Ah, Mexico…the mere word elicits images of sunny, sandy beaches, clear blue waters, colorful decor, friendly people, spicy food, great tequila, Kahlua, endless partying, boating deep sea fishing, cavorting with the rich and famous…Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, the Mayan ruins…the list of pleasure resorts and attractions is endless. Those that have experienced any or all of these will look back upon those experiences with fondness and longing to do it all again.
But then, there’s the cold, dark force of reality as to what Mexico is becoming: one of the world’s major illegal drug suppliers. And the fact that it sits across the long southern border of the United States, coupled with the fact that the US population is the world’s largest illegal drug customer, makes this reality one that every citizen in this country is affected by, in one way or another.
The Mexican drug cartels are enormously wealthy entities, having a uncountable non-stop flow of cash coming into their coffers primarily from the US. Their economic power is so great that they rival some of the largest corporations on the planet. They pay no taxes, own their own armies and corps of assassins, have highly sophisticated communications networks, own endless properties, can afford to buy endless numbers of officials and law enforcement personnel with irresistible payoffs, are experts at using terror to keep people quiet and in line, and essentially are unstoppable.
The Mexican and US governments have attempted to control and contain these cartels with absolutely no success. The American DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) has been assisting the Mexicans for years to no avail, as well as attempting to stem the tide of drugs entering the US, also to no avail. Between the efforts of these two nations, countless billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent fighting the unwinnable fight. Most tragically, at least tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered by these cartels. And the ultimate bottom line is that any American can still get whatever drugs he or she desires whenever he or she wants, as a long as he and she have the cash to pay for it. So the cycle goes…forever in existence and forever growing.
Some well-meaning but hopelessly misguided people believe that illegal drugs must be fought and stopped at every turn. They argue that illegal drug use leads to all manner of crime, immoral and illegal activity, greater use of stronger, more dangerous drugs, and ultimately death. And while there is perhaps some value to these arguments in some cases, folks promoted the exact same things about alcohol just before they succeeded in force Prohibition onto the US in 1919.
We all know how well THAT worked: By the time Prohibition was mercifully repealed in 1933, that “Noble Experiment”, was branded a dismal failure. Its only apparent accomplishment was the entrenchment of organized crime in the USA., sort of a la Mexican drug cartel, along with a taxpayer-funded never-ending and never-winnable law enforcement fight against it.
The idea that if drugs are illegal that we can somehow eliminate their existence, or even their easy availability, is nothing short of a pipe dream (it doesn’t work for guns, either.). Some group has always been trying in one form or another to eliminate human vice since the humanity first became aware of such things. Whether drugs, sex, alcohol, or even revolutionary ideas, these groups believe that superior brute force is the answer to every problem. But human history is replete with lessons that prove that attempting to eliminate pleasurable human activity by force simply never works. The only program that has even the remotest chance of at least partial success is fact-based education.
As a result, more and more experts are recommending that we decrinimalize present-illegal drug use and possesion of these controlled substances. They do so not because they believe that use of these drugs is a good thing, but because they realize that we can never win this fight; as history proves, we can only throw endless money at it…money the drug cartels are expert at catching.
Instead, by legalizing these substances, legitimate industries would rise under the free market system, and their products could be regulated and taxed. That new tax money could be used to educate our school children about the real dangers of recreational drug use, just as we now educate them about unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and on avoiding them . Drugs use probably won’t go down, but it also won’t go up…since anyone can get them today anyway.
However, what will go down to the point of near-elimination is the transference of billions of dollars to the drug cartels, just as the mob saw their profits from selling bathtub gin evaporate with the repeal of Prohibition. Without their money life-line, the cartels will cease to be profitable and the free market will more than likely eliminate most of them. Those that survive will have to find something else illegal to sell in order to stay in business.
Another positive result of legalization would be the money saved by law enforcement in their present never-ending and never-winning battle with these cartels and neighborhood pushers. That money can be used for other, more important endeavors, such as catching murderers, bank robbers, rapists, and terrorists for starters.
Repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different outcome is a definition of insanity, y’know. 😉