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There has been much ado about losses the Republican Party is expected to take this upcoming election cycle. There is one angle which the GOP could take with which they’d be likely to continue to control both houses of congress: Changing their position on the drug war. It seems unlikely that the GOP would lose many votes over this issue, but they’d gain a lot of independent, libertarian, and even Democratic support.
John Stossel is a favorite of right-wingers who still believe the Republican Party is the more conservative of the two major parties. He just posted an article at conservative TownHall.com renouncing his former views on the drug war. From the article:
Getting high can be bad. Putting people in prison for it is worse. And doing the latter doesn’t stop the former.
I was once among the majority who believe that drug use must be illegal. But then I noticed that when vice laws conflict with the law of supply and demand, the conflict is ugly, and the law of supply and demand generally wins.
The drug war costs taxpayers about $40 billion. “Up to three quarters of our budget can somehow be traced back to fighting this war on drugs,” said Jerry Oliver, then chief of police in Detroit, told me. Yet the drugs are as available as ever.
While I doubt I could ever be a Republican again (no matter how libertarian their positions might become, they’ve repeatedly violated my trust), comments about the Stossel article indicate that a lot of Republicans don’t agree with the war on drug users. Here’s a sampling:
I think you don’t go far enough in your article. If we decriminalise drugs, we can divert a mere portion of the $40 billion into rehabilitation of drug dependant users and also into education of its consequences.
Two important comments I feel should always be added into the killing the war on drugs and making them legal. They are: employers do not have to hire you if you choose to use these drugs, and we must also do away with any social programs that entail addicts or recovering addicts to government money. With the addition of these two items you have a completely fool proof method of helping people understand why they should or should not do them and what happens when they do.
Thanks to Mr. Stossel for a well reasoned piece. I dislike addictive drugs (incl. alcohol and nicotine) as much as anyone, but harsh penalties only compound the problem.
John, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been saying this for years. Nobody wants a bunch of “stoners” in our country, yet despite our best efforts we still have them; and always will.
I agree. Life sentences in Michigan for distribution sure didn’t work. Teaching kids about drugs (DARE program) has a negligible to negative effect on drug use, but it makes parents, teachers, and politicians feel better.
There are also these sorts of folks in the conservative movement:
I just think that the argument is the same. If its legal, it must be A-OK.
the solution to the problem is the death penalty for possession for distribution, involuntary sterilization for repated recreational and habitiual drug use, and wholesale agricultural destruction of the crops. Recreational drug users should be disqualified from any and all governmental assistance and drug use by parents should result in the permanent relocation of the dependent children
Surrendering a war because the tactics are not working is irresponsible. Clearly the problem is that the country is lax on the deterrent. Make the deterrent high enough and it can absolutely be controlled.
Offer treatment for first-time convicted users, and give the death penalty for repeat offenders. For those dealers who peddle death to our kids and adults the punishment could be enhanced. Give treatment and a one year prison sentence to small time dealers who plea bargain by giving up the name of their supplier. Repeat offenders and those up the supply chain should be sentenced to death.
After considering that most Republicans in Congressthe continued death and suffering of medical marijuana patients coupled to these calls for the death penalty for recreational use, I retract my earlier statement. There is no hope for the GOP. With extremist views (and they call us extremists?) such as these, there can be no hope for the Republican Party. I say we flush the GOP down the toilet so they may wallow in their own political excrement.