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In which the author foolishly and presumptively addresses drug policy

Last night Jon Stewart interviewed Gretchen Peters, who has a new book out detailing how the Taliban funds essentially all of its operations with profits from the heroin trade. Come on, Stewart, let’s hear a little of your specialty: liberal pragmatism on an emotionally charged topic.

Well, that was dissatisfying. For those unable to watch the video (still think Linux is so great?), Stewart and guest wring their worried hands and rehash the old idea that we need to get tough on the drug trade: lock all these guys up! You know, the War on Drugs! The plan that worked so well that 40 years later, we’re making more drug arrests than ever before! The author says she has a nine-point plan to cut off the Taliban’s funding. Well, I have a one-point plan.

Legalize heroin and send the price of poppies through the floor, just like the price of coffee, corn, wheat, and every other commodity that grows out of the ground. While you’re at it, if you want to let all non-violent heroin offenders out of California’s underfunded, overcrowded prison system too, that would be swell.

Is this notion so taboo that even a supposed liberal like Stewart dares not mention it on his program?

Prohibition has essentially no effect on the rates of addiction to various drugs. 1.3% of Americans are addicted to drugs, and that number has remained constant since we began recording it, defiantly static against a background of ever more stringent policies designed to lock up users, dealers, traffickers, and growers.

Prohibition didn’t work. That’s why we ended it. It’s not working now. That’s why we should end it. The fact that terrorists use illegal drugs for funding is a direct result of their illegal status. It’s why they’re dealing in heroin and not aspirin. If it were legal and therefore easier to get, it wouldn’t cost so much, wouldn’t be profitable to grow and smuggle into wealthy western countries.

I keep catching rumors (on the intergitch) of a new class of politically motivated youth: a whole generation of policy wonks whose number one concern is efficacy and pragmatism; an inspired group who, reared on dogma, is almost entirely non-ideological, and in fact is immediately distrustful of any perceived “spin” on an issue. Problem is, I really doubt the Taliban is going to wait for those people to come into the majority.

Posted in Politics.


3 Responses

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  1. chris baker says

    you jerkface, flash works on linux! :P

    try watching that shit on your iphone or your kindle though sucka!

    • Zach Musgrave says

      flash works on linux!

      Except when it doesn’t ;)



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