Alphecca is soliciting comments about the War on Drugs. I'm a
Libertarian (yes, big-L, though I do have some serious differences with
the party's positions on some things). Thus, it should not come
as a surprise that I oppose the drug war. I do so for several
First, there is no Constitutional authority for drug prohibition.
The federal government has no authority to regulate or ban the
possession of any substance, though they can regulate commerce in that
substance IF it crosses a state line or international border. The
government is exceeding it's Constitutional authority in this respect,
and for decades that was driving the expansion of Federal powers in a
way that caused dramatic harm to the rights of the people.
If drug regulations were to operate on the State level, people could
choose to live under regulations that they approve of -- and suffer the
consequences of that choice. The federal system would work as it
was intended, allowing both choice and policy experimentation.
Second, I believe that drug use is a personal choice. People have
the right to do whatever they wish so long as their conduct does not
harm others. If a drug user can't keep a job, he's harming
himself, not anyone else -- and not being able to keep a job might well
motivate him to change! The same argument applies to
alcohol. Social pressure has reduced the problem of alcohol abuse
far, far more than regulation has. Those who want to be
successful will choose to drink or use drugs responsibly -- and
"responsibly" may mean complete abstinence for many. I drink
rarely, and I choose not to use the sort of drugs that people mean when
they talk about "using drugs". I don't even like simple
painkillers for a headache or cold medicine; I don't like the way that
they interfere with my thought processes.
Third, some of the drugs we're talking about are just plants. Why are we outlawing weeds?
Fourth, Jeff comments about lost productivity resulting from alcohol
abuse. While that's a good argument for appropriate social norms
discouraging alcohol abuse, it's not an argument for government
intervention. It is not the government's job to make us more
Fifth, Jeff also notes that crime is often associated with
alcohol. Granted, but correlation is not causation -- would these
same people be committing crimes if they were not drunk? Probably
not in some cases, but there are millions of people who manage to drink
and get drunk without breaking the law. The causal chain is not
direct, but instead involves reduced judgement and reasoning.
Drinking does not cause crime; it causes stupidity. The problem
is the crime itself, not that drinking led to the crime, and the way to
address it is to punish the crime. Someone who notices that when
they get drunk, they end up in jail, should put two and two together
and stop getting drunk.
It is not appropriate for the government to walk back up that chain of
causality. Deal with the crime. Social organizations that
are not wielding the threat of lethal force to bankroll their
operations can handle the causes.
Sixth, and finally, drug prohibition is unenforceable. Our experience with it so far has made that abundently clear.
All that said, I agree with Jeff that hard drugs can destroy
lives. But government is not there to help us make good
choices; it's there to prevent us from harming one another, not from
This entry was published Sat Oct 29 12:06:13 CDT 2005 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2005-10-29 12:06:13.0.