Governments turn People into Addicts to generate Tax Revenue

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 4th, 2014

Week in Review

During the days of the British Empire Great Britain had a problem.  They loved Chinese tea.  But the British had nothing the Chinese wanted in trade.  Except for one thing.  Silver.  Hard money.  Which was a problem for Britain.  They were running out of hard money.  So they came up with an ingenious way to solve that problem.  By getting as many Chinese hooked on opium as possible.  So they could trade Indian grown opium for Chinese tea.  It worked out great for the British.  But the Chinese didn’t like it.  And fought two opium wars with the British.  Which did not end well for them.

North Korea has a hard money problem, too.  And they, too, turned to drugs.  Crystal meth.  Which North Korea manufactured in state-run labs.  Destined for China.  Where they tried to get as many people addicted to crystal meth as possible.  So they can sell it in exchange for Chinese currency.  Which they could use to buy Chinese food.  To help ward off famine in North Korea.  This worked pretty well for North Korea.  But only gave China another addiction problem.

In the United States the government found other ways to raise revenue.  The first two big sources of addiction-revenue were cigarette and alcohol taxes.  But it soon proved not enough.  They then got people addicted to playing the lottery.  When that revenue proved to be insufficient they then got people addicted to casino gambling.  But government spending had grown so great that this revenue was still not enough.  So the government is looking at other things to get people addicted to (see Why Legalizing Marijuana Is a Smart Fiscal Move by Bruce Bartlett, The Fiscal Times, posted 1/3/2014 on Yahoo! News).

Perhaps the dominant factor driving marijuana legalization is the desperate search for new revenue by cash-strapped state governments. The opportunity to tax marijuana is potentially a significant source of new revenue, as well as a way of cutting spending on prisons and law enforcement. The California Secretary of State’s office, for example, estimates savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars from both factors. The following summary is from a proposed state ballot initiative in California (No. 1617)…

It is not surprising that revenue considerations should be critical in the marijuana legalization movement. That was previously the reason why cigarettes were not banned until the 1920s despite a strong nationwide movement to do so. In the wake of Prohibition, governments simply needed cigarette tax revenue too badly. And when Prohibition ended, the need for new revenue after the Great Depression decimated government budgets was a driving force.

Indeed, according to author Daniel Okrent, expectations of the revenue from taxing legal liquor were so great in 1932 that some people thought it might permit the repeal of income taxes. It’s worth remembering that in 1900, taxes on alcohol and cigarettes constituted half of all federal revenues. Indeed, the only reason Prohibition was possible in the first place was that the income tax established in 1913, which was greatly expanded by World War I, would replace the revenue lost from the liquor tax after Prohibition.

There have been no great cuts to revenue like that following Prohibition.  Government spending has just grown so great that it far exceeds the nation’s ability to pay for it with current taxes and borrowing.  So they are looking to make people addicted to marijuana to help pay for their large public sectors.  As well as their vote-buying welfare state.  And when this proves insufficient they can turn to other sources of revenue.  Such as decriminalizing and taxing heroin.  Cocaine.  Crack.  Crystal meth.  Opium.  Even prostitution.  People are already doing these things.  So they can’t be any worse than marijuana.  As long as only responsible adults indulge in these activities.  Just as only responsible adults will smoke marijuana in Colorado.  For think of the tax revenue heroin, cocaine, crack, crystal meth and opium could generate.  For those drugs are really addictive.  And just think how much old rich men would enjoy 18 year old prostitutes.  Prostitution would be a booming business to tax.  These young women could generate great tax revenue for the government by just doing what consenting adults want to do.

We could do these things to find new sources of revenue.  Or we could NOT make people addicts.  Or NOT sell women into prostitution.  Instead we could cut the size of the public sector and the welfare state.  So we can cut spending.  Which would eliminate the need to produce new tax revenue in the first place.  Allowing people to keep their hard-earned money instead of handing it over to the government.  To pay for generous pensions and retiree health care for others.

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Prescription Pain Killers and Marijuana are the two most Abused Drugs in America

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 20th, 2013

Week in Review

Those who wish to decriminalize marijuana say only responsible adults will smoke it.  Just as only responsible adults smoke cigarettes.  And drink alcohol.  These are products that are legal only for adults.  So no kids use them.  Well, in theory, at least.  For with these being legal for adults makes it very easy for kids to get them.  Which is why so many high school kids smoke cigarettes and binge drink.  But that won’t happen with marijuana.  Or so say the heavy smokers of marijuana.  But cigarettes and alcohol are not the only legal products kids are getting their hands on (see The Dark Side Of America’s Rush Into Prescription Drugs Has Never Been More Obvious by Erin Fuchs posted 10/17/2013 on Business Insider).

The number of people in America who died from taking prescription pain killers quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, a new report from the Trust for America’s Health says.

These fatalities now outnumber deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, that same report found. More than 12 million people said they abused prescription drugs in 2010. The only other drug people abuse more is marijuana, the White House noted in a 2011 report.

More people die from prescription pain killers than they do from heroin and cocaine combined.  These prescription pain killers are legal.  Making it easy for kids to get their hands on them.  Even if you need a prescription.  Imagine how much worse this problem would be if you didn’t need a prescription.  If you could just walk in off the street and buy them.  Like they want to do with marijuana.  The only drug abused more than prescription pain killers.

If the abuse of prescription pain killers is bad and marijuana is abused more than prescription pain killers then perhaps we shouldn’t be decriminalizing marijuana.  Even if keeping marijuana illegal just saves one kid’s life.

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Hallucinogenic Mushrooms cause Man to Mutilate his own Genitals

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 29th, 2013

Week in Review

Some say we should decriminalize drugs.  Because the War on Drugs has been an abject failure.  Having cost taxpayers billions of dollars.  And given us horrific drug-related crime.  While others say don’t do drugs.  Because they’re bad for you.  And might make you act irrationally (see Crazed man found naked and bloody outside school after ripping off part of his genitals while high on ‘magic’ mushrooms by Snejana Farberov posted 6/25/2013 on the Daily Mail).

A 41-year-old man from Ohio has been found naked and bleeding profusely on the grounds of a Michigan school after police say he ripped off a part of his genitals while high on drugs.

The bizarre incident took place at around 1am Tuesday when Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a burglary at Ypsilanti Middle School at 105 North Mansfield street.

Officers who arrived on the scene discovered a naked man kneeling outside the school and covered in blood from the waist down, with his penis partially detached, according to Sgt. Geoff Fox…

‘He mutilated his genitals with his bare hands,’ Fox said, adding that the suspect had no recollection of what happened.

The man, who has not been named, later told investigators that he ingested some ‘magic’ hallucinogenic mushrooms earlier in the day while visiting friends in town…

An initial toxicology test performed on the man’s blood did not turn up evidence that the mushrooms were laced with another substance, AnnArbor.com reported. Police say the 41-year-old does not have a history of mental illness.

Some states have decriminalized marijuana.  Many others have medical marijuana.  And there is a move to make marijuana like alcohol.  Legal.  State-controlled.  And taxable.  For the proponents of such actions say that marijuana is no more harmful than having a couple of beers after work.  Interestingly, these are the same people that have criminalized smoking cigarettes pretty much everywhere but in your home.  And if you have children in your home they’re working to ban that, too.  But marijuana?  Not a problem.  Smoke away.

Some claim that marijuana is a gateway drug.  For it is often the first drug someone tries.  Before moving on to more potent drugs.  Like heroin.  Cocaine.  Meth.  LSD.  And, of course, magic mushrooms.  While the proponents of marijuana say that’s ridiculous.  Saying that these people probably started out their drug addictions with heroin, cocaine, meth, LSD, magic mushrooms, etc.  Just like Olympic divers skipped the shallow end of the pool and went straight to the 10 meter platform the first time they entered a pool.  For there is nothing like jumping into something thrilling and/or dangerous without any prior experience.

Well, as it turns out, drugs can hurt you.  And they can make you do irrational things.  So, kiddies, let this be a lesson to you.  Don’t do drugs.  Because worse things than this can happen to you once you start chasing the dragon.  As you try to make the next high the best high yet.

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Laws banning Alcohol and Drugs didn’t stop Alcohol Violence or Drug Violence

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 31st, 2013

Politics 101

Prohibition Violence spilled onto the Streets where Gangsters shot up each other with Thompson Submachine Guns

Men have always drunk in this country.  A lot.  After the working day was over they went to their corner saloon.  And drank away their pay.  Getting inebriated.  And making a lot of bad decisions.  Such as drinking away their pay.  Getting into fights.  Engaging the services of prostitutes hanging out at the saloons.  Catching a venereal disease or two.  Taking them home to the wife.  Worse, some of these drunken men were beating their wives.

Alcohol violence was taking a toll on the American family.  In particular on the women in those American families.  This alcohol violence was creating a war on women.  These drunken men were beating their wives.  And inflicting them with venereal diseases.  Causing great harm to their wives.  And destroying their families.  They needed to do something.  And that something led to the temperance movement.  Which ended in Prohibition.  An outright ban on alcoholic beverages.

And it worked.  Alcohol violence on women committed by their husbands decreased.  As did the rate of venereal disease infections on married women.  As Prohibition shut down the local saloons.  And all the problems they caused.  But it didn’t stop everyone from drinking.  There was such a large demand despite Prohibition that others stepped in to meet that demand.  Organized crime.  Prohibition violence spilled onto the streets where gangsters shot up each other, and innocent bystanders, with Thompson submachine guns.  As the profitability of the illicit alcohol trade erupted in violent gang wars.  Allowing crime bosses like Al Capone to take over cities.  And corrupting their police forces.  Causing even more trouble than the original alcohol violence on married women.  So they repealed Prohibition.  And the people could drink once again.  As they always wanted to.

The Illicit Drug Trade picked up where Prohibition left off in terms of Gun Violence

The British were addicted to Chinese tea.  They couldn’t get enough of it.  Or other Chinese luxuries like silk and porcelain.  The only problem was that the Chinese didn’t want anything from Britain.  So as the Chinese goods flowed to Britain silver flowed from Britain to China to pay for their goods.  Causing a huge trade imbalance.  Which the British corrected with the opium grown in India.  And being that opium was addictive more and more Chinese were using opium.  Which reversed the net silver flow.  Allowing the British to enjoy their tea, silk and porcelain.  Which they traded Indian opium for.  Causing an addiction problem in China.  And a destruction of Chinese society.  That the Chinese responded to with the Opium Wars.

Drug addiction has destroyed many families.  And societies.  Throughout the world.  Which is why hard drugs like heroin and cocaine are illegal in most countries.  For they are very addictive.  Drug addicts lose their jobs.  Their wives.  Girlfriends.  And families.  As they sink into addiction without a job they often turn to crime to pay for their habit.  Become thieves.  Or prostitutes.  Where they often suffer abuse.  End up in jail.  Or catch AIDS from sharing needles with other intravenous drug users.  Cocaine use spread in more affluent circles.  While crack cocaine devastated poorer circles.  Which is why most of the world has criminalized these drugs.  Despite this demand remains high.  Cocaine use has fallen in the West.  But only because some users have switched to methamphetamine.  Which is cheaper.  More powerful.  And longer lasting.

Like with alcohol someone stepped in to meet this demand.  Organized crime.  And boy did they unleash drug violence onto the world.  From the street gangs shooting each other (and innocent bystanders) to control turf.  To the cartels higher up the distribution channels.  The illicit drug trade is big money.  Very big money.  Picking up where prohibition left off.  For it is the criminal element that truly benefits from banning anything.  The drug trade is so lucrative that it is now even funding al Qaeda.  Even though Islam strictly forbids the use of drugs.  But they have no problem taking a percent of the drug trade that flows from South America through Africa on its way to Europe.  Where it can destroy European societies.  Something al Qaeda has no problem with.

People already Breaking the Law will not be Stopped by another New Law

There is an epidemic of gun violence in the U.S.  Committed not by people who support and defend their Second Amendment right to own a gun.  For wanting to do that is not helped by shooting lots of innocent people.  In fact if one is prone to conspiracy theories one could say that the rise in gun violence is oddly coincidental to the Obama administration’s pursuit of gun control regulation.  Especially following Fast and Furious.  A program used by the Obama administration to try and stir up anti-gun sentiment.  Like that the current epidemic of gun violence is stirring up.  Which the conspiracy theorist could find a little too coincidental.   But I digress.

The people committing these acts of gun violence are some pretty disturbed people.  They have mental health issues.  Or are extremely angry about something.  Perhaps because they can’t get a job in the worst economic recovery in U.S. history.  Thanks to President Obama’s economic policies designed more for politics and social justice than actual job creation.  Who knows?  The only thing for certain is that this rise in gun violence corresponds with President Obama’s time in office.  For he didn’t campaign on the need for new gun control legislation.  But like his position on gay marriage he evolved to this position.  After witnessing a rise in gun violence during his time in office.

Whatever the cause is will new gun control legislation change anything?  Well, if we can learn anything from Prohibition and the War on Drugs, yes.  It will change things.  It will give organized crime another lucrative illicit trade.  But unlike alcohol and drugs their customers will not be people just trying to get a drink or a high.  It will be hardened criminals.  Who are shooting each other on the streets to defend their turf.  And at all levels of the illicit drug trade going right up to the cartels at the top.  So the criminals will have their guns.  And there will be new gang wars as criminal elements fight each other to control the gun trade.  Which may even increase the gun violence in places like Chicago.  Which is already one of the deadliest U.S. cities.  Despite having some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.

So why do they have more gun deaths in Chicago than most cities?  Because there is a high demand for guns by the criminal element in Chicago.  Will a federal ban change that?  Will it put an end to gun violence?  Did it stop alcohol violence during Prohibition?  Does it stop drug violence now?  No.  A gun ban will not change what’s happening in Chicago.  For guns aren’t causing the gun deaths in Chicago.  It’s the people using the guns.  And people already breaking the law will not be stopped by another new law.

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Drug Addict Mugs an 8 Year Old Girl to Feed his Cocaine Addiction

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2012

Week in Review

So what’s the downside of decriminalizing drugs?  Stuff like this (see Drug addict mugged girl, 8, for just £3.50 as she walked to shop to buy sweets by Emma Reynolds posted 8/2/2012 on the Daily Mail).

A cocaine addict mugged an eight-year-old girl for just £3.50 as she walked to the shop to buy sweets.

That’s about $5.48 in US dollars.  Which really doesn’t matter as much as a cocaine addict mugging an 8 year old girl.  It’s just yet another example of a drug related crime.  Which, incidentally, won’t go away by decriminalizing drugs.  Unless the government provides free drugs to all drug addicts.  Which is doubtful.

This cocaine addict just didn’t wake up one morning and decided to mug an 8 year old girl.  Just as he didn’t wake up one morning and decided to experiment with hard drugs.  Picking cocaine as his first drug.  No.  More than likely he started with marijuana.  Then moved on to the harder stuff.   And over time an addiction grew.  Until one morning he saw an 8 year old girl with a purse.

If they decriminalize drugs more people will experiment with drugs.  More people will become addicts.  And more 8 year old girls will get mugged.  Unless all these addicts today made a conscience choice to become a drug addict.  And they didn’t become an addict because their recreational drug use got out of control.  Which is doubtful.  Addiction happens.  It is never a conscious choice.  And it can happen to anyone.

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Drug Violence on our Southern Border and Catcalls in New York City are Related – Societal Decay Responsible for Both

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 30th, 2010

The drug cartel violence crosses the U.S. border.  Beheaded body found in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s getting a little violent on this side of the U.S. border.  The latest?  This from AP’s Amanda Lee Myers’ Arizona beheading raises fears of drug violence posted on apnews.myway.com:

The gruesome case of a man who was stabbed and beheaded in a suburban Phoenix apartment has police investigating whether the killing is potentially the most extreme example of Mexican drug cartel violence spilling over the border.

The police think the victim was stealing drugs from the cartel.  And this was a message to others who might be thinking about doing likewise. 

Decapitations are a regular part of the drug war in Mexico as cartels fight over territory. Headless bodies have been hanged from bridges by their feet, severed heads have been sent to victims’ family members and government officials, and bags of up to 12 heads have been dropped off in high-profile locations.

The crime appears confined to members of the drug trade.  It’s a little reassuring for the innocent bystanders close to the crime.  ‘Little’ being the key word.

“I’m terrified,” said [a neighbor], a 47-year-old housekeeper who lives two doors down from the apartment. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never heard of that (decapitation) happening, and it was so close to us … Maybe they’re copying what’s happening in Mexico.”

But it hasn’t been exactly restricted to the drug trade.  There has been some collateral damage. 

While extreme violence has stayed south of the border for the most part, some of it has spilled over into the U.S.

In March, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe – but have never produced substantive proof – that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame for his killing.

In May 2009, a Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who became an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was shot eight times outside his pricey home in El Paso. The lieutenant, Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, was living in Texas on a visa that ICE gave him, and is believed to be the first ranking cartel member killed in the U.S.

Payan described the spillover as minimal, but said it could increase.

And what is the federal government doing to address border security?  Suing Arizona.  And putting up some signs that warn Americans about unsafe American territory.

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons on the rise in New York City.  Young girls harassed near their schools.

In a serious news story about women being harassed on the streets of New York (see AP’s NYC Considers a No Catcall Zone posted on www.nbcnewyork.com on 10/29/2010), the article starts off with a most inappropriate photo.  It shows a woman’s feet in what appears to be 6-inch stiletto heels.  The kind of shoes you’d see a stripper wear on stage.  Or so I’ve heard.  One thing for certain, though, any man looking at the photo is going to imagine a smoking hot woman attached to those feet.  The kind of a woman that burly construction workers would whistle at.  And, to be fair, a woman dressed like THAT may be disappointed if they didn’t.  So it’s a rather poor choice of a photo to use with this article.  For although we know:

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons from strangers are all too familiar to New York City women, who say they are harassed multiple times a day as they walk down the street.

Some men are clearly crossing the line. 

A City Council committee heard testimony Thursday from women who said men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Advocates told stories of preteens and teenagers being hounded by adult men outside city schools and pleaded for government to address the problem.

And what is the city of New York doing about this issue?

Hollaback [an organization formed five years ago to stand up to street harassment] is pushing the city to commission a study, a public awareness campaign and perhaps even legislation, including “no-harassment zones” around schools to protect young women.

Madonna, Brittany Spears and Glee go too far in sexualizing young girls?

Now, what do these two stories have in common?  Although the victims aren’t responsible for the crime/harassment against them, the society that they are a part of is.

The Left wants to give condoms to our kids.  And make abortions available when a pregnancy happens.  We need to be progressive.  Kids are having sex.  We need to stop being so puritan and treat our kids as adults.  Like the television show Glee does.  In that show adults play high school kids.  And their audience is primarily high school kids and younger.  They’ve had some pretty questionable content on that show.  Madonna and Brittany Spears video parodies.  And they’ve appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, dressed as high school kids.  But you could look up one of the girls’ skirt and see her little white panties.  And the same ‘girl’ just did a GQ photo shoot, posing inside a high school.  Again, showing her little white panties.   Of course, these kids are really adults. But they play kids. 

The Left attacks the world of Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best & Ozzie and Harriet.  But you gotta admit this; they didn’t objectify women.  You didn’t see any of them sexualizing young girls.  And New York City didn’t have council meetings discussing possible legislation banning catcalls around schools.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crystal meth supplied by Mexico to meet demand in the United States.

They’re trying to legalize marijuana again in California.  They say it’s no big deal.  It’s no worse than drinking.  And all that talk about it being a gateway drug to the stronger stuff?  That’s just ridiculous.  Then again, that stronger stuff is crossing the border along with the marijuana.  Which begs the question, why?  Who’s using the harder stuff?  People who’ve moved on from marijuana? 

The vast majority of drugs coming in from Mexico and causing all that trouble on the border is marijuana.  There’s big money in Mexican marijuana.  And it will get bigger and bloodier if California legalizes it.  More customers.  And lower prices (legal things tend to be cheaper than illegal things).  The drug gangs will fight to expand their territory.  And fight to not lose any of their territory.  So there’s marijuana.  Also coming in from Mexico is cocaine, black tar heroin and, of course, crystal meth.  Meth is a booming business since they restricted the sale of decongestants in the states.  They have factories in Mexico creating this stuff wholesale.  And shipping it to the United States.  Why?  Because we keep saying drugs are no big deal.

Sex and drugs responsible for societal decay?

Sex and drugs.  Everybody does it/them.  We need to accept it.  Treat kids as adults.  And when there are consequences to this behavior, we play the blame game.  It’s not school condoms and abortion on demand that is making people look at girls/women as sexual objects.  It’s men acting as animals.  For girls/women it’s empowering and liberating.  But it’s primitive animal behavior for men.  Of course, women can’t be empowering or liberating sexually without men.  So men are obliging.  And they’re apparently thinking about it all of the time.  Even when working on a construction site.

And when it comes down to pointing the finger of blame for the border violence, I don’t know if we can point it at just the drug gangs.  I mean, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing if it wasn’t for all those Americans eagerly looking to buy what they are selling.

So, when men whistle at a girl/woman, or there is a drug-gang murder on the border, society’s to blame.  And it’s important to emphasize that the individual victims themselves are not responsible.  It is the societal decay that has preconditioned the predator.   They think it’s all right.  Because everyone is having sex.  And doing drugs.

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LESSONS LEARNED #37: “The Decriminalization of Drugs. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 28th, 2010

Drugs are Killing Some of our Kids’ Cool Celebrity Role Models…and Some of Our Kids

Kids going through adolescence look up to role models.  Celebrity role models who look cool.  So they can aspire to that level of cool.  To have more friends.  Be popular.  To be popular with kids of the opposite sex.  And nothing does that like behaving like a celebrity.  Dressing like them.  Smoking like them (Joe Camel didn’t make kids smoke; movie stars and musicians did).  Having sex like them (in public like Alanis Morissette sings about in You Oughta Know).  And getting high like them.

Black Sabbath fired their front man Ozzy Osborne for his excessive drug use.  Steven Adler was fired from Guns n’ Roses for his excessive drug use.  Adler used the same drug cocktail that killed John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few.  One of Adler’s speedballs, though, gave him a stroke and left him with a speech impediment.  Osborne?  It’s hard to see or hear him and not think ‘drugs’.  Keith Richards, too.  (Some claim that it’s a miracle that either has lived so long.)  Amy Winehouse’ irregular heart beat resulted from a long use of cocaine.  John Entwistle died from a cocaine-induced heart attack.  Ol’ Dirty Bastard died from a cocaine & prescription drug induced heart attack.  Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of a prescription drug cocktail (oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine).  Bradley Nowell died from a heroin overdose just before Sublime’s major label album debut (which included three hits).  Danella Westbrooke lost the cartilage in her nose (and her profile) due to the massive amounts of cocaine she sniffed.  And there are a host of other celebrities whose past drug use is catching up to them in their old age.  Such as David Crosby’s liver disease.  His liver transplant resulted from his many years of drug abuse.

These are some expensive black market drugs.  But this isn’t a problem if you have a lot of money.  If these drugs were decriminalized, they would be cheaper.  And much more plentiful.  Meaning that they wouldn’t be limited to the rich and famous.  If they were less expensive, kids starting their drug exploration wouldn’t have to limit their exploration to the less expensive stuff (stealing from their parents’ medicine cabinet, sniffing butane, smoking marijuana, etc.).  They could broaden their horizon.  And why not?  They’re going to do it anyway.  And not everyone becomes an addict.  Or dies.

The British East Indian Company Used Indian Opium to Fix Their Balance of Trade with China

In the 19th century, mercantilism ruled.  It was all about balance of trade.  Nations wanted to export their goods.  And import gold and silver that paid for those goods.  Both Great Britain and China pursued these policies.  This became a problem for Great Britain whose people grew very fond of Chinese silk and porcelain and other Chinese exotic goods.  But the Chinese weren’t buying anything British.  Great Britain was importing more than she was exporting to China.  This meant there was a net silver flow from Great Britain to China.  And this wasn’t good mercantilism.  For the British.  It was very good mercantilism for the Chinese.  The British needed something to sell to the Chinese.  Something that only they could sell so the Chinese would have no choice but to buy from Great Britain.  And the British East India Company had just the thing.  Indian opium.

And it worked.  It reversed the balance of trade.  Silver was leaving China at an alarming rate.  But it was also turning the majority of Chinese males near the coastal cities into junkies.  Business suffered.  The civil service suffered.  With less available to buy the standard of living fell.  A dysfunctional civil service compounded that problem.  Rampant opium use was undermining Confucian values.  The Chinese begged the British to destroy the Indian poppy fields.  The British replied that, with the huge Chinese demand for opium, if they didn’t sell it, someone else would.  It would only cost the British their lucrative trade.  It wouldn’t solve the Chinese opium addiction problem.

Well, that led to war.  Two of them.  The Opium Wars.  Neither of which ended well for the Chinese.  They lost a lot.  Chinese coastal cities became virtually British.  Hong Kong became British.  Trade favored the British and other foreign nationals.  It led to much bitterness and resentment.  And to the Boxer Rebellion in 1898 to throw the imperialists out of China.  Which didn’t work all that well either.  But the British did help the Chinese to break their opium addiction.  If the Chinese worked from within to reduce consumption, the British would cut back on their opium importations.  Opium use declined in China.  As did opium imports.  With the decline in consumption, no new sources of opium rushed to fill an unmet demand.

The Americans and the Russians to Collaborate over Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields, The Netherlands Making their Legalized Marijuana less Legal

Well, there are still poppy fields in Southwest Asia.  And a high demand for heroin not too far away.  In Russia.  And it’s killing them.  Literally.   Some tens of thousands die each year from overdoses.  The collateral damage (broken families, lost jobs, the spread of AIDS from shared needles, neglected children, etc.) from drug addiction probably touches 10 times that number.  And the drug trade crime kills who knows how many more.  From the poppy fields in Afghanistan through the Central Asian states into Russia herself, there is an explosion of violence for this lucrative drug trade.  How bad is it?  Russia may return to Afghanistan to help the Americans in eradicating these poppy fields and shutting down the drug laboratories.  (For those who do not know, the Russian/Soviet war in Afghanistan was Russia’s Vietnam War.  And, let us not forget that both of these wars became proxy wars between America and the former Soviet Union.  So America and Russia working together in Afghanistan is a big thing).

Russia is even advising America against the ballot initiative in California to legalize marijuana.  Viktor Ivanov, Russia’s top drug official, went to Los Angeles to campaign against the ballot proposal.  He warned that legalizing marijuana will start a downward spiral into drug addiction.  We can understand heroin.  But marijuana?  A soft drug?  The Netherlands have long had legalized marijuana there.  It works there.  Why not in California?

Well, Netherland has had its problems with its marijuana coffee shops and cafes.  There’s been trouble in their border areas.  Tourists coming in just to get high.  And a lot of people have been going there.  Business is booming.  High demand.  Which have brought in crime as people vie to supply that demand.  There have been problems with school kids so they’ve banned these coffee shops/cafes within certain distances of schools.  And they’ve been selling a more potent cannabis, which is knocking the casual user on their ass.  Or impairing their motor skills.  And, with the rising amount of trouble from the drug tourists, they’re restricting sale to Dutch citizens only.  One other note.  Drug enforcement has been stepped up at Schiphol airport.  Why?  To counter a rising cocaine traffic coming in from the Caribbean. 

Drugs, Drug Wars and the War on Drugs Take their Toll as they Kill and Destroy

Kids are experimenting with drugs.  They’ll start with the softer stuff.  Like in the Netherlands.  But they’ll probably move on to something more potent.  Like in the Netherlands.  There appears to be a progression.  From less dangerous drugs to more dangerous drugs.  You can bet that John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, et al, started their drug use with something less dangerous than cocaine-heroin speedballs.  And look at them now.  Of course you can’t because their dead and buried.  But you get the point.

Epidemic use in China destroyed a millennium-old culture.  Ended a dynasty.  Caused multiple wars.  They finally kicked the habit.  With the help of the British (who helped give them the problem in the first place).  But the poppy fields just found new users.  In Russia.  And elsewhere.  It’s so bad that former enemies are joining forces on a former battleground to fight a new common enemy.  And the Russians are warning Californians not to legalize marijuana.  We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of the Cold War where the Soviets would have helped that initiative pass to help bring down their one-time enemy.

Drugs are a problem.  A big problem.  They kill and destroy.  Drug wars kill and destroy.  As does the war on drugs.  Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.  So what to do?  Well, imagine two worlds.  One where drugs are plentiful and cheap.  And one where no one uses drugs.  Which world you’d rather live in?  Which world do you want your children to live in?  I thought so.  And there’s your answer.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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