The Overzealous Enforcement Of Drug Laws Is Not An Argument Against The Drug War
After a brief hiatus, Epstein’s Razor is back on drugs.
As I’ve pointed out in this space previously, opponents of the Drug War make a number of misleading and illogical claims in pressing their case for legalization. Their’s is a case built on sand – or rocks, as the case may be. They claim that the Drug War “causes” drug violence, disregarding the nature of people who sell hard drugs in the first place. They foist misleading statistics, downplaying the dangers that heroin, cocaine, and other hard drugs present. They claim that the Drug War’s failure is a reason to stop the Drug War – as if the fact that there are still poor people is a reason to call off the War on Poverty. They say that drug addiction is a “disease,” and that therefore drugs should be legalized. (I’m still scratching my head over that one, too.) And they say that legalizing drugs will halt drug smuggling, disregarding the fact that booze, tobacco, and Louis Vuitton purses – all legal substances – are smuggled in mass quantities.
This week, opponents of the Drug War have seized upon a video of a drug raid that recently took place in Columbia, Missouri. It’s a disturbing tape, and one that shows the police in that city acting in an overzealous, and downright appalling manner. (They shoot the damn dog, for crying out loud)! Indeed, it is clear that the police acted far too aggressively. Many opponents of the Drug War have said that the video provides yet another reason to end the war on drugs. E.D. Kain, Allison Kilkenny, and Radley Balko (who broke the video in the first place) of Reason Magazine have all said as much.
Yet again, the logic of the anti-Drug War case is lacking. After all, the overzealous enforcement of a law is not an argument against the existence of that law in the first place.
In 1991, Rodney King was beaten senselessly by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department after being pulled for for drunk driving. The behavior of those police officers was disgusting. But does that mean drunk driving should be legalized? Just last month, a murder defendant in North Carolina was allegedly beaten up by the police officers that arrested him. Does that mean that murder should be legalized?
The issue here is not the Drug War at all: it’s police brutality. The police of Columbia, Missouri enforced anti-drug statues in a brutal and disgusting manner. But that does not logically invalidate those statutes.
Indeed, Columbia’s police department quite possibly engaged in gross police misconduct. And opponents of the Drug War are – yet again – engaging in gross logical misconduct.