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April 2006
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John Fugelsang on the Drug War

John Fugelsang has an extensive (and quite witty) rant on the drug war over at Huffington Post.
Here are a couple of excerpts:

They always told us “Pot makes you violent. And Lazy.” Which never scared any kids I knew. I always thought if the violent people were lazy, we’d have a lot less crime. Imagine the thug who threatens, “I’m gonna kill you, man. Right after this burrito.”
And this is why so many kids have a hard time taking the drug war seriously. We’re always changing the reasons, but the message stays the same. We keep telling them “drugs are bad! Drugs are bad! Drugs are bad!” and that, my friends, is not the problem.
The problem is not that drugs are bad. The problem is that drugs are great.
[…]
Back then, Chinese immigrants were the group everybody was allowed to hate, and people really didn’t like the thought of good Christian folks going to smoke in the opium dens of “the heathen Chinese.” . White people took opium too, but they usually ate it, or shot it up. You know, the wholesome way.
So they passed a law taxing imported smokable opium. This is noteworthy, since besides the obvious racism, it was the first time the government used taxes not to raise money (as the founders intended), but to punish and control private behavior. Thus began a long tradition of drug laws that work about as well as British toothpaste.
[…]
And since it’s April, it’s worth mentioning that from the 1600s to the 1800s, cannabis hemp was used as a currency – legal tender. In fact for over 200 years you could pay your taxes in cannabis hemp. So next April 15th, try to send the IRS a few loose marijuana cigarettes. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your knowledge of our history, and you can even file it as a “joint return.”
[…]
In 1996 the voters of California approved a medical marijuana proposal. The Clinton White House promptly put the kibosh on it. George W. Bush is also opposed to medical marijuana. Now both of these presidents have been vague, at best, about their drug histories. But they’ve had no problem locking up others for the same behaviors. Which I take as a sign that neither of them truly believes in the drug war.
Because if they really felt at their core that illegal drug use was evil, they’d confess their crimes and ask forgiveness. Remember – if they thought it was a sin, they’d turn themselves in. Imagine Johnnie Cochran saying it – it’ll sound better.

Go ahead and read the rest, and then tell me if you can spot the common, but significant logic flaw in Val’s statement in the comments there.

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