November 29, 2016
Florida voters went to the polls and approved the use of medical cannabis this November. Unfortunately the drug war continues on multiple fronts, and if we seek to change the failed policy, we need to reconsider the way in which we market our ideas.
A quarter or more of the nation scores as a libertarian if they are given a blind survey on the issues. I maintain that we must regard our current marketing a failure until our share of registered voters is roughly that number. Lets examine our past efforts and some alternative strategies. Being a shepherd of the proverbial cat herd is no easy task, but we must create some unity of message to succeed. To start the task, it is always prudent to examine the current effort.
To spread a new idea effectively, you must look at the issue from the perspective of others. This is a common and fundamental failure among the hyper individualists that were the founders and early members of the party, and one this era must overcome.
I like to say politics is war. There is no war without politics, and no politics without war. Our opposition is dedicated to struggle….the class struggle, the endless proletarian drive to see their envy enforced under the law. The application of military strategy to politics has been a major component of my success in the arena; I convinced a female Democrat to support open carry, so I request the benefit of the doubt. I like analogies – the parable is a time tested way to convey ideas effectively, so I will present to you an analogy from warfare to help you understand our failures in the arena of drug policy.
In the 19th century, armies lined up on opposing sides of the field of battle. They pointed their muskets towards each other and fired volleys back and forth. In America we were early pioneers in what is now called guerilla warfare. The enemy called it dastardly. They no doubt cursed us the entire boat ride back to England. Those dishonerable bastards who shot the General off his horse were surely reviled. They were also victorious, and today, no army is put to the field that does not have training in guerilla war.
Our efforts at fighting prohibition are reminiscent of the 19th century armies facing colonial guerillas. We extoll the benefits of marijuana, blow up facebook with proof it cures cancer, and studies that show it does not affect driving skills to the degree alcohol does. We make the arguments that we should be able to put heroin in our bodies because nobody owns us. That cocaine transaction is free trade between individuals and it is our right! Year after year the arguments fall on deaf ears. In fact, those shouting “legalize heroin” while the the nation chanted “Just Say No” in lockstep with Nancy Reagan set us back to an even larger degree than those shouting for open borders as Donald Trump leads the nation in a chorus of “build that wall”.
The leftists who erode our freedom have all read “Rules for Radicals” and “Revellie for Radicals” by a man named Saul Alinsky. What he brought to politics was as powerful as what the first colonist brought to modern warfare, when he climbed a tree and shot the first redcoat officer off his horse and then quietly slipped off into the forest. This article series is a play on words from the titles of these works, if you did not catch that. His tactics and his disciples are almost singularly responsible for the succcess of neo-marxism in America, culminating in the Obama presidency.
Rule #2 has been completely disregarded in the way we approach attempts at reforming drug policy.
2.) Never go outside the experience of your people.
I cannot emphasise enough how bad you look in your pot t-shirt and dreadlocks waving that “legalize it” sign. Our entire public posture comes across as pro-drug. It is a delusion to think this will ever be a marketable product in a nation full of broken homes and ruined lives caused by addiction. For the same reason, I founded the LP veteran’s caucus. Nobody wants to listen to some hipster kid whine about the military industrial complex. Over the next year we will be rolling out veterans who have been to war to speak out on the issue. Their opinions matter to those outside our bubble. No offense to the guy in the John Lennon glasses, but yours do not. Effective does not always feel as good as sticking it to the man, at least in the short term, but victory is the tastiest fruit of all. Let me illustrate for you what the average American experience with drugs looks like. This story was told to me a few weeks ago, about a childhood friend of the storyteller.
A woman had fallen under the spell of prescription medication. The crackdown on pharmaceuticals has led to a resurgence of heroin. It is cheaper and easier to obtain than pills, thanks to the misguided drug policy of our State and Federal government. Her social circle became the rest of the addicts in their daily quest to avoid the stomach cramps and tooth grinding that signaled the onset of acute opiate withdrawal syndrome. It all seemed like they were brothers and sisters in arms, fighting the daily battle that had always ended with the needle prick and that fleeting pleasure that never seemed quite enough. Eventually most people will realize that the friendships only last as long as the prescription, the hookup, or the car to take them to score. Unfortunately, this young woman did not make it long enough to have that realization. Heroin does not have a potency marked on it, and she likely got some laced with fentanyl, as it has been killing people lately in the area. As she started to overdose, the other occupants of the vehicle were also likely in possession, and you can be charged in injury or death of persons you commit crimes with. Taking her to the hospital could therefore mean their arrest, and having nothing left to lose, they pushed her out of the vehicle onto the roadway, and kept right on driving. She landed on her face, and it was messy.
She died instantly, and for obvious reasons the casket was closed. There was not even a cold grey face for her family and loved ones to kiss goodbye. We have been selling drug policy in a manner outside the experience of our people. For every overdose, suicide, broken marriage, and abused spouse in the aftermath of addiction, there are many more people who loved them, or others who were victimized by them. It has touched nearly everyone in the country in some way. These are the people you are trying to sell a new drug policy to. The bulk of you honestly sound like idiots… I am at times angered by what seems like the promotion of drug use as cool. Do what you wish behind closed doors, I am no puritan myself, but this issue is far too serious for child’s play. I know you mean well, but sometimes a little tough love is in order. Selling a pro-drug stance today is as effective as 19th century warfare was against motivated guerrillas.
The reason the drug war needs to end is because the only approach to drug abuse that has had any success in a western country is decriminalization. Those who preach the NAP should be saying it needs to end because of the violence surrounding the drug culture and enforcement of drug prohibition. We need to tell people about the tragic murder of Jason Westcott at the hands of overzealous drug warriors, not how great pot is. You have your medical cannabis, and it means nothing to the millions of lives ruined by drug abuse that marijuana cures cancer.
I will spare you the statistics, if you read my article on gun control and prohibition there is all you need to get started, it is a couple clicks away. This article is about message crafting. The message the Libertarian Party needs to put forward should focus on the fact that the drug war perpetuates drug use, and highlight the misery surrounding it. People abuse drugs because they are miserable, after all.
In general, addicts have a damaged place inside they seek to mask with drugs, and they need love and compassion, not prison. If you put them in prison, and forever mark them a convicted felon, the odds are right at 100% they will perpetually be miserable and all of us will suffer the reverberations of their relapses. We will start with paying for the prisons, where they can still buy drugs, and next we will pay to feed and house the spouses and children they leave behind. Later, those kids will grow up and frequently they will fill the black hole of parental abandonment with their drug of choice, and the cycle will continue….until we do something about it. Portugal spends far less on treatment than law enforcement since they decriminalized drugs. They help people overcome addiction, and you can seek treatement without fear of imprisonment. In the 15 years since, they have made dramatic progress, lowering drug use by roughly half, with teens having even bigger reductions than adults.
I live in the bible belt, in sunny Northeast Florida. Unless you live in Humbolt CA, or perhaps Denver and a few other pockets of this great nation, all that hippy BS is falling on deaf ears. While you play hobbyist, drugs are destroying lives. The government is fighting black wars on the profits of the drug trade, and a million of our fellow Americans languish in jails and prisons on drug charges. Their families suffer as we subsidize them. The message I propagate resonates in the hearts of anyone – ESPECIALLY if their lives carry scars from the aftermath of drug addiction and abuse.
The time has long passed to fight with outdated and ineffective tactics. The great sin lies not in the ignorance of the statist, but on the heads of us: we who know the truth but do not apply the full force of our will and reason to bring the truth to fruition. Let us not fall victim to the same pride that sent the British back across the sea in defeat, let us adapt and overcome. The death and misery index of the drug war is beyond measure. We have to fight this battle to win. We aren’t pro-drug, we are against the misery caused by the drug war, and the increase in drug use it produces. Decriminalization is the anti-drug. There is a great slogan to get started with, my gift to my brothers and sisters, please use it.
December 8, 2016
As the Norns continue to weave their namesake twine of fate through our lives, I had a familiar experience following the publication of this article. I am frequently the receiver of what I cannot help but regard as messages of encouragement from Asgard. They often come in the form of events involving the Wyrd of myself and those around me that punctuate the importance of my work, pushing me onward through dark times. Sunday night saw someone way to close to me beaten by their spouse as another marriage imploded. Their mutual addiction had cost her a job and she had been panhandling to feed their habit as rock bottom approached like a freight train. These are the times when I tend to lay down my pen and pick up my guitar. The abstract truth written in statistics and admonitions based on strategic arguments are stripped away. Once again I face a brutal reminder of the urgency of my activism. The women are crying and the men lace up their boots, having a grim task before them. You failed us my fellow countrymen. There is no restoration of innocence for the kids involved, and polite discourse is over, as the young men of the family admonish the patriarch to “Put down that gun, they need you here, not in jail”. As the wolfpack goes hunting to protect their own, since those claiming a monopoly of force cannot even confine the assailant for 24 hours, I will leave you with a song, as the darkness sets in on another day of war on each other. If there will be trouble, let it be in our day, so our children do not inherit this evil. It is no longer urgent, it is already too late.