The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It Crawled into My Hand, Honest*



Every so often, Libertarians make sense. Even while they are saying things that many people think crazy. Take this column by John Stossel...

Prohibition

Stossel is a good writer. He gets his point across simply and clearly. I envy him because I cannot do that. I am often misunderstood. And when I try to explain, I just get further misunderstood.

The subject of the column is drug prohibition. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. As I am sure most of us do. Especially those of us who were in our teens and 20's in the 60's. I thought, back then, that legalization of marijuana was just around the corner. And, even though I smoked it, I thought that would be a bad idea. Of course, I had financial reasons for my position. Legalize something pleasurable and the government will tax it until only the wealthy can afford it. Now, I (and I am sure many others) feel a bit hypocritical being opposed to legalization.

So I have come down on the side of decriminalization. The arguments for this are strong, logical, and compelling.

But Stossel is not just talking about weed. He is advocating all proscribed drugs be made legal. And his argument is a good one... with examples and data backing it... and it's persuasive. I am not ready to jump on that bandwagon. It seems a very risky thing to do.

But I could probably be convinced.
 
Here's a blast from the past... click on the link, for some reason they won't let me embed this clip.


* A reference to a Fugs album.

5 comments:

Torggil said...

looked for the article, its not coming up.

Steven Scott said...

Hey, your link has a ']' at the end of it, which is breaking it.

Stossel makes simplistic arguments, usually too simplistic, but he's usually on the same side of an issue as me. Maybe I'll just say succinct and to the point, and that's probably good.

One of the very few bloggers I read everything from is Radley Balko, formerly of Reason and now a lonely voice of sanity at HuffPo, whose blog is http://www.theagitator.com/. His forte is drug war casualties, but he hits a lot of libertarian topics. His interest in the drug war often brings him to topics of innocence, police militarization, bad cops & prosecutors & MEs, "another isolated case"s (the weekly swat raids on wrong addresses), and cops' penchant for shooting family dogs. He pretty much got an innocent man off death row in the case of Corey Maye...anyway. Start reading that site for a while and the drug war will come to absolutely disgust you. The government would rather have you dead than high, and that's not an exaggeration (see: purposeful poisonings during prohibition). the amount of MY tax money absolutely wasted with drugs being purer, cheaper, and easier to get than ever makes me ill. Meanwhile, the police won't even watch a few minutes of security footage when somebody gets violently raped because they're just too busy (yes, personal story from last year), and investigating violent crimes doesn't translate into armored vehicles from DHS.

Douglas4517 said...

 I couldn't find a "]" but I did find they moved the column. I updated the link and tested it.

It's a matter of financial benefits for the authorities (both local governments and police), just as it was during the alcohol Prohibition days. Until the public gets outraged enough, it won't change. And the public won't get outraged enough, I think, because this isn't alcohol. Alcoholic beverages have always enjoyed a much wider use and popularity so the Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment impacted many more citizens than drug prohibition does. The public went along with Prohibition for awhile but soon tired of the inability to have even an occasional drink without physical risk to either body or liberty. If 40% of the population used marijuana on a weekly basis, you might get that drug war to end.

Torggil said...

I find that unlikely.  I suspect that Marijuana would just gain an exception status like alcohol.  Interestingly, Piers Anthony wrote about drug legalization in his Bio of Space Tyrant series.  He had the tax money gained going to fund recovery clinics and the like.

But I wonder if prohibition on Alcohol has really ended.  Look at the Drunk Driving laws.  They are doing everything they can to make factory alcohol too expensive to consume.  Can't go to the pub because you need a cab.  The price is ever increasing, and then there's the education commercials.  I am by no means advocating DD, but honestly, a guy can't even have a beer  at the bar after work.

And don't get me started on tobacco.

Douglas4517 said...

 Alcohol is a regulated substance; taxed and regulated. One must have a license to serve/sell it, one must abide by laws regulating that sale. However, it is not prohibited. The states, not the feds, determine the laws concerning behavior under the influence of alcohol (as well as drugs, including prescription) which, as far as I can determine, is not prohibition. Drunk driving laws are touted as public safety devices. A reasonable position. It is not the consumption of alcohol that is prohibited, it is the behavior of the person who uses it.  You can drive to the pub and drink all you want bu you might want to find another way home, one that does not endanger others. And, yes, I have driven while legally intoxicated. I was just never caught nor did I ever get into an accident while inebriated.  I no longer drive after drinking. I am, instead, my wife's official "designated driver."  Factory alcohol (I assume here you mean "legally produced") has been taxed heavily since the end of Prohibition, actually well before Prohibition (consider the Whiskey Rebellion of 1793). In fact, earlier attempts to impose Prohibition failed because alcohol was a primary source of revenue for the federal government. The passage of Amendment 16, giving Congress the ability to impose an income tax, which facilitated the passage of Amendment 18 (Prohibition) and the subsequent Volstead Act. You can have a beer after work. Two maybe, if they are spaced far enough apart and taken with plenty of food. Your blood alcohol only has to be below .08%. See the chart here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content#Effects_at_different_levels

And here's an interesting website:

http://www.alcohol-facts.net/Alcohol-Timeline.html

I never trust the government to actually do what it promises. Therefore, claiming they will use the revenue from taxation of what are now illegal drugs will be used to fund addiction treatment is something I think won't actually happen. Take a look at the various state lottos, all claim to fund education with the revenues but few actually added it to their education funds. Instead, they reduced the money from general funds that had been going to education, replacing it with the Lotto revenues.