Drug Policy – The Libertarian Standard http://libertarianstandard.com Property - Prosperity - Peace Wed, 27 Apr 2016 06:16:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 A new website and group blog of radical Austro-libertarians, shining the light of reason on truth and justice. Drug Policy – The Libertarian Standard clean Drug Policy – The Libertarian Standard thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com (Drug Policy – The Libertarian Standard) CC-BY Property - Prosperity - Peace Drug Policy – The Libertarian Standard http://libertarianstandard.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://libertarianstandard.com/category/statism/nanny-statism/drug-policy/ TV-G Of Morality and Failed Business Strategies… http://libertarianstandard.com/2014/08/15/of-morality-and-failed-business-strategies/ Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:13:35 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=13528 Some time ago, back in 2013 in fact, Richard Branson published a piece on LinkedIn, under the heading of “Big Idea 2013: This Year the Drug War Ends” wherein he positied, among other things, that if the War on (Some) Drugs was a business strategy, it would long ago have been scrapped.  He’s absolutely correct. And he’s also absolutely incorrect.

The War on (Some) Drugs is not a failed business strategy, and it is dangerous to even suggest that it is. Instead, it is a failed moral strategy. If it seems counter-intuitive to you that the government should be in the business of applying moral strategies, you win a prize. The control of what enters one’s body is, at root, the very basis of self-ownership. (Admittedly, the phrase “self-ownership” is not quite the correct nuance. I don’t “own” me, I “am” me, but anyway…)

The apparent failure of the War on (Some) Drugs speaks just as much to its actual goals as to its legitimate chances for success. In other words, if the goal was to criminalize large portions of an entire generation, then it has been a raging success. However, if the goal was to prevent people from freely consuming that which they know is their right anyway, it had no hope of success in the first place, and that lesson was obvious from alcohol prohibition.

On the more general issue of business strategies, why is it is dangerous to draw such a parallel to the War on (Some) Drugs? Such a suggestion–that just because the War on (Some) Drugs is failing that we should stop it–is a trap. It is a great example of the argument from effect, a veritable fat, shiny, Red Herring waiting for the obvious, “well, people still murder each other…” retort. Let us be clear, murdering someone is an attack on them, which is morally prohibited, dare I say malum in se anyway. Me putting a substance that you don’t like into my body has nothing to do with you.

Drug prohibition is unarguably malum prohibitum and therefore simply the attempt–misguided and puritanical–to impose the choices of some on the behavior of all. Ergo, it was destined for failure. By the way, this in no way suggests that drugs are good, but then again, neither are Twinkies. Now, if one wants to argue about the possible negative results of drug usage–crime, sickness, whatever–those ostensibly resultant actions, at least those that actually infringe on others, are ALREADY against the law. They are, in fact, malum in se regardless.

If you’re in your own home getting baked or shooting up, and don’t bother anyone else, it should be no one else’s business. I might also argue that most, if not all, of the crime supposedly endemic to illegal drugs occurs commensurate with the distribution of said substances despite their illegality. Make it legal on one day and that crime stops the next day. And, if the lessons of places like Portugal are any indication, with very little, if any, increase in widespread drug usage.
Ted Cruz mad at Obama for not throwing more pot users in cages http://libertarianstandard.com/2014/01/11/ted-cruz-mad-at-obama-for-not-throwing-more-pot-users-in-cages/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2014/01/11/ted-cruz-mad-at-obama-for-not-throwing-more-pot-users-in-cages/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2014 08:30:36 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12799 Senator Ted Cruz (R-Alberta Texas), a “Tea Party” Republican and ostensibly a champion of states’ rights, is unhappy with President Obama’s decision to not round up marijuana users in Washington and Colorado:

“A whole lot of folks now are talking about legalizing pot. The brownies you had this morning, provided by the state of Colorado,” he jokingly said during his keynote speech at Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation.

Oh Ted, what a knee-slapper!

“And you can make arguments on that issue,” Cruz continued. “You can make reasonable arguments on that issue. The president earlier this past year announced the Department of Justice is going to stop prosecuting certain drug crimes. Didn’t change the law.”

The problem, as Cruz sees it, isn’t just limited to Obama’s decision to not interfere with Washington’s and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. The president is running the government like a “corrupt dictator” and only enforcing the laws that suit him. And perhaps Cruz has a point. But let’s look at a list of Cruz’ complaints:

Cruz is on solid ground when criticizing Obama’s unilateral delay of the ACA employer mandate. He simply doesn’t have the executive authority to make such a decision, as a lawsuit filed in October to block the delay argued. But it all falls apart when Cruz goes after Obama on immigration and drug policy.

For one, discretion in law enforcement is not the same thing as suspending a law. Prosecutors have always had substantial leeway in choosing which cases to pursue and what evidence to present, so Obama’s directives to immigration and Justice officials on relaxing deportation rules and drug offense indictments is not flouting the law but simply changing the enforcement strategy. This is not uncommon.

But more to the point, Cruz is attacking Obama for not strictly enforcing immoral laws. No government has moral authority to use violence against people, especially so when those people have violated no one’s rights. Smoking a plant and crossing imaginary political borders are crimes only because the state has declared them so. It’s blindingly clear that the federal government has no compelling interest in criminalizing drugs nor does it have a constitutional mandate to do so. And arguably it need not have jurisdiction over immigration enforcement — the constitution provides for federal authority over naturalization, or the laws and process by which one becomes a citizen. A states’ rights advocate, as Tea Party Republicans purport to be, might argue that border enforcement is the domain of border states.

Cruz seems to be repudiating both a cornerstone of the new Republican grassroots platform, and arguing for more federal infrastructure to maintain policies any true conservative should oppose. This is the sort of cognitive dissonance, not to mention rank hypocrisy, that keeps Republicans so woefully out of step with much of the nation.

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America’s First Legal Marijuana Purchase Happened a Long Time Ago http://libertarianstandard.com/2014/01/02/americas-first-legal-marijuana-purchase-happened-a-long-time-ago/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2014/01/02/americas-first-legal-marijuana-purchase-happened-a-long-time-ago/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 01:31:45 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12770 TMZ calls 32-year-old Coloradan Sean Azzariti “the first man to make a legal weed purchase in the United States…  ever.”

But of course that’s wrong — and not just because people have been buying it legally for years in California, where getting a “prescription” couldn’t be much easier and marijuana shops abound in strip malls.

People somehow forget — or don’t know — that marijuana was legal in most of the country for most of U.S. history and everything was just fine.

So for those who aren’t familiar with this history, here’s a brief overview from my book, Libertarianism Today:

Cocaine and narcotics prohibition came about for dubious reasons — pleasing China, the pharmaceutical industry’s desire to eliminate competition, bigotry, World War I, and fanatical temperance activists — but the decision to prohibit marijuana was even less justifiable.

In 1930, the government established the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, led by Commissioner Harry Anslinger. In his position, Anslinger essentially decided who could legally manufacture narcotics for medical purposes in the United States, and he granted that privilege to just a handful of companies. In exchange for favorable treatment, these companies would otherwise do Anslinger’s bidding; specifically, they would provide Congressional testimony as needed, including, when Anslinger wanted it, testimony as to the great potential harm of marijuana.

It is odd that anyone would have pursued marijuana prohibition in the 1930s, if only because so few people used it, but Anslinger targeted it anyway. No one is sure why, but one suggested reason is because, like any bureaucracy, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics had to justify its budget, particularly during the Great Depression. Plus, some suggest, Anslinger and the bureau wanted publicity.

During the 1930s, Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics launched a propaganda campaign against pot. In speeches, Anslinger declared: “Take all the good in Dr. Jekyll and the worst in Mr. Hyde — the result is opium. Marihuana may be considered more harmful. . . . It is Mr. Hyde alone.” The bureau was eager to provide “information” on the putative dangers of marijuana to journalists; marijuana horror stories began to appear in newspapers and periodicals, virtually all of them acknowledging Anslinger’s bureau or its publications for their “facts.” A 1934 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article described the effects of marijuana:

[T]he physical attack of marijuana upon the body is rapid and devastating. In the initial stages, the skin turns a peculiar yellow color, the lips become discolored, dried and cracked. Soon the mouth is affected, the gums are inflamed and softened. Then the teeth are loosened and eventually, if the habit is persisted in, they fall out. . . . [People in traveling jazz bands] take a few puffs off a marijuana cigarette if they are tired. . . . It gives them a lift and they can go on playing even though they may be virtually paralyzed from the waist down, which is one of the effects marijuana can have.

Anslinger himself published an article in American Magazine called “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth,” in which he told of a young “marijuana addict” who, while “pitifully crazed,” slaughtered his family of five with an ax.

Another likely factor leading to prohibition was, once again, bigotry, this time mostly against Mexicans. Mexicans brought marijuana smoking to the United States when about one million of them migrated here after their country’s 1910 revolution. Some people resented Mexicans anyway, in part for their willingness to work for low wages during the Depression, and marijuana provided another excuse to attack them. Anslinger also testified before Congress that marijuana “causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes.”

Powerful interests lined up in support of marijuana prohibition. Big pharmaceutical companies did so because they were beholden to Anslinger and because they did not want competition from marijuana, which they could not profit from themselves because it was a common plant. Chemical company DuPont supported the legislation because it would treat hemp (a form of cannabis that cannot be used to get high, but which serves numerous industrial purposes very well) just like other marijuana, which would eliminate competition for DuPont’s synthetic products.

Still, despite the propaganda and prejudice, there was not much public demand for marijuana prohibition when Congress nonetheless passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. There was not much evidence or debate, either. As legal scholars Charles H. Whitebread II and Richard J. Bonnie put it, the hearings “are near comic examples of dereliction of legislative responsibility.”

Anslinger was the primary witness at the Congressional hearings, and he presented stories of the boy with the ax, another man who decapitated his best friend while under the influence, a 15-year-old who “went insane,” and other anecdotes derived from newspaper clippings.

The American Medical Association provided a witness, a Dr. William C. Woodward, who pointed out that Anslinger had little more than hearsay evidence from newspapers to back up his claims. Although marijuana use in prisons and by children were supposed justifications for the law, Woodward pointed out that there was no evidence as to how many prisoners actually used marijuana, or how many children used it. For refusing to endorse the legislation, Congressmen accused Woodward of “obstruction.”

When the bill made it to the House floor, it received less than two minutes of debate. A Republican Congressman asked whether the American Medical Association supported the bill, and a committee member, Fred M. Vinson — who had been present and asked questions at length during the committee hearings, and who would later become Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — responded with a bald-faced lie: “Their Doctor Wentworth (sic) came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.” It was late at night, so they passed the bill without further substantive discussion, and soon the president signed it.

For more history of the war on drugs, and background on a wide range of other topics, you can buy Libertarianism Today in paperback for just $3.95 or download the audiobook for free from Laissez-Faire Books. It’s also available in hardcover, for Kindle, and in the Google Play store

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2014: the year of the sweet leaf http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/12/31/2014-the-year-of-the-sweet-leaf/ Wed, 01 Jan 2014 04:28:48 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12752 Tomorrow, the country’s first legal retail shops to sell recreational marijuana will open for business in Colorado. This comes 14 short months since the state’s voters approved the legalized possession, use, and sale of marijuana. Washington state, which also passed a pot legalization measure, will soon follow, probably sometime in June. It’s even happening internationally: Uruguay became the first country to legalize marijuana at the national level — which may spark a “tidal wave” of legalization across South American countries that have grown weary of the expensive and bloody U.S.-led war on drugs.

The impact of this historic milestone is more than just legal or political; it is a signal of the mainstream acceptance of a product which for decades has been subject to fearmongering propaganda and sometimes brutal interdiction by a state desperate to eradicate its use. Now that Colorado and Washington have opened the gates to legalization, there is no hope for the drug warriors to stop the flood. Not that they won’t try: even now they continue their dire and uninformed warnings about the dangers of pot.

Perhaps the biggest change will come in how marijuana-related stories are covered by the news media. The Denver Post has launched a new Web site, TheCannabist.co — so far the only major daily newspaper in the country with a site dedicated to marijuana. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a marijuana blog as part of their main site.) Pot will be covered — in reviews of shops and strains, stories of events and crimes — in much the same way as alcohol. Alongside reviews of pinot noirs, you might find evaluations of Purple Kush. This coverage has existed for years, of course, in states where medical marijuana is legal, but now that 21-plus year-olds can buy the stuff like they can a bottle of wine, societal attitudes will likely shift as well. Lifting the stigma of illegality means no more furtive discussions of pot in public and back-alley deals. We may well be arguing about the relative merits of various strains like we do micro-brews.

Legalization isn’t perfect. There are now many more rules to follow for people who wish to engage in the marijuana trade, and it’s clear that Colorado’s current rules favor the established players in the medical marijuana industry. Banks are still restricted in accepting money from businesses tied to illicit drugs, which marijuana remains classified as at the federal level, so it’s a cash-only business for now. Taxes on retail marijuana will be punitively excessive, reaching as high as 30% in Denver. There are also limits on how much pot one can possess, and strict bans on public consumption.

But for those who can find a private place to light up with their newly-purchased bud tomorrow, they may very well believe what Ozzy Osbourne sang over 40 years ago: “Soon the world will love you, sweet leaf.”

Too little, but not too late: Eric Holder begins to roll back the drug war http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/08/12/too-little-but-not-too-late-eric-holder-begins-to-roll-back-the-drug-war/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/08/12/too-little-but-not-too-late-eric-holder-begins-to-roll-back-the-drug-war/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 03:18:20 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12622 More than forty years after the U. S. government launched the modern drug war, its highest-ranking prosecutor has tacitly admitted that it is a legal and moral failure:

In a major shift in criminal justice policy, the Obama administration moved on Monday to ease overcrowding in federal prisons by ordering prosecutors to omit listing quantities of illegal substances in indictments for low-level drug cases, sidestepping federal laws that impose strict mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a speech at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco on Monday, announced the new policy as one of several steps intended to curb soaring taxpayer spending on prisons and help correct what he regards as unfairness in the justice system, according to his prepared remarks.

Saying that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason,” Mr. Holder justified his policy push in both moral and economic terms.

At the risk of giving Holder too much credit, it is encouraging that he is not viewing his end-run around mandatory minimums for drug offenses in purely utilitarian terms: he recognizes the injustice of current laws which have contributed to the world’s highest incarceration rate. But it’s worth noting that these reforms follow the lead of several conservative Southern states, which have turned to treatment, diversionary programs, and early release for non-violent offenders as a way to relieve prison overcrowding. Texas, far and away the nation’s leader in executions, has experienced a steady drop in its prison population after adopting sentencing reforms aimed at rehabilitation instead of imprisonment, and is actually closing prisons it no longer needs.

Whether Holder’s proposed reforms will have a similar effect on federal prison populations remains to be seen. One caveat is that this does not represent any long-term reform of the actual mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Holder is simply using his prosecutorial discretion to not issue indictments that could lead to lengthy prison terms. The laws are still on the books and only Congress can change or repeal them. Should Obama or his successor appoint a more enthusiastic drug warrior, even this modest progress could be reversed. It’s also unclear who will qualify as a “low-level” drug offender. Your friendly neighborhood pot dealer may get lucky with this policy change, but it’s unlikely that purveyors of harder stuff will be unrelated “to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels” in the feds’ view.

But it’s a start. If President Obama wants to leverage the political capital he’ll gain from these reforms, he could take even more dramatic action to reduce prison populations by using his clemency powers to reduce the sentences of minor drug offenders. But as he has demonstrated throughout his time in office, Obama’s mercy for incarcerated Americans is quite limited.

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The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/12/14/the-war-on-drugs-is-a-war-on-freedom/ Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:57:44 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12095 http://mises.org/store/Assets/ProductImages/B1035.jpgBook review of The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom by Laurence Vance. Vance Publications, 2012. Orlando, FL. $9.95 at Amazon.com. Cross-posted from LibertarianChristians.com.

To many newcomers to libertarian ideas – especially Christians – it is not always perfectly clear why libertarians oppose the War on Drugs so strenuously. Some Christians even think that the only reason libertarians oppose government prohibition is so that they can get high legally. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, we despise government prohibition because it is a power no government should have. Moreover, the War on Drugs is an incredible example of precisely how a government usurps liberty, destroys lives, and consolidates power unto itself. This short book by Dr. Laurence Vance, writer at LCC, LewRockwell.com, Mises.org, and the Future of Freedom Foundation, explains in great detail why everyone should oppose the War on Drugs .

Vance begins the introduction by giving his purpose in collecting these essays into book form:

This is not a book about the benefits of drugs; this is a book about the benefits of freedom. I neither use illegal drugs nor recommend their use to anyone else. I am even skeptical about the health benefits of most legal drugs.

So why this book? Because I believe in freedom. I believe in individual liberty, private property, personal responsibility, a free market, a free society, and a government as absolutely limited as possible.

The book then contains 19 essays, written over the past 4 years, that tackle the War on Drugs from a variety of angles. A few common themes resonate throughout the book:

1. The War on Drugs is unconstitutional. You would think that “conservatives” who support the United States Constitution would readily admit when the Federal government has overstepped its bounds, but such is rarely the case. Still, the Feds do not follow their own rules, and we should point this out whenever possible. Substance prohibition has never been constitutional.

2. The War on Drugs is a total failure. It has clogged the judicial system and incarcerated completely innocent people, instigated worldwide violence, corrupted law enforcement, eroded civil liberties, and destroyed financial privacy. Additionally, it hasn’t even been able to prevent drugs from getting into prisons much less the general population. By any standard of “helping” anyone, the War on Drugs has completely failed. To me, those in jail for possession of illegal drugs – assuming they have not committed a violent act – are prisoners of war and deserve to be liberated immediately.

3. Drug abuse is a health issue, not a legal issue. If you oppose government intrusion into health care, then there is no reason at all to support the War on Drugs. It is not the government’s business to dictate health issues to you.

4. The War on Drugs is a war on the ideals of liberty and a free society. Actions that are not aggressive in nature have no business being prohibited by government. Vices are not crimes, and it is not the purpose of government to monitor the behavior of citizens like a nanny! The War on Drugs is a perfect example of why government intrusion into people’s lives does nothing but harm. In order to ward off “vices” like illicit drugs, the government must continuously undermine liberty.

Vance even has an essay for why Christians should oppose the War on Drugs. Yes, Christians are free to consider drug abuse a great evil, but such evil should not be compounded by a drug war that is an even greater evil. Vance argues that Christians are both inconsistent and immoral for calling upon the state to punish non-crimes:

It is not the purpose of Christianity to use force or the threat of force to keep people from sinning. Christians who are quick to criticize Islamic countries for prescribing and proscribing all manner of behavior are very inconsistent when the support the same thing [in the United States]. A Christian theocracy is just as unscriptural as an Islamic theocracy.

Now more than ever we Christians ought to expose the War on Drugs for what it is: a War on Freedom. Laurence Vance concisely brings you a wealth of information to educate you on the issues, and I highly recommend this book to any believer anywhere.

Interested in learning more? Check out The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom at Amazon.com.

TLS Podcast Picks: Donald Harris on copyright law and alcohol prohibition, Tucker on Anarchy http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/08/21/tls-podcast-picks-harris-copyright-alcoho/ Tue, 21 Aug 2012 20:13:06 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=11516 Recommended podcasts:

  • Donald Harris on copyright law and alcohol prohibition,” Surprisingly Free (Aug. 14, 2012) “Donald P. Harris, associate professor of law at Temple University discusses the regulation of file sharing. Harris explains that Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s as an historical example of laws that were inconsistent with the vast majority of society’s morals and norms. Looking back, one can see many similarities between the Alcohol and Filesharing Prohibitions. Harris suggests, then, that lessons learned from the failed “noble experiment” of Alcohol Prohibition should be applied to the current filesharing controversy. Doing so, he advocates legalizing certain noncommercial filesharing. A scheme along those lines would better comport with societal norms, he argues, and would force new business models to replace outdated and ineffective business models.” Harris is not an IP abolitionist, but he does at least suggest we consider legalizing file sharing for noncommerical uses.
  • The Spy Who Saved D-Day,” Slate’s The Afterword (Aug. 16, 2012). An interview with Stephan Talty. “Juan Pujol was an underachieving Barcelona chicken farmer until World War II, when he transformed himself into an accomplished anti-Nazi spy. Using only his amazing gift for inventing credible lies, Pujol became Germany’s most valuable secret agent—but he was really a double agent, working with Britain’s intelligence service. Stephan Talty’s book Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler & Saved D-Daytells the story of Pujol’s complex deception and how he convinced Germany’s high command that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was just a feint, while the real attack was aimed at Calais. The interview lasts around 30 minutes.”
  • Tucker, A Beautiful AnarchyJeff Tucker discusses his new book A Beautiful Anarchy: how to Create your own Civilization in the Digital Age in this vimeo video and in an interview with Stefan Molyneux.
  • Ohanian on the Great Recession and the Labor Market,” Econtalk (Aug. 20, 2012). “Lee Ohanian of UCLA talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recession, the recovery, and the state of labor market. Ohanian describes the unusual aspects of this recession and recovery in the United States as shown by the labor market and the unusual performance of hours worked, productivity, and wages. He also discusses the behavior of business investment and speculates as to why this recession and the recovery has been so different in the United States. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of the foreclosure process in encouraging unemployment.” I found interesting Ohanian’s discussion of wage stickiness—for example, how wages could fall in response to a recession. He says that workers are quite willing to work for lower wages in response to changed market conditions, but that various state interventions into the market inhibit this adjustment, from soft coercion to regulations to laws.
The Marvelous Naïveté of the 3D Print Enthusiasts http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/07/26/the-marvelous-naivete-of-the-3d-print-enthusiasts/ Thu, 26 Jul 2012 14:51:01 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=11415 Kurzweil AI reports on a new possibility for the exciting world of 3D printing: drugs. 3D printing could usher in a wonderful new era of unconstrained creativity, which is why, of course, it will be fought tooth and nail by the IP lobby. Consider the mortal threat to drug patents caused by the ability to print a drug.  The furor over home recording equipment would pale in comparison, considering the natural union, in this case, between large pharmaceutical companies and drug warriors.

The other aspects of 3D printing also seem to be headed for a collision course with state intervention. Copyrights and patents will surely impede the abilities of people to print just any old gadget, if that gadget is “protected.” Even if it is not protected by a government monopoly, how about printing guns? Both sides of the aisles would have no problem uniting over this threat to the children. Felons, terrorists, and other such unsavory folk could set up a nice black market for such weapons.

I enjoy reading about the new technology being developed, and I look forward to it being freely available to help improve lives worldwide. But it is fairly clear that in order for that to happen, the unholy alliance of business and state must be taken head on. It is important for the developers and supporters of these technologies to actively oppose the inevitable attempts at limiting them. Intellectual property, being privatized tyranny, is a grave threat to these emerging technologies. For a good example of how bad things can become, just take a look at the privatized tyranny of American cotton and tobacco farming 150 years ago. Don’t say “it can’t happen here.” It already did.

“Close” Encounters Of The Cop Kind http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/30/close-encounters-of-the-cop-kind/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/30/close-encounters-of-the-cop-kind/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2012 14:57:56 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=11002 Over the weekend there was a small health expo at my local YMCA (which also shares a building with a public elementary school). A variety of organizations had stands and booths–from golf and swimming coaches to dietitians and chiropractors. And, like civilized people, they would pitch their goods and services to passers-by. Unfortunately, this peaceful demonstration of entrepreneurialism and voluntary market demand was tainted by the presence of the police.

No fewer than five “cruisers” lined the edge of the parking lot. About a dozen police officers, in full regalia (guns, tasers, cuffs, baton, military boots) interacted with children who would ask one question about another, their eyes glazed over by the “magnificence” of “our” public “servants.” But the “law and order” monopolists would still had a gem to show the community. Parked on the grass a B.E.A.R. military-style vehicle was the center of attention. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters were taking turns climbing on the truck of mass destruction.

I approached and listened to the guy inside tell a kid that he was the one in charge of holding the bullet-proof shield when they have to go “serve warrants” and that the guy you see right there (pointing across the parking lot) was the one whose job was to break doors open. Another officer (dressed in camo and looked like a military soldier but was a local cop) told a girl that they were there to help the good ones and take care of “the bad guys.” Meh.

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Do it for the children (and troubled pop stars) http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/12/do-it-for-the-children-and-troubled-pop-stars/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/12/do-it-for-the-children-and-troubled-pop-stars/#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2012 20:36:51 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=10510 I suppose it’s only logical – in that twisted, perverse way unique to the state – that if the president can now detain citizens indefinitely without trial for suspected terrorist activities committed on U. S. soil, the government would be able to arrest them for merely talking about suspected drug activities abroad:

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they’re carried out.

Whitney Houston(At this point it should shock no one that the sponsor of this bill is Lamar Smith, the Republican senator from Texas who also backed the free-speech-crushing Stop Online Piracy Act.)  So that means if you casually mention to someone that you can’t wait to go to Amsterdam to try some hash – which is completely legal there – you might find yourself detained by DEA agents even before you’ve left the country.  It would also conceivably apply to any publications, including blogs, which discuss future drug activity, or even advice about drugs aimed at overseas audiences (such as growing marijuana).

So now the country’s lawmakers are reduced to enacting thought-crime legislation, in the state’s futile attempts to prevent anyone from ever getting high.  The only thing that surprises me is that they haven’t named it Whitney’s Law.  Because nothing drums up popular support for terrible, unlibertarian laws like naming them after dead people.

(Cross-posted from A Thousand Cuts.)

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