Monday, August 21, 2006

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)

I would be very interested to hear from current and former law enforcement officers about this documentary from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group seeking to end the "War on Drugs." [Note: please click on the boxed area to view the video; as an Unfrozen Caveman Blogger the technology is new and frightening to me, and I'm still learning to post video links.] As one of them points out, ending the drug war wouldn't end the drug problem -- the small but desperate element in our society addicted to narcotics, which, according to this group, has remained unchanged, in proportionate terms, since the first federal anti-narcotics law was passed in 1914. But it would do a great deal to reduce violent crime and the metastasizing corruption within police agencies nation-wide.

Of the many fascinating and impressive people I've been privileged to meet, one of the most accomplished is former DEA undercover agent (and now best-selling author) Mike Levine, author of Deep Cover, The Big White Lie, and other remarkable exposes of the so-called War on Drugs. Levine, who has been critically wounded in dangerous counter-drug duty; he enlisted in the "Drug War" after his younger brother fell prey to heroin.

Shortly before 9-11, I visited Levine in his home in upstate New York to interview him on-camera for various documentary projects. He told me about his experiences as "Drug Czar" for Cape Cod, leading what had been a very successful effort to reduce casual drug use and small-time retail narcotics dealing -- only to be cashiered because the program's success was undermining the community's efforts to get federal subsidies and donations from government-connected groups like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

The entire purpose of the "War on Drugs," Levine came to understand late in his career and as he told me quite candidly, is to make some politically connected people very wealthy, expand the power of the federal government, and provide a pretext for social control.

Like the disenchanted former police officers, judges, and prosecutors who have created LEAP, Levine invested decades of his life in that cynical and futile "war," and now wants the public to understand just how badly we've been deceived.

Although it shouldn't be necessary to say so, let me make it clear that I neither use narcotics -- I don't even like to take aspirin -- nor do I support drug use in any way. I don't smoke and, as someone of Irish-Mexican ancestry I'm a six-pack away from being a raging alcoholic, so I don't drink at all. (In His mercy, God apparently has made me severely aversive to alcoholic beverages of any kind; I can't so much as stand the smell of them.)

In assessing the social damage done by various intoxicants and controlled substances, it's difficult for me to see how marijuana, for example, is deadlier than beer. It seems to me that most of the damage done by narcotics is the result of prohibition: The artificially high profits of "drug lords"; the corruption of federal, state, and local law enforcement bodies; the militarization of law enforcement, and the corresponding assaults on the Bill of Rights.... Those problems, it seems to me, could all be mitigated by de-federalizing the so-called drug war, if not ending prohibition outright.

Am I wrong?


Truth Addict said...
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Truth Addict said...

Prior to my eyes being opened to the libertarian point of view and truly understanding what the responsibility of freedom meant I was a pro "War on Drugs" person. However, after closely examining my beliefs and reconciling them to my newly budding philosophies, I have come to your same conclusion.

Aside from being completely ineffective, usurping our freedoms, and empowering a criminal syndicate (on both sides of the war), it makes absolutely no sense. I've been telling people ever since my conversion that making drugs legal will not create more drug problems. If you're the type of person who wants to do drugs then you'll do them regardless of the law. The law against murder does nothing to prevent murder, it merely gives the state grounds to prosecute the act. Likewise, the law forbidding drugs does nothing to prevent it's use. If you were to ask the majority of people why they don't do drugs I'm willing to bet they'd say it's because they don't see any need to, not because it's illegal. It seems rather paradoxical that the majority of people are consciencious enough to obey the law, yet remove the law and people will lose their conscience, as the fearmongers opposing de-regulation would have us believe.

It's my contention that if the basic ten commandments aren't enough to keep us in line then any law beyond that won't do much good. I'm convinced that if the state could keep us in a straight-jacket to keep us in line they would do so for "our safety" of course.

dixiedog said...

I understand your position on this matter, Will, and I'm tending to suport a dismantling of the "War on Drugs" apparatus that's currently in place, mainly because of the arbitrary forfeiture procedures carried out simply because "some narcotic was found in ones house, car, boat, et al" nonsense. But, this same predicament can occur with any other "War on [insert whatever here]" scenario that's dreamed up by neocons and other collectivist radicals.

That said, the issue I think that needs to be mulled by everyone, whether it be the "War on Drugs" or any other "War" being commenced. And that is where self-control and morality breaks down, government will provide that missing control and homegrown "morality" (more like amorality) as they see fit.

This is where I disagree with truth addict when he says, "Likewise, the law forbidding drugs does nothing to prevent it's use. If you were to ask the majority of people why they don't do drugs I'm willing to bet they'd say it's because they don't see any need to, not because it's illegal." Back in my great-grandmother's era, when opium and cocaine was legal, folk in general possessed self-control of the sort that's all but extinct today. I rather believe, unfortunately, that many if not most folk today refrain from drug use precisely because it's illegal, not because of any moral compunction moving them to act otherwise. Heck, I never hear anyone say that about any behavior or whatnot they happen not to exhibit, other than it's illegal or the government said it's harmful to their health. And BTW, those usually work together hand in hand. It's simple to see this phenomenon in action too. Just look around today at how many youngsters do not smoke, yet they drink like a fish, cuss like a sailor, pork like a rabbit in heat, ad nauseam! The reason they do not smoke has nothing to do with moral compunction nor with self-control, but rather only with fear about what daddy will do if they are caught, or because they believe it's harmful to their purdy little bods....yet homosexual behavior is as apple pie to youngsters today and they see no HARM in it!

It's the same with gun-control. The government bans guns in a given locale, and (this is important) can get away with doing it without much opposition from those same folk precisely because the majority of the folk in that particular locale have lost their self-control and would act irresponsibly with a firearm.

Now, I'm not a mammy statist type and I loathe to the nth degree the government telling me what can and cannot be smoked, drank, shot, ad infinitum, ad nauseam...but I nevertheless understand how government eventually morphs gradually and slooooooooowly over time to doing just that - become our mammy and pappy.

Just to be clear about smoking, I do smoke (cigarettes) and have been for 26 years. But since it has no effect whatsoever on the mind in an abstract sense, I have difficulty accepting it in terms of a morality conundrum. Yes, we could mention the scripture referencing the temple of the Holy Temple and to keep it pure, so I admit that I struggle with it in that light. My grandmother chewed nasty snuff for over seven decades and died at 90 years, but she was otherwise a moral hightower in every area of life and she had the greatest influence upon me, in fact, more than both my mother and dad. Thank the good Lord for that grandmother! May she rest in peace.

Anyway, the clarification above I mentioned about my smoking cigarettes doesn't alter the points I made in the slightest. The point is that whatever an authority figure, especially government appointed or media lapdog selected "experts," that is/are paraded before the cameras claims is what the masses in general follow.

dixiedog said...

Just an addendum to the above. We're talking drug use here and I stated the following:

I rather believe, unfortunately, that many if not most folk today refrain from drug use precisely because it's illegal, not because of any moral compunction moving them to act otherwise. Heck, I never hear anyone say that about any behavior or whatnot they happen not to exhibit, other than it's illegal or the government said it's harmful to their health.

Of course, the "drug use" I mentioned above meant illegal narcotics, in case anyone wondered. One reason I said that many if not most "refrain from drug use" (illegal narcotics, that is) precisely because they're illegal and not due to a moral compunction is simple. Just look at how many folk use legal narcotics for cryin' out loud! If the continual nonstop drug commercials are any indication, we're a nation of legal drug users and abusers for everything from pecker malfunction for men, libido restorative drugs for both sexes, energy rejuvenation drugs, abortifacient drugs to induce abortions to schoolyard narcotics designed to make children mindless automatons along with the attendant myriad side effects with all the above.

So, we are most assuredly a nation of drug users, albeit legal and let's not forget controlled and regulated (prescription required). Big deal, anyone can find an unethical doc to write a prescription for Pethidine (Demerol), or even a Schedule II drug like Oxycodone. And, like it's some great consolation to know, it's only those drugs that "holy" mammy gubmint approves of, claims to be largely harmless, and thereby deems perfectly legal.

Sometimes I think the New American writers view the American commoners at large as harboring a vastly different mindset from those in the political professions, the medical professions, the legal professions, etc. And that strikes me as odd as those in those fields are going to reflect the mindset of the commoners to some degree, otherwise they wouldn't be in those positions to start with. Besides, even the rural locales experience much of the same crime, handout disease, etc. as the urban areas, not as much mind you, but it's gettin' close.

Of course, you may issue a retort along the lines that the commoners are deceived and that's why and how, in essence, collectivists generally get a toehold in those professions and in other key positions. The real answer is quite simple: What accompanies loss of self-control and morality? Deception! A hapless soul who is rudderless, has no moral foundation upon which to stand, and no convictions is easily deceived and taken for fools. Let's say a mass of commoners are presented with the following obviously false dichotomy from the politicos. "Here's the issue for my district and the American people in general: We can deliver a 5 million stipend over a two year period to build, let's say, a research park for our [insert district here] locale. And the "other side" of the bi-factional party is offering a 10 million handout to a foreign country. What should happen is that the aggregate commoners in the given district immediately oppose both on principle since they both represent the same evil - unconstitutional taxpayer largess handed to a third party. The only difference b/w the two positions is that one party is a foreign government, the other a local government. What would almost certainly happen, however, is that the commoners would accept gladly the local hand out.

I know you know all this, Will, but sometimes I think the JBS and the New American magazine in general are much too optimistic about the state of cultural rot "the land of the free" is riddled with today.