America is currently engaged in a war that it cannot possibly win. The cost of this war is staggering, perhaps a trillion dollars, when all factors are taken into consideration. Taxpayers are paying an enormous amount of money. People are needlessly losing their lives. No real progress is being made in this war. No real progress ever will be made.

But this war is not in Iraq. And it has the support of the vast majority of Americans. In fact, it’s almost an article of faith for Americans. But we should stop fighting this war. Yesterday.

I’m talking about the war declared by Richard Nixon in 1971, the “war on drugs”.

Now, before I go any further, a few disclaimers about the position that I take. If you take drugs, you’re an idiot. Drug abuse is sinful and wrong. It cannot be justified for any reason (other than, perhaps, medical marijuana). I feel just as strongly about the idea of a person ruining his mind and life by taking drugs as any person in this country. Every campaign that we wage to discourage drug abuse gets a hearty “Amen!” from me. I recognize that when you hear the argument that I make, you expect to hear it from some pothead, long-haired, good-time rock-and-roller-type, not an evangelical pastor. I do not share with the party crowd the same rationale for stopping the war on drugs. But I nonetheless believe that we are throwing good money after bad, have been doing so for decades, and are deluding ourselves if we think otherwise.

So then the question has nothing to do with “drugs are bad”, because I’m in Amen Corner on that one. Don’t bother preaching to the choir, if you disagree with me on that basis. Drugs are bad…the only question is, “how can we most effectively/efficiently deal with the problem of drug abuse in our country?” And it says right here that what we’re doing is effectively the definition of lunacy: continuing to pursue the same course of action, but expecting different results.

I could go into detail as to the many reasons why I believe as I do, but instead, I’m going to give you a link to an article that is thought-provoking, regarding the way drugs are dealt with in Europe:

Drug Policy in the European Union

Read with an open mind…and maybe you’ll learn somethin’!

3 responses »

  1. Aaron S says:

    So then what do we do about it?

    And by the way, how did we get suckered into letting that Controlled Substances Act pass?

  2. jen elslager says:

    Now that was some truly fascinating reading. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it, so I’ll refrain from any serious comments for now. But thanks for the heads up on the article. I used to watch Rick Steves’ show, and I didn’t know he had a blog, to which I just subscribed.

    I will definitely agree that our country is full of some serious misspending.

  3. Byron says:

    First, Aaron, we decriminalize marijuana, at the VERY least. This empties jails of a lot of people, frees up lots of money, puts our cops working on more serious things, and just makes sense. That doesn’t mean that we don’t do what we can to discourage its use; we’re doing that with smoking, with drunk driving, etc. (and we’re already doing it with drugs, even though they’re illegal).

    We take a look at some of the things that are being done in Europe as well.

    But the first thing that we do is to open things up and have an honest discussion, rather than dismissing some of these approaches as out of the question…

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