Tomorrow marks the 40th Anniversary of Richard Nixon’s declaration that America needs to wage a war against drugs and drug abuse. And since that time, there’s never been such a widespread consensus as there is today that it’s a complete failure and needs to end.
I’ve written endlessly about this and won’t bore everyone with another post listing out the reasons why we need to make major changes in how we deal with drugs and the problem of drug addiction. But one thing that has struck me in recent years is the odd ideological pairing of drug war zealotry and being terrified of Sharia Law.
Of course, the idea of Sharia Law “taking over” in America is world-class stupidity. But at its root, this hysteria is about a fear of having members of another faith or culture making laws that dictate morality. Yet while the war on drugs has always been painted as a way of protecting us from drugs, that’s never been what it’s really about. It’s about government dictating our moral choices. And not surprisingly, Sharia Law does exactly the same thing when it comes to wine consumption and other moral taboos.
The reasons for ending the war on drugs are numerous, but the central cause of all of that calamity is a single failing. It’s a mistaken belief that government should make moral decisions in our lives that should instead be left to the spiritual world. This endeavor is both impossible and reckless. And it’s a failure that extends to nearly every nation on this planet in various ways – particularly in the Middle East.
In America, we have a high tolerance and acceptance for some moral failings – extreme avarice being a big one – but for reasons that never made sense to me, we turn into shrieking nannies at the thought of anyone using a mind-altering substance. And 40 years after Ayatollah Nixon ignored his own government commission’s advice and declared war on our private actions, it’s long past time to reassess the damage that’s been done.