The War on Drugs PT5 – This Baron Land

This is part five of a series in which I use the American drug war to examine wider social concerns. You can also read : the intro, part one, part two, part three, part four.

Funny thing is, the bucket made more sense...
Funny thing is, the bucket made more sense…

We’ve been looking at five central lies told to perpetuate the drug war. 1 – Drugs themselves are the enemy (drugs are inanimate things, not an enemy – drug laws are frequently a disguised attack on immigrants, minorities or the poor). 2 – Drug takers hurt others (most are too stoned to and don’t want to, it is drug law that creates ‘drug crime’ not drugs themselves). 3 – Drugs lead to gangs and gang violence (similarly it is drug law, not the drugs, which create the conditions for violence).

We now reach lie four – that drug dealers are evil kingpins.

If the law prevents people eating, they will break the law

America has ghettoised whole populations and made it impossible for them to escape. For them there are no jobs, little healthcare and welfare is continually cut. The UK is right now digging itself into this same hole with sustained attacks on the poor combined with tax-breaks for the wealthy (following proposed changes over the coming weeks it is estimated that poor families will be appx £650 worse off a year, while the wealthy will be £100,000 better off on average (reported in the ‘i’ newspaper)).

Conservatives - they're all about forward thinking
Conservatives – they’re all about forward thinking

But people need to eat, to pay rent and bills. With little education, a bad address and few jobs, the only way of earning money is illegally, and that’s where drugs come in. Most drugs in America come from the very poor growing some plants or setting up Meth labs in their sheds. These people are not dealing because they are evil but because they are desperate. They are not masters of enormous cartels or running giant trafficking rings. They are regular people just trying to survive.

Who says laws are arbitrary...
Who says laws are arbitrary…

A CEO by any other name… still stinks

Perhaps there are a small handful of people who have a large amount of wealth and power due to their position in the drug trade – so what? There are a far larger number of people who have sickening wealth and political influence because of their positions in corporations and banks.

Are we upset because drugs are illegal and the big bad barons are naughty boys and girls? After all, legitimised CEO’s are so selfless.

I know it's lazy to use a photograph, but this is me at the office last week.
I know it’s lazy to use a photograph, but this is me at the office last week.

Pretty Crime

A small number of people get killed in unnecessary drug wars and we shout and scream. We say that these deaths are terrible because they are unnecessary, being caused by criminals in their pursuit of crime makes these deaths somehow more brutal or senseless.

Yet we make little noise about fatalities such as industrial accidents due to corporate negligence or poor health and safety, exploitation and over-working of child-labour and immigrant workers. The people who make your clothes in their faceless third-world back-water die from poor sanitation, lack of healthcare and accidents at work. But who cares? These people die in pursuit of legal practices so it’s okay. Better still, they die somewhere else so we don’t have to see them.

So that's what happened to the dog...
So that’s what happened to Lassie

Armageddon well paid

Worse still are the problems of deforestation, industrial and nuclear pollution, the erosion of bio-diversity in favour of farmed mono-cultures – any of which could potentially kill us all. Everywhere we look legal business practice causes the destruction of land, displacement of peoples and cultures, exploitation of the young, the poor or the weak, and it has led to a tiny minority who are wealthy while across the world millions starve. That is the true face of ‘legal commerce’.

I know, this is a fact rather than a joke... I guess I'm slipping.
I know, this is a fact rather than a joke… I guess I’m slipping.

How does this happen? Simple. The industrial King-pins are so wealthy that they can buy the laws and legislation they want, delay carbon quotas, stall anti-pollution measures, buy expensive lawyers to drag out court procedures until anyone who is against them runs out of money or dies.

If the legally sanctioned fat-cats and bosses behave badly, why do we condemn the drug baron for doing the same thing?

Buy one get none

The real problem is not a piddling number of drug bosses. The real problem is that we have made some very strange choices about what should be legal and what should not. It is legal to rip the lungs from our planet, pour shit in our oceans and allow 99% of the worlds wealth to be in the hands of just 1.5% of the population. If you ingest some powder you can go to jail, while banks illegally fix rates, businesses operate monopolies, corporations avoid tax, big brands farm out their work to cheap, exploited labour, land is polluted or made infertile…and on, and on while no-one goes to jail.

One day my son, none of this could be yours.
One day my son, none of this could be yours.

I never had to pay a drug-dealer for Smack I didn’t buy, but I’m helping pay off the debts for a bank I never used – and that’s legal folks.

The answer to the drugs problem is to make drugs and drug trade legal – but once this has been done we hit even greater troubles, troubles the drug war in part is there to distract us from.

Bringing drugs into the area of legal trade only means that the drug barons will swap buying guns and killing each other for buying votes and killing the rest of us.

21 thoughts on “The War on Drugs PT5 – This Baron Land

Add yours

  1. “The industrial King-pins are so wealthy that they can buy the laws and legislation they want, delay carbon quotas, stall anti-pollution measures, buy expensive lawyers to drag out court procedures until anyone who is against them runs out of money or dies.” . . . They have the money to purchase the media to create public illusions moving the attention of the masses away from the REAL problems onto ‘something else.’

    You are making perfect sense, ROS.

  2. RoS, if you ran for PM, I’d vote for you, campaign for you and even put a sign on my lawn. My provincial government has just decided to reduce financial help to low income seniors so that it can continue to subsidize the oil industry – Esso, BP, etc. They are PAYING the oil companies for the honour of ruining our environment.

  3. ROS,
    When I have an inbox full and I see your post there, I used to creep off into a corner so I could enjoy your post by myself.

    Only now I have my husband following you, too. So I can laugh at out loud at your comics and then say “Honey, did you see that one about half way down where he blows off Lassie’s head? Cute!”

    Thanks for helping me feel slightly less psychotic when too much American reality seeps into my brain.

  4. Perhaps I have too hastily read and/or misread some of your comments here…certainly, much of what you say is factual and honest enough…

    I’ve never been a wealthy man, don’t envy the movers and shakers of the world, not an economist or one who truly understands the monetary ebbs and flows, but I get the sense much of the time that we ‘have nots’ of the world carry a lot of disdain for the ‘haves.’ In the USA, it has been one of our great freedoms (at least, until recently!) to start a business in our garage or basement, live meagerly and sometimes borrowing funds for many years developing, modifying, and finalizing the major aspects of our product/service. At some point, we are able to move out of the garage/basement, move into a suitable office space/location, hire some people (providing jobs!), and we grow steadily, adding people, capital equipment, etc., etc. Soon we are a big corporation, employing hundreds, even thousands of people…I’ll stop here without getting into the government’s eventual involvement and regulation into our businesses…

    Because of a person’s or persons’ creativity, hard work, and years of achieving a business dream, thousands upon thousands of jobs are created, people have bought homes, cars, drank their booze, smoked their pot, and, yet, these enterprising people (forget the ‘few bad apples’) soon become pariahs and the ‘no good wealthy’ company CEOs who somehow control much of the world’s wealth…

    Suffice, I’m aware we have some crooks in business, but the vast majority do it ‘the old fashioned way’ – They earn it! I get just a little tired, at least in the US, where our jobs are fewer, our household incomes are lower, and the rhetoric now adapts itself to the corporate ‘write-offs’ and to the government getting more and more involved in the ‘entitlement business.’

    Pardon my own ranting here…particularly if I have misread or taken out of context some of your words.

    As always, you present your arguments well.

    Best wishes,

    Billy Ray

    1. Hi B-Ray,
      What you say is right. It’s probably not clear here, as I have to stop contextualising at some point or I end up with a 10,000 word post! However, while there are some bad eggs, the majority of businesses are begun by good people. The problems come from the effect that money has on people, but more importantly from the machine itself. The way that Capitalism and the free-market operates actually forces people into practices which harm others. So it’s not that all businessmen are evil but that business itself extracts and amplifies bad traits.
      Here we have bankers who decide their own pay awards – do they take lower awards because the public have had to bail them out? No. Do they give back by donating their awards? No. They give themselves more in bonuses than most of us earn in ten years. Likewise the rail bosses, trains run late, fares go up and yet they award themselves huge bonuses. Same with government, they cut welfare, give public sector workers below inflation rises and then propose huge increases in their own basic salaries.
      About the only counter-example is Bill Gates, who has started being charitable. The general derision he suffered shows how unpopular it is that he highlights the greed and selfishness of the majority.
      Once upon a time a CEO earned 10 times what his nearest executive earns – now he gets 200x. Can he possibly be doing 200x more work? Of course not.
      But what person will ever be bold enough, or humble enough to turn down the chance at million dollar wages?
      I do not knock those who work hard. However, if you create a corporation that employes 10,000 people, but their salary is 1% the size of yours, and thereby you hold them in poverty, is that really such a good thing?
      Enjoying your responses as always

  5. Seems like the big bucks of the prison-industrial complex (privatization of the prison system) and the pharmaceutical industry (who can’t stand competition) will keep the war on drugs running forever. If we can’t keep the economy running by employing prison guards, we need to imprison the unemployable.

    1. Thanks for that Ginger. – from the article – “Drugs destroy lives and cause untold misery to families and communities – and this is why we believe they must remain illegal,” the UK Home Office said in a statement. “Decriminalisation is not the answer.”
      What a pile of crap! Alcohol destroys lives, poverty destroys lives, homelessness, a lack of rehabilitation for offenders – these all destroy families and lives, yet we see welfare cuts, longer sentences, the bedroom tax and a back-track on alcohol pricing.
      The hypocrisy and bullshit in this country makes me sick.

  6. Yes, even that???
    Maybe you shouldn’t of said that….

    Drug war from my limited perspective, sorta:

    It’s a take on my cousins in the drug wars. May may be relevant, to your awesome posts. It is my experience on this subject-sorta. TEDx Talks proposed solutions and perspective about root cause and solutions are growing up with the subject.
    If you are interested I have a link to Emiliano Salinas, Mark Vicente’s and Julian LeBaron’s TEDx Talks.
    Always wondering what you think!

    1. Thanks Wayward. I will watch the other films too – fascinating and horrifying in equal measure.
      Alas I’m up to my neck so won’t be posting for a while – but some day, some where! I’ll be back 🙂

      1. Glad we had the same reaction.

        As I command you. ; )
        Waiting on you to get me my book.
        It’s worth the deep loss and unending sacrifice of not having you around.
        As they say, sacrifice is giving up what you want less, for what you want more.
        I want your book more!
        Get to it. That’s an order. ; )

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