I was discussing the Drug War with a conservative friend and had a few things to say.
Drug crime is rather unusual.
In what we normally think of as crime there is a perpetrator and a victim. The perp tries to make the victim do something against his will.
With drug crime the victim is the perpetrator and there is no conflict of wills. Just a business transaction. And you know the first rule re: government when it comes to business.
When governments controls what is bought and sold the first thing bought and sold is government.
"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government."- William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995It worked the same way in China.
The Opium TradeThere are always "useful idiots" to use Stalin's clever turn of phrase. Which is to say: what ever you think you are doing, objectively you are supporting the cartels. We didn't get rid of the American alcohol cartels by intensifying alcohol prohibition. But at least in some respects people were smarter back then.
"If the trade is ever legalized, it will cease to be profitable from that time. The more difficulties that attend it, the better for you and us."
-- Directors of Jardine-Matheson
It falls into the same category as the useful idiots who promote socialism to help the poor. And the error in thinking is the same: if we put enough guns and power in the hands of the state we can fix this.
What tickles me is that the progressives say - we can fix the economic order with enough government power. While our erstwhile "conservatives" say - we can fix the social order with state power. What can the state do reasonably well? Kill people and break things.
Did you know that the reporting of all transactions of over $10,000 was a drug war measure? Money laundering don't you know. Well our current Congress has lowered the threshold to $600. Swell. Just swell.
Let me paraphrase Franklin:
Those who give up essential liberty for safety will get neither liberty nor safety.
I believe the man was on to something.
What ever power you give the State will eventually be used against you and your interests. And you know this in every context except for the drug war exception. But to think there is a drug war exception is magical thinking.
Suppose for some odd reason the state takes an interest in you and the interest is not benign. What is the easiest way to violate your liberties with little or no recourse? Accuse you of a drug crime. Then the search and seizure rules go out the door. Especially if they bring some drugs with them to make sure you are guilty. There is no reliable way to protect yourself from a status crime. Because possession is 100% of the law in those cases. Of course as a suspected dope fiend the government will take away your children. To protect them from the dope. And even if you eventually get it all resolved in your favor you will have months and possibly years of family trauma to deal with. Why it is enough to drive a person to drugs.
Well. It can't happen here. Except for the fact that we have a very vocal minority (probably a majority for now) cheering them on. And it has happened more than once (see Rampart scandal Los Angeles for one example). But for now it will be confined to "those people" until you are used to it. And then it will expand. In just the way $10,000 became $600.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Geo. Washington
Thanks my "conservative" friend for putting such powerful tools in the hands of our Masters.
My advice to the rest of the population: watch out for those who say we must reduce state power "except for". Our rules give advantages to criminals. We do that to protect the liberties of those not criminals from a state with unlimited power. I do not believe in a Drug War exception to that principle.