02-19-2017  7:57 pm      •     

Mexican authorities recently burned 134 tons of marijuana in a display of Drug War success. The flames of the burning goods were a visible statist spectacle casting marijuana and the people who use it as villains, while the smoke from state propaganda conceals the real villain, which is authority.

The authoritarian nature of governments that prohibit access to a plant, even making a mockery of their own claims of legitimacy in doing so, is clear. Federalism and the will of the people go out the window when there is money to be made and bureaucratic advancement to achieve by getting tough on drugs regardless of what voters say.

United States federal authorities disregard state ballot initiatives, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff has promised to ignore a pending California ballot measure that would legalize marijuana.

But even if the hypocrisy wasn't there, the authoritarianism is on full display when governments claim the right to regulate peoples' body chemistry. And the authoritarianism of cartels who struggle for monopolies in drug commerce should be equally clear. Monopoly can only be maintained by force, and that is how cartels attempt to establish control.

Of course the state is not blameless in drug cartel violence. When a ban on certain activity is enforced by state violence, those engaged in the activity must operate in a violent environment, and they are likely to become more violent in response. Since illegal drugs are in high demand and there are big profits to be made from them, people will continue to attempt to satisfy demand and adapt their business to the violence of the circumstances. This does not absolve anyone from the responsibility for unjustly hurting others, but it does point to incentives that encourage more bad behavior.

The conflict between drug cartels and government agents is a conflict of rival gangs struggling for territory. It is not a War on Drugs. It is a Drug War, a war over control of substances and trade. And this power struggle kills people.

Of course state authority and cartel authority can be linked when agents of both groups work together for control and profit -- or when they are the same people. The United States government, often through the CIA, has been involved in drug distribution, and Mexican government forces have been accused of widespread corruption.

Sometimes the gangs cooperate. The cops get something to show for their funding and drug gangs get to do their thing as long as it doesn't disrupt important business too much. Perhaps a tacit understanding is behind the story in a New York Times article ("Marijuana Bonfire Celebrates a Fragile Calm," October 21, 2010) that describes how just a few miles from a city center made safe for Al Gore and corporate leaders, bodies of slain individuals are found and areas not populated by the elite still suffer from rampant violence.

The big shows of success the state puts on hide its failures or inabilities in attempts to boost perceptions of legitimacy. Drug War lulls are at best examples of temporary or local stability made by conquering rivals or making deals to keep them from upsetting the status quo.

But what is the alternative to authority? Wouldn't anarchy just require the same cycle of conquest for temporary order? Not necessarily. Anarchy is a situation of no rulers. While this may be impeded or disrupted by struggles for rulership, the desired state of affairs in anarchy rests on consent and cooperation, not the subjugation of the less powerful and submission to the more powerful that state "order" rests on. While there would be conflict and occasional struggles against power to maintain anarchy, the social environment would not be based on foundations of domination and obedience maintained by the threat of force. And as anarchy does not create hierarchies of rulers and ruled, people are viewed more as equals than is the case in statist society. Therefore there is no inferior person who deserves to be brutalized if he steps out of line, and no person in a superior position who must be unseated. That is a society incentivized toward peace.

 

C4SS News Analyst Darian Worden is an individualist anarchist writer with experience in libertarian activism. His fiction includes "Bring a Gun To School Day" and the forthcoming "Trade War." His essays and other works can be viewed at DarianWorden.com. He also hosts an internet radio show, Thinking Liberty.

 

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all