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Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Walter Russell Mead rightly deplores the illegal-drug industry and its “violence and the culture of violence that wreaks such terrible havoc in urban areas all around the world” (“Notable & Quotable,” Oct. 20).  It’s important to recognize, though, that this violence results not from the “drug” part of the industry but from the “illegal” part.  After all, the likes of Merck and Novartis don’t compete for market share by routinely sending out their employees to shoot each other.

Or look at the matter this way: imagine the consequences if government outlawed meat.  Right or wrong, people have a hefty demand to consume beef, chicken, pork, lamb, venison, and other types of animal flesh.  Outlawing the sale and consumption of meat would bankrupt operations such as Perdue and Hillshire Farms, but more-grisly suppliers would soon arise to satisfy the market demand.  The resulting illegal meat industry would be run by meat lords – vicious gangsters who, you can bet your Butterball turkey, would compete for territory and settle their accounts with all the violence and cruelty now associated with the illegal drug industry.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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