Notes Book

Axis of Prohibition

Criminal acts are prohibited in all societies. Murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery, theft, and fraud are illegal everywhere. But some societies prohibit things. Drugs and weapons are the favorite items.

I suppose the theory is that if you prohibit a man from having a gun, he won't murder anyone. There are several things wrong with this theory as a way to actually minimize crime in a society.

The premier problem is that of planting evidence. If a person has an enemy under such a system, the enemy can simply put a prohibited item in a location nominally under the control of the person, and call the cops. Or the cops can bring the prohibited item with them when they come to make the bust.

Another problem is that people can use means not prohibited by the law to commit a crime. Automobiles, knives, poison, and blunt objects are routinely used as weapons of individual destruction. It would not be practical to make any of these objects illegal. People become intoxicated on drugs that are legal and do socially irresponsible things. We need to focus on the socially damaging acts rather than the excuses or the means.

And prohibition can have extremely adverse economic consequences. The the population must view the prohibited item as desirable or essential, otherwise there would be no reason to prohibit it. Therefore, the government enforced scarcity will cause a price rise, which makes the item seem even more desirable. A black market ensues, and black markets increase the crime rate, and upset the balance of trade for the prohibitionist society.

Prohibition usually seems to have the effect of increasing crime. Great Britton has recently instituted severe weapons prohibition. I got the following, as the first item is a Google search for “British crime rate”;

Not surprisingly to many observers, the violent crime rate has risen dramatically and steadily since gun bans have been instituted. That's a trend seen wherever strict gun control laws have been implemented. And that's the part of the story British officials have tried to keep under wraps.

One would have to presume that the politicians who pass these laws are either uninformed or have some motivation other than wanting to reduce crime rates.

Tony Blair is known to be a passionate advocate of gun control. George Bush is a passionate advocate of Drug Prohibition, even if he did play the states rights card on medical marijuana when running for President. These two have invaded Iraq based on the suspicion that the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction. Now they are facing the problem that no such weapons have been found, and if they do find them, there will be widespread suspicion that they were planted. It is another indication that prohibitionist policies are unenforceable.

I suppose it's no coincidence that Cannabis is widely used in Iraq. Alcohol is illegal, and guns are everywhere. That alone is probably enough to convince these two prohibitionist to act.

Personally, I think that any kind of prohibition is a crime. It amounts to an agreement among a majority or elite to rob the property of a minority. Might does not make right, and it certainly doesn't constitute wisdom or sound public policy.

We are now witnessing a rise in the international crime rate as a result of the prohibition of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

Mass destruction is a crime no matter what the means used. The two to three million Southeast Asians killed in the Vietnam War and the destruction of whole cities comprises mass destruction. Genghis Khan utterly destroyed whole cities with the most primitive of weapons. It is the magnitude of the crime that is important, and not the means that are used.

Let's concentrate on minimizing horrendous criminal acts, and give up on our futile effort to control behavior by confiscating property.