Sunday, September 02, 2012

Black Man, Trapped Again, Holds His Chains In His Hand

Cory Doctorow:

The book closes with the War on Drugs, and the worlds' governments own frank assessments of the unmitigated disaster created by Richard Nixon's idiotic decision 40 years ago. Nutt analyzes the fact that policymakers know that the War on Drugs is worse than the drugs themselves (by a long shot), but are politically incapable of doing anything about it, not least because politicians on all sides stand poised to condemn their opponents for being "soft on drugs."

It's not entirely about race, of course, but the fact still remains that the War on Drugs is far and away the most visible embodiment of institutional racism you can find, in a physical, tangible, life-destroying way. IOZ's basic point from a while ago was presented in his usual bourgeoisie-shocking way, but it is true that much-maligned libertarians like Radley Balko are doing far more useful work for the cause than so many mainstream progressives who think anti-racism efforts equate to deconstructing musical taste and complaining about irrelevant HBO series, for whom the drug war is simply the setting for cool TV shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad and the chummy blog discussion groups devoted to them.

2 comments:

Brian M said...

re-read the Ioz post. While he does make a point, given that REAL WORLD LIBERTARIANS are closely allied to a Republican Party which is equally (or more) war mongering, equally or more tough on Crime, etc. etc...his point is sorta lost in the very real world that he is trying to address. So...you enshrine private race baiting and throw in all the bad policies that the cruise missile liberals supposedly uniquely support...what is his point exactly?

The Vile Scribbler said...

His point, I think, had something to do with the Civil Rights Act being... useless? not quite as important as commonly imagined? You may have seen the commenters giving him hell on that part of it.

The point I wanted to extract for my own purposes was the contrast between useful action and useless posturing. Balko isn't exactly a representative "libertarian", but he'd still likely be scorned by most of the progressive crowd on that account. Yet he devotes time, energy and money to serious activist work on behalf of victims of the police state, and to relentlessly hammering on the folly of the drug war, which is more than many of them are willing to do, and much more important by any real-world reckoning of racism.