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American Injustice

A lot of people think of Mark Steyn as being a sycophantic toady of the current American Way of Life. Those people should, but probably won't, read his rundown of what he sees as the various distortions that have compromised the American justice system. It's a pretty damning list, and rings true to me. I will admit I don't know a great deal about the runnings of my own country's justice arm (it's all just too complex for my poor feeble mind, which I might add is a major problem of the system as well -- it shouldn't have become this complicated for an ordinary layperson to even think of thinking about). But I've seen and heard enough. I especially know about the many shenanigans which the RICO act has made possible -- when you grow up in a major hub of the Drug Wars, in this case Miami, you can't avoid learning a little. And I heard too many anecdotes about families getting their vehicles and homes and whatnot confiscated by the feds because unbeknownst to them a relative had been involved in the drug trade. The lesson that "innocent until proven guilty" has become optional couldn't have been made clearer. Since I am a timid person by nature I am law-abiding, but I can see how someone with less of an desire not to draw attention to themselves could become embittered and cynical and, eventually, a lawbreaker themselves just for the sheer hell of it, because of this sort of thing. And everyone in Miami at least had friends, or friends of friends, who were involved in illegal drugs in some fashion -- the place was, and still is, awash in all sorts of stuff. I am rather rare in that I've never touched anything stronger than bourbon.

I'm ambivalent about the current laws regarding drugs. On the one hand, prohibition has given rise to opportunistic criminality, and ruined large swaths of several countries that are the source of the drugs so many Americans are willing to pay lots of money for. And junkies and cokeheads and so on are tiresome to be around, and are a parasitic drain on society. On the other hand, legalization may cut down somewhat on the criminal activity, but criminals are nothing if not inventive, and they'll find ways to circumvent the law in order to maximize their profits. Because legal drugs will be taxed, you can count on that. And as well, the repeal of the prohibition against liquor may have cut down on the bootlegging business, but that business still exists, and a large part of it has to do with the desire to not pay taxes. Also, legalizing drugs, far from solving the problem of drug abuse, will only exacerbate it. The only difference will be that the druggie will no longer be a criminal for his drug use. But addiction to anything, legal or not, diminishes the moral faculties of the addicted. Drugs will still cost money, and there will still be hardcore users who spend all their money on drugs and end up living in the streets and making havoc. Legalizing drugs would just shift the problem to a different area.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 11, 2007 11:38 AM.

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