Drug Policy In America: It Is To Laf

I try not to ever seriously admonish anyone to WATCH THIS VIDEO!

But, WATCH THIS VIDEO! Every. Body. Just watch it.

Ethan Nadelmann: Why we need to end the War on Drugs

It’s so very impassioned. This is his life. He gets everything exactly right in terms of the insanity of drug prohibition. Here’s the transcript, should you prefer to read.

I’m not interested in regulating anything ever in a top-down, initiation of force manner; and every cent ever collected in “taxes” is a giant euphemism for theft and robbery. But I try not to quibble too loudly when a better direction is being taken concomitant with less harm to good people and those they love.

Funny, prescient quote at about 6 minutes in:

Put it this way, and I exaggerate only slightly: If the principal smokers of cocaine were affluent older white men and the principal consumers of Viagra were poor young black men, then smokable cocaine would be easy to get with a prescription from your doctor and selling Viagra would get you five to 10 years behind bars.

Go take a watch.

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  1. Steve on November 13, 2014 at 08:50

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

  2. McSack on November 13, 2014 at 14:37

    Hi Richard, this is not on topic, but I came across it today, remembered a post you did awhile back on the subject, and thought I’d pass it on:

    Not sure if you saw it or not, but I have a lot of respect for Wendy McElroy’s views, and thought you might agree.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 5, 2014 at 07:52


      Just catching up. Yea, I’ve read McElroy from time to time for perhaps nearly 15 years.

      She’s right on the money. I came to essentially the same conclusions way back. I’ve been poking fun of libertarians on this issue since 1995ish.

    • Bret on December 5, 2014 at 16:11

      I’m not here to defend libertarians, but all the same, I have seen very few libertarians, if any, denounce fractional-reserve banking as a practice, but rather as a practice by government. As with all government actions, its relative harm is somewhat proportional to the responsible government agent’s(s’) level of stupidity or self-service.

      Maybe I’m just living under a rock, but I have a hard time imagining many libertarians would oppose a free-market-based FRB system. The centralized Fed, however, whose chair is appointed by the POTUS, is a different story.

      That being said, many Ron Paul fanboys advocate for a Fed-less America. I don’t think they’re acquainted with the prospect of triple-digit inflation that would occur under those circumstances. Poor people and small caps would not stand a chance.

    • Bret on December 5, 2014 at 16:13

      Quick clarifier: intermittent triple-digit inflation. Sometimes the same level of deflation would occur. The point is no stability and frequent wild, violent swings in currency value.

      Complete with bank runs, etc, as McElroy alluded to.

  3. Bret on November 16, 2014 at 08:10

    Great video.

    The guy is definitely off on taxes and regulation. I can’t tell if that’s because he truly believes those two are superior tools, or because he knows he will never convince a timid, skeptical public without throwing them in with the deal (and pretending he’s on board).

    But either way, regulation cannot be enforced effectively, let alone efficiently, especially when compared to the alternative of market competition and media exposure. Ironically, the media will bust a company lying to customers (a good thing) and immediately thereafter whine for government regulation (sighhhh). Taxes are indeed theft. And the extra programs that these taxes, these “resources,” fund are guilty of the same crimes as any other government program and government spending. (i.e. Theft, as you said.)

    He did, however, brilliantly hit on two points that I had forgotten about long ago. One of them is: But think of the children!! If there is one emotional reflex stopping this issue from being resolved tomorrow, that is it. You could say the same of any regulated industry (food, education, whatever). When confronted with the uncomfortable reality that our children might be exposed to the same risks we otherwise welcome, our resolution on the matter suddenly crumbles.

    The other, lesser but still important, point was asked by the moderator: What would you say to someone who lost a loved on to a drug overdose? I remember debating this arrogant California liberal years ago on whether we should ban handheld cell phone use while driving. In rebuttal to my reasonable cons (people will now look down at their phones instead of up, in order to hide their phones; people will have to reach for/turn on/untangle their ear pieces; etc), the lib suggested I talk to the family member of a car accident victim, where cell phone use was cited, and display the “AUDACITY” (all caps and everything) to suggest we shouldn’t ban it.

    Emotional morons abound, and emotional very often = unintelligent. They are easily a bigger obstacle to good policy than any corrupt bureaucrat or corporate goon looking to fill his own pockets.

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