Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

December 18, 2010

Bob Ainsworth is Correct

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 1:49 pm

Dispatches from a pre-9/11 world, courtesy of the Economist:

Removing these harms would bring with it another benefit. Precisely because the drugs market is illegal, it cannot be regulated. Laws cannot discriminate between availability to children and adults. Governments cannot insist on minimum quality standards for cocaine; or warn asthma sufferers to avoid ecstasy; or demand that distributors take responsibility for the way their products are sold. With alcohol and tobacco, such restrictions are possible; with drugs, not. This increases the dangers to users, and especially to young or incompetent users. Illegality also puts a premium on selling strength: if each purchase is risky, then it makes sense to buy drugs in concentrated form. In the same way, Prohibition in the United States in the 1920s led to a fall in beer consumption but a rise in the drinking of hard liquor.

The War on Drugs has been a spectacular failure, a product of hypocrisy and moral midegtery that has been institutionalised and sold to the public as a metric of success without results. It’s depressing that there isn’t even a sliver of daylight between the leading parties in this country on it. Ed Miliband’s denouncement of the idea that we should have a grown up debate was particularly depressing, in the wake of a non-shift by the Coalition on the matter. 

We should call it what it is: Prohibition; a “cure” worse than the disease. And to prohibition advocates, know this: I am dogmatic on the issue. You can throw me a million stories about lives destroyed by drugs. I do not care one bit, and the very fact that such stories exist almost prove the failure of the policy. That you might repeat such stories in support of the policy without a sense of irony is close to insanity.

Unfortunately, no politician with any ability to change things ever admits it while in office, to wit:

My departure from the front benches gives me the freedom to express my long held view that, whilst it was put in place with the best of intentions, the war on drugs has been nothing short of a disaster.

Emphasis mine. Alex Massie puts it well:

That said, it’s a shame that so many politicians only decide – or admit – that the Drug War is a grotesque, immoral, unjust failure after they’ve left office. Their conversions would be more powerful if they occurred in office – even if one can understand why they are reluctanct to speak their minds while they’re receiving the Red Boxes each night.

Watch the The Wire, or read The Corner. Seriously. I’ll lend you either.

Cross-posted at Something Quotable


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