The Drug War: My Two Cents

I’d like follow-up a bit on Bill’s post regarding the futility of the drug war. I agree with the premise that the current war on drugs is lost and has been for some time. We are not the first conservatives to say so, which might come as a shock to our pal Andrew Kujan. No less a conservative than William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in the February 1996 issue of National Review, “Things being as they are, and people as they are, there is no way to prevent somebody, somewhere, from concluding that National Review favors drugs. We don’t; we deplore their use; we urge the stiffest feasible sentences against anyone convicted of selling a drug to a minor. But that said it is our judgment that the war on drugs has failed, that it is diverting intelligent energy away from how to deal with the problem of addiction, that it is wasting our resources, and that it is encouraging civil, judicial, and penal procedures associated with police states.”

The piece as a whole, which includes a contribution by Kurt Schmoke, and other anti-prohibition advocates, is persuasive in both its arguments and its facts.

The devil is in the details, and much would need to be worked out in the various scenarios of legalization or decriminalization. However, it is high time that our national policy about drugs move in that direction.

In 2004 Buckley said, “Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.”

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Wise words, and in this case, conservatives should heed them.

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