As you may be able to tell, my main cause is ending the drug war. That is why I always re-post the weekly corrupt cops stories from StopTheDrugWar.org. And no matter how many times I tell people the unintended consequences of having a war on drugs, it doesn’t seem to get through to a lot of people.
It starts with the first principle of you own yourself and your body. You have the right to put anything you want into your body, and me with mine, so long as force or fraud is not involved. It continues with the drugs going underground into the black market where all kinds of shady individuals with no morals reside. Each time the drug war steps up, the risk becomes greater and the price of illegal drugs increases and it leads to corruption as dealers are looking to buy off cops to allow drugs to freely pass through the cities. It is an endless cycle of violence, gang on gang, fighting for turf like in the days of alcohol prohibition, and gang on gang, cops fighting drug dealers with full swat gear and automatic weapons.
So many problems could be fixed by fully legalizing drugs and allowing them to be made in controlled environments like that bottle of ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet is. One, drugs would be much safer, just like alcohol became much safer after prohibition when you no longer had to risk drinking gin made in someones bathtub. When amatuers make drugs because it is illegal for professionals to do so, you never know what they could have done wrong, they aren’t chemists with MIT degrees, they are your neighbor working at the 7-11 and Mcdonalds.
And with the endless cycle of violence comes all the dead policemen you keep hearing about. How many police would still be alive and with their families had it not been for this ridiculous war on drugs.
But if you won’t listen to me, maybe you will listen to someone much smarter than me. Michael S. Rozeff posted the list of drug war consequences to the Lew Rockwell blog on Thursday. See what you think of these, and pay attention to number 6, the corruption of cops.
The Houston Chronicle is carrying a story with startling revelations of drug gang brutality in Mexico. Among other things, it reports of kidnapping young men and forcing them to engage in contests to the death in order to find and recruit killers. This made me wonder what kinds of things deter people from behaving like this, and what kinds of conditions produce this kind of behavior.
On the latter, it’s clear that a society and state that forbids drugs is necessarily going to cause outcomes like this. The logic goes like this.
1. The state forbids something, like drugs.
2. Production MUST therefore be illegal, and production will occur because the demand doesn’t disappear when the drug is made illegal.
3. Going illegal is a necessary condition for all those who are willing to produce and supply the drug. The profit motive remains, even heightens, and so there will always be people who will go illegal.
4. The people attracted into the illegal business are going to be the people who already have the least inhibitions about doing anything immoral and illegal. They are the ones most willing to take risks.
5. Competition is all within illegality. This means that moral rules that govern peaceful competition do not prevail among the suppliers. They therefore select among any actions and rules that bring them survival, profits, and growth. The most effective means of gaining market share and preventing the incursion of rivals within a situation of illegal rivalry will include a reputation and readiness to kill and maim so as to enforce one’s will.
6. The means include corrupting law enforcement. This is virtually a necessity and always occurs in these conditions. The results include gang warfare. It also includes uneasy peace among gangs and division into territories and fiefdoms.
7. The competition need not lead to the practices mentioned in this article whose aim is to find and groom the most merciless killers. Yet it probably happened in the 1920s gangs that this mode of competition also prevailed as the many stories of Capone suggest. Most gangster movies also depict that the more brutal gangsters rise to the top.
I don’t claim that this is a complete explanation of what’s going on, but I did want to make the point that what’s going on in Mexico is not a random thing and not a peculiarly Mexican thing. These things often have rational explanations. It’s akin to terrorism and assassination and other forms of violence in that respect. There are often reasons that we can find that explain it even if the behavior is awful.