Thursday, August 27, 2015

Liberty Lines, August 27, 2015

(Published in the Farwell, TX/ Texico, NM State Line Tribune. Remember that my Liberty Lines columns are written for a conservative Christian statist audience. I try to temper my words without compromising principles. It's a tightrope, and I hope I do it well enough.)

The only thing more stupid than drug abuse is a war on drugs. Is drug abuse a problem? Of course it is. But the never-ending War on Politically Incorrect Drugs is even worse. In fact, the majority of the supposed ill-effects of drug use have nothing to do with the drugs themselves and everything to do with enforcement of the prohibition. In a "Drug War" the drugs will always win; in large part, directly due to the effects of prohibition.

It was foolish to ever believe that turning a vice into a crime would make it go away. It is even more foolish to continue to keep it a crime after more than a century of failure. Drugs used to be legal; they should be made legal once again.

Portugal ended prohibition back in 2001. Did it suddenly make drug abuse in Portugal skyrocket? Of course not. In fact, drug use is down, especially among 15- to 24-year olds- the age group most likely to begin using drugs. And it keeps dropping.

Would you start using heroin if it were legal? I wouldn't- unless my doctor and I decided between ourselves that it was the most effective pain relief for a horrible condition. And truthfully, no "law" could stop me in that case anyway.

The myth of Cannabis ("marijuana") as a gateway drug is just that: a pathetic, dishonest myth. People who are willing to take the risk of being kidnapped or robbed ("arrested" or "fined") for using Cannabis are naturally going to be less risk-averse than those who are scared to get caught. This kind of person is more likely to try even more risky things. This is an example of correlation, not causation- confusing the two is one of the main logical errors which result in people believing wrong things and pursuing bad paths.

The myth that everyone who tries the scary drug of the week suddenly becomes a helpless addict is just as pitiful. Statistics show that 10.3 million people have tried methamphetamine at least once, yet only 1.3 million used meth in the last year. If the helpless addict myth were true, the number of people who would be either currently using meth, or dead from using it, would reflect this number. It's not even close.

A certain percentage of people will be addicted to something no matter how harshly you punish them. (Many are addicted to trying to control others through "laws" and ordinances.) Since studies show that people without meaningful social connections are much more likely to become addicts, the better solution to addiction is not to isolate them further by committing enforcement against them, but to give them the connections they really need.

And if they violate person or property while under the influence, or in order to buy the prohibition-inflated substances they seek, shoot them in self defense. Either way the problem is solved.