Radley Balko points out the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the war on drugs:
We’re told that drug war is a moral imperative because, in the words of Walters himself, “dangerous drugs damage [children’s] lives and limit their futures.” But like most temperance zealots, Walters measures success not by actual lives wrecked or ended prematurely, but merely by how many people are and aren’t getting high.
Switching from the “drugs ruin lives” justification for the drug war itself to “how many people are getting high” when measuring the same drug war’s effectiveness, then, hides a more important statistic: How many people have had their lives ruined and futures limited by the drug war? The vast majority of the 873,000 people arrested for marijuana offenses last year, for example, likely had more damage done to their lives by the prohibition of marijuana than could ever be done by the drug itself.
Such is why drug warriors like William Bennett, Karen Tandy, and Walters can assert with a straight face that alcohol prohibition was, also, a “success.” Sure, the crime rate spiked, alcohol hospitalizations soared, and corruption and contempt for the rule of law was rampant. But fewer people swallowed down less demon rum. So, score one for social engineering.
Sure, deaths from drug overdose have jumped 70 percent, and more than doubled among young people. But fewer people are smoking pot. And that means we’re winning.
As they say, if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes true. Bennett, Tandy and Walters are proof of that.
But surely then, if you repeat a truth enough times, as Radley, I and so many other try to do, it should make people listen as well? Isn’t that the least that fairness owes us?