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The Drug War’s Attack on Freedom

by

Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of the founder of the Mamas and Papas pop group and a former star in the television sitcom “One Day at a Time,” was arrested last week and charged with possession of narcotics. The arrest took place while Phillips was going through the security screening at Los Angeles International Airport.

There are two things wrong with this picture.

First, aren’t those airport security checkpoints intended to stop terrorists and hijackers, not drug addicts? Why should airport gendarmes have the authority to take people into custody for possession of items that are unrelated to terrorism or hijacking?

More fundamentally, why should the government have the authority to punish any person for possession of drugs? Of course, that is the central moral challenge to the drug war itself.

Why shouldn’t a person be free to possess or ingest any substance, no matter how harmful? Isn’t that a necessary part of the concept of individual freedom. If the government can send an adult to his room for ingesting non-approved substances, how can people in that society honestly be considered free?

Why shouldn’t the state simply leave people like Mackenzie Phillips alone? Sure, the woman seems to have a drug problem. According to the Associated Press, back in 1982 she lost her job at “One Day at a Time” because of drug-related charges. But isn’t that her business? What business does the state have punishing her for a drug addiction?

Why not just punish those people who violate the rights of others and leave everyone else alone? Isn’t that what we do with people who ingest alcohol?

Meanwhile, the bodies of 24 men were recently found outside Mexico City, victims of the latest battles between rival drug gangs. In other parts of Mexico, 17 other people were killed last week, some of whom had been decapitated. According to the Reforma newspaper, 3,148 people have been killed in drug-related violence just this year.

Arrests of drug addicts, gang wars, and murders and executions. Just another week in the life of the 30-year-old war on drugs. With no end in sight.

Isn’t it time to bring all this abuse, death, and destruction to a stop? Isn’t it time to simply repeal the drug war?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.