Milton Friedman died today. He was a champion of individual liberty and he was an intellectual powerhouse.
Here's a couple of paragraphs from his essay "The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise."
A major cost of the broader extension of governmental activity is that it prevents government from doing well those things that I believe only it can do effectively. When people talk about innocent victims of the war on drugs, they very often forget the people who suffer robberies, theft, murder-not because they are caught in the crossfires of drug battles, not because they are the victims of addicts who are trying to support their habit, but simply because so large a fraction of law enforcement resources are being used to try to control drugs that there are not enough resources left to prevent theft, burglary, and the rest in the community at large.
The second lesson I believe that we should learn, and it's probably the more important lesson, is that we are likely to make more progress against the war on drugs if we recognize that repealing drug prohibition is part of the broader problem of cutting down the scope and power of the government and restoring power to the people. If we treat drug prohibition as an isolated instance, maybe the effort to repeal it will be successful, as the effort to repeal alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s. But I believe that our chances of success are greater if we recognize that the failure of the war on drugs is part of a much broader problem, that the reason to end the war on drugs is also the reason to end the socialization of medicine, the socialization of schools, and so on down the list.