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the Civil Rights Movement

In any case, this argument for prohibition proves far too much. Most human activities create “externalities,” that is, impose costs on others. The same surely can be said of alcohol abuse, heavy tobacco use, excessive gambling, extreme consumerism, and short-sighted careerism. In fact, there is little conduct that does not affect others. Ironically, since drugs act as imperfect substitutes for one another, drug prohibition may increase alcohol use, doing more to transform harm than to eliminate harm. Despite reliance on this argument, the increasingly violent Drug War never has been driven by social problems.5 Noted sociologist Jerry Mandel, “the war on drugs preceded any drug use problem except alcohol” (1998: 212). Indeed, the problems of opium and marijuana use at the time they were banned were far less serious than today. It seems particularly odd to leave alcohol use legal if “social costs” is the chief criterion for a government ban. The failure to reinstitute Prohibition demonstrates that even those inclined towards prohibition believe the mere existence of social problems does not warrant a government ban. That famous enforcement effort failed to eliminate the problems from use while adding the problems created by turning drinking into a crime (see, e.g., Levine and Reinarman, 1998a: 264-70). In fact, noted Harry Levine of Queens College (City University of New York) and Craig Reinarman of the University of California (Santa Cruz), “prohibitionists were utopian moralists; they believed that eliminating the