Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

February 26, 2010

The Other War

Filed under: Law,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:45 am

If you’ll look here you’ll find Ollie North’s article on the narco wars south of the Rio Grande.

North warns, rightly I think, of the violence in Mexico related to drug gangs, spreading murder and kidnapping to the U.S.

But… how the hell can anyone fail to see the parallel between drug prohibition and our earlier disastrous attempt at alcohol prohibition? Though I wasn’t alive then, I have lived in a country with prohibition, Saudi Arabia. It’s not quite Chicago during the Al Capone years…

The relevant section:

“The Obama administration seems to be of two minds about what needs to be done about the problem. To its credit, it has continued to fund and even expand the Bush administration’s Merida Initiative, aimed at improving Mexico’s internal police and security services with $1.6 billion in training and equipment. Unfortunately, Obama administration officials also speak routinely about “reforming U.S. drug laws,” suggesting that having “user amounts” of illicit narcotics would no longer be a criminal offense. How that would reduce the demand for drugs in America is hard to fathom.”

This is the comment I left:


“How that would reduce the demand for drugs in America is hard to fathom.”

The point is not to reduce demand for drugs, that’s almost certainly what free-market economists call an “inelastic demand.”

The point is to lower the price, and as distasteful as it sounds, put the drugs in the legitimate market to deny the profits to the gangs.

It is unfathomable to me how Americans failed to learn the lessons of Prohibition, or somehow think they only apply to alcohol.

And how conservatives’ passion for liberty fails when something touches a raw nerve.

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.”

G.K. Chesterton


  1. Legalize drugs and stop all government programs to help addicts, including treatments for overdoses and concomitant diseases.

    Comment by tehag — February 27, 2010 @ 5:05 am

  2. I could not agree more with Tehag. Well, except for stopping treatment for overdoses.

    Comment by Harley — February 27, 2010 @ 10:49 am

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