The war on drugs has been going on for over 40 years, and it has done nothing good for society. In fact, for a few years now, I’ve been doing some research, and I’ve found that drugs aren’t bad (or at least not all of them). In fact, a genuine drugs researcher named David Nutt once said that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than many of these illegal drugs.
So what is the war on drugs about? That’s easy. It’s the government’s campaign to tell us what we can and can’t do. They can’t stand that there’s a way to be happy without religion or commercialism, and when it comes to drug law, the US and UK are still stuck in the ’70s.
Our view of drugs seems to be warped as well, seeing as many of the drugs that have been criminalized are actually harmless. For example, the drug mephedrone was once a legal high before it was criminalized in 2010. How many mephedrone-related deaths were there before the ban? Only 2! Yes, only those two people were killed, reportedly as a result of overdose of the drug, yet the tabloids made such a big deal out of it, that the government felt they had to ban it, even though there’s a world of evidence to show that it’s not nearly as harmful as tobacco ever could be.
To be frank, there’s a whole world of evidence to show that the war on drugs has nothing to do with preventing crime, and everything to do with social control.
I’m of course talking about the anti-drug culture of the ’80s. In America, the whole sorry mess began in 1984, when then-First Lady Nancy Reagan launched her didactic “Just Say No” campaign, which was initially designed to “discourage children from illegal drug use”. It was a way of feeding outdated, Christian moral values to children, which was proven when it expanded to also discouraging violence and premarital sex. Soon after the Just Say No campaign started, every kid’s favourite cartoons became riddled with insidious moral messages (does anyone remember G. I. Joe?).
Then, in April 1990, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, an exploitative, preachy pile of cartoon tripe designed to drill government propaganda into innocent children, was released to the American public. You can definitely tell it’s propaganda because the VHS release opens with an introduction from then-President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush (the intro is edited to feature other world leaders in overseas releases). It’s also nothing more than cheap exploitation of the power of cartoon mascots to deliver a cheesy moral message.
Call me crazy, but doesn’t this whole fiasco remind anyone of the Prohibition?
For those of you who are too young to remember (which I’ll admit that I am), the Prohibition was the dreaded era in American history between 1920 and 1933, when alcohol was banned. The prohibition era is well remembered because it saw the rise of the mafia, and many law officers and politicians became corrupt. Rather than reducing crime, outright prohibition of alcohol was actually a godsend for violent criminal organizations (which were later glamourized by Hollywood). Even back then, the prohibition was considered an intrusion of puritanical moral values on a more “modern” society.
Does this sound familiar? Many drugs are illegal based solely on conservative Christian moral values, and the old drug laws haven’t reduced crime at all. In fact, it’s been leading to the rise of drug cartels in Mexico and other parts of Central America, and all over the world, all of whom got rich off illegal drug smuggling while many innocent people died.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking at history repeating itself.
Do we really want a repeat of the prohibition era, let alone all over the world? If we want the killing to stop, and crime to go down, then the only right thing to do is to stop the war on drugs, and legalize the least harmful recreational drugs (like marijuana). Besides, the old drug laws are clearly failing. Politicians in the UK and the US know it, the people know it, and it’s only a matter of time before the war on drugs fails on its own.
Let’s remember that after the prohibition era, alcohol became as socially acceptable as it is today. In fact, it’s now a big, regulated industry that profits off misery. If history really is repeating itself, then the aftermath of decriminalization will be exactly the same. Recreational drugs will become socially acceptable, to the point that there will be a major industry based around it. It would probably cripple the alcohol industry, but I don’t think that’s too bad. If it means the end of puritanical moralism, then I couldn’t be happier.