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We now have a way to halt the illegal drug trade.

It will require twin solutions – one at the supply end of the pipeline, the other at the demand end.

Let’s look at the demand problem this week. That’s the easy one because it can be solved by government decree: Just get Congress to pass a law legalizing drugs and setting up super-discount outlets for heroin, pot, and other flavors of dunce drugs, and – poof! – the game is 90 percent over.

A baggie of white powder that would sell for five dollars in the Colombian bush (or $1,000 in Boston) will then sell for $5.95 in Uncle Sam’s Death Emporiums from coast to coast.

Initially, a few people will overdose and die, of course, but they will amount perhaps to half a percent of the 100,000 drug-related homicides that we would otherwise expect by 2015 in our present pursuit of the increasingly insane dream of Prohibition II, the Great Drug-Free Society.

The magic of the forbidden fruit will evaporate, especially if President Bush decides to skip the government emporiums and sell exclusively through churches. (At least that would beat bingo and bake sales as a fund-raiser.) Envision this remark in a circle of teens slouched around your TV set on Saturday afternoon: “Hey, guys, let’s go buy some crack from Father O’Toole and get high tonight.” Approximately 12 seconds after the sale, your phone would ring with the news, and you and the other parents would come down on your kids like an avalanche down Everest.

That’s assuming the kids were desperate enough to go ask the pastor to sell them some dope – and look like drooling idiots.

Think back to the 1920s. Marijuana could often be found growing wild down by the river in most states, and all the kids knew what it would do if you smoked it, but no child with any social standing would have anything to do with a loser who was brainless and pathetic enough to try it more than once. That, I suggest, would soon become the prevailing attitude again if we demystified drugs by putting them where they’d be readily available – albeit, perhaps, attached to a sermonette.

Would this social stigma push our young people back to buying on the street? Not often. The risk of doing time for selling a $5.95 baggie for $9.95 (tops) in an alley would be a strong motivation for going into used car sales or joining the French Foreign Legion. Besides, who would pay extra to get potentially fatal or sugared-up junk when the government-guaranteed pure stuff is so cheap? The whole drug mystique would dwindle into silliness and dissolve in ridicule. Who wants to be the butt of Leno two-liners?

One big factor that keeps drugs attractive to the young is the excitement of getting away with something forbidden. So we’ll take that away and give them instead the embarrassment of being the laughingstock of their peers.

Liberals don’t understand sin. They prefer to pretend that people are basically good. That way, they don’t have to repent and submit their personal habits to the lordship of Jesus Christ and the standards of the Bible. They prefer to maintain their righteous self-image by howling about the horrors of a few dope dens in Amsterdam or Kathmandu. Unfortunately, people are basically flawed. The Bible says the default condition of the human heart is evil. Even the most saintly believer starts off sinful in life. Conclusion? Forget the liberal utopia. Drug dabbling is going to be with us for awhile.

But that doesn’t mean regular drug use will continue to be a problem. In any other country of the world, drugs are hardly more than a blip on the national consciousness – regardless of how lax their laws are. As Yale law professor Steven Duke says, “Neither cocaine nor heroin is habitually consumed by more than a small fraction of the residents of any country in the world. There is no reason to suppose that Americans would be the single exception.”

The main force that keeps drugs so popular in the United States is the war against drugs. As Paul says in Romans, the power of sin is in the Law, which goads us to sin.

So let’s change the law.

Next week we’ll look at the supply problem: How repentant Christians cleaned up the most dangerous city in the world, the capital of a drug cartel.

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