A Quote by sam harris on drug use, prohibition, needles, clean needles, aids, and disease

Viewing the drug problem from the perspective of health care is instructive: our laws against providing addicts with clean needles have increased the spread of AIDS, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases.  Since the purity and dosage of illegal drugs remains a matter of guesswork for the user, the rates of poisoning and overdose from drug use are unnecessarily high (as they were for alcohol use during Prohibition).  Perversely, the criminal prohibition of drugs has actually made it easier for minors to get them, because the market for them has been driven underground.  The laws limiting the medical use of opiate painkillers do little more than keep the terminally ill suffering unnecessarily during the last months of life.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 257

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by sam harris on drug war, war on drugs, prohibition, marijuana, and drugs

[many references from drug war facts ]

            The consequences of our irrationality on this front are so egregious that they bear closer examination.  Each year, over 1.5 million men and women are arrested in the United States because of our drug laws.  At this moment, somewhere on the order of 400,000 men and women languish in U.S. prisons for nonviolent drug offenses.  One million others are currently on probation.  More people are imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses in the United States than are incarcerated, for any reason, in all of Western Europe (which has a larger population).  The cost of these efforts, at the federal level alone, is nearly $20 billion dollars annually.  The total cost of our drug laws – when one factors in the expense to state and local governments and the tax revenue lost by our failure to regulate the sale of drugs – could easily be in excess of $100 billion dollars each year.  Our war on drugs consumes an estimated 50 percent of the trial time of our courts and the full-time energies of over 400,000 police officers. These are resources that might otherwise be used to fight violent crimes and terrorism.

            In historical terms, there was every reason to expect that such a policy of prohibition would fail.  It is well known, for instance, that the experiment with prohibition of alcohol in the United States did little more than precipitate a terrible comedy of increased drinking, organized crime, and police corruption.  What is not generally remembered is that Prohibition was an explicitly religious exercise, being the joint product of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the pious lobbying of certain Protestant missionary societies.

            The problem with prohibition of any desirable commodity is money.  The United Nations values the drug trade at $400 billion a year.  This exceeds the annual budget for the U.S. Department of Defense.  If this figure is correct, the trade in illegal drugs constitutes 8 percent of all international commerce (while the sale of textiles makes up 7.5 percent and motor vehicles just 5.3 percent). (35 –  And yet, prohibition itself is what makes the manufacture and sale of drugs so extraordinarily profitable.  Those who earn there living in this way enjoy a 5,000 to 20,000 percent return on their investment, tax-free.  Every relevant indicator of the drug trades – rates of drug use and interdiction, estimates of production, the purity of drugs on the street, etc. – shows that the government can do nothing to stop it as long as such profit exists (indeed, these profits are highly corrupting of law enforcement in any case).  The crimes of the addict, to finance the stratospheric cost of his lifestyle, and the crimes of the dealer, to protect both his territory and his goods, are likewise the result of prohibition. (36 footnote below)  A final irony, which seems good enough to be the work of Satan himself, is that the market we have created by our drug laws has become a steady source of revenue for terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Shining Path, and others.  [supporting link – not from Sam Harris: drug policy and terrorism]

            Even if we acknowledge that stopping drug use is a justifiable social goal, how does the financial cost of our war on drugs appear in light of the other challenges we face?  Consider that it would require only a onetime expenditure of $2 billion to secure our commercial seaports against smuggled nuclear weapons.  At present we have allocated a mere $93 million for this purpose. (footnote link)   How will our prohibition of marijuana use look (this comes at the cost of $4 billion annually) if a new sun ever dawns over the port of Los Angeles?  Or consider that the U.S. government can afford to spend only $2.3 billion each year on reconstruction of Afghanistan.  The Taliban and Al Qaeda are now regrouping.  Warlords rule the countryside beyond the city limits of Kabul.  Which is more important to us, reclaiming this part of the world for the forces of civilization or keeping cancer patients in Berkeley from relieving their nausea with marijuana?  Our present use of government funds suggests an uncanny skewing – we might even say derangement – of our national priorities.  Such a bizarre allocation of resources is sure to keep Afghanistan in ruins for years to come.  It will also leave Afghan farmers with no alternative but to grow opium.  Happily for them, our drug laws still render this a highly profitable enterprise.

            Anyone who believes that God is watching us from beyond the stars will feel that punishing peaceful men and women for their private pleasure is perfectly reasonable.  We are now in the twenty-first century.  Perhaps we should have better reasons for depriving our neighbors of their liberty at gunpoint.  Given the magnitude of the real problems that confront us – terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the spread of infectious disease, failing infrastructure, lack of adequate funds for education and health care, etc. – our war on sin is so outrageously unwise as to almost defy rational comment.  How have we grown so blind to our deeper interests?  And how have we manages to enact such policies with so little substantive debate?

36 footnote pg 259 of book

When was the last time someone was killed over a tobacco or alcohol deal gone awry?  We can be confident that the same normalcy would be achieved if drugs were regulated by the government.  At the inception of the modern “war on drugs,” the economist Milton Friedman observed that “legalizing drugs would simultaneously reduce the amount of crime and raise the quality of law enforcement.”  He then invited the reader to “conceive of any other measure that would accomplish so much to promote law and order” (Friedman, “Prohibition and Drugs,” Newsweek May 1, 1972).  What was true then remains true after three decades of pious misrule; the criminality associated with the drug trade is the inescapable consequence of our drug laws themselves.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 162

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by William Rawle on blindness, congress, constitution, people, power, and prohibition

The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.

William Rawle (1759 - 1837)

Source: A View of the Constitution of the United States of America (1829), constitutional law textbook

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by W. C. Fields on food, force, prohibition, and water

Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

W. C. Fields (1879 - 1946)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by unknown on america, congress, government, politics, problems, and prohibition

We held in New York [v. United States] that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State's officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.


Source: U.S. Supreme Court, 1997, Printz v. United States

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Franklin Pierce Adams on crime, prohibition, vices, and worth

Prohibition is an awful flop. We like it. It can't stop what it's meant to stop. We like it. It's left a trail of graft and slime It don't prohibit worth a dime It's filled our land with vice and crime, Nevertheless, we're for it.

Franklin Pierce Adams (1881 - 1960)

Source: the New York World, following release of the report of the Wickersham Commission , 1931

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Don Marquis on prohibition

Prohibition makes you want to cry in your beer, and denies you the beer to cry into.

Don Marquis (1878 - 1937)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Carrie Amelia Nation on faith and prohibition

Faithful to the cause of Prohibition - She hath done what she could

Carrie Amelia Nation

Source: (Belton Cemetery; Belton, Missouri)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Abraham Lincoln on control, government, laws, principles, prohibition, and reason

Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

Contributed by: Zaady

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