So, mostly because I was interested in hearing Gary Nolan speak and partially because I had nothing better to do, I went to the Freedom Rally in Boston this weekend. They gave Nolan 5 minutes to speak, which he mostly used as an advertisement for the Libertarian party as the only one who would actually decriminalize drugs, and that was it. Probably not a bad idea given a good chunk of his audience were Democrats and Greens, neither party being particularly serious about this issue.
Now, I’m not sure if “ironic” is the right word for this situation or not, but I’m definitely tempted to use it. Basically there were a fair number of activists who took turns getting on stage and encouraging the audience to get more active, support the cause, etc. The audience was predominantly stoners, a good number of whom were actively smoking up while they were speaking. The ironic part is this – the audience really doesn’t care. The billions of dollars we spend on “The War on Drugs” is supposed to be used to prevent them from doing what they were doing at that moment. They don’t care. Why? Because they do it anyway! The War on Drugs isn’t potent enough for them to even bother fighting back.
The cops in attendance turned a blind eye to the audience’s smoking, partly out of practicality, and partly because they weren’t hurting anyone (hey, go figure). While the figures on how many non-violent criminals we imprison were fairly compelling, as well as the argument (from an ACLU rep) on how these laws lead to more rights violations (mostly searches and seizures), I would have liked to hear more about how criminalizing drugs creates a full underground economy, which is run by guns and violence rather than contracts and courtrooms. Maybe even some discussion on how much money we give to terrorism because drugs are illegal.
Ah well. Seeing everyone smoking and hearing about how much money we spend preventing it was pretty convincing on it’s own. Every two weeks when I get my paycheck, I’m extra-confident that the taxes are being well spent.