On the subject of prohibition of drugs

I admire powerfully argued propositions. My Buddy sent me this and frankly my blog could use a short break from the Duluth Schools. I’ll be busy editing but go ahead and read the whole Slate article if you’d like. I haven’t yet but this passage is potent.

When will we ever learn?

From salon.com

As a dealer, you establish your patch against other dealers by force and terror, and you maintain your patch by force and terror. You don’t just hurt other dealers you hurt cops, and any civilians who get caught in the cross-fire. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman calculated this dynamic causes an extra 10,000 killings every year in the US.

These killings have nothing to do with drugs “ they are entirely to do with prohibition. Al Capone wasn’t getting drunk and shooting people up; the St Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago, at the height of alcohol prohibition, wasn’t carried out by alcoholics. He was killing people to protect his product in a prohibited market. When alcohol prohibition ended, all that violence ended. Ask yourself: where are the violent alcohol-dealers today? Does the head of Smirnoff go and shoot the head of Heinneken in the face? Of course not. It’s not the alcohol that has changed. It’s the decision to stop banning it, and so to take it back from armed criminal gangs, and give it to licensed and regulated legal sellers. If milk was banned, and people still wanted milk, exactly the same process would take place.

This is what is causing the majority of the drug-related violence in the US. The killings that are rocking Chicago, the city Al Capone dominated under the last great wave of prohibition, are just one example, and a huge number of people are being caught in the cross-fire.
This is terrible enough in the US. It is even more horrific in Northern Mexico . . .

About the author