Friday, July 07, 2017

A Turnkey Operation For A Totalitarian Society


The Federal government put policies in place that practically mandated a criminal monopoly over the trade in a wide array of illegal substances, while criminalizing the entire population with which users/dealers were most closely identified.  Leaving aside marijuana for a moment, and fast forwarding to the crack cocaine epidemic - while cocaine/crack can still be found as a street drug in this country; it's just that not as many people want it. They've seen how it can derail someone's life. Although both the supply and the numbers of cocaine users remain many times what they were 45-50 years ago. 


The criminalization and stigmatization of prohibited drugs users works to pre-emptively wall them off from most avenues of participation in legitimate society.  Their permanent stigmatization in the mainstream economy, effectively encourages them to confine their energies to participating in the criminal economy.  As for trends in urban violence, they're probably destined to cycle through for some time.


45 years of Drug War has made gangsterism dynastic. Furthermore, it has entrenched it through the prison systems. Alcohol prohibition only lasted 13 years and firmly established organized crime for two or three generations thereafter. What would the mafias have become if the "noble experiment" of alcohol prohibition hadn't been put to an end after only 13 years?  Along with Mass Incarceration, this is a crucial difference between the current Drug War and the Prohibition Era.


Then, when that situation eventually gets out of hand, the government steps in with well-funded militarization of the police, paramilitary tactics, and mass incarceration policies. It's a turnkey operation for a totalitarian society, and the justification for it appears entirely rational as long as the population thinks of it solely in terms of fear reactions and their relief, and never questions the flaws in the original premise that led to the breakdown of civic order in the first place. (Nixon's declaration of war on the left and on blacks for opposition to the Vietnam War)