Wednesday, March 25, 2009

War on Drugs = War on Economics

     The economic Law of Supply & Demand is no more likely to be repealed by any Drug Czar than are the laws of physics which describe the engineering of the guns which are causing so much havoc further and further from the U.S.-Mexican border.
     The desire to kill one's physical and/or emotional pain - the typical motivations for self-medication - is immune to criminal punishments which only cause more pain.
     The most noticeable achievement of the War on Drugs is the creation of a black market where prices are directly related to the level of government enforcement of laws based on the idea that guns and prisons can reduce demand or supply. Of course, black market participants have no recourse to civil enforcement of contracts, so the law of the street is the rule. When might makes right, guns are the only law enforcement.
     Apparently the government is on drugs far more hallucinogenic than those consumed by the average addict, or even by Rush Limbaugh. The drug of wishful thinking is indeed potent, affecting voters as well.
     Why don't politicians try instead to heal the physical and emotional pain felt by so many? Maybe they want to keep getting campaign contributions from all the law enforcement agencies, private prison operators, and other corporations which make big bucks supplying junk food to all prisons. Maybe they think all the money spent on the criminal justice system represents economic growth and productivity.
     Why don't teachers notice and explain that the War on Drugs is based on atrociously bad science, a flagrantly bad example to young minds? Why don't journalists report on the corruption of science, or on the reasons for the physical and emotional pains that lead to addiction? Or on the fact that malnutrition causes much, even most, of the health problems associated with addiction? Or that healthy food can protect one from addiction? That healthy food can be affordable?
     Is it because they are afraid of being scapegoated and fired? That is the usual reaction to whistle-blowers and truth-sayers who rock comfy boats.
     But killing the messenger can't change the truth. And ignoring truth is just a recipe for more pain. They say you get what you pay for. Why not stop paying for the pain of more enforcement, more punishment, and more injustice? We certainly can't kill the pain with more guns.

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