The war on drugs continues unabated. As the New York Times recently reported:
Frustrated by government policy and inaction, a group of advocates for medical marijuana sued two federal health agencies on Wednesday over the assertion that smoking it has no medical benefit.
The group, Americans for Safe Access, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court, challenging the government’s position that marijuana, “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Although the lawsuit is well-intentioned, it’s clearly misdirected. Whether or not marijuana has a medical benefit is not the issue; whether or not the war on drugs should exist at all is the issue.
The Drug War knows no bounds. The Tenth Amendment clearly limits the federal government to powers that are specifically listed in the Constitution:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
But yet, national laws, including those that are definitively prohibited by the Tenth Amendment, are continually held to be superior to state and local laws; all to the detriment of your personal liberty.
The fact is that you have a right to do what you want with your own body. Self-medication, for example, is a right protected by the Ninth Amendment. More importantly, though, there is nothing listed in the constitution giving the federal government the power to prohibit people from using drugs or medicine.
Therefore, the federal government has no right to violate local drug laws or force you to change your personal choice. Doing so is in direct violation of both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. But, the Constitution be damned – that’s what the politicians are telling us!
In Murray Rothbard’s book, For a New Liberty, you can see the inherent problem with the drug war – it simply gives the federal government power over you in ways that no free person should want:
Propagandize against cigarettes [or marijuana] as much as you want, but leave the individual free to run his own life. Otherwise, we may as well outlaw all sorts of possible carcinogenic agents – including tight shoes, improperly fitting false teeth, excessive exposure to the sun, as well as excessive intake of ice cream, eggs, and butter which might lead to heart disease. And, if such prohibitions prove unenforceable, again the logic is to place people in cages so that they will receive the proper amount of sun, the correct diet, properly fitting shoes, and so on.
Once the government is given the power to limit the liberty of one group of people, it then has the power to limit the liberty of others – including you. If you approve of the government interfering with people’s rights to use whatever drugs they want, then you approve of politicians being able to decide what’s good for you as well. There is no stopping point once the government has the power to determine what is good or bad for you to put in your own body.
Thus, the drug war is based on a repugnant assertion: that you do not have ownership over your own body; that you don’t have the right to decide what you’ll do with your body, with your property and with your life. The position of the drug warriors is that you should be in jail if you decide to do something with your body that they don’t approve of.
This is an abomination of everything that America is supposed to stand for. As long as this country continues the drug war, you are not free. At their root, then, those that force the drug war on you are enemies to your freedom.
In this ongoing drug war, you are always treated as a suspect and your neighborhood is much less safe. You are searched at airports and your bank accounts are spied on. While drug users who are no physical threat to anyone but themselves are put in jail, the prisons become more and more overcrowded, resulting in the early release of violent criminals on a regular basis. If you love your freedom and you want your city to be safer, this psychotic war on drugs must be ended – now.
Understandably, many Americans are afraid that ending the drug war will result in countless drug addicts, including children. In reality, though, that’s just what we have now! On top of it, we generally don’t even consider the people who are addicted to federally-approved drugs to be drug addicts. What’s going to be different – can our nation’s addiction to drugs get any worse?
According to a 2004 CDC report, almost one-half of Americans use at least one prescription drug. It should be obvious, then, that the drug war has done nothing to reduce Americans’ addiction to drugs – it’s simply controlled which drugs people use, and who can make a profit from them. It’s doubtful that legalizing all drugs could make things any worse, but even if it does, then so be it.
People will always do plenty of things that are bad for them, and there’s no reason to put them in prison for it. Think about the things you do that are bad for your own health – should the government outlaw those too?
People eat too much fast food and they forget to floss every day. They watch too much TV and they don’t count their calories. And, guess what? People swallow, snort, shoot and smoke drugs that are both legal and illegal – and it’s not going to stop. A free society just wouldn’t force you, under the threat of punishment, to be â€œgoodâ€ to yourself all the time. That was the job of your parents – unless, of course, you want the feds to be your new â€œdaddy.â€
In all seriousness, though, if we are ever going to have a nation that respects the Bill of Rights, of which the Ninth and Tenth Amendments may be the most important, the DEA and the entire drug war must be eliminated.
If not, what’s going to be next? Orwellian telescreens in our homes and a state-mandated morning exercise routine? That would most assuredly keep the cost down on the coming national healthcare system.
Won’t that be nice?