A recent exchange in comments got me thinking about the drugs and terrorism connection again. You know, the one you keep hearing about from public officials.
Of course, drugs and terrorism really have nothing in common.
- Drugs are designed to be part of a peaceful exchange between willing participants for private use.
- Terrorism is designed to be a violent action imposed on innocent victims for political gain.
On the other hand, the drug war and the war on terrorism have a lot in common.
- Both are structured so as to preclude an end to the war. They’re designed not to win, but to last forever.
- Both provide for the development of lucrative government structures that benefit from the war.
- In both cases, the war actually benefits the supposed enemy.
- In both cases, the entity declaring war actually creates and nurtures additional enemy soldiers. (In the drug war, arresting one dealer creates a job opening to bring in a new one. In the terrorism war, violent responses by us (such as bombings, torture and killings) actually work to recruit new terrorists.)
- Both wars depend on fear â€” not making the enemy afraid, but making their own people afraid.
- Both are tools for the government to convince the people to give up more of their rights, and give government more power over them.
I think that most informed drug policy reformers are likely to also oppose the war on terror, particularly as it is being conducted today. Just like the fact that we’re able to see the similarities between today’s prohibition and alcohol prohibition, we can see the dangerous similarities between the war on drugs and the war on terror.
We’ve watched for years as the government has said that they need to have more powers to fight the war on terror and use the powers that they’ve already stolen to fight the war on drugs as an excuse to grab even more power. Then later, we find that 90% of the use of the new anti-terrorism powers have been in the war on drugs. Each feeds the other, and the promotion of fear (of drugs, of street gangs, of underpants bombers) helps convince the people to shred the foundations of their freedom… in exchange for… nothing. Less than nothing.
It’s not that we support terrorism â€” quite the opposite. It’s that, just like with the drug cartels, we find that the war, the blunt instrument, and vastly increased government power, are not the right tools to use.