Buckley declared the war on drugs as a failure many years ago and proposed not just decriminalization, but legalization of the sale of drugs, except to minors. If you are going to ascribe views to him, you might take the time to read what he wrote on the subject.Buckley, though he shared many libertarian ideas, never described himself as a libertarian. For instance, he never went along with libertarians on drug legalization or abortion. I am unaware of anyone who describes him as a libertarian now.
A conservative should evaluate the practicality of a legal constriction, as for instance in those states whose statute books continue to outlaw sodomy, which interdiction is unenforceable, making the law nothing more than print-on-paper. I came to the conclusion that the so-called war against drugs was not working, that it would not work absent a change in the structure of the civil rights to which we are accustomed and to which we cling as a valuable part of our patrimony. And that therefore if that war against drugs is not working, we should look into what effects the war has, a canvass of the casualties consequent on its failure to work. That consideration encouraged me to weigh utilitarian principles: the Benthamite calculus of pain and pleasure introduced by the illegalization of drugs.
This is perhaps the moment to note that the pharmaceutical cost of cocaine and heroin is approximately 2 per cent of the street price of those drugs. Since a cocaine addict can spend as much as $1,000 per week to sustain his habit, he would need to come up with that $1,000. The approximate fencing cost of stolen goods is 80 per cent, so that to come up with $1,000 can require stealing $5,000 worth of jewels, cars, whatever. We can see that at free-market rates, $20 per week would provide the addict with the cocaine which, in this wartime drug situation, requires of him $1,000.
I HAVE spared you, even as I spared myself, an arithmetical consummation of my inquiry, but the data here cited instruct us that the cost of the drug war is many times more painful, in all its manifestations, than would be the licensing of drugs combined with intensive education of non-users and intensive education designed to warn those who experiment with drugs. We have seen a substantial reduction in the use of tobacco over the last thirty years, and this is not because tobacco became illegal but because a sentient community began, in substantial numbers, to apprehend the high cost of tobacco to human health, even as, we can assume, a growing number of Americans desist from practicing unsafe sex and using polluted needles in this age of AIDS. If 80 million Americans can experiment with drugs and resist addiction using information publicly available, we can reasonably hope that approximately the same number would resist the temptation to purchase such drugs even if they were available at a federal drugstore at the mere cost of production.
And added to the above is the point of civil justice. Those who suffer from the abuse of drugs have themselves to blame for it. This does not mean that society is absolved from active concern for their plight. It does mean that their plight is subordinate to the plight of those citizens who do not experiment with drugs but whose life, liberty, and property are substantially affected by the illegalization of the drugs sought after by the minority.
http://www.nationalreview.com/12feb96/drug.html [Broken]I have not spoken of the cost to our society of the astonishing legal weapons available now to policemen and prosecutors; of the penalty of forfeiture of one's home and property for violation of laws which, though designed to advance the war against drugs, could legally be used -- I am told by learned counsel -- as penalties for the neglect of one's pets. I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors.
And why should he have ever described himself as a libertarian? He was a conservative, and he and his kind were increasingly abandoned by the GOP, as they dumbed-down the party and pandered to the religious right. To the dismay of my father, I was a pretty strong supporter of the GOP until Reaganism reared its ugly head. I am still quite conservative, though I have no party left to support. I have to vote a-la-carte and often hold my nose to do so. Neo-cons want to lump Buckley with libertarians because they don't want to be compared unfavorably with real conservatives who hold well-thought-out opinions motivated by reason, practicality, and common-sense.
If you think clowns like Rove, Beck, and Limbaugh are actually conservatives with the intellectual talents to support their views, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona that you'd love. Real conservatism in the 2-party system and the media mouthpieces of those parties is dead.
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