Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stop the Taliban

We have a priceless opportunity to stop the Taliban dead in its tracks before it takes over Afghanistan again, and it's very simple. All we have to do is legalize opiate drugs. The Afghan opium crop this year is up 59%, and is now providing 92% of the world's supply, according to a recent article. And that money is funding the Taliban and its attempt to overthrow the Karzai government. Given where they seem to be hiding out, drug money is almost certainly also funding Al Qaeda.

The United States is one of the biggest markets for opium and its derivatives. If we legalize opium, morphine, and heroin, we cut the legs out from under the Taliban. We also do a number of other good things for ourselves, which I detailed in my February 2 post, Prohibition Doesn't Work. The "War on Drugs" wastes our time and energy fighting personal habits that would harm no one except the users if we hadn't criminalized them; and at the same time the high price caused by the illegality is pouring money into the pockets of our greatest enemies.

Legalize the stuff; sell it over the counter, subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes and booze, and taxed in the same way; and quit subsidizing Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The purported moral horror at "drug fiends" is a crock. Sure, opiates will kill you. So will a lot of stuff you can get quite legally, starting with booze.

And while we're at it, let's legalize marijuana, too, and not just for medical purposes. Marijuana won't even kill you, which is more than you can say for booze.

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Amen, absolutely amen.

    Anonymous David

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  2. Boggart8:21 PM

    Oh, the logic of your suggestion. Sigh, in reality the emotions your suggestion engenders in the frozen minds of the family values set, and those who like to raise general ire in unthinking quarters, well... You just know it ain't gonna happened. Funny how tobacco and alcohol are almost sacred, legal, and potentially devistating, but other drugs are hands off becasue they are illegal and potenially devistating. I wonder if anyone in the taxation area will ever palm a calculator and figure just how much money the gov't could rake in through sales tax.

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  3. Anonymous5:25 AM

    boggart,

    Is it just me, or is there currently in American society an inverse relationship between logic and social policies?

    Anonymous David

    ReplyDelete
  4. Boggart12:17 PM

    Anonymous, I've been thinking about your question. I'm not sure there ever is much use of logic in any government's social policies. Of course, there must be some, at least somewhere, but I've a hunch much of instituted social policy is what the populace thinks they want. This may require a little PR, but that is certainly doable. The rest of the policy benefits some company or some enity or some other policy either already in force or planned but yet to be instituted.

    So it is rather a risk-benefit ratio. How much does the power center give (the benefit for the public), and what will the power center reap(the risk/gamble)? What the power center will reap is never certain, because outside of Issac Asimov's Foundation, you can never 100% guarantee the reaction of the public.

    So, the logic is somewhat preverse as well as inverse. Take the development of public schools. At the beginning, in Britain, it started with Sunday schools. Teach the masses to read so they can read the Bible. (Not so they can better themselves or read the news) The state schools, as Dickens so aptly pointed out, were developed to train laborers for the factories, which is one reason they were rather different from the system used in the public schools. (We all know a public school in Britain is one like Rugby, Harrow, or Eton, and they are neither free nor inexpensive.)

    Then when in WWI Britain had so many young men from poverty struck backgrounds who were physically unfit for the army...well, institute a welfare system so the poor can at least eat enough to produce healthy soliders. Not that that was openly used as a major reason. A little PR goes a long way in politics.

    To get back to Hedra's point, some day, at some point, someone will take out a calculator and figure out how much money can be made from legalized drugs. The next step will be research to make the drugs chemically "safe." Retain the high, but reduce the obviously addictive aspects. This may have to wait until the country climbs down off its current Better Christian Than Thou pulpit, but I bet it will. We humans love profit.

    Of course, as a good, moral, god-fearing individual, I know money isn't the most important thing in life, but it sure is in front of whatever is in second place. (Put in your favoite deity for the god bit.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:19 PM

    boggart,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on my question. Provided much very useful food for thought.

    When I think of the current power center in relation to your comments, I wind up wondering if they grasp the nature of the consequences they are likely setting in motion. They seem either terribly indifferent to or ideologically hindered from any kind of global thinking. I don't remember a previous power center so utterly devoid of any kind of actual, or even possible, insight. I'm beginning to think the common weal is, to this administration, an externality.

    Anonymous David

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is odd. I thought I had published this in September. I did publish this in September, because all of you commented on it. But when I converted to the beta Blogger, it showed as draft only; so I republished. And there are all the comments. Weird.

    ReplyDelete