Thursday, February 01, 2007

Face It: You're a "Legalizer"

If you have ever expressed any doubt about the War on Drugs, no matter how small, you are a “legalizer.” Whether we like it or not, that’s where the bar has been set by the opposition – thus, even though we are failing to recognize it, the true measure of our argument (and thus also our probability of success) is entirely dependent upon clearing that bar. While the drug reform “movement” remains disjointed and broken into a thousand little threads, there will be no mass involvement among the general public in altering the status quo. Thus, to truly benefit from (and more intelligently utilize) the efforts of those engaging in the attempt, my appeal to all of you is simply this: let’s clear the bar.

There is absolutely no defensible reason to continue prohibition. If you have one, bring it on – I will convince you of the error of your ways. Or, failing at the task, consign you to the “do not resuscitate” pile. There is indeed some number of our fellow citizens who can only be described as “fanatical” people who will never be swayed from their position. The good news, though, is that they tally up to a rather small (though loud and certainly insufferable) portion of the populace. Interestingly, the “standard curve” applies, and it is likely that this minority of extremists is probably in balanced proportion to those they wish to bully – that is, the number of problem drug using people is likely quite similar to the number of vehement prohibitionists. It’s just a hunch. But, if it is anywhere close to true, it is certainly something that works to our advantage. Just as drug abuse is the exception, so is utter intolerance. The American people as a whole tend toward being quite a bit more tolerant than would be required for achieving a “zero tolerance, drug-free” America. The problem we face is not convincing them that we are correct – it is getting them to pay attention in the first place. And then there’s that little knee jerk: “You’re just trying to make it legal to use drugs.” That is ultimately their last line of defense … and their first.

Trying to change marijuana laws may be the “easiest” thing politically, but I’m sorry, there are two HUGE reasons why that one is going nowhere: 1) pot smokers are afraid to speak up for themselves and 2) passing a pot law in one state leaves the pot smokers in the other 49 screwed. Let’s say the MPP was “successful” (in the true sense of the word, not in their self-aggrandizing definition of the word) in passing the recreational marijuana use law proposed in Nevada this past fall – what would that really mean? If you lived in Arizona and went to Vegas for a weekend of boozing, gambling, whoring and pot smoking, when you returned to work Monday morning, your piss test would still put you out of a job. Some "success" that would be.

The worst impact of trying the "go slowly" approach is that even full-blown wide open legal availability of marijuana will do absolutely nothing to address the entirely heinous aspects of the drug war. Innocent people will still be killed during SWAT raids on the wrong house, there will still be plenty of "drug-related" crime, plenty of accidental deaths from stuff like "heroin" that is laced with fentanyl, and (worst of all) the "let's pee for freedom" train will be charging full steam ahead training our youth to be obedient little neo-fascists.

Let’s not forget too, how quickly the British and Swiss addiction experiments were (and continue to be) dubbed as “failures” (despite abundant evidence to the contrary). You see, the basic problem with the piecemeal approach is that it actually does nothing to help. It merely allows the existing system to remain largely intact while allowing the emergence of a new chorus of voices protesting things like “drug tourism” and demanding even more stupidity like increasing the use of drug testing. It’s a completely dumbass idea to try to kill the beast by trimming its toenails.

“Legalizing Drugs,” is thus the big scary boogeyman that serves as the foundation of the status quo. I am convinced, however, that the average citizen is quite capable of comprehending why we need to end the War on Drugs – and that by ending the war it will indeed mean that we do have to legalize the sales, possession, and use of the wide variety of available intoxicants. Does that mean we all turn into heroin addicts the day after? HELL NO!!! But the actual goal should not and indeed is not to legalize drugs – it is to end the tyrannous practices that have resulted from our society having adopted intolerance as part of its creed. In essence, we need to gather the courage to play for the fence, and make this a core issue at every level in the next general election.

We must stop splintering the far too limited resources we possess into so many misdirected attempts at eating the poo one swallow at a time. We have nothing, ask for next to nothing, and consistently lose to the trump card of “you’re just trying to make drugs legal.” Enough! If we want to gather the numbers we require to accomplish the task, we first need to focus our attention on the fact that the core reason to end the drug war is simply because it is completely un-American to turn in your neighbor for doing things directly to only himself. Period. We need to demand (and practice) equality for all.

We need to be bold, we need to have courage. We know we are correct, and we know we will prevail -- we just need the balls to actually swing for the fence.

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs, down by three.

Batter up!


"Radical" Russ said...

Excellent post, as always, Brian.

Here are a couple of rhetorical tricks I use in the argument.

#1) Ask the person whether drugs should be regulated. "Should we let anyone who wants drugs to get them? Should we allow drug dealers to give drugs to kids? Should we allow drug dealers to settle their disputes through violence?" In other words, explain the status quo to them as if we're debating putting prohibition into place.

After all, the prohibitionists' goal is "drug free America". Show them that America is anything but drug free, never has been, never will be. Therefore, should we regulate drugs ("legalize") or should we just throw up our hands and say, "eh, let the criminals handle it"?

#2) Use prohibitionists' derision toward drug users against them. When they make the "you just want to get high legally" charge, return the volley with, "people are already getting high... why don't we tax them?" Show them how unregulated drugs means untaxed drugs, show them the $14B/yr we'd reap under a regime of marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol. "Tax the deadbeat stoners!"

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi russ!

i'm always glad to see you weighing in, and as usual, you bring great stuff to the table.

those are excellent points -- and of obvious use to all of us taking the debate public. the one change i see across the board is the realization (usually unspoken) that we need to go on the offensive -- and make them defend the tyranny they seek to impose on us all. turning it all back around on them is pure poetry in motion, and the surest way to an "aha" moment among the fence sitters is found in simple questions.

there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if the people behind the drug war "won," they would go after tobacco and alcohol full force. that, and they would pass laws to force all citizens to take pills that prevent the pleasure repsonse in the human brain.

if we may be punished for taking drugs we want to take, then we can be forced to take drugs we don't want to take. no thanks.

hell, we can already see that in action as tobacco smokers are already being taken behind the barn and they are starting to do alcohol testing on kids (no brainer observation: rates of use for inhalants, hallucinogens and the chugging of cough syrup will increase dramatically).

i do have one small problem with the "tax the deadbeat stoners" line though -- according to former czar mccaffrey, 77 percent of drug users have jobs. we need to tax them too ;^)


Bob Merkin said...

Despair -- to Catholics, the only unforgiveable sin, because it is an insult to God, one's failure to believe He will ever make the ghastly world better.

The Land of the Free has 2,300,000 children, women and men behind bars, by raw number and percentage of population the world's largest prison and gulag, we have more prisoners than China, we have more prisoners than Russia. To sustain this incarcerocracy, we have vast numbers of police, a huge segment of the economy devoted to new prison construction and management of privatized prisons, and each state's prison guards union is typically the most powerful and influential lobby, the lobby every politician knows never to go against. The prison guard union uses its influence to generate new crimes and ever-longer sentences, to assure lifetime job security and a growth industry.

How will our labor force and economy absorb, employ and care for this suddenly unemployed army of parasites at the public teat?

More to the point -- how do we de-fang the most powerful and influential sacred-cow lobbies that have evolved since and because of the war on drugs?

Arguing the drug prohibition generates violence is no answer. More violence generates more prisoners, who generate more job security for those who profit from the incarcerocracy.

Opponents of drug prohibition believe that someday, Wise Leaders will altrustically guide America to more sensible drug and criminal justice policy, prison gates will swing open wide, and a new era of justice and humane treatment will blossom under a bright new sun.

The machine is far too evolved for achieving its own self-serving goals. Justice, humane treatment of human beings, a society far less reliant on mass incarceration -- these were never the goals, and are less our nation's goal with every year.

Will you give a job to an unemployed DEA agent? Will you give a job to an unemployed prison guard? Where is the economic and labor incentive to reform and repeal?

Until these fundamental political and economic structures of the war on drugs are clearly recognized and frontally assaulted, the war goes on. Too many people are dependent on it.

Anonymous said...

There are 4 grps, and ONLY 4 grps, that people belong to in ref to the Drug War and legalization.
A- completely agree that drugs should be legalized.
B- agree the Drug War is a failure, but, ohmygod, there hasta be something else as a choice than the "L" word.
C- these folks think the drug war isn't a matter for them and they are mildly ignorant of the issue. Haven't thought about it much.
D- these people think the legalizers should take a long walk off a short pier.

Here's the reality: most folks are members of the A, B and C grps. The D grp is a minority. When we're trying to convince America and the world about ending drug prohibition, we need to remember that we are members of the majority--the rational and progressive thinkers. The folks opposed to legalization/regulation of any kind are neanderthals and aren't worth wasting time on. We just need to swing the Bs and Cs over to our side, which won't be hard.
We just need to do it.
Good post, Bri.

Mike Smithson
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Anonymous said...


Reading this essay I had to check to see if I was reading something I had written. I could not agree more. And I will go you one better.

All that the drug policy reform movement of America needs to do is influence a majority of 535 people in Washington, D.C. to end the entire drug war. That 535 of course os the U.S. Congress. When you think about it simply intimidating a majority of 535 congress-critters with tough on crime demagoguery is what has kept the Jim Crow drug war in place these past three-dozen years. I always say, turn about is fair prey. Why shouldn't and why can"t we confront the congress as assertively as the drug warriors have?

For this reason much of my writing has been directed at the congress or is ideas and argument that I hope people can use to engage the congress about its drug war policy. Since the fall I have been building a one person campaign around a quote by an Afghan expert to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last September.

"The international drug control regime, which criminalizes narcotics, does not reduce drug use, but it does produce huge profits for criminals and the armed groups and corrupt officials who protect them. Our drug policy grants huge subsidies to our enemies."

"If it were not illegal, it would be worth hardly anything. It's only its illegality that makes it so valuable." Sept. 21, 2006 testimony by Afghanistan expert New York University Professor Barnett Rubin, appearing before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Here is a postcard like thing I have been playing with for the quote.

Recently I have been begging folks to pay attention to the fact that drug policy reformer Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is now the chairman of the newly created Domestic Policy subcommittee of the all powerful Government Reform Committee. The DPC will have jurisdiction over the Office of National Drug Control Policy as well as Justice. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, another strong drug policy reformer, is now chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Finding ways to help them forward and support their efforts to the rest of congress now could move things quickly for reform.

Thank you, thank you for the argument on pot vs total reform. My personal reform efforts are obsessed around the national security issues posed by the black market. Fixing the pot laws does nothing to reduce the national security threat. Fixing the overall drug war policy to reduce the national security threat automatically fixes the pot market by extension.

This is the same as fixing the medical pot laws do nothing to fix the national recreational pot law situation but fixing the overall pot laws negates the medical pot problem.

All in all the piecemeal solution could take another generation before we see the end of the drug war. But going for the throat of the drug war in its entirety, NOW, can bring reform to the halls of congress right now when the Democrats are looking for new ways to be heroes.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hey bob,

thanks for your thoughts.

sure, it's a tough job, but let's stop pretending that "they" are some kind of unassailable superman.

and honestly i don't think anyone has ever actually done the math to support your contentions that the prison-industrial complex is the economic juggernaut you imply.

and even if they were -- so what? the alternative sucks. do we just cry and stop in our tracks becasue of the big-bad prison lobby? bullshit! we line them up and knock them down just like we do with the rest of the clowns.

the people waging the drug war do not have the powers you assign to them -- just as the drugs don't really have the powers the prohibs claim.

there are only a few thousand people working for the dea -- and only half are agents. you want me to believe that we can't prevail against them?

sorry, i ain't buying it. and they can easily find a way to make themselves useful -- they can do counter-terror or industrial security.

as to the prison industry -- YGBSM! you really think they won't still have jobs just because we end the drug war?

do you really think they are too numerous and powerful to overcome? do you honestly believe that millions of americans, once convinced of the folly of the status quo, can't be brought to their senses because the prison industry will out argue us?

i see no super powers preventing us from prevailing and will certainly expose every bit of the involvement of the prison lobby and DEA in the problem.

there are a lot of pieces in the puzzle -- but none of them, individually or collectively, is insurmountable.

there are far fewer people "dependent" on maintaining the status quo than the number who are not. in a democracy, superior numbers is the name of the game.

indeed, making such specious claims as to the superhuman power of the opposition is hardly indicative of the level of intellect and courage we need to bring to bear to solve the problems we face.

you can do way better than that -- i've seen some of your work.


anti-drugwar czar said...

hey mike,

that's a great breakout! for those who are unfamiliar with mike, he's been doing awesome work for a very long time for both his local reform group "ReConsider" as well as running the speakers' bureau for LEAP, so he has a good handle on public attitudes and how to effectively change them.

obviously, i agree mike -- we don't need to convert everyone, and we can absolutely ignore the 'D' group.

it would seem that the average american has more in common with those involved in bringing reform than they do with the rabidly intolerant.


anti-drugwar czar said...

wow aahpat -- thanks!

i agree that the most improtant group to influence is indeed the 535 people sitting in congress. but doing that will require that we get drug reform to actually become an important issue for the public, who in turn will provide the political pressure we need to win. so we need to go after both with the same arguments. in essence, we need to make it "safe" for the congress members to utter the unthinkable out loud.

before the mid-terms, i wrote this post on my blog. i have long considered that the best thing either of the major political parties could do to really make an impact and really act like "leaders" would be to call upon us to act like we really believe that we are a nation "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

i am convinced that whichever party adopted that position as one of their core planks would win in a landslide. here's the opportunity. so yes, let's pressure the congress (and especially the parties) to start acting like "Americans," and stop all the bullshit about denying RIGHTS to people.

they will listen if we can get enough people to demand them to live up to their oaths. the political class is the only set of people who can actually pass the laws we need passed -- obviously we need to get them to do what we want. but they won't do it until they think it is "safe" to do so. it is unbelievably pathetic that in 21st century "America" you are considered "brave" when you stand up for equality.

also, there is an exciting new book that was just released (disclaimer, i'm in the book -- but i'm in several and i'd recomend this one even if i weren't): "Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics", which is basically a complete indictment of the ONDCP. i told the author about dennis kuncinich (hell i probably heard about it from you in the first place) and a copy of the book is on the way to him.

let's get busy.

also, the postcard idea is great!


Bob Merkin said...

awfully nice to hear from mike smithson of LEAP. LEAP is one of the few hopeful developments of the resistance to the war on drugs in recent years.

i began my post by talking about the unforgiveable sin of Despair. On Monday I'll be 60 years old. So much of my American life has been spent watching our explosion of prisoners, and of course with such disproportionate numbers of blacks and hispanics. the war on drugs ia a more effective system for disenfranchising non-whites than the Jim Crow of my childhood ever was. AND the war on drugs is a bipartisan effort, a full partnership of Republicans and Democrats to throw blacks, hispanics and the poor into prison.

i would like to look to the future and see a lot of hope. but i have to be brutally candid and say that political america has become ferocially addicted to a permanent system of mass incarceration. Nixon, who put marijuana in the same schedule as heroin, told H.R. Haldeman that the war on drugs is all about disenfranchising and disempowering black, but of course has to be made not to obviously look that way.

blame it on the aches and pains and lumbago of a guy getting old.

i must also point out a Sea Change in the way americans perceive criminal defense. when i was growing up, we were taught that the american justice system was the best in the world because every criminal dependent, regardless of how poor he/she was, had a fair shot, with the presumption of innocence, at an acquittal by a jury.

now you only have to watch our television fiction and see that criminal defense lawyers have become the villains in the public eyes, and prosecutors are our new heroes and champions. Worse, young people look to prosecutors as their heroes and idols. (When i was a kid, it was Clarence Darrow.)

I've even seen some elections in which one candidate accuses the other: "He defended criminals!" as if that were some kind of detestable crime itself.

so sorry to sound so pessimistic. but perhaps this season reformers are not realistically assessing what we're really up against. the war on drugs works so well for so many centers of traditional political power. also reform -- i like to spell it reeform sometimes -- has nothing comparable to D.A.R.E., our shot to force our message on junior high school kids. (SSDP has a great new nick -- "The D.A.R.E. Generation.)

don't get me wrong. i want the corrupt and footshooting war on drugs to end today. but my worst fear about our chances is that our lead reform institutions wear suits and ties and run offices in Washington DC that make them indistinguishable from any other political lobby -- and reform's leaders move from reform to other lobbies as they use reform as a stepping stone to a political and lobbying career. meanwhile, as the war on drugs goes on forever, prisoners languish in prison serving outlandish 3-strikes and mandatory minimum

I'm so tired of writing about the superior policies of the Netherlands. Now I just want to expatriate and live in the Netherlands. Why dream of a rational, humane America when America clearly doesn't want to be rational and humane? Screw it -- I'd like to go somewhere that's already rational and humane.

I'll feel much better when spring comes.


anti-drugwar czar said...

hi bob,

thanks again for making some excellent points. but don't despair -- we can do this.

i agree 100% that the so-called "leaders" in drug reform are fundamentally USELESS -- they are just a bunch of suits indistinguishable from any other lobbyist. hell, when i go to the DPA site all i see an an advertising brochure.

there is virtually nothing of actual use on their site. the news they post i can find elsewhere, the reports they publish are far too narrowly focused to be of much use, and there is no actual data to be found. where is the game plan? "reason, compassion, justice" is a slick marketing slogan, but what the hell is the plan?

worse yet, the "message" i get from their site is: "we have no clue what to do and no balls to do it -- maybe we can do harm reduction via supporting a needle exchange bill."

i came up with an apt description of such drivel back when i was working for the gov't: fluff over substance.

after waiting 30 years for someone else to get the job done, i decided to do it myself. and as i began working, i came across the great untapped pool of talent and energy brought to bear by people like you.

we don't need the brochure publishers of DPA and MPP, nor the quite useless national NORML (i still have a great measure of respect for local norml chapters, as those are the folks who actually do things). we can do this by forcing the "leaders" in DPR to get in line with the program -- or die off as the insignificant madison avenue brochure printers that they actually are.

LEAP, on the other hand is the absolute best thing to happen in the drug law reform effort EVER! the SSDP folks provide some useful in roads to youth, who have the energy and time to commit to the cause, and bring the credibility of being able to pronounce DARE as a complete failure.

so, we have a choice. we can "hope" that DPA, MPP and NORML get their shit together and start providing some leadership and a coherent game plan -- or we can do it ourselves.

i only did all that i've done to date because it was balatantly obvious that it needed to be done -- and the "leaders" didn't do it.

that's why i decided it was time for me to be "anti-drugwar czar." hell, everybody start pounding on the national orgs with emails asking them what the hell they're waiting for. send emails to DPA and tell them i should be in charge ;^)

don't despair bob -- there are literally legions of untapped warriors and potential supporters out there going stir-crazy trying to figure out how to help and desperately wanting to change things. i'm here to help them do it.

we don't need any more useless organizations, we need to create useful and purposeful organization between and among ourselves. and we are. human networking is a powerful force -- and now we have an incredible tool (the internet) at our disposal to greatly magnify what can be accomplished.

you are absolutely not alone, and even though we have a horrendously difficult task, we will prevail. it takes awhile to really piss off an American enough to force them to act -- and there are an awful lot of people out there pissed off about what has happened to "America."

if we can gather ourselves into the formidable political force we actually are, align with other disenfranchised Americans and pull together in mutual interest and regard, we can and will cause the changes in the political landscape that must be done.

if we try our best, we have a chance. if we succumb to despair, we will absolutely lose. i say we take the chance.


Anonymous said...


"[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to." H.R. Haldeman's diaries.

The drug war was and still is that system.

I too have despaired of seeing an end to the drug war in my lifetime. I watched, on that day's evening news, the press conference of Nixon signing the bill creating the DEA. He was flanked by ex-CIA people all recruited into the DEA so that they could finally have a venue to do domestic operations.

Domestic operations such as this?

Agents Win Suit Vs. Pa. Attorney General
17 Feb 2003
Source: Associated Press (Wire)

"PHILADELPHIA - A federal jury awarded $1.5 million to two narcotics agents who claimed the Pennsylvania attorney general retaliated against them because they uncovered a drug-trafficking ring they said diverted profits to a CIA -backed Dominican presidential candidate.

John McLaughlin and Charles Micewski sued over their transfer from the Philadelphia office of the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation in 1996. "

But today I see more potential than I have in years. In part thanks to LEAP. In big part because of the current political profile in congress. John Conyers is on the advisory board of the Drug Policy Alliance. Conyers is now the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Dennis Kucinich has attended drug reform organization conventions and has a strong anti drug war stance. Kucinich is now chairman of the newly created Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee. Kucinich now has over-sight over the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Both are men are in strong positions to help make change happen quickly. We need to identify ways to help them move a reform agenda forward. The iron is hot.

I have worked hard to write on my blog about the crime and violence problems in Philadelphia and here in Allentown, PA. I tell the politicians that they should be going to Conyers for advice on what cities can do about the collateral damage in their towns caused by the failed drug war. At least until Conyers can move some legislation to help and change things. With Kucinich chairing his committee I will start advising them to talk to him as well. It is a positive recommendation to politicians for the crime they can do nothing about today.

We could all be pressuring our local politicians to address these crime and violence problems created by the drug war.

Bob Merkin said...

Everybody -- even teenagers -- is vulnerable to hopelessness and despair, so perhaps an antidote to that, a booster shot, is to make sure we regularly celebrate -- with noisy, loud, 60s-style reform celebrations like the Ann Arbor Hash Bash -- as a built-in part of our reform activities. One thing we know: The dismal Puritans who are killing America with this war on drugs are not big fun party gals and guys. (Except former Czar Bennett, who tosses millions of his family's money down casino slot machines -- whoopie!)

I neglected to mention ReconsiDer. My bad, my very, very bad. Not just kissing your tuchas here. ReconsiDer has regularly astonished me with its clear, effective activities. They could be forgiven a political misstep or two -- but they've never made a misstep!

I'm from the next-door state, and as I look west over the border to New York's ReconsiDer -- pal, you got no idea how envious I am.

So a deep and important question is: How did some citizens of New York State (most, seemingly, NOT from the predictable New York City) come up with such a remarkably thoughtful, courageous, EFFECTIVE reform organization? And why haven't most other states evolved their own similar reform organization? To date, the only thing I know that's approached Reconsider's stunning achievements is the professional (legal and medical) community of King County (i.e. Seattle), Washington, which appears, quietly, to have locally nullified the most footshooting and prison-happy components of the War On Drugs. (It was a ReconsiDer dude who first brought this amazing situation to my attention.)

I've been working and praying for Souder to vanish for years. Maybe this is better; it will certainly be more entertaining: He's still in Congress, but his power and influence have been imasculated, and now he must defer and make nice-nice to Dennis Kucinich if he wants to spout his psycho fundy crap into the taxpayers' microphone.

It's like John Wayne having to ask Jane Fonda for the car keys every time he wants to make a patriotic speech.

Anonymous said...


Here are the whacko theories of a serious moon bat.

The frustrating effects that Bob enumerates so well are the successful result of three dozen years of mass mind control of an entire nation. America has been indoctrinated to intolerance using fear to ingrain that intolerance. Two generations in and it is now reflexive in some of the American psyche. This is why overcoming drug warrior mentality has been so hard using even the best reasoning and arguments that the reform movement has been able to come up with. Understanding this is the first step to deprogramming it.

Fear. First and foremost the drug war originating fear of minorities and dissidents/nonconformists. Countering and neutralizing the Voting Rights Act and the 26st Amendment was, I believe, the original Jim Crow motivation for the drug war of Richard Nixon and the Dixie-crat minded majority in the congress at the time.

Fear of crime.

Fear of addiction.

Fear of not being accepted in the herd.

These are the intellectually blinding fears that keep Americans from seriously considering reform arguments.

Before we can convince anyone with our well reasoned arguments we need to get past this wall of fear. The only way that I have found to do this is to trump their fear with a greater, better reasoned and more imminent fear. This is why I worked up that post card concept. And why I work with the terrorism funding argument. It is a superior fear. Convincing people that the drug prohibition actually causes and fosters more crime is another trump. SEE: alQaida's success strategy -silent jihad-

The arguments are there to trump even the fear in politicians of being labeled 'soft-on-crime'. We just have to find ways to get the arguments out there.

The oldest of the prohib arguments is the 'for the children' bullshit.

Two points.

1. Leaving drug sales in the black market hands of addict dealers, gangsters and other social predators who thrive in the black market of the drug war cannot be safer for children than putting drug sales in the regulated and licensed hands of responsible professionals in the community.

2. Ample evidence now tells us that bin Laden has been flooding the west with heroin not just as a source of capital but as an asymmetric weapon directed at western children to destabilize western culture. SEE: alQaida's success strategy -silent jihad- Not only does the drug war, as Dr. Rubin told congress "grant huge subsidies to our enemies" it also makes the children of America and the free world into ignorant cannon fodder in the war on terror.

These are real fears that can and should trump the racist fears of the drug warriors and open some minds that today are welded shut.

SteveHeath said...

Hmmmm....This is a pretty rowdy bunch in this thread. Wonder if I should use my Real Name?

Hell, why not? It's gotten me this far, though with occasional help from my multicultural pal Manemez J. Lovitto

(say it out loud for Increased Humor Quotient).

The light bulb went on for me in just the past couple months with regard to the question, "Which drugs do you want to legalize?!?" - a query that is usually asked with exactly that vocal punctuation.

Answer - Given that any in-demand drug made illegal will be produced and sold on the streets of our commmunities, aggressively marketed to teenagers and 100% controlled by operators who wage violence against police and civilians - Which drugs should be ILLEGAL?

I'm listening.

Get the questioner to tell YOU which drugs should be illegal. Listen to HIM. Much more effective than any lecture from me or you.

This of course presupposes a sincere inquirer. If the person responds with something like, "I want currently illicit drugs GONE", then we must respectfully tip our hats and move on to discussion with those who have a grasp on reality.

LEAP does well by leading off nearly all presentations with a simple, "Do you believe drugs are going to go away?"

If they say yes, pat them on the head and move on, because no discussion will help.

But if they are part of 95% of folks who say, "No, they're not going away", then respectfully follow up and ask, "Which drugs should then be ILLEGAL, given the parameters set above."

Three cents to your nearest Holy Man

Or Woman. This is 2007 for crying out loud

anti-drugwar czar said...

hey steve (yo, is that you manny?)

obviously i have nothing to argue with in what you say.

what i can add though, is that despite the popular wisdom among many reformers that "america isn't ready for it," there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that much of our own folklore on the anti-prohibition side is erroneous.

we cannot allow ourselves to continue to be paralyzed by these fears.


Steve Finlay said...

Excellent stuff -- the hard part, of course, is getting an opportunity to talk to the UNconverted rather than agreeing with each other. This is what is so good about LEAP's tactics: LEAP speakers seek out Rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and all other organizations where you would expect to find prohibitionists. Then they show these (generally conservative) audiences how THEIR money is being flushed down the drain and THEIR communities are being destroyed.

This is why I'm working for Mike Smithson as one of LEAP's numerous speakers' bureau coordinators. Each of us has some LEAP speakers assigned to him/her, and we just e-mail civic groups and clubs offering our speakers. There's always some poor guy in the club who is supposed to come up with a program every week, and he's usually quite happy to hear from us.

I grew up in a family that was somewhat on the left side of the political centre, and it is generally assumed that anti-prohibitionists come from the left. The more I know about prohibition, however, the more certain I am that it is the fiscal and "constitutional" conservatives (though not the religious "conservatives") who are the real, natural anti-prohibitionists. William F. Buckley Jr. recognized this in 1996, when his National Review published a cover story recommending a complete end to the drug war. The drug warriors have somehow managed to retain conservative support by hiding the reality of what they are doing.

I think a true conservative will repudiate the drug war as soon as he sees how much money it wastes, and how many fundamental freedoms it abrogates. Leftists, in contrast, are liable to get sidetracked into the "medical marijuana" trap, or into fussing around about which drugs are "worse" than others (and so should stay illegal). This is backwards: The "worse" a drug is, the more we need to control it -- which means legalization.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi steve,

thanks for weighing in. i agree, LEAP is the "best thing going" in drug law reform at the moment, and they are spot on with calling for a complete end to the war. [they are also one of my best "customers."]

the message they bring to civic leaders is the same message that everyone else in DPR needs to be bringing to all the other various constituencies out there too -- those groups being, by far, the largest blocks of available voters.

we need to focus on making it clear to everyone we can that the drug war is an absolute abomination.

i've made the message as pithy as i can -- drugwar: we have no right, there is no reason.

and those involved in DPR need to learn that first.


jackl2400 said...

I share Bob's pessimism, and tend to agree that Americans are so pig-headed and it's so hard to change laws that we can have the A, B and C groups on our side and the WoD will go on because of inertia and its racist hidden agendas.

I don't expect to see the laws change in my lifetime, but I fight on and resist. And with all respect to Brian, while I'm frusrated with the various reform orgs and their inconsistencies and narrow agendas, I tend to think this is good too...harder for the gov't to fight hundreds of pesky assbites than one org, whether NORML or DPA that they can infiltrate, target or otherwise disrupt as they did in the days of the Vietnam protests (and could be doing now under the Patriot Act, for all I know. But I am at peace with the "let 100s of flowers bloom" side because we are all working to dismantle prohibition one way or the other.

The other thing I'd add is that I heartily agree with Bob M. on the other thing: let's party like it's 1999 and not let the bastards harsh our buzz. We're winning with hearts and minds, boots on the ground. The biggest grinches -- the Greatest Generation with no pleasureable experiences around pot and the biggest prohibs -- are dying out and being replaced by D.A.R.E. kids who are rightfully rejecting propagandistic pap.

Personally, sometimes I get burnt out on blogging and preaching to the choir and even the nutjobs that you all debate on sites like Political Crossfire and or the triangulating nanny state democrats on Kos. But I never get tired of my daily puffdown or the many music festivals we go to.

That's what I say and believe. The personal is political. Puff and party with your friends as much as possible while otherwise leading a productive and exemplary life. Be stealthy and be safe. If you're old and white and circumspect you have not to much to fear (this is why some ppl don't take the WoD seriously, it doesn't affect them or anyone they know unless they're careless or extremely unlucky. Don't be so caught up in a difficult political struggle to recognize that if you want to have fun, there's a law stopping you maybe but as a careful consumer you can easily circumnavigate that crap and just do it.

But above all, resist. Don't let them change what you do. Refuse jobs that piss test if you can, just say no and maybe the HR departments will get the message.

Keep the faith. Love you all.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi jackl2400,

nice post! i certainly agree that we all still need to party our asses off as we see fit.

however, all of the folks who are currently "fat dumb and happy" because they think they can "safely" avoid detection are in for a rude awakening.

one day we will find ourselves being drug tested routinely (and using "non-invasive" techniques instead of urine testing). some states are already allowing police to use sweat and/or saliva testing during *routine* traffic stops. hell if we keep letting the zealots get away with this shit, we'll probably end up having to pass a drug test to buy food.

when that day arrives, it will be too late for the fat dumb and happy people to wake up. we need them to wake up now -- and if they won't do the work themselves, they should be paying people like me to do it for them.

so, i say we need to raise hell like it's 1968 first -- then all of us can party as we please. the writing is already on the wall. tell them to read it.


Anonymous said...

Inspiring stuff folks, it is good to see American minds at work on issues of real freedom. Unfortunately, our entire legal system, not just the War on Some Drugs, is unAmerican. Executive orders, rampant federal power, and of course the jack-booted thugs have all the trimmings of a despot with his court. I want to believe that America can be the one I studied again. I want the bullshit that they taught me in civics class to be real. So when I ask this remember, I am the choir:

How do we force this despot (and his successors) to return to the tiny amount of power they were entrusted with?

Hell, Bill Clinton smoked pot and I forgave him his extra-marital affairs and voted for him anyway. Stupidly thinking that since he had smoked he would legalize drugs right away once in power. (Don't tell me he could not have--if Nixon can pull a law out of his ass so could have Slick Willie.)

I will take the advice above to party and live and keep hope. And I leave with this last thought:

Since all the drug "laws" come from Nixon's edict (or derive their power from it) instead of trying to get drugs legalized, can't we just point out that they already are legal?

Resistance is not futile--it just seems that way when you are dead.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi anonymous,

you are correct: resistance is not futile -- it is essential.

unraveling all the damage caused by the drug war will certainly take time -- and the effort of a great number of people.

step one is "awakening" ourselves and those around us. but we can't turn it all into an anti-government screed because it isn't really our form of government itself that is the problem. the problem is the individual people who, upon gaining access to power over us, have succumbed to its enchantments. rather than clapping and cheering when an elected leader proposes denying rights to small groups among us, we need to tar and feather those who propose such un-American nonsense.

the problems we face (and it isn't just the drug war bullshit) are rooted in ignorance and fear. lack of awarenesss makes it easy to cause fear -- and fear is what drives tyranny. we all need to become "teachers" and train our fellow citizens to protect their liberty. we need Americans to be brave -- then we can be free.

beyond all the data and facts there is one blindingly obvious reason why we need to stop the war on drugs: we don't have any right to punish people for doing things to themselves.

it isn't about "drugs" -- it's about inalienable rights. and surely, the right to touch yourself as you see fit is the most fundamental and absolutely inalienable right.

i can't believe it is necessary to teach people to "own" themselves -- but apparently it is.

so pay attention people: if you don't own yourself, then you're opening the door for someone else to come along and claim that power.


bob said...

Great discussion folks. But just one question... Where is the news media?

Taking a look at Mr. Smithson's "4 groups" (above) suggests that better availability of information could move people from the B and C group up to the A group. There's probably little hope for the D-group.

Yet, from the representation of drug issues in the media, one might think that a vast majority of people were in the D-group.

A couple of months ago in a small Texas community, police killed a 17 year old in a classic drug bust gone bad: early morning no knock raid, subject of warrant not there, little or no drugs found, and a pseudo investigation found no "wrong doing" on the part of the police.

The tragedy received little press coverage that week, and is now sadly forgotten.

I think I'll be emailing a few news directors around here. Is there a more organized effort to get the media to start reporting the facts instead of echoing the propaganda?

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi bob,

thanks for weighing in. there is indeed a concerted effort to get the media to their jobs:

and i recommend visiting pete guither's blog and associated forum


Michael said...

Thanks for your nice post!

anti-drugwar czar said...

Doing what I can Michael -- thank you for letting me know it's worth it.


Anonymous said...

I always have to wonder when I read lines like "Why shouldn't and why can"t we confront the congress as assertively as the drug warriors have?" The simple answer? They're there and we're not!

This is why I'd like to see a "MilMan MarchII" on Washington again. That's a trip I'd find the funds for!!

You have to admit, it worked before. No reason to suspect it wouldn't work again. Just imagine!