Ben Carson

Ben Carson Admits War on Drugs Conflicts with War on Poverty

The drug war "often dealt harshly with non-violent offenders, taking men away from their families" the secretary of housing and urban deveopment admits.


Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was a typical modern Republican drug warrior during his presidential run in 2016. As Tom Angell at the Marijuana Moment site reminds us, the former neurosurgeon supported medical marijuana but was quick to discuss the alleged IQ damage the drug can cause, believed it could be a "gateway drug" to more harmful practices, and insisted he would, if elected president, enforce federal anti-pot laws even in states that had legalized.

In a speech last week at the Manhattan Institute, Carson showed he recognizes the drug war causes direct, unwarranted harm to America's poor, encouraging those of us who like to believe even politicians can be persuaded by arguments spread by libertarians (and others) about the deleterious effects of the drug war on America.

In a talk lamenting that "in many communities there are more black males incarcerated than there are in college," Carson acknowledged "the war on poverty sometimes conflicted with the war on drugs, which often dealt harshly with non-violent offenders, taking men away from their families, and disproportionately affecting minority communities."

Carson does not, alas, have direct authority to help end government law enforcement policies regarding marijuana and other drugs that have those bad effects. But it is heartening to see the truth seep through the higher levels of the Trump administration. Let's hope Jeff Sessions might be listening.

Video of the speech, given last week at the Manhattan Institute at a symposium called "Prospects for Black America." The relevant line, in the context of a critique of aspects of post-Great Society policy, starts around 12:40.

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  1. Waiting for the Evangelical Right to disown their darling Carson in 3… 2… 1…

    1. If they know anything, it should be that there is nothing in Christianity that denies the partaking of a little cannabis. Most of us, not Catholic, would find it hard to follow the edicts of a 14th century Pope that declared it “a sin”. Denying the facts, that there are several groups on the right that, too, do not believe in the prohibition of cannabis, is nothing new for us to hear. But, don’t let me discourage you from throwing rocks at your possible allies…(;-P

  2. The relevant line, in the context of a critique of aspects of post-Great Society policy, starts around 12:40.

    Then, from 13:52 to 17:01, he takes a little nap.

  3. For real, though, i wish Reasonable Ben had more public visibility than Grain Pyramids Ben.

    1. I know he’s dull and has said some silly things, but the idea that he is stupid and unintelligent is absolutely fucking ridiculous, yet I see it from the left all the time. He grew up poor and black in a single parent household and became the most prominent brain surgeon on the fucking planet. He’s not stupid. It is absurd how much criticism the left allows to be said of him, considering he’s perhaps of the most prominent black doctor in history.

      1. Maybe the most prominent black doctor in hx was Francois Duvalier. Too bad society in his native Haiti dragged him down to their level.

        1. I meant among physicians. Not to sleight researchers in allied fields who got political such as Roy Innes.

          1. I meant “slight”.

      2. It’s not his credentials that people criticize, it’s the president choosing him to oversee public housing not because of those credentials but because he’s black.

        Republicans, proving themselves right on affirmative action since 1991.

      3. Also, despite once being a brilliant surgeon, he’s also a total nutbar.

  4. I believe that the war on drugs is more important than all of the other issues put together. It is the American holocaust. This was a non-issue in our last presidential campaign. I am not even in the same ballpark as the rest of America. I told a friend who offered me a Trump yard sign that I hated Trump because he supported the war on drugs.

    1. Then you must hate nearly everybody. & it’s not just an American holocaust, it’s worldwide. I blame the British, as I do for most things.

      1. Naw, the British start wars to force drug user on people.

    2. Need to be patient man. People need to find there way on their own time and things change slow.

  5. I’d love to share this piece, but the damn typo in the headline…. C’mon, Reason. You are better than this.

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