Pubdate: Sun, 12 Apr 2009
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Lee Central Coast Newspapers
Author: Randy Alcorn
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


During her official visit to Mexico last month, Secretary of State 
Hillary Clinton, on behalf of the U.S., accepted shared blame for the 
barbaric violence perpetrated by Mexican drug cartels.

The conventional logic is that, because the great demand for illegal 
drugs comes from the U.S., along with the weapons used by the cartels 
to inflict the continuing carnage, America is to blame.

Such self-flagellation is typical of Americans prone to guilt about 
- -- well, about being American. These folks blame America for the 
current economic pandemic, for global warming, for Third World 
poverty because we use too much of the world's resources, and now for 
the drug violence in other nations.

In the case of drug violence in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin 
America, Clinton is correct, America does share a great deal of the 
blame, but not for the reason she gives.

If Clinton considered the real causes of Mexico's escalating drug 
violence, she did not mention them. One of them is the ease with 
which we have allowed our southern border to be habitually compromised.

Clinton made no public statements critical of official Mexico for 
encouraging its desperately destitute populations to sneak into the 
U.S. and take advantage of the bounty of El Norte, including free 
education and welfare programs.

Drug smuggling is facilitated by this invasion of illegal immigrants. 
In fact, the drug cartels are now taking over the trafficking in 
illegal immigrants, and increasingly, forcing the immigrants to 
transport drugs across the border into the U.S.

The other and, by far, the main cause of the drug violence and 
corruption is America's stubborn insistence on waging a war on drugs 
- -- a futile effort that mostly benefits the cash flows of those 
fighting it, namely law enforcement and the illegal drug industry.

This foolish debacle continues, with all of its death, imprisonments, 
collateral damage and annual expenditures of tens of billions of tax 
dollars, because America seems to have a penchant for accepting false 
premises maintained by popular myth, junk science and hypocritical 
moralities that ignore and betray the founding principles of the 
nation -- principles expressed and guaranteed by the Declaration of 
Independence and the Constitution.

Most of the drugs prohibited by federal law are no more addictive or 
dangerous than are the many legal drugs prescribed for various 
physical and psychological pain.

Because people, even people as prominent as Rush Limbaugh, Betty Ford 
and Bret Favre, have become addicted to prescription drugs has not 
resulted in those drugs being banned.

Tobacco and alcohol have proven to be more addictive and bigger 
health risks than has marijuana, but that has not resulted in a ban 
on tobacco and booze.

America's war on drugs is a war on freedom, where the only crime is 
choosing a particular anodyne that government has forbidden for 
reasons that cannot be justified either by logic or under the 
founding credo of this nation.

The fear and misinformation that feed beliefs that freedom of choice 
in drug use will lead to savage anarchy has, ironically, caused that 
very thing in Mexico and parts of the U.S. It is because of the 
prohibition of the drugs, not because of their intrinsic danger, that 
the butchery and corruption occurs.

The unfounded hysteria over illegal drugs and the myths that justify 
it have historical precedent in America. Similar aberrant national 
psychology led the nation to betray its credo with the hypocrisy of 
slavery and the subsequent vicious discrimination against African-Americans.

It did so again with the disenfranchisement of women. Both of these 
nonsensical national hypocrisies were sustained by false beliefs and 
irrational fears that granting full constitutional freedom to certain 
folks would jeopardize social stability.

Overcoming these official, social tyrannies required long, hard and 
sometimes dangerous struggles. And here we are again with personal 
freedom being suppressed and criminalized because the nation cannot 
or will not examine the facts, think logically, or support its own 
founding principles as regards the choice of drug use.

The daily carnage in Mexico and in many neighborhoods here in America 
is the product of America's abdication of reason, and the selfishness 
of those forces enriched by keeping certain drugs illegal.

Our packed prisons, our increasing violent crime, our drain on 
beleaguered public treasuries, and our suppression of freedom are the 
true and continuing costs of drug prohibition. Demand for drugs will 
never be quenched by anything but the most repressive police state -- 
and then we will have lost America.

For all his promise as a man of reason, for the millions of inquires 
he received on his White House Web site regarding a more sensible 
approach to drug policy, President Obama has said he does not 
consider legalization to be a wise approach.

I urge him to restudy our founding principles, examine the facts 
about drugs, and work to end this irrational suppression of freedom.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom