The Black Lives Matters movement has generated a call to action: Defund Police. This seems to me a bad slogan, because it does not really capture what the movement leaders want to happen, and it stiffens resistance in those people inclined to resist the movement. Also, I think that the policy is sub-optimal. Instead, I suggest an alternate call to action: Legalize Drugs.
TL;DR The US drug policy creates more harm than good and should be suspended.
One of the triggers of the BLM protests was the death of Breonna Taylor. Much has been made of the fact that Taylor was Black, but relatively little has been made of the fact that the goal of the police raid was to arrest a drug dealer. Defund the Police is aimed at reducing the times police kick down a door and shoot innocent people in the household; I am arguing that police should not even be arresting drug dealers in the first place.
Now, those of you who choose to take the Negative side of this question are, I expect, already polishing your argument that “Reno, this policy will increase the number of junkies dying of overdoses,” and you are already preparing for my rebuttal that there is no evidence that the number of OD’s increases when drugs are legalized, and my citation of Portugal and Amsterdam. Let’s short-circuit that–I am not going to argue that at all. My argument is much simpler: I don’t give a sht about the lives of junkies*. Frankly, I don’t believe that you do either.
It is simple. Breonna Taylor was killed to keep junkies alive, but her life was worth more than a thousand junkies lives. If you believe that the War on Drugs must continue, you have to argue that killing Breonna Taylor was justified if it saved X junkies. I will make it easy on you–you don’t have to prove that killing Broenna did save those X lives, or even that there is not a better, cheaper way to save junkies. All you have to do is argue that the lives of some number of junkies is worth the life of Broenna Taylor.
And, by the way, you know who agrees with me that junkies’ lives are worthless? Junkies. Anyone who thinks that his or her life is worth more than an armful of junk is, by definition, not a junkie. I am happy to give societal resources to helping those people.
Therefore, I argue that the US should immediately move to legalize recreational drugs. The DEA shall receive guidance that no drug shall be made illegal unless it can be demonstrated to be more harmful than alcohol and tobacco. States shall be directed to regulate and tax the sale of recreational drugs as they choose.
Criminal activity in the US will drop by approximately 50%. The flow of money to some of the worst organizations in the world will dry up. The “drug dealer” as a figure to emulate in poverty stricken regions will vanish. The need to have high funding and staffing levels in police departments will vanish. These advantages will take time to accrue–the War on Drugs has been prosecuted for at least 75 years, and it will take at least 1 generation for some of the scars to start to heal, but within 25 years the US society will reap substantial benefits from the policy.
Thank you. I now stand open for cross examination.