Drug War

Maybe We Need Less Democracy and More Corruption

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The Drug War Chronicle notes that bills requiring a prescription for cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine were blocked in Oklahoma and dropped in Kentucky this week. A supporter of the Oklahoma bill, Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove), pre-emptively blamed its defeat on "blood money for the pharmaceutical industry," referring to campaign contributions from manufacturers of Sudafed and other products that contain pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor. Republic Report, dedicated to "investigating how money corrupts democracy," implicitly endorses that interpretation:

Whatever influenced these members of the Oklahoma legislature to vote against this anti-meth bill, one thing is certain: they came from different ideologies and from different parts of the state, but they all had strong financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Here is another thing that is certain: This bill, which doubled down on an ineffective, counterproductive policy in the service of a doomed, disastrous crusade against an arbitrarily chosen set of psychoactive chemicals, should never have been introduced, let alone passed. Although you might expect the leftish folks at United Republic (which publishes Republic Report) to understand this point, their default assumption seems to be that any policy opposed by big corporations must be good. In this case, however, the corporations are united with consumers against the arrogant, liberty-constricting demands of moralistic drug warriors. Likewise, when Rick Santorum supported lower beer taxes as a Pennsylvania senator, he was advancing the interests of consumers as well as those of the brewers and beer distributors who gave money to his campaign fund. If this is what corruption looks like (as opposed to the brand practiced by United Republic Senior Fellow Jack Abramoff, which involved using government to handicap the competition), we need more of it.

Addendum: Commenter Libertarian2 reminds me of a link I meant to include: instructions on how to make pseudoephedrine out of "readily available N-methylamphetamine."