Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dweeby liberal nanny-stater frustrated by talking with libertarians about drug legalization

Darn libertarians are too obsessed with personal freedom

Excerpted, THEODORE DALRYMPLE city-journal.com, "On the Legalization of Drugs":
Discussing drug legalization with libertarians, as I did recently, can be a frustrating experience. This is in part because they rarely say exactly what they mean by “legalization.” Do they mean a controlled market that would barely represent a retreat from state regulation and interference, or an uncontrolled one, in which we would all be able to buy methamphetamine or crack at our local store?

There is a much deeper problem, though: their conception of what it is to live in a civilized society. They seem to think of people as egoistic particles that occasionally bump into one another rather than as necessarily and essentially social beings. No doubt there are some egoistic particles among us, but they represent only a tiny proportion of the total. On the matter of drugs, libertarians argue that it is no business of the state to tell citizens what to take or not to take, and that doing so is therefore an oppressive curtailment of freedom. The drug laws, they insist, don’t work in practice, because so many people break them—with impunity or not, as the case may be.

Living in a civilized society means accepting laws that one did not make oneself, and that in any given situation may seem unnecessary; one has no right to complain if punished for breaking them...

all freedoms are not created equal; a hierarchy exists among them; and a restriction on the freedom to intoxicate yourself or drive down Fifth Avenue at 100 miles an hour is not to be compared with a restriction on the freedom to say what you think. Speech codes are therefore a much more serious assault on liberty than are drug laws.

24 comments:

The Right Guy said...

Drug legalization is so far down my list that it's almost off the list. Liberty is about keeping the government off everyone's back, in other words limiting the government's power. Not everyone does drugs and to be honest, there are behaviors that are consequences that aren't libertarian. Pissing in the hot tub isn't libertarian. My question is, doesn't legalizing drugs increase or protect life, liberty and the pursuit of property? Is doing drugs good?

Eric Dondero said...

Glad to hear pissing in the hot tub is not libertarian. Thanks for clearing that up for us Jim.

Eric Dondero said...

Drug legalization separates us from the conservatives. And it gives us our "cool." When liberals accuse us of being "crazy rightwingers," we shoot back, Yup, we crazy rightwingers want to legalize drugs, prostitution and gambling. They're speechless after that.

The Right Guy said...

If you want legalized drugs, they will have the same limitations as alcohol or other drugs, like DUI etc. A lot of the libertines believe that actions don't have consequences. They do. I worked for a bail bond 20+ years ago and heroin addicts are the worst. Legalizing drugs won't change that.

Eric Dondero said...

yeah, i'm okay with dat! Heroin addicts do suck. Legalize pot first!

Chuck said...

" And it gives us our "cool.""

No. It marginalizes the whole notion of liberty and empowers the totalitarian left. If the libertarian movement could grow the fuck up a little bit and realize that being a goddam degenerate isn't anything to brag about, we might have a chance to turn things around, but being about nothing but vice keeps the libertarian movement in a political ditch it's never going to get out of.

jgeleff said...

A)I'm going to stop pissing in the hot tub.
B)Drug legalization is not about getting high. It's about making the government adhere to the concept of a free society. Drug prohibition is no different than alcohol prohibition. They create the same crime problems, the same addiction problems, and the same government control problems. You need to remove the use of the drugs from the equation. It's about freedom.

The Right Guy said...

Pretty much. It's going for the lowest denominator. Liberty isn't about what the government lets you do. In this case, it's to let you be out of it, which works in their favor. Liberty is acting according to your will, but limited by the rights we all share as individuals. What I see here is that some people want actions without consequence. Want to get high on pot, meth, heroin? That's fine because Uncle Sam says so. Thing is, you can do anyway, without the government permission. Of course there are consequences for that.

The Right Guy said...

Gerry:
If that is the case, should drug users be held to the same standard as alcohol? Or higher? I don't fancy getting on the road with more meth heads, heroin addicts etc. The thing is, a lot of the pro-legalization crowd want it to be without consequence. Smoking pot and driving is ok, meth is fine, heroin, go ahead, get behind the wheel.

The other other thing is, Alcohol is regulated by the government. We have minimum consumption ages, penalties for public intoxication as well as driving under the influence etc. So in essence, having the government ok it isn't liberty, it's actually getting permission, which is not liberty or freedom at all.

mitsukurina said...

"Living in a civilized society means accepting laws that one did not make oneself, and that in any given situation may seem unnecessary; one has no right to complain if punished for breaking them"

No right to even complain. Remarkable.

Chuck said...

There is a very valid school of thought that advocates for the decriminalization of all psychoactive substances. I can engage serious partisans of that school. What I won't do is abide this gaggle of hippie douchebags who claim dope is some sort of national salvation. You have to be stoned in the first place to imagine that pot is some sort of net positive in terms of societal health.

Disclosure:
I stayed stoned as a kid. I had access to the sort of mind bending shit that stoners dream of. I was mister cool. The stuff I smoked was like fucking heroin. Hell, you couldn't even smoke a whole one. It got too tarred up. You'd have to put it out and use it for the next one. Then I quit. I was 17.

Dope is fun. It's called dope for a reason.

The Right Guy said...

I can only imagine how more brilliant you'd be had you never touched the stuff.

Chuck said...

We'll never know. hehe

Then again, there is a certain breed of dipshit who'd have you believe that psychoactive substances increase intelligence.

Stupid? Sure. Mainstream? You bet.

Jemas said...

If I can just interrupt you all patting each other on the backs (and that sentence was a lot more explicit than it came out):

I find this actually quite informative and in the future, whenever I want to instantly illustrate everything wrong with the people who run this site, I will use this post. The quote above illustrates, in a nutshell, everything wrong with Libertarianism (not objectivism though, that has a whole host of other issues in addition) and you post it. To mock it.

You seem to have a stunning lack of self awareness when it comes to this. He has explained to you what your problem is (that you want to benefit from the social contract while ignoring it when you find it personally inconvenient) and you completely ignore it. Where is he wrong? He seems to have you completely pegged. So how is he wrong?

If you want it even more quickly: Society is designed to help everyone, not just you, and it's what keeps us from squatting in cave beating each other with clubs. Want to be liberated? Go to Somalia.

You want to live in an apartment, you pay rent, you follow the rules the landlord set and you try not to act like a dick to your roommates. You want to live in America, you pay taxes, you follow the laws and you respect the decisions your fellow voters made. Simple. As. That.

James
Queens, New York, NY

The Right Guy said...

Social contract? Slaves have a social contract. All I will say is what comes around goes around. We'll see how happy you are when it's your turn.

jgeleff said...

"f that is the case, should drug users be held to the same standard as alcohol? Or higher? I don't fancy getting on the road with more meth heads, heroin addicts etc."

Who says there would be more?
DWI is about INFLUENCE, not what is influencing. There won't be a single other drunk/high driver on the road if drugs were legalized. People who are going to do these drugs are going to do them because they want to, regardless of legality. I don't think that legalization opens flood gates. I'm completely and totally opposed to drug usage, and for that matter alcohol ingestion. FOR ME. I legislate me, you legislate you. You do what you want, remembering that your rights end where mine begin.

jgeleff said...

"You want to live in an apartment, you pay rent, you follow the rules the landlord set and you try not to act like a dick to your roommates. You want to live in America, you pay taxes, you follow the laws and you respect the decisions your fellow voters made. Simple. As. That."

OK, so the voters of CO and WA have passed pot to be legal. The federal government attempts to override. Where's the respect?

jgeleff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Right Guy said...

Jerry: With alcohol, you have the right to drink, but not to drink and drive. Some in the pot community disagree with that, thinking pot doesn't affect the ability to drive or anything else.

Jemas said...

Slaves have a social contract...wow.

I'll be honest, I saw that earlier this morning before work and I was speechless. I had honestly expected a retraction or a correction. But no, that appears to be your rebuttal, so it looks like I've got some explaining to do. Because if only slaves have a social contract, then it looks like we're all slaves, because we've had social contracts all our lives.

Alright so there are a lot of nuances to this that I probably could explain better if I was had been a political science major like my roommate (sorry, I went to Film School) but the basics are, in the absence of any political order or law, people will have unlimited natural freedoms. Downside to this? They're free to rape, murder, pillage etc. to their heart's content. So people form societies, where they give up some (SOME, not all) of their natural freedoms in exchange for security.

There are variations on this of course, (Hobbes believed it should be a Monarch, Locke and Rousseau believed in more democratic methods) but the idea is the same. In more modern terms, it means that I give up the right to, say, kick in my neighbor's door and steal his TV, in exchange for the knowledge that my neighbor won't kick in the door and take my TV. Follow?

So unless you've been one of Alex's Droogs from A Clockwork Orange all this time, you have been living under a social contract your entire life. What's more, more modern social contracts (IE ones that lack a monarch) don't just remove our right to rape and murder to assure us we won't be raped and murdered, but actually guarantee other rights. You help pay for everyone's education, you get to be assured an education, that sort of thing.

Social contracts are designed to benefit everyone in the social contract, but they only work if everyone is holding up their end. This, in essence, is the issue with libertarianism at it's core, which the article above points out. You want to benefit from the social contract, but you also wish to ignore it when you find it inconvenient. If everyone gets to do that, well society collapses. So unless you've been living in a cave, hunting game with your bare hands all your life, you've been living under a social contract.

Oh and @jgeleff, I approve of the state's decriminalization and legalization of marijuana and I disapprove of the federal government's attempts to suppress it. I believe in the legalization of marijuana and prostitution. I do however believe prostitution should be regulated and monitored, to prevent abuse and exploitation. Just because I support Obama, doesn't mean I agree with every action he takes. Sorry if I don't fit into your narrative.

James
Queens, New York, NY

The Right Guy said...

Only a slave is bound to an obligation against his or her will.

Jemas said...

I'm not sure if you're simply trying to annoy me by saying that, if you're not understanding what I'm saying or if you legitimately believe that. And I'm not sure which option is scariest.

Listen to me, this is not 'an obligation against your will' as you put it. This is a part of being in society. I have to agree to not just kill people and take what I want from them in exchange for the assurance that no one else is allowed to do that. More directly, this is how laws work. I have to follow the laws, pay the taxes etc. because everyone else has to as well, including you. I am not special. You are not special.

This is what you give up to live in this or any society. Every part of society is included in this. MONEY is part of the social contract. Without the social contract to honor money, your 100 dollar bill isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

You don't want to follow this obligation against your will? Leave. Move to Somalia. They don't have any social contract there. Of course you're likely to be murdered for food, but hey that's what the world looks like absent the social contract. You want to live in America? You follow the laws, you pay the taxes, same as everyone.

James
Queens, New York, NY

The Right Guy said...

The problem, outside of not being voluntary is that it's meaning is variable, like the general welfare clause in the constitution. It means something different to everyone. I have socialist friends that believe that paying someone else's medical bills is part of the social contract. On the other hand, slaves are born into servitude without choice. It demands labor that isn't compensated or fairly compensated at all and that is the road we are headed down. Time is a commodity that we do not get reimbursed for and putting someone under contract without their consent for their time is wrong. This has nothing to do with killing or stealing, but what is demanded that cannot be repaid and is without consent.

Jemas said...

Okay, let me put this another way, see if this can get through to you, because arguing in circles with you is exhausting: Fair compensation for work is part of the social contract. Without the social contract, you're working for whatever you can grow or take (which is not a tenable lifestyle for humanity to have anymore, the planet cannot support the majority of humans living like that) or more likely, you're being taken by someone larger and stronger and being forced to work for them. So in other words, slaves LACK a social contract.

None of these are obligations against your will, none of these things require working without compensation. I don't know where on earth you are getting the idea that you are going to end up working without compensation. If you mean taxes being deducted from your paycheck, consider that your Rent for living in the country. Everyone else has to pay taxes, so unless you can explain to me why YOU are special, do be quiet about it.

And yes, in some other countries (Europe...Japan...Canada...basically the rest of the civilized world) the payment of other peoples medical bills is part of the social contract because (follow me here) other people pay yours. It's called the Single Payer System. And by every measurable metric, it works approximately 1,000 times better than the system we have in America, because it removes the profit motive from something as vital as health care. But then, I forgot, the motto of libertarianism is 'the least good for the fewest people.'

James
Queens, New York, NY