The Flag, Drugs and EIephantsIt has been decided recently, by public opinion and our congressional representatives, that our flag should be protected from desecration. The protection has come in the form of a legislative prohlbition. As result of this protective law more flags were burned on the day of enactment than in the several years prior. Quite simply, prohibiting the burning of the flag is a proclamation that henceforth the first act of an anti-government demostration will be, to burn a flag or two!
A much more significant prohibition is being instituted in Africa. The elephant is facing extinction. The most. popular solution is a prohibition of ivory and ivory products. But in countries taking approach, such as Kenya , the elephant herds have been reduced over 60 % in the past decade. Another solution is market---oriented conservation, controlling and regulating both the elephant herds and the ivory trade. In Zimbabwe, using such an approach, the herds have grown by nearly 50% in the same decade. If a worldwide prohibition of the ivory trade is enacted, it will guarantee the extinction of the African elephants.
Closer to home than African elephants and more important than flag burning is the 75-year attempt to prohibit narcotics and marijuana. Euch step of the way, strong forceful prohibition has led to more potent drugs and increasing violence. At the turn of the century heroin, cocaine and marijuana were available at the corner drug stores in natural forms and elixirs. Market-related violence was nonexistent.
Now we have pure cocaine, being sold on our streets and in our schools by violent gangs. We now grow the most potent marijuana in the basement of our "American Dream" house . Regan's drug war has brought us crack, and the Bloods and Crypts. Bush's war will bring "Ice" and "Chasing the Dragon". More blood will flow, but then war is always bloody.
What is best? The informed individual , managing their own interests in a free market or central planning. The essence of liberty is the, freedom to be wrong. Thinking for oneself implies making mistakes. But this is the advantage of liberty over central planning. With liberty some decisions are right and some are wrong. Usually most are right, but never are all wrong or all right. Centrally planned decisions, if wrong, are applied everywhere, leaving no room for right answers. When there is no room to be wrong there is no room to be right.
Liberty and tolerance have made America great, not Puritan ethics. Choosing prohibltions over liberty and tolerance will cost us our greatness.
A nation can be both free and moral but it must be free first, because tyranny and persecution are never moral.
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Copyright © 1989 Timothy M. Radonich