They say the road to hell is often paved with good intentions and it is often government that assumes the responsibility to solve problems that cannot ever be solved indefinitely. One problem that is often overlooked with the implementation of highly state centralized programs and policy is the problem of corruption.
There are several types of corruption that exist in government, and I don’t mean in “lesser developed” far away places. This outrage happens right within our backyards.
The quietest form of corruption is happening as we speak. The concentration of special interest groups and lobbyists existing in Washington, Ottawa, and London are currently advocating for policies that would worsen most people’s lives. The current system functions in a manner in which policy makers are under the influence of special interest.
The abysmal War on Drugs is a prime example of this phenomenon. The implementation of the Drug War has done nothing but promote racism and racial profiling, increase the debt/state expenditure, and kept drugs in the hands of the dangerous. This is not even mentioning the fact that the program did not even come close to accomplishing what it initially intended to do. Drugs are in the hands of the dangerous, the cartel is making billions of dollars, and young adults and minors are often ruining their lives because they turn to dealing to make money (even if they don’t use the drugs themselves.)
What is incomprehensible is that tobacco and alcohol are very harmful substances on its own yet there is no (major) lobby or special interest group in politics heavily advocating against these drugs. Caffeine is, in some ways, more harmful than marijuana, but large corporations that sell caffeine by the crater are receiving cheques and handouts from the government, while marijuana users are being jailed and their money grayed out of the economy. The Marijuana Policy Project estimates the generation of $10-$14 billion dollars of revenue through sale and tax of marijuana if decriminalized; it is clearly in the best interest of the state, if it operated as a business, to decriminalize, yet little has been done.
Food is also a problem, and the government solution often comes at the hands of special interest and lobbyists. The ubiquitously hated Monsanto Corporation, which ironically and recently put the word “sustainable” in its company slogan, is a powerhouse in the market and in government. Not only is the company accumulating trillions on its own, Monsanto also receives a lot of benefits from government thanks to its friends in the capital and their influences on policy. The Farmer Assurance Provision bill, known throughout the blogosphere as the “Monsanto Protection Act”, though not as disgusting as bloggers make it seem to be, is an indication of market corruption because this one company (and its wealthy friends/cohorts) reaps the benefits off the backs the smaller and independent farmers.
The Food and Drug administration (FDA) is a good organization to have for society, but who can take anything it says seriously when they have an embarrassing track record of listing pizza as a vegetable, having most of its administration ex-employees from big corporations who coincidentally have lots of money and lobbyists in Washington, and a history of censorship.
Food and drugs are only simple examples demonstrating the state’s incompetence of solving what is incapable of doing so, yet insists on doing so anyways. Lobbyists and special interest groups use governments power for its own benefit with the public none the wiser. The cost for maintaining the drug war is not only increasing but the benefit is practically non-existent. America used to be an industry of farming, now agricultural land only belongs to a handful of people. (Though it isn’t necessarily government that responsible for this but it did contribute.)
The only way drugs can be wiped out from society is through stricter and heavier breaches of individual privacy and civil liberty. Americans, at least people who hold the Constitution as the figurative foundation for the country and what it stands for, would never support such a policy if freedom is what needs to be sacrificed.