In Defense of the War on Drugs

The policy formerly known as the War on Drugs has been widely criticized in recent years. Some of these criticisms are well-founded. However, I have been disappointed to see anti-Drug War rhetoric focus more on race and victimology as it has recently. The currently popular race angle is one of the weakest arguments against drug prohibition and is only supported by societal taboos against more honest examination of the issue. What follows is based on my own experience in this area.

I first became interested in the subject in high school, when I first heard of marijuana and started reading about the marijuana laws online. Knowing very little about race or crime at the time, I was outraged by what I found, which seemed to be corruption, “racism” and fanaticism far beyond the norms of politics. I felt like a detective and found it fascinating to learn how I had been deceived. I was also personally insulted by the knowledge that there were laws telling me what I could not put into my own body. I wrote several papers for school and many articles for various websites, and also did various other low-level activist work.

During all this time I had very little contact with the opposition. I never paid much attention to the views of law enforcement on the issue, with the exception of those in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a pro-legalization group full of mostly former law enforcement officials. I knew that top anti-drug officials such as Barry McCaffrey had been known for making outrageous claims, and that official anti-drug propaganda was laughable. Their side’s distortion of the numbers was often noted and was even the subject of an entire book entitled Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics. However, I read very little writing from the prohibitionist side. “The War on Drugs has never been about drugs,” says an anti-prohibitionist documentary released in 2012, and I believe this is true but not quite in the sense the director intended.

Growing up, I had absorbed the usual liberal line on race. All conflict between Whites and others was the fault of Whites. “Racists” were evil people who we should be ashamed to even share a national history with; references to them normally included an expression of something like rage or disgust. In our society we can say things about “bigots” that could probably get us prosecuted if we said them about people who had actually wronged us personally, and I accepted this as normal.

In high school I met a White teacher from South Africa. She felt that the African National Congress’s terrorist attacks were justified simply because the victims were “racist,” and appeared to have no shame about saying so. This was at a nominally Christian school, but this was probably the most un-Christian thing I heard anyone say while I was there.

I was never given any reason at all to believe that Whites and other races were fundamentally equal or similar. It was simply assumed that they were somehow the same, and that equal life outcomes between Blacks and Whites would thus be fair. This was considered so obvious that it was practically never stated explicitly, let alone argued for rationally. For a very long time, I did not question this, and strained my mind to ignore the evidence of my own senses concerning the dramatic differences in intelligence between Blacks and Whites.

Jared Taylor’s comment that “it is pleasant to feel oneself superior to mean-spirited conservatives” applies here. I never met anyone who openly disagreed with the standard view, and this meant that I could have a sort of pleasure in being a righteous opponent of evil without the risk of ever facing that evil in reality.

It is often alleged, not only by drug policy reform organizations but others such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, that the War on Drugs is “racist.” The title of a 2012 book by the Black law professor and attorney Michelle Alexander was The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This complaint is partly based on explicitly racial propaganda which served to support the drug prohibition laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and partly on the current “disparate impact” of the drug laws on Blacks and Hispanics. Blacks have long been far more likely than Whites to be arrested or incarcerated on drug charges, with Blacks about four times as likely as Whites to be arrested on marijuana charges according to 2010 data. It was implied, and sometimes stated more explicitly, that the behaviors police should be focusing on in this context were not significantly different between the races.

The issue of predatory crime and criminals was rarely mentioned in the anti-prohibitionist literature except to suggest that it was exacerbated by prohibition. At most there was a reference to “fears of crime,” including early 1900s propaganda themes such as “Negro cocaine fiends,” creatures which allegedly could not be stopped with the usual caliber of bullet. Similar propaganda was mentioned in connection with opium smoking by Chinese and marijuana use by Mexican immigrants, but the question of how or if these people’s behavior actually differed from that of native Whites outside of drug use was not seriously raised. I read of H.R. Haldeman’s infamous quote that in President Nixon’s opinion, “the whole problem is really the Blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to,” and I had the response I had been taught to have. I saw all of this as “racist” and proof of the absurdity of the whole anti-drug project.

It did not occur to me to seriously consider the character of many people involved on what Bill Hicks would call the winning side of the War on Drugs. The natural thing was to assume that the claims about the connection between drugs and antisocial behavior were at best rumors developed by the fevered imaginations of racist anti-drug fanatics. I had certainly learned of the corruption of many who worked on the prohibitionist side, and of infamous examples of brutality such as the drug treatment program Straight Inc. I had also read about the shady legal (arguably illegal) maneuvers which were the foundation of drug prohibition. If I ever thought about the offenders, though, it was only to feel outraged by their treatment. I was even proud to think that I did not care about whose interests I was defending or what type of people they were.

In one book—I cannot recall the name of it— there was a quote from a gang member on why he and his associates engaged in violence. The author was trying to argue that there was more behind the violence than the pressures of prohibition. Not only did I not give it much credence at the time, but I felt racist just to be reading it, and tried to put it out of my mind. The offender’s description was something like “you know, we be just funnin’, gunnin’ and funnin’.” In other words they shot people for the lulz. This was at odds with one anti-prohibitionist explanation for much of the violence of the drug market, namely the lack of access to courts to settle their differences peacefully. It did not occur to me that these were not the type of people to prefer the briefcase to the handgun method of dispute resolution.

I was initially puzzled when I read about Black leaders in Congress going along with the hysteria around crack cocaine in the 1980s. Most of the Congressional Black Caucus supported the federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, including the infamous 100-1 disparity in mandatory minimum sentences between crack and powder cocaine. Similar support for other anti-drug policies has come from the CBC and many other Blacks over the course of the Drug War, and this has included essentially blaming crack for crime. I knew that the usually reported effects of cocaine—crack or powder—were not as dramatic as popularly claimed, and that no drug could simply make respectable people into criminals. Again, I did not read between the lines.

I had more hints of what was really going on, which I similarly did not think much of. One article in the compilation After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century, edited by Timothy Lynch, was written by a former law enforcement officer. Although a supporter of drug policy reform himself, the author explained that the charge that they were targeting and incarcerating people solely for drug possession was laughed at by police. They only targeted suspected dealers for arrest, but found that it was difficult to prove a distribution charge in court, while possession was easy. This accounted for the figures1 which some on our side took to mean that the police were mainly wasting their time on harmless users. This should have been a hint to me that offenders have likely committed many offenses for which they were not convicted or even charged, so the frequent references to “nonviolent drug offenders” were not presenting the full picture.

I do not doubt that the War on Drugs has punished some people who were no threat to society. I assume Norm Stamper is telling the truth when he discusses his experience as a DEA informant, stating that those he informed on were normal college students rather than dangerous criminals. But not everyone can be targeting peaceful college kids, particularly in areas where college education is practically unheard of.

I cannot point to a single “eureka” moment in which I changed my views on crime or race. I was however particularly moved by Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, a collection of essays on the British underclass. Dalrymple, a former prison doctor, argued against drug legalization in a debate in 2012. The people in the neighborhoods Dalrymple discusses are White, but no less dysfunctional for it, similar to what is on display on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Long-term gainful employment is rare, domestic violence is the norm, and local police have essentially given up prosecuting many serious offenses.

I understood while reading this that any sane person living in or around this sort of hell would rightly fear for their safety or even their lives. I also understood that poverty and general backwardness was not a condition imposed on some by the rest of society, but the product of a self-destructive worldview which could not but guarantee essentially Third-World living conditions. These were people who not only showed very little interest in improving their own situation but violently discouraged the more sensible among them from bettering themselves.

Reading Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow, a Virginia psychiatrist who ran an intensive attitude-modification program for inmates, was also important. Samenow described the predominant personality type among criminals, explaining that they love to hear and repeat sociological excuses for their crimes. The mantra of “society is at fault” allows them to deny responsibility for their actions, which frees them from any obligation to change their behavior, let alone the attitudes behind it. The norm for these people is a victim mentality, often coupled with an aversion to work and a grandiose conception of themselves. With this mindset, of course, they feel little obligation to respect the rights of others. By rejecting their excuses and focusing on correcting their distorted worldview, he had some success in changing the behavior of a large minority of participants in his program.

In light of all this, I could not see such people as victims over whose treatment I should feel outraged. On the contrary, I could understand the desperation of police and citizens to do something about this incredible degeneracy.

Rhetorical victory over many prohibitionists such as former DEA head Asa Hutchinson is remarkably easy, as can be seen in various articles, books and televised debates. At first I thought this was simply because our side was overwhelmingly righteous and the other side was a bunch of idiotic bigots. As it turns out, it is essentially a fight against a disarmed opponent.

The character of violent criminals, let alone Black or underclass criminals in particular, is off the table as a topic in public discussion of the drug policies. This is despite it being the most compelling justification for a policy which manages to put away many of these people, restricting their ability to commit further crimes. Explaining that we are dealing with people from a different culture who have no interest in being a productive part of our society would be out of the question. It would violate the orthodox view that all men are created equal, and that society is at fault when they do not turn out that way. The taboo against “hate” is also relevant, as an honest description of these people’s attitudes and behavior would inspire such feelings in many normal people.

Not being able to honestly describe the nature of the people they are targeting leaves the prohibitionist side defenseless in debate. They are required to fall back on exaggerations of the dangers of drugs themselves when the issue is essentially the dangers of criminals, which to a large extent means Blacks. An honest desire to remove violent offenders from the neighborhoods they prey on ends up looking like some capricious crusade to eradicate offensive plant products.

Growing up, I was exposed to a fearful worldview which essentially stated that, especially concerning anything political, it was wiser to suspect someone of lying to you than to believe them. Of course, I never applied this rule consistently, but I did to some degree believe it. It did not occur to me for some time that we live in what has been described as a “trust society,” in stark contrast to much of the world. Despite our declining trust in institutions, people in the West can still count on a high degree of honest behavior in day-to-day life, and without this we would be much more like Somalia.

Without a suspicious attitude towards much of society it is much more difficult to maintain an egalitarian worldview. The idea that the races are equal in criminality or in other critical personality traits implies belief in massive dishonesty in a “racist” direction, both by those who have had the most experience of different races in their own lives and by generations of scientists. I have never had to deal with racial differences in a professional capacity, but neither have I ever found any reason to believe that those that have are lying.

I recall reading the popular article by Thomas Jackson, “What It’s Like to Teach Black Children,” and finding a seemingly endless string of comments from many different people claiming that their own experience had been similar to his, along with various details. One comment accused all of the others of lying, and another even accused the author of never having any experience teaching Blacks. Another commenter sarcastically responded with “yeah, all those people are lying.”

There was no dramatic epiphany, but I remember at this point thinking about the absurdity of my “consider the source” pretensions. Of course, in reading about the issue further, I found the evidence against the orthodox view on race to be just as overwhelming as I had earlier found the arguments against the War on Drugs.

It is true that the effects of illegal drugs themselves are commonly exaggerated. Many anti-drug authorities have made absurd claims about drugs, and about their own effectiveness in combating them. The average drug user is not a violent threat to others, even while under the influence. None of this means, though, that the authorities are imagining the threat of certain people for whom the best the prosecution can get is a drug possession charge.

Many violent criminals use and/or sell drugs. They often belong to a culture which does not accept values which many Whites assume are universal. This is an environment in which cooperation with the police is not the norm. Unlike some offenses, drug possession does not require a victim or other witnesses to assist the police, so cases can be prosecuted regardless. The War on Drugs is not some malicious attempt to punish Blacks out of jealousy for their resemblance to chocolate. Drug prohibition, despite its flaws, is an understandable attempt to put away dangerous people.

  1. See pages 14, 15, 39.
12 replies
  1. Alan Donelson
    Alan Donelson says:

    And the “War on Poverty”, despite its flaws, is an understandable attempt to rid society of the impoverished. Substantively similarly, the “War on Terror”, despite its flaws, is an understandable attempt to rid society — perhaps the entire planet! — of those who terrorize others, including whole populations in “open gulags” (e.g., Palestine). Declaring “war” on abstract notions seems as efficacious as it appears perniciously beneficial to Power$ That Be. In my opinion, the “War on Drugs” differs not one iota.

    This is especially so as the actual perpetrators engage in concentrating wealth among the few; provide professional terrorists with means to carry out their missions and even employ them; and, in the present case, permitting and facilitating the production, distribution, and sale of substances made illicit and, through propaganda and other pysops, attractive — among them, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, psychedelics, methamphetamine, and novel “pharmaceuticals” (e.g., benzodiazepines). In the meantime, with mean times upon us, many of the pampered, powerful, wealthy elite partake of pure, unadulterated forms of the very same drugs. For marijuana alone, annually, hundreds of thousands of people were entrapped in a Just Us system, incarcerated and used as slave labor.

    I find nothing “understandable” at all about the “War on Drugs.”

    • John
      John says:

      Two days ago, four of us dine at a pub & when I asked their thoughts on what was occurring at our southern border no one said – INVASION. Yes, we have a problem alright & we r the problem – we can’t c the reality. Our priority is having tens of thousands of our soldiers guarding the DMZ, but, not our border. To add insult to injury, we r financing this INVASION.

      • Charles Frey
        Charles Frey says:

        Not only are we financing the invasion, but we are paying for our permanent disappearance through their 800 pp HR – 1, and its provisions, unconstitutionally forcing all their recent successful thieving election tricks on the independent states. .

        Expert legal interviewees, on FOX, have explained this in great detail.

        Contrary to some commenters and AUTHORS here, who ” don’t watch MSM or FOX “, recently or otherwise, Tucker, this weekend, rated a scathing article in the usually mild Haaretz.

        He must be doing something right !!!

        Additionally, one among three or four in their group segments went after Teacher Union Head ” Weingarten, who was after her ‘ pound of flesh ‘ in that 1,9 T Bill.”.
        That doesn’t even require reading between the lines, does it !!!

        On Saturday, Judge Jeanine outdid her brilliant self. One Dem idiot immigration lawyer, Dave Leopold, was thrown off her program with a sizzling ” thanks for nothing ! “, for his stupid redirection and mix ups. One third of her program was taken up with her personal visit to the border. Really worth looking up; as is the Haaretz article.

    • Al Ross
      Al Ross says:

      Ridding society of the impoverished may be somewhat problematic as long as the US Govt has decided that there are not enough poor citizens , and that indigent foreigners are sought to augment the American numbers.

      Biden’s message is ” There are not nearly enough poor people in the US. ”

      Aside from that , poverty is perfectly natural , it is wealth and capital accretion that requires explication and formerly the US did it best.

  2. Charles Frey
    Charles Frey says:

    Years ago a mayor of Cleveland complained of an artificial shortage of labor in his region, plaguing its manufacturers and other businesses. He rightly blamed drug abuse among all levels of local society, who were consequently unable to reliably fill a job. He favored immigration over industrial /commercial decline; a deliberate program which has grown exponentially since then, buttressing Democratic hegemony.

    Your essay treated the small fry. I, for one, would have welcomed an at least brief reminder of the Sacklers: their astronomical profits from minimal investments; the governmental approvals they blatantly bought; their scientific, PR firm-undermining and recruitment of doctors and pharmacists at Caribbean resorts; their even more exorbitantly-priced antidote to their erstwhile poison; their final murder-toll and the comparatively small, arrived-at settlements by a number of claimants, including States.[ Settlements sum compared to Purdue Pharma, Sackler family-held billions in stock value ].

  3. Edward Harris
    Edward Harris says:

    I had a cousin who was in the London police. He believed that narcotics should be sold by chemists as they were in Queen Victoria’s glorious days. He said that the Metropolitan Police was totally corrupt. During my travels as a wandering part Jew the only police force I heard of that was respected was the RCMP.
    In West London the drug dealers would have their drugs confiscated by the police and sold back to them.
    Politicians were investing £100,000 to import drugs into the UK.
    If the drugs were imported successfully they were paid £1,000,000.
    The person who told me had just come out of prison. With his record he expected to get 10 years instead of a few months. He and his friends had 3 customers from the House of Commons.
    At the 1979 General Election, the Saturday before the election, drugs were used at a homosexual orgy by 7 tory MPs at a brothel in Holland Park. The owner had informed the Daily Very Fast. News went all across Fleet St. and every owner refused to publish the event.
    When prohibition ended narcotics were criminalised in the USA so that crime families like the Kennedys, Bronfmanns etc. could make a lot of money. Joe’s daughter would have ended her days as Duchess of Devonshire if she had not died in a plane crash. I don’t think the Devonshire family sold booze and drugs. They just robbed the Roman
    Catholic Church and the people of England.

  4. Edward Harris
    Edward Harris says:

    In my other post,I forgot to mention that in the 1979 election, the BNP fielded about 300 candidates trying to stop immigration. The news would have caused trouble for the friend of the child molester Sir James Saville, Margret Thatcher and the child murderer Edward Heath.


  5. Edward Harris
    Edward Harris says:

    I forgot to mention in my previous post that in the 1979 General Election the BNPfielded about 300 candidates opposed to immigration. This news would have caused problems for Margret Thatcher (a friend of child molester Sir James Saville) and Edward Heath (accused of child murder in print and on air by Radio Bristol)

    In my other post,I forgot to mention that in the 1979 election, the BNP fielded about 300 candidates trying to stop immigration. The news would have caused trouble for the friend of the child molester Sir James Saville, Margret Thatcher and the child murderer Edward Heath.


  6. Dian 'the AA Mathemagcian' Abbot
    Dian 'the AA Mathemagcian' Abbot says:

    Every time I’ve been approached by strangers in public (urban England) – C 20x – offering drugs it’s been a ln African!

  7. 12AX7
    12AX7 says:

    From the Government’s point of view (in the USA) the sweet spot for drugs is illegality combined with sporadic enforcement of drug laws with the gullible, useless Lügenpresse in tow for the evening news, dog and pony show. The police can show they are “doing something” about illegal drugs when they make a seizure, some legitimately bad people are taken out of circulation and business can continue as usual after the cameras are gone. The illegal drug trade is a business, just like Ford Motor Co, Kellogg’s, Intel, Microsoft, VW, Mitsubishi, BP etc. are businesses and all businesses are about making as much money as possible without anyone going to jail.

    Illegal drugs are expensive because the risk of going to jail or getting killed is high in the drug trade and that risk is what people pay for, not the product. The cost of ingredients and manufacturing processes are minimal compared to the retail price. If drugs like cocaine and heroin were legal now as they were in the late 19th century the price would be low as it was in the late 19th century. It literally costs less than a dollar to produce a pound of USP grade cocaine for legitimate medical use. 19th century advertisements for cocaine or heroin concoctions show a couple of grains of cocaine/heroin per fluid ounce at very low prices when there were no restrictions.

    The large amount of cash in the drug business is an irresistible temptation to many in law enforcement, politicians, the judiciary, the legal profession, the Lügenpresse and the general public. This is deeply corrupting of society in general and gives incentives for the status quo to remain untouched. The money from the drug trade as well as asset forfeitures that go to police and local government budgets provide the incentive to keep the drug trade going but keep it illegal at the same time.

    If the U.S. Government were serious about their “War on Drugs” they would have created a border with Mexico along all 2,000 miles. The vast majority of illegal drugs in the U.S. come across the 2,000 mile, wide open Mexican border and have for years with detrimental effects on both countries. Much of the illegal trade could be stopped with a real border.

    The Lügenpresse will not raise this aspect of the drug trade because they favor the wogs flooding the country. The law enforcement/legal profession are kept busy by the drug trade so they like the status quo. Asset forfeiture, fines, the rehab business and bribes provide income for law enforcement budgets. This is a big reason no one in power, Republican or Democrat really wants a serious border along every yard of the 2,000 miles with Mexico. Even DJT didn’t bring up this aspect of the wide open border.

  8. N. Joseph Potts
    N. Joseph Potts says:

    There is no defense for/of the War on Drugs. It should be stopped and dismantled immediately.

    The race angle of attack on the War on Drugs is pure BS. ALL law enforcement is racially biased, and always will be. That’s one of the things wrong/bad about law enforcement, and laws, in general.

  9. Charles Frey
    Charles Frey says:

    Forgot to mention above, that Tucker mentioned Soros by name several times, as being the main campaign contributor to the election of that Destroyer in Chief, LA County DA Gascon.

    Absolutely incredibly, as I write this, I am listening to [ you guessed right – on FOX ] Congressman Van Drew, R, NJ, who is playing a tape of a phone threat from an editor of a NJ paper, syndicated to others.

    This mob-inspired editor threatens Van Drew with the ” fate of a traitor “, and asks, as he also wrote, ” how Van Drew’s wife would feel if she were picked up by her crotch and slammed on the hood of a car “.

    Don’t believe it ? Look it up ! Van Drew intends to sue, so we, who view FOX, haven’t heard the end of it.

    By comparison, our turmoil in 30s Berlin was downright mannerly.

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