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Memo To The Tea Party: Support Freedom ? Oppose The Drug War

by @ 4:26 pm on June 7, 2010. Filed under Individual Liberty, War On Drugs

Over at NRO, Jeffrey Miron argues that the Tea Party movement should take a stand against the War On (Some) Drugs:

If the party is true to its principles — fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — it must side with the libertarians.

Fiscal responsibility means limiting government expenditures to programs that can be convincingly said to generate benefits in excess of their costs. This does not rule out programs with large expenditures, or ones whose benefits are difficult to quantify; national defense is guilty on both counts, yet few believe that substantial military expenditure is necessarily irresponsible.

Any significant expenditure, however, should come with a credible claim that it produces a benefit large enough to outweigh both the expenditure itself and any ancillary costs. From this perspective, drug prohibition is not remotely consistent with fiscal responsibility. This policy costs the public purse around $70 billion per year, according to my estimates, yet no evidence suggests that prohibition reduces drug use to a significant degree.

And prohibition has unintended consequences that push its cost-benefit ratio even farther in the wrong direction. Prohibition generates violence and corruption by pushing drug markets underground and inflating prices. Prohibition inhibits quality control, so users suffer accidental poisoning and overdoses. Prohibition destroys civil liberties, inhibits legitimate medical uses of targeted drugs, and wreaks havoc in drug-producing countries.

Moreover, as Miron points out, the drug war also raises serious Constitutional concerns:

Drug prohibition, at least when imposed at the federal level, is also hard to reconcile with constitutionally limited government. The Constitution gives the federal government a few expressly enumerated powers, with all others reserved to the states (or to the people) under the Tenth Amendment. None of the enumerated powers authorizes Congress to outlaw specific products, only to regulate interstate commerce. Thus laws regulating interstate trade in drugs might pass constitutional muster, but outright bans cannot. Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it amended the Constitution itself to do so. The country has never adopted such a constitutional authorization for drug prohibition.

Miron’s argument is powerful and, if it were true that the Tea Party was a limited-government/libertarian movement, it would be impossible to refuse. However, its become patently clear that the Tea Party is little more than a shill for the Republican Party. So, I doubt anyone will listen to Miron’s excellent argument.

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6 Responses to “Memo To The Tea Party: Support Freedom ? Oppose The Drug War”

  1. dougisalawyer says:

    you need to get law enforcement on board. they get an incentive for busting down doors and drug raids. unfortunately no incentive to catch people who murder. so you can tell they’re going to focus on.

  2. dougisalawyer says:

    bear. did you make that half ass video? you need some creative energy. may i suggest opium. it’s not nearly as addictive as heroin or morphine or the synthetic heroin shit.

  3. Alot of the movement has been co-opted by the Neocons, and they’re very pro-drug war since besides being warmongers, neocons are also statist social conservative busybodies.

  4. Thomas Pain says:

    LibertarianBlue- Yep the NeoCons jumping all over the Tea Party. We have Ken Buck in our area stating he a Tea Party values person. On his website he stating we need to be in war for the next 10yrs. Here is the letter I wrote to him:
    Ken,

    After reading “Where Ken Stands” I have a question. What is the mission in Afghanistan?

    15 of the 19 hijackers where Saudi Arabian
    Are we even looking for Bin Laden? if not why?
    Since 9-11 we have seen the same lack of intelligence as before
    Are we supposed to give up our rights to stop terrorism?
    How are we safer by bombing people from drones?
    Are we creating more terrorist?

    It must be difficult to have a son in a war zone. I can’t imagine waking up to that fact daily. God Bless your son for his service.

    I have a daughter that is 10 and I really would not like her to grow up where her friends will be going off to war. I’d like to see an end to the wars and bring our troops home. I think trying to protect the whole world is noble but not realistic.

    Do you think the wars are winnable and how? I know the generals on the ground can tell you how to win a battle but a war fought on ideas doesn’t seem to fit the norm. To win must we kill everyone that disagrees with us, including the young and old, anywhere they maybe?

    Ouch.. I don’t even like thinking about these things. I think we should leave and let it be know if anyone messes with the USA we will declare war and no holds bar we will win at all cost. Currently we have not declared war or are we using all our resources. It almost seems like we are fighting ourselves at this point. If your going to do something do it 100% with conviction.

    With our current debt and unbalanced budgets how would you tackle financing our current wars? Should our children fight and pay for it?

    Should we leave this country to our children where they will be responsible to pay the bills/debt we leave them without ever having the chance / freedoms that were afforded to us? It looks like they will be facing 65Trillion in debt obligations; do they even have a chance?

    Not sure why anyone would ever want to get into politics to begin with. I wish you would think hard about another 10years of war. Good luck in the race and may the best person win.

    I’m not sure who I support. I support everything on your website besides 10years of war.

    Thanks for your ear,

  5. Thomas Pain says:

    On topic- No one I know that attends Tea Parties want to spend over 22billion a year to put our non-violent citizens in jail. If your not treading on me why would I tread on you?

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