Comment by John Perry Barlow

 That was not my point. My point is more complex and economic. The poorer
 African-Americans are generally forced into an economic corner where their
 only realistic entrepreneurial opportunities are illegal. And given a
 choice between spending a life shuffling along in welfare lines or driving
 a BMW by age 17, I know which one I’d choose. Especially since, however the
 drugs themselves may be hated and feared in the African-American community,
 their successful distributors are accorded a certain grudging respect.

 The drugs themselves are less drugs of personal choice than drugs of
 economic convenience. Unlike other contraband, they are light, portable,
 and easily concealed. They require little infrastructure to support their
 distribution. And they work well for the ghetto. Heroin eliminates physical
 suffering, however briefly, and crack can make anyone feel empowered and
 potent, no matter how futile their actual lives.

 While I would not call it a conscious policy – no one is that malevolent –
 if I had to design a program which would completely incapitate poor black
 Americans, I can imagine a more effective one than one we’ve got. It sets
 up conditions that encourage an outlaw economy in genuinely nasty drugs,
 naturally attracting into it a large percentage of the young men with
 initiative and entrepreneurial drive. Those who don’t murder one another
 can then be imprisoned.

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