Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toleration is not Sanction

The right to your own life and person is the primary right.

The willingness to ban substances based on the standard of "protecting you from yourself" violates this principle and thus opens the door for any number of further violations. Now that we have conceded the principle, a democracy becomes no different from a dictatorship.

"Protecting you from yourself" doesn't actually protect people from themselves anyway, because it just ends up making some things taboo or mysterious, and they become a symbol of rebellion and thus more interesting and tempting --- resulting in a sub-culture that romanticizes drugs (and drug related crime --- how many movies and television shows have this subtext?).

Those things that are legal are far easier to be educated about, consume more safely than they otherwise would be, and let go of afterwards, and when all adults are free to take them, there is no rebellious aspect of consumption. It's for the same reason studies show that kids who are introduced to alcohol at a young age learn a respect for it and are far less likely to abuse it in the future.

Also, even if banning such substances actually did protect people from themselves, it would do so at the cost of endangering the lives of other people. Bans introduce violence into a market that would otherwise be peaceful.  This is because the market for drugs exist whether or not we make them illegal. They will be consumed and traded no matter what the penalty. In fact, the higher the penalty the more dangerous an atmosphere is created.

To clarify, what is your recourse when someone robs your home? You can go to the police, they can launch an investigation, your property rights are upheld and respected, the act will be investigated, the criminal will hopefully be caught, and then be brought to justice, all in a civilized way, respecting the rule of law.

But what does a drug dealer do when his stash of cocaine is stolen? If he goes to the police he will be arrested. The law has forbid him from resolving this issue peacefully and civilly. He has two choices, accept his losses, marking him as an easy target (then he goes out of business) or protect his property via force, since the government will not protect it.

Remember, this market is going to exist no matter what we do, so even if this person chooses to not sell drugs, someone else will fill his shoes, leaving us in the same situation once again. So, to protect his property the dealer necessarily uses violence against others.

Thus we can see clearly that when drugs are outlawed instead of protected as legitimate property, it fosters violence. While dealers flout the rule of law, and that is not to be condoned, deaths in a "drug war" are equally the responsibility of the government, who by prohibiting the substances, create the conditions for endless violence.

This is quite a steep price to pay for "protecting someone from themself".

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