Source: Arkansas Traveler, The (AR Edu) Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 Contact http://thetraveleronline.com/ Address: 119 Kimpel Hall, University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701 Fax: (479)575-3306 Copyright: 2003 The Arkansas Traveler Author: Rom Hashemi I LOVE BILL HICKS Is it me, or is the war on drugs just silly? There are only advantages to legalizing drugs (and not just marijuana, but things like speed, MDMA, cocaine, heroin etc.). And there are only disadvantages to keeping illicit narcotics illicit. I call this "The Prohibition Effect" which comes from the amendment to ban the sale of alcohol. When alcohol was illegal crime ran rampant and criminals became extremely wealthy. And wealth, in turn, influences government. So we would have criminals moving our legislation in directions that would most benefit them. Prohibition was a campaign to impose morality on the citizenry of America. It is not the government's responsibility to dictate morality to its citizens. In fact the only real institutions that implement morality as "party line" are the various organized religions across the globe. Because there has been a long history of the separation of church and state in this country, drugs should be legalized. It isn't just the dissolution of the criminal element that would benefit United States, but think of the boon in capital. A heavily regulated and taxed industry would keep the products clean and the dosages would be monitored. The "War on Drugs" is a drain on our economy, so let's turn that frown upside down. Not only would we not be wasting money on a fruitless endeavor, we would turn it into a profit. We could pump this money into education, urban development, decreasing the budget deficit and destroy the enemies of the United States. A terrorist can't blow up a plane if he's chillin' eating Twinkies. Or you could try addicting whole populations of the third world in order to impose your will with less resistance. It is capitalism at its finest (SCREW YOU HIPPIE!) in spite of it actually supporting liberal interpretations of our personal freedoms. We should have the right to harm ourselves if we so desire. If the government really cared about keeping us healthy, they would pay our medical bills, socialize medicine (like most every other industrialized nation) and ban food advertising. Besides the people who wish to use drugs may have personal problems or live in social and economic conditions not conducive to happy living. No one can tell another person how to live their life or how to express their pain. If the only means of means of coping with their situation is a pleasurable distraction then do the humane thing and let them do what they want. Come on, if you do enough living you're going to die too. So, in fact, life is a terminal disease. And then there are stupid people who decide on things without really thinking them through. Wouldn't it be grand if we could come up with something to help wipe out the weak-willed idiots of America? Oh, wait a minute, it's called heroin! I have no sympathy for burned-out supermodel rockstars with lots of money who think they've got it bad. Commercials work on many people and if hard-drugs were advertised like alcohol think about how beautiful the utter destruction of the Stupids would be. You would never be cut off in traffic, or be asked how much the 99 cent movie rentals are, or how late a 24-hour-a-day Wal-mart will stay open. Ultimately, the legalization of drugs would make ardent capitalists and weed-smoking hippies come together in an unholy union. Free money AND free love? Who knew it was possible? And don't forget the virtual disappearance of gang-related and drug-related violence. America would finally be a safe place for children to grow up and become productive ... junkies. Rom Hashemi is an editorial writer whose column appears on Thursdays.