How We Got Here: The Failure of the War on Drugs

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

As I stated in my first article for The Libertarian Vindicator, the further left you go, the more government you invite to the party. That’s why I refer to the American Right as the “ New Left”. The only real “right-wing” of politics in America – with any hope at all of actually reducing government – is here, in the liberty movement. And since they are the New Left, I guess it makes sense that they (the American Right/New Left) continue to champion the War on Drugs as badly (or worse) than the Old Left. 

It’s literally the epitome of crony capitalism at work. Create more laws, create more criminals and then make way for the private prisons. Who cares about the expense to the taxpayer? Who cares that these private prisons often have shady security forces riddled with corruption? Who cares about the man in jail for a victimless crime who now faces physical and sexual abuse at the hands of REAL hardened criminals? 
Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons. 
As a taxpayer, I care! 

As a friend of many of the GOOD members of Vermont’s Department of Corrections, I care!

As a man that almost went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit… I care more than you will EVER know!!!
Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

The idea that we can punish people into healthier living is absurd, perverse and utterly ridiculous. We implemented a sugar tax here in the great State of Vermont and I haven’t seen a reduction in obesity or new cases of diabetes. We have had an age limit on alcohol and tobacco for decades with no real success. Hell, kids who are still in high school often have more booze and smokes in their room than I have had at any given time. (The beauty of not paying rent I guess.) Even in states with medical marijuana being legal, it is still easier to open a strip club then a dispensary.

We have funded a black-market for decades, leaving a trail of dead law enforcement officers and citizens in its wake. (Not to mention, countless billions of taxpayer dollars spent.) We have given power to politicians who manipulate the tragedy of broken individuals in order to gain votes that allow the laws of the War on Drugs to continue. We have allowed living life on your own terms to become a punishable offense. We have stifled individualism in favor of a corrupt business model, the prison industrial complex. 

Maybe that is where we went wrong. Even allowing any kind of a profit to come from crime. Maybe if we put a profit motive into world hunger, ending human trafficking or reducing our national debt, than we could actually effect positive change in those arenas. 

But what’s worse isn’t that these laws exist. It’s not that we empower obviously corrupt agents of our government to use this to their advantage. The worst part, is that everything I am typing right now has become – for lack of a better word or phrase – common knowledge! 

It’s not like I am typing something new. Nothing I am writing is ground-breaking political literature. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been saying everything I have just said since he arrived in Washington years ago. Seldom (if ever) do I run into someone who still thinks marijuana is a “gateway drug” –  there to ruin a young persons life. Almost everyone I know from both the right and the left agree with me that if someone wants to snort poison or squirt it into their veins, that it is THEIR business. 

So then, why have laws not changed?

It’s simple: it’s what I call “election day fear”.

We have probably all fallen for it. If you’re a libertarian, you experience it at every election. It perpetuates the “lesser of two evils” voting mechanism. You despise both candidates, so you choose the one who is less-against the politics you hold dearest than the other one. While most voters I speak with agree me on drugs, it’s not enough of an issue for them to effect their vote. And the politicians running for office KNOW this! 

And so the checks roll in from those who benefit most from the prisons-for-profit business model. Another candidate bought and paid for. Another cliché upheld and another status quo maintained. What a horribly SICKENING reality. 

But there is hope…

Ever since a real estate mogul turned reality TV star became President of the United States, I have seen the beginning of a new force of young, energetic Americans who are running for office, and making some noise. 

Austin Petersen, the runner-up for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, is currently running for the Republican nomination for the US Senate in the state of Missouri. He is looking to upset and unseat establishment Democrat Claire McCaskill in the 2018 mid-term elections. Rock-rapper turned country-ish musician Kid Rock (who has espoused many libertarian leanings in the past) has teased a run against Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow (presumably as a Republican). And even right here in New England, on the other side of the Connecticut River, is the New Hampshire Libertarian Caucus. Made up of Brandon Phinney, Joseph Stallcop and House leader Caleb Q. Dyer, all three switched to the Libertarian Party shortly after being elected. Party hypocrisy appears to have factored into both Stallcop and Dyer’s decisions to leave the Democrat and Republican parties, respectively. (Side note: Stallcop was the Democrat and Dyer was the Republican, as was Phinney.) 

But even when running as a part of the GOP, we still hear the words “but can he/she win?”

One thing is for sure; if we don’t vote for them (and convince others to do the same) than not only will they not win, but nothing will ever change. And that puts us right back to the beginning of this article. 

Categories: Politics

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