Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
Burke reminds us that the drug wars have been accompanied by growing consumption and lower prices for targeted drugs, exactly contrary to the expectation of the drug warriors. And that war now consumes over 35 billion in government spending per year and gives the United States the highest per capita prison population in the world.
If it is hard to imagine a more clear- cut example of big government failure, why aren’t conservatives up in arms? Unfortunately, the drug war is not about public health, though health arguments are invoked in that war. Since the nineteenth century, substance wars have focused on the particular drugs and lifestyles of those who were dissenters against mainstream politics or presented alternatives to conventional mores. Burke also points out that drug wars are often the harshest when those mainstream institutions are in greatest turmoil or are failing to deliver the goods even in their own terms.
...Groups associated with challenges to mainstream values can also be portrayed as more threatening to the extent they are connected with the consumption of drugs pictured as dangerous. And the danger of the drugs in turn is in part conveyed by reference to who uses the drugs. Thus in the nineteenth century, the American Psychiatric Association described marijuana as a primary stimulant to homosexual behavior, thus tarring with one brush both the drug and the sexual behavior. [more]