Monday, September 04, 2006

War on Terror vs. War on Drugs

The Volokh Conspiracy - -

What he, and most of the commenters, said.


jj mollo said...

That is some of the most intelligent commentary I have read about illegal drugs. I would like to quibble a little, though. It is the pleasure received from drugs that makes them peculiarly destructive. It could be that some chemical that makes you sick and unhappy is far more addictive than any of the recreational drugs. We will never know. The pleasure makes people destructive and clever, and may, I have been told, arrest their personality development.

My second quibble is that a sudden policy change toward legalization of drugs could have unpredictable social effects. In particular, many criminals will be desperately looking for new ways to make money. I can't believe it will be as bad as the current situation, but it is something that should be considered during the transition to sanity.

A third quibble relates to Afghanistan. The war on drugs in Afghanistan actually does have, at least theoretically, one positive effect. It makes it easier to determine which areas are still under Taliban control. Just look for the poppies. I don't know whether this is a solution without a problem, or whether it is grossly outweighed by the ill effects of drugs as income for terrorists, or whether the resentment is too dangerous to deal with, but it does seem to me to be a rough calibration tool for measuring progress.

Steve said...

Yes, that's a pretty sharp crowd over there.

A powerfully addictive drug that makes you sick and unhappy? Well, I can think of a few that may have that effect on some people in the long (and occasionally not so long) term. Alcohol comes to mind.

Your second quibble is something that has given me pause for a long, long time, but I always come down in favor of outright legalization. If there is a shift to other crime once drugs become unprofitable, then deal with it, but the idea of appeasing criminals by facilitating their market goes nowhere with me.

Your third quibble assumes that non-Taliban areas have the problem under control, which I don't think necessarily follows. In any event, the more that assumption is true, the more pissed of people there'll be, made that way by the observed successes.

I say legalize now. Whatever the outcome, can it be as bad as the present situation, all things considered?

jj mollo said...

Well, it only makes you sick and unhappy long after you've been drunk and happy for a while.