Libertarian Myth #1
For lack of a more perfect fit, I describe myself in the blogger profile as a "libertarian minded individual". I often vote for Libertarian candidates and take the Libertarian side of most issues during political discussions. As a result, I am occasionally on the receiving end of anti-Libertarian comments. Since I usually hear the same few criticisms repeated, I am adding a new feature to this blog:
This will be a somewhat regular series of posts examining and debunking commonly held myths about Libertarianism.
Today’s Libertarian myth:
Libertarians are pro-drugsNot true. The Libertarian position is that tax dollars should not be seized from citizens for the purposes of arresting, trying and imprisoning people who use drugs. This does not mean that we support, like and/or encourage recreational drug use.
Here’s a quote from the National Libertarian Party’s web page on ending Prohibition:
Drug prohibition does more to make Americans unsafe than any other factor. Just as alcohol prohibition gave us Al Capone and the mafia, drug prohibition has given us the Crips, the Bloods and drive-by shootings. Consider the historical evidence:
's murder rate rose nearly 70% during alcohol prohibition, but returned to its previous levels after prohibition ended. Now, since the War on Drugs began, America 's murder rates have doubled. The cause/effect relationship is clear. Prohibition is putting innocent lives at risk. America
What's more, drug prohibition also inflates the cost of drugs, leading users to steal to support their high priced habits. It is estimated that drug addicts commit 25% of all auto thefts, 40% of robberies and assaults, and 50% of burglaries and larcenies. Prohibition puts your property at risk. Finally, nearly one half of all police resources are devoted to stopping drug trafficking, instead of preventing violent crime. The bottom line? By ending drug prohibition Libertarians would double the resources available for crime prevention, and significantly reduce the number of violent criminals at work in your neighborhood.
I’ve never used illegal drugs and have no interest in trying mind-altering substances. This is not because they are illegal nor is it because they are scarce. (On the contrary, when I was a student, such things were available for the asking.) If crack became legal tomorrow, I wouldn’t run to the nearest crack house to try some. Would you? Is the fact that such things are illegal really all that keeps people from frying their brains? I sincerely doubt it.
I personally don't care if an adult, in the privacy of their own home, smokes, injects sniffs and drinks as much as they like, providing they don't endanger anyone else or become an unwelcome burden on others. I wouldn’t respect them for it, but I also wouldn’t pay money to incarcerate them. If they drive while intoxicated, rob people to pay for their drugs or commit some other harm, they should be prosecuted and punished. If they show up for work intoxicated the employer should have the right to fire them. If they pickle their brains to the point where they can’t support or care for themselves, they either better hope a charity or relative takes them in or prepare to be declared legally incapacitated and spend their remaining days in an austere institution where they are fed basic nutrients and kept out everyone else’s hair.
As far as I’m concerned, doctors should be able to prescribe whatever they think will best meet a patient’s medical needs. After watching someone slowly die from cancer, I say ANYTHING that might help ease the pain and nausea should be fair game. Frankly, if a person is dying, what difference does it make if you give them morphine, heroine, marijuana, crack cocaine or whatever? If it eases their last few months of agony, it is probably a good thing. I don’t understand why it’s "good" to continuously shoot a patient full of morphine to the point where they fade in and out of consciousness, yet other ways of providing oblivion are “evil” and thus cannot be legally considered by the medical profession.