Great. Just great.

Last month critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug crusade were dismayed by the official White House summary of a “very friendly” telephone conversation in which Donald Trump praised the bloodthirsty authoritarian for “fighting very hard to rid [his] country of drugs.” A newly revealed transcript of the April 29 call, prepared by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and published yesterday by The Washington Post, shows that Trump’s comments were even more alarming than they sounded in the summary.

After some initial pleasantries, Trump announces the purpose of his call. “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he says. “Many countries have a problem. We have a problem. But what a great job you are doing, and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Duterte thanks Trump and adds, “This is the scourge of my nation now, and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.” Trump repeats his unqualified endorsement of Duterte’s drug policies. “I understand that and fully understand that,” he says, “and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that, but I understand that, and we have spoken about this before.”

Trump is alluding to Barack Obama’s criticism of Duterte’s methods, which have included thousands of extrajudicial killings, routine falsification of evidence, and public incitement of murder as a justified response to drug addicts as well as drug dealers. While Obama may have had a problem with Duterte’s approach, Trump is saying, he understands that fighting drugs requires extreme measures.

Words fail me.

But let us just suppose for the sake of argument that words did not fail me.

A lot of difference that would make, right?

The complete insanity of drug laws and their supporters really challenges my ability to be patient and reasonable. As the murdering Philippine thug dictator (and Trump friend) Duterte shows by personal example as a Fentanyl user, it is considered perfectly OK to have your pain relieved by drugs — as long as they come from a doctor. But if you are too poor or too dysfunctional to go that route, you become a “dangerous” criminal worthy of the most severe punishment.

For not having the right document!

Many people use drugs to medicate pain. Yet the war on drugs makes criminals out of those who self-medicate their pain, particularly emotional pain (which doctors will not relieve with pain meds, but which some people need). Why create massive crime — and massive criminal opportunities — for such an irrational, downright frivolous reason? What was the problem with the pre-1914 situation when drugs could be purchased anywhere without prescription? The answer, we are told, is that people were becoming addicted, which is bad, so we have to have laws! Which imprison people for something that ought to be a matter of personal conscience, personal health choices. That these choices are bad is not a proper concern of the law — any more than whether people are making poor food choices or failing to exercise.

Then there are the emotional people who have lost family members to overdoses. They organize and agitate endlessly, and it leads to emotion-driven legislation. The drug war seems hopelessly destined to continue on forever. It makes me hate what this country has become and most of all hate the human mind for its pettiness and complete lack of logic.

Any economist can see what is happening. Make something illegal that people want, and you will get more of it because you create criminal opportunities. (And of course in the mathematical sense, the best way to increase crime is to create more crimes, by making more things illegal. More laws = more crime.) It is the most simple logic, yet so few people are able to grasp it that I am constantly astonished. Emotion does not listen to logic.

So, insane as it is, we turn a simple health issue into a crime issue, thus creating an economic issue which is in turn exacerbated by laws which makes drug user criminals who must pay exorbitant prices for relatively worthless substances. A pill that sells for 50 cents with a prescription sells for $50 on the street. This is pure madness, but simple economics. Yet instead of analyzing it economically, we analyze it MORALLY!

What does this have to do with morality? I realize economics is often fraught with moral analyses (hence Marxism), but what is moral or immoral about easing pain?

The answer is that it does not matter because posing such questions or debating them is a useless waste of time. There is no reasoning with the anti-drug people. I have concluded that the only way to stop the war on drugs would be to render it totally, ridiculously unwinnable by means of genetic engineering (like, say, morphine-producing yeast, which would be uncontrollable once in the hands of ordinary users). Anyway, this is no longer a free country, and it has not been for some time. Trump will do nothing to increase individual freedom; he seems hell-bent on subtracting even more.

It’s very depressing. Mostly because I am saying nothing here I haven’t said in countless posts.