This editorial in the Edmonton Journal (Canada) responds to the suggestion that Harper will pursue a U.S.-style war on drugs.
If that is the case, it would be an unfortunate mistake with predictable and very disappointing outcomes.
While Washington from time to time trumpets bravely that it has scored a victory in the war on drugs, by all empirical measures it has been an abject failure.
It then goes on to detail the costs of the war in the U.S., and then:
One of the driving forces behind the U.S. war on drugs, especially under the Republican party, is Christianity. The religious right has placed “saving” people from the scourge of drugs as an important American value and tantamount to saving souls. It is one reason that successive administrations have continued to throw increasing resources at a fruitless war. The message, in essence, that the small number of those rescued from the grip of drugs justifies the billions used in the war.
Perpetuating the war also appeals to the military and law enforcement communities. They see it as another almost limitless source of funds to buy new equipment and recruit personnel. If the U.S. were to move toward a more permissive stance on illicit drug use, spending in this area would diminish, as would the number of military personnel, police officers and prison guards. In the U.S., prison and court costs alone for people jailed on drug charges — mostly users and foot soldiers of organized crime, not the kingpins — mean that our neighbours to the south pay out about $10 billion a year.
Interesting point about the Christian influence in the war on drugs. And it is true. There are many who support the war on drugs through a misguided sense of “morality” (which seems to be in the nature of attempting to save one sinner by sending the entire congregation to hell). “Christian” support of the war on drugs is, in actuality, a perversion of Christianity.
Christian morality is a personal choice that must be freely taken by an individual — you don’t achieve it through imposition by a secular government. But this popular tendency to push for criminal laws to enforce moral standards demonstrates self-doubt — a faith that is so weak that they require the secular government to enforce it.
The informed and enlightened Christian (regardless of their beliefs on the morality of drug use) sees the entire picture and is horrified by the suffering imposed upon the people by the state. To participate in, or support such a war, would be immoral.
Additionally, the notion of the mere use of certain drugs as being immoral (oddly just the ones that have been outlawed by the state) has no grounding in Christianity — it is primarily the invention of religious dogma and imposed upon the masses by the church.
Anyway, back to the Edmonton Journal…
Research has shown repeatedly that having young people involved in supervised after-school sports programs is the best way to keep kids and drugs apart.
Absolutely true — although I wouldn’t limit it to sports programs. Music, theatre — any after school activities are far better at preventing youth drug abuse than school drug testing or enforcement activities.
If the Harper government believes that throwing more money into law enforcement and drug interdiction is the right model, it should do so only after explaining how it expects to succeed when all other similar efforts have shown no benefit and, in many cases, have resulted in considerable harm.
Accountability. What a concept!