Musings on Two of the Dumbest Wars the US Has Ever Fought
<http://www.unz.com/author/the-saker/> The Saker
No, this wont be about Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia,
Kosovo, Afghanistan or any other US military war of choice which, while
dumb, could at least result in some kind of appearance of victory, no matter
how feeble (say, against a few Cuban engineers armed with AKs in Grenada).
Today I want to share a few thoughts about the two wars the US has been
engaged in for decades even though they never, ever had a chance to win: the
war on drugs and the war on guns.
Shocked that I would put these two wars in the same category?
True, the war in drugs is something the (so-called) Right loves. The war in
guns is the favorite of the (so-called) Left. Granted. That is one
difference I wont deny.
But the rest?
First, both wars are based on a logical fallacy: that an object, an item, is
the source of evil. This is why politicians on both sides (lets just
pretend that there are, really, sides in the US official political
spectrum, even if there are none) love them. Put yourselves in the shoes of
a US politician and ask yourself what you would prefer: to deal with a
complex problem (violence/addiction) which has its roots deep inside human
nature and which is exacerbated by the very nature of our society, the
society which has put you, the putative US politician, into a position of
power and which now dangles the promise to let you join the select club of
the ruling 1%ers or to simply ban an inanimate object by voting yea on a
piece of legislature?
Think of all the risks a US politician would take if he/she wanted to deal
with the real issues, especially those who are either rooted in, or the
result of, our deeply dysfunctional social and political order. And think
how smart, courageous, principled and even heroic you, the politician, would
look if you took a tough stance against drugs/guns? All you really need to
do is make sure first is whether your constituents suffer from drugs-phobia
or gun-phobia and, voilà, you are a hero! Simple and very, very effective.
Second, both wars are easy to explain to the dumb and ignorant. Lets be
honest here, as a politician you need to mostly cater to the left side of
the Bell Curve with some attention given to the center. Not only do smart
folks tend to distrust politicians, but they also like to reach their own
conclusions, often based on lengthy research and the analysis of complex
arguments. To make things worse, smart people often tend to be
anti-authoritarian individualists who favor free choice over state
enforced laws, rules and regulations.
Third, both wars are easily fueled by the fear factor: drug warriors have
a phobia (in the sense of both hate and fear) of drugs just as gun
warriors have a phobia of guns, which means that rather than rationally
analyze the issue, their position will be emotionally driven, free from all
the complexities of real life. A politician will always prefer an emotional
argument over a rational one because only emotion generates the kind of
unthinking loyalty a politician needs to secure his/her power base.
Fourth, both wars are a bureaucratic and financial bonanza. Why? Because
these are wars which will never, ever, be won and that, in turn,
guarantees not only a steady streams of dollars, but even the creation of
specialized agencies such as the DEA or the ATF whose very existence will
depend on never winning the war on drugs/guns. A bureaucrats dream come
Fifth, there is also a much more subtle but no less important aspect of the
war on drugs/guns: they make it possible to easily detect potentially
disloyal elements. Drugs users, especially, since they break the law to
consume their drugs, have already crossed the psychological line of
deliberately breaking the law and disobeying the doxa of the state and
society and they are much more likely to engage in other forms of disloyalty
(such as engaging in various forms of crimethink) than law abiding citizens.
Legal gun owners in the USA are extremely law abiding (In Florida and Texas,
permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the
rate that police officers;
<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691> source), but a
lot of them are also fiercely individualists who do not like to rely on the
state for their defense and who often even believe that the 2nd Amendment
was crafted with the specific intention to allow citizens to resist a state
turned authoritarian (of course, illegal gun owners are, by definition,
felons and criminals who are extremely disloyal to anything but themselves).
So, in a way, the use of drugs or the possession of weapons is a good way
to, shall we say, screen for those elements who could turn out to be
potential trouble makers.
Of course, at this point in time gun owners have it much, much, better than
drug users. Alas, there never was a constitutional amendment protecting the
right of each citizen to ingest, smoke, inject or otherwise consume any
substance he/she wants simply because at the time of the drafting of the
Constitution that freedom was an self-evident truth (wars on booze and drugs
happened much later). In fact, the list of rights specifically granted to
the state was assumed exhaustive and the state could not engage in any
legistlation not specifically authorized, while today we see the exact
opposite of that: whatever freedom is not expressly protected is fair game
for the millionaire lawyers sitting in Congress. But considering the very
real risk of a Hillary Presidency soon, the 2nd Amendement might well be
soon eroded to such a degree as to become unrecognizable. Even the
Republicans have an ugly record, especially at a local level, for passing
all sorts of petty and dumb regulations which gradually but constantly limit
the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In some jurisdictions the
mere possession of a firearm is already considered a felony while others try
hard to make self-defense a crime in almost all circumstances. So yes, the
2nd Amendement is still there, but barely, and if Hillary gets to nominate
the next Supreme Court Justice it might be gone soon. Besides, what the
gun-haters failed to achieve in the courts, they have already achieved in a
cultural sense where, for example, a revolver is seen by many as an
instrument of murder rather than a home-defense tool, a hunting tool, a
sports tool or just a harmless symbol of freedom (historically, free men
were allowed to carry weapons, slaves were not).
I want to make it clear that I am not comparing guns and drugs by
themselves. I am only comparing the rationale and methods used by the regime
in Washington to wage a war on these otherwise completely different things.
Now lets engage in a little thought experiment.
Lets imagine that Congress decides to legalize all drugs and guns
overnight: all drugs, medical or recreational, would be come available
over-the-counter in any store willing to sell them and the right to bear
arms would be completely protected under
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_carry> Constitutional carry
guarantees. What would happen next?
Some will say that the US would turn into a gigantic war zone where millions
of citizens sky-high on PCP and crack cocaine would begin shooting each
other with assault rifles and that all those not busy murdering each other
would be lying around terminally stoned. Do you believe that?
For one thing I believe that the number of people using drugs or owning guns
would change very little. Sure, there would be a short-term novelty effect,
but soon the numbers would stabilize. Shootings and overdoses would also
remain pretty much at the same level as today. What would drop dramatically
and immediately would be crime rate, not so much because of the deterrent
effect of an armed citizenry (just like today, most folks who not go around
carrying a firearm) as due to the fantastic effect of a complete collapse of
the illegal drug market following a legalization of drugs.
[Sidebar: A friend of mine is a detective in the Daytona Police Department.
He used to be in Narcotics for years. I recently asked him what percentage
of crime in Daytona is drug-related. He said almost all of it. It turns
out that not only does the trafficking in drugs result in a huge share of
the violent crime in Daytona, but that most burglaries, thefts, break-ins,
etc. are also committed by drug addicts. And even though drug traffickers
and users cannot legally obtain a gun (convicted felons don't have that
right in Florida), drug dealers all pack firearms (even if most are in very
poor condition or even broken, and the felons themselves very bad marksmen).
The truth is that if drugs were made legal the size of US police departments
could rapidly and dramatically be reduced and that the remaining small force
could go back to normal, civilized, police functions rather than fight the
kind of military war in drugs with APCs, helicopters and SWAT teams they are
engaged in every day.]
Simple: mainly to show to that those who want legalize drugs (the so-called
Liberals) have much more in common with the defenders of the 2nd
Amendement (the so-called Conservatives) than they think, and to show to
those cherish their right to keep and bear arms that they, in turn, have a
lot in common with the potheads they are so-willing to condemn and put in
jail. At the end of the day, it makes absolutely no more sense to authorize
drugs/guns and ban guns/drugs than it makes to oppose abortions and support
the death penalty. Just as life is either a sacred value or not, so is the
freedom of each person to decide for himself/herself how he/she chooses to
live. It all boils down to a few simple questions: do we feel that it is our
right to curtail the freedoms of our fellow citizens because we do not
approve of their choices or not? Do we believe that inanimate objects can,
by themselves, cause such evils as violence or addition? Do we believe that
it will ever become possible to eliminate weapons or mind-altering
substances from our societies? And, most importantly, do we believe that
each individual ought to have the right to reply to these questions by him
or herself, or do we believe that the state ought to enforce its truth on
the rest of us?
On the 49th Parallel
Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni
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