Dude, my hands are floating
George Will, one of my favorite conservative columnists, offers an occassionally well-reasoned but flawed and contradictory defense of the war on drugs, and in particular the crackdown against marijuana users.
Will seems to imply the effort is working, noting that teenage marijuana use has declined by 18 percent over the last three years. This is significant, he writes, because, according to the U.S. drug czar, the chances that a person will use marijuana as an adult if they did not do so as a teen is slim.
But if the war on drugs is working, then why, as Will also explains, has the price of marijuana and other drugs decreased while their potency has increased? And if keeping marijuana away from teenagers and children is so important that we must make it illegal for adults as well, then why is alcohol, arguably much more destructive for all age groups, legal for adults?
Will has always been dismissive of the comparision between Prohibition and the war on drugs, noting as he does in this column that per-capita alcohol consumption fell during Prohibition and did not return to pre-Prohibition levels until the 1960s. That fails, of course, to take into account its unintended consequences--the growth of organized crime--nor does reflect an attempt to weight the costs in enforcement versus the benefits of an ostensibly more sober populace.
The fact of that matter is that alcohol has always been more socially acceptable than marijuana, but that's an arbitrary distinction. The bottom line is that government has no obligation nor should have any right to keep you from harming yourself, so long as you do not harm others. Keeping children from using mind-altering drugs until they are adults is a worthy and appropriate goal, but it does not merit taking away an adult's freedom to choose.