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Prohibition increases scarcity (and the allure of doing something naughty). Scarcity increases value. Value creates black-market (crime). Crime creates more tolerance for authoritarianism. Which all result in less freedom, and more value in whatever is prohibited. Whether alcohol prohibition, the war on drugs, or gun control -- all the illegal items were available (often more so), and once outlawed there were LESS controls on who could buy and under what conditions.


These are all facts:

  • Alcohol prohibition created an illicit industry, that empowered organized crime (and mass violence).
  • The War on drugs has not stopped or even slowed illegal drugs. If you doubt me, ask your high school kid if he could buy a joint if he wanted (in states where it isn't legal). In fact the "war" has only increased the profits for running drugs, and lured many into a selling drugs for profit (maybe to get out of the welfare trap). The results are these kids often have to exist in gangs to survive, and they still get killed or imprisoned (where they cost society even more) -- remember gangs have gotten so much worse because now they are fighting over drug-distribution rights (and profits). Our politicians keep telling us if we give up a little more money, take a few more civil rights away, then we will be able to stop drugs and things will be better, when we can't stop illegal drugs in our prisons (with regular strip searches), and police states like Iran have bigger drug problems than we do. So far, we've only made things worse.

Outlawing most things just make those things more profitable and seedy, and may encourage the actions. Telling someone they can't do something is sometimes a way to make them want to do it more.

Vicious Cycle

  • Public thinks X is scary
  • Authorities ban X to make the rubes feel safe
  • Since demand exists and scarcity increases, the value of X goes up
  • Black market forms (organized crime exploits opportunity)
  • LOOP:
    • Frequency and scale of Violent Crime increases
    • Law Enforcement uses harsher tactics
    • Repeat