The Drug War

I’m not a regular reader of The Corner, but I was pleased to find a thoughtful post on drug policy. Jonah Goldberg discusses why he sees no easy answers:

One point I would like to make in response to a great many folks is the idea that simply because I’m in favor of keeping addictive narcotics illegal, I must think the current drug war is going well. I don’t. I think it’s a disaster. And while I’m very dubious of a lot of anti-drug war charges about our prisons being filled to the rafters with non-violent criminals, I think the overall indictment of the ongoing catastrophe is more accurate than not. But simply because I agree with a diagnosis doesn’t mean I have to agree with the proposed remedy.

Indeed, this is a point often lost in political debates. Both conservatives and liberals are too often afraid to concede that the other side is pointing out real problems for fear of lending legitimacy to the opposition’s proposed solutions….

Anyway, when it comes to the drug war, I’m willing to concede the point to the drug legalization crowd that the current war on drugs has all sorts of terrible consequences. I just think legalizing crack, heroin etc. will have even worse consequences, particularly in the short and mid term (i.e. the next decade or two). I believe that if you make drugs like crack cheaper, easier to get and more socially acceptable there will be more women like that cokehead mom discussed yesterday.

So what’s my solution? Well the first answer has to be, I don’t know. In fact, I’m not sure we can know. Some problems are hard and if not permanent certainly enduring. I don’t have a solution to robbery, murder, or rape. All I have is an idea of how society should respond to such things in order to minimize their occurrence and to apply justice to those who perpetrate them (these are related but not identical issues).