At first glance, Ron Paul’s political positions on drugs may seem to go contrary to conventional wisdom, but that’s primarily because what has become conventional is not wisdom. Rather, it is a blanket of coercive force to cover a diversity of activities with little consideration for the rule of law or compassion for the people caught up in these problems.
1) Ron Paul is a constitutional libertarian. He believes in following the rule of law, and for the federal government that means obeying the constitution. This trumps everything else. The constitution is a document which enumerates the powers delegated by the states to the federal government. Much of federal drug laws and enforcement policies operate outside of these enumerated powers. So they break the law in the name of their policy. They teach that “might makes right” and they bring us out from under the rule of law and bring us under the rule of man. Where is the wisdom in this?
2) Not only is the policy unlawful, but it is ill conceived. The so-called “War on Drugs” is supposed to be a national campaign to stop the import, manufacture, sale, and use of certain dangerous and harmful substances. So by now we should have the problem pretty much licked, right? Nope. The problem has only become more sophisticated, while hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, many innocent or harmless people have been ruined, and there is no end in sight. Where is the wisdom in this?
3) Ron Paul is a medical doctor. He understands better than most how ugly and ruinous drug abuse can be. He is more opposed to such abuse than most people who don’t think much about it, or who don’t really understand it — and he doesn’t voice this opposition with a little chuckle under his breath — he’s dead serious. So, guess what? He wants to implement a policy which is lawful and actually has a chance of working. There is wisdom in this.
4) This is largely the states’ jurisdiction. There are fifty states. What are the odds that out of fifty experiments in solving the drug problem, one of them (or several in cooperation) will develop something that works, and that other states will then begin to follow suit? What are the odds that not making drug use a federal crime will introduce more compassion, fairness, and will remove much of the abuse of enforcement and racism in prosecution and sentencing in drug cases? What are the odds that patients will be helped by the use of certain drugs which are now a federal offense but which have legitimate medical uses? There is wisdom in this.
Instead of setting a destructive precedent of flaunting the rule of law, and instead of pursuing policies which simply have not worked, have cost hundreds of billions of dollars, have needlessly ruined millions of lives, and which have only made the problem more sophisticated, why don’t we try something which makes sense for a change.
New Boston, IL