I've pointed out that 1971 is the year that Nixon pulled the USA out of the Bretton Woods Agreement, marking the end of Western governments basing the economic policies on the world of Maynard Keynes, and opening the door for the rise of economic Monetarism. That year the Lewis Powell Memo outlined the Neoconservative response to the liberalisation of society during the 1960s. While it wasn't the end of liberal government in the UK and America it was the beginning of a new period of politics in which conservatives set the political tone and dominated the political debate.
One of the most vicious anti-liberal policies in the world, America's War on Drugs, was also introduced in the 1971. Our old friend Richard Nixon first used the phrase "war on drugs" in a press conference on June 18, 1971. Minimum mandatory sentences soon followed. The effect on the prison population in the US is evident in this graph that's doing the rounds on Twitter:
In the same period the population has increased from 207.7 million to 316.1 million.
The War on Drugs is estimated to cost US$51 billion per year and probably ruins more lives than drugs themselves. Just as we desperately need rational economic policies, we also need rational social policies.
I think we'll look back and see that 1971 marked the end of liberalism and the rise of Neolibertarianism - the mass of contradictions that wants markets to be free and drug users in jail.