‘War on Drugs’ is war on peo­ple

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Is the “War on Drugs” truly a “war on drugs”? If some­one is caught in pos­ses­sion of an il­licit drug, then is it the drug that goes to jail? Or is it the in­di­vid­ual? Does the drug war seek to erad­i­cate drugs from so­ci­ety in an at­tempt to pro­tect drug users from its potentially harm­ful ef­fects? Or does it seek to erad­i­cate the drug users them­selves? More­over, how do you carry out war on inan­i­mate ob­jects, drugs, which are so vague in de­scrip­tion?

The Chi­nese philoso­pher, Con­fu­cius, stated “The be­gin­ning of wis­dom is to call things by their proper name.” So as we be­gin to wise up about the War on Drugs, we find that it is not a war on drugs; it is a war on peo­ple. A spe­cific type of peo­ple who choose to pos­sess or con­sume drugs not deemed ac­cept­able by oth­ers. As a con­se­quence, these types of peo­ple are hav­ing their lives torn apart through government ex­tor­tion, and im­pris­on­ment. Do these peo­ple de­serve to be treated in such a mon­strous man­ner? Are the ef­forts of the War on Peo­ple jus­ti­fied and right­eous?

As we are all aware, we have ex­clu­sive con­trol over our mind, body, and ac­tions. From this sim­ple re­al­ity, it can be clearly stated that each in­di­vid­ual owns their own body, and that no in­di­vid­ual has a le­git­i­mate claim over an­other’s body. This ba­sic prin­ci­ple is known as self-own­er­ship. If we all own our bod­ies, then it log­i­cally fol­lows that we all have the right to choose what goes into our bod­ies, in­clud­ing drugs. Since no one can justly own an­other per­son’s body, they also can­not con­tain the right to forcibly stop an­other per­son from con­sum­ing some­thing. This use of force is un­just and must be cor­rectly de­fined as vi­o­lence. At­tempt­ing to forcibly or co­er­cively stop an in­di­vid­ual from con­sum­ing any­thing they justly own is an un­jus­ti­fied act of vi­o­lence. Sim­ply put, it is wrong.

Does our neigh­bor have the right to forcibly stop us from con­sum­ing our fa­vorite food? How about if they deemed our fa­vorite food to be detri­men­tal and dan­ger­ous to our over­all health? Would the force then be jus­ti­fied? Of course not, any at­tempt by our neigh­bor to carry out such ac­tions would clearly be an at­tempt to vi­o­lently im­pose their per­sonal pref­er­ences upon us. Thus, is the so called “War on Drugs” not just per­sonal pref­er­ences and opin­ions be­ing forcibly im­posed?

There are some typ­i­cal re­sponses to the above con­clu­sions, which are wor­thy of re­sponse. The most com­mon re­sponse is: “Drug laws ex­ist to pre­vent drug users from harm­ing oth­ers while un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs; and these laws are thus jus­ti­fied in the name of self-de­fense” The first thing to re­al­ize is that con­sump­tion and harm­ing oth­ers are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent ac­tions, nei­ther im­plies the other. Is the ac­tion of harm­ing oth­ers a form of ag­gres­sion upon an­other in­di­vid­ual, thus vi­o­lat­ing their self-own­er­ship? If the an­swer is yes, then is it the act of drug con­sump­tion or the act of harm­ing oth­ers that is the wrong do­ing? Is the mere act of drug con­sump­tion a form of ag­gres­sion upon an­other? If the an­swer is no, then who is the real ag­gres­sor in the ap­pli­ca­tion of drug laws? At­tempt­ing to “de­fend” from a non-threat­ing ac­tion of drug con­sump­tion is ag­gres­sion: not de­fense.

With the moral ar­gu­ment aside, does the “War on Drugs” even prac­ti­cally achieve its de­sired goals to make so­ci­ety a safer and health­ier place? The out­law of drugs causes the rise of black mar­kets to sup­ply pro­hib­ited drugs, which pro­duces gang vi­o­lence that kills in­no­cents. In ad­di­tion, the lim­ited sup­ply in­her­ent in black mar­kets dras­ti­cally el­e­vates drug prices. These high prices in­cen­tivize drug ad­dicts to re­sort to com­mit true crime in order to fund their ad­dic­tions. More­over, the war on drugs has failed to pre­vent drug abuse, stop drug traf­fick­ing vi­o­lence, and help drug ad­dicts get treat­ment. As a di­rect re­sult, hun­dreds of thou­sands of non-vi­o­lent hu­man be­ings have been im­pris­oned for vic­tim­less drug re­lated “crimes.” All this while the to­tal financial cost since Nixon has long since ex­ceeded $1 tril­lion. Not to men­tion these costs are funded via a vi­o­lent means known as tax­a­tion.

The sad­dest per­verse out­come is in re­gard to the drug using “crim­i­nals” them­selves. Drug ad­dicts are some of the most men­tally bro­ken among us and are of­ten at­tempt­ing to self-med­i­cate them­selves to hap­pi­ness. The cur­rent war on drugs so­lu­tion is to per­se­cute and vi­o­lently im­prison them, only fur­ther­ing their trau­matic men­tal state. This is not a so­lu­tion. These peo­ple need com­pas­sion not vi­o­lent con­dem­na­tion.

The “War on Drugs” is im­moral, im­prac­ti­cal and de­struc­tive to hu­man­ity. Show your sup­port for all of those harmed by with­draw­ing your ad­vo­ca­tion of this grue­some War on Peo­ple. Jonathan Bean, Val­ley Lee

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