Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
Here's the RSS feed or subscribe to our FFF Email Update to receive Hornberger’s Blog daily.

Lou Dobbs and the Drug War


Last night, CNN television commentator Lou Dobbs was commenting on the recent death of a Border Patrol agent at the hands of drug dealers along the border. The agent had used his vehicle to try to stop the Hummer that was being driven by the drug dealers. The drug dealers crashed into the agent’s vehicle, killing him, and then drove the Hummer back into Mexico where they escaped capture.

Dobbs blamed the deaths on the drug dealers and the so-called open-border policy of the U.S. government, which is one of his favorite rants.

What Dobbs fails to comprehend, however, is that he himself, along with other supporters of the war on drugs, are morally responsible for the death of that Border Patrol agent. That is, Dobbs and other drug-war supporters cannot escape moral responsibility for the agent’s death by simply pointing to the legal (and moral) responsibility of the drug dealers who killed him.

If the drug war had been ended years ago, as libertarians have long advocated, there would be no more drug gangs and drug lords. Those types of people survive and prosper only in black markets, not regular markets. If drugs were legalized, the people selling drugs would be pharmacies and other normally operating businesses, just as they were before U.S. officials made the sale and distribution of drugs illegal.

By putting drug gangs and drug lords out of business immediately, the legalization of drugs would obviously cause the types of occurrences that resulted in that Border Patrol’s death to immediately disappear. That is, there wouldn’t be drug gangs trying to smuggle drugs into the United States because, again, there wouldn’t be any more drug gangs. Given that there wouldn’t have been any more drug gangs, there wouldn’t have been the altercation that resulted in the Border Patrol agent’s death.

Yet, Dobbs and his drug-war cohorts just cannot let go of their beloved war, not even when it has gone on for more than three decades, with nothing but death, destruction, corruption, and failure to show for it. Even worse, they cannot bring themselves to take personal responsibility for its consequences. Like liberals and the welfare state, they inevitably exclaim, “Please, judge us by our good intentions, not by the actual results of our philosophy.”

Why do people like Dobbs continue to favor the drug war? Hope springs eternal in the minds of people who favor paternalistic government programs, whether the program is the drug war, Social Security, Medicare, immigration controls, trade protectionism, or the like. Despite all the crises, messes, and perversions that such programs produce year after year, decade after decade, their advocates continue to hope that some day an enterprising politician and bureaucrat will finally make them succeed.

But they will never succeed, at least not without a police state imposed within our country.

Look at North Korea and how it has sealed its borders. They’ll never admit it openly, but that is effectively the model of those who wish to seal the borders of the United States.

Look at the Berlin Wall. They’ll never admit it openly, but that is effectively the model of those who wish to build a wall along our Southern border.

Look at Cuba and its retirement, educational, and health care systems. They’ll never admit it, but that is effectively the model of those who wish that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public schooling could finally be made to work.

What’s the alternative to socialism, interventionism, and a police state? Free markets, private property, and limited government, as libertarians have long maintained. Echoing the words of Ronald Reagan, libertarians exclaim, “Tear down these walls!”

Unfortunately, as a conservative Dobbs cannot bring himself to embrace free markets, private property, and limited government in the areas of trade, immigration, retirement, health care, and education. But wouldn’t it be nice if he, along with other conservatives and liberals, would take personal responsibility for the consequences of their beloved government programs. Taking moral responsibility for the death of that Border Patrol agent who died at the hands of drug dealers — and apologizing to his family — would be a good place to start.

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.