Reader and blogger Mark Byron writes in:
The “classic liberals” seem to have split about 40 years ago over sex and drugs. Protoliberatarian Goldwater was the “father of modern Conservitism” in the 60s; it wasn’t until the 80s when his sexual liberty streak became an issue. Conservatives and Libertarians agree on most other issues.
Mr. Green and I will agree on foreign policy and economics, but part company on sexual issues. I’m open to constructive sugestions on the Drug War.
Mark, the problem with the LP is Utopianism on the drug issue — and others. If we suddenly repeal all drug laws, all will be well, they claim.
Eventually, sure. But the change would be wrenching — unacceptably so for a popular democracy. Not only that, but some symptoms of the drug war, such as crack cocaine (black markets lead to smaller, more powerful drugs, upping the value of each risky, illegal transaction), are here to stay for a long while.
So how do we make things better, in a way that promotes freedom, rather than detracts from it?
How about legalizing a couple of non physically-addictive “weekend drugs,” such as pot and ecstacy, on the booze & smokes model? Sure, some kids will still get them — but they do now, too, same as booze and cigarettes. Let’s not be Utopian mirror-images of the Libertarian Party. Between pot and X, most of your drug users are happy, and there’s no need for them to do crimes to get a fix.
But we still have our tiny minority of hardcore users to think about. Why not make cocaine and heroin by doctor’s prescription? Doctors, in the interest of their patients, would want to move them off those dangerous drugs and onto methadone or into a 12-step program. Also, the trafficing would be removed from street thugs, and kids wanting to experiment would still have their less-harmful pot and X to play with.
Harder drugs would be stigmatized, because only “weaklings who need a scrip” would be able to get them easily. Such is the hope. Not a perfect system — it’s as ripe for abuse as Vicoden or Valium prescriptions.
But it’s still a big improvement over the current Drug War, which tramples our rights and keeps criminals rich.