No Imagination Means No Change

“I don’t mind adopting a policy that seems strange to you if the result of it is going to make society improved…”
– William F. Buckley Jr. re: drug legalization

When drug policy reformers say “legalization”, it strikes fear into persons who have only experienced and imagined society under the effects of modern drug prohibitions. Most cannot picture a world where drug addicts were not safely locked away, criminalized, marginalized and cordoned toward the poor areas of our country. Those who cannot afford to escape those neighborhoods have never known a time when drugs were not so expensive that addicts must rob to afford them; when gangs did not violently compete on their streets for the drug market; when pushers did not offer a free taste to their children or entice them into the trade with easy money; when a large number of their fathers weren’t incarcerated or weren’t trying to find work with a criminal record; when police did not look upon them without suspicion.

None of us have known our southern border without the constant rush of harmful substances into the country, nor the reverse flow of billions of dollars and weapons into the hands of cartels that murder ruthlessly. None of us have seen peace south of our border; the existence of the coca plant seems to guarantee endless killing.

More prisoners; more violence; more harmful drugs; more spreading of infectious disease; more dangerous areas; more damage of foreign lands and peoples; fewer civil liberties; less respect for law enforcement; more assurances from our leaders that “our drug policy is a success”; more promises and goals of a drug-free world; more dire warnings that any alternative would certainly lead to the destruction of society.

Has it always been like this? This is how the world has worked as long as I’ve been alive, so this is surely its most natural and stable state, and how it must continue. After all, I’m told the alternative is unimaginable:

“It is hard to imagine an aspect of American life that would be enriched by millions of new cocaine, heroin or marijuana users.”
– John Walters re: drug legalization

Perhaps our ancestors could survive without a War on Drugs, but humanity simply no longer has the necessary skills to survive in such a free world; we would surely collapse into Mr. Walters’ imagined chaos. We can no longer educate our children that some legal activities are dangerous; we need our government to protect us from ourselves no matter the cost.

Please do not waste any time imagining a different world; our drug czars have done this and it didn’t look good. Definitely do not bother with the fascinating history of our drug laws, or how other civilized countries are having success reducing harm. These countries may save “lives” and money, but they are breaking our treaties.

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