Monday, February 13, 2006

Is prohibition becoming a dirty word?

Scott Henson from Grits for Breakfast checks in with a good post, The End of Ideology on the War on Drugs, or the Beginning of Consensus? He points us to this press release from Drug Policy Alliance that notes the call for reform has jumped across the ideological aisle.
As the war on drugs continues to waste taxpayer money, destroy families, and undermine the rule of law, more and more conservatives are speaking out. The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a Congressional caucus composed of more than 100 conservative House Republicans, recently came out for eliminating a number of failed drug war programs, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, the Safe and Drug-Free School programs, and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Last year, the American Conservative Union, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Taxpayers Union urged Congress to eliminate six failed drug war programs to save money in the wake of Katrina. Those programs included the three programs RSC targeted for elimination, as well as student drug testing grants, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, and the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (aka Plan Colombia).
Scott ruminates on a conference he attended last year where he also noticed this trend among conservatives. Although we come to the table from different directions, the obvious wastefulness of the war on some drugs has become so apparent to everyone, that it's becoming impossible for the politicians to ignore. Scott sums it up well.
I wrote last week how I was struck by Dan Kahan's argument that successful policy goals must be ambiguous to reach consensus - that different people had to be able to tell different stories to explain the outcome, to reach the same conclusion from different perspectives. That's what's happening, to my mind, on the drug war. There are now so many reasons to think our current approach is a bad idea, nearly anybody can join in the fun of criticizing it.
My own experience bears this out. Outside of a handful of zealots and those who profit from it, the folly of prohibition has become difficult to support. One hopes in these times of budgetary belt tightening in our government, our leglislators will finally get on board and defund these useless programs.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home