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William F. Buckley and the Absurd War on Drugs

September 12, 2012

by J. Andrew Zalucky

Many people, especially many “law and order” minded conservatives love to forget what William F. Buckley had to say about the War on Drugs and its enormous faults, these being:

– Its disregard for the lives of the addicts themselves
– It’s colossal waste of money and resources
– It’s expansion of the power of the state
– And of course, its total failure to stop drug use

Here are a couple good videos to watch (oh, and check out Buckley’s little jab at Jesse Jackson, Zing!):

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One should also look to the empirical results of Portugal’s decriminalization program. A couple years ago, Glenn Greenwald wrote in Politco:

By any metric, Portugal’s drug-decriminalization scheme has been a resounding success. Drug usage in many categories has decreased in absolute terms, including for key demographic groups, like 15-to-19-year-olds. Where usage rates have increased, the increases have been modest — far less than in most other European Union nations, which continue to use a criminalization approach.

Portugal, whose drug problems were among the worst in Europe, now has the lowest usage rate for marijuana and one of the lowest for cocaine. Drug-related pathologies, including HIV transmission, hepatitis transmission and drug-related deaths, have declined significantly.

It’s important to note of course that drug trafficking is still illegal- but the main point remains that a successful reduction of drug use comes not from a “War on Drugs”, but from a War on Addiction. Having known a couple recovering addicts (and some dealers too), I can honestly attest to the fact that tough laws on drug use do nothing to eradicate the problem. Again, you will never stop the supply from flowing in- what you need to do is cut the demand.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 8, 2014 12:31 am

    Buckley was right about the war on drugs. But a war on addiction is also futile. Nancy Regan was right “Just say no”.

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