by Frank Muller
With all of the current press regarding the subsidizing of the Russian economy by consumers of Russian hydrocarbons I thought it might be interesting to have a conversation about this and illegal drugs. The thrust of my thesis is that an economic embargo of nations that pursue acts against the common good is justifiable. However, when it is selectively applied it is highly hypocritical.
The estimates vary (because the trade is illegal) but the annual number is pegged as sales of the drugs in the US ranges between $500b and $1 trillion per year. Let us assume the low end of that figure.
Further, the estimates of direct deaths from illegal drugs in the US annually is over 100,000 Americans a year that die directly from drug overdose, poisoning due to bad batches of the drug concoction, and other reasons across the various categories and subcategories of illegal drugs. This obviously does not count the enormous cost to society and in broken and wasted lives and the concomitant expense society bears due to it.
In 2021 Russian hydrocarbon sales were approximately $120 billion USD per year. Prior to the Ukrainian invasion it is difficult to conceive of any significant direct causalities due to the Russian oil business, but I am confident that hacking, intervention in Syria, funding and supplying Iranian and other Shia insurrections has a significant cost but far less so in terms of human lives than the current Ukrainian invasion.
Both of these broad data points lead me to wonder why we in the West turn a blind eye to this business that is sanctioned and profited by Venezuela, certainly facilitated in Columbia and Bolivia and Mexico as well as several other Central American countries and those around the world.
The US retail distribution organization and the facilitation of the laundering of dirty money right here on our shores also seems to have little real public outcry.
The economic volume of this disease upon the common good is five to ten times that of the Russian oil industry. The loss of lives and the surviving collateral damage is on a scale that should make us shudder. Our total combat fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan over twenty years is approximately 6,000. Our total combat fatalities in Vietnam over twenty years was approximately 53,000. If we add all American casualties across all conflicts fought by the USA over the last 250 years is approximately 1.2 million Americans.
In the last twenty years more than 2.0 million Americans have died due to illegal drugs and the number climbs each and every year. Should we not at some point consider the benefit of ceasing to do business with any country that exports illegal drugs and/or their components into the US?
Should we not consider attacking the entire Distribution business of illegal drug just as we would a foreign invader?
Now, it is important for me to point out that I am not in favor of incarcerating people for using these drugs. Quite the opposite. I stand in the camp of decriminalizing the use of these drugs. The criminalization should be focused entirely on those who profit from it. We must remove the economic benefit these war criminals derive from the Distribution of illegal drugs. These sentences and the economic consequences should be severe.
However, if we decriminalize the use of drugs and alcohol (unless their use causes harm to an innocent) then we reduce the pricing power of the black market and its’ proceeds going to those who hate us. Rather, the illegal drug trade can become legal and regulated and society can work on encouraging abstinence or care in its’ use just like we do with tobacco and alcohol.
My thought is to have mercy and forgiveness and help for the sinner. My thought is to have righteous justice in protecting the common good by refusing to allow any country or entity cooperating with this great evil and sanction or benefit of the US financial system and its’ markets. If an act of war is being waged on our society, then a commensurate act of war is justified by attacking the economic interests and profit motives of the parties responsible.
Love the sinner, hate the sin.
Might this moment in time be an opportunity for Americans to revisit the list of all of our enemies and to weigh in the scale the actual costs to us and then fight the wars that have the most significant consequence to our common good.
I respectfully submit that if we fight against sin within our lives and homes, fight to reform failed educational structures that do not teach people how to think (just what to think), stop doing business with corporations and who maximize profits at the expense of providing jobs that allow families to live in dignity by taxing those companies who send jobs to other countries simply to save labor costs by the exact amount of money they are saving in labor costs.
These wars should be waged by the means appropriate to each and they all should be done within the confines of the law and civil discourse. In order to fight a war, we must name the enemy and we must calculate the cost the enemy is imposing upon us and impose a cost far greater on the enemy and the cooperators with that enemy.
The correct economic and political policy is one that chooses the good and refusing to cooperate or subsidize in any way those they parlay evil for money, fame, power or pleasure.
May Peace be with us all.