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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6346/the-vietnam-solution-for-drug-victory/

The Vietnam Solution for Drug Victory

March 7, 2007 by

Look at the problems in drug-producing areas of the world such as Mexico, South America, the Middle East and Afghanistan. What would these nations be like absent our drug war? We know very well that the drug war and illegal drug money is helping to undermine local institutions, spread dangerous ideologies, and fuel anti-Americanism. The same applies to the inner city ghettos. Most importantly, Americans are dying from illegal drugs at rising and alarming rates. These deaths are also the result of the drug war because government prohibition makes drugs more potent, more impure, more dangerous, more addictive, and more deadly. FULL ARTICLE

{ 96 comments }

Sione Vatu March 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm

John

What you are saying is that in effect you want control over 300 million fellow Americans. You want them to live, to choose and to behave as YOU think they should. You are expressing a conceit that you know better than every other person how that person should live.

This is an intellectual error that govt relies upon for its continued evil. All that is necessary for society to behave according to this omniscient wisdom is for govt to have the omnipotence to enforce its decisions.

Some problems mate. First up, govt will not necessarily do as you’d like it to. The people within it, those who operate it and control various parts of it, have their own ideas and interests. Much of what they want have nothing to do with what is good for you or anyone other than themselves. Second problem, you do not know better than everyone else how to live their lives. That’s their business. Third problem, the people who operate the levers of power in govt don’t knbow either. Forthly, you’ll find that by now the democratic majority of your fellow residents of North America have consumed illegal drugs or are presently doing so. There are more than them then there are of you. Who says they are all wrong and you are right?

Their bodies, their lives, their choice…

Sione

PS. I’ve known people who got into the drugs nonsense. Idiotic? Yes, certainly. Addicted? Some absolutely without a doubt and some probably not. A few are not around any longer (an overdose, several deaths by misadventure, a heart attack, two car crashes- unrelated to drugs, hepatitis- drug related, and a couple by natural causes). The rest are still alive and here and about. And all of those guys gave it up. Mostly they just moved on from the drug scene. Hit bottom and stopped or just matured and grew out of it. Didn’t require counseling or jail or govt or anything at all like that. I think you’ll find that’s how it is for most drug consumers. Does it really require tens of thousands of govt functionaries, snoops, commissars and storm troopers to deal with them…? Really?

mikey March 10, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Mises did not merely have some “pet peeves” with
government. He was a statist only in the narrowest possible sense,in that he felt government should exist only to secure peoples property rights and personal security.Admitting that drug use is harmful is not the same as advocating putting it in the criminal code,and Mises NEVER did this.Cherry-picking Mises words to
back up statist ideas won’t work here,we have read his books all the way through.

ste March 10, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Sione, Do you believe in addiction, or am I misinterpreting?

Dr Thornton uses the term in his article also, though I find it to be a poor choice of word. For example, “The two things we know for certain are that we will never eliminate drug abuse and addiction” unnecessarily legitimises the statist perspective, and weakens his argument. It is one thing to dislike drugs, but to my mind articles like Thornton’s come across as an uninformed appeal to the moral majority rather than a serious refutation of invasions of certain property rights.

Libertarians all to often uncritically accept the the ideas central to state psychiatry. I can only suggest that the work of Thomas Szasz be read and understood.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 10, 2007 at 5:14 pm

“I assume that if you disagree with me that you do so in good faith and that we would each come to the aid of the other to protect the right of free discourse.”

Mr. Coleman, the poblem is that you and your fellow illegalizers are not disagreeing in good faith and you are not protecting the right of free discourse.

Millions of people, including myself, do not believe that “drugs” are evil substances that have the power to control and destroy human beings. We believe that inert substances and objects such as drugs and guns have no will power and therefore cannot cause anything. We accept as fact that man has free will and is personally responsible for his actions. Even though we believe that your theory of evil substances is voodoo nonsense and very dangerous to human liberty and rational thought, we have no desire to harm or persecute you. We do not want to send armed gangs to assault, rob, and arrest you. And, we do not want to murder you if you resist. In other words, we respectfully disagree with you. Now, What gives you the right to inflict this violence against all those who do not share your voodoo beliefs?

By the way, The major drugs in the world — alcohol, cocaine, opiates, and cannabis — are valuable medicines which have served mankind for thousands of years. These naturally produced medicines are also the safest drugs. Preparations of coca, opium, cannabis, and alcohol have been safely produced and consumed for centuries. These much-valued herbal medicines also have religeous, ceremonial, and recreational uses. They belong in every medicine cabinet.

Drug fighters and illegalizers are NOT the good guys. Likewise for those who support, gun laws, and other laws that violate individual rights. Here are the facts:

According Constitutional law, natural law, and the laws of justice, adults who exercise their natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not criminals no matter what any man-made law may say. Adults who refuse to be told what they may eat, drink, smoke, or otherwise ingest are not criminals anymore than those who refuse to be told what they may read, write, think, or believe. Likewise, human beings who exercise their natural right of self-defense are not criminals.

Drug fighters and illegalizers are criminals because they kill, assault, rob, and arrest peaceful human beings. They are also terrorists because they target civilians.

The people who founded this country were smugglers, gun owners, and tax resistors. The Founding Fathers did not recognize the authority of any government to interfere with free trade, peaceful behavior, or the right to bear arms. Ultimately, they refused to be stopped and searched for guns and contraband. These facts are the origin of the Second and Fourth Amendments, the heart and soul of this Republic.

Thus, drug fighters and illegalizers are traitors in addition to being violent criminals and terrorists.

Sione Vatu March 10, 2007 at 5:55 pm

ste

“Addiction is a Choice.”- Schaler

I accept the term addiction as describing a type of choice or a type of obsessive behaviour some people may exhibit from time to time.

I do not accept that recreational drugs “control” the people who choose to use them. The people I was thinking of retained the free choice to consume or not to consume for the duration of the time they were using drugs. Idiots one & all!

Sione

Sione Vatu March 10, 2007 at 6:11 pm

An aside:

This is an interesting comment, “I assume that if you disagree with me that you do so in good faith and that we would each come to the aid of the other to protect the right of free discourse.”

I would answer that there are those I would never come to the aid of no matter what. For example, I would never knowingly come to the aid of a communist or a socialist. That I disagree with such a monster is part of why I would leave such to perish and be most pleased to have done so.

One protects values against their antithesis. Freedom of discourse is not served by protecting those who would seek to destroy it. Likewise protecting the freedom to choose makes it necessary to oppose those who would employ force or justify the use of force to deprive one of the freedom to choose.

In the end the decision to consume drugs or not falls solely upon the individual. There is no valid reason for the govt to restrict that individual’s power to decide for him or herself.

Sione

John Coleman March 10, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Rick:
Here’s is where we differ. I expressly said that I would fight to defend your right to free speech but you, on the other hand, would not do the same for me unless you agreed with me. That doesn’t sound like something people who value liberty and freedom should say, do you agree? Then you state: “Millions of people, including myself, do not believe that “drugs” are evil substances that have the power to control and destroy human beings.” Ah yes, perhaps million do agree with you, Rick, perhaps. But, what of the millions of folks who believe otherwise? Do you respect them for their views as much as you would have them respect you for yours? My reading of what you have stated suggests otherwise; that one must follow your directives and governances to the letter. Did I miss something?

John Coleman March 10, 2007 at 9:52 pm

Sione: The idea of protecting free speech does not require that you agree with the speaker or the speech but only that you permit the exercise to take place. Yes, there are certain restraints, such as the cliche that one cannot falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, for example, or use “free speech” to incite a riot and so forth but simply because an Austrian and a Communist ask to speak on the same stage should not be something that either should be able to prevent. That seems fairly straightforward. As for the individual’s choice to use drugs, it is true that this is an individual’s choice and, while some may find this hard to believe, the government does not prohibit this. Unlike Austria where being an addict is a crime, in the USA it is not a crime to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is a violation of law to manufacture, possess, distribute, or sell illicit drugs but since a Supreme Court case in 1962 called Robinson vs US, status crimes, as they are called, are not prosecutable crimes in the USA. Included among these are what used to be called crimes of vagrancy, drug addiction, alcoholism etc. Some may say this is just semantics and perhaps it is, but it is significant, nonetheless, to know that the US Constitution does not prohibit one from being a drunk or drug addict.

John Coleman March 10, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Sione:

I just saw your second message to me that I overlooked a moment ago. Sorry. Here’s what you stated: “What you are saying is that in effect you want control over 300 million fellow Americans. You want them to live, to choose and to behave as YOU think they should. You are expressing a conceit that you know better than every other person how that person should live.” Sione, if something I said made you believe this, I was wrong or perhaps you misunderstood me. But, it’s a nice opportunity to clear the record. In fact, I would ask for just the opposite and I hope that pleases you somewhat. It would probably be impossible to expect 300 million people would ever agree on something like this anyway but the fact is that I think there is something synergistic about the diversity of thought, just like the diversity of cultures and peoples. The anthropologists tell us, perhaps rightfully, that the more heterogeneous our gene pools are the better our chances are for surviving and evolving. I would submit that this probably works for our mental processes, as well. I fully respect your view and while I don’t agree with it, I don’t insist that you follow my way whatsoever. I try to offer an alternative view on things from time to time and I think it’s healthy to do so. I am free to choose a la carte sections of all philosophies, theories, and beliefs, no matter how bizarre or different from one another that they may be. That is an expression of true liberty and freedom. I cannot impose it upon anyone else nor can anyone else impose their beliefs upon me. My dear friends who are orthodox Austrians, on the other hand, criticize me for not following their directives and rules. They, it often seems, would impose their way on those 300 million folks out there if they could. That’s the difference between us. I can be them and a whole lot more but they can be only them.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 11, 2007 at 3:42 am

John

Suppose person A blieves that chocolate ice cream is the best tasting and most healthy ice cream. And, Suppose B gives a speech explaining how vanella ice is the most healthy. That is a difference of opinion. And, of course, I respect and defend the right of both sides to express their opinions.

Now, suppose B honestly believes that chocolate ice cream is unhealty and advocates illegalization. That is not a difference of opinion. They are fighting words because B is advocating violence against A and everyone else who posseses, consumes, produces, and enjoys chocolate ice cream. Anyone who defends freedom should explain to B that he has crossed the line.

A white supremist states that dark skinned people are inferior. That is his opinion and I would defend his right to give speeches and write editorials. If he says that all dark skinned people should be rounded up and shipped to Africa, I would not defend him because he is advocating violence against all those who do not pass his test of purity.

Consider gambling. Many people enjoy it and consider it to be good fun. There are also many well-meaning people who blieve gambling is bad because it has, in their opinion, destroyed lives, caused addiction, destroyed families, etc. They do not consider it to be good fun. That is a difference of opinion. However, if the anti-gamblers advocate illegalization, that is not a difference of opinion. It is not a peaceful disagreement because they are advocating violence against the other side.

People who support laws against gambling, drugs, and/or consensual sex are not engageing in free speech. They are sending armed agents to assault, rob, and arrest human beings.

Many people in Nazi Germany honestly believed that the Judism was an gutter religeon and Jews were inferior, prone to crime, responsible for social ills, etc. Similar to the way you view humans that you call users, addicts, dealers pushers, junkies, etc. They also believed that it was okay to illegalize that religeon and treat Jews as criminals. They were wrong. Can you now see that it is wrong to use violence against peaceful people?

John Coleman March 11, 2007 at 10:53 am

Rick: Your examples suggest to me that we agree on most of our ideas about free speech and that is a good start. And yes, when the speaker advocates that what you propose is so wrong that it should be outlawed, you, it seems, would have the same right in this scenario to argue the contrary, thus outlawing his proposal, in effect. Now, how is this settled? It is settled, my friend, the way these sorts of things have been settled by reasonable people since the days of Aristotle: the people decide whether what you say is correct or what the other party says. This is why government, in such instances, is important because it provides and protects the freedoms and liberties that are essential to allow you, for example, to tell me what I should do, what I should or should not outlaw or permit, or how I should or should not protect your property in the event you are unable to protect it yourself.

Now, just as you and I don’t always get everything 100% right, neither is the government as pure and perfect as we indirectly expect it to be all the time when, in actuality, we criticize it for being so much like us. It is, after all, us and that is why the preamble to our Constitution begins with the expression, “We the people….” It was not written nor intended to mean, “We the government…” and this is important beyond just the semantics. Because our government is, in effect, our people — you, me, the folks writing on this blog and those just reading it, and millions more out there who are oblivious to all this — it should come as no surprise that people make mistakes as well as perform extraordinarily great achievements from time to time.

The Austrian in me helps propel ideas that counterbalance other ideas I have at times, resulting in a fairly reasonable consensus that I think is comfortable for me. It doesn’t in any way weaken or diminish the von Mises philosophy that I might entertain and even accept some ides that might not “fit” the orthodox mold that so many of our colleagues here seem to want to impose on the rest of us. When someone, for example, tells me I’m wrong about something, it should be because the something is wrong, not that I’m wrong because I don’t agree with them.

On the drug issue, don’t tell me I’m wrong because of some philosophical “property right” that Tinker-Toys to everything else in the universe and unless I buy into a specific version of someone’s vision of reality, I’m doomed to be ignorant, wrong, and an enemy of the people. That, it seems to me, is a sure way of losing credibility for your premises. Tell me, instead, that abusing drugs is not what I or others state it to be, that, for example, there is no cost to the economy or society as a result of drug abuse, that the government has no authority because it shouldn’t care, etc.

Make the argument on the issue, not that it doesn’t fit the theoretical belief system of some long gone economists and thinkers who happened to serve regimes that gave us some of civilization’s most shameful behavior. Please understand that I do not hold them responsible for those atrocities but I must wonder and would any thoughtful person as to how much their views may have been influenced by the times they lived in, just as ours are influenced by the times we live in.

That we have progressed from that era should be welcomed proof of the regenerative power and strength of the human spirit. I think, as I said yesterday, what has helped to usher in this better period to some extent has been the increased cooperation and understanding among peoples of differing ideas. Yes, it’s not perfect and the process is far from over but we have started and need to continue, in my view, the eclectic approach to civilization.

Some who propose isolation and anarchy in the name of property rights cannot see this or the wisdom in it, particularly as it pertains to human beings. They perhaps ignore that at an embarrassing period of our history. Consider the famous Dred Scott case, for example. Scott was a slave who was sold to a new owner, a military person, who traveled and was stationed in the North, where law did not protect slavery. In 1846, Scott petitioned a court in Missouri for his freedom. Scott won his case but the State Supreme Court reversed and Scott was sent back to his owners. Scott appealed to the United States Supreme Court and in 1856 Justice Roger Taney delivered the Court’s opinion that in effect established the principle that slaves were not citizens but property of their owners and could be sold, traded, or given away just like any other property.

Scott was returned to his slave owners where he remained a slave until the year before he died when, in 1858, he was given his freedom. The Lincoln administration changed this and the “Dred Scott Decision” is a stain on the conscience of America every bit a dark as the concept of slavery itself. When I hear folks, perhaps well-intentioned, talk to me about their bodies being nothing more than private property and that the government should respect their right to whatever they want to do with their private property, I can see the wisdom of some of their arguments but I can also see the effect of Justice Taney’s ruling carried forward a century and a half. I’m reminded of the old aphorism, “Beware of what you wish for…”

The folks saying these things, I’m sure are good people and they likely are sincere and truly believing in what they offer as an alternative is better than the status quo. That I think what they say is wrong does not in any way suggest that I think they are wrong for saying it. Were they ever to assume power through the democratic process, however, and, as they suggest, impose their vision or belief system upon me, then I would think it was wrong and, hopefully, I would have the courage, if not the opportunity in such a regime, to express myself.

Michael A. Clem March 11, 2007 at 12:56 pm

It’s not often you get such a good “troll” to deal with. John is clearly no mere troll, but somebody strongly presenting some views and assumptions that need to be challenged, and perhaps need more time and space than this blog can provide. Indeed, someone like John can help libertarians take a closer look at their own views to make sure that they’re really understanding and applying libertarian ideas correctly.
The concept of “self-ownership”, for example, is clearly being misunderstood by John, and perhaps by other libertarians, as the individual as private property, no different from any other property, to be used, or even bought and sold like anything else. The term is unfortunate, because that is NOT what it means. Because of human nature, and the inalienability of will, self-ownership is something much stronger and indivisible than property of other kinds. You can acquire land, goods, etc, but you are born in and are an inseparable part of your body. Thus, it’s not the same thing as “property” at all.
Likewise, John’s view that more people means more conflicts and thus a greater necessity of government authority to bring order to society. Of course, from Adam Smith to Frederick Hayek, the concept of spontaneous order is well-worth re-reading and understanding how large numbers of people can voluntarily work together and form order from the bottom up, instead of from the top-down.
In truth, more people create greater possibilities for conflicts, but also create greater difficulties and problems for anybody to understand, much less to put into any sort of order, from a top-down approach. If a mayor can’t control ten thousand people in a small town effectively, why should we think a mayor of a larger city can effectively control a million people? Or a governor of a state control several million, or the President controlling, what is it now, about 280 million people? They can only do so by reducing complex social situations to overly simplistic abstractions and imposing simple solutions to these problems by force, creating conflicts where conflicts didn’t previously exist, and creating problems that may or may not have solved the original problem.
To get back to the point of the thread, drug use is a widespread social problem, and criminalization of voluntary behavior, attempting to protect people from themselves, is clearly a failure that no amount of money, law enforcement, or other top-down solutions will ever adequately resolve. Decriminalization and legalization of drugs is simply a step towards stopping the unintended consequences that government has created with The Drug War. Only then can effective social solutions to drug abuse be fully implemented.

John Coleman March 11, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Rick: I forgot to comment on the rest of your message. You stated:

“People who support laws against gambling, drugs, and/or consensual sex are not engaging in free speech. They are sending armed agents to assault, rob, and arrest human beings.

Many people in Nazi Germany honestly believed that the Judism (sic) was an gutter religion (sic) and Jews were inferior, prone to crime, responsible for social ills, etc. Similar to the way you view humans that you call users, addicts, dealers pushers, junkies, etc. They also believed that it was okay to illegalize that religeon and treat Jews as criminals. They were wrong. Can you now see that it is wrong to use violence against peaceful people?”

In the first instance, I think you’re again mistaking speech for action. Speech may precede action but is functionally separate, nonetheless. You have a right to argue in favor of regulating gaming, prostitution, drugs, guns, or plutonium, for that matter, whereas I have the right to argue against what you propose, that all those things should be permitted to be made, sold, used, or whatever. The government of the people is the decision maker and, hopefully, the consensus opinion rendered by the people and formalized through their elected officials will come down on whatever side of the issue is the “correct” or better side for the good of the people. This means all the people, even including me who, in this scenario, would be opposing your and the state’s position.

This is my point, Rick, that although each of us would like to have our own individual way, pretty much like three-year olds play when asked to share their toys. As grown-ups, we have to make certain concessions if we’re going to live peacefully and productively in society. One of these concessions is that, unlike those three-year olds, the strongest among us may not always get his or her way and may, at times, have to give way to someone else. To continue the child analogy, mom and dad or the babysitter or guardian play the role of the state in this example, making sure that what happens is for the better. Admittedly, mom and dad and our guardians, unlike the state, may be expected to always have our best interests at heart.

This being so, it leads me directly and logically to your second example, that of the Jews in Germany during the Nazi era. Of course the treatment of the Jews was wrong, as you point out so well and much to your credit for doing so. Von Mises, himself Jewish, had managed by then to escape to Switzerland, fortunately, or we might be talking about Adam Smith in the blog today (just kidding!). You essentially make my point about how important it is to be vigilant over government to ensure that an extreme form of governance does not take advantage of our democratic heritage (keep in mind that Hitler was voted into office in a democratic election).

The Nazi regime, among all its other crimes against humanity, did not permit some of the freedoms that we’ve been discussing today. You could not, for example, under the Nazi regime, argue in favor of an alternative system of governance. Tolerance was not a word frequently in use in Nazi Germany. It is this that worries me most about some of our more extremist and orthodox fellow Austrians in this blog who appear to have no tolerance for ideas that are not theirs or do not lockstep with their beliefs. I, for one, prefer to exercise my God-given, “inalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as I see fit, not as someone else tells me I must see fit or as someone would impose their will upon me to see fit as they see fit. If that means I may want to share some of my toys in the form of giving the state authority over me and others, so be it for me to decide that and not, as in the sad scene you pose in your example, that it be imposed upon me by a criminal regime.

mikey March 11, 2007 at 3:49 pm

At least part of the war on drugs is the rulers’ need to keep their subjects in good condition as productive machinery, who’s wealth they can confiscate.And of course, as cannon fodder for their endless wars.If a certain drug was found to make soldiers, sailors or pilots perform better, it would not be banned but be made mandatory.
As for statists who claim to be Austrians,there are more than a few out there.People can be free,but it has to be the kind of freedom I’m going to allow.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 11, 2007 at 4:36 pm

John

“I, for one, prefer to exercise my God-given, “inalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as I see fit, not as someone else tells me…”

On this we are in 100% agreement. Here is the problem. Defenders of freedom like myself are not telling you how to live. On the contrary, it is drug fighters and illegalizers like yourself who are telling others how to live. If you do not want to possess or consume any plant medicines such as cannabis, opiates, coca, or alcohol, that is fine with me. I respect your right to choose your own food, drink and medicine and live your life according to your own values. Now, suppose that some group (majority) honestly believes that you and society would be better off if you got slightly intoxicated at least once per year in order to expand your thinking so you better recognize right from wrong. Do they have the right to point guns at your head in order to force you to consume some substance that you do not want to consume? If they do not have the right to force their diet onto you, then why do you and your group believe that it is okay for you to force your diet onto them?

My answer is very simple. If you are a peaceful person minding your own businesss, then no one has the right to point guns at your head.

Rick March 11, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Mickey

“If a certain drug was found to make soldiers, sailors or pilots perform better, it would not be banned but be made mandatory.”

My information tells me that amphetamines are routinely given to fighter pilots. Of course, peace and love drugs such as cannabis are not provided.

Regarding the need cannon fodder, Around 1971 Pres Nixon declared a “war on drugs”. At that time the war on Vietnam was not going well and anti-war demonstrations were wide spread. So, Nixon was advised to start a domestic war against a new enemy in order to divert attention from the foreign war. He thougt it to be a great idea especially because many peace demonstrators smoked weed. It was payback time.

The most violent people like Nixon, Bush, Cheney,
Blair, etc. are all drug fighters and illegalizers. It is laughable when these mass murderers accuse their victims of being violent criminals.

John Coleman March 11, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Rick: Get over the “drug” thing and don’t let it run your life. There are many other more important things out there in the world deserving of your time and efforts. Nixon is often credited with the expression “war on drugs” but, in reality, he actually never said that. He did say something close but not that. I once tried to trace the origin of the expression and I got back to a 1912 article in The Washington Post. It was an editorial published two years before the federal law on drugs (Harrison Narcotic Act) was enacted. The editorial called on congress and the president to pass a law to regulate drugs because the individual state laws at the time were ineffective. What a difference a hundred or so years makes!

By the way, I’ve noticed that your examples of folks with whom you disagree always portrays them as criminals pointing guns or extremists, such as Nazis, etc. I think the appropriate exchange of views by rational folks such as you and me should be tempered and sane and not give to hysterical examples of one’s paranoia. If, in your way of thinking, freedom causes one to have such worries, it might be time to rethink your views or at least allow a smidgen of room for maybe one or two new and improved ideas from time to time.

Peter March 11, 2007 at 8:32 pm

although each of us would like to have our own individual way, pretty much like three-year olds play when asked to share their toys

Here you demonstrate that the average three year old has a better understanding of property rights than you. The three year old understands, quite rightly, that if it’s his toy, it’s not fair for somebody else to come along and insist he share it. The three year old has an instinctive aversion to communism, which is usually beaten out of him by the time he’s capable of upholding his claim rationally. Making a child share his toys is the first step toward destroying his character.

Sione March 12, 2007 at 12:20 am

John

You wrote: “I am free to choose a la carte sections of all philosophies, theories, and beliefs, no matter how bizarre or different from one another that they may be. That is an expression of true liberty and freedom. I cannot impose it upon anyone else nor can anyone else impose their beliefs upon me.”

Get this part: “I cannot impose it upon anyone else nor can anyone else impose their beliefs upon me.”

Exactly. And that is why you can’t impose a pohibition against other people who would voluntarily choose to produce, procure, trade and consume drugs. That is their individual right to so do. YOU have absolutely no justification to prevent them from doing it. Nor do you have a right to employ or encourage a third party from imposing a prohibition either.

QED

Sione

Sione Vatu March 12, 2007 at 12:40 am

BTW

No. I do not respect your “freedom” of speech if it is directed against my freedom to exercise my personal choices. Nothing is “free” in this life. It must be earned. So, I’ll certainly act to put you down. One does not defend an ideal by promoting or tolerating its antithesis.

Remember it is your position that any individual’s free choice to possess and consume drugs for recreational puposes should be prohibited. Thus you are supporting the notion of a system of tens of thousands of comissars, inspectors, agents, pimps and spys and agent provoceteurs, councellors, warders, torturers, soviet style mental institutions, regulators, legislators, powerful special interests, lobbiests, informers (paid and unpaid), govt funded crime, secret service wallahs, religious ayatollahs (including the conservative and christians sub-types), corrupted police and city officials, enforcers, bully boys, bureaus, committes, interrogators, privatised govt propaganda media etc. etc. etc. Above all it must be considered all this is an evil that should be opposed, subverted and wrecked at every opportunity.

Of course I refuse your “freeson of speech.” You should not even be heard, for what you are promoting is evil and hate. It is uncivilised. Contemptible.

AS I said there are those who I’d never assist or defend. An anit-drug crusader ranks up there with the commos.

Sione

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 12:56 am

Sione says:

“Freedom of discourse is not served by protecting those who would seek to destroy it… Of course I refuse your “freeson of speech.” You should not even be heard, for what you are promoting is evil and hate. It is uncivilised. Contemptible.”

And who gets to decide what “freedom of speech” should be labeled “uncivilized, evil,” and not protected under the self-ownership rights? You? The Central Committee of the Communist Party?

Rick March 12, 2007 at 1:07 am

John — My questions to you were fair because illegalizers do authorize governement agents to point guns at the heads of peaceful people and their are armies of drug police who are more than happy to do so.

In fact, After more than three decades of escalating the war against human beings who have been labeled as drug users, addicts, dealers, pushers, traffickers, junkies, crack-heads and other names designed to dehumanize the victims, military style assaults against peaceful people are now taking place in every city and town across this country. Drug owners and gun owners are routinely being treated like they are worse than murderers. Tens of thousands of these Gestapo assaults are happening every year and the number is growing. These facts are not “hysterical examples of one’s paranoia” and it is illegalizers who authorize this government violence and brutality.

Since you are an illegalizer, I asked if you would like to be treated in this same way that you treat others. The probable reason that you did not answer is because you do not want to face the truth about your violence and inhumanity. You do not want to face the truth that you are violating the Golden Rule. You don’t want to ackknowledge that the policy of “Zero- tolerance” is a Nazi policy. You do not want to face the fact that hundreds of millions of honest, decent people have been declared criminals by your drug laws. You don’t want to face the fact that millions of peaceful people have been assulted, robbed, and arrested just because they do not pass your test of purity. You can’t face the truth that the people whom you are scapegoating are no more inferior to the self-proclaimed, “drug-free” supremacists than the Jews were inferior to the Nazis.

So, rather than trying to put yourself into the shoes of one of your many victims, you argue about some unimportant detail regarding the date when Nixon declared a “war on drugs”.

Regarding your concern about me wasteing my time, I do not consider confronting enemies of freedom and civilized behavior to be a waste of time. On the contrary.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 12, 2007 at 2:15 am

Hello Sasha Radeta

Even though you did not ask me, I would like to comment about free speech and civilized discourse.

Suppose that person A publically advocates that you and your people (some group with whom you are associated ) should be put in prison. Suppose furthur that you and your people are peaceful people who mind their own business. You never harm anyone or steal anything and you support laws against theft and assault. A and his people want to put you in prison just because they do not approve of your religeon, or diet, or skin color, or urine color, or sexual practices, or gambling habits, or some other private, peaceful behavior. Lastly, suppose that A and his group honesty believe that putting you and your people in prison will serve some greater good.

I would conclude that A is not engageing in free speech or civil discourse. Rather, he is disrespecting you and your people. He is insulting you. He is useing fighting words. He is challangeing you. Therefore, in my opinion, you should respond to his challange. You should defend yourself and your people. Violent bullies need to be confronted, IMO.

Francisco Torres March 12, 2007 at 10:59 am

John Coleman wrote:
It’s unrealistic to think we could ever become the society you suggest in the 21st century. What you propose may have been possible in the Dark Ages or thereabouts when by today’s standards, there were only a handful of people around and each could do pretty much as he/she pleased.

I fail to see what one thing has to do with the other, but I surmise you think it is a dangerous idea to let people live their own lives accoring to their own devices and volition. I could not disagree more: I am not in the position to assume people are dangerous to themselves and others by their nature (which would necessarily lead to the conclusion that people are irrational by their own nature and thus, have a need for government) since that would lead to a perfunctory contradiction: If I am to conclude people are irrational and I being a person, then I am irrational and all my acts being irrational including my blogging (!!!). If people are irrational, where would we find the superhuman, omniscient goverment people to lead us sheep?

As cities and industries evolved and populations increased, so, too, did the need for civil order.

Again, for this to be true it would require to assume people are irrational and that it cannot live in harmony except in the presence of a civil authority, wherever this authority may come from. You would commit a perfunctory contradiction if you believe such . . . unless you think of yourself NOT being as irrational as people that need a civil orderer, that somehow you are special.

It’s bizarre to think that today in the U.S., for example, 300 million people could act individually as you seem to think, relying on the “self-ownership principle,” whatever that may be, and that order would prevail.

As bizarre as you might think it is, it happens all around us – we are not being individualy guided by hand by this superhuman civil manager or managers, but rely on our own self-interests to find agreement between ourselves, what Hayek called “spontaneous order”. Since people ARE rational, each of us makes a RATIONAL decision each time we deal with each other, without relying on angel-like managers.

How would you get everyone to go along with this, short of requiring a dictator, forming an ironclad government, and running a police state?

How WOULD you, then? For you to assume people NEED someone to order them into civil behaviour, THAT would require a tyrannical overseer of the highest magnitude – a veritable superbeing that could see and hear everything, able to act on the spot and in an instant. Since there is NO such being, I think your assumption – that people are uncivil by nature – is incorrect.

Without an overwhelming structure to mandate what you propose, it seems to me that the logical outcome would be anarchy.

Anarchy only means “without government”. I think you are looking for the term “chaos”. Since this is preposterous in itself, I think you do not like the idea of using such word, since you do not really believe people are uncivil sans government.

My only sensible recourse under the circumstances is to accept and execute a social contract between me and the government[ . . . ]

Good, if that is your wish. Please explain however, how such a contract would HAVE to affect people that are doing harm to NOT one but themselves, if at all. Your opinions and sensibilities are NOT contractual limitations, Mr. Coleman, no matter how much you wish it. The role of government is NOT to impose a lifestyle, but to protect property.

The self-ownership principle states that each rational person owns him or herself. Only a rational individual can own his or her body, and only such individual can know what is good for him or herself and not someone else. This principle is at the core of the ethic of liberty – each person is free, even slaves, for a slave can still think, and can still decide to take his or her own life.

Francisco Torres March 12, 2007 at 11:22 am

This is my point [...]that although each of us would like to have our own individual way, pretty much like three-year olds play when asked to share their toys.

Mr. Coleman, why do you consistently assume that a person that makes his or her own decisions about his or her life is necessarily behaving like a 3 year old? This is nothing more than crass conceit from your part. Neither me nor you have the moral authority to dictate to others how to live their lives, so why would you think a government should?

As grown-ups, we have to make certain concessions if we’re going to live peacefully and productively in society.

What kind of concessions? You mean the kind YOU want?

The government of the people is the decision maker and, hopefully, the consensus opinion rendered by the people and formalized through their elected officials will come down on whatever side of the issue is the “correct” or better side for the good of the people.

Even if this “correct” side limits the conscious choices of those that were NOT part of the concensus, or even their freedom? Because you can have a consensus of malcontents, imposing revenge on that group that they perceive as being “guilty” of their situation, much like what happened during the French Revolution. It is evident that the rule by concensus leads to the bigger and more dangerous type of government: the spendthrift government.

mikey March 12, 2007 at 1:26 pm

“….if I want to share some of my toys in the form of giving the state authority over myself and others….??? And others??!!! Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Sione Vatu March 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Sasha

Each must decide on his own account. Despite what you may like to claim, a committee or collective can’t do your thinking or decision-making for you. You do that alone. You do it according to the content of what is presented. If a man says he supports killing all Radeta’s, can you grant that man the “free speech”? Do you let him communicate his idea to other like minded fools? Do you let him get them organised and ready for the pogrom? Do you wait for the night of the broken-Radetas? Or do you let the democratic central committee decide when it shall be?

But once again you’re guilty of employing a tactic of selective quotation and attempting to alter the context. Twist, turn, wriggle- misrepresenting what the other person writes so you can have your argument. Naughty boy.

Take note of the qualifiers in my statements. Don’t be ignoring them just because it suits your cause. And in future how about considering the entire passage, not just the bits you think you can dispute in isolation.

Start by reading Richard G. Eramian’s post above. That should assist you with the idea.

Sione

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Sione,

You aid that I misinterpreted your statement – but you didn’t support this with any evidence. Actually, you affirmed everything I said. Allow me to explain:

If a person says that he supports killing of all Radetas and all Slavs for that matter – I would say that I would support our defense if someone tried to kill us – and that I hope that all aggressors against us will die in another Stalingrad, or at least share Hitler’s destiny :)

But I would never advocate the violation of his freedom of speech, because that would constitute his enslavement.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 12, 2007 at 10:32 pm

<

< And others??!!! Does anyone else see a problem with this? <

Yes. I see a big problem. The writer trys to use the principle of inalienable rights to justify the negation of the principle of inalienable rights. Thank you for posting that example stateist illogic and deception.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 12, 2007 at 10:37 pm

## I, for one, prefer to exercise my God-given, “inalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as I see fit, not as someone else tells me I must see fit or as someone would impose their will upon me to see fit as they see fit. If that means I may want to share some of my toys in the form of giving the state authority over me and others,… ##

# And others??!!! Does anyone else see a problem with this? #

Yes. I see a big problem. The writer trys to use the principle of inalienable rights to justify the negation of the principle of inalienable rights. Thank you for posting that example stateist illiogic and deception.

Richard G. Eramian (Rick) March 13, 2007 at 12:11 am

Hello Sashsa — I would like to jump in again regarding the difference between free speech and civilized behavior.

If a serious person uses his speech and/or writing to advocate the murder of you and your family, The question is how should you respond to such outrageous, uncivilized behavior. In general, How should a person respond if someone spits in his face, insults his family, threatens him with death, etc.? It is obvious to me that he should not respond by trying to ban free speech. The most civililized response would be to tell the aggressor to bacdafucup (cease and desist) or step forward onto the field of honor (I suggest pistols at point blank range because that contest requires no skill). You should at least punch him in the head even if he then proceeds to pound you down. The point is that there are circumstances where honor requires a person to fight. A free man should not allow anyone to crap on him. Everyone must draw a line in the sand somewhere.

Allen St. Pierre March 13, 2007 at 11:01 am

If the John Coleman is the same John Coleman I’ve debated a number of times, it should surprise few on this very thoughtful and active blog that John is a former executive with 32 years of employment at the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, (and is currently, like he is here, a fish out of water at George Mason University’s graduate school and serves on the boards of numerous so-called anti-drug groups). John, along with CNN’s Lou Dobbs, are the rare prohibitionist among those who affiliate with and/or appreciate economics and human behavior.

Actually John is not a prohibitionist proper, he is a subjective prohibitionist who strongly favors the status quo where he expresses little concern re alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical policies; and sees no obvious comparisons economically to currently illegal ‘drugs’.

At a debate a few years ago, when asked by a law school student why cannabis could not be controlled in the same manner as tobacco products, John indicated that he could think of none and thought the question was baseless.

I asked any student present to present a pack of store-purchased cigarettes and indicate what was present on the bottom of the cellophane package, a young women yelled, “a tax stamp.”

The power of governments to tax is the power to either create or destroy problematic markets…Thornton’s essay addresses these concerns, John’s vapid reply does not.

I have to chuckle that John thinks Dr. Thornton parrots NORML’s talking points, when in fact, NORML’s talking points circa 1991 are derived from the collective economic works and writings of Friedman, Becker, Machan, Buckley and a one Dr. Mark Thornton.

Cannabem libermeus!

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 11:11 am

Richard G. Eramian (Rick),

I never said that you should be silent if someone insults you or your family. Insult him back. Call him on a duel. But don’t advocate the prohibition of his particular type of speech.

Rick March 13, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Hello Sasha

I was agreeing with you that the response to insults should not be the banning of free speech. No one in this discussion has advocated the prohibition of speech. You are knocking down your own straw man. :)

So, in your opinion, how should defenders of freedom respond to the many insults thrown at them by drug illegalizers?

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Rick,

Read more carefully Sione’s statements. Some people here advocated prohibition of such speech that is advocating violation of basic human rights (ironically, their statements are also directed against human rights of speech and self-ownership, so they are contradicting themselves).

Defenders of freedom should insult the insulters back, ignore them, intellectually humiliate them…. whatever. But we must refrain from aggression against their private property right, including self-ownership and speech.

Rick March 13, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Sasha

It is the drug fighters and illegalizers who are not refraining from aggression. They are currently sending armies of heavily armed gangs to assault, rob, arrest, and even murder their victims. They have commited violent acts against millions of human beings and continue to do so as we speak. So, I ask you again how should defenders of freedom respond to these violent acts?

Regarding freedom of speech, it seems to me that you are twisting words because anti-prohibitionists do not advocate the prohibition of speech. The example that you site was not about banning free speech, it was about retaliating against a specific group of violent thugs. It was not about putting those thugs in jail for violating some speech code.

Here is an example of word twisting.

You stated, “But I would never advocate the violation of his freedom of speech, because that would constitute his enslavement”

You also agreed that it was okay to challange an aggressor to a duel. So, if you killed him in a duel, you would be taking away his freedom of speech along with all his other rights, correct?

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 9:02 pm

The fact that drug fighters are not refraining from aggression – does not mean that I would refrain from resistance and defense of my inalienable rights (if I was a drug user).

Under no circumstances I would not violate their freedom of speech. Sione disagrees. No word twisting there.

If I call someone to a duel, it’s a voluntary agreement on fair fight – in which either life can be lost. No rights taken there – since the other side voluntarily accepted the possibility and legitimacy of getting killed.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Excuse the double negative :)

I would not violate someone’s freedom of speech under any circumstances. Those who advocate the censorship of a speech under the excuse of preventing rights violations – are running into a contradiction: the also advocate violation of self-ownership and other people’s basic rights.

Rick March 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Sasha, Thanks for your response.

It looks like we are in 100% agreement that drug fighters and illegalizers are violent thugs who have abused millions of good human beings and continue to do so.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 10:27 pm

No doubts about it Rick. Even many utilitarians who don’t believe in (undeniable) ethics of self-ownership, actually agree with your assertions.

Sione Vatu March 14, 2007 at 1:40 pm

The position is this. The principle of “free speech” exists within specific conext only.

For example, I would happily debate with Sasha on matters such as IP say. We could go at it for months and that would be no problem at all. We may eventually agree (one persuades the other) or we may not agree at all (and the debate would continue on and off over time). That’s fine. There is no problems with either party promoting and speaking about their view in such circumstances. I definately would not hurt Sasha, nor steal his property, nor attack his friends and family. I would not smash into his home, up-end everything, shout at him to fall to the ground while he was tied, restrained and bashed- all because his opinions differed from mine. To do that would be unacceptibly evil. So between us there may be disagreement on certain topics but neither would initiate force against the other. In such a case the exercise of “free speech” and its recognition is appropriate.

However, should a third party come along and state that all the Radeta’s shall be rounded up and taken away, all the Radata’s property taken away, all their liberties curtailed etc., then I would grant that party nothing- not one right would I recognise for such an entity. To even speak such hatred and horror would necessarily result in total opposition.

A person, or a group of them, who recognise no concept of individual rights can hardly expect me or anyone else to apply concepts of individual rights to them. They’re fair game… Apply utu.

Sione

Rick March 14, 2007 at 4:01 pm

A few years ago I wrote a short proposal about how to deal with violent thugs, win the drug war, and prevent future wars.

A Proposal to Win the Drug War with a victory for Freedom
By Richard G. Eramian

There is an honorable way to win the drug war and all other prohibition wars against freedom. Every person who wants to criminalize honest trade, every person who does not respect the right of adult individuals to control their own lives, including the right to choose their own food, drink, and medicine, should be required to meet on the field of honor (pistols at point blank range) with a defender of freedom.

Every person who advocates violence, including the law, against peaceful people should be required to meet with someone who defends the universal principle of individual freedom and personal responsibility. This simple requirement will cause all the drug fighters, gun grabbers, and other illegalizers, to disappear. It would be like turning on a light in a dark room and watching the cockroaches run for cover. Why? Because drug fighters and illegalizers are not honorable people. Their idea of a fair fight is to hire a dozen goons to point a dozen guns at one head.

A sure way to prevent 99% of all wars is to require the war mongers to fight.

Cristian June 30, 2008 at 8:18 am

A drug rehab or an alcohol rehab are just few of the things that some poor countries need to have a hope of recovering from the drug lord disease that has taken over their country. Drug lords keep pumping money and it is hard to believe that drugs will disappear from the market anytime soon.

Ada August 7, 2008 at 6:19 am

Back during prohibition (alcohol prohibition, not the current drug prohibition) kids joined gangs. The gangs sold alcohol, had lots of money, and looked glamorous. they also controlled entire cities. Once alcohol was legalized, many gangs crumbled, their source of revenue destroyed.
Now we have street gangs financed almost entirely with drug money. Kids in poor areas see that only gang members seem to “live the life” with money and cars and guns. Legalization would remove their funding and take the shine off of their life style.
With the legalization, all the Drug Treatment Centers should have another job, beside curing people: get in the education system and talk with children about drug abuse.

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