February 16, 2011
Can Facts Be Heresies?
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice, a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing." -- Archibald MacLeish

Two years ago, came out in favor of drug legalization.

This position may be a heresy to you.

But what about facts? Can facts be heresies too? For instance . . .

It's a fact that Congress had to amend the Constitution to gain the power to prohibit alcohol sales back in the 1920s, and that this amendment was later repealed. This means, as a purely factual statement, that . . .

* Congress currently has no Constitutional authority to prohibit substances.
* Federal drug prohibition is unconstitutional

Can these facts be dismissed simply because they lead to a heretical conclusion? Or do they suggest that everyone who supports the Constitution should also oppose FEDERAL drug prohibition? Please be clear about what we are saying . . .

* We are ONLY saying that supporting the Constitution is inconsistent with supporting drug prohibition at the federal level.
* We are NOT saying that drug prohibition couldn't be retained at the state level.

So, please consider adopting the following heresy based on the above non-heretical facts . . .

* If you support the Constitution you should oppose drug prohibition at the federal level
* If you favor drug prohibition, you should want to restrict it to the state level

And if that proposal meets with your approval, then let's keep going and see what other heretical conclusions we might draw from non-heretical facts. For instance . . .

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a factual mistake recently. She said, on Mexican television, that drugs can't be legalized because . . .

"There is just too much money in it . . . those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped. They can't be given an even easier road to take, because they will then find it in their interest to addict even more young people."

On the contrary, isn't it a fact that drug lords make obscene profits precisely BECAUSE drugs are illegal?

If you agree that Ms. Clinton made a factual mistake, then you might want to seize this opportunity to Educate the Powerful, by sending Congress a letter pointing out Ms. Clinton's error.

You may even want to do as I did, and use non-heretical facts to argue for the heresy of drug legalization. If so, perhaps you will want to copy or borrow from my letter to Congress . . .

Hillary Clinton says that if drugs were legal, pushers would make "too much money" and would turn more young people into addicts . . .

This is entirely backwards. As Jacob Sullum points out . . .

* Prohibition enables traffickers to earn a "risk premium" that make drug prices much higher than they would otherwise be
* Prohibition delivers this highly lucrative business into the hands of criminals who, having no legal recourse, resolve disputes by spilling blood. 

By legalizing drugs . . .

* Drug prices will fall, meaning the cartels in Mexico and guerrillas in Afghanistan will lose their main revenue streams
* The trade will be in control of legitimate businesses instead of violent thugs
* Disputes will be settled in court, not by violence
* The industry would develop production standards, and customers will have legal recourse if they purchase tainted drugs
* Addicts who want help will be more likely to come forward because they won't be afraid of criminal prosecution
* Drugs will be LESS accessible to children because they will likely be found behind the pharmacy counter rather than on streets and in schoolyards

35,000 have died in Mexico over the past four years as a result of drug prohibition. Proportionally, that's the equivalent of 100,000 deaths in America. Cut off funding for criminal gangs and terrorists. End the War on Drugs.


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James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director

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