Prohibition Worked!: Legalizing Drugs by Rewriting History
By: Jonathan Harris
In the current debate to legalize marijuana and other drugs, the argument is given by social libertarians that, "after all, alcohol and cigarettes are legal!" I suppose if two society rotting items are considered permissible the flood gates should swing wide upon right? I mean, we're all about freedom here in America right? I've watched many liberal/libertarians debate this topic, both on television, and in person, and I think I can honestly say, some good points are brought up. Namely, that the constitution delegates the states as responsible for handling what substances are legal, not the Federal government, and that the items themselves are not evil, but rather the people who abuse them. No qualms there with a Biblical worldview, in fact much the opposite. Biblically speaking, there is precedent for checks and balances in the form of local authority, and certainly the idea that man is evil is all through the Scripture (not substances being evil). However, I loose marijuana advocates when they start saying, "You shouldn't legislate morality!" and, "People are just going to do it anyway" From an atheistic stand point, these arguments seem consistent, but that's about the only worldview that they seem consistent in. Every decision we make is moral, whether it's putting in a stop light to save human life or charging a tax to pay for defense. The question is, who's morality is being legislated? God's or man's? The idea that people are going to get their hands on marijuana either way may or may not be true. The level of usage would certainly rise if it were legalized just like every other evil practice which has been legalized (i.e. abortions sky-rocketed after roe v. wade). But even if it didn't rise, why should the government seek to put its stamp of approval on the practice? If everyone was going to murder any way, we should just make murder legal right? I've heard the argument that, "Well, guns are used to kill people but we believe in the 2nd amendment, therefore the negative effects of marijuana should not dissuade us from legalizing it." Nice rhetoric, but no cigar. Guns are useful for defense and hunting. They save lives. Just because some people misuse them doesn't mean we make them illegal. Marijuana however has only one use: Getting high. We already universally allow the use of "marinol" (medical marijuana that's ingested, not smoked) in the hospitals, but why would we want everyone on the street having free access to it? There's no legitimate use! (I wrote a paper on marijuana's negative societal effects a couple years ago. You can read it here.) The biggest problem I have with those who advocate the legalization of marijuana are those who use the argument that "Prohibition didn't work either!" Oh really? History has been so rewritten in recent years, we're all like zombies trained to repeat the mantra, "Prohibition was a failure, prohibition was a failure." Let's see if this is really the case. Below I have linked three articles. Please, take a look at them, especially if you believe that prohibition didn't work. The way we think about prohibition will shape the way we think about narcotics.
Actually, Prohibition was a Success - NY Times 1989
Prohibition had its Pluses - Albany Times Union 1990
Prohibition Worked - Chicago Sun Times 1988