Thursday, June 16, 2011

President Jimmy Carter Says: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off; The "War on Peaceful Americans" That Is

Pres. Jimmy Carter in the NY Times, "Call Off the Drug War":

"Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults! 

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs war on peaceful Americans who chose to use intoxicants not currently approved of by the U.S. government (HT: Don B.), with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelve-fold since 1980."


At 6/16/2011 10:36 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Just Say No

"Evidence suggests drug use and abuse significantly declined during the Reagan presidency.

According to research conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, fewer young people in the 1980s were using drugs.

High school seniors using marijuana dropped from 50.1% in 1978 to 36% in 1987 to 12% in 1991 and the percentage of students using other drugs decreased similarly.

Psychedelic drug use dropped from 11% to 6%, cocaine from 12% to 10%, and heroin from 1% to 0.5%."

My comment: I bet more people ate jelly beans.

At 6/16/2011 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kind of makes you wonder the kind of nonsense to come out of obamas mouth in 30 years.

At 6/17/2011 4:23 AM, Blogger West said...

I was pretty convinced that the war on drugs was a waste of time and money. But now that Jimmy Carter has come out against it, I am reconsidering.

At 6/17/2011 7:36 AM, Blogger Eric H said...

War on Drugs? Oh, I though he meant the TSA...

At 6/17/2011 10:18 AM, Blogger Bill said...

If you are citing Jimmy Carter as authority for an argument you are trying to make, you really might want to rethink your position.

At 6/17/2011 12:29 PM, Blogger Ian Random said...

But drug proceeds are funding such interesting things like a resurgence in gladiator games:

At 6/17/2011 1:17 PM, Blogger pringstrom said...

My proposal: Let's have the druggies trade places with Jimmy Carter. That would make me happy and relieve the over crowding.

At 6/17/2011 2:51 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

While I agree with Jimmy Carter, I do notice that the explosion in prison populations is correlated with declining crime rates.

I believe in long-term incarceration of criminals. This reduces crime rates, far more effectively than very expensive unionized police departments.

I hope when we let the druggies out of prison, even with legalized dope, they do not return to crime.

At 6/17/2011 8:17 PM, Blogger RollCast said...

How about the following proposal:

1. Legalize all drugs in quantities below a certain level.
2. Make the possession of drugs above this quantity, or the dealing of drugs punishable by death.
3. End all treatment programs.

This would squarely put the consequences of drug use squarely on the individual.

At 6/17/2011 9:05 PM, Blogger Synova said...

The harshness of the punishment is the problem, not a solution. Drugs are bad, suggesting they be legal is not a statement that they are good. Criminal actions while under the influence ought to be harshly punished, just like with alcohol. But making them legal means that one need no longer buy them from people willing to kill to make an illegal fortune. Plus, they can be taxed.

And people can still be urged to "Just say No."

Mostly we make them all illegal because people insist on outright demanding that "good" and "bad" be defined by "legal" and "illegal." All that is good must be compelled and all that is bad must be forbidden?

People are used to the notion that cigarettes are bad for you and drinking can be dangerous. They can handle the notion that what are now "illegal drugs" are bad for you, even if they aren't illegal any longer.

At 6/17/2011 9:22 PM, Blogger Colorado Wellington said...

I believe that drug prohibition has even worse results that alcohol prohibition once had. Drug use declined but the costs are horrible.

The fact that Jimmy Carter thinks we should end the war on drugs can also be interpreted as the case being so clear that even a fool can see it.

At 6/17/2011 9:23 PM, Blogger Dan-o said...

Yeah, sure let's legalize all intoxicating drugs! It's not like we don't kill enough people the way it is with people driving under the influence of alcohol. What the heck kill off a few million more with all the druggies out there operating a motor vehicle! Yeah! That's the ticket!

At 6/17/2011 9:30 PM, Blogger Frank_D said...

That's just the beginning, Dan-0! How about all the people who currently stand behind cash registers in America, being stoned out of the minds when you hand them a $20 for your $6.21 McDonald's / Taco Bell / Pizza Hut bill ?
Can you imagine Customer Service on the phone? "My phone is not working" "Then how are you calling me?"

At 6/17/2011 9:55 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Good for Carter. He called it right and did not care much for the political backlash.

At 6/17/2011 10:14 PM, Blogger dstanley869 said...

Pity Jimmah has so little influence now that he finally has something right.

At 6/18/2011 1:00 AM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...


The study is bunk - only 12% of high school seniors reported using marijuana in 1991? No way. The same goes for other drugs.

People naive enough to believe the study either have a selective memory, or weren't around enough peers when they were teenagers themselves.

The truth is the War on Drugs isn't working, just like Prohibition didn't work. Alcohol is America's biggest drug problem, yet we caused far bigger problems prohibiting it.

At 6/18/2011 2:45 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"What the heck kill off a few million more with all the druggies out there operating a motor vehicle! Yeah! That's the ticket!"

I assume this is sarcasm, but you must be aware that druggies are already out there operating motor vehicles. This isn't a new problem that would appear with legalization. Laws prohibiting driving while impaired would continue to operate.

At 6/18/2011 7:14 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Pity Jimmah has so little influence now that he finally has something right.

While I do not have a high regard for Carter he deserves a lot more credit than he has gotten. Some of the foundation for the prosperity of the 1980s was set by Carter, not Reagan. He does not get any credit for it because he and the Democrats are totally clueless about economics. As such, they have never promoted those accomplishments. In a way that is sad because it signals a political elite that could not distinguish the good from the bad.

Let me point out a few of the things that began under Carter's watch.

Energy deregulation was a Carter initiative. Controls were suppopsed to be fully lifted by 1981Q2. When Reagan took office he accelerated the process and received credit instead of Carter. (Keep in mind that the Left attacked Carter as being anti-consumer for these policies and by doing so ensured that Reagan would win.)

And let us remember that Reagan was supported by the Teamster's Union because he promised to delay the deregulation efforts proposed by Carter, who had already deregulated the airline industry and was going after railroads and trucking.

It was It was the Carter Administration's antitrust actions against AT&T that ended its monopoly and made possible the telecom boom that followed. This is NOT an endorsement of that suit. (Carter was wrong to pursue AT&T on antitrust grounds. He should have simply removed AT&T's monopoly privileges.) Of course it was not Carter but Reagan who got credit for this as well.

And let us not forget that it was Carter who appointed Volker and made it possible to stop the inflationary spiral that was threatening to take down the United States.

The bottom line is that a great deal of the prosperity that we saw in the 1980s and 1990s was due to actions began by the Carter Administration. Carter deserves credit for them, even if he is too ideologically bent to distinguish between the good and bad actions that he took. The same is true for Reagan. Many of the actions that he took have set the foundation for our current malaise. In politics things are not as they seem. And in professional politics there are not very many good men and women.


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