Much dismay has been made, both intentionally and unintentionally, over the debate on drugs and alcohol. I present this piece to clarify the libertarian stance on this issue. It is my hope to not sway anyone’s stance, but rather to show the logic behind our ideas. I hope you read this with an open mind.
It has been espoused, and mostly incorrectly, that libertarians are only “Republicans that wish to smoke pot.” This is an incorrect interpretation that comes from misunderstanding. Yet, this notion is not unnatural; we have been brought up to see drugs and alcohol as evil, and by many respects they are. They infect a man’s life like cancer and remove his well-being, wealth and bonds with family and community. This piece is not to defend drugs and alcohol in that context, but rather to defend the freedom to choose.
Freedom to oneself is a righteous thing, but freedom for others has long been something of mans’ contempt. Thomas Jefferson place it clearly by saying; “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” Yet, with each cut, each inch we give away of personnel choice to the hands of the State, we lose this liberty. Many a nation has come and gone that wished it all their societal burdens be removed from the individual and given to the ever watchful eye of the politician. All have lost their freedoms in the process.
As Libertarians, we hold personnel choice in the highest regards. Not because we feel man will always make the best choice, but rather man is able to make the choice entirely. We feel the government should not be the final authority as to how one should live their lives. More specifically, choices should not be forced upon another individual by force of guns, imprisonment, and fines; unless, of course, their choices hurt another individual. Then that is, indeed, the role of government. If a man chooses to drink, he must bear the costs and responsibilities related to his body. If an accident should arise, the government should hold him accountable. The two issues need to be separated. Still, this should be left to the States individually. Constitutionally there is no power given to the federal government to make such a law. Rather, since it is not within the powers of the federal government, it is thereby left to the states. A concept far lost on many Americans.
Much like Prohibition in the 1919, the climax of the temperance movement, showed us how such policies will fail. It showed us how unintended consequences arise from busybodies who wish to improve other people’s habits thru government force. Groups like the “Anti-Saloon League,” dismissed the large population of people that used alcohol responsibly, and striped their rights for the few who did not. Many were forced to give up personnel choice, for the “good of society.” A truly collectivist thought, if I ever heard one. To those who open their eyes, the effects of Prohibition (and any other drug/alcohol mandate) are clear.
Transitioning to the “War on Drugs,” the substance might be different, but it harbors the same effects. A defender of the “War on Drugs” must-honestly-ask themselves; has it worked? Are we better off today? I would say, with a sternness “No!” The drug wars and black markets only exist because of our policies. By legally prohibiting barriers of entry into a business, the government raises the demand (and in effect price). As the late economist Milton Friedman once said; “What more could a monopolist want?” By making it harder to sell a product, only the most ruthless in society are able to do so, and along with them comes death and destruction. If man truly wishes to remove this, they must remove the motive, specifically, the profit motive.
Still, with these policies, we prop up the Nanny State. An idea of government into our own lives has morphed into a ban on; fatty foods, raw milk, salt, etc. “The idea that in a free society each individual decides for himself what is good or bad and what is risky is completely foreign to the patronizing moralizers who are now in control.” As Dr. Ron Paul puts it. “The government today is involved in compulsion or prohibition of just about everything in our daily activities. Many times these efforts are well intentioned. Other times they result from a philosophic belief that average people need smart humanitarian politicians and bureaucrats to take care of them. The people, they claim, are not smart enough to make their own decisions. And unfortunately, many citizens go along believing the government will provide perfect safety from them in everything they do. Since governments can’t deliver, this assumption provides a grand moral hazard of complacency and will only be reversed with either a dictatorship or a national bankruptcy that awakens the people and forces positive change.”
There is more to discuss on this topic, but for brevity I will let this stand. Please, watch these clips below. Once you understand the logic, I think than, we can have a constructive conversation. Thanks you.
(Fox Business News)
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