There is this idea in our society that has been bred into us through the media, government schools and culture, where law must line up perfectly with traditions and social convention. If something is frowned upon or taboo, you can rest assured that there is someone out there who thinks that it should be illegal.
When a particular activity or behavior starts to bother people in the kinds of societies that we have today, all too often those people are very quick to suggest that the proper solution to this problem is to throw that person in a cage. That may sound kind of harsh, but that is exactly what you are advocating when you claim that something should be illegal.
In a world as delicate and complex as ours, does this really seem like a proper one size fits all solution for our social problems, especially those where there was no violence, theft or fraud involved? There is no dispute that violence, theft or fraud should be illegal because no one wants to get hurt, or robbed or ripped off.
However, when you start getting into nonviolent crimes where there has been no theft, is bringing aggression upon that person in the form of kidnap and imprisonment really going to make anyone safer? Furthermore, is this an ethical, humane or civilized way of treating nonviolent people?
There is no doubt that our society has problems that need to be dealt with, but using imprisonment as a blanket solution for anything that may come along is a totally irresponsible and lazy way to do things. In all honesty, this approach ensures that the problem will never be solved, because it prevents any real solutions from being developed and only works to make a complicated social issue even more complicated.
There are also many side effects of these policies which actually pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the entire population. Many times these side effects are referred to as “unintended” consequences, but all of the outcomes of these actions are totally planned and expected.
In regards to the drug war there is a long list of unspoken dangers, all of which were also experienced during alcohol prohibition. Prohibition of any kind creates black markets, crime, corrupts police and puts the general public at risk by creating an atmosphere of violence. Prohibition has also proven to be completely ineffective, many times actually causing an increase in consumption of the banned item. This can be seen with both alcohol prohibition and the drug war, prohibition has always been failed policy in every circumstance.
During prohibition, alcohol consumption rose and a dangerous black market developed which bred notorious gangsters like Al Capone. When prohibition ended the alcohol trade was no longer dangerous and consumption actually declined. The drug war is no different. If drugs were legal there would not be a vast black market that fosters gang violence, and people who had a problem with drugs would have more viable options for treatment instead of just getting thrown in a cage, something that typically exacerbates criminality and does very little to help anyone.
There was once a time when things such as adultery were illegal, and even punishable by death in some places. In most places in the west adultery is now legal, but that doesn’t mean that it is socially acceptable or encouraged. People have just developed noncoercive methods of dealing with this problem amongst themselves, just as they would in dealing with the problem of drug addiction in the absence of prohibition.
When those in power create laws that ban nonviolent actions and inanimate objects they understand the implications of what they are doing, but they put those policies into effect anyway because they have a great deal to gain in this process.
This is why they are so reluctant to change these policies even in the face of obvious failure and massive public outcry. The social problems that are created by prohibition give the establishment a lot of busy work and a constant excuse to violate the rights and privacy of those within its grasp. This situation is just one of many preventable disasters that the state foments and allows to continue as a means of justifying its own existence.
This article originally appeared at Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance
J.G. Vibes is an author, and artist — with an established record label. In addition to featuring a wide variety of activist information, his company Good Vibes Promotions hosts politically charge electronic dance music events. You can keep up with him and his new book Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, at his website www.aotmr.com and facebook page. If you would like to see me expand my media to free documentaries and video reports think about supporting the cause if you have the means to do so.