William F. Buckley on the Drug War

I’ve been back and forth on the drug war issue for years, but I tend to agree with Buckley here. Most conservatives I know are for decriminalization at the very least.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re are valid arguments against it. But the cost-benefit scenario works out in legalization’s favor.

I know most of our followers are libertarian, how did you folks form your conclusion on drug use, through ideology, market mechanisms or because that’s what you’ve heard? Maybe in the same way I have? I’m curious to know. 

“First of all, please don’t mistake my position for that of people who are indifferent to drugs. I’m not indifferent to drugs. I think I’ve been quoted as saying if I could turn a single latch which would make all the drugs disappear from the face of the earth, with the exception of here and there, a vineyard in Bordeaux, I would turn that latch. Now, you say is it inconsistent for a conservative to take my position? I don’t think it is, because a conservative seeks to be grounded in reality. That which works is quantifiable; that which simply does not work, isn’t. If you were to pass a law requiring people to go to church on Sunday, it wouldn’t work. Under the circumstances, you would eventually simply withdraw such a law. My position on drugs is that they are, the drug laws aren’t working, and that more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books. This, as I say, should not be confused as a sanction for drugs. Drugs are a form of escapism, and the damage in taking them is not by any means self-limited. It damages other people also. For that reason, the question is: How do you diminish the net harm done by drugs?”

-William F. Buckley


– Will Ricciardella



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Filed under Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Political Philosophy

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