It’s been a month now since I first posted my “Dispassionate Look At A Border Wall”, with the intent to provoke reasonable discussion on the issue. Because this, like most issues, is not a simple one, I’ve also written a short series on things that we need to do either before, alongside, or even instead of such a wall. These explain why it’s in the national interest of the United States to support the Mexican economy as well as compelling practical reasons to increase legal immigration.
In this article, I intend to demonstrate the absolute necessity of a new, modern, and effective approach to the War On Drugs in order to address the intolerable conditions along our southern border.
Readers should be aware that this is a subject on which I’ve written extensively. The conditions haven’t changed, and there’s no need for me to write again those things I’ve written before. You should read certain of these earlier articles before continuing in order to be able to follow along.
- First, the War On Drugs is over, and we lost. Here, I provide history, background, and further context to support the argument that our present approach has been spectacularly unsuccessful; further, I explain why.
- Second, it’s vital to realize that the information we’re being fed on the present drug crisis is wrong, and why that is. Calling it an “opioid epidemic” is disingenuous at best, highly detrimental to making new policy, and quite dangerous to the public. However, it guarantees votes to both parties and rapt viewers in the 24-hour news cycle, so don’t expect change to happen on its own.
- Third, there’s an awful lot of people getting killed fighting our War On Drugs, and to no gain. Only a few of these are on our own soil, but we’re paying vast sums to arm all sides. By “vast sums”, understand that I’m talking about a tenth of the GDP of the United States. If you want to find something to blame for our economic woes, this is a good place to start.
We must accept these if we’re to move forward to solutions to our very real problems. And unlawful migration across the various borders of the United States is a problem, whether the border in question is the one with Mexico, that surrounding Puerto Rico, with Canada, or even the paperwork ‘wall’ that’s supposed to keep people from outstaying their work visas or amnesty hearings. If the laws are unjust, they should be changed; if they are unenforceable, the same — but in any event, laws exist to be obeyed, enforced, or repealed. Habitually breaking the law is no path forward; it merely undermines the justice system and the society behind it.
We must also acknowledge that there’s a real and very large problem in northern Mexico, one with continual and escalating violence. The emerging cartels are killing soldiers, bystanders, and each other in increasing numbers, driving tunnels under the border, organizing networks of bribery and corruption, and getting insanely rich in the process. The money involved means that mere attrition won’t solve this; there will always be more soldiers eager to fight and die in the pursuit of wealth.
All of which means that one of the biggest things driving border violations is the American appetite for drugs. This is exacerbated by the government’s prohibition laws, which only serve to drive up prices. And no merely physical barrier can hope to stop the desperate and highly capable people bent on circumventing it; a wall alone would be laughably ineffective.
Bottom line? There are three paths open to us:
- We can emulate the oppression of Duterte in the Philippines.
- We can legalize and regulate drugs, focusing on treatment.
- We can continue to take the middle path, which results in the imprisonment of 1% of the population of the United States plus untold deaths for no apparent gain.
When you think about it all clearly, our best course is obvious.
So why aren’t we doing it?
Why are we fighting over a border wall? Why is the government shut down? Why is the major item of concern in the national media who said what to whom during the election?
Something to think about between now and the next article.