Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why We Need the War on Drugs

If there are three good reasons for something, it's a good thing, right? "By the testimony of two or three witnesses shall all things be established."

I think I’ve come up with three good reasons for the war on drugs, three ways we benefit from it. Maybe this means I’ll have stop being so negative about it.

All three reasons for the war on drugs boil down to one word: jobs. With manufacturing gone overseas and real estate and the stock market flat for the foreseeable future, we need jobs, and the war on drugs is just the medicine we need.

The first jobs the war on drugs provides are in the pharmaceutical corporations. Our bodies and marijuana were so made for each other that Dr. Joseph Mercola can write, “Your body also has naturally occurring endocannabinoids similar to THC [the active ingredient of marijuana] that stimulate your cannabinoid receptors and produce a variety of important physiologic processes. So your body is actually hard-wired to respond to cannabinoids.” But if people were to grow marijuana and make their own oils to deal with such things as cancer, they would buy fewer manufactured drugs, Big Pharma would sell less, and laborers—and who knows, maybe even managers—would lose their jobs.

Since it’s more important that workers in the pharmaceutical industry have paychecks so they can buy food and the other necessities of life than it is that goods and services be produced (let alone that those in the pharmaceutical industry produce them), we simply can’t afford to allow diseased people to use alternative medications.

Besides, you and I know that only goofballs take herbal medicines, so there is something to be said for the line that alternative medicines are illegal to protect people from themselves—and most of all to protect the children. But it’s really jobs that keep us from returning to the days when the response to kooky ideas like herbal medicine was, “Hey, give it a try. It’s a free country.”

The second set of jobs we need to preserve are in the military-intelligence-industrial complex. Without the CIA and the military going all over the world to do things don’t know about and decent people wouldn’t approve of if they knew, we would never be safe from those who hate us. Heck, without these brave folks, those who hate us might not even hate us, and we can’t have that: we need enemies so we can provide jobs not only for the Pentagon and the CIA, but also for the industries that supply them.

Folks used to think that all it would take to rein in the spooks and troops would be for Congress to cut off their funding. But that’s just not true: the CIA has a symbiotic relationship with a worldwide network of drug smugglers; they give the smugglers a monopolies by killing or imprisoning the competition, and the smugglers give them cuts from their handsome profits. If Congress cuts off “defense” funding, our “defenders” can still do things that make people who don’t otherwise matter hate us and keep the job bonanza running.

The third set of jobs is in the prison industry. Building and maintaining “correctional facilities” is a perfect way to revive a local economy: construction, maintenance, and day-to-day operations require people who in turn need grocers, schools, and electronics shops. Of course, guards, administrators, and janitors can’t be paid for doing nothing, so we need to find ways of filling the cells. There aren’t enough murderers, rapists, burglars, and other violent criminals to fill the cages, but druggies can occupy the space just as well. As a bonus, we can hire more policemen and dogs to sniff everyone and everything everywhere to find the evil weed. And if anything escapes their notice, that problem is nothing more technology can’t solve: infrared and ultraviolet goggles and unmanned aircraft are just the first things I can name off the top of my head that need hundreds of well-paid workers to produce and maintain. They may not be good for preventing rapes, but they can surely find marijuana growing in a basement.

Drugs that require acres of disclaimers in fine print, wars against foreigners who otherwise wouldn’t hate us, and prisons for people who pose no threat to anyone except possibly themselves. This is the stuff of prosperity. And it’s all brought to us by the war on drugs.

This is such a good idea that I can’t for the life of me figure why the Bible never recommends it. It must be that the Bible is just an old book that was perhaps OK in its day but has nothing to say to advanced creatures like us in the complexities of modern times.

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