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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Drug Prohibition: Law Enforcement Is The Problem

Ending the War on Drugs would save countless lives from being lost or ruined. An enormous drain on our economy would cease. It would be great. Ending the War on Drugs would be a tremendous first step, but then what?

The government would still have all the police powers it used to have. Perhaps they could be convinced to cut them back a bit, but we know from painful experience how hard it is to get the government to give up a power it has acquired. No doubt it wouldn't take them long to find other laws for their bloated police agencies to enforce on us. They have to justify those big budgets somehow.

A key point here is that the source of the problem is not the War on Drugs, that is merely the symptom. The problem is that the government has the means to enforce laws like the drug prohibition. Once it had the power it then passed the bad laws. (Of course, once they had these bad laws to enforce they then used the higher crime rates these bad laws created to justify more, and more powerful, police.) The only way to ensure that there won't be a repetition of the War on Drugs fiasco is to abolish policing as we know it today. The ending of the prohibition of alcohol proves this point. They merely switched from punishing bootleggers and drinkers to punishing drug dealers and users.

We need to move to a system of private security. There is no need for local police. History has already proved that private security is better at protecting us than the government is. A shining example is Oro Valley, Arizona. In 1975 they hired Rural/Metro Fire Department, Inc. to essentially be their police department providing the services previously provided by the county sheriff. Crime rates where greatly reduced at a fraction of the cost of a government police force. (See Guns for Protection, and Other Private Sector Responses to the Government's Failure to Control Crime, page 22 of the PDF page counter)

There is no need for national level law enforcement. Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Drug Enforcement Administration are merely instruments of oppression enforcing mostly unconstitutional laws. One is reminded of Thomas Jefferson's words about the distant and overly powerful capitol, "When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."

So not only is private security better able to protect people and property, they have a provider/client relationship with them. Under this scenario there is no incentive for private security to enforce something like the Drug Prohibition and the government wouldn't have the means to do so.

Policing as we know it today got its start in the mid 19th century. It wasn't truly about preventing crime as crime rates were quite low back then. It was all about expanding the government's power. Fast forward to today and we find that the greatest threat to our lives, liberty, and property is the government. This is due to their tremendous police power. The only way for us to preserve (restore?) our rights is to take that power away from the government.

The inspiration for this article was the presentation given by the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Neill Franklin at the Montgomery County Libertarian Party (PA) Liberty Forum on 4/20/09. This is a great organization composed of courageous individuals trying to right one of the worse wrongs of our time. I thank them for their tireless efforts.

Carry on, I'm with you, my friends at LEAP. Just remember that ending the War on Drugs is merely the first step.


  1. Shame on you! What makes you think that (un)common sense trumps the expansion of the police state? Everyone knows that repealing drug prohibition will result in our being overrun by armies of drug-crazed zombies, right?

    Seriously, I thank you for writing such a well-thought out piece for people to consider. Keep it up!

  2. I do agree with you to some extent. I agree that we have far too many useless laws on the books. We laws that were created for all of the wrong reasons, some of which are, in my opinion, designed and instituted merely to control groups of people. On the other hand, I don't feel good about relinquishing too much control to privately owned organizations. The bottom line with me is that the people must have reasonable control over all branches of government per the initial design. One critical problem is that we fail as a people to elect appropriate representatives into office, and then we fail to hold them accountable. Too few are thoroughly involved in the democratic processes of this country, allowing corrupt politicians to run rough-shot throughout the halls of congress.

    These are merely my initial thoughts and much more research is needed on my behalf before I can respond in more detail. Good article.

  3. Quite right, Darren, " Ending the War on Drugs would save countless lives from being lost or ruined." And I think there is a strong likelihood that "ending the War on Drugs is merely the first step" toward an optimal society. Stepping stones like this and the use of private security/policing companies is what likely most people require, in order to accept the idea that government is not necessary at all for an orderly society.

    I've written elsewhere on the fact that government enforcers are the key to all laws/decrees/regulations/edicts/etc. ("Action for the Forgotten Real Problem with S1959" and "Social Preferencing - Evaluation and Choice of Association; A Method for Influence" as examples) It is highly unlikely that any government executive, legislator or judge would ever get out among the masses and attempt to enforce any of the laws/decrees/regulations/edicts/etc of which they have been a party to the creation. All is dependent on the willingness of some to become and remain enforcers. Therefore, negative social preferencing - withdrawal of voluntary association - towards government enforcers, of at least "street chemical" associated laws, is a non-violent method very likely to dissuade these individuals from remaining so, but only if done by sufficient numbers of people. I recommend to those who have friends and relatives in such employment to encourage them to seek truly productive value-promoting jobs or self-employment rather than continue to be tools of such enormous waste and destruction (lives and property). And if reasoned discussion does not persuade these individuals, then negative social preferencing is the only principled way to respond. How can such people remain your friends if they continue to act against your long range interests (not wanting either waste and destruction of lives and property, even if they are not yours)?

    I hope that the increasing numbers of those who already accept or come to accept the elimination of laws against usage/purchase/manufacture/sales of various currently illegal substances will also realize that individuals need to held responsible for all their decisions and actions. This means, for example, that poor health related choices - whether regarding street chemicals or various food/drink/recreation/relationships/etc - should not then become the responsibility of others, required to pay for them via taxes. Obviously such a stance totally rules out the "universal health care" ideas being promoted by government and various groups. Self-responsibility in the usage of various substances and participation in various practices - liberty regarding voluntary interactions - needs to be coupled with self-responsibility for the outcomes of those actions.

    A self-orderly society is one in which the members are not ruled, but rather interact voluntarily each for the purpose of maximizing his/her (hir) lifetime happiness (the purpose of each individual's life, whether or not s/he recognizes it). However for there to be a maximum availability of choices with a minimum of harmful interactions and thus, the highest possible enabling of each individual to maximize hir lifetime happiness, all at the same time, principles of human interaction based on the nature of human beings must be understood, agreed to and practiced by the members of that society. Such a society is then optimal.

    So again, having no government interference in the interactions between individuals in regard to so-called "street chemicals", could be one of "the first step[s]" towards the optimal society. Suggested reading -
    "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction" -

    BTW in regard to your blog "byline", those Objectivists in at least the ARI camp, would insist that you not sully the word "Objectivist" by associating it with anarcho-capitalism. Rand was - and all her *followers* are - minimal governmentalists; she was adamant that "[a]narchy as a political concept is a naive floating abstraction". (Many quotes of hers can be found on the subject of anarchy/anarchism and libertarianism too - both of which she vehemently despised and condemned without reservation in the most vociferous terms as only AR could do.) She really did not think sufficiently far or deeply enough but remained confined inside the box of government as the societal model. While I and Paul both (independently) derived much value from reading most of Rand's fiction and non-fiction works - our philosophy of liberty had its origins with her writings, neither of us has labeled ourselves "Objectivists" for many decades; likewise for the label "libertarian" this past decade.

    **Kitty Antonik Wakfer
    MoreLife for the rational -
    Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
    Self-Sovereign Individual Project -
    Self-sovereignty, rational pursuit of optimal lifetime happiness,
    individual responsibility, social preferencing & social contracting

  4. Neill,

    Thx for the comment & the great presentation that inspired this article.

    Good government is one of those things that many believe in but no one has ever seen. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast to be controlling & oppressive. That's why we need to do away with govt as we know it.


    Thx for the great comment. You're right that most of the Objectivists believe in minimal govt. They're just imitating AR, not thinking for themselves. The philosophical system doesn't dictate a conclusion, therefore there's nothing contradictory about being an Objectivist who advocates Anarcho-Capitalism. Let AR turn over in her grave if she doesn't like it.

  5. Some reinforcement:

    Anti-Police Sentiment Grows in U.K.

  6. I hold those who do the "ground level work" of enforcing the unjust governments laws as more culpable than those who give the orders. Those are such ones as individual police officers process servers etc who do the dirty work for their masters.Order givers would be powerless without the individuals who carry those orders out. As always, the devil is in the definition, and to call such people "peace officers" insted of unjust law enforcers is a deception by our practiced slavemasters. To defund the beast is the only succesful course that will lead to freedom. As you say, it needs a sizable number of folk to stand up and be counted to make it work. Otherwise,individual dissenters will be isolated and dealt with.