Illegals and the Drug War

The only way to stop something is to make it too costly.

If Donald Trump has one defining political position, it is "Build the wall!"  His opposition to illegal immigration is generally credited as a major driving force that propelled him into the White House; his failure thus far to either build the wall or stop illegal immigration some other way is widely, and rightly, seen as a potential threat to his re-election.

This is not to say that Mr. Trump has done nothing about the problem: he's certainly given it a great deal of rhetorical attention, duly amplified by a horrified media.  He's truthfully pointed out that large numbers of illegal immigrants are felons, even setting aside the crime they commit by entering illegally.  He's emphasized the barbarism of MS-13 gang members, many of whom are indeed illegal; he's even suggested, to massed fainting, that the Army might need to shoot unruly or violent illegals storming the border.

One thing he hasn't emphasized, though he's mentioned it a couple times, is the involvement of illegals in the drug trade.  Figuring this out doesn't require a doctorate in sociology: drug smugglers, like illegals, would prefer to cross our border undetected by officialdom, and by definition, neither feels particularly restrained by our laws.  It makes every logical sense for the two groups to make common cause, and for an illegal to collect another few illicit bucks humping drugs over the Rio Grande.

Illegal aliens and illegal drugs are not just functionally related.  They are actually much more similar than that: because of the pull of demand, it is nearly impossible to get rid of either without drastic measures.

How to Win A Drug War

It's been widely acknowledged that, if America has been fighting a War on Drugs, we've lost resoundingly.  Illegal drugs of all sorts are available just about anywhere to just about anybody for an affordable price.  Yes, our law enforcement loves to show off huge piles of confiscated drugs, vehicles, and other paraphernalia; but if these efforts were accomplishing anything, drugs would be much rarer and therefore more expensive.  And they're not - street prices keep dropping.

This isn't for lack of anti-drugs publicity: every child knows how to "Just Say No to Drugs!" at great length.  Yet many of them choose not to, from the poorest inner-city punks to overpaid pop tarts.  What we're doing has failed miserably, make no mistake, unless its purpose was to enrich druglords, the police, and the well-connected.

Does history offer any lessons on how to actually solve a drug problem?  In fact it does: China is the one and only country that had a serious and longstanding drug problem but was able to eliminate it entirely; we've previously explored this history at some length.

How was this miracle accomplished?  Doctor, writer and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple sums it up:

Mao Tse-tung was by far the greatest therapist of drug addiction in world history. He threatened to execute opium addicts if they didn’t give up.

This, alone among everything else that's ever been tried, worked!  Everybody that was persuadable out of their drug addiction became drug free.  Everyone who wasn't, became dead, and the same for their dealers.  Either way, problem solved!

Is there the slightest chance that America is serious enough about our drug problem as to take Mao's approach?  Not the proverbial snowball's chance in Hades!  We are barely willing even to execute barbarian monsters like illegal alien MS-13 members who torture and murder teenagers, much less some "poor" drug-besotted junkie.

We can all agree that, by definition, taking illegal drugs is a bad decision.  It follows therefore that nearly all addicts are people who suffer from poor decision-making.  Passing one more law is hardly going to make them see the error of their ways: the threat of a lengthy prison sentence certainly hasn't either, as our media incessantly remind us.

No, the only way to truly solve our drug problem is to start hacking off heads, and that isn't going to happen.  That being so, we'd do better to legalize the drugs and just let the addicts remove themselves from society by means of the voluntary overdoses they freely choose to inflict upon themselves.  If the draw of drugs is so powerful that someone is so bound and determined to destroy their lives, there is a limited amount we can do to help; perhaps we should try simply getting out of the way without creating fastly profitable markets for the illegal drug cartels.

How to Lose Your Country

It has been illegal to unlawfully enter the United States for just about as long as hard drugs have been illegal and illegal aliens are just as common and easy to find as illegal drugs.  In fact, they're probably easier: ordinary middle-class people might be reluctant to drive into the downtown ghetto at night seeking drugs, but your local Home Depot parking lot is fairly safe at 6AM and you're nearly guaranteed to find a vanload of illegals waiting there for you - something ICE seems to have yet to figure out.

The draw of the United States is patently obvious: we are the richest large country on earth and enormously safer than any southern country in easy walking range.  Even though illegal immigrants occupy the very lowest economic rung of our society, that rung is still a considerable way up from the place of a peasant south of the border, and often much of their middle class.

Add in the longstanding practice of birthright citizenship, in which babies born to illegals nevertheless become American citizens and the only question is why even more don't come.  The tens of thousands in today's caravans almost ought to be ten times larger, considering that there are countries a quarter of whose citizens want to move to the United States.  Studies have found hundreds of millions of would-be immigrants.  By that standard, we are stopping 99+% of them, which is about as effective as any government program can hope to be.

Still, even that comparatively "small" number, metastasized over time, is enough to destabilize and ultimately destroy our political system.  When our inner cities and schools were factories for turning foreigners into Americans, immigration worked well.  Now that our schools prefer the Blame-America-First perspective, we are no longer attempting to build one nation - and indeed, we really aren't one anymore.

Yet the illegals keep coming.  Mr. Trump is attempting to round them up and ship them back over the massed obstructionism of our bureaucracy and legal establishment, but prevention is always better than cure.  If we cannot stop the leak in the border, we can't hope to solve the problem by bailing harder.

Building a wall is a good first step, but then what?  As we've repeatedly seen, there is no wall that cannot be got over by a sufficiently determined or large group of people.

When it comes right down to it, the only way to effectively defend a border, or anything else, is with force of arms.  Only when a nation is willing to shoot dead drug addicts and dealers can a drug problem be eliminated entirely.

And only when a nation is willing to shoot invaders dead can it be secure from invasion.  This doesn't necessarily mean that you must do it often, or en masse, but you have to do it often enough that would-be invaders realize you are willing to and think second thoughts.  That was the purpose of Mr. Trump's much-derided family separation policy: make illegal entry sufficiently unpleasant, and fewer people will give it a try.

Just how unpleasant or impossible are we willing to make illegal entry, anyway?  Put another way: how much do we want to keep our country?  Or are we OK with handing everything our Founders and forefathers built over to aliens from an alien culture, foreign tongue, and utterly different political traditions?  The choice is ours.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Immigration.
Reader Comments

I believe that it was Milton Friedman who said that a country can’t have open borders and be a welfare state. As long as our borders are porous and it is relatively easy to get Medicaid, food stamps, rent subsidies, child education etc we’re going to get lots of unwanted criminals. Here in AZ a study was done that shows the state had 1.5 to 2% illegal residents but the prison population was 8% illegal. Seems like breaking the law is a major priority.
To stop the illegals, we need to do 3 things. Build a better physical and electronic wall, end welfare benefits for illegals, and put a lifetime ban on an illegal who tries to vote. The wall is self explanatory. Those folks who do make it in usually can’t adequately support themselves so they count on US welfare benefits. Finally the Democrats WANT more illegals because they will vote for the highest bidder. California is their success story. If the illegal thought he was going to spend the rest of his life in a hovel in Honduras, he might not OK that phony absentee ballot collected by Ballot Harvesters.

December 13, 2018 5:13 PM

Not ALL people agree that taking an illegal drug is a bad decision. Marijuana, micro doses of LSD or other psychedelics, are examples with many secret followers in the real world. In other countries, alcohol. I am unsure whether this really changes your main argument.

December 14, 2018 10:44 AM

Not ALL people agree that taking an illegal drug is a bad decision. Marijuana, micro doses of LSD or other psychedelics, are examples with many secret followers in the real world. In other countries, alcohol. I am unsure whether this really changes your main argument.

December 14, 2018 10:45 AM

After reviewing several articles on this site, it becomes clear to me how easy it is for people with strong opinions to argue a point while ignoring (or being ignorant of) facts and valid arguments that are contrary to their main points. For example, it is "becoming more common for heroin to be trafficked into the country by air and sea, specifically in the northeast New England area." And let's remember that about 80% of heroin addicts started off by abusing opioids that were over-prescribed by American doctors. Oh, and let's not forget that China plays a huge role in our drug problem. Now, on to a couple of economic facts that have great impact to Mexicans and this whole border issue. From a 2003 article: "The more than $10 billion that American taxpayers give corn farmers every year in agricultural subsidies has helped destroy the livelihoods of millions of small Mexican farmers. So, with one swift stroke, thousands of small Mexican families reliant on their own corn harvests were crushed when they couldn't compete with the unfair low price of American corn. I can't even begin to tell you all the negative impacts subsidized corn is doing to us in our own country (watch "Food, Inc." to get an idea). And finally, the one that really irks me, do you know how many large corporations market the jobs that Americans don't want (e.g., fruit picking, chicken and hog processing, etc.) in Mexico and regularly hire illegals for these jobs? So, knowing these facts, do you really think paying all that money for a wall is truly going to solve our drug and illegal immigration problem? Hey, maybe we should fine all the owners of those corporations for their continual support of illegals and use that money to build the wall? I don't want a penny of my taxes going to that stupid idea - thank you. Oh, and going around killing addicts is not that bright of an idea either.

December 23, 2018 9:02 PM
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