The mainstream press is adding its two cents worth of drug-war inanities to those being issued by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her trip to Mexico. Both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times are praising Clinton for having the courage to acknowledge the role that the U.S. plays in the drug war. And what role are they referring to? The demand for drugs among American drug users.
Let’s examine why such praise is so darned inane.
For one thing, notice that they’re what they’re actually praising Clinton for is her blaming the drug-violence in Mexico on drug users here in the United States. In other words, when she goes down to Mexico and confesses that “the U.S.” is partially responsible for the violence in Mexico, Clinton is not acknowledging and apologizing for the U.S. government’s war on drugs. Instead, she’s blaming American drug users, the people that the U.S. government has been persecuting and prosecuting for the entire 35-year history of the war on drugs.
What Clinton did was neither courageous nor honest. Instead, it was false, duplicitous, and hypocritical. If she had gone down to Mexico and admitted that the U.S. government’s war on drugs was responsible for 35 years of death, damage, destruction, violence, gang wars, assassinations, kidnappings, beheadings, torture, bribery, corruption, and suffering, that would have been one thing. Instead, what she did was simply blame it all on the people who have had the audacity to ingest substances that Hillary and her statist cohorts have banned.
Meanwhile, the state of New York has just decided to dismantle its harsh mandatory-minimum sentences for drug users that were enacted during the 1970s. It seems that the statists in New York are finally starting to see the brutality, cruelty, and senselessness of punishing people with long jail sentences for simply ingesting illegal drugs.
But then, where does that leave us with respect to Hillary’s point — that U.S. drug users are partially to blame for the drug-war violence along the border? Is she going to propose harsher punishments to deal with those people, and if so, how’s that going to fly in New York, where they’re finally realizing how stupid that is.
The horror that the drug war has unleashed on America and the world is reason enough to call for its immediate end. But that’s not the main reason for ending it. The main reason is that it is a direct assault on individual liberty. For example, consider the mindset of those New York statists who have just reduced those harsh jail sentences for drug offenders. Sure, it’s nice that they’re being less harsh, but notice their mindset hasn’t changed in substance: They still claim the moral authority to punish people for something that goes to the heart of individual liberty — the right to ingest whatever one wants without being punished by the state for it.
What those New York statists are essentially saying is, “We are lowering the penalties for illicit drug use, but don’t forget that we control what you decide to put into your mouth. You belong to us, to society. You will do as you’re told, or we will inflict punishment on you. We don’t care whether you are ingesting these substances in the privacy of your own home. You are a drone in our national hive and subject our commands.”
What better example of a violation of fundamental rights and individual liberty than that? If freedom means anything, it means being able to sit in the privacy of your own home and engage in any peaceful, consensual activity with other adults that you wish. Ingesting the wrong substances is no different in principle than reading the wrong books. Freedom entails the right to be irresponsible, so long as one’s conduct is peaceful. The government has no moral right to punish anyone for engaging in such activity. We are not drones and this is not a hive. We are individuals with fundamental rights, rights that preexist government.
Contrary to the suggestions of the mainstream press, Clinton is not deserving of praise for blaming the violence along the U.S.-Mexico border on American drug users. She should be condemned for refusing to acknowledge that it is the 35-year-old war on drugs with which she and other statists, both liberal and conservative, have cursed our land that is the root of the problem.