The so-called war on drugs is utterly unwinnable and in its very conception perverts the purposes of good government.


[Published in the [*]Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise 1997 Mar 25.]

1997 March 16

Editor, the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
P.O. Box 1278
Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74005


I write to take issue, respectfully, with a recent Examiner editorial opinion. We are not by any reasonable measure winning the war on drugs, and whatever statistical blips may so indicate cannot compare with decades of continuing social self-destruction. Indeed, not only is the so-called war on drugs utterly unwinnable, it is in its very conception a perversion of the important purposes of good government, an approach more suited to totalitarian governments we have always opposed than to our bastion of liberty.

Drug abuse is an individual, personal, and medical problem with social repercussions, but it should never have been made a criminal activity in and of itself. Whether the drugs in question are relatively soft like coffee and marijuana, or relatively hard like alcohol or heroin, we will never be able to stop their acquisition and use, and a government ostensibly of personal liberty and social responsibility should not even try!

The hypocrisy, dangers, corruption, and social destruction caused by Prohibition is written in our very Constitution, and in the dark history between the 18th and 21st Amendments. Although you can see it even right there in such as the historic-reprint pages of the Examiner and the Tulsa World, Americans have refused to learn this hard lesson of history. Many evil and powerful vested interests are allied with the misguided well-intentioned successors of Carrie Nation to give us an era of modern equivalents to the rum runners, poison bathtub gins, speakeasies, and all a hundred times worse than back then. Prohibition inevitably magnifies, rather than alleviates, the social problems which drug abuse can create.

We have learned the proper approach to the problem of alcoholism is to treat the alcoholic, and adjudge the drunk driver or public inebrient, without making a criminal of the individual drinker. Repeal did not do away with the problems of alcohol abuse, but society suffers infinitely less from legalization and regulation than it does from prohibition, which is tantamount to law abuse.

We must abandon the "win the drug war" prohibitionist propaganda which supports gangsterism, invites corruption, undermines drug-awareness education efforts, and criminalizes non-threatening private adult behaviors. We must embrace the legal models we have evolved for dealing with alcohol and tobacco and apply those models to all these currently-illegal substances. Turn our "drug warriors" back into peace officers, end the obliteration of our precious Constitutional rights, end the threat to personal privacy and to familial and social stability, and release us from the burdens of a perverse, protracted, unwinnable civil conflict. As families stood up and protested in a previous generation, let our cry be: REPEAL!

Repeal Heals

1997 March 27

Editor, the [*]Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
P.O. Box 1278
Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74005

Editor, it's humbling to have one of my many swelled-headed opinions see print in our esteemed local paper, but my writing skills are poor if my call for repeal deserves the depressing headline "Lost Cause." Folks are weak, the toll of substance abuse terrible. Yet, in the spirit of the original editorial, I do see that we are making continuing progress in education efforts, franker and better-informed health-care approaches. Family, community, and congregation should continue to employ every tool in the arsenal of our families, educators, doctors, ministers to heal the sick in habit and educate for healthy spirits. In our "crusade for health," the social reform of repeal abandons a weapon which backfires. Repeal heals, amending the law to be just, consistent, conforming with the Golden Rule. History and faith both teach: the way to personal or social health is positive, peaceful yet powerful. This week most especially, I'm reminded that the best health habits come from strength of faith. Say not lost, but just cause!

Related Mindful Webworks:
Prohibition fuels gangsterism —It's not drugs but PROHIBITION which provides the fuel for the modern equivalent of rum-runner profits and Al Capones.
Independent Religionist's Liberty — Are USA Constitutional liberties not being extended to non-aligned religionists?
The Golden Rule and Prohibition — Countering common erroneous arguments for prohibitionism and applying the Golden Rule
A run-in with Officer Green"WHAT'S THAT SMELL??" scowled Officer Green, and ordered me out of my car.
Head Shop — Cartoons, songs, and more regarding the appeal of indulgences and the consequences of desire.