This article was written by Darren Wolfe and originally published at The International Libertarian on April 26th, 2009. It’s shared here as it’s likely many Copblockers will find the perspective thought-provoking.
Drug Prohibition: Law Enforcement Is The Problem
by Darren Wolfe
Ending the War on Drugs would save countless lives from being lost or ruined. An enormous drain on our economy would cease. It would be great. Ending the War on Drugs would be a tremendous first step, but then what?
The government would still have all the police powers it used to have. Perhaps they could be convinced to cut them back a bit, but we know from painful experience how hard it is to get the government to give up a power it has acquired. No doubt it wouldn’t take them long to find other laws for their bloated police agencies to enforce on us. They have to justify those big budgets somehow.
A key point here is that the source of the problem is not the War on Drugs, that is merely the symptom. The problem is that the government has the means to enforce laws like the drug prohibition. Once it had the power it then passed the bad laws. (Of course, once they had these bad laws to enforce they then used the higher crime rates these bad laws created to justify more, and more powerful, police.) The only way to ensure that there won’t be a repetition of the War on Drugs fiasco is to abolish policing as we know it today. The ending of the prohibition of alcohol proves this point. They merely switched from punishing bootleggers and drinkers to punishing drug dealers and users.
We need to move to a system of private security. There is no need for local police. History has already proved that private security is better at protecting us than the government is. A shining example is Oro Valley, Arizona. In 1975 they hired Rural/Metro Fire Department, Inc. to essentially be their police department providing the services previously provided by the county sheriff. Crime rates where greatly reduced at a fraction of the cost of a government police force. (See Guns for Protection, and Other Private Sector Responses to the Government’s Failure to Control Crime, page 22 of the PDF page counter)
There is no need for national level law enforcement. Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Drug Enforcement Administration are merely instruments of oppression enforcing mostly unconstitutional laws. One is reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s words about the distant and overly powerful capitol, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
So not only is private security better able to protect people and property, they have a provider/client relationship with them. Under this scenario there is no incentive for private security to enforce something like the Drug Prohibition and the government wouldn’t have the means to do so.
Policing as we know it today got its start in the mid 19th century. It wasn’t truly about preventing crime as crime rates were quite low back then. It was all about expanding the government’s power. Fast forward to today and we find that the greatest threat to our lives, liberty, and property is the government. This is due to their tremendous police power. The only way for us to preserve (restore?) our rights is to take that power away from the government.
The inspiration for this article was the presentation given by the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Neill Franklin at the Montgomery County Libertarian Party (PA) Liberty Forum on 4/20/09. This is a great organization composed of courageous individuals trying to right one of the worse wrongs of our time. I thank them for their tireless efforts.
Carry on, I’m with you, my friends at LEAP. Just remember that ending the War on Drugs is merely the first step.
For more on this angle, check out the 8-min video, Want to End Police Brutality? Focus on the Institution