A Philosopher's Blog

Mexico & the War on Drugs

Posted in Law, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on March 25, 2009

As Mexico continues to be plagued by drug violence, that same violence threatens to flood across the border into the United States.

Since this is a complex problem, there is no simple solution. Well, actually there are two simple solutions. One is wildly improbable, the other just a bit less so.

The first solution is for  drug users to stop buying  illegal drugs. Without a profitable market for drugs, there will be little incentive for those involved in the Mexican drug trade to continue in the business. Of course, the chances of drug users giving up their drugs is close to zero-even if doing so meant a reduction in murder. I suppose that it is easy to ignore all that blood on one’s hands when one is high.

The second solution is to legalize certain drugs and get the tobacco and alcohol corporations involved in their production and distribution (after all, they have experience in selling harmful drugs). This would eventually erode the market for illegal drugs and reduce the violence significantly. That this will work is supported by what happened after the repeal of prohibition-organized crime largely got out of the alcohol business.

What will most likely happen is that the US and Mexico will continue to bicker about the problem, then the police actions will step up as more people die. Eventually, the violence will spread into America and then the US will take action on this side of the border. Then the problem will be reduced down to a level that most people are willing to tolerate and the US-Mexican drug situation will simmer away until the next time it makes the news. And thus the eternal war on drugs will go on and on and on.

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13 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on March 26, 2009 at 3:19 am

    There’s an eternal war on all types of crime.

    There are other options other than the two you’ve listed. We could take border security more seriously, for instance. Mexico could do alot more to insure that guns and money don’t make it from the US to the cartels by doing customs searches; they do virtually none now.

    I’m not sure that legalizing drugs will produce the affect you think it will. After all, there will still be regulation, right? Oxycontin is “legal”, but highly regulated. I need not give you details about the horrendous things this drug has done to the Bangor area in Maine. Do we want to be able to walk into the corner store and buy heroin and cocaine?

    Just a question.

    • An Imperfect Servant said, on March 26, 2009 at 2:47 pm

      Perhaps certain drugs should be legalized and others should not. There are drugs that are legal and controlled, now, that have been proven, time and again, to have overall negative health effects: Caffine, Nicotine and Alcohol. Caffine has no age limit but is highly physically adictive. Both Nicotine and Alcohol are controlled, but you can still see the vast number of deaths each year that can be linked to these two drugs. In comparasin, Canabis not only has no officially recorded deaths attributed to its use/abuse/overdose, but it also has many positive uses other than it’s nutritional value.
      Check out the whole argument.

      http://legalizepot.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/why-is-marijuana-illegal/

      • magus71 said, on March 27, 2009 at 2:55 am

        People really need to stop making an argument for legalizing potent drugs by telling me all the bad things about less-potent drugs.

        That’s a really bad argument.

        If you’re only argument is that we should be consistant, that’s one thing. Though it won’t happen.

        Other than that, you seem to think that the government has outlawed pot just to get at pot-heads. When in fact, most of out Haaaaavaaaad gradutae Senate were massive pot-heads in school.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:53 am

      There are almost always more options.

      While taking the steps you suggest would be good ideas, they merely try to control the effect rather than the cause. To use an analogy, it is like mopping up the water rather than stopping the leak. Both have to be dealt with.

      One cause is, obviously enough, that enough Americans want illegal drugs. Dealing with that directly requires finding ways to de-motivate them. So far, drug education and punishment have not proven very effective. Perhaps a better means of education is needed. Perhaps a better means of punishment is needed.

      One important question is whether the cost of keeping certain drugs illegal is worth the price. While I think drug use is a poor choice (to say the very least), I am willing to tolerate legalizing drugs if it would reduce drug violence and other crimes. If, however, legalizing drugs would create even more harm than the current situation, then they should stay illegal.

  2. magus71 said, on March 26, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I find the whole drug issue interesting. Some may think I’m an idealogue when it comes to drugs. I’m not. I’m just very suspicous of legalization because I don’t think people are considering many of the major problems.

    I’ve decided that as part of my Master’s studies in Law Enforcement, I’m doing a research paper on the effects of drugs and crime. It’s difficult of course, because there are so few countries where the harder drugs are legal. The worst countries in the world are the ones where the hard drugs are legal. Let’s go live in Afghanistan or Somalia. Coincidence?

    It’s never going to take here. People just dont want it. We’re talking about changing ou whole country for a very few people. People that have many, many problems which are in many cases caused by their addiction. Gangs will still exist that traffic “legal” drugs. Guaranteed. Anything that is regulated to any extant will be trafficked. Look at boot-leg movies. Guns. Movies and guns are legal. There are illegal markets for them. Drugs are a little diffrent because of the addiction factor. People end up needing them, almost like food. Only good food makes you healthy. Heroin kills you, ruins your family and, if everyone were doing it, slowly kills society.

    These drugs WERE legal at one time. Why were they made illegal?

    I could be wrong about all of this. I’m willing to study the issue more. Maybe it’s just that easy and the big evil DEA just wants to keep cocaine illegal because well…just because. Heck, maybe we should sell uranium in sealed containers so people can eat it. There’s probably no market though; I don’t think you can get high from it.

  3. craig said, on March 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

    So many wars, so little time. Isn’t there going to be a point in time when we can just tell these people that think war is so romantic to stick it up their butts? Clinging to guns, religion and the past is killing us. Some people can grow and learn. Some just have to fade away.

  4. magus71 said, on March 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Craig,

    Sometimes fighting is the only option. you can talk about how stupid fighting is because you’re living someplace that you feel safe. I’ve seen it too many times; no matter what someone’s beliefs are in times of peace, we all react the same way when violence is suddenly thrust upon us. That is, we want something to stop the attack on ourselves. So, preaching to the guy that’s trying to rape you that rape is wrong MAY work. Or it may not. That’s why you’d better be prepared when the fight comes to you–your attacker has most likely prepared and he has the advantage of surprise. Actually, believing that force DOESN’T work is the romantic belief. Force is the only tangible thing in the universe. We have kinetic and other energetic forces. We can talk about ethics and morals–but those only have power so much as that they control people’s thoughts–which in turn control force.

    • craig said, on March 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm

      Violence is always an option. Criminals look at it as the only option. The desire to be violent is stronger in some. These people should not be respected. Glorifying war is evil. As a vietnam veteran I feel I speak with some authority.

  5. kernunos said, on March 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    People would buy Uranium to eat it if you labeled it as “X-treme U-238 Energy Cakes” -‘Why skateboard and not glow in the dark?’

  6. kernunos said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

    “So far, drug education and punishment have not proven very effective.” Dr. L

    I always find this staement interesting as we do not have an alternate reality in which to see the opposite. Where would we be now without the punishment and education?

  7. magus71 said, on March 28, 2009 at 5:07 am

    We would have to remove drug education and punishment to actually see how effective they have been. That seems like a horrible idea. But what do i know. I’m a dinosaur who still reads and believes the Bible.

    Another thing. Have we really committed to a War on Drugs? Not really. We just use law enforcement here to incarcerate people. This is kind of like how we fought the Vietnam war–on the defense. We never committed to invading North Vietnam. We should be fighting a full-spectrum war. We’re half-assing it, now.

    So if we really want to fight a war, take the damn military down to Mexico and restore order. Then wipe out the drug cartels.

    I’m not saying this is the right answer,(actually maybe I am) but in my opinion, we really haven’t fought a “war”. We’re just throwing rocks at the problem. The drug cartels should be afraid. Very afraid. They should be just like Taliban members in Pakistan are right now, always looking over their shoulders for another Hellfire missile.

    I always remember what Bruce Lee said about getting in a fight. He said you needed “emotional content.” What he meant was that you need to fully commmit when you’re fighting. You have to break the will and ability of your enemy to fight. In every aspect of this “war”, we refuse to do that. The Left will not allow it. Liberals think that methadone clinics are a great idea. Of course the tax payer pays for methadone. And the people become addicted to methadone and traffic in methadone. Liberals say that prison is not the answer, when in fact, statistics show that prison IS PART OF THE ANSWER. Violent crime goes down when violent criminals are imprisoned, and goes up when they are released.

    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/the-great-california-prison-experiment/

    Liberals also resist more border enforcement. I worked on the Mexican border. The Border Patrol is made up of some of the most competant, well-trained people in law enforement. But thier hands are tied in many ways. There should be a fence. Liberal organizations like the Sierra Club have attempted to sue the governemnt for building a fence on the border.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/us/08bar.html

    They also chuck veteran Border Agents in prison under highly dubious circumstances.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52545

    My guess is that none of the high paid lawyers at the Sierra Club live within 5 miles of the border where violent Mexican criminals routinely cross into the US.

    Now Liberals want to blame America for the violence in Mexico.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE52O5RF20090325?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    I could agree with Hillary Clinton to some extant. But I would also remeind her that for the most part, it’s people that vote for her party that seem to love doing drugs.

    The root of the problem in Mexico, just like Africa, is corruption. It’s been creeping up in America for a couple of decades, but fortunately it’s not to the level of those two areas.

    The more I think about how things are going, the more I think I’ll probably be the crazy old Army vet living in a cabin in the mountains hunting for his own food and just wanting the rest of the world to leave him alone.

  8. magus71 said, on March 28, 2009 at 5:11 am

    I think my previous comment got cought in your span filter Dr. L. It has a lot of links in it.

  9. kernunos said, on March 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Go easy on the links unlike me. It likes spitting me out like a wood chipper.


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