L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 202, December 9, 2002
LIVING IN INFAMY
Exclusive to TLE
The number of educated people who don't know what "libertarian" means astonishes me. We aren't educating people who might support us if they understood us.
As an example, some people know that libertarians are opposed to the War on Drugs. So they have arrived at the conclusion that libertarians actually approve of the use of recreational drugs.
Libertarians do avoid being party poopers of any kind. What others want to do to their own bodies remains their own business until they get behind the wheels of their automobiles and place other lives in danger.
Nevertheless, the idea that libertarians are all druggies enrages me. I despise drugs! I once spent four days in an agonizing wait at a local hospital for my best friend to recognize me after she was slipped something at a party. She was lucky. Many others weren't.
I love the War on Drugs even less than I love the drugs themselves.
When you take a very cheap product (cannabis is only a weed, after all) and inflate the price by 10,000 times, you create a situation that destroys both human life and human freedom.
The enormous profits of the drug trade act like a magnet for organized crime, which is bad enough. Then you have the War on Drugs claiming to try to fix the problem, and that brought us no-knock warrants. During the years of the War on Drugs, drug traffic has actually increased, not decreased, and now the persistent rumor is that the largest importer of cocaine into the United States is our own CIA in some sort of twisted plan to save the U.S. economy - which, if true, is the most bizarre development of all. The only things to steadily decrease during the War on Drugs have been our privacy and our freedoms.
I am a private investigator, and I recently visited a rural county in the Arkansas Ozarks. This is the heartland of America.
The scenery is pastoral and breathtaking. The people are like hillbillies anywhere - poor in material things, but rich spiritually. They are genuine patriots, these gentle people who inhabit rustic cabins throughout these forested hills, and they are the most kindly and hospitable people I have ever encountered.
I couldn't help loving them from the very first day. These people embody every virtue that made America great.
But there is a worm in the apple, destroying this Paradise. It is called "fear."
My partner and I went there to investigate a murder more than a decade old. For 13 years, this murder has remained unsolved, and the County Quorum Court recently voted to reopen the case, but resistance to doing so has extended all the way to the Governor's mansion. Desperate for closure, the family turned to an out-of-state private solution - us.
There was some local publicity surrounding our arrival, and we could sense the fear from the moment we first saw this little town. Bystanders watched us drive by with wary faces, talking with one another on walkie-talkies. We were watched as we gathered forensic samples and talked with old witnesses. People sidled up to us, afraid to trust, and pretended to ignore us while asking for meetings in secluded places. Whispered voices refused to identify themselves, but asked to meet with us in secret. Ghostly hands tried to turn the doorknob of our room at night.
A hideous picture of corruption and intimidation began to emerge. These people were being terrorized by their own elected leaders, who have left a trail of unexplained murders long enough to chill the most hardened of souls. Those who have indicated a willingness to testify have died horribly.
This sparsely populated county, one of the poorest in America, has a state of the art airport with a big, beautifully maintained runway. It has a large hangar with a convenient loading dock that is always locked. None of the city officials we approached could tell us what is housed there. No airplanes are based at this airport. No fuel or anything else is available that might give someone a reason to land there.
Yet the FAA reports an average of 67 movements a month there. Most of them take place in the chill darkness of the early morning hours.
This isn't rocket science. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what is arriving through this airport - or who is being paid handsomely to protect the secret.
We will certainly advise the federal law enforcement authorities of this specialized import trade, but nothing will be done about it. The authorities themselves are behind the very trade they are paid to stop. The profits are such that even your government is happy to enjoy them.
No, the best we can hope for is to find our one murderer and see him prosecuted for the crime we were hired to try to solve, and we are determined to do this. But the killer's shadowy employers, and the real reasons behind the murders themselves, will doubtless remain untouched. This time.
The only way to strike a blow at this evil trade is to strip the profits from it. If marijuana were to cost what it was worth, about $0.001 cent per ounce, then there would be no profit in trading in it. The same is true for cocaine and most other drugs. Drug prices are inflated by the danger associated with the drug trade. The resultant profits are so enormous that they tempt people far richer than those inhabiting rural Arkansas.
The greatest benefit to legalizing drugs would lie in eliminating the other crimes that go along with the drug trade. Intimidation, extortion and murder hang like an ugly pall over the beautiful heartland of America.
So the next time you tell an acquaintance you want to legalize drugs, it wouldn't hurt to tell them why. Before we can elect leaders who will heal this country, we must educate voters.
I want to return to rural Arkansas one day when I am not working and enjoy those lovely hills and those warm and generous people.
Free of fear.
Flight From Eden by Kathryn A. Graham - America's religious right has gone mad, but if you are looking for a political lecture, go elsewhere! Instead, let the Texas Director for Armed Females of America take you on the science fiction adventure of a lifetime. And the journey is only beginning!