Thursday, September 02, 2010

Instead of Marching, Let's End the War on Drugs

"Every time I see one of these marches or forums covered as significant, what occurs to me is that there is one thing we should all be focused on instead. It is, of all things, the War on Drugs. The most meaningfully pro-black policy today would be a white-hot commitment to ending its idiocy.

1. The War on Drugs destroys black families. It has become a norm for black children to grow up with their fathers in prison and barely knowing them. Data are unanimous in showing that children, especially poor ones, do better with two parents. We see the young black man in a do-rag pushing a baby carriage as a welcome sight rather than as a norm. That must stop.

2. The War on Drugs discourages young black men from seeking legal employment. Because the drugs' illegality keeps their price high, there are high salaries to be made in selling them -- not at first as a low-level runner, but potentially as one rises in the hierarchy. This makes selling drugs a standing alternative to legal employment, especially if one has a poor education.

3. The War on Drugs brings firearms into black lives. Policing turf for drug sales entails guns, which then become tools for maintenance of the pecking order, including settling petty scores. A striking difference between surveys of black ghettos before the War on Drugs and today is how common guns have become.

Marches don't hurt, but they are a misdirection of energy. And not from an equally empty war on racism in the Tea Party or the n-word. Black uplift in 2010 should be about a war on the War on Drugs -- after the success of which, I can guarantee you, slowly but surely, the teens would start pulling up their pants."

~John McWhorter

HT: Radley Balko

11 Comments:

At 9/02/2010 3:47 PM, Blogger unacoder said...

his name is Radley Balko

 
At 9/02/2010 3:48 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Yes, of course, thanks very much, I've made the correction.

 
At 9/02/2010 5:04 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Here is tne city of L.A., pot stores were the only booming form of retailing in the recession.

Now, the city has decided to "crack down" on the pot stores.

BTW, the city of L.A. is broke, and will be permanantly so, largely due to very high fire, police and city employee pensions.


But we divert city resources to shrinking our tax base.

 
At 9/02/2010 5:35 PM, Blogger bobble said...

i agree.

has anyone come up with an estimate of the amount of money we spend trying to enforce drug prohibition?

police, courts, prisons, parole, DEA . . .

 
At 9/02/2010 10:22 PM, Blogger aorod said...

I respect John McWhorter very much. But blacks don't turn to crime just because the price of drugs is too high. I think it has something to do with the welfare state and the disintegration of the nuclear family. People turn to gangs to satisfy needs usually found in a family. And the main activity of gangs is drugs.

 
At 9/03/2010 5:56 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from aorod: "But blacks don't turn to crime just because the price of drugs is too high."

They turn to crime because there are no other legal options. Welfare is a disincentive to get any job. Incompetent government schools are ineffective and drive out competition that might be more effective. Minimum wage drives out low productivity jobs (e.g., entry level). Continuously rising taxes and continuously less effective basic municiple services drive out private investment.

Because of prohibition, drugs are a cheap, low skill way of generating a lot of income quickly. When all your other options are blocked, you try the next best thing, legal or not.

 
At 9/03/2010 10:39 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

regarding Los Angeles
LA has rent stabilization begun in 1978
At the time new construction was exempted
Now they are proposing capturing units built before 1995
This is terrible policy and will discourage investment in rental housing
Just the suggestion will make investors think twice and put their money elsewhere
So yes, the lawmakers here don't have a clue

 
At 9/03/2010 2:04 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Anybody with kids is not going to like legalizing drugs. How about cocaine, heroin, ecstacy, steroids, crystal meth, etc.? Some people turn to crime because they have no education or skills, and no moral values. Those are people for whom big government is Daddy.

 
At 9/03/2010 2:26 PM, Blogger MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

The libertarian wing of the Republican Party is growing. Just look at how the Tea Party has rolled the establishment and gotten Miller, Paul, Rubio, Toomey, Buck, Angle, and Lee -- all borderline libertarians, elected in the primaries.

I have been an advocate for drug legalization, with strict regulation, since I first heard Milton Friedman advocate it 30 years ago. The deadweight taxpayer cost to society for criminalizing a liberty-depriving policy makes no sense. After 4 or 5 of the libertarians noted above get elected, I would love to see the GOP move forward on it. Society is ready. I think it would go a long way toward breaking the Democrats near monopoly on the black vote. But there are too many social conservative prudes in the GOP who won't allow it to happen and will instead let the Democrats move it forward and take the credit for doing so.

 
At 9/03/2010 3:19 PM, Blogger Bruce Hall said...

I have no problem with legalizing drugs provided:

1. users are ineligible for state assistance in other areas; if users can afford legalized drugs, they can afford food, shelter, health care insurance, and gaining employable skills.

2. users who commit crimes under the influence of drugs are subject to mandatory "COLD TURKEY" withdrawal from use; they obviously can't handle their drugs and are a danger to others.

3. sellers who do not pay their taxes are subject to forfeiture of all of their property and money unless they can prove that the property was not purchased from drug funds and the money was not acquired from the sale of drugs... it is assumed their property and money come from drug unreported drug sales.

4. sell must have their facilities inspected monthly on a random basis by different inspectors each time; the government must ensure that the product is "safe" and inspectors cannot establish a relation with the sellers to encourage bribery.

5. legalization must be reaffirmed by vote 5 years after the date legalized; if legalization spreads the use of drugs, violence, social problems, and user inability to function productively, drug sale and use should be re-criminalized; citizens will have a chance to reconsider voting for those who legalize drug sale/use.

5.

 
At 9/03/2010 8:29 PM, Blogger Chris Matheson said...

LA might also be broke because they spend approximately $30K per student in their school system if we can believe what is reported in the WSJ.

I work with black youth in a highly impoverished area and I believe the reasons many young people turn to selling drugs is due in part to the culture of death and moral relativity found in our urban areas. Also, many of these youth live totally in the moment, and although the $100-$200 they MIGHT earn in a day selling drugs is not much to us, it can be everything to them.

 

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