At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

    I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.


I was working in a remote region with a korean war vet - the marine was as much of a libertarian as you could find. The man had the constitution nearly memorized. When our camp was on a break and the discussion came up concerning drugs, he said to legalize it all and 'if you want to ruin your life with drugs, that is your life, not mine.'

The guy was in his mid 80s.... a little off kilter but damn, he had a life that would lead anyone to respect his opinion.

posted by kleinbl00: 1122 days ago