War On Drugs: Open the Libertarian Front

Vote against prohibition

It’s time to declare our own war on drugs. Or in more logical terms: a war on drug prohibition rhetoric. Libertarianism is the largest political movement that can even remotely pull off any kind of insurgency against badly conceived laws and bad propaganda and it’s high time we took the initiative (no pun intended).

You see, from a logical standpoint, there’s not a whit of difference between 1920’s alcohol prohibition and today’s drug prohibition. Even the terminology is easily transposed (bootlegers, runners, dealers, etc). But perhaps it’s time we started flipping our own rhetoric back on the prohibitionists.

Example:

If legalization of drugs is worse than the alternative, why aren’t Miller and Anheuser Busch doing drive-bys on each others’ factories?

I’d like to open the comments up to anyone who can come up with some clever anti-prohibitionist rhetoric of their own. I know there’s some real gems out there in favor of legalization/decriminalization that don’t rely on the crutch of “legalize pot… woot, OMGROFL”. Seriously… be smart and witty, not just the me-too crap that fills other forums.

The mic is yours, step up.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

33 Comments
  1. Stephen, you are perceptive. Adopting Lester Grinspoon’s “medical marijuana” was an important part of turning the tide of this horrible drug war. And, all puns intended, some including myself are working on “Recall Prohibition”.

    Recall is all too seldom used, and along with initiative and referendum, is one of the three electoral tools by which we maintain our sovereignty.

    The list of drug war victims, those incarcerated or penalized past and present and predictable victims of the future, is growing. That part of the electorate can be energized, and the success of various efforts for medical mj initiatives points to the overwhelming support by the electorate as a whole. Also, that success is precisely because of the number of victims and the outrageous harm done by the drug war.

    ‘Course, it’s alot of work, and recalls should not be seen as any sort of uber weapon to end the war. Just one of our tools, one which should be understood and deployed when necessary.

  2. From a letter I sent to the Dallas Morning News (they didn’t publish it):
    Punishing drug users for choosing a lifestyle askew from the norm is no different than persecuting the Amish because they refuse to participate in post-industrial society. The principal difference between chemical oddballs and religious ones is that drug users have property which can be seized by police departments; thus the enforcers of the War on Drugs have no desire for victory.

  3. A Libertarian once suggested to me “Give Peace A Chance” as a general anti drug war slogan. I thought then it was brilliant, kind of a Kleenex or Pet Rock idea. Catchy tune too.

  4. The old War on Bud didn’t stop Anheiser-Busch, why do we think the new War on Bud will stop marijuana smokers?

  5. When using that analogy, you can point out that Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Massacre in Chicago was over beer distribution. It was the culmination of a “turf war” over beer.

  6. Something I used in one of my Maher posts recently. It’s alcohol related, but the same logic could be used for drugs in general… From Peele.net

    “In Italy, in contrast to America, drinking is institutionalized as part of family life and dietary and religious custom; alcohol (wine) is introduced early in life, within the context of the family, and as a traditional accompaniment to meals and a healthful way of enhancing the diet. Drinking is not, as it is in America, associated with transformation of status from adolescence to adulthood; alcohol use is not an illicit activity for Italian youth; and heavy, consistent use of alcohol in Italy does not carry with it the same `problem’ connotation that it does in America. Such an approach to the socialization of alcohol use should make it less likely in Italy than in America that drinking will be learned as a way of trying to solve personal problems or of coping with inadequacy and failure.”

  7. There is a huge difference between the 20’s prohibition and today’s drug prohibition. In the 20’s our leadership recognized that a Constitutional Amendment was required to enforce this mandate across all of the states. Today’s drug prohibition has been unconstitutionaly forced on the states by the passing of a long series of laws, many of which have dubious constitutional merit.

  8. There is an opportunity to do more than say “I am against this war”. Steve Kubby, former Libertarian candidate for governor, is in jail on trumped drug charges in a life or death situation, as he requires medical marijuana for his cancer. By providing financial support for his defense, we can directly confront the leviathan state and hopefully free a brave Libertarian.
    Please check out kubby.com then follow the links provided. If we can’t stop the forces of evil in a case like this, the thought of turning the country around is certainly hopeless. The story surrounding his current incarceration is an amazing read. By defending Steve, you will be on the front lines fighting the war on drugs.

  9. More horrors in the drug war business today with an AP story about “Secret Justice; Sealed records conceal 5,000 defendants passing through U.S. courts over the past 3 years”.
    Maybe it s time we asked “Do you support the Bill of Rights?”
    M.

  10. Marijuana is not a gateway drug; cigaretts and alcohol are. What was the first illegal drug you did as a child, tobacco or alcohol?

    Marijuana distributorship is the gateway to a black market of harder drugs.

    If marijuana flavored candy is a gateway to pot use, is Coke* tm a gateway to cocaine use as well?

    *Coke is a registered trademark of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.

  11. Drug Dealers Don’t Check ID’s. If you want to protect children, Legalize, regulate, tax.

    If you support the drug war, you support 24/7/365 access by children to unregulated narcotics, because that is the result of the current drug policy.

    2 Frank Worley originals.

    hope you like em.

    Frank

  12. How much money are we paying to feed and house the drug-offenders in prison? How much would they be pumping into the economy working legal jobs had they no black market to exploit? How many jobs would the recreational drug industry offer had it an infinite number of products to sell rather than only alcohol and tobacco? How much is the war on drugs costing us?

  13. Commercial: a recently unemployed worker looks at his last unemployment check. Rent bill is due, credit card payments due, pantry is empty, kids are hungry. On the TV, John Walters blathering on about how he wants more money for the DrugWar. Voiceover: “Since 1981, at Federal, State and Local levels over 200 Billion dollars have been spent on the War on Drugs. And the government wants more. While drugs have become cheaper, more plentiful and the price has dropped since then. Are you getting your money’s worth?”

    Or one could use the statistic that it costs the after-taxes equivalent of the poor schmuck’s salary to lock up a ‘pothead’ for a year. Either way, it gets personal, which is what needs to happen.

  14. “Prohibition didn’t work the first time around, what makes us think it will work this time?”

  15. I always liked how they tried to PSA that Smoking pot supported terrorism.

    :)

    It always made me think, couldn’t I correlate how much more significant paying my Federal taxes was supporting terrorism?

    Sorry, I went on a sushi sake binge last night and pounded enough hot sake to kill an elephant, I’ll not be coming up with anything witty today.

  16. “If legalizing marijuana will cause more traffic accidents, why don’t we outlaw alcohol again to reduce the number of traffic accidents?”

    “Isn’t outlawing something in nature, kinda unnatural?”
    – Bill Hicks –

    I also like comment #18.

  17. x-post from “nice to be hated”

    HAMMER OF ALL DRUGS ARE OK, MAYBE EVEN GOOD FOR YOU

    They can be, depending on usage patterns. I think of it kind of like fire: it can be life-saving, recreational, discomforting or deadly, depending on when, where, why, and how.

    Banning lighters, matches, stick-rubbing, etc, would be the functional equivalent of drug prohibition under this analogy.

  18. Rob D, Thanks for all the info. But, I think there is more to this wine story. I suspect as our species spread across the planet, wine was discovered around Italy. Or I should say yeast. Some cultures in the old world had alcohol, not in the new.

    We had other drugs. The ancestors of the Native Americians walked the farthest, past the alcohol yeast. I’m sure we found some interesting things along the way.

    We are not going to ‘learn’ the same relationship to wine as those living for thousands of years using the drug as a staple food. We are physiologically different, we are spiritually different.

    So lets look at the diet habits in the many parts of the world where ganja grows wild. Regarding marijuana, some ‘dont have the head for it’ according to the Rastas, and should not use it. So, I guess that just works both ways.

    Let’s favor choice. The real reason for marijuana prohibition is religious prohibition. Marijuana is a tree of life.

    THC Ministry

  19. Drug Dealers Don’t Check ID’s. If you want to protect children, Legalize, regulate, tax.

    We hardly need more taxes or regulation. In a world in which more drugs are legal, dosage and purity would be the responsibility of the manufacturer, as it is today with OTC drugs and medication.

    There would likely be very few drugs on the street as large companies would mass-produce and distribute a pure and evenly dosed product. I have no doubt they would be taxed; I just don’t support the concept.

  20. A) A t-shirt “I support the War On Drugs and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!”
    B) A t-shirt “The DEA swapped me smack for arms…thanks Ollie!”
    C) A sticker “I can get a quarter ounce of sinsemilla delivered faster than a pizza…the War on Drugs works for me!”

  21. Greg – I like number three. When speaking on campus, if the group looks mostly under 21, I sometimes ask: Can you score a case of Bud or a baggie of buds more quickly?

    I’ve never thought of the pizza thing. Considering time latency issues, perhaps ordering the sinsemilla and the pizza at the same time would make sense.

  22. I live in Canada and we don’t suffer the war on drugs because it is not really enforced in this country. But still no drive by’s because the “criminals” really found a consensus on teritories(not sure of how to spell that word!) Being a dealer around here is pretty much safer than working in a restaurent’s kitchen!! It’s even more respected! Maybe we are a small country compared to you but your leaders should open their mind and take exemples around! We do not legalize the drug (which i would like to see happen though) but we are well educated about the dangers of addiction (not the one of MJ as their’s none…) we are not getting lied to so people make wiser choices…thanks! and sorry for the spelling mistakes!