Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 1997
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Author: Jim Rosenbaum

What does our drug policy have in common with a gigantic dam
under construction in China? Both are monuments to failure. Both
respond to problems of our own making. Both are government

In China, the unfortunate population that is the supposed
beneficiary of the Three Gorges Dam would be far better served by
a repeal of centralized economic planning. For almost 50 years,
government planners there have presided over and administered
economic hardship.

Similarly, the American population, which supposedly benefits
from drug prohibition, would be far better served by a repeal of
that policy, rather than by ever more Draconian, costly and
futile expansions of it. Drug prohibition has not solved the drug
problem, but has merely transformed and exacerbated it.

Before 1914, the drug problem was limited to addicts. Now, in
addition to drug addicts, drug prohibition has created
underground drug economies that fuel organized crime and street
gangs. Central cities are depopulated. Prison construction and
inmate population are booming. Civil rights are being eroded.

In both the case of the Three Gorges Dam and American drug
prohibition, the validity of underlying policy, past or present,
is not examined. To debate policy is considered unpatriotic.
Instead, failures are an excuse for expanding bad programs and
for extending the reach of government.

Jim Rosenbaum
Whitefish Bay