1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10793/free-the-clogged-nose-25/

Free the Clogged-Nose 25!

October 8, 2009 by

The charge is “unlawful possession of a precursor.” The “precursor” here is Sudafed.Can you believe it? What was lawful only a few years ago now gets you written up in the papers as a drug dealer. FULL ARTICLE

{ 36 comments }

Brad October 8, 2009 at 8:13 am

Vices are not crimes.

Spooner knew it 150 years ago and wrote eloquently about it.

Failure hasn’t stopped the intervention by the State even after several examples.

The operating definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Ergo…….

Snowflake October 8, 2009 at 8:20 am

You know the mainstream will never buy drug legalization till you show them it works. What we need is to legalize all drugs less harmful and addictive than alcohol and tobacco* and then show that crime goes down, use doesn’t go up, etc etc.

(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%28mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%29_nl.svg)

geoih October 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

Perhaps we should start pre-emptively amputating penises to stop rape.

Michael A. Clem October 8, 2009 at 8:48 am

I see lots of evidence of Meth hype and hysteria, but surprisingly little evidence of actual, widespread meth usage. I suppose somebody, somewhere must be using it, but I seriously doubt that the numbers are as great as the media and the drug warriors make it out to be. They have to keep beating the drum to justify their actions, but the less factual evidence they have of a justifiably serious problem, the sillier they look.
This is, of course, in addition to the absurdity of trying to treat addiction like crime.

Enjoy Every Sandwich October 8, 2009 at 9:00 am

What do they define as a “precursor”? That strikes me as a dangerously elastic idea. If cooking meth uses water, is water a “precursor”?

Enjoy Every Sandwich October 8, 2009 at 9:04 am

Oh, and a question for the legal eagles out there: I thought that a criminal conviction required a criminal intent? “Mens rea” or something like that? How can they prove that for somebody who inadvertantly buys one packet too many of Sudafed?

Wade A. Mitchell October 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

I have allergies and used to buy Drixoral over the counter. This medication worked for me and I would buy 6-8 boxes of the stuff at a time. That way, I would always have some on hand. Now, I can’t even buy the stuff at any price. When I do buy less effective medications, I have to sign my life away and am treated like a criminal by the counter people at the pharmacy. This is just one unseen effect of a drug war. I am punished and I have done nothing wrong.

The United States of America now incarcerates more persons per capita than any other nation on earth…and they still call it the land of the free?

Anyway, great article. I’m going to print it out and give it to those poor ignorant clerks at my local CVS Pharmacy.

Tim Kern October 8, 2009 at 9:31 am

Once we stop making excuses for government and trying to sugar-coat its actions, we can start to become effective educators. Government, as they say, is POWER, and all governmental acts, regardless the public justification of them, are acts to protect or expand governmental power.

Trying to pigeon-hole government acts into convenient, palatable subcategories — fiat money; wars on drugs, terror, &c.; public safety; transportation; public health — just confuses the real issue, which is the removal of individuals’ rights and adding those rights to the government’s assumed powers.

Unlike economic prosperity (which can expand for all, or be destroyed by some), power is a zero-sum commodity: every bit of power the government usurps is a bit of power the people lose. Also unlike prosperity, the overall amount of power cannot be wasted or diminished — the amount remains constant; only its tools and possessors change.

EnEm October 8, 2009 at 9:35 am

Here we go again… George Braindead Bush; a guy who cannot pronounce “nuclear”, never mind getting the spelling of “Pseudoephedrine” right.

And I read in one of the many comments above, something about vices not being crimes. Why do we always have to split hair on these blogs? A vice is immoral and should be dealt with accordingly.Period. If you know the difference between Right and Wrong and Good and Bad then there is no justification in deliberately choosing the Wrong and the Bad.

So don’t tell me that we should have the freedom to practice our vices because by some convoluted reasoning we are able to differentiate between a vice and a crime. That’s BS. What you are really looking for is a license, not freedom, to practice vice. Such licenses are only granted in A-moral societies.

Mike October 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

EmEm,

Do you propose anything other than societal pressure to combat vice in others?

The difference between vice and crime exists and you seem to be willfully ignoring it. That difference is that crime is an attack on the property of others. Vice is not.

FarSide October 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

“Why do we always have to split hair on these blogs?”

Really?

There is great overlap between economic freedom advanced by mises.org and libertarianism in general.

The idea that anyone can punish me for doing something “wrong” that doesn’t effect anyone but ME is in direct opposition to any sort of liberty-minded ideology.

Nathan October 8, 2009 at 10:24 am

Michael Clem,

Meth is not hype, is a big problem. In my small Iowa town I can say with certainty that at least 10-20% of my graduating class was on it. I saw many young girls turn into sore infested walking skeletons in a frighteningly short amount of time.

But it’s not just small midwest towns either, it’s all over the place, from the East Coast to the West Coast.

It is pure poison invented by the devil… and that’s why it must be legalized.

Pre Curse Sir October 8, 2009 at 10:49 am

Enjoy Every Sandwich,

“That strikes me as a dangerously elastic idea. If cooking meth uses water, is water a “precursor”?”

Water is the UNIVERSAL precursor, from drugs to explosives water is used in many many criminal activities.
I’m shocked and awed that they haven’t outlawed that precursor yet. The day might come where you have to show your driver’s license and fill a bunch of government paperwork and get a permit just to buy a bottle of evian water.

Geoih,

Shhhhh…. don’t give them ideas !!!

“Perhaps we should start pre-emptively amputating penises to stop rape.

(8?» October 8, 2009 at 10:51 am

If they start doing that here, my wife is screwed! I won’t sign any gov. tracking log, so she buys enough for our family of three allergy sufferers.

Luckily most of our problems are seasonal, so we can maintain a supply over time without living our lives in fear. Unless, that is, they start looking for “smurfing” activity next.

Anybody know a good lawyer?

EnEm October 8, 2009 at 10:55 am

To respond to Mike’s statement: “The difference between vice and crime exists and you seem to be willfully ignoring it. That difference is that crime is an attack on the property of others. Vice is not”.

Do you accept sodomy to be a vice? If so, then according to you as long as it’s not exercised it’s a vice but it’s a crime only when it is willfully exercised and perpetrated on an unwilling individual’s butt (property, i.e. when it’s a rape. So we have to wait until somebody gets raped so that we can get an opportunioty to say, “Aha! Now that’s a crime!”. So you are willing to live with the fact that a vice is A-moral (so what) as long as it’s not a crime.

Now for FarSide: “The idea that anyone can punish me for doing something “wrong” that doesn’t effect anyone but ME is in direct opposition to any sort of liberty-minded ideology”.

Any wrong done by one individual inadvertantly affects someone else, unless you are referring to masturbation. And to understand the affect of your wrongdoing affecting someone else, read my response to Mike in the above paragraph.

Curtis October 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Ah, now it becomes more clear.
A religious extremist who wants to impose his particular world view on everyone else at the point of a gun. A Christian version of Iran being your utopia I suppose.
I believe listening to country music to be a vice, and a particularly bad one at that. Can I live in your world so that they may all be safely locked behind bars and I never have to hear that crap again? To the gulag dissenters!
Advocating the use of violence against anyone engaging in behavior you find undesirable is not going to get much support around here. And in your world of an all powerful state that jails all “sinners” who gets to decide what the sins are? I suppose you’re the final arbiter of that eh?

Comrade EnEm, I believe you have gotten lost and have stumbled in here by mistake. A totalitarian like yourself would probably get a better reception elsewhere. You’re not likely to find much sympathy for your nonsense at mises.org.

Wayne October 8, 2009 at 11:26 am

Mr. Tucker has pointed out the obvious towards the end of his article: “The people who use the stuff would still do so, and those like me who have no interest still would not.” However, you’ve left out another category, which is what the whole argument is based on: the people who don’t use them currently becuase they are illegal but would start using them if they were made legal.

I have strong beliefs in personal liberty but I have yet to justify the “make every drug legal” argument. There are people in the category mentioned above, and for those people the law is made. This is true in every group you have the extremes who will do what they want regardless of the law, but the vast majority (I’d say 2 standard deviations) will do what the law says, despite personal desire. It is for those people that we have “decency” laws.

I’ll admit that it’s gone overboard, “possession of precursor” is ridiculous. As is outlawing the substances used to make the controlled substances. However, I still think the basic law is right it’s just expanded out of control.

Lipton October 8, 2009 at 11:30 am

@EnEm

Do you accept sodomy to be a vice?
Learn what a vice is and learn what a crime is.

Any wrong done by one individual inadvertantly affects someone else, unless you are referring to masturbation.
Unless it is done
to someone else,who has not consented, then yes.If done to oneself or to someone who has consented, then absolutley not.
Punching a guy up who has not consented is a crime.The very same action done to someone who has consented is not a crime;in fact it is a sport ,like Boxing.

Andy October 8, 2009 at 11:35 am

24/365 Sudafed user here.

Anyone know off-hand if Walgreens, CVS, etc backed these regs to herd us into their establishments on a more regular basis?

Mike October 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Ultimately, in a free society, the person who pays the price for your vices is you. Vices aren’t categorized that way arbitrarily. They’re called that because they are things which if you commit your life to them, you will ruin your life.

But it is very important that any activity, vice included, be available to every individual. This is the only way to respect human dignity. If I’m a perfectly healthy person because my every action is controlled, I get no psychological benefit from that. I’m essentially well-cared-for livestock. If I control my vices of my own volition, however, that is a genuine accomplishment of which I can be proud.

If a guy accumulates enough wealth that he decides to spend the rest of his life smoking dope, let him. I certainly don’t want to be forced to contribute to “setting him straight”. I have better things to do with my time and money. Sure, we’d all be better off if he continued to be a wealth producer, but it’s not worth losing essential liberty.

Mike October 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

“Any activity” in my most recent post should be qualified to exclude crimes (as defined in previous comments).

FarSide October 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm

@Wayne -
“There are people in the category mentioned above, and for those people the law is made.”

The problem here is that by allowing this, we are implicitly saying that people cannot take responsibility for their own actions, and therefore need to have babysitters telling them what they can and cannot do. And everyone else has to have the babysitter too, because it wouldn’t be fair.

Shall we try alcohol prohibition again because some people become alcoholics?

The most important part, though, you hit on: “…it’s just expanded out of control.” Unfortunately, this always happens. Always. To think it won’t happen with new laws, or continue to happen with old laws, is to ignore years and years of government actions.

Wayne October 8, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Mr. Tucker has pointed out the obvious towards the end of his article: “The people who use the stuff would still do so, and those like me who have no interest still would not.” However, you’ve left out another category, which is what the whole argument is based on: the people who don’t use them currently becuase they are illegal but would start using them if they were made legal.

I have strong beliefs in personal liberty but I have yet to justify the “make every drug legal” argument. There are people in the category mentioned above, and for those people the law is made. This is true in every group you have the extremes who will do what they want regardless of the law, but the vast majority (I’d say 2 standard deviations) will do what the law says, despite personal desire. It is for those people that we have “decency” laws.

I’ll admit that it’s gone overboard, “possession of precursor” is ridiculous. As is outlawing the substances used to make the controlled substances. However, I still think the basic law is right it’s just expanded out of control.

Larry N. Martin October 8, 2009 at 1:20 pm

the people who don’t use them currently becuase they are illegal but would start using them if they were made legal.
What? All two dozen of them? ;-)
Seriously, I have a hard time believing there are that many people who don’t do them simply because they are illegal, but would start doing them the day after they were legalized.

Pre Curse Sir October 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Wayne,

You seem to conveniently neglect a category yourself, those who are manufacturing drugs now because it’s profitable and who would not do so were it legal becaue there would be no profits in drugs. Meth labs would go broke and look for a real job.

making drugs illegal increases their price which creates incentives to manufacture and sell them despite the risk to life and liberty coming from police arrests and jail.

The prohibition has concentrated the profits and the power in the hands of a few criminals fighthing and murdering to protect their turf.

We should legalize drugs and let the junkies eliminate themselves and bear the full consenquences of their vice.

Brad October 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I realize that it is not popular to insert links at mises.org, but given the circumstances (i.e. alarming misguidance of a particular individual) and my overall lack of eloquence I’ll let Spooner speak for himself –

http://www.lysanderspooner.org/VicesAreNotCrimes.htm

Nathan October 8, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Wayne,

I recently read Mark Thortons book ‘The Economics of Prohibition’ and I’d highly recommend it. You won’t find someone that is more against meth then I am, because I personally know people who have ruined their lives on it.

Here are some of the reasons that I use to justify the “make every drug legal argument”.

1. Making any drug illegal reduces the supply which raises the price (and profits).
2. Because of the new profits new entreprenuers enter the market, generally criminals.
3. Now that the drug is only available from criminals instead of neighborhood drug stores, you get violence, crime and gangs.
4. The new profits allow the new drug dealers to bribe and corrupt the police and the courts.
5. Since it is illegal, you don’t know the quality of the drug you are injesting, espicially powdered drugs. What is it cut with, what is the potency? Who knows.
6. People turn to dangerous subsitutes, like moonshine during alcohol prohibition or meth to substitute cocaine.
7. Subverts respect for the rule of law by imprisoning non-violent “criminals”.

beaon October 8, 2009 at 3:55 pm

[blockquote] A vice is immoral and should be dealt with accordingly.Period. If you know the difference between Right and Wrong and Good and Bad then there is no justification in deliberately choosing the Wrong and the Bad.[/blockquote]

The definition of what is immoral and moral is completely subjective and based on your own opinion. You take the standpoint of the zelout who wishes to use compulsion to enforce his beliefs on everyone else. The same definition can be described to a fanatic which I believe is what you are.

On the flip side I think posting on forums during business hours is a vice and you should be reprimanded for it. Perhaps gambling, and driving too fast are also vices. We should punish you for it, even if you haven’t directly been caught. Do you eat too much? Do you smoke? Do you have sexual fantasies? Are you greedy, do you like to make money? Are we to assume your some kind of saint? And for that matter a saint based on who’s standards? Yours? Your a holier than thou prick who more than anyone else here deserves to be punished for condoning the act of violent force in an effort to assimilate those around you into the confines of your own personal creed and beliefs.

Have a good one!

Matt W October 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm

“This is true in every group you have the extremes who will do what they want regardless of the law, but the vast majority (I’d say 2 standard deviations) will do what the law says, despite personal desire. It is for those people that we have “decency” laws.”

I don’t know about two deviations, but even so, people should be able to choose for themselves.

I used to smoke marijuana in high school and throughout college, and I was never worried about the law. If you never smoke while driving, than there’s virtually no way police will catch you. Today, I no longer smoke, not because I’m scared of the police catching me, but because I have a good job and a career to nourish. I made a choice. I’m afraid of my employer not the law. As long as employers retain the right to terminate or not hire based on drug use, even the private sector can curb drug use in society.

Have to love the free market.

Caveman October 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm

1. Making any drug illegal reduces the supply which raises the price (and profits).

I’m not so sure about this. For example, in Arizona (where the supply of Mexican marijuana is abundant) an ounce of marijuana is cheaper than a carton of cigarettes. My suspicion is that any drug which is legalized will be taxed very heavily and there will be strict regulations on growing/manufacturing. Drug users, be careful what you wish for.

Me October 8, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Did these people know each other? Did they all purchase large quantities of Sudafed so that they could make Meth in one of their houses? You don’t provide nearly enough details to make an informed decision on whether there was a crime here or people are getting arrested for having a couple boxes of Sudafed?

How much Sudafed did each of these people have? You say the amount each had is irrelevant, but I strongly disagree.

How did they get caught? Did one of them snitch on the rest?

burgess October 9, 2009 at 12:35 am

has any one here asked themselfs would meth be a popular drug if the war on drugs never began if not i think its worth a little thought.lets face it there are people who use drugs as an escape.if the government does has so called success with one drug the same people will find another escape.(the crack boom began as poor mans coke)many people i know including myself like using e acid pot im not addicted i have never hit any one i work i just like to go out and enjoy a e mdma once and a while.(as many of you might enjoy a drink and guess what drug is more harmful) im more at risk on e mdma of giving away money to strangers than hurting someone.there are many drugs the can pass as e last year i tested 7 types to find one e that was mdma.hell knows what the rest were……….any way i made choice to take e and acid i dont drink or smoke i made a informed choice and it being illegal had no impact on my choice and never will.

Russ October 9, 2009 at 1:15 am

burgess wrote:

“has any one here asked themselfs would meth be a popular drug if the war on drugs never began if not i think its worth a little thought.”

You’re probably right. Meth is popular because it’s easily made from over-the-counter drugs and commercially available chemicals. Crack require cocaine, which can’t be had over the counter. If coke were legal, meth probably never would have become popular.

And if they illegalize pseudo/ephedrine drugs, then some evil genius will probably come up with a way to create a new drug from caffeine or something that will make meth addiction seem like a sugar buzz in comparison.

josh m October 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

EnEm: Authoritarianism is a vice ; you should be arrested.

Wayne: Just so happens that I am one of the people in the category you described as those who would become meth. users if it were not illegal.

So now go mind your own g.d. business and leave me alone.

Daniel October 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm

@Russ

Meth came about because of the government’s crackdown on phenylacetone, the precursor to amphetamine.

Russ October 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm

@Daniel:

OK, so if phenylacetone weren’t cracked down on, then meth never would have become so popular. Either way, the main gist of my argument holds.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: