Friday, 6 May 2005

Rodney Hide opposes prohibition. But.

There are many ways to argue for an end to the War on Drugs.

Libertarians generally begin by pointing out that its your body, and your right to choose what to put into it - providing of course that you take responsibility for your choices. Historians like to point out that prohibition has never worked, and that organised crime only achieved 'take-off'in the US when alcohol was prohibited in the twenties. The former head of Scotland Yard's Drug Squad, Eddie Ellison, likes to point out that legalising drugs dramatically reduces police corruption, overhwelmingly reduces crime both petty and felonious, effectively nearly doubles police numbers and halves prison populations, and removes profits from criminals and reduces their control over the quality and consequent danger of drugs.

There are many ways to argue for the legalisation of drugs. Unfortunately Rodney Hide has just chosen the worst, specifically to "legalise and tax hard to keep the price where it is now" so that the government could effectively levy huge windfall taxes on drug-users. This would somehow remove drugs from the black-market, thinks Rodney.

Will de Cleene, Trevor Loudon and 'dogsbody' are already accurately pointing out the problems with Rodney's position on his own blog as we speak, but what is at least positive about Rodney's announcement is that this is the first time an ACT MP - let alone ACT's leader - has even floated the idea of legalising drugs, or at least the idea that prohibition is a bad thing. Which is a good thing. A shame then that it is only to endorse extortionate taxation "for something useful."

Maybe if he's truly serious about opposing prohibition and supporting an increase in personal freedom he could get Will de Cleene to advise him on what credible arguments for legalisation would look like. This for example. Or this.

[UPDATE 1: Rodney could also visit one of NORML's J-Day celebrations tomorrow and get a few better arguments against probition. I feel sure Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore can give him something compelling.]

[UPDATE 2: I've been pointed to a piece Rodney wrote in 2003 opposing prohibition. Here it is. Great piece, but sadly it doesn't come to any conclusive position on ending the criminilisation and imprisonment of drug users. He did however come out completely in support of legalisation on a Ralston Group episode some years back before being told by then-leader Richard Prebble to settle down and shut up; and Mild Greens' Blair Anderson reports herethat Rodney was staunchly in support of Clifford Thornton's legalisation arguments in 2004. So there you go. I await with eager interest this support turning into a policy in support of personal freedom. Until then I can only agree with NORML's summary of ACT here, 'Pathetic and No Policy.']


  1. PC's motto ought to be "If I don't believe it then it's not true. If I don't know about it then it didn't happen." His claim that Rodney's blog is "the first time an ACT MP... has even floated the idea of legalising drugs" is just false. Rodney has written about it in his regular column at least a year or two ago that I remember and said this publicly on numerous occassion. It's not the first time. I've heard Rodney do it several times over the last few years and read him saying it long ago. Just because you don't know something PC (which is far more than you'll ever acknowledge) doesnt mean it didn't happen.

  2. "It's not the first time." Great. Let's see examples then - and I hope they're argued better than in this instance.

  3. Exactly what anonymous was saying! If you don't know about it then it didn't exist. It's not the first time until you see it. It was published in Hidesight in 2003 and can be found at

    It is titled Second-Hand Ideas. So the first posting is correct. You say it wasn't well argued but it was right! Of course you say it's not well argued because of the very point it made. You don't believe anything can be true unless you believe it. It's not your belief so it's badly argued, not true, false, whatever.

  4. Proof that it is often a misake to think ACT et al are allies you know. Legalise all drugs and let the addicts die off - it cleanses the gene pool.


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