Friday, August 10, 2007

Extinction, Anyone?

I just heard on the radio about US efforts to eradicate poppy fields in Afghanistan or someplace. Why do we want to do that? To beat the drug cartels. Why do we have drug cartels? Because the price of illegal drugs is so high. Why is the price of a naturally-occurring, cheap-, and easy-to-produce substance so high? Because the US government made them illegal, and crooks have to be well-paid for their nefarious activities to make up for the risk of prison. And because drug addicts will have their poison, no matter what it costs.

But isn't 'eradicate' something like 'to make extinct'? Has the US government decided that a plant that God created is not worth having around anymore? What happened to the Endangered Species Act? What happened to the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and all those types? Where are they in all this?

Is there another solution to this 'problem'? What if we let the air out of the drug cartels' tires? We could do this by taking the profit out of the illicit drug trade. How? If these drugs were legal, other producers would enter the market at much lower prices. (Economics 101)

Let's attack this problem from the other end. Let's say a bunch of people have a problem. They like narcotics. Now, this is a medical problem. It could also be a moral problem, depending on your beliefs. Why also make it a legal problem? You deal with medical problems with treatment. You deal with moral problems with education. When you introduce the criminal justice system into it, then you have police, prosecutors, judges, jailers, smugglers, dealers, cartels, and a vast network of clandestine suppliers. You've created a whole new industry. An industry, by the way, which has cost the United States trillions of dollars over the past 70 years or so.

We even have a man in Washington in charge of US 'drug policy'. He probably makes a couple hundred grand a year to sit in an office and oversee the 'war on drugs', which we have been losing for 30 years or more. How many people do you know who make such a handsome salary for failure?

So we go out and try to 'eradicate' the plants that some really poor farmers in Afghanistan are raising so they can feed their families. You know this has been tried before, don't you? You know it failed before, don't you? And if we were able to eradicate all the poppy flowers, and all the coca trees, and all the marijuana plants in the world, we would have fewer species left in the world, and addicts (kids, too) would turn to synthetic drugs made in homemade labs. Oh, yeah, they've already done that.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gun Rights the Answer to Crime

We just heard about a tragedy in Newark, NJ, where 4 young adults were lined up and shot during a robbery.

The mayor said a lot was being done to round up fugitives and help ex-convicts reintegrate into society. Both of these are fine things to do. However, if a single law-abiding citizen had been in the vicinity carrying a concealed weapon, this tragedy could have been stopped. If more law-abiding citizens were armed, these criminals would think twice about doing this.

Let's face facts. If New Jersey insists on keeping the vast majority of its population unarmed, the gangs and other criminals will feel safe to kill whomever they want. The police can't be everywhere. The largest deterrent to crime is the feeling among criminals that the next house they break into could lead to their death.

This is related to the 911 mentality. Many Americans are willing to give up all their civil rights so that the government can protect them. What they don't realize is that the government, the police, the Department of Homeland Security, cannot protect us all. Never have, never will. Self-defense is a fundamental human right in all societies.

You all need to wake up and smell the coffee.