One Step at a Time, Then

In the spirit of boldly following the truth where ever it leads; can I get any agreement on the following statement?



Prohibition is an absolute, 100% guarantee that there will be increased gang activity, increased gang power, increased gang violence, an escalating police presence, and increased corruption at the police level working its way up through government at higher levels, with a coresponding deterioration of respect for police, and the rule of law, among the general public.


Yes or no?  You have to take all points in the above sentence together.  If you disagree with any part of it, your answer is “No”.  Give a brief, simple explanation of why you disagree.  For our purposes here, we will limit the definition of Prohibition to; a federal ban on alcohol or any other popular intoxicant.  This has nothing to do with your opinions, or clinical expertise, on this or that drug, the general effects of intoxicants on society or any of that.  Keep all of that out of the discussion, please.  Focus like a laser beam.


Yes or no?

13 thoughts on “One Step at a Time, Then

  1. Yes, absolutely. I think that will hold true for just about anything that is prohibited for which there is a significant intrinsic demand – hookers, guns, booze, drugs, etc.

  2. Given that the statement is framed around western experience, the absolute is naive. What about Islamic states where the gangs are in favor of prohibition? In that case, prohibition decreases gang violence.

  3. I would say yes, given the normative conditions which I suspect are part of your question, i.e., a western culture. I would say no, not just in agreement with Tasso, but I would also point out that in a thoroughly despotic regime, the government IS the gang, and all of the bad results will already be in place prior to a particular prohibition.

  4. That’s exactly my point; to frame the absolute requires rigid control of the definition of terms: state, gang, prohibition, popular, and violence. Once you’ve constrained the terms such that the absolute is true, it ceases to describe any real world scenario, becoming as useless as a tautology.

  5. Being that the Western world is a rather significant part of the real world, given that we live in the western world (OK; I live in it– maybe you don’t) and forgetting that the Islamic world is about as totalitarian as it gets, yes: I constrain the question, however unfairly, closed-mindedly, or rigidly, to the western world, where we’re trying to hash out this silly “liberty” business.

    I point out the fact that much of our heroine or raw opium comes out of….as a cash crop…, well you get my drift. Let’s stick to the United States of America for starters. We can deal with the international drug syndicates, and certain enemies of the U.S. being enriched by the illegal drug trade, and other countries becoming controlled increasingly by drug cartels, later, but thank you for bringing it up. It is important. For now let’s constrain it to the country, or at least the continent, in which I live.

    Rolf took care of your main concern with his “significant intrinsic demand” bit, i.e. cultures vary. However; the desire for wealth and power is much more universal. To that end, those other places you mentioned, where our heroine comes from– their governments have become de facto gangs as mentioned above. And I would hope that the policy of killing (or otherwise egregiously messing up) anyone caught partaking in the forbidden substance, while trading it on the world market, would generally qualify as “corruption”. But I don’t want to get into an argument over the definition of every word. Please.

    I was going to put something in the original post about the resistance I get from people in trying to address this issue head-on, but I figured I’d wait until later. I’m trying to isolate baby steps you understand, to keep it in simple, conceptual terms– pick it apart and deal with the constituent parts one at a time, so when it all goes back together we might have a sound understanding of a specific issue in America.

  6. Yes, as well as a burgeoning black market economy and the destruction of the middle class through the increased amount of tax dollars consumed by those enforcing prohibition rather than funding the national necessities of things like national defense, interstate transportation, etc

  7. Regarding the US experiment with Prohibition, yes to all the problems it caused. Amazingly enough, though, alcohol consumption in the US went down significantly during Prohibition. Whether this is because of limited supply or decreased demand or both I have never seen detailed.

    The question then becomes, is the gang corruption and disrespect for law worth the decreased use of the prohibited substance?

  8. perlhaqr; your political leanings have nothing to do with whether or not the statement is true. It is either true or false, regardless of how you feel about it.

    mikee; the statement is either true or false, regardless of whether there was more alcohol consumption or less alcohol consumption during the Prohibition period (though I’ve heard arguments both ways– increased and decreased) and regardless of whether or not the cure was worse than the “disease”.

  9. perlhaqr; your political leanings have nothing to do with whether or not the statement is true. It is either true or false, regardless of how you feel about it.

    This is also true of course, but unless people agree with what’s being said, most of them aren’t intellectually honest enough to state that something they fundamentally disagree with is true. They will claim that “they have different axioms” or suchlike.

    My “feelings” don’t get a lot of play in my political philosophy. My “political leanings” are what they are because your statement is true. (Along with a number of other things.)

  10. No. Prohibition of a popular but completely unavailable product may have no effect on gangs or police. Examples: fruit of the tree of life from the Garden of Eden, water from the Fountain of Youth, rings of invisibility, teleportation portals, tribbles.

    More to the point – attacking supply is viable. America has the technology (but not the will) to develop biological warfare against poppy and cocoa. A few bioengineered viruses sprayed into central Asia and heroin goes away (and with it, Afghanistan’s funding). A few more viruses sprayed across the Americas and cocaine is gone.

  11. No. The definition of popular intoxicant can reasonably be stretched to include sleeping with minors, adultery, the military’s bans (on gay sex, adultery, sleeping with subordinates, enlisted guys marrying while stationed overseas or during combat tours), and professional prohibitions (teachers with students, doctors with patients, judges with appellants). Throw in the miscegenation laws too.

    Easy enough to imagine federal laws 100% prohibiting these activities (instead of the state laws and current rules). Easy enough to classify these activities as popular intoxicants.

    Because the supply is organic, the prohibition doesn’t feed gang activity. The 19 year old and 17 year old that have a summer romance don’t need help from gangs (unless you expand the definition of gang to cover the school system). The psychiatrist sleeping with the depressed hot wife doesn’t need a pusher (unless you expand the definition of gang to cover medical associations). A black guy who secretly dates a white girl doesn’t need a gang (unless you expand the defintion of gang to cover all of society).

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