Is the Drug War Turning Inside Out?
Is the Drug War flipping inside out?
For decades, we’ve had conservatives—traditionally associated with the Republican Party and the right wing of American politics—rail against drug use and fight for a stronger Drug War that throws more people in jail, while liberals—traditionally associated with the Democrats and the left wing—did the exact opposite, arguing for legalizing drugs or at least scaling back the war. Now, this has never been a perfect analogy—Buckley himself wrote in National Review that the Drug War was stupid and could not be enforced, and many liberals in the government have done truly nothing to try and end this war, and in fact have reveled in it (see: Clinton, Bill and Obama, Barack.)
But lately, we’ve been seeing a complete switch. First, on the conservative side, we have Pat Robertson coming out against marijuana prohibition, followed by George Will’s latest columns that, while not actually arguing for legalization, is seriously questioning prohibiting hard drugs. Meanwhile, President Obama says he wants to have a “debate” about it, but says that legalization is “not the answer.” (To which I say, “Well, then what is, big guy?”)
Of course, we can rack a lot of this up to people being out of power and others being in (and needing to appease the government beasts.) But still, it seems quite baffling to me, where we have conservatives/Republicans questioning the Drug War and liberals/Democrats more or less supporting it.
What I think is happening is that the silliness of the Drug War is now out on full parade, it’s reality as a welfare program for government bureaucrats and donut-chomping police bullies (and not to mention bullet manufacturers) exposed for all to see. In this environment, anyone holding the reins of government must continue to support it, or face the wrath of police and prison guard unions.
You have to ask yourself: who would be hurt by drug legalization? Some might say “the cheeeldruun!” but that is clearly not the case. Others might say the drug cartels, and they’d be right. But the real “victims” would be law enforcement. If the government stopped drug prohibition, you would see a great deal of police funding stop, because there would be no point. The DEA would be closed down if there ever was full drug legalization, and the ATF and Border Patrol would likely have their budgets cut as well. There would also be fewer contracts to construct prisons, and the FBI would have a few taskforces shrunk.
No longer is this a conservative vs. liberal issue. It’s now a purely incumbent vs. opposition issue.
We may have gotten to a point in this mess where the politicians just don’t matter when it comes to drugs. It looks like the bureaucratic leviathan underneath them is what we need to be hacking away at. Ending public sector unions would be one good start, but we might just have to come out and say “Let’s dismantle the national security state entirely.” End DHS, end the NSA, end the ATF, end the DEA, end all that crap. Clear it out. Reboot the government. It might be our only chance to end this madness.