Why Legalizing Drugs — All of Them — Is the Only Forward Path For Black America

Prohibition EndsInteresting article from John McWhorter in the New Republic:

This should change, as I have argued frequently over the past year (listen to part of a speech I did on this here). Of the countless reasons why this revival of this Prohibition that looks so quaint in Boardwalk Empire should be erased with all deliberate speed, one is that with no War on Drugs there would be, within one generation, no “black problem” in the United States. Poverty in general, yes. An education problem in general — probably. But the idea that black America had a particular crisis would rapidly become history, requiring explanation to young people. The end of the War on Drugs is, in fact, what all people genuinely concerned with black uplift should be focused on, which is why I am devoting my last TNR post of 2010 to the issue. The black malaise in the U.S. is currently like a card house; the Drug War is a single card which, if pulled out, would collapse the whole thing.

That is neither an exaggeration nor an oversimplification. It comes down to this: If there were no way to sell drugs on the street at a markup, then young black men who drift into this route would instead have to get legal work. They would. Those insisting that they would not have about as much faith in human persistence and ingenuity as those who thought women past their five-year welfare cap would wind up freezing on sidewalk grates.

There would be a new black community in which all able-bodied men had legal work even in less well-off communities — i.e. what even poor black America was like before the ’70s; this is no fantasy. Those who say that this could only happen with low-skill factory jobs available a bus ride away from all black neighborhoods would be, again, wrong. That explanation for black poverty is full of holes. Too many people of all colors of modest education manage to get by without taking a time machine to the 1940s, and after the War on Drugs black men would be no exception.

Read More in the New Republic

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Maybe the right idea, but the wrong sales pitch.

    Ideas like public welfare are “socialist” ideas that must be publicly loathed with a green disgust so virulent that nobody outside of acute Aspergers sufferers will mistake it for anything other than ‘The Devil’.

    If you want to sell this idea, tell people any one (or preferable ALL) of the following:

    1. Opening up the drugs market will create entrepreneurial opportunities

    2. It will eventually create a ‘narcotics’ segment within our agricultural sector, thereby reducing our dependence on foreign crack

    3. By removing these laws, we will be able to better ‘right size’ government down to the level we enjoyed before the Industrial Revolution.

    4. With any luck, increased availability of these jobs will be seized upon by the least fit segments of society, who will spiral into increasing destitution, thereby allowing Darwin to accomplish ‘The Lord’s Works’ that pinko socialist welfarestates have been trying to counter since the days of Karl Marx. Upshot: More cash left for me.

    5. Corollary to #4 above, maybe these drug-addicted ‘povos’ (i.e., poverty stricken individuals) will stick to staring at their own hands, and stop wasting our time agitating for public services, political equality, an end to eternal warfare, and morality (other than sexual morality, that is) in government.

    Not saying these ideas are necessarily true, but for market effectiveness, I’ve found that formulating the most morally repugnant possible framework will lead to the most certain success.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Maybe the right idea, but the wrong sales pitch.

    Ideas like public welfare are “socialist” ideas that must be publicly loathed with a green disgust so virulent that nobody outside of acute Aspergers sufferers will mistake it for anything other than ‘The Devil’.

    If you want to sell this idea, tell people any one (or preferable ALL) of the following:

    1. Opening up the drugs market will create entrepreneurial opportunities

    2. It will eventually create a ‘narcotics’ segment within our agricultural sector, thereby reducing our dependence on foreign crack

    3. By removing these laws, we will be able to better ‘right size’ government down to the level we enjoyed before the Industrial Revolution.

    4. With any luck, increased availability of these jobs will be seized upon by the least fit segments of society, who will spiral into increasing destitution, thereby allowing Darwin to accomplish ‘The Lord’s Works’ that pinko socialist welfarestates have been trying to counter since the days of Karl Marx. Upshot: More cash left for me.

    5. Corollary to #4 above, maybe these drug-addicted ‘povos’ (i.e., poverty stricken individuals) will stick to staring at their own hands, and stop wasting our time agitating for public services, political equality, an end to eternal warfare, and morality (other than sexual morality, that is) in government.

    Not saying these ideas are necessarily true, but for market effectiveness, I’ve found that formulating the most morally repugnant possible framework will lead to the most certain success.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Maybe the right idea, but the wrong sales pitch.

    Ideas like public welfare are “socialist” ideas that must be publicly loathed with a green disgust so virulent that nobody outside of acute Aspergers sufferers will mistake it for anything other than ‘The Devil’.

    If you want to sell this idea, tell people any one (or preferable ALL) of the following:

    1. Opening up the drugs market will create entrepreneurial opportunities

    2. It will eventually create a ‘narcotics’ segment within our agricultural sector, thereby reducing our dependence on foreign crack

    3. By removing these laws, we will be able to better ‘right size’ government down to the level we enjoyed before the Industrial Revolution.

    4. With any luck, increased availability of these jobs will be seized upon by the least fit segments of society, who will spiral into increasing destitution, thereby allowing Darwin to accomplish ‘The Lord’s Works’ that pinko socialist welfarestates have been trying to counter since the days of Karl Marx. Upshot: More cash left for me.

    5. Corollary to #4 above, maybe these drug-addicted ‘povos’ (i.e., poverty stricken individuals) will stick to staring at their own hands, and stop wasting our time agitating for public services, political equality, an end to eternal warfare, and morality (other than sexual morality, that is) in government.

    Not saying these ideas are necessarily true, but for market effectiveness, I’ve found that formulating the most morally repugnant possible framework will lead to the most certain success.

  • DeutschBag

    I’m all for the legalization of many drugs….but I think besides maybe cannabis, which should be legalized tomorrow, American society needs some effective drug education prior to opening up the drug underground to every tom, dick, and sally. Most Americans have very distorted concepts of drugs; their effects, mechanisms of action, potentials for abuse, interactions, etc.

    The last one, interactions is probably the most dangerous point of ignorance to the individual user. Americans are already using many powerful drugs legally, imagine the horror stories that will be told when grandma mixed her prescription meds with her favorite recreational and never woke up the next morning. Another example is the young man who went into cardiac arrest after a night of cocaine, binge drinking, and taking his prescribed adderall. Potentially all legal, and all the victims fault at that point which is why education about simple drug interactions needs to be disseminated more widely, even if a sweeping wave of legalization doesn’t occur. The labels on the bottles dont cut it.

    Still the largest reason for education is so that people can make informed decisions about using drugs and their consequences. There are some really effective alcohol and tobacco education efforts out there, but that is partially because teaching a class about alcohol or tobacco awareness carries little stigma. The drug class always has a strong overtone of just dont do it and little serious attempt is made at providing reasons why heroin use is a horrible idea, in all cases, and why other drugs may be acceptable in others.

  • MoralDrift

    I’m all for the legalization of many drugs….but I think besides maybe cannabis, which should be legalized tomorrow, American society needs some effective drug education prior to opening up the drug underground to every tom, dick, and sally. Most Americans have very distorted concepts of drugs; their effects, mechanisms of action, potentials for abuse, interactions, etc.

    The last one, interactions is probably the most dangerous point of ignorance to the individual user. Americans are already using many powerful drugs legally, imagine the horror stories that will be told when grandma mixed her prescription meds with her favorite recreational and never woke up the next morning. Another example is the young man who went into cardiac arrest after a night of cocaine, binge drinking, and taking his prescribed adderall. Potentially all legal, and all the victims fault at that point which is why education about simple drug interactions needs to be disseminated more widely, even if a sweeping wave of legalization doesn’t occur. The labels on the bottles dont cut it.

    Still the largest reason for education is so that people can make informed decisions about using drugs and their consequences. There are some really effective alcohol and tobacco education efforts out there, but that is partially because teaching a class about alcohol or tobacco awareness carries little stigma. The drug class always has a strong overtone of just dont do it and little serious attempt is made at providing reasons why heroin use is a horrible idea, in all cases, and why other drugs may be acceptable in others.

    • http://twitter.com/TylerBass Tyler Bass

      “American society needs some effective drug education prior to opening up the drug underground to every tom, dick, and sally.”

      Wrong, wrong, wrong. How dare you continue to justify the arbitrary incarceration of people just trying to feel a certain way. You weed people: Shutting the door on everyone else as soon as you get in.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y7R5AOAPSSVE3NTRGMM7UX3CFQ Xiuli Lin
  • Anonymous

    That is a really odd angle (or is it just the headline) to the argument for the ending of prohibition. I’m not sure what to think about this. Legalizing all drugs will somehow exhalt the “black” man to some new status of true equality?
    While I personally recognize a man as a man regardless of his race, I fail to see much of a corollary….
    I think this argument does more harm than good to the cause of ending prohibtion…..it just sounds dumb to me…..like they’re grasping at straws.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    That is a really odd angle (or is it just the headline) to the argument for the ending of prohibition. I’m not sure what to think about this. Legalizing all drugs will somehow exhalt the “black” man to some new status of true equality?
    While I personally recognize a man as a man regardless of his race, I fail to see much of a corollary….
    I think this argument does more harm than good to the cause of ending prohibtion…..it just sounds dumb to me…..like they’re grasping at straws.

  • Hadrian999

    I’m all for legalizing drugs but I don’t think it would have the effects this article suggests

  • Hadrian999

    I’m all for legalizing drugs but I don’t think it would have the effects this article suggests

  • http://twitter.com/TylerBass Tyler Bass

    “American society needs some effective drug education prior to opening up the drug underground to every tom, dick, and sally.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. How dare you continue to justify the arbitrary incarceration of people just trying to feel a certain way. You weed people: Shutting the door on everyone else as soon as you get in.