Shameful silence

The Guardian has a very powerful editorial: The war on drugs and the shameful silence of our politicians

This week a major international summit on drugs will be hosted by Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords. No one from Downing Street will attend. No front line British politicians will be there to listen and learn from international medics, academics, politicians and economists who will reflect on lessons learnt from, and debate new approaches to, the “war on drugs”.

Privately, senior politicians have encouraged the hosting of the event and told organisers that they are sympathetic to a new discussion about drugs legislation – but only once public opinion has shifted. They signal privately that there is a need for change, but do nothing to lead that debate.

The editorial goes on to talk about the taboo that exists regarding talking about reform.

The taboo shows no sign of being broken by Britain’s spineless political class, despite this generation of leaders being the first to have widespread, first-hand experience of illegal drugs. They will undoubtedly have come across cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy throughout their university, social and professional lives. Some of their best friends – and colleagues – will have taken them. […]

Instead, the leading voices in calling for a new discussion about the war on drugs are coming from Latin America. In today’s Observer, Colombia’s President Santos speaks eloquently about the price his country has paid as a drug “producing nation” servicing the demand for illicit drugs in “consumer nations”, principally in Europe and the US.

The Guardian pulls no punches…

It is unconscionable for the leaders of the largest consuming nations – the US, UK and Spain – to remain silent any longer. […]

The war on drugs has failed. When policies fail it is incumbent on our leaders to look for new ones. They show no signs of doing so – even as Latin America’s body politic is threatened by the tentacles of the narco gangs who pay off politicians, judges, journalists and policemen – or just kill them, so that they can better transport drugs to us.

Prohibition has failed. As we noted last year: “If the purpose of drug policy is to make toxic substances available to anyone who wants them in a flourishing market economy controlled by murderous criminal gangs, the current arrangements are working well.” Milton Friedman was right, 20 years ago, when he said: “If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true”.

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16 Responses to Shameful silence

  1. I am running for elected office (school board) and this is an issue I am willing to talk about publicly. Here is a two minute video regarding my views on drug education and tough on crime legislation. There has not been any backlash (In fact, just the opposite has occurred).

    • Duncan20903 says:

      …y las fichas de dominó siguen cayendo:

      Britain should talk about legalising drugs, says Colombia president (whose country produces around 80% of world’s cocaine)
      By Daily Mail Reporter
      November 13, 2011

      Britain was urged today to have a major debate on the legalising of drugs like marijuana and even cocaine.

      Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos wants a global rethink of drug laws to end the ‘violent profit’ that comes from drug trafficking.

      Mr Santos, whose country produces around 80 percent of the world market in cocaine and is the third-largest grower of marijuana, believes only a co-ordinated worldwide debate can solve the problem.

      He said:’ If that means legalising, and the world thinks that’s the solution, I will welcome it. I’m not against it.’

      Mr Santos identified the U.S., Britain and Europe as the highest consumers of illegal drugs and were vital in leading the discussions for an overhaul of the laws.

      But he told the Observer: ‘What I won’t do is become the vanguard of the movement because then I will be crucified.

      ‘But I would gladly participate in those discussions because we are the country that’s still suffering most historically.’

      Read more:

      … ¿Ya llegamos? …

  2. Duncan20903 says:

    I killed quite a large weed, perhaps as high as six feet, in my front yard last week by severing the stalk at the base. It had grown up in and out of a wire fence and after I killed it it remained standing, being supported by the fence it still seemed alive. The plant had no clue it was dead. It reminded me of today’s prohibitionists. Their precious prohibition is as dead as that plant, with them just as ignorant of reality as was that weed.

    Thanks for letting me wax philosophical.

  3. allan says:

    It’s good to see referencing to the “shameful silence” of policiticians. But even this is mild compared to what is required.

    The debate-that-has-yet-to-happen boils down to laws and in a just and civil society laws are not based on lies. We don’t need to debate the science because we win. We don’t need to debate the morality, because we win. We don’t need to nitter and natter over statistics… we need to shut these shameful excremental sadomoralists down. The foundation is rotten to the core and is not even strong enough to hold up a wall built from naught but smoke and mirrors…

    PUSH! me hearties… push… and this wall too shall fall.

  4. claygooding says:

    If they legalize in order to remove the gangs and cartels cash flow it will need to be done by a large number of the countries at the same time,,and a good start would be for the UN to void the drug treaty,,allowing the countries to make their own decisions on drug policy,,by starting to take the US boot off their necks.

  5. Tony Aroma says:

    Great article. My favorite quote, sums things up nice and succinctly:

    “If the purpose of drug policy is to make toxic substances available to anyone who wants them in a flourishing market economy controlled by murderous criminal gangs, the current arrangements are working well.”

  6. Ben says:

    It’s nice to see the Guardian doing something positive.

  7. Ed Dunkle says:

    Meanwhile, American newspapers continue to support Prohibition.

  8. Francis says:

    I’m actually kind of encouraged by stories like this one. Look, politicians (with rare exception) are not going to lead on this issue. It’s not in their nature. Politicians will sometimes lead on an issue if it’s one that will expand their power (at the expense of reducing human freedom), but on an issue like drug policy reform that will have the opposite effect? Not likely. Politicians oppose reform with near unanimity because the current political calculus (or at least the current perceived calculus) is that the political benefits of doing so outweigh the political costs. As public opinion continues to move inexorably in the direction of reform, that political calculus will eventually change. We’ll see another “tipping point” as politicians scramble to realign themselves with the new political reality. The spinelessness of our political “leaders,” which has worked against us for decades, will finally be working for us. The fact that many of our politicians privately know that the drug war is a failure will only facilitate that dynamic.

  9. Servetus says:

    The U.S. government can’t even display shame or a sense of justice for its torture of prisoners of war. Ronald Reagan was right when he said government is amoral. He wasn’t just trying to be an apologist for the Republicans. Concern for the disastrous policies of prohibition challenges a politician’s moral I.Q. on a far more subtle level than crimes of torture ever could.

    Prohibitionists get their illusions about morality from deluded and externalized sources rather than drawing from an internal sense of right and wrong, one brought about by fully functioning frontal lobes in the brain. Their oppression is power that they are loathe to give up.

    • allan says:

      anytime I hear the drug war and torture mentioned in close proximity my mind can’t help but go to Peter McWilliams and Todd McCormick. Peter’s torture by the feds killed him – I can’t imagine a man gagging on his own vomit until he chokes to death as anything but torture. Todd, sick since he was a child, sent to FCI Terminal Island… that’s torture.

      Where is a US politician, not with just a stance of opposition to the drug war but with a fervent rage over ALL the injustices of the WO(s)D? God send us an elected person with cojones!

      A nut case shoots Gabby Gifford and others in Arizona and it’s a mainstream media feeding frenzy. A veteran raided by police in Arizona shot and killed by those same police gets not even a side mention… this shit is just so sick. Damn… you don’t think that vet’s wife and kid(s?) won’t be tortured and haunted by full blown PTSD?

      This is the territory none of the Prohibs will touch. They don’t want America being reminded that we shoot our own babies and their mommas outta the sky, that our cops plant drugs, that our federal court system has a standing gag order against the mention of medical cannabis…

      All the wrongs perpetrated under the name of the WO(s)D need an accounting… a very public accounting…

  10. Mooky says:

    Milton Friedman on why drugs should be legalized –>

  11. Dante says:

    “Milton Friedman was right, 20 years ago, when he said: “If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true”.”

    The people in US Government won’t end the drug war because the drug war benefits the people in the US Government. Huge budgets, zero accountability, reason to insert our troops in any country, curtailing domestic liberty under the guise of “safety”, the war on drugs is a Big Government boon-dogle. It’s the all-time greatest gravy-train, and you can never convince a G-man to derail his own gravy train.

    • Windy says:

      There is one, Dante:
      The best of the bunch (because he has the best chance of all the candidates of actually winning the nomination) is Ron Paul, and who could oppose a president who:

      “is opposed to the war on drugs. He consistently aligns himself with Judge Gray, who feels that the war on drugs is a complete failure, and is more about taking away civil liberties than about doing what’s right.

      “Ron Paul is anti-IRS, anti-federal reserve, pro-gold standard, pro-choice, anti-offensive war, pro-10th amendment, pro-2nd amendment, anti-big government, pro-industrial hemp, pro-cannabis, pro-freedom of religion, pro-4th amendment, anti-taxes, pro-gay marriage and pro-constitution.”

      This man is EXACTLY the kind of man we want in the presidency, anyone who doesn’t caucus or vote for him in the primary is missing the best opportunity we have had in ages to restore our Constitutional Republic and individual freedom. And he absolutely does mean every bit of what I quoted, his voting record in the House is proof.

      Additionally he has never voted for an unconstitutional law, and never voted to raise taxes. He has refused to participate in the lucrative congressional pension plan, AND he has returned his congressional office’s unused funds to the Treasury EVERY single year he’s been in congress, instead of spending it all at the last minute in order to get more next year (which is what all the other members of congress do).

      Please do whatever is in your power to do to help him win the nomination, because if he wins the nomination he WILL win the election. And once he wins the election he WILL end the war on drugs (among other desirable actions).

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