies. The penalized parties would be those too poor to buy the regulated stuff (mostly minorities), and their suppliers (mostly small government types). Which mostly means business as usual.

            If it is legal, however, I could see more raids happening in state border towns, and in the case of CA, the Tijuana border, precisely for that reason.

            1. Shipping it interstate is federally illegal (and constitutionally so) whether or not this passes. And Juanita is performance art.

        2. Even growing in your yard for your personal consumption is considered interstate commerce.

        3. It’s even easier than that. Anything that indirectly affects interstate commerce is covered by the commerce clause. Since pot makes you hungry, so you go buy corn chips, and Frito-Lay packages its corn chips in another state, smoking pot is interstate commerce!

        4. The unconstitutional controlled substances act does not make the agencies that enforce them constitutional.

          Essentially your argument devolves to a logical contradiction. Because of Wickard, anything can be assumed, imputed, or have potential to affect interstate commerce, and so be subject to federal legislative purview. There is nothing they cannot legislate, eg Obamacare.

          However if this is the case there would have been no need for enumerated powers. The ninth and tenth amendments would have been logical absurdities.. essentially saying except for everything rights are reserved for the states and the people.

          Clearly this was not intended, as even a casual perusal of the federalist/anti-federalist papers make abundantly clear.

          Police powers are reserved for the states. The DEA, and BATF are unconstitutional.

          Also redistributive powers are reserved for the states. The entire federal nanny/welfare state is unconstitutional.

    2. “what happens after 11/2/10 if CA passes this ballot measure:”

      CA will gain huge amounts of tax revenue. Next politicians in Sacramento will create new programs which will spend double the new revenue and California will actually go bust faster than before.

      1. You’re absolutely right about that. But I’m more interested in the personal liberty side of this than the “by not jailing innocent people, we can make more tax dollars” side.

        1. Rightly so. I’m just sick of hearing how the legalization and taxation of pot is gonna solve California’s deficit problems. No, it won’t. They will have all that revenue spent before the first legal/non-medical spliff is lit.

          1. Hey, if it gets the… right/left? to support it, then I guess I have to be ok with that.

            I’m confused now… does the “tax $$$’s!!” argument convince the left or the right?

            1. No, because of the prohibition, it has been forced so far underground, that it will stay there to avoid taxation, agorists rejoice!!!

    3. This is a guess, but I think there would eventually be lawsuits. But bring on the conflict — the more the feds are forced to defend a militaristic war on frigging cannabis, the more desperate and ineffective they’ll look.

  12. I’m guessing that the feds will add a new condition to their revenue sharing arrangements that cuts off any state that doesn’t pursue the WOD with sufficient vigah.

    1. This is how the feds got all the states to go with their 55mph highway restriction so there’s precedent.

  13. Is that enough to matter? Aren’t the potential tax revenues really really big? Hell, I’m hoping that the feds will get greedy and try to steal the tax revenue by doing the legalizing and taxing themselves.

    1. Will greed win over nannyism? Interesting.

    2. Technically since drug revenues are forfeit to the state (and since they’re guilty until proven innocent) the feds could probably seize all the money that the state of California collects from marijuana regulation.

  14. We’ve locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country.

    “We’re number one! We’re . . . “

    1. America Fuck Yea!

  15. I can understand someone breaking the law to get high. But why on earth would someone cheat on their taxes just to save a few million dollars? Have these scoundrels no respect for the law? Moreover, by not paying their fair share, tax cheats harm the community at large. Clearly, the government must take stronger measures against tax cheats.

  16. People on drugs can do terrible harm?wreck lives and hurt people.

    That’s for sure and why they are illegal, because they cause violence. There is no knowing what someone that takes the pot or heroin might do for their next fix.

    But as John Stossel notes, that’s true for alcohol, too.

    Sometimes, but alcohol has a long history of safe use in western society, other drugs don’t.

    1. LOL. Intellectual lightweight, I see.

    2. “Sometimes, but alcohol has a long history of safe use in western society, other drugs don’t.”

      As long as the brainwashed masses still eat up this crap, it will be difficult to stop this madness.

    3. Y’ALL NIGGAS POSTIN’ IN A TROLL THREAD.

    4. That’s for sure and why they are illegal, because they cause violence. There is no knowing what someone that takes the pot or heroin might do for their next fix.

      Without the WoD they would simply go to the store and charge it on their credit card.

      Sometimes, but alcohol has a long history of safe use in western society, other drugs don’t.

      Starting with the Whiskey Rebellion? Like anything else, most of the problems we’ve had with alcohol haave been caused by the government.

      1. Right, because a heroin addict can hold a steady job.

        Not saying it should be illegal, but if you ignore serious realities you’re not going to convince anybody.

        1. Um, yeah actually heroin addicts can hold down jobs. Sullum documented a handful of them in Saying Yes, and usage statistics show that:

          a) The majority of heroin users do not experience dependency issues, and

          b) The majority of heroin “addicts” are functioning members of society.

      2. That’s for sure and why they are illegal, because they cause violence. There is no knowing what someone that takes the caffiene or nicotine might do for their next fix.

    5. Oh Juanita, you’re so juvjuee…

    6. “the pot” Nice.

    7. There is no knowing what someone that takes the pot or heroin might do for their next fix.

      Are you serious? I’m guessing you have never smoked pot!

  17. Alchohol related deaths a year 85000, marjiuana deaths 0

    http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

  18. “Sometimes, but alcohol has a long history of safe use in western society, other drugs don’t.”
    ——-

    Wasn’t there a long stretch where much of the world was freely smoking opium without widespread anarchy?

    1. China had major problems with it.

      1. Marijuana has been used in the past, and it is still in use today for a variety of medicinal purposes, such as this story of a mother who uses marijuana cookies and lollipops to help manage her sons physical and mental problems associated with autism.

        Anyone who believes that a mother should be denied medicine to give to her son that is both effective and harmless to the child is a miserable human being.

      2. Re: Juanita,

        China had major problems with it.

        Actually, the Chinese government had major problems with it. The government is not the same as society, no matter how much Statists wish it to be otherwise in their wet dreams.

        1. Wasn’t it that the Chinese government only wanted to import gold but the Western Powers found that they could export opium to the people?

        2. If a foreign government (England) can completely manipulate your country (China) by simply cutting off an addictive substance (opium – see the Opium wars), then your SOCIETY does indeed have a porblem.

          However, one reason opium addiction was so widespread was that they didn’t have modern medicine and didn’t necessarily understand that opium can be quite bad for you.

  19. Alcohol is a factor in about 40% of all violent crimes, according to widely available statistics. Where is the “history of safe use?”

    A Marijuana high as a factor in violent crime? Practically nothing. Ditto for LSD, psylocybin, and mescaline.

    1. Violent crimes no, but what about iconoclastic crimes against the glorious state?

  20. The Puritanical spirit is still alive and well in America, upright folks imposing their notions of morality on the rest of us. The Drug Wars, the War on Internet Porn, the war on Prostitution… And they all fail, except to ruin as many lives as possible in the process. The most abused drugs in America are prescription drugs, abused by some 20% of geezers like me and old biddies like you. But Big Pharma makes billions off their sales, and even made it a part of GWBush’s Prescription Drug plan that the government couldn’t negotiate lower prices, and we can’t get our drugs from Canada where they are as much as 50% cheaper!

    1. how dare you say something bad about big pharma
      all good libertarians know that anything bad is the fault of government. Reasoned argument has no place here.

      1. Re: thickasabrick,

        You sure live up to your username.

        1. what by saying something slightly different from you?

          1. Let’s see…can I think of the difference between Big Pharma and Uncle Sam…?

            Oh yea, if you don’t like Big Pharma, then buy fucking generic drugs! Problem solved.

            1. Until Sam bans the generics. They’re not safe, dontcha know?

              1. Uh, no, they don’t. Every pharmacy in the country has generic drugs on hand. CVS has notices that they will advise you of the cost difference between the name brand and the generic and then give you a choice. Walgreens just gives you the generic unless you explicitly ask for the name brand. Been to a pharmacy much?

    2. But, but D’Green, they have such nice intentions and mean so well . . . they just want us to be perfect being, by bayonet point if necessary. Is that sooooo bad?

    3. Mr. Green, you need to provide some citations to back up the assertions you make. Without these, rambling without purpose is all that is provided by your comment.

      After the statistics your comment asserts are verified, we can debate the implications of your post.

  21. Know who else liked drugs?

    HITLER! That’s who!

    Marijuana is smoked. Hmmm…smoke. Like the smoke from the crematoriums of Auschwitz, perhaps?

    Heroin, invented by a German chemist. German- just like the Nazis.

    Amphetamines- widely used by the German Army during their Blitzkrieg campaigns.

    Drugs- yet another sinister tool of the left-Nazi-progressive camp.

    Woowoowoowoowhoopwhoopwhoop!

    1. I call Godwin…

  22. P.S.

    Sarah Palin rose a notch in my book. She took a common sense stand on marijuana the other day on Fox & Friends along with Ron Paul.

    I would have never thought she felt that way about.

    Still leary of her though…

    1. Yeah, it really creeps me out when she totally ditches all the family values stuff and starts saying semi-libertarian stuff. She would parrot Nazi Rhettoric if it polled well for her.

  23. “One Dutch official told me that ‘we’ve succeeded in making pot boring.'”

    Who told you that, John? When and where did he tell you? Why are you quoting him anonymously?

    Anybody who holds office is an “official.” Was this the undersecretary of parks and recreation or the director of waste management? Normally it would lend credibility to your article to reveal that your source was the head of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Branch at the Health Ministry…fifteen years ago. [Eddy Engelsman still works for the Health Ministry under a different title.]

    This quote comes from a guy in the Netherlands talking about stuff that everybody already knows, and that he’s being paid to talk about. So, why would Stossel need to keep this source anonymous?

    Probably because it’s not his source and no one actually told John Stossel this.

    You can Google it for yourself, or you can check out the earliest quote from Rolling Stone magazine in 1995: http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/tlcpresc.cfm [6th paragraph]

    Maybe Engelsman just recently repeated this line to Stossel when being interviewed for the story? Yet if that’s the case, then the quote wouldn’t be anonymous. It’s anonymous so that nobody realizes it’s a 15 year old quote from another story, and it allows him to pretend that he’s uncovered it through diligent research.

    A judge called Jim Gray seems fond of using the same quotation, but he doesn’t claim to have heard it in person.

    I wonder how much of the rest of this article was cobbled together from Lexis and Google searches, or from other unattributed writers?

    1. Ooooh, hard-hitting stuff there. Surely no two people could independently observe that maybe legitimizing a taboo takes away its glamor.

      Stossel you better look out, jcalton is out to expose you for the dangerous fraud you are!

      1. Rhayder, if you believe that another dutch official independently observed this, then explain why would that source would need to be made anonymous.

        Is his life or job in danger for talking about pot…in the Netherlands?

        It’s not that Stossel is a dangerous fraud. It’s two things:
        1) I already hate two-party rhetoric because it is filled with made-up facts, bogus statistics, and apocryphal anecdotes.
        2) Stossel is not dangerous. He’s a contrarian, not a libertarian. He can have his TV shows or go anywhere else, but I don’t want him in Reason.

        Read his story “Going Green” last month [anti-alternative energy] then look up his paid speaking engagement for an oil think-tank (CEI) in June. That’s either fraud or failure to disclose: lazy journalism, at best.

        He’s a hack. He’s embarrassing. He’s utterly bland. At best, he’s trying to be the Andy Rooney of Libertarianism. Why in Reason’s name would you defend him?

        1. Say what you want about CEI, but it’s not an “oil think-tank”, you moron. How about a little EDUCATION about the groups that you go after?? CEI is a free-market think-tank, which, yes, does seem to be a little more in bed with corporations than Cato or Independent. Yes, it gets some money from corporations, but SO WHAT? I’m pretty sure if you looked into it, corporate money is nowhere near the majority of their funding. They’d be stupid to allow that. Anytime they talk about corporatism or offend corporations in the name of the free market or libertarian principles, they’d begin to lose a lot of funding.

          In fact, for all the BS attacking of CEI b/c it takes Exxon, there’s not much there to go by. CEI only takes about 200,000 a year from ExxonMobil, not a small sum but still quite a bit far from the majority of funding.

          It’s like Cato. Cato Institute only gets like 30 or 40% of funding from corporate America. And why wouldn’t they? When you defend free markets and deregulation, corporations are going to tend to be on your side (although there is also the issue of some companies lobbying for regulation to keep OUT competition).

          I don’t see the problem with Stossel’s show on going green. What’s the big deal? We hear this bullshit all the time, and people just assume that we can transition to a “green economy” in a snap. Even Mike Gravel claimed in 2008 debates that we can get off oil in 5 years and carbon in 10. NO ONE with any smarts believes that.

          I’m GLAD Stossel got REAL experts like Robert Bryce to demolish the leftist green talking points. Alternative energy is just far too expensive and does not have the return on investment needed to make a transition from oil. Plus, we get far less oil from the Middle East than Latin America, so Middle East oil really isn’t that big a deal. And right-wingers act like Mideast oil “forces” us to get involved in no-win wars. NO IT DOESN’T! It’s stupid-ass warmongering leaders like Bush and Obama that get us involved.

        2. We must be watching different John Stossels, jcalton. I like him! He’s bold and fresh (sorry if that sounded like Bill O’Reilly). What was so bad about his show on going green? Isn’t it time SOMEONE in the media challenged the green bullshit? I never bought into it and KNEW it was just a fad from day 1! Is it SOOO bad to challenge conventional wisdom on sacred cows like “going green”?

          Who gives a shit if he did a show on going green demolishing myths and then spoke at CEI? wtf does that prove? It just shows that CEI thinks he’s worth speaking. There’s no proven conflict of interest. People with similar interests tend to FLOCK TOGETHER. Do you know nothing about human nature? Why does he need to disclose any of that? Are you claiming he did the going green show just to appease CEI so they’d keep his speaking engagement? God, that’s naive and a very ludicrous accusation if I ever saw one.

          I’m tired of folks who assume that just b/c someone works for a certain organization or gets funding from one, automatically they’re “in the tank” for that organization. First of all, correlation is NOT causation! And secondly, does anyone ever stop to think that MAYBE they work for that organization or get funding BECAUSE the organization thinks he’ll be able to promote their cause, not b/c they think the funding will “bribe” the person or organization into doing their bidding? I wouldn’t work at the Sierra Club no matter HOW MUCH they threw at me! I wouldn’t be Bernie Sanders’ congressional page no matter how much he offered.

          Money corrupts, but it can only corrupt CORRUPT PEOPLE. Stop looking at the money and look at the people and organizations getting it. Money doesn’t matter if the person/org. is above the funding and stays independent. Campaign finance is also a lot more complex than people assume.

  24. My fear:

    They’ll legalize pot, but make tobacco illegal.

    1. I have seen the writing on the wall for just such an aventure. I believe we will see the day.

  25. Is Officer Paul unfunny? My answer is a resounding no… man, seriously, this guy is completely hysterical.

    1. He was a sad, sad man. And resoundingly so.

  26. Watched the show tonight. Did anyone else notice how officer Drug Warrior completely, I mean utterly did not understand the question about the constitutionality of the Feds War on Drugs?

    1. “Well, look at the problems we have with alcohol, do you want to cross that line, and add more problems and go on to other drugs? My answer would be a resounding ‘no'”.
      ———

      I don’t know what this even means, but he said it the exact same way like 3 times… apparently it’s the answer that’s good for everything, like duct tape

      1. “the answer that’s good for everything, like duct tape”

        tucking that one away for future use

  27. Not even a mention of the billions of dollars thrown at this “war” at the cost of the American people.

    1. Yeah, except for that part where he said “Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their ‘successes.'”

      I think that counts as a “mention,” no?

  28. The war on drugs is a tale of a once great and free nation which fell down a rat hole into a fantasy world riddled with peculiar and dystopian logic.

    No amount of money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again; only an end to prohibition can do that. How much longer are we willing to foolishly risk our own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

    For those of you who are still living in some strange parallel universe, one where prohibition actually works, may I suggest that you return to high school economics class, and learn about supply and DEMAND. Learn that you cannot up DEMAND simply by upping supply. Contrary to popular held superstition, drugs are not PUSHED, the drug dealers are filling a DEMAND not creating one. The DEMAND is here in the US and is impossible to control, but what is possible to control, is the income from that DEMAND. All we have to do is allow legal businesses to meet that DEMAND. Under proper regulation drug use will not rise, as it couldn’t get any worse than it is at present.

    If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

    If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    And one last thought: The real “drug Dons” are the rich and powerful who control the government-licensed drug cartel (Big Pharma). They view people who oppose proper regulation of these unpatentable –thus at present illegal– substances, as “useful idiots”

  29. It appears from the pro-drug posts on this site that use of illegal drugs is an automatic qualification to become a “Libertarian”. It may even be a requirement. Apparently the drugs enhance one’s capacity for self-delusion.
    If any of you truly suppose that drug use does not injure the users or their families or the communities of which they are a part, then go to visit the rehab centers in your area. Talk to those who have gotten clean after years of drug abuse. You “philosophers” and theoreticians need a good dose of reality.
    I had a relative who died in prison for crimes committed because drug use made him unemployable. He died of complications of hepatitis. He was a bright, good kid until he began using drugs “socially”. He was not unique!
    I have had other friends and family also whose lives were blighted by that plague, and I am not unique in that.
    The problem is not that there is a “war” on drugs, but, rather, that there are too many supercilious, ignorant, arrogant, little shits who have aligned themselves with the enemy!
    Does alcohol cause similar problems? You bet it does, but there is some difference. One may drink an occasional beer or have a glass of wine with a meal for the flavor and never feel any intoxicating effect. No one, however, has ever used drugs for the flavor, and only rarely are they used for any reason except for the perception-altering effects.
    If we acknowledge that there are serious adverse effects to the use of alcohol, why would we wish to add to our culture another activity of an even more virulent nature? That would be like a man suffering from tuberculosis who sought to have a cancer as well.
    As for the assertion that one should be free to do as he wishes with his body, that would be true if he, and only he, bore the consequences of his choices. Unfortunately, other individuals in the community are likely to bear the costs as well, and that is not of their choosing. Should only the user have the right to choose?
    Perhaps we could find a compromise of a purely Libertarian nature? Suppose that the sale and use of drugs of all sorts could be confined to certain enclosed areas. Those who wished to indulge themselves could go there and remain until they were free of the drugs and the effects of them. In the event of an overdose, all costs would be borne by the operator of the site. Also, if a user were to become addicted, permanently impaired or debilitated, the site owner would be responsible for his support.
    Would this be a solution that would satisfy the Libertarian inclinations of the pro-drug posters?

    1. rehab centers are stocked with court ordered pot smokers…not that THEY have a problem, but that the goverment has a problem with them. Yes you can have a problem with harder drugs, but the biggest problem there comes from not having a clean reliable source.

      1. How many rehab centers have you visited, and did you conduct surveys to discover why the populations were there? As a matter of easily determined fact, many of the patients have entered rehab voluntarily because their drug use has made it impossible for them to function as they would choose. They are often unemployable and unable to maintain the important relationships in their lives. They enter rehab in order to salvage something of their lives by freeing themselves from addiction and dependency on toxins.
        For you to assert that they don’t have a problem with drugs, that it is the government’s problem is utterly fatuous. There are a great many pot smokers whose only ambition is to get high. They contribute nothing to themselves or society and rely on others to provide them with sustenance. Yes, they have a problem, and they are kind enough to share it with anyone who will enlist in their service.
        That you suggest that the major problem with “hard” drugs is finding a “clean, reliable source” defines your intellect. Have you never seen a meth user after a few weeks on that drug? Have you not seen the ulcerated skin, the emaciated body, the teeth falling out? That’s the reality. Deal with that, then write back, you little numbskull! Until then, don’t try to blow smoke, pot or otherwise, up my shirttail.

        1. Meth isn’t much different from caffeine, fatty foods, and alcohol. Anyone can develop a problem with it that affects their lives and the lives of others. No one is suggesting that people use narcotics or hallucinogenics constantly, but have them available to them, in an honest and open market, for the times they choose to take their trip.

          Sure, after being up for a week tweaking, a person would be in pretty bad shape, but if you just stay up for a night, get a full night’s sleep the next night, your back to your normal self.

          How about, instead of criminalizing things that you believe lead to negative consequences, we just punish people for those actual consequences, such as car accidents, violence, theft, etc.

          Again, the Mises quote, since you must have missed it, “(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs.”

          1. Your post reveals the breadth of your ignorance, the height of your self-delusion and the distance between you and any known reality.
            If you seriously believe that there is little difference between meth and caffeine, fatty foods or even alcohol then you are an idiot.
            You assert that one can use meth for a week and be free of the drug and its effects in a day and a half afterwards. That is simply a lie! And during the week of using, who does your job? Who meets your responsibilities? Who else suffers from the consequences of your idiocy?
            You ask, “How about, instead of criminalizing things that you believe lead to negative consequences, we just punish people for those actual consequences, such as car accidents, violence, theft, etc.”(?) First, it is not a matter of “believing” that there will be negative consequences, it is a matter of record that there will be. Second, punishing an individual for car accidents or violence or theft does not restore the injured parties to their previous state. Their right to be secure in their persons and property is at least as great as is your “right” to deliberately impair yourself. You may survive your stupidity while your victims may not.
            As for your quote, and I think it may be von Mises’, I did not miss it, you misapplied it. I have not the slightest interest in protecting fools from their folly. My object is to prevent them from injuring or imposing the consequences of their actions on others including me. I really don’t give a rat’s rectum if you wish to dig your own grave, just don’t ask for the use of my shovel, and don’t dig it in my yard!

  30. Next time some “think of the children” nannystater take a pro-prohibition stance, have them go to a high school and ask students, what is easier to get a hold of, weed or alcohol, 9 times out of 10, they can get weed within the hour, where alcohol, you have to place an order with a buyer, pay him some commisions, and possibly get ripped off. And people wonder why kids today prefer weed to booze, its not completeley intoxicating like liquor, doesn’t give you a hangover, and is easier to get ahold of.

  31. The United States Constitution, which I revere, informs us that we have Rights, some of which are defined, and others which are acknowledged to exist but are not listed. That document was created for a population that was presumed to be reasonable, responsible and given to a fair consideration of the Rights of his neighbor as well as to his own. The authors attempted to put the least constraint possible upon those who lived under its protection. Again, it was presumed that the individual could be relied upon to constrain himself on those occasions and to that degree where it was required for the general good. As for example, he might have the right to ride at a gallop, but he would slow his pace rather than to inconvenience or to imperil other travelers. The individual was expected to understand that the exercise of a Right, like any other action, would have consequences. He should also know that the consequences were not always nor necessarily direct nor immediate and that they might affect others as well, or as ill, as they affected him. He should also recognize that he had no more right to impose those consequences on others than they had to impose similarly on him. The community was made up of individuals, each of whom had Rights equal to his.
    If an individual uses those drugs that are currently illegal, he confers upon everyone else the Right to do the same. You should ask yourself what the effect upon your family, your community and the world would be if everyone were, in fact, under the influence of narcotics or hallucinogens. Do you suppose that the world would be improved? And do not respond with some sophomoric drivel. Give serious consideration to the question and to your answer. It is a fair way to determine the character of your actions.
    Also, in response to the assertion that “prohibition” is the cause of the criminality and violence associated with the drug trade; none of that would exist without the market! It is the user alone who finances the druglords and their murders.

  32. To reach the right-wing drug warriors, I think we ought to focus on how the Drug War threatens national security. There are reports of Iranians and Islamic terrorists training in South America. Heroin is 1/3 of Afghanistan’s economy, and is financing the Taliban. Legalize the big three drugs and pull the rug out from under our enemies.

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  34. I agree that the “war on drugs” should end, but I disagree that the violence spilling into the US is due to the Mexican president squeezing a balloon. The violence is spilling into the US because of the proximity of the cartels to our border. I am concerned that Mexico is in an early stage of a narco-insurgency.

    I think a good response would be to legalize drugs in the US and simultaneously go after violent trans-national gangs as foreign terrorist organizations. Legalizing drugs will no longer get rid of them by itself. These are now organizations that will find some other purpose for existence, though at a lower level. If they can’t smuggle drugs, they’ll stick with kidnapping and extortion, human trafficking, and so on. We need to smash these organizations directly in addition to the indirect economic attack of opening up their primary market to legitimate competition.

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