Today we launch our new Drug War Video Project, whose aim is to accelerate an end to the war on drugs, one of the most immoral and destructive government programs in U.S. history. Featuring a broad array of speakers, whose videos will be posted in the coming weeks, the video series presents each presenter’s reasons as to why it’s time to end the drug war.
Laurence Vance, a longtime policy adviser to The Future of Freedom Foundation and a regular columnist for our monthly journal Future of Freedom, kicks off the series with his perspectives on why the drug war should be ended.
When I started FFF 27 years ago, the drug war was the rage. Libertarians were pretty much the only ones calling for drug legalization, as reflected by Milton Friedman’s Newsweek article in 1972, “Prohibition and Drugs,” and his Wall Street Journal open letter to Drug Czar Bill Bennett in 1990.
In April 1990, our first year of operation, we devoted the April issue of our monthly journal (which was called Freedom Daily back then) to the horrors of the drug war, its assaults on freedom, and the need to bring it to an immediate end.
Whenever I appeared on radio talk shows back then to discuss ending the drug war, all the phone lines would light up immediately. People were outraged at the idea that drugs should be legalized.
Not anymore. Today, the idea of drug legalization is on the table. It is the subject of widespread discussion and debate. People from all walks of life, including prosecutors, judges, law-enforcement personnel, newspapers, parents, and former heads of state are now calling for an end to the drug war. Many states have even legalized marijuana, and the feds are not even enforcing their marijuana laws in those states. People who received draconian prison sentences for drug offenses are being freed early from jail.
It’s all a testament to the power of ideas — the power to transform people and societies. And notice something important here, at least for us libertarians: It doesn’t matter if people who support libertarian positions are libertarians or not. In fact, while all libertarians favor ending the drug war, I’ll bet that only a small percentage of people who favor drug legalization are libertarians. But that’s not what ultimately matters. What matters is knocking out the drug war (and other infringements on freedom), regardless of who is a libertarian and who isn’t.
When the drug war goes, it will constitute a sea change in American life. Immediately, the level of violence in American society will plummet. No more drug gangs and no more drug-gang warfare. No more muggings, robberies, and thefts to get the money to pay the exorbitant black-market prices of drugs. No more regular people getting sucked into the illicit drug trade in the hope of making a quick big score. No more drug-war corruption in the police and judiciary. No more drug-war bureaucracy. No more asset forfeiture. No more drug searches and seizures. No more drug-war harassment and abuse of blacks, Hispanics, and others. No more ruined lives and drug-war deaths.
The drug war is clearly teetering. We need to push it over the precipice. To that end, we present our Drug War Video Series. I hope you’ll share our drug war videos with your friends so that we can garner more people who are committed to ending this immoral and destructive government program.