Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The drug war is a business and business is good

Nothing says PROFIT to the savvy and ruthless entrepreneur -- on either side of the law -- quite so much as prohibition laws. The prohibition of intoxicants creates a tremendous win-win situation for crooks and cops alike. In the wide pantheon of phony laws that bring the law itself into disrepute, not even "hate crime" can compare in its cynical benefits to all concerned. Sure, "hate crime" provides the otherwise unemployable with phony jobs in the racism industry, and gives lots of free publicity to racist creeps, but the drug war is pure gold for all concerned.

Criminals love the drug war for driving up the profits on simple plant substances that would otherwise be cheaper than wheat. Their counterparts in the law enforcement business love the drug war for providing a never ending excuse for increasing budgets to accomplish the impossible, and the opportunity to go after easy targets like pot growers instead of tackling more dangerous and difficult problems like the actual violent criminals we are supposedly paying them to pursue in the first place.

When it goes beyond its proper role of protecting life, liberty, and property, government gets into the business of taking money to create problems that then must be solved by taking more money. The further problems caused by those "solutions" only provide further profit opportunities. (It's a mystery to me why opponents of the drug war scam tend to be communists, the drug war being a textbook example of the destructive effects of trying to save people from themselves with the force of law -- just as it's a mystery to me why many normally clear thinking conservatives who generally understand this principle turn into utopians when it comes to this issue.)

So, this comes as no surprise.

London landlords whose rental properties are turned into marijuana grow operations by tenants could be on the hook when the drug dens are busted, police Chief Murray Faulkner warns.

If the suggestion by police is adopted by city council, property owners -- even if they're not connected to the pot growing -- would have to cover the costs, among them salaries, police run up while razing a grow-op.
So in effect, the police would get paid double to waste everybody's time ripping up harmless plants. This reduces the incentive to spend time going after car thieves and insurgents. Those people are worth less money and on top of that are more likely to defend themselves with violence.

As for the landlords, with responsibilities do not necessarily come rights.
"The landlord has a right . . . to do inspections after they give notice," he said. "If the landlord finds what he believes to be a grow-op and notifies (police), he is off the hook."

But it's not quite so simple, Paul Cappa of the London Property Management Association said, noting an owner needs a specific reason to search a home they've rented.
As with the equally phony anti-smoking laws, the obligation of enforcing opportunistic laws is thus put onto a third party. So too would be the cost of defending themselves against human rights/landlord-tenant harassment cases brought by tenants in response to unwelcome repeated demands to search their premises.

Which would the police prefer to encourage -- selling drugs for a living, or getting into the property management business? It's hard to tell.


The Mayor said...

You are on to something here.

But let me paint some grey into this crisp logical portrait you have.

There is a powerful voting block that will never support the legalization of cannabis. Their aversion to this plant is not based on reason, but emotion. And your policy will founder as long as this voting block exists.

As long as cannabis is illegal, we will see the criminal/police dance that you have described.

So, in this particular case, it is an emotionally driven voting block that is inhibiting liberty. And this situation can be expanded to other situations, larger and more dire to liberty. Emotional thinking and illogical discourse is the bane of liberty.

I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this.

Mike said...

And this situation can be expanded to other situations, larger and more dire to liberty.

Social programs is social programs is social programs, they are all scams, but I agree that other scams are more insidiously destructive than the drug war. Which is why, since about September 11, you won't often see me raising the idiocy of the drug war.

These days I'd rather persuade someone of, say, the illegitimacy of human rights tribunals, or the righteousness of defeating Islamic fascism, than of the illegitimacy of the drug war. But that's just a matter of priority use of limited time.