NOTE: On Saturday, September 3, the Ron Paul Institute is hosting its annual conference at the Westin Washington Dulles Airport in Herndon, Virginia. The theme for this year’s conference is “Anatomy of a Police State.”
I will be speaking at a special add-on conference for young scholars the day before the main conference. Moreover, I have just been added to the Saturday program as well. It is always a big honor and pleasure for me to speak at RPI conferences, especially since Ron Paul is one of my real-life heroes.
This conference is always one of the best conferences of the year and I have no doubts that this one will also be great. I highly recommend it. If you attend, please look me up and say hello.
The registration fee for the conference is $85. Here is the registration page:
I hope you see you there!
Poor Fetty Wap, whose real name is Willie Junior Maxwell II. He’s the famous rapper who just pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge carrying a minimum 5-year jail sentence. Sentencing guidelines indicate that he could actually receive a 9-year sentence. After Maxwell’s guilty plea, he was carted off to jail.
Why feel sorry for Maxwell? Because from what I can tell, no one is protesting his incarceration.
But wait a minute! A nine-year jail sentence is what a Russian court recently meted out to U.S. basketball star Brittney Garner after she pled guilty to drug charges in Russia. Griner’s sentence generated all sorts of protests from U.S. officials and their acolytes in the U.S. mainstream media. They called Griner a “political hostage” and demanded that Russia release her immediately, notwithstanding the fact that she pled guilty to the drug charges, just like Maxwell just did.
From what I can tell, there has not been the same outrage over the federal treatment of Maxwell. Not one U.S. official, op-ed writer, or editorial board has called him a “political hostage” and demanded his immediate release from federal custody.
What’s up with that? Why do U.S. officials and the U.S. mainstream press get upset when the Russian government enforces drug laws but seem overly pleased when the U.S. government enforces drug laws.
Of course, it might be said that one big difference in the two cases was that Griner possessed only a small quantity of marijuana while Maxwell was distributing more than 100 kilograms of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, and fetanyl.
But don’t U.S. officials and the mainstream press always remind us that when it comes to drug laws, the law is the law? Russia’s drug laws obviously permit a sentence of 9 years when it comes to marijuana possession. So, given the U.S. government’s devotion to the drug war, how can they really complain when another regime is enforcing its drug laws in the way it deems fit?
Moreover, let’s not forget that possession of marijuana is a crime not just under Russian law but also under federal law here in the United States. Let’s also not forget that there are American citizens who have received much longer jail sentences for marijuana possession than Griner has received in Russia.
The real question is: Why does the U.S. have drug laws at all? It’s understandable that dictatorial regimes like Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba have drug laws and enforce them fiercely. But why should the United States be copying those tyrannical regimes by having fiercely enforced drug laws too?
The essence of a genuinely free society is one in which people have the right to live their lives any way they want, so long as their conduct is peaceful. That is, so long as people are not transgressing against the rights of other people, such as with murder, theft, burglary, fraud, rape, and other such crimes, they are free to do whatever they want.
That obviously includes the right to ingest whatever a person wants to ingest, no matter how harmful it might be. When any government wields the power to punish a person for putting bad things into his mouth, that is conclusive evidence that people under that government are not living in a free society, no matter how convinced they might be that they are.
Possession of drugs is also a purely peaceful act. The same holds true for the distribution of drugs. Government has no more business punishing people for possessing and distributing drugs than it does punishing people for ingesting drugs.
The dark irony in Maxwell’s case is that if it hadn’t been for federal and state drug laws, Maxwell wouldn’t have been distributing drugs in the first place. It is the illegality of drugs that causes their prices to skyrocket. The artificially high prices and profits induces many regular people to try to score big. If drugs were legal, prices and profits would be normal, and the distribution of drugs would be done by pharmacies and other reputable companies. In other words, drug laws lead people into temptation.
Rather than focusing on Russia’s drug laws — and, for that matter, those in China, North Korea, and Cuba — U.S. officials and their mainstream-press supporters should be looking in the mirror. They should be looking at their own destruction of the liberty of the American people. It’s time to bring this portion of U.S. hypocrisy and tyranny to an end. It’s time to legalize all drugs and empty federal and state prisons of all non-violent drug offenders.