The Trinity College Historical Society, the debating arm of Trinity College, Dublin, kindly invited yours truly to open the debate season by defending the motion “This House would get high.”  Alas, I had to refuse, as I was leaving for America, but the motion did sound interesting.  Once upon a time I was the greatest antidrug campaigner this side of Mexico, until I grew up and became very wise.  I now believe not only that the war on drugs is unwinnable, but that it is the cause of most of the ills supposedly caused by drugs.

But first I must declare an interest, as most phonies declare to show themselves whiter than white.

Drugs were no problem whilst I was growing up in the 50’s.  At least not among the jocks and swells I knew.  The ones who took them were actors, artists, and other exotic types.  Even in Vietnam I never touched the stuff.  I was an athlete and a boozer, and drugs, as far as I was concerned, were for losers.  I first tried cocaine in the late 70’s, when the sons of one of the richest Greek ship owners offered, and insisted I take it.  I obviously liked it, and after a while I began to buy it myself.  In 1984 I was busted in London, pleaded guilty, and received a four-month prison sentence.  My friend Peregrine Worsthorne, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, wrote to my Spectator editor Charles Moore that, however it would grieve him to do so, in view of the fact I had been so vehemently antidrug, Charles must now fire me.  Moore answered straight to the point: “If Taki were our religious correspondent he would be fired immediately.  In view that he’s our high life correspondent, we expect him to be high at times.”  Perry found this very funny and showed me his correspondence with Charles after I got out.

And now let us go straight to the point.  I learned nothing in jail except how criminals conceal drugs.  I was in a tough place full of hardened types, and the few people who were in there for drugs were not pushers but users.  And very much abused as a result.  Let’s face it.  Millions upon millions of otherwise law-abiding people are being criminalized because they feel like having the odd joint.  Just the money spent chasing after and prosecuting these people could be put to better use.  Governments simply will not accept the truth, which is that the demand for drugs is too great and the supply of drugs too profitable, and that the war on drugs was lost long ago.

And there’s something else: booze.  I have no facts or figures on this, but I will bet the farm that booze has killed more people than drugs have, especially when we consider those driving under the influence.  People die of booze every day, but we only read about some rock star overdosing and get on our puritan horse.  Billions are spent on drug prevention every year by Western governments, yet the problem is getting worse.  Recreational drugs such as pot and cocaine are here to stay, and the quicker the prigs in Washington and London accept this, the fewer murders of innocents will take place in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.  (After all, the last three U.S. presidents took drugs and yet made it to the Oval Office.)

Which brings me to Prohibition.  Look what it did for Al Capone, Amb. Joe Kennedy, and various other gangsters.  Made them rich beyond their wildest dreams.  Look what the prohibition of drugs has done for the Karzai family, the Escobars, and the El Chappos of this world.  The diminutive Mexican (El Chappo means “dwarfish”) is reputed to make $40 billion per annum in gross sales to the gringos.  He has also kidnapped hundreds if not thousands of unsuspecting farmers, smuggled them across the U.S. border in underground tunnels, and put them to work in drug laboratories or plantations.  When they’ve outlived their usefulness, Chappo has had them killed and thrown into mass graves.  Yet despite such outrages, pompous know-nothing politicians still advocate a war on drugs.

In August alone, 72 bodies were discovered in Mexico without anyone having a clue as to who killed them or why.  Well, I’ll tell you.  Narcotraficantes did it and will continue to do it until drugs are declared legal.  However one views the argument, whether on libertarian, economic, or sociopolitical grounds, the case against prohibition is a no-brainer.  I suspect that the war on drugs is driven by those who gain from it.  Politicians and big-government advocates, mostly.  Otherwise it is a crime not to decriminalize drugs and make the drug barons go to work for a living.

Personally, I am very lucky.  My two children hate drugs, although both have tried the odd joint.  Druggies are bores, but not as boring as drunks.  I am known to be a boozer, but I become a bore only when I booze too much.  Cocaine I can take or leave, and I’d rather leave it, but it’s booze that has harmed me in the long run.

All together now: Give up the war on drugs and save Western civilization!