Your Lying Eyes

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08 August 2005

NYT Columnist John Tierney Jumps on Anti-Drug War Bandwagon

Following the lead of Your Lying Eyes, John Tierney has written an op-ed titled "Debunking the Drug War." He points out the silliness of the methamphetamine scare:
"Nor is meth diabolically addictive. If an addict is someone who has used a drug in the previous month (a commonly used, if overly broad, definition), then only 5 percent of Americans who have sampled meth would be called addicts, according to the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health."

He attacks the counter-productive nature of the drug war:
"It's the same pattern observed during Prohibition, when illicit stills exploded and deaths from alcohol poisoning increased. Far from instilling virtue in Americans, Prohibition caused them to switch from beer to hard liquor. Overall consumption of alcohol may well have increased."

And finally, he attacks the prosecution of convenience store clerks in Georgia for selling coffee filters, though in unsuitably measured tones:
"If you value individual responsibility, why would you send a hard-working clerk to jail for not divining that someone else might manufacture a drug? If you value autonomy and self-reliance, why would spend so much time and money to stop people from taking a substance that's less addictive and harmful than alcohol?"

For awhile now it's been conservative pundits who have agitated against the War on Drugs, but Republican politicians have not been keen to join in. Liberals, on the other hand, have generally supported the governments right to control its citizens' behavior, and have limited their criticism to unfairness, particularly regarding disparate racial imbalance. Go ahead and fight the war on drugs, just make sure you arrest equal proportions of whites and blacks!

But perhaps Tierney's article is a sign of hope - I haven't checked the blogosphere on this - there's been little mention of the Georgia disgrace, so maybe this will get the fires of liberty burning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like during the prohibition, the more illegal it is, the more people want it.
I thought the film Traffic had a good take on that, especially with the "meeting" at the end.

Anyway, America always needs some kind of war to wage, be it Vietnam, Iraq, on Crime, on Drugs... Sorry if I too get a little whiney. See ya down in Crawford...

August 11, 2005 3:19 PM  

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