The Drug War is Anti-Science

There’s an excellent post by washunate at the progressive blog FireDogLake: The 2010 Drug Control Strategy is still Anti-Science

The article picks apart the new drug control strategy and also takes a look at the media coverage (and government spin) around it.

The perspective I want to bring tonight is the specific assault on science enshrined in the drug war. We Democrats like to condescendingly snub our noses at those ignorant backwater redneck moran hillbillies – aka Republicans – who are so gosh darn awful for their scientific silliness of [insert view here]. We reference studies like the one conducted recently by the Pew Center which found that only 6% of scientists openly identify as Republican.

But the trouble is, that comes off as pretty elitist, and ridiculous, when we have such blind spots ourselves on certain policy areas when it comes to science. And the drug war is particularly interesting for this kind of perspective because it involves absurdities in both the ‘hard sciences’ and the ’social sciences’.

It’s heartening to see this kind of self-awareness building within pockets of the progressive community (particularly at FDL). Democrats have had a history of being portrayed as more progressive on drug laws, when in fact their actions have generally been little different than Republicans. For decades, liberals have been demonized by social conservatives as being soft on drugs, yet they’ve been afraid to speak out about drug policy lest the social conservatives demonize them for being soft on drugs. If you can’t win the perception battle anyway, then perhaps it’s time to just support good policy based on science.

The “Oh yeah? Well, we’re as tough on drugs as the Republicans.” approach hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked politically and it’s been disastrous in terms of policy.

Anyway, this post at FDL is definitely worth reading. Some very nice work.

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8 Responses to The Drug War is Anti-Science

  1. damaged justice says:

    “ignorant backwater redneck moran hillbillies”

    Oh, the iron — knee.

  2. claygooding says:

    And l-o-n-g. I had read it before you posted,or most of it.
    It is sad that there is so much evidence of the federal governments failure to change it’s policies on drug law that it takes an article that long just to cover all the facets of today’s continued failed policy.
    The WOD has woven it’s way so far into our society,it is like cutting a cancer out,and finding out it is malignant,
    and hoping you haven’t waited too long to treat it.

  3. Scott says:

    While I agree that our efforts span the full political spectrum, the “blue” states basically have more lenient drug laws.

    Logic dictates that dominant conservative support for ending drug prohibition would give us the needed public support to beat the “incarceration lobby”.

    How do we get sufficiently-passionate conservative support?

    By properly wielding our Constitution in the public mainstream (not just in court where “public servant” corruption where our Supreme Court’s ridiculous Commerce Clause interpretation has dominated).

    Simply showing conservatives the ridiculous “connection” between the CSA and our “supreme law” (that connection also justifying the bulk of free market interference) will benefit us by:

    1. turning a true conservative into our supporter.
    2. defeating a fake conservative in front of true conservatives.

    I have been reading WSJ for a couple of years now, always posting comments when I can for our cause (real and fake conservatives generally dominate there).

    When I started, there were more people arguing against legalization.

    Now, recommendation counts go to people who favor legalization.

    We are winning the crucial public opinion battle, though we cannot let up.

    The post I paste there, which received a couple of recommendations, is the following (feel free to use it, if you want):


    “To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;” – U.S. Constitution (Commerce Clause)


    The ‘free’ growth, ‘free’ distribution, and ‘free’ possession of marijuana (all within a single state) is federally banned due solely to the Commerce Clause.


    There is a clear disconnect between those first two facts, which means at some point along the multi-decade long legal path relevant to the Commerce Clause, our Supreme Court stopped doing their job to just interpret the law.


    That disconnect is justified by our Supreme Court (Gonzales v. Raich) who has redefined the Commerce Clause over the decades to mean:

    “To regulate any activity having a substantial affect on interstate commerce.”


    If simply possessing a small bit of marijuana has a substantial affect on interstate commerce, then certainly your thought activity (determining every facet of your buying and selling decisions) and your breathing have that affect too, rationally opening those activities to “public servant” control.


    For an expert analysis supporting the last fact, in the case of Gonzales v. Raich, Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent wrote:

    “Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”


    By any rational interpretation of our supreme law (rationality an essential part of justice, of course), the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) is not law.


    Congress must immediately repeal the CSA on the basis that it is unconstitutional (naturally ending our obligation to abide by relevant international treaties).


    No good American patriot can justly argue otherwise, so please stop doing so.

  4. Lee Van Spleef says:

    The democraps and republicants are just two co-equal branches of the war, bankster and corporate party currently running this country into the ground. Once they kill the golden goose known as the middle class they will move on to another abomination. Who wouldn’t want to get high and alter their consciousness we are stuck between Scylla and Charybidis.

  5. Cliff says:

    I look at the government as a rabid pit bull, it doesn’t matter whether it shakes you right or left, you’re still in its teeth, and it hurts.

  6. Tony Aroma says:

    Hey, what happened to FDL’s slogan contest? I had three entries in the final round, and ever since then there’s nothing on their site about it. Did they change their mind?

  7. truthtechnician says:

    The Supreme Court has made a mockery of the law and the constitution. Gonzales v Raich is the nail in the coffin. A glimpse of hope in the halls of Congress is all that remains.

  8. Tim says:

    The RCMP in Canada was caught funding a shill from a fourth rate university to engage in ‘policy-based evidence making’ against supervised injection sites and indoor cannabis gardens. Not only is this guy a poor researcher, but there is a string of stories about sexual harassment of his students. The lawsuit should be coming up soon, it’s going to blow up real good, as they used to say on SCTV. 🙂

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