What is prohibition really about?
I have been working through some ideas for Carrion. And asked myself a question. What is prohibition really about? As I am prone to do when I am trying to understand something. My first port of call is a dictionary. And the word prohibition. Prohibition is the act of prohibiting or state of being prohibited. An order or decree that prohibits. To prohibit is to forbid an action or activity by authority or law. Essentially prohibition is control. And control means to exercise restraint or direction over. Dominate. Command. To hold in check. Or curb. So prohibitions function within our society is to control. But control what? On the face of it prohibition controls the manufacture. Transportation. And sale of a prescribed set of substances. Namely drugs. But it also controls behaviour. Prohibition controls an individuals right to make a choice. Good or bad. To take a certain action. That is. Take a specific drug. A question comes to mind. Why do they want to control what individuals do? At this point I think it is necessary to understand who I mean by “they”. They are the government. That group of people we elect to represent us. If that is the case? Why aren’t the views of the drug taker represented? I presume the argument would come back that we live in a democracy. And the majority think drug taking is bad. But why? Why do they think taking drugs are bad? When every culture I can think of takes drugs in one form or another. Putting that to one side. Another question comes to mind. If these are the same majority/government who allow individuals to choose to smoke and drink? Why can’t that same majority/government allow individuals to choose to take drugs. Rebuttals might sight the addictive nature of drugs. But the drugs that are currently prohibited are no more or less addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. Individuals get into just as much trouble with legal substances as they do with those prohibited. If the majority/government can allow people to make a choice. And take the risk of doing cigarettes or alcohol. Why can’t they allow individuals to make the choice and take the risk of taking drugs? Logic dictates that they can. But they don’t. Why don’t they? The answer I keep coming back to is that it is less about what people take. And more about the act of taking. Prohibition isn’t about the substance. Prohibition is about controlling what people do. While I think this is an argument for the abolition of prohibition. It doesn’t answer the question. Who actually controls the machine of prohibition? A glimpse can perhaps be found in the preface of Richard Lawrence Miller’s Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State. “People convinced of their superiority (seek to) rescue a country threatened from within.” What is prohibition really about? I think it’s about power. It’s a machine that allows the state to control its population.