Bear with me while I write about a christian free-market anarchist’s perspective on drugs and government (Much of the concept herein is taken from some excellent articles by Lawrence Vance (another “christian libertarian”), and other writers who love God and His great gift of liberty (second only to His gift of His Son) to us.)
With the depression and anxiety caused by the current COVID-19 panic, drug abuse is likely to uptick, even though supplies are limited more than usual. (Although I suspect that the black market for drugs is hit less hard than most legitimate business, since they are already (and have been) in a lockdown for half a century.)
Today, in 2020, millions of Americans (and people around the world) are addicted to various drugs. In recent decades we’ve seen the marijuana “epidemic” and the meth “crisis” and the cocaine/crack episodes. These all were responded to by a massive “War on Some Drugs,” waged by governments around the world.
I write often about the evils of the government’s War on Some Drugs. Throughout all of my articles I make clear I support the libertarian position on the drug war:
There should be no laws at any level of government for any reason regarding the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, or possessing of any drug (or food or drink) for any reason.
It is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.
The war on drugs should and could be ended immediately and completely. All drug laws should be repealed, all non-violent drug offenders should be pardoned and released from prison, and all government agencies devoted to fighting the drug war should be eliminated.
There should be a free market in drugs without any government interference, regulation, taxing, or licensing.
But with freedom comes responsibility.
Just because lovers of liberty (including most libertarians) believe that “illegal” drugs should be legal, doesn’t mean that we believe that these drugs are harmless, beneficial, safe, or healthy. To the contrary, they may be addictive, dangerous, destructive, or deadly. Using drugs may ruin you financially and cost you your health, your mind, your job, your status, your reputation, your family, your friends, or your life.
Today, according to various government agencies and advocates for (and against) illegal drugs and the illicit use of “legal” drugs, the opioid crisis is upon us. These deaths from opioid abuse are REAL. But how we got into this mess is NOT being reported accurately – or truthfully. And it has more to do with control and power over others than over ending abuse – although battling the abuse is usually the excuse.
For more than a century and a half, back to before the War between the States, the American Union and now the Fifty States have been dealing with fighting drug addiction and the huge negative impacts of drug use on people, both individuals and their families. And therefore on their communities and society.
As I discussed in recent commentaries, it started with alcohol. Although marijuana, opium, and other natural recreational drugs were at least available in the Colonies and then the American union, alcohol was by far the preferred drug for dealing with pain and getting pleasure. This had been the case all the way back to Egypt and Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire. (Indeed, the Bible gives the first recorded example of excessive drinking, when Noah got drunk and naked. )
Alcohol has all too often been a scourge on society. Both beer and wine were common but the real problems lay in such things as whiskey, brandy, and rum. “Demon rum” if you prefer.
Prohibition failed. But the specter of “new” scourges on society was used to provide the same power, employment, and flow of tax money (as well as “perks” like seizures and forfeitures). These included a whole array of drugs, including marijuana and opium and cocaine. This new war on some drugs was escalated to a massive effort in the 1970s.
Now lasting more than twice as long as national Prohibition of alcohol, this War on [Some] Drugs too is a failure, and slowly being abandoned, at least in part, state by state. But the length and intensity of the war caused far more serious damage to the Fifty States than Prohibition. Horrible as that was. (Imagine if Hitler’s regime had lasted 24 years instead of just 12.)
I do not know why it has taken so long for some common sense to kick in. Even while we add more drugs and more people to the casualty list. Like opioids. Which I will discuss in part 2.