Thursday, June 14, 2007

Al Capone and the Zetas

When you attempt to accomplish a seemingly-righteous goal with an unrighteous means, you either do not accomplish your goal, or you create one or more new unrighteous problems to contend with.

This is one way to state Henry Hazlitt's "One Lesson" of economics.

It helps us understand the intersection of two big issues in our day: drugs and immigration. Neither of these two issues have been entrusted to the federal government by the Constitution. Whenever the government has attempted to solve problems in these areas, greater problems arise.

At least politicians in the early part of the 20th century understood this principle better than today's politicians. When teetotalers came to Washington D.C. seeking to impose their abstinence views on America, politicians said, rightly, that that Constitution had given them no authority to ban the sale of alcohol; the forces of temperance would have to amend the United States Constitution before Congress could take action.

What a bizarre theory of Constitutional interpretation! A strictly limited government of enumerated powers??

Well, that's what they thought back in the dark ages.

From an economic point of view, was it a good idea to amend the constitution and give the government the power to ban alcohol? No. Making alcohol illegal made it more profitable, and kept its distribution out of the hands of law-abiding people.

Johnny Torrio was Chicago's leading underworld figure in 1920 when alcohol became illegal. Torrio hired Al Capone to "persuade" vendors of illegal alcohol to buy only from Torrio. In 1925, a rival gang nearly rubbed out Torrio, who decided to get out of the criminal world while he was still alive. The Torrio "business" was handed over to Capone, who soon became extraordinarily rich and (therefore) extraordinarily powerful.

Capone could pay the police and politicians of Chicago more than the taxpayers could. It became difficult for the people to vote corrupt politicians out of office, because Capone's armed thugs were "poll-workers," "helping" Chicago's voters send the "right" candidates back to office.

By the 1930's, Americans were sick of all this, and took away from the federal government the power to make alcohol illegal (the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th).

There were undoubtedly some people who were still saying, "But if we legalize alcohol, everyone will just be getting drunk all the time."

Fast-forward to Monday's Dallas Morning News: "Cartel's enforcers outpower their boss -- Zetas grow into paramilitary group now hitting Mexico's casinos." Drug Prohibition -- completely without Constitutional authority -- has created an army of Al Capones. Already controlling Mexico the way Capone controlled Chicago, paramilitary forces of this underworld empire are entering America as well. Their power will expand as long as drugs are illegal (and as long as the Christian worldview is banned from schools).

I have yet to see an article describing the intersection of drug profits and ballot box hackers, and the obvious lure of millions of potential Hispanic Democrats, but it requires no heightened powers of imagination to see the possibilities.

The solution to the terrifying prospects detailed in the DMN article above is as obvious as the end of Al Capone's reign: the government must end its unconstitutional "War on Drugs."

"But if we legalize drugs, everyone will just be getting stoned all the time."

Instead of following the Constitution, new additional unconstitutional powers are being proposed. Brian Farmer, who alerted me to the DMN article, continues to advocate a federal government-built Berlin Wall along the border. His article contains terrifying news of powerful drug-cartel forces, and this motivates him to join many others who advocate a more powerful federal Border Patrol, one which would ignore the rights described in the 4th Amendment not just for immigrants, but for all Americans. The problems he and other anti-immigration lobbyists cite as reasons for expanded government power would vanish if unconstitutional government would also vanish.

The Constitution gives the federal government power to decide who can become an American citizen ("naturalization"). It does not give that government power to regulate travel across borders, tell employers who they can hire, and search everyone's car without probable cause. The immigration-drug nexus is the excuse needed to create a totalitarian police state. The solution to all these problems is to return to the government that was created by the Constitution.

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