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Drug War Lessons from Communists

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Like the Trump administration, the communist regime in China has announced its intention to crack down in the war on drugs. The fact that the crackdown is coming from one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes in the world should serve as a lesson to the American people about the real nature and purpose of drug laws.

According to an article posted at talkingdrugs.org, Guo Shengkun, China’s minister of public safety and head of the National Narcotics Control Commission, said that the communist regime is intensifying its drug-war crackdown to reduce drug use by targeting both consumers and suppliers.

Sound familiar? That, of course, is precisely what the U.S. government has been doing for decades, without any success in reducing drug usage.

Where the “success” has come, however, is expanding the power of the state over the citizenry through both criminal controls and taxation to fund this program. That’s a point that is clearly not lost on China’s communist regime, which understands the importance of maintaining omnipotent control over the citizenry.

This is what all too many Americans who still support drug laws just don’t get — that drug laws are among the means by which the state exercises dictatorial control over the citizenry. Under the guise of taking care of the people or doing it for the children, drug laws enable the state to exercise ever-growing totalitarian-like powers over the citizenry.

Just think about it: With drug laws, the state is wielding the power to punish someone for putting an unapproved substance into his body. That is amazing. It is also the very essence of tyranny and oppression. Freedom entails, at a minimum, the right to ingest anything one wants, no matter how dangerous, unhealthy, or irresponsible it might be.

Then consider all the totalitarian-like measures that U.S. officials have employed to intensify their decades-long, never-ending crackdown in the war on drugs. Every one of those measures constitutes an infringement on liberty and privacy. Every one of them would fit perfectly within the Chinese communist regime’s own crackdown in its drug war.

No-knock raids. Warrantlesss searches. Asset forfeiture. Mandatory-minimum sentences. Mandatory financial disclosures. High incarceration rates for both consumers and suppliers. Stop and search pat-downs. Car searches. Militarization of drug enforcement. The Chinese communists would love all of them.

Drug warriors often say that if the U.S. government would only crack down even more than it already has, the drug war could be won. Really? Then how can one explain China? It has one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and yet still has a drug problem. That’s why it’s adopting even more dictatorial control over the Chinese people under the guise of cracking down in the drug war.

The lesson from the Chinese communists is clear: If the United States were to adopt the same oppressive system that China has — that is, one entailing even more surveillance, monitoring, and destruction of civil liberties than the U.S. government is already engaged in — there would still be a big drug problem, one that would require even an even greater drug-war crackdown.

Do Americans really want to continue traveling down that road — the road to even more government control, surveillance, tyranny, and oppression? If not, there is but one solution: Reject the road the communists are traveling and embrace the freedom road, which necessarily means repealing drug laws.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.