Among the fascinating aspects of America’s decades-long drug war is how drug-war proponents never take individual responsibility for the adverse consequences of their program. Instead, they inevitably say, “Judge us by our good intentions rather than by the actual consequences of our program.”
Consider robberies, burglaries, thefts, and muggings. It is impossible to know how many of them are drug-war related but there is no doubt that many of them are. Yet, one never sees drug-war proponents apologizing or showing any remorse for the mayhem their program produces among victims of drug-war violence.
When drugs are made illegal, their prices inevitably go up. It’s just a basic law of supply and demand. Making something illegal artificially limits the supply of it. Less supply means artificially higher prices. The more the government cracks down with strict enforcement, the higher the prices go.
Drug addicts and drug users who can no longer afford the drugs now have a choice. They can give up the drugs or they can do things to get the money to pay the artificially inflated prices for them. Giving up an addiction or even just the usage of drugs is not easy. Inevitably, many drug addicts and drug users resort to other means to get the money to pay for the drugs. They turn to robbery, muggings, burglaries, and thefts, some of which inevitably turn deadly.
While drug-war proponents will express outrage over the violent crimes and sympathy for the victims, they never accept individual responsibility for the crime itself. They simply travel through life oblivious or indifferent to the fact that it is their program that has led to the violent outcome. They just keep repeating their mantra: “Judge us by our good intentions rather than by the actual consequences of our program.”
It’s important to note that this particular violence would not be occurring if it wasn’t for the drug war. Prior to making the drugs illegal, the sellers were pharmacies, pharmaceuticals, and reputable companies. Competition between suppliers kept price relatively low and stable, making them affordable for drug addicts and drug users. That’s why, for example, today we never see winos robbing people to get the money to buy a bottle of wine in what is a legal market.
Once it is made illegal to sell the drugs, the reputable firms go out of business immediately. They all know that if they continue selling the now illegal product, law-enforcement agencies will immediately bust them and have them prosecuted for felony offenses. That’s in fact what happened when Prohibition proponents made liquor and beer illegal. The reputable suppliers of alcoholic beverages immediately went out of business.
But as we saw during Prohibition, and as we have seen in the drug war, that is not the end of the story. As soon as the reputable businesses close down, they are replaced by unsavory and violent sellers of the now illegal substance. In the case of booze, it was people like Al Capone. In the case of drugs, it is cartels like the Medellin and Sinaloa cartels, along with a multitude of drug lords and drug dealers.
There is one distinguishing characteristic of suppliers in an illegal market — violence. That’s they way they do business and that’s they way they compete. Turf battles, murders, and assassinations are simply a way of doing business. Violence was endemic to Prohibition. It’s no different in the drug war.
In the process, countless innocent people are killed. It’s been estimated that hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed in Mexico during that last eight or nine years. Those deaths are not because of drugs but because of the drug war.
Do proponents of the drug war ever accept individual responsibility for such deaths, apologize for them, and express even a small bit of remorse for what they have wrought with their program? Do they ever repent and advocate drug legalization as the way to put drug cartels and drug lords out of business and be replaced by pharmacies, pharmaceuticals, and other reputable and peaceful businesses?
No, never! Instead, they simply keep repeating their mantra, “Judge us by our good intentions rather than by the actual consequences of our program.”