A recent international report, co-authored by some of the eldest of elder statesmen to have been involved with America’s – and the world’s – war on drugs, offers up two conclusions: anti-drug policies have failed the world over, and drugs should thus be legalized.
Scrubbed down: it’s a losing batle, throw in the towel and save the money. The report makes a number of economic arguments, specifically that drugs will always be sold and bought, regardless of legislation or bans, so developed countries may as well save resources that would have been wasted in anti-drug efforts by legalizing drugs and then, as logic dictates, tax and regulate drug production.
The conclusions reached and arguments used in reaching them are inherently flawed, and criminally narrow in scope. If drugs were legalized to allow for the regulation of their production and distribution, the people to profit first – and most – would be drug cartels, who already have the means of production and distribution infrastructure in place. By way of example: Kennedy family patriarch Joe made most of his money as a bootlegger during Prohibition. As soon as it was repealed, he made even more money importing and distributing whiskey because he had a sales infrastructure and relationships with producers and distributors already established. There exists no reason at all drug cartels would fail to profit similarly from a repeal of anti-drug laws and, at the end of the day, these are people who kill, kidnap and torture (each other, and civilians). Does anybody really want to help them make more money?
The prize advocates of drug legalization consistently hold out is the promise of considerable revenue to be gained by legalizing – then taxing – drugs. The fact that a good number of legalization proponents have college degrees is therefore indicative of lax university admissions criteria. Drug dealers and cartels have gunned down each other, politicians and policemen for decades to protect their money; why would they allow world governments to tax it? Because their product is suddenly legal and taxable? These are men who think nothing of executing elected officials in town squares… yet champions of drug legalization expect them to pay their taxes without objection?
Maybe those champions of legalization should be in charge of collecting.
The economic idiocy of legalization aside, there exists a basic moral impediment to legalizing drugs. Specifically: drugs are corrosive to communities and immensely harmful to people. For these reasons, they should be outlawed, regardless of the efficacy of outlawing. The fact people insist on doing bad things is no reason to legalize bad things. If it were, very few laws would exist. Murder has been illegal since Moses walked down Mount Sinai, yet murderers exist. Does that mean murder should be legal? Of course not.
There exist some immutable moral absolutes which are worth recognizing, regardless of recognization’s effectiveness in checking behavior. The fact that drugs, and – as a corollary – drug dealers, are poisonous to communities and to people is one of those absolutes. Another: the fact governments are unable to control an evil inexpensively does not mean it ceases to be an evil.