Hat tip… Dakta Green
Ross Meurant: The case for decriminalisation.
What simply does not work is the system of severe penalties for producing, transhipping and selling substances deemed illegal.
During my first four years as a National MP I initiated four policy papers, three of which were ultimately embraced as party policy.
But the fourth, to legalise drugs, failed miserably.
By the time I articulated my views on this subject in my second book, The Beat to the Beehive, I had wimped out under internal National Party pressure and merely articulated a case to study, in depth, the consequences of legalising cannabis, and to consider changes in that direction.
Privately I argued all dope should be decriminalised and now, 10 years later, I believe the evidence I gathered is as valid as ever. My case in 1990 was based on research done during my last few years in the police. As an inspector and university student I had high-level access to police data and an academic interest in drug crime.
The research suggested that perhaps 50 per cent of all crime in New Zealand was drug related. The data – which I collected in the Auckland police cells and extrapolated as a hypothesis across the country – covered arrests for importing; supply; possession for supply; thefts, burglaries and robberies for drugs or money to buy drugs. Possession for self-use brought up the rear.
It was obvious that a high percentage of serious crime – such as bank robberies, kidnappings and serious assaults – had a drug-related theme.
Gangs needed ready cash to make down-payments on large imported caches, addicts needed cash to feed their habits. Then there was gang warfare over territorial distribution rights and retribution over payments not made.
It occurred to me that the police workload might be reduced substantially if the drugs people fought over, killed for, and died protecting, were dispensed through government-licensed outlets – just like alcohol.
It would be possible to establish the names of all who entered government-licensed stores to make legal purchase of substances we presently deem illegal.
This record of “users”, those who used hard drugs such as heroin, could be placed on a register for treatment and counselling from health professionals.
Drug addiction, like alcoholism, is a sickness. It should not be treated as a crime – although penalties for abuse in a public place would be part of the armoury of the state to protect other citizens from those who took drugs lawfully but caused a nuisance. This is what happens now with alcohol.
The question of young people being vulnerable is no more potent a concern with drugs than with alcohol.
Alcohol has an impact on perhaps 75 per cent of crime, and much road carnage. It is not good for your health, nor does it have spin-off benefits for the community.
Yet we as a society tolerate continued advertising of alcohol as a desirable cultural characteristic – and why? I suggest it is the power of the brewery lobby and the recognition that prohibition simply won’t work.
The best way to control alcohol use by young people is not to make it unobtainable but to impose draconian penalties for misuse, particularly where the effects of misuse are manifest in a public place or impact adversely on others.
Zero tolerance with drink-driving for people under 28 is my start point. Overnight in a police cell for street drunkenness is another bottom line.
The rationale being: abuse of a substance lawfully available is where the penalties should fall and not on supply or possession, which effectively stimulates a black market and underworld.
This same rationale I suggest could be applied to drug use.
What simply does not work is the system of severe penalties for producing, transhipping and selling substances deemed illegal. Whether it be the death penalty, life imprisonment or examples of many past and present profile cases where mere “mules” let alone people higher up the supply chain are imprisoned in foreign jails with terrifying reputations.
All these and other attempts to prohibit possession and use of drugs through a punitive approach to the supply line have failed.
Instead, the policy has spawned drug barons with the wealth to own private armies which deliver terror to the doorsteps of politicians, judges and police and by this corruption govern entire states de facto.
At the same time, the impact of the drug trade on the world economy is massive.
Recently, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged that the international war on drugs had failed.
Others suggested that the international community (a euphemism for “someone else – not me”) revisit the question of legalisation.
It is my contention that the pain to society of trying to protect a minority from themselves is disproportionate to the benefits to society.
* Ross Meurant is a former MP and drug squad detective.
See also A sign of the times.
[Hat tip: Glenn Peoples]
Are you cultured enough to stop violence towards white people?
Should you take the pledge?
I PROMISE never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards white people.
I PROMISE never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.
Your freedom ends where my nose begins.
Zechariah Chafee, Jr. (December 7, 1885 – February 8, 1957) was an American judicial philosopher and civil libertarian. An advocate for free speech, he was described by Senator Joseph McCarthy as “dangerous” to the United States.
In June 1919 the Harvard Law Review published an article by Zechariah Chafee, Jr. titled “Freedom of Speech in War Time” and it contained a version of the expression spoken by an anonymous judge.
Each side takes the position of the man who was arrested for swinging his arms and hitting another in the nose, and asked the judge if he did not have a right to swing his arms in a free country. “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”
According to the Quote Investigator, the genesis of this adage can be traced back more than thirty-five additional years. Several variants of the expression were employed by alcohol Prohibitionists. For decades the saying was used at pro-Prohibition rallies and meetings. Such is the colourful history of this libertarian adage. But I digress.
Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.
Your freedom ends where my nose begins.
Consider the meaning of these sayings. They tell us about property rights. Libertarians are huge fans of private property rights. Libertarians own. Be it self-ownership, ownership of tangible goods or even ownership of so-called intellectual property. Private property is essential to libertarianism. But what is the essence of private property? Restrictions on your rights and freedoms, that’s what. Your freedom ends. How very unlibertarian!
May no longer walk into stores and just take things.
This is also one of the terms of living in a libertarian society. Kiss goodbye your freedoom to walk into stores and just take things!
Libertarianism is all about sacrificing some of our rights and liberties—e.g., the right to swing our arms and the liberty to walk into stores and just take things—for the security of private property rights.
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserves neither and will lose both.
Suppose I copy a blog post that a libertarian claims is his intellectual property. Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of writing because copying is not theft. God creates. Man makes alternative arrangements. There is nothing new under the sun.
In my copying the blog post, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me (or, at least, bloviates in my general direction). Libertarians are fine doing this and therefore libertarians are huge fans of initiating force.
The initiation of force or the threat to initiate force is the mechanism that underlies all private property claims.
It’s a terrible thing that some libertarians can be driven to initiate force—even deadly force—because of bad metaphysics.
In part one of my series of what libertarians are huge fans of, the topic was coercion. They loves them some coercion. In today’s episode, we will discuss libertarian’s second great love: the initiation of force.
Yesterday, Reason ran a post by Sheldon Richman, who–as Sarah Burnside points out–bears a striking intellectual resemblance to twitter user 1st year Phil major. In the post, Richman explains that most people already agree with libertarians. How so?
It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is wrong. So do the overwhelming majority of nonlibertarians. They, too, think it is wrong to commit offenses against person and property.
This is something libertarians like to say, especially the Ron Paul Internet ones. But it’s not actually true. Consider the following hypothetical scenario.
Suppose I walk on to some piece of ground that a libertarian claims ownership over. Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them. In my walking on the ground, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me. Libertarians are fine doing this and therefore libertarians are huge fans of initiating force. The initiation of force or the threat to initiate force is the mechanism that underlies all private property claims.
Now a libertarian will see this and object. They will say that, in fact, violently attacking me for wandering on to some piece of ground is not the initiation of force. It is defensive force. Aimlessly wandering on to ground is actually the initiation of force. I am the force initator because, despite touching and threatening nobody, I set foot on some piece of the world that the libertarian believes belongs to him.
But at this point, it’s clear that when the libertarians talk about not initiating force, they are using the word “initiation” in a very idiosyncratic way. They have packed into the word “initiation” their entire theory of who is entitled to what. What they actually mean by “initiation of force” is not some neutral notion of hauling off and physically attacking someone. Instead, the phrase “initiation of force” simply means “acting in a way that is inconsistent with the libertarian theory of entitlement, whether using force or not.” And then “defensive force” simply means “violently attacking people in a way that is consistent with the libertarian theory of entitlement.”
This definitional move is transparently silly and ultimately reveals a blatant and undeniable circularity in libertarian procedural reasoning. Libertarians like Richman claim that they think we can determine who is entitled to what by looking towards the principle of non-aggression (i.e. the principle of non-initiation of force). But then they define “non-aggression” by referring to their theory of who is entitled to what.
So in the case of the libertarian in the hypothetical who attacks me, here is how the libertarian line goes. The reason the libertarian is entitled to that piece of land is because they are being non-aggressive. The reason the libertarian’s attack on me is non-aggressive is because he is entitled to that piece of land. So their claims of entitlement are justified by appealing to non-aggression and their claims of non-aggression are justified by appealing to their claims of entitlement. It is truly and seriously as vacuously circular as that.
Basically all theories of economic justice believe it is wrong to use force that is inconsistent with the theory’s view on what belongs to who (labeled “aggression”) and believe it is OK to use force that is consistent with the theory’s view on what belongs to who (labeled “defense”). But only libertarians have made the apparent mistake of thinking that calling things “aggression” and “defense” can actually tell you what belongs to who in any non-circular way. While other theories correctly realize that those terms only derive their meaning from a theory of entitlement, many libertarians bizarrely think that those terms form a theory of entitlement (Read more on this point here. Seriously, it’s good and fairly short.).
In reality, all systems of allocating scarce resources that lack totally unanimous consent operate off of coercion, violence, and the initiation of force. This is a function of scarcity. You wont ever get around it until you make matter and space itself non-scarce. Like every other theory of how to justly allocate scarcity, libertarians are huge fans of using coercion, violence, and aggression to make people who disagree with them conform to their views regarding who should get what. What they do to try to appeal to the dim is simply pack their view of who should get what into their very specialized definitions of coercion, violence, and initiation of force in order to be able to say they aren’t triggering those specific words. It is truly remarkable to watch the number of minds captured by what amounts to a fairly transparent word game.
The real debate between theories of economic justice is always and anywhere about who should be entitled to what. Appealing to non-aggression when people disagree about what belongs to whom does nothing in the debate whatsoever. We only know what is and isn’t “aggressive” after we have determined what belongs to whom. It is a word that gets its meaning from our theory of entitlement. So taxing someone, for instance, is only aggressive if you think the amount being taxed belongs to the person being taxed. But if you believe the amount being taxed belongs to whomever the money is going to (say a retired person), then it isn’t aggressive. The force involved in extracting the tax when someone resists is simply defensive force.
So to Richman’s point that everyone is already basically libertarian, the question to ask yourself is whether everyone basically agrees with the libertarian view of who should be entitled to what. And the answer to that question is clearly no.
There is no overlapping consensus.
There is no consent of the governed.
To justify their violent governmental inclinations, minarchists must look elsewhere.
If I were king would it be right for me to do X or would I lack the authority?
If I were king my authority would change but only due to what property I would be responsible for and I’d also increase in might due to the people willing to do my will.
Being king however wouldn’t in principle change my authority over my neighbours.
“And God made man in his own image….”
When God made Man he not only formed his body out of matter, He breathed ‘spirit’ into him and he became a living soul… a freewill moral agent capable of making real choices… not a robot slave of Materialistic determinism.
Atheist delusions leave mankind not only without any Objective morality, but also renders him incapable of making moral choices… whether Evil, or Heroic.
Atheism has no explanation for consciousness.
Heroic deeds like that of John Shear only deserve praise because they stem from the heart… ie He chose to endanger himself for the sake of someone else *when he could have just stood by* in safety and watch the Horse do it’s worst.
What is truly shocking is that there are many so-called ‘Educated’ Modern Christians who are embracing this anti-free will Atheist Materialism!
They must have rocks in their heads not to appreciate the fact that Monist Materialist Determinism is absolutely incompatible with Biblical/ Christian morality!
God cant judge sinners who had no choice but to sin.
William Lane Craig makes this point clear.
The Bible is Dualistic…. it is emphatic about the greater Non-material Spiritual Reality.
The Morality Of God and Bible is built upon these Truths.
Free will is a testament to our inner Spiritual Being…. and proof of God almighty!
This is because Freewill is inexplicable in materialistic terms and conditions.
And Libertarianism is utterly dependent upon free will… voluntary acceptance of the Justice of the philosophy of equal God-given inalienable Rights and liberties.
Atheism is fundamentally corrosive to the Philosophy of Liberty.
It is deterministic and Nihilistic… whereas Libertarianism is not Lawlessness, but depends upon Objective moral absolutes.
The Rape Culture protesters I mentioned here have said what they are after…
The protesters are campaigning for:
• Rape crisis centres to be adequately and sustainably funded
• Educational programmes set up focussing on rape prevention and awareness
• Police to put measures in place to allow for better support of survivors
• The Law Commission report into pre-trial and trial processes for sexual assault victims to be reinstated immediately.
Rape crisis centres can (and should) be privately run – judging by the reaction and protests there shouldn’t be a problem getting volunteers and voluntary funding.
Rape prevention education? I don’t want these people or their ideas near my children (too late).
AFAIK the state sex “education” already tells kids about consent and surely if they try to educate potential victims about rape prevention that will be “victim blaming” and reinforce the “rape culture” that they hate.
I’m not sure what their other points mean – anyone?