Saturday, July 08, 2017

Prohibition Has Been An Epic Policy Failure

Illicit drug markets were flourishing in white communities in the 1970s, and they continue to flourish in white communities to this very day. The crucial difference between affluent white drug markets and gritty black urban drug markets is the drive-through customer service provided to strangers in mostly black ghetto neighborhoods. 

White neighborhoods feature a drug market staffed by affluent teenagers doing it as a sideline for free drug supplies, social-peer status, and disposable income with a customer base of similarly well-heeled schoolmates and friends. Black and brown ghettos feature a market run in deadly earnest by poor and marginalized people viewing it more like a career choice- as their best chance at earning good money, fast money, and possibly even a boost to long-term upward mobility.

Open-air street markets are riskier all around, and much more criminogenic. But that's principally a function of the illegal marketplace, not the underlying commodity "drugs" being bought and sold. Prohibition has been an epic policy failure. Instead of success in curbing the use of officially forbidden drugs, 50 years of get-tough criminalization, zero tolerance, and mandatory minimums have resulted in;
  1. a state of perpetual civil conflict
  2. an unregulated supply of a wider array of harder and harder drugs
  3. diverse harder drug abuse by younger and younger people
  4. broad-based antagonism against police and government
  5. unparalleled levels of police corruption

Unfortunately, the respectable negroes of impoverished black ghettos made the same mistake as the morally upright but deeply hypocritical WW2 generation of adults in more affluent white communities.  Faced with an unfamiliar phenomenon (the newfound popularity of some legally prohibited drugs among the youth), they imagined that a law enforcement crackdown would solve the problem and reset their status quo back to more familiar conditions, back before the kids were smoking pot and experimenting with drugs. 

Let's be clear- the initial 1960s-era domestic "illegal drug problem" related almost entirely to marijuana; the heroin market was confined to "bad neighborhoods" in a handful of large cities, and it took years for the cocaine market to develop a significant consumer base anywhere in the country.

Instead, the resulting Drug War only made matters worse, across the board. Including problems of police brutality and the impression that a coercive regime was being imposed upon urban black neighborhoods by outsiders. Which is, yes, what the citizens originally asked for. But the source of the folly was the naive idea that "drugs" were the primary source of the breakdown of civic order, rather than the illicit markets empowered by a simplistic prohibition regime that was- and still is- rationally indefensible.

Even the most responsible black American parents of teenagers are in much the same position as practically every other ethnic population- there's only so much they can do to counteract negative peer group influence on their adolescent children, given the circumstances of the modern world. And the stance that "studying is a white thing" would have a lot less social currency in the absence of the attractions of economic success provided by opportunities in the retail illicit drugs trade. "Studying is a white thing" is part of a narrative of fake resistance promulgated by criminals and delinquents. It's an excuse proffered by nihilistic elements of the black lumpenproletariat - pornographically promoted by Madison Avenue - not by "black culture".

The source of the problem- the basis for the appeal of the story that tells boys to kick school to the curb and go for fast money and instant gratification- isn't the inherent criminality of "black culture", or black people. It isn't ethnically based. It's mostly about Pinocchio Pleasure Island. The real-life Pleasure Island of the drug dealing game. In the absence of a lucrative underground market in prohibited drugs, criminality is a pretty pathetic career path.  In the presence of that avenue of opportunity, it's a glamor profession. Or at least it contains enough glamorous aspects to make it a very attractive occupation, especially for teenage males at the outset. Remember what eventually happens to the boys on Pleasure Island.

The useless not-see narrative blames the dysfunctions of poor black communities on a lack of moral character - a deficiency purportedly inherent to lower racial IQ or some allegedly monolithic "black culture." The useless BLM narrative blames the problems in impoverished black ghettos on some all-pervading, amorphous, undifferentiated, supposedly rampant white racism, i.e., an inherent moral deficiency of monolithic "white culture." 

Neither of those stories address the actual source of the problem.