We're reprinting part of it, to illustrate the timeless arguments he makes. For years since his death, his logic remains sound even as it is largely ignored by lawmakers.
He wrote, for instance, about different rates of addiction, and about ambient pressures that bear on addiction. Elsewhere, Professor James Q. Wilson, now of UCLA, has written eloquently in defense of the drug war. Milton Friedman from the beginning said it would not work, and would do damage.
We have found Dr. Gazzaniga and others who have written on the subject persuasive in arguing that the weight of the evidence is against the current attempt to prohibit drugs. But National Review has not, until now, opined formally on the subject. We do so at this point. To put off a declarative judgment would be morally and intellectually weak-kneed.
Things being as they are, and people as they are, there is no way to prevent somebody, somewhere, from concluding that “National Review favors drugs.” We don’t; we deplore their use; we urge the stiffest feasible sentences against anyone convicted of selling a drug to a minor. But that said, it is our judgment that the war on drugs has failed, that it is diverting intelligent energy away from how to deal with the problem of addiction, that it is wasting our resources, and that it is encouraging civil, judicial, and penal procedures associated with police states. We all agree on movement toward legalization, even though we may differ on just how far.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Buckley suggests a tactical retreat toward the remaining public policy objectives of protecting children from exploitation, and protecting public safety from endangerment caused by motorists and operators of power equipment.
Buckley died in 2008. He was extremely influential on society since he emerged on the scene prior to the candidacy of Barry Goldwater, for president, in 1964.
Oklahoma largely ignored Buckley's advice. Especially when we elected a former FBI agent to be our governor, in 1994.
Frank Keating's policies have 'come home to roost', causing Oklahoma to have one of the worst incarceration rates and the worst mental health policies in the modern world.
The full text of Buckley's drug policy can be read, here.