Sean Hannity supports the war on drugs. Libertarian journalist John Stossel supports the legalization of all drugs. Hannity, a self-described conservative, grudgingly admitted that he could support the legalization of marijuana but never the legalization heroin or crack cocaine. Hannity and John Stossel “duked” it out for a few minutes on Stossel’s Fox Business Cable weekly show last week, debating the merits of drug legalization.
Hannity made the same arguments in favor of drug prohibition that liberals have made in support of big government, namely, the government must help people with who cannot help themselves. Liberals support high taxes, budget deficits, inflating the money supply and massive spending for what they consider to be noble purposes: food stamps, housing subsidies, unemployment insurance, farm subsidies, welfare payments, health care subsides, retirement income, and on and on and on. In other words, coercion by the state is good as long it is for altruistic and philanthropic purposes.
Liberals support economic intervention because they believe the power of the state can create a better, more fair and just society. By the same token, conservative supporters of the drug wars believe that the state should intervene by prohibiting the use and possession of all drugs because they believe the government has a legal–and moral–obligation to protect people from themselves and us from the druggies who have the potential to commit violence against others.
However, isn’t drug abuse a health issue and not a crime? If drug abuse should be outlawed, why doesn’t Hannity support the prohibition of alcohol, one of the most potent drugs people can ingest and cited by law enforcement as a contributor to spousal and child abuse?
Hannity creates a straw man when he asserts that people who use illegal drugs are prone to commit violence and thus the state has an obligation to protect us from them. What should be punished is an act of violence. What if someone reads a book, a play, sees a movie or hears a song, and then commits violence? Should not the state then prohibit the publication of some books and the distribution of movies, songs, etc? If an individual commits violence, then he should be punished accordingly. The mission of the police is to apprehend the “bad guys’ and the judicial system is supposed to punish them appropriately.
Stossel argues that people “own themselves” and therefore have the right to ingest whatever substance they want. He does not advocate the use of any drugs., let alone the use of so-called hard drugs. Hannity meanwhile is making an argument that has no basis in fact, namely, the legalization of drugs would lead to more drug use. Stossel, armed with two charts containing data provided by the federal government, pointed out that a very small percentage of people who tried hard drugs are habitual users.
Sadly, Hannity, a self described small government advocate, supports one of the most ineffective big government program ever created, prohibition. Prohibition leads to unintended consequences, namely, the killing of innocent citizens who are caught in the crossfire of drug gangs and shot during police raids. The price of the drug wars is the killing of innocent human beings. How Hannity reconciles these facts with his supposed pro life position is remarkable.
In fact, Hannity stated he wants to impose more prohibition to rid society of drugs. Is Hannity willing to support the death penalty for the possession or use of drugs? This is the policy in some Asian nations. If so, then Hannity is more than liberal, he is an authoritarian.