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Posts tagged legalization
1:18 pm - Fri, Feb 17, 2012
23 notes
Three fundamental components of libertarianism (live and let live, smaller government, and anti-militarism) are dear to me. However, I reject libertarianism as a whole, because at its heart lies a profound misconception. Libertarianism is predicated on the assumption that people are rational. The libertarian refuses to believe that the government is smarter than he is. He rejects the notion that the government should tell him how to live his life, or that the government should take care of him or anybody else. His attitude is that the individual is always smarter than the government. If the individual makes an error in judgement, reality will quickly impose its consequences, and that person will learn and improve.

Pleistocene Hunter Gatherers (via azspot)

The trouble with this quote is the same trouble you encounter with “liberals believe X” or “conservatives believe X.” It fails the ideological Turing Test.

You don’t have to think the individual is always rational and smarter than the government to think the individual has a right to autonomy. Take drug legalization. Libertarians are for it. But I don’t know any libertarians who think using narcotics is smart. It is, of course, stupid and foolhardy.

The libertarian argument for legalization is twofold. The utilitarian case is that prohibition has created a godawful mess — gangs, mass incarceration of minorities, etc. — that has not reduced consumption and that legalization would ameliorate.

The deontological case is that the state has no right to dictate what you can do with your body. It’s YOUR body, and nobody else’s.  People have the right to do things even when other people think they are being very stupid.

Neither one of those beliefs is predicated on the assumption that individuals are always rational.

(via azspot)


2:22 pm - Tue, Jan 17, 2012
3 notes

Cancel the War and Fix the Wounded

Even though the rationale for both alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition is essentially the same, and even though the costs of alcohol abuse are higher than those of drug abuse (true, the gap might shrink if drugs were decriminalized), America no longer forbids drinking. We tried that, for 13 years, and it didn’t work. It was, in fact, a disaster.

So the country switched from paternalism to altruism, in the genuine sense. We allow people to pursue their own good as they define it — not as someone else defines it for them. Society lets people drink as much as they want, so long as they don’t endanger others. Even if that means some of them don’t always come out of the chute at 110 miles an hour on Monday morning.

And it works.

When it comes to alcohol, most people don’t overindulge. Some do. Some of those develop a drinking problem. And when someone with a drinking problem needs help, we provide it. 

So why not try the same approach with other drugs—starting with marijuana? After all: If prohibition reduced drug consumption, then the U.S. could have declared victory long ago. From 2002 to 2009, national drug-control funding rose 39 percent. Drug arrests exceeded 1 million a year—roughly half of those for pot, of which 9 in 10 busts were for simple possession. Yet the rate of illicit drug use rose—from 8.3 percent to 8.7 percent. Some victory. Maybe it’s time to stop fighting the war, and start fixing the wounded.

More on the subject in today’s column.


11:25 am - Tue, Oct 18, 2011
45 notes


  • 50% of respondents want to see marijuana legalized — the first time it’s reached a full majority
  • 46% of respondents would rather that marijuana remain illegal … a number that’s been declining for years source

» Will we reach a tipping point? Quite possibly, the study suggests:…

I would like to see it legalized, too — I’ve written entire columns about the failure of the War on Drugs. But I sometimes wince at the tendency of politicos of all stripes to cite polls showing that a large slice of the American public agrees with them about X, which vaguely implies some sort of validation of the position. Seems risky.

After all, a large segment of the public supports government censorship of media reports that it feels threaten national security. Much of the public also supports prayer in school. By contrast, the public has shown over and over again a general opposition to gay marriage.

Should we therefore favor censorship and school prayer and state marriage amendments? I don’t think so!

File under: Majority, Tyranny of.


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