Monday, April 24, 2006

Johann Hari is making sense for a change

The only areas where libertarians and the left seem to agree on is social policy. Johann Hari has a post supporting the legalisation of drugs, with the following paragraph showing how futile prohibition is:

Don’t take my leftie-legalizer’s word for it. Listen to Michael Levine, who had a thirty year career as one of America’s most distinguished federal narcotics agents. In his time, he led a thousand raids like last Saturday’s, as well as infiltrating some of the biggest drugs cartels in the world – and he now explains, in sad tones, that he wasted his time. In the early 1990s, he was assigned to eradicate drug-dealing from one New York street corner – an easy enough task, surely? But he quickly learned that even this was physically impossible, given the huge demand for drugs in cities like London and New York. He calculated that he would need one thousand officers to be working on that corner for six months to make an impact – and there were only 250 drugs agents in the whole city.
When Levine rose undercover to the top of la Mafia Cruenza, one of the biggest drug-dealing gangs in the world, he learned, as he puts it, “that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they actually counted on it… On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it ‘a sham put on the American tax-payer’ that was ‘actually good for business’.” He was right – prohibition is the dealer’s friend. Legalization is his greatest enemy. Shocked, Levine recounted this to his bosses, who explained yeah, we know, but we have to keep pointlessly going through the motions of a drugs war because the alternative is “politically unacceptable.”