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"Drug prohibition is our government's most destructive policy since slavery."
February 8, 2011 7:43 PM   Subscribe


 
I'm afraid that anti-prohibition messages from people who've been imprisoned will fall on deaf ears. He's a criminal!
posted by grobstein at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Will he still be against the war on drugs when he learns that there are some drugs that aren't white?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:53 PM on February 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


I feel like the tone of this article is "I shouldn't have to deal with this, I'm rich!" which is probably also a symptom of the asinine self-righteousness that often comes with being a cokehead. And also with being a politician. Go figure.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:55 PM on February 8, 2011


I haven't dove into the background links but they seem like an attempt to poison the well against what is, on it's surface a largely coherent and correct argument against the massive failure that is America's War on Drugs.

I feel like the tone of this article is "I shouldn't have to deal with this, I'm rich!" which is probably also a symptom of the asinine self-righteousness that often comes with being a cokehead. And also with being a politician

I didn't get that at all. Maybe this passage?

If drug prohibition were strictly enforced, 85 percent of the population over 47, including three presidents, would do prison time. But that kind of enforcement would lead to repeal. So what is done to keep the gravy train rolling? Target the poor and the voiceless, mostly young minorities. America incarcerates blacks at a rate five times that of South Africa during apartheid!

Of course, he doesn't mention himself at all in the article or in that paragraph, but he does mention presidents, so maybe the self-righteous political angle makes some sense, I don't really see it. I just don't get the "I'm rich, damn it" feeling. He actually mentions the lopsided enforcement against African-Americans in the above cited graf.

Anyway, I largely agree with him.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:01 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jon_Evil, you should read this interview he did right before he reported to prison.
He wasn't a coke-sniffing "drug-head" who needed drugs to function during his professional rise, he insists, and he wasn't "Scarface," either. "Contrary to public opinion, it's not that addictive," he said. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, however, would beg to differ, stating on its Web site that cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects the brain.

Ravenel wants to get back into politics again some day.

"I didn't steal any money, there was no public corruption," he said. "I just hurt myself."
. . .

Ravenel remains angry that he has to go to prison at all. If the case had been pursued in state court rather than at the federal level, he and his legal team contend he probably would have gotten a slap on the wrist and no incarceration time at all. He also insists he cooperated fully at every turn.

"You can fight the state, but you can't fight the feds," he said of the court systems, adding, "that doesn't excuse what I did as state treasurer."
As for the background links, I did not include them to poison the well against his argument, which like you I mostly agree with. However, I think the story of what happened and the characters involved are more interesting than just another pro-legalization editorial.
posted by ND¢ at 8:06 PM on February 8, 2011


I'm afraid that anti-prohibition messages from people who've been imprisoned will fall on deaf ears.
posted by Phlogiston at 8:08 PM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


We can't legalize drugs. Hillary Clinton says there's "too much money in it"!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:09 PM on February 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I did not include them to poison the well against his argument, which like you I mostly agree with.

My apologies, I misinterpreted your intent.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:10 PM on February 8, 2011


The Mena Connection!
posted by box at 8:10 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude just likes to party.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:17 PM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gah, this guy was Rudy Giuliani's campaign chairman for South Carolina, and the Republican state treasurer. Here's a story from the time of the charges, in 2007.

Giuliani sure attracts the law & order GOP crowd ... right before their federal felony indictments.

If, like most rich southern white members of the political class, he had never been charged and convicted for the coke use that is standard among these people, he would go on being a rich douche who "grew out of it" at around age 55 or 60 or so, while the poor blacks of South Carolina continued to go to prison for decades because they got caught with a couple of rocks.

Yeah, I'm a white southerner and of the same generation as this guy and I know his type very well.
posted by kenlayne at 8:34 PM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another southern idiot son of an asshole.
posted by stbalbach at 8:43 PM on February 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


what
posted by mwhybark at 8:53 PM on February 8, 2011


I was just having dinner with a fellow South Carolinian the other day, and mentioned how I always cringed whenever South Carolina came up in the news. While the circumstances around the op-ed piece aren't exactly making me proud, at least it's better than some bozo calling the (now) governor a raghead, or refusing to take down the Confederate flag, or yelling "You Lie" during the State of the Union. It's progress.
posted by jasonhong at 9:00 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


So he passed around "less than 500 grams" starting in 2005 until 2007, going by what I know from Jay-z songs that's still 15k in party favors. This guy must have dirt on everyone in the state.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:02 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it 18th century French Huguenot?

sorry, I can't help myself. Link and movie NSFW
posted by sbutler at 9:16 PM on February 8, 2011


Hey. Cheers to this guy. He might have been a complete, utter, total douchebag, but sometimes it takes first-hand experience (the kind that dudes like this never seem to get) to realize that a lot of things in this world are completely fucked up. I give him credit for speaking up about it - he could have not said anything, after all, and regardless of circumstances, this is the type of speech we seem to need to make any practical headway in ending the war on drugs.
posted by ofthestrait at 9:21 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


He can join the folks at Right on Crime.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:37 PM on February 8, 2011


no man is as bad as the worst thing he does or as good as the best. I see this editorial as one of his best. In thirty years, hopefully he'll see this as one of his best, too.

I was just having dinner with a fellow South Carolinian the other day, and mentioned how I always cringed whenever South Carolina came up in the news.

I'm right there with you. But this story just makes me crack up. I also found it amusing that our former governor was such a silly romantic in this age of cynicism.

It's amusing to see this in the Post and Courier; I would like to have seen what boneheaded letters to the editor it appeared next to. But alas, I fled that state years ago (for some reason).
posted by garuda at 9:40 PM on February 8, 2011


He's right that the federal court system is severely stacked against defendants, and also that while state laws differ, minor cocaine possession charges don't always result in months of jail time.

Here's what he got charged with:
The 44-year-old Ravenel appeared in court for the first time to face the charge of possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine. His attorneys entered a not guilty plea earlier this month.

Prosecutors have said he shared cocaine with his friends and did not sell the drug.
I guess 500 grams is 'half a kilo', so that sounds like a lot, although I have no idea. The fact that they can charge you with "intent to distribute" without proving it whatsoever is B.S, though. If you have any amount over some X they can charge you with that.
posted by delmoi at 10:08 PM on February 8, 2011


BitterOldPunk: We can't legalize drugs. Hillary Clinton says there's "too much money in it"

She's right.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:12 PM on February 8, 2011


We can't legalize drugs. Hillary Clinton says there's "too much money in it"

That's what John Delorean was hoping after that whole flux-capacitor thingy went south.
posted by three blind mice at 10:40 PM on February 8, 2011


He is not in a position to make this argument, no matter how true his words or eloquent his phrasing. Say what you will about ad hominem rebuttals: from his mouth it's self-serving hypocrisy. Without addressing his moral bankruptcy he's got no moral capital to trade on.

Does his op ed hurt or help the cause of decriminalization? Probably niether. It's merely cringe worthy.
posted by clarknova at 11:20 PM on February 8, 2011


Say what you will about ad hominem rebuttals
That they are largely worthless?
Without addressing his moral bankruptcy he's got no moral capital to trade on.
Because all drug users are morally bankrupt, right? Or just the ones who have been caught? What are you talking about?
posted by delmoi at 11:49 PM on February 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because all drug users are morally bankrupt, right? Or just the ones who have been caught? What are you talking about?

This. Favorited so hard.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:01 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


500g = 1 generous pound. (454g=1lb)

I've no idea if that's a lot of coke. How much would an addict consume over a few months?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:37 AM on February 9, 2011


I've no idea if that's a lot of coke. How much would an addict consume over a few months?

It's quite a bit. An eight-ball is 3.5 grams and a teener is half that. Even an addict who consumed an eight ball everyday for a month wouldn't come close to going through a half-kilo, though there are probably people whose habits surpass that threshold. Now if an addict had said amount just laying around, well, besides probably dying at some point, the addict may try to consume much larger amounts.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:51 AM on February 9, 2011


I remember seeing this chart In the U.S. the price is supposedly $100/g. Somehow I bet the price crashed in NZ after that chart came out.
posted by delmoi at 1:00 AM on February 9, 2011


...and mentioned how I always cringed whenever South Carolina came up in the news.

It's great When South Carolina is mentioned in the news 'cause it makes Georgia sound sane.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


How's all that Sharia law y'all got going over there is Georgia working out for you Brandon?
posted by ND¢ at 3:35 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because all drug users are morally bankrupt, right?

Whether or not he is, he does need to come at a bit from this angle for his argument to have any weight. I think he's morally bankrupt, but it's more from being a douchebag than a drug user. But to convince law and order types that you need to legalize drugs, it seems like they need to be convinced that its the right thing to do despite their belief that drug users are amoral lawbreakers.

And garuda, you seem like a smart guy, why did you 'flee'? If more people stayed instead of leaving maybe our state wouldn't be the crockpot of idiocy it currently is.
posted by petri at 3:46 AM on February 9, 2011


It's great When South Carolina is mentioned in the news 'cause it makes Georgia sound sane.

How's all that Sharia law y'all got going over there is Georgia working out for you Brandon?

Everyone sounds crazy these days.

I don't think someone making a perfectly logical argument against asinine prohibition that simply doesn't work makes South Carolina or Ravenel sound particularly insane.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:47 AM on February 9, 2011


However, his other viewpoints may be perfectly nuts, this does not negate the merits of his argument.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:48 AM on February 9, 2011


Pretty good! We should be allowed to buy alcohol any day of the week pretty soon now.

Did ya'll have fun at the Succession Ball?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:50 AM on February 9, 2011


There is nothing more wanksocky than calling someone a douchbag.
posted by srboisvert at 3:51 AM on February 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


If the scion of one of the state's oldest families (regardless of when he last saw his dad) can be described as 'self-made', the term has lost all meaning. Fair play to his views on the drug laws though.
posted by Abiezer at 4:03 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sent to jail, he discovers that his crime is, in fact, a noble cause.
posted by knoyers at 5:11 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the scion of one of the state's oldest families (regardless of when he last saw his dad) can be described as 'self-made'

Yeah he's about as self-made as Donald Trump.
posted by spicynuts at 5:43 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well he might not be a guy you want to have a few beer and a few ghetto rails with but just because he was born rich and is a republican doesn't make him wrong.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:35 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'all ever hear the one about the guy who was drowning off the Charleston Battery? In his panic to be rescued he started shouting "Help, help, I'm a Ravenel!"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:34 AM on February 9, 2011


...hoping the celebrity of being a former rising star in the Republican Party who went to prison will help advance his position.

Good luck with that. I mean, come on - George Shultz advocated giving legalization its day in court back in 1989. The political reality is that most Democrats are so pants-pissing afraid of getting tarred with the crazy hippie/soft on crime that they are no more likely than Republicans to take a stand against the drug prohibition orthodoxy. Maybe less so. I'm reminded of what Bill Clinton had to say on the subject of exploring the rational costs and benefits of legalization: "You're fucking fired, Jocelyn Elders!" (I know, I know, masturbation was the straw that broke the camels back... SO AWESOME to live amongst this teeming mass of moronic swine...) Compare to the position of the current Surgeon General: "Regina WHO?"
posted by nanojath at 7:51 AM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]




Ever since I moved to Georgia I haven't spent as much time attempting to understand the local politics. I'm sure part of it is my current job doesn't require it, but it's also mostly that they're just not as entertaining.

So maybe it's my background, but I can't help but detect the underpinning petulant child whingeing "But I never hurt anyone, why did they come after me!?" in this argument. I'd like to say that's his libertarian streak (and boy, do state politicians in SC have one four-lane interstate of a streak), but to me it's more of a "I'm rich and privileged, I wasn't black and running around on the streets, why can't they leave me alone?" than a "What we do on our time is our business" response. Whatever, he'll still land on more of a velvet pillow than my long-haired ass would if I got busted in Lexington County.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:06 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


t to me it's more of a "I'm rich and privileged, I wasn't black and running around on the streets, why can't they leave me alone?"

I keep seeing this sentiment posted but I have yet to see that in the article. Did anyone even read this piece?
posted by IvoShandor at 8:10 AM on February 9, 2011


I keep seeing this sentiment posted but I have yet to see that in the article. Did anyone even read this piece?

Yes, I did.

It's not something I can explain, I'm afraid, it's just a knee-jerk response to having spent the past 12 years listening to SC politicians go on about how they want the government out of their lives, while simultaneously ratcheting up interference in mine.

I can't explain it better than that, I'm fully aware I'm not being fair by adding spin onto his words that isn't there, and I'd love to be proven wrong.

But for me, there's more than a whiff of that here, and I can't pretend not to smell it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:25 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


But for me, there's more than a whiff of that here, and I can't pretend not to smell it

This could be a past life experience intruding on the present.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:40 AM on February 9, 2011


This could be a past life experience intruding on the present.

Oh, most definitely. However, as I said, I'd love to be proven wrong, a sane voice in SC politics is too rare a thing.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:51 AM on February 9, 2011


Oh, most definitely. However, as I said, I'd love to be proven wrong, a sane voice in SC politics is too rare a thing.

True enough. SC has been a laughingstock in recent years, hell, in recent centuries. But I don't think it's helpful to slay the messenger. Legalization, the end of prohibition, is far too important a cause. The myriad people it would help were we, as a nation, to shift our thinking just a little bit, are far too important. All allies must be brought into the fold, regardless of their motivation. Maybe it took the above Republican an arrest and conviction to see the light, so what? He has seen it. He realizes the asinine nature of our prohibition against drugs.

He may be the exact opposite of you politically (I know he is me) but advocates for the end of prohibition must come from all political stripes if is to ever end. If the United States is ever going to end prohibition it's going to have to be something that a consensus is reached on, across the board, affiliation be damned. This is a culture change. It won't happen overnight. But I welcome all to the fold, regardless of past political history. Regardless of transgressions deemed heinous by John. Q. Law.

I am by no means Republican. And I am by no means anti-law enforcement. But I am absolutely anti-prohibition and I'll take friends in that cause from anywhere.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:09 AM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the whole "omg white republican rich boy waaaaa they busted me" 'argument' is pathetic. There are tens of thousands of white republican rich boys who didn't vote for Prop. 19, partially because they said the same goddamn thing about the lower-class hippies and blacks they perceived to be behind it. Oops.

This is an issue that reaches across party, race, and class lines, and it'd be a lot stronger if so many people weren't constantly trying to slap half the hands back.
posted by vorfeed at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regulating marijuana and cocaine for adults are among his advocacy points.

COCAINE FOR ADULTS!!!!


(Seriously, who edits this stuff?)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:04 PM on February 9, 2011


Of course the cocaine is for adults.

Give cocaine to children and they'll just wreck your stuff, shave your dog, and then speed away on their Big Wheels laughing maniacally, the little shits.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:31 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


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