Ron Paul: The War on Drugs is a War on Liberty, Choice, and Responsibility

by | Nov 24, 2016

Ron Paul lays out the case for legalizing all drugs and ending the war on drugs in a new interview released Tuesday. The chairman of the Ron Paul Institute and former Republican House of Representatives member from Texas tells interviewer Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation that the war on drugs is really a “war on liberty.” Paul elaborates that the drug war is a war on people making their own choices and taking responsibility for their choices.

Paul further argues in the interview that the war on drugs “has been extremely successful for those who want to build an authoritarian government, a centralized government, and a police state.” This, Paul suggests is a necessary result of prohibition because only via authoritarianism can government “make people behave better by not using drugs.” Paul says “the case could be made” that the drug war is “the most — or close to being the most — significant event for the undermining of true civil liberty.” Supporting this conclusion, Paul comments on the high incarceration rate in America, much of which is related to the drug war.

While Paul points to the enormous harm the war on drugs has caused, including increased violent crime, he is optimistic about the future. “People are waking up,” says Paul. The process starts with education, explains Paul, who states, “first the ideas have to change and then the policies will follow.” Paul also notes states exercising “nullification” by enacting laws removing themselves from participation in portions of the drug war. “We will see a lot more of that,” Paul predicts.

In response to states’ liberalization of marijuana laws, Paul observes that “the federal government has thrown up their hands.”

This trend of state and local governments opting out of portions of the drug war is particularly strong in regard to marijuana laws. In line with Paul’s comment that policy changes follow changes in ideas, states’ actions to roll back the war on marijuana, which have largely been accomplished via popular votes for ballot measures, have progressed as public support for marijuana legalization — now the majority view in America — continues to grow.

Watch Paul’s complete interview here:


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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