Liberals and libertarians share a theory about drug addiction. They say that crime would fall if drugs were de-criminalized and made cheaper. In theory, crime is caused by addicts supporting their high-priced drug habit. A recent experiment shows there is more to the story.
27 pharmacies and methadone clinics were looted as the police retreated from the Baltimore riots. Thieves stole at least 175 thousand doses of opiates. That is enough to keep Baltimore intoxicated for a year. Stolen drugs are nearly free, yet crime and violence soared after the riots. There is clearly more to the story of inner city violence than addiction.
A different theory says that our inner cities have suffered through a long train of abuse, of which addiction is only a middle step. Our deep blue cities slid down a spiral starting with regulation and taxes. That led to business failure, unemployment, depression, addiction, crime, family breakdown, gangs, and educational failure. Free drugs won’t fix Baltimore because drugs don’t fix despair. More welfare payments won’t fix Baltimore because welfare doesn’t repair a broken family. Baltimore is the end result of a cultural failure.
Anyone could fix Baltimore in a minute. Eliminate state, federal and local taxes and regulations and the city would slowly grow again. We would also have to eliminate welfare payments to able bodied men and women. We’d have to stop supporting single mothers and destroying the family. We know there are many liberal politicians in other cities eager to take Baltimore’s welfare cases and have them as voters. In Baltimore, we’d have to slowly put together the civil society that both Republican and Democrat politicians took decades to destroy.
It would take time to recover, but the inner city of Baltimore would slowly grow again. Investment would slowly lead to more jobs. Employment would lead to lower rates of addiction, lower crime, and more intact families. Private schools would slowly improve the level of education … if politicians would let them. We know how to cure the illnesses in our deeply Democrat cities.
Neither Republican nor Democrat politicians would propose such a solution and Baltimore’s politicians could never allow it to proceed. Both parties are too invested in the powerful interests that keep Baltimore poor and politicians in office. I give you Detroit and Chicago as proof. Democrat politicians are addicted to welfare voters. Republican politicians are addicted to cheap labor. Both parties are addicted to disposable marriage and political kickbacks. Those are the addictions that cripple our deep blue cities today.
We can and should argue the folly of drug prohibition. Illegal drugs are in every city.
Drugs and crime are not the fundamental problem with Baltimore and other deep-blue cities. Addiction and crime would return even if police could wipe them away for a time. Gangs and crime would quickly return because the city’s problems are fundamentally political rather than problems of drug addiction and law enforcement. They would return to Baltimore because we didn’t climb back up the steps of cultural success that we’ve taken for granted since the 1960s.
Let me rephrase that slightly. What politicians have done to the citizens of our deep blue cities is a crime. Stop excusing the cycle of political addiction.