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February 10, 2010

Essential Background

The Nazism that led Germany to almost destroy itself as a nation in twelve short years and the American drug war I compared it to in the last entry were both institutionalized repressions carried out by central governments. The speed at which they took place is the major difference between them; Hitler’s rapid acquisition of power between 1933 and 1935 allowed him to marshal the German people behind his impossible dream (lebensraum) of world conquest quickly enough to enable the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.

Constitutional restraints keep any American President from consolidating power nearly that quickly; however the CSA, Nixon’s radical enhancement of the power of America’s poorly conceived drug policy, has commanded unquestioning support from all three branches of our federal government since 1970, despite its well recognized role in the expansion of our prison population during that same interval.

The drug war’s particular impossible dream was soon defined as a “drug free” society. In both Germany and the US, the pursuit of officially designated national dreams led to the identification and punishment of internal enemies as scape-goats that would justify the use of extraordinary powers, allegedly to protect ordinary citizens from contamination. The American counterparts of Germany’s, Jews have been “druggies,” a concept clearly recognized by Richard Lawrence Miller in Drug Warriors and their Prey (1996) and emphasized in Nazi Justiz, his companion study of Hitler’s astute consolidation of power through Germany's vulnerable courts.

Bogus science also played a key role in both repressions; Nazi theory relied on the discredited ideas of Eugenics. In America, fear of addiction was a seed planted by the Harrison Act of 1914, nurtured by Harry Anslnger in 1937, and brought to unholy fruition by Nixon’s CSA in 1970. Ironically, the concept of “addiction” has remained stubbornly elusive, even as a behavior, and never been defined by Pathology as disease, despite the claims of drug war bureaucrats.

Not only is American drug policy burdened by its questionable biological assumptions, it clings stubbornly to the erroneous economic beliefs of prohibition that should have been decisively repudiated by Repeal in 1933. In brief, Prohibition (the Eighteenth Amendment) relied on respect for the law to prevent the criminal arbitrage that doomed it as policy. Within the relatively rapid span of 14 years, the Eighteenth Amendment had taken its place on the scrap heap of history, a process undoubtedly accelerated by the Great Depression. Unfortunately, survival of its belief that prohibition is reasonable public policy had already been guaranteed in 1930 when the FBN was created and placed under the control of a medically ignorant bureaucrat firmly committed to the idea that addiction is a police problem

Given Anslinger’s family connections, bureaucratic skills, and and intellectual dishonesty, things could only have become worse from there. Worse they became, in remarkably close parallel with Hitler’s success, when the MTA became law in 1937.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 10, 2010 05:00 PM