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Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America Hardcover – June 2, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many see the war on drugs as one of the best examples of government policy run amok, which makes it a natural target for libertarian polemic. WorldNetDaily.com columnist Miller’s vigorous denunciation approaches the issue as a problem in economics. Given insatiable demand for drugs, he says, government attempts to strangle the supply simply raise the price and make trafficking enormously profitable. Criminalization therefore generates irresistible incentives to break the law, and is itself the cause of the crime and violence for which drugs are unfairly blamed. Junkies steal and hook to get money for a fix. Drug profits fuel murderous turf battles to control the black market, which is a cash cow for the gangs, guerilla armies and terrorists who dominate it. Interdiction efforts are more than matched by the ingenuity of traffickers, Miller says, and the police themselves are often corrupted, either by involvement in the trade itself or by the increasingly intrusive, violent and militarized methods they must use to suppress a "crime" in which all parties are willing participants. Miller’s well-researched, bitingly written account paints a panorama of irrationality and abuse: well-funded, innovative drug lords who regard seized shipments as a cost of doing business; broad drug-courier "profiling" criteria that could finger virtually anybody; forfeiture laws that allow police to seize property and savings with no pretense of due process; drug raids in which law-abiding citizens are gunned down in their homes. Miller’s libertarian leanings, supported by quotes from conservative icons like Adam Smith, Barry Goldwater and Ann Coulter, occasionally carry him past drug policy into jibes against the New Deal, Social Security and all things governmental. But when he sticks to drugs he delivers a formidable challenge to the reigning prohibitionist orthodoxy.
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Review

"Miller nails it. He powerfully and persuasively articulates the folly, the harm and the un-Constitutionality of our government's War against Drugs."
-Larry Elder, host of ABC Radio's nationally syndicated Larry Elder Show and best-selling author of The Ten Things You Can't Say in America and Showdown

"Drug abuse is bad. But Joel Miller demonstrates that the War on Drugs is far worse.  The government is financing terrorism and underwriting corruption even as it violates the freedom of Americans. Yet drug use continues unabated. As Miller so ably proves, the government's drug war is the ultimate bad trip."
-Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785261478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785261476
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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If there's one cliche that has been blatantly overused in the past few years, it's that our government is fighting a "war on drugs." Sure, the government is pretending to wage it, but we all know the war on drugs has been over for years, if it even ever existed in the first place. How exactly can we have a war on something so many people seem to want? Next thing you know, the government will start telling people they can't gamble, or pay for sex, or smoke in a privately-owned bar (whoops). Anyway, Joel Miller adds plenty of fuel to the raging debate over the drug war with Bad Trip. This short, direct, and intelligent volume should convince anyone who hasn't been indoctrinated up to their eyeballs in governmental propaganda that the war on drugs (like most wars) isn't worth fighting.

In one rather entertaining early segment, Miller takes the reader on a glimpse of the drug war's early days, illustrating the roots of the current mess in the first half of the 20th century. There's plenty of unintentional comedy to be found when Miller discusses some of the attitudes regarding drugs (including alcohol) that were commonly held back in the twenties and thirties. In one especially uproarious moment, in 1938 the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics actually wrote, "an overdose of marijuana generates savage and sadistic traits likely to reach a climax in axe and ice-pick murders." And then of course, there was Reefer Madness, the classic 1936 movie where a little toking resulted in PERMANENT INSANITY. Now, having been around some pot smokers myself, I can say for sure that while marijuana use may result in giddiness, the telling of off-color jokes, and the consumption of junk food, it does not lead to violence or insanity.
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By A Customer on June 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had my doubts about this when I picked it up. However, I was blown away, by what Miller has written. Extremely well done research combined with an easy to read style were a bonus. He makes his points not on a social basis, but on an economic basis. My understanding is that his point is that it all goes back to the money part of it. The money is the true problem. Everyone should read this.
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By A Customer on June 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is written with such energy and near-paranoid conviction that I'm convinced the author must have been shooting up while writing it. And I mean that as a compliment. Really. Tackling a subject as taboo (and as neglected) as the drug war takes chutzpah, and, I must say, the author does it with the fire of a crack-crazed prophet.
What surprised me most about the book, though, is its sardonic tone. It's got a wry sense of humor that really compliments the seedy subject matter. A great mix of comedy, tragedy, and ouright absurdity. It's refreshing to read a topical book with strong writing as well as research.
I must admit, I approached this book with extreme caution. And though I'm not sure I'm ready to have drugs completely legalized (I'm definitely a child of the "Just Say No" generation), Miller's case against the drug war is powerful and hard to dispute.
Highly recommended. Surprisingly entertaining as well as informative. All around, a very good trip (and I'm not just saying that because I want to smoke dope without fear of repercussions).
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Format: Hardcover
Miller does a superb job of marshalling a number of philosophical, economic, legal and practical arguments against the war drugs. Although he states that he believes drug use is a bad choice, he also believes that life in a free society necessarily encumbers the fact that others will make choices that we personally oppose.

I wonder how Miller's argument would apply to the abortion debate?

In any event, I am a conservative Christian who happens to believe that the war on drugs is a misguided, miserable failure implemented by self-serving politicians who sought more votes in the 1970s.

The principle of states' rigths should apply to this question. Prohibition at the federal level is a failed policy that ought to be abandoned, and Miller gives us the ammuntion needed in this battle.
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