The conviction Tuesday of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” is the latest chapter in a conflict that has plagued U.S. society for over a century. Not that this scum deserves any mercy for the murders he ordered. But one wonders whether the aspect of that business that causes violence is part and parcel of a bigger question and answer we kick down the road because it conflicts with the unrealistically feverish wishes of some of our more innocent, yet empirically-challenged, countrymen.
Along with the centennial of the doomed Treaty of Versailles, this year has another dubious anniversary that, like Versailles, still has profound effects today. In January of 1919 the necessary number of states ratified the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This measure was the most boneheaded idea ever promulgated by bluestockings in the history of this country. After decades of Reformationist religico zealotry that was intent on making sure their twisted fundamentalist social straitjackets were mandatory for all, they got the Congress, through the Volstead Act, to enact the prohibition of booze.
In the best thing he ever did, FDR campaigned on and then as president helped execute the Twenty First Amendment repeal of Prohibition, that fundy buttinski monstrosity. It took decades to make it law. It took less than a year, from proposal for repeal by Congress in February of 1933 to repeal ratification by the states in December of the same year, to get rid of it. Such was the disgust and recognition of the failure of banning “intoxicating liquors.”
The 18th is the only constitutional amendment ever done away with. It came to that point because of the massive crime, corruption of the judiciary and law enforcement, and untold funds spent in the enforcement of the law. It turned average citizens who wanted a beer into criminals and, like the left since, took a Big Brother wet dream and foisted upon fellow Americans who didn’t need nuts and teetotalers telling them how to live their lives.
Well, change the supposedly devilish product used by millions of average Americans and you have the one-hundred- years mark of the general busybody war against other Americans. This time as evidenced in the, lost generations ago, War on Drugs.
Yes, my 70s South Florida upbringing and Medellin, Colombia heritage did incline me to recreational pharmaceuticals when I was in high school and my first year of college at the University of Florida. Nary a weekend morning came to pass then when my first thought wasn’t Where’s the bong? Bongs because joints always disintegrated for me before I could get a good hit. Combined with copious amounts of whippets, beer, and booze it was loads of fun. More than a few grocery store cashiers wondered why my pals and I were so into whipped cake decoration at 11 p.m.
But even late adolescent frivolity has its limits. I reached mine, knew I needed a serious recalibration, and joined the Army instead of going back to my sophomore year at Florida. Haven’t touched a joint or any other type of illegal drug, though partake in respectable amounts of legal ones, in over twenty years. So my analysis of the War on Drugs is not borne on being upset that I can’t score more easily.
And though I have rid myself of the annoying Objectivism of Ayn Rand by growing out of it, it’s like right-wing Marxism as it is totally materially based, a moderate libertarian strain does still run through my ideological makeup. Strange my Randian phase coincided with my weed, blow, and hash use. Obviously no connection there. Uh-huh. But no, I’m not a Save the Bales Libertarian.
It’s merely empirical. History has proven conclusively, by booze prohibition at first and now this, that you can’t repeal the law of supply and demand just because you don’t like what is supplied. Sure, there needs to be serious restrictions on how legalization is handled. But legalization needs to be enacted nationally. The alternative of continued lives and treasure wasted in an unwinnable conflict, and the corruption that ensues because of it, should be renounced by every conservative like myself who respects facts and empirical evidence.
A couple of years I visited Denver, Colorado and saw firsthand what marijuana legalization had wrought. Some of it wasn’t pretty. Dope tourists strewn across the open ground in the area of the state capital wasn’t an attractive sight. Prohibitionists always point to that and other bogeymen as proof of the inefficacy of legalization. But anyone who knows Colorado, a place I’ve visited perhaps a dozen times over the last five years and almost settled in, knows the hippy dippy feel of the place has more to do with attracting wastoids than mere available dope. Out of curiosity even visited a drug den..er…um…drug dispensary. Going in after the initial ID screening, the place had all the Jimmy Hendrix-like drug-fueled craziness of a Sunday afternoon Rite-Aid. The bongs were kind of cool. But you know my previously stated affection for them, now only in the aesthetic as opposed to the functional sense.
I can feel the bile rising up in the throats of my more socially conservative pals. “Pothead!” “Doper!” “Druggie!” Now, now, kids. Nothing of the sort. I can just honestly read numbers; I can draw proper conclusions from history, and am not intellectually moved by emotional appeals to moral arguments that ignore extant facts.
If legalized will I toke up? Nah. Prefer my room-temp Woodford, icy cold Pol Roger, and smooth Fuente to weed for some time now and will into perpetuity. But given others don’t share my aristo tastes, and given they are going to get their tastes fulfilled whether I like it or not, I’d rather dispense with the mirage of effective prohibition and regulate it, tax it, and insure the access to recreational drugs is restricted to adults in availability and venue.
No, it won’t fix everything. There will still be issues with drug abuse. But they will be greatly curtailed, especially in the manpower and money used to enforce the current prohibition. It’s a good deal and the best we’re going to get on this issue. Conservatives should understand best deals, not being childishly naïve and demanding a perfect outcome.
By these and most indicators, this war of a hundred years is quite enough. Let’s declare enlightened defeat and go home.