A Tale of Two LTEs

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SouderHere’s a clip from the opening salvo in a Letter-to-the-Editor battle over at the Wall Street Journal:

But the drug war also figures in the equation. Nobel economist Douglas North taught us the importance of institutions in development economics. Yet prohibition and the war on drugs are fueling a criminal underworld that handily crushes nascent democratic institutions in countries that we keep expecting to develop. Is it reasonable to blame Mexico for what enormously well-funded organized-crime operations are doing to its political, judicial and law enforcement bodies when we know that Al Capone’s power during alcohol prohibition accomplished much the same in the U.S.? These are realities of the market, of supply and demand and prices under prohibition that no amount of wishing or moralizing can change.

To which former LP presidential candidate David Bergland replied:

1) The price of the illegal commodity is higher than it would be in a legal, competitive, market. High black-market prices encourage low-level crime. Unlike alcohol and tobacco users, illegal drug users commit crimes to raise the funds to buy their high-price drugs. 2) Peaceful drug users, by definition, become criminals, ruining the lives of those prosecuted and thus stigmatized. 3) High black-market drug profits attract the most ruthless and violent criminals to the business. Alcohol prohibition created organized crime. Today’s drug prohibition keeps it going. 4) The illegal drug market corrupts the criminal justice system as cops, courts and prison guards find it hard to resist getting in on the high returns. 5) Law enforcement becomes more expensive for the taxpayer and is misdirected away from violent crime. 6) The products in illegal markets are of lower quality and more likely to contain impurities than they would be if legal, thus endangering consumers. No “truth in labeling” here. 7) Unnecessary illness and death result. Users spending money on high-priced drugs ignore their health. They share needles, spreading AIDS and other diseases. Cancer and MS sufferers are deprived of pain-relieving marijuana. 8) Competition in the illegal drug market is based on violence, not peaceful competition under the rule of law. Thousands of murders every year occur as a result. 9) The War on Drugs is a war on civil liberties. Your property may be seized without trial on a mere allegation that it was used in a drug deal. 10) The Drug War is racist. Although minorities use drugs at about the same rate as whites, they make up a greatly disproportionate percentage of those prosecuted and convicted.

as well as Drug War Field Marshall Mark Souder (R – IN), on the same page:

Mary O’Grady argues that we will never eradicate drug use. One wonders what other vices Ms. O’Grady proposes we surrender to. Child abuse? Spousal abuse? Rape? We may never eradicate any of these crimes either, but that doesn’t mean that we simply give up on them.

Not coincidentally, by the way, all of those crimes, and many others, are frequently linked to drug and alcohol abuse. It’s a tired old canard that drug abuse is a victimless crime.

Furthermore, where is the evidence that legalizing and taxing a substance causes organized crime to disappear? It sure didn’t after Prohibition — criminals just no longer focused on alcohol. Unless everything is legalized, including cocaine and heroin, of course the thugs would merely move to the more potent substances. Where does it end?

Souder answered his own question, but is too stupid to realize it. My message to Souder is that we may never eradicate all morons in office, but we shouldn’t give up on booting his thug ass from that particular congressional seat. Props.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    Souder sounds a lot like Jared Ambra.

    Maybe he can one day be a less-than-mediocre cross-country runner for a no-name school, like Mr. Ambra.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Nigel,

    Souder is probably worse — click the picture to find out why.

  • GreginOz

    Who cares, one way or t’other? When one can get 8 grammes of hooch, home delivered, for only $100 and it is all sinsemilla roja, what does it matter? Ahahahahahahah cough. Still, in Oz you cop a $200 fine, it is a bit different in the US where you get shot by the SWAT, are revivved and incarcerated with Jorge the goat-fucker. Ever tried the ‘bucket bong’? OOPS…don’t tell me, the NSA is ontaya! PS check out this link to a disgruntled Bush voter, youza! http://www.kabc.com/mcintyre/listingsEntry.asp?ID=432586&PT=McIntyre+in+the+Morning

  • Michael H. Wilson

    It’s great that Bergland took the time to reply. It is unfortunate so far that other LP candidates for the prez haven’t done the same on this or any other issue in the WSJ, or NYT. Nader is out there all the time, but not past LP candidates.
    M.W.

  • Terry

    Some useful reference material on the subject:
    U.S. Code TITLE 21 > CHAPTER 22 > § 1705. Development, submission, implementation, and assessment of National Drug Control Strategy

  • undercover_anarchist

    Hey, maybe Mullah Souder is on to something. Since almost every kid does something bad before entering college (I’m guessing the drug issue could be expanded to include blasphemy, fornication, or even noctural emission), maybe this is a way to do away with financial aid for college? The only net effect of government subsidies for higher education is that the price goes up. Limiting the pool of recipients would (hopefully) cause prices to come down.

  • kaptinemo

    Many of us have been fighting against the DrugWar so long, when a major turn of events takes place, we’re too close to it to realize it’s happend. As it has. With this article.

    Because…’the word’ was used. Seriously. Consciously. Without mocking quotation marks. The one word which professional DrugWarriors and their cat’s-paws really, really hate to hear, for obvious historical reasons, and the inferrences that can be drawn to today’s situation: PROHIBITION.

    By the time kids reach junior high school, they’ve learned about the late, unlamented ‘Great Experiment’ called Prohibition. And if they learn anything at all about it, they learn it was a failure. To properly name drug prohibition for what it is, is to establish the link in the public’s mind as to today’s version. And the the link to its’ most outsanding similarity with Prohibition 1: failure. Do this often enough, and the game’s half over.