Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Drug use is not a victimless crime

"Drug use is not a victimless crime" argued a friend recently. Drug users harm themselves and other people too, said my friend; they are all victims.

Well, as I've explained before, yes it is a victimless crime. Drug use may well make of the user a 'victim,' but as long as nobody initates force against another, no crime is involved.

As I explain here, a crime is when somebody does initiates force, or its derivative fraud, against someone else: Cue Card Libertarianism - Force In fact, that's what moral governments are set up for: not to protect us against ourselves, but to offer protection for each of us against the initiation of force by others. This gives us the 'moral space' in which to live our own lives in our own chosen way, as I point out here: Cue Card Libertarianism - Government

Being free gives no guarantee of success. Freedom means we are free to succeed, and also free to fuck up. 'Free to get it right' means you must also be free to make mistakes. And being free means we must take responsibility for our actions and our mistakes, as I argue here: In Dreams Begins Responsibility

So if you want freedom for yourself to win or to fail, then you must accept that same freedom for others too, which means you must accept freedom right across the board. You may disagree with another person's choice of recreational activity, but you are not morally entitled to bring down the weight of government force against them just for that.

Freedom is not something that you can cherry-pick; not something from which you can pick or choose according to your own prejudices; freedom is indivisible: allow a government to take freedom over here, and you have given it the power to also take freedom over there. Pretty soon freedom becomes challenged and tied up in all directions, and big government gets biggerand better at tying us up.

By that standard, any man's battle for his own freedom is our own battle too. So a 'victimless crime' is one in which no force has been initiated against anyone else. If you choose to inflict harm against yourself that's your business. ~If~ you do. Drug use is a victimless crime--the classic textbook example of a victimless crime-- as I say here: Cue Card Libertarianism - Drugs

Further, in the present environment of prohibition, it's no accident that organised crime and petty crime is intertwined, nor that organised crime is heavily involved with providing something that is illegal. It's interesting that people such as Eddie Ellison, former head of the Scotland Yard Drug Squad, says he and many other British policemen have now come to the conclusion that practical policing means that drugs should be made legal. Making them legal, says Eddie and other practical policemen like him, removes drug profits and the control of drug quality from criminals and corrupt policemen, and slashes the costs enormously -- removing the need to steal to pay for drugs, and removing the criminal connection between drug supply and drug use.

Removing drug laws from the books means police can concentrate on protecting you and me from real crimes that ~do~ involve the initiation of force, instead of spending time, energy and effort on people committing 'crimes' only against themselves -- 'crimes' which are never going to stop: If it's not possible to keep drugs out of prison, then how in hell are you going to keep them out of people's home?

Frankly, too many people have a blind spot on this subject. Admit it. You do. Arguing for legalisation of drugs is not an endorsement of using drugs, any more that arguing for freedom of religion is endorsing going to church.

It's simply arguing for freedom.

People will still say, "don't expect me to be happy paying for other people's lifestyle choices." Neither should any of us be made to, and there perhaps is the nub. None of us should be paying for the lifestyle choices of drug users, but nor should we for the lifestyle choices of racing-car drivers, skydivers, alcoholics, left-wing academics, people who eat too many pies or church-goers.

The problem here is not with drug use per se, nor with the misunderstanding of victimless crimes: the problem lies in the ethic and existence of the welfare state, which demands that you do pay for the lifestyle choices of others. When I hear the objectors to drugs call for the demise of the welfare state, I'll know they've understood the issue.

Here's the crux of it all: As long as people are using drugs without initiating force against anyone else and they're taking responsibility for their actions, then what they do is entirely their business. It's not yours. It's not mine. And it's not the business of Jim Anderton or any other Drug Czar either.

If users or suppliers ~do~ initiate force, then they should be convicted for that, and without any bullshit about 'diminished responsibility' either.

But convictions for crimes in which there is no physical coercion is a victimless crime. That ain't hypocrisy, that's the truth of it. Drug use is a victimless crime.

So now let's translate the objection that my friend really has to legalising drugs. She says "Drug use is not a victimless crime," but what she means is "I don't like drugs." Fine. Her business. I don't like Pink Floyd. But I don't demand that anyone write a law about it, nor do I ask for the criminalisation of otherwise law-abiding Pink Floyd users. There are many objections one can make about Pink Floyd users, but making them criminals is not a valid action.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Ruth said...

You have linked to someone's comment - not my post.You have NEVER said ANYTHING against the losers who use drugs - you support them.

It's not me who has a blind spot - it is you. Continue smoking your crack-pipe. After reading the above post I realise I pay at least twice the amount in tax per year than you make in salary. And I have more people who agree with me.

BWAHAHAHAHA!

8/17/2005 04:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "as long as people are not initiating force or neglecting their responsiblities then what they do is entirely their business" is all well and good - but what if they are using force and/or neglecting their responsibilites (as the drug addled are wont to do)? What then? You say you'd support the prosecution of those using force but are strangely silent as to the prosecution of those practising neglect. Why is that? I suspect it's because you know it'd be a can of worms - a can of worms you propose to open? While I may have a 'blind spot' on this issue, your 'will not see' affliction is not an attractive alternative. Drug use without force is NOT necessarily a victimless crime - and to claim otherwise is plain imbecilic.

8/17/2005 04:38:00 pm  
Blogger Blair said...

Oh my God! She pulled out the "Nya nya I make more money than you" argument. That wins it every time.

Sucks to be you, PC ;o)

8/17/2005 05:19:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

"Your "as long as people are not initiating force or neglecting their responsiblities then what they do is entirely their business" is all well and good..."

This would be a misquote. As such, the rest of what you say is well nigh meaningless. That, no doubt, is amongst the reasons you choose to remain anonymous, Anonymous. If you have something to say, a) use your name, and b) argue against what is actually said, not a distortion thereof.

If you have to misquote, it suggests you can't answer what is actually argued.

8/17/2005 05:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LEGALIZE P - VOTE LIBERTARIANZ!!

8/18/2005 01:26:00 am  
Anonymous James said...

While PC and I arn't the best of buddys due to a certain issue he's bang on the button here. Ruth...you have just shown you are an ignorant blowhard who can't mount an argument against the overwhelling logic of PC's case.And Anonymous...well theres mental stagnation for you.People who argue to keep drugs illegal are real child abusers in my book!

8/18/2005 10:02:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

James said, "While PC and I aren't the best of buddys ... he's bang on the button here."

Clearly I've said something wrong then...

8/18/2005 10:46:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, a correction is appropriate. You said "As long as people are using drugs without initiating force against anyone else AND they're taking responsibility for their actions, then what they do is entirely their business". My question remains - but what if they ARE using force and/or neglecting their responsibilites (as the drug addled are wont to do)? What then? You say you support the prosecution of those using force - but are silent as to the prosecution of those practising neglect. Why is that? I suspect it's because you know it'd be a can of worms - a can of worms you propose to open? While I may have a 'blind spot' on this issue, your 'will not see' affliction is not an attractive alternative. Drug use without force is NOT NECESSARILY a victimless crime - and to claim otherwise is false.
Sean.

8/18/2005 03:56:00 pm  
Blogger Icehawk said...

You don't like Pink Floyd!?!?!

There oughta be a law against that.

8/18/2005 04:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Bushman said...

It's worth a go, I reckon.I'd forsee a bit of anachy, but it'd soon settle down for the better. Rather like easycare farming.

8/18/2005 09:00:00 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

The "I make more money than you" argument:

I'll agree with either Peter or Ruth, depending on which one agrees to give me a comfortable stipend. Oh ya sure, you betcha I'm a whore. I think Ruth will recognize the capitalistic bent of this attitude and, hopefully, she'll kick down first!!!!

8/21/2005 11:42:00 am  
Blogger Martin said...

Removes drug profits and the control of drug quality from criminals and corrupt policemen, and slashes the costs enormously -- removing the need to steal to pay for drugs, and removing the criminal connection between drug supply and drug use. Removing drug laws from the books. Quit interesting. As far as the passing the drug test is concern, I tried this detox drinks and capsules, which is available and passing a drug test was easy, it really worked. Now I am in to new job too.

8/15/2007 04:42:00 pm  
Anonymous fight the war said...

To do drugs is my choice as long as it is only me that it affects, what people seem to convieniently forget is that alcahol is a legal class a drug which is far more carcenagenic, addictive, aswell as socially personally damaging than a wide variety of so called killer drugs which are illegal.
I have chrons disease cannabis releaves the pain and spasms reducing costs to the NHS, my other favorites lsd, mescaline, psilibin are non toxic and non addictive and only dangerous in the wrong hands. So you pie eating-chain smoking-alcaholic-airheads i am infact getting fleased by the NHS to pay for your heathcare not the other way round. Your narrow mindedness makes me sick. 50 years ago another victimless crime engaging in a homosexual act with a willing partner was conidered a crime, now if i were to claim that it should be illegal and it was a crime i would be considerded a throwback and a bigot. draw your own conclusions

5/02/2008 11:01:00 am  
Anonymous Indignant student said...

I am supposed to be researching for a drug project right now, but I can't read this kind of idiocy without speaking up against it.

OK, so drug use has no victims? What about the fact that alcohol is implicated in 64% of cases of domestic violence? The fact that secondhand smoke causes asthma? The fact that a 16-yr-old on PCP freaked out because he was hallucinating and beat a monster to death--when the monster was really his younger brother? What about the "meth orphans" whose parents' behavior is so altered by the drug that they neglect, abuse, rape, and molest their children? And lastly, no matter what you say about the "right to choose" your "recreation," drug users harm themselves by ingesting mind- and body- altering substances!

The undeniable fact of the matter is, drugs alter the user's behavior so drastically that sooner or later SOMEONE will fall victim to it.

10/17/2008 02:28:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what we need to be worrying about instead of the stoners and the potheads are the McyD shovin, tobacco blowin, pill poppin, good for nothin people who think they dont have a problem. if one iota of the people that blogged to this article would help someone instead of complain to a computer screen then we could start getting something done about this. every generation had their experimentation and if america can have a black president who smokes, drinks, and HAS INHALED then why isnt it at least decriminalized? there is no reason anyone should spend jail time for marijuana. one of the above comments refered to lsd. sir, you my freind are an idiot. bad tripps kill. dont tripp, problem solved.what was one of the things assocciated with hippies of the 60s and 70s? peace. potheads should run the world many people steryotype people who smoke marijuana are lazy and "dont take care of their responsabilities" most people think better when not worrying about pointless arguments or feel less stressed when an exam is due the next day. i play frisbee and stay very active ;P so sucks to you who have never tried it and still condemm it! give peace and chance and chill out. all your doing when you catagorize weed and heroin together you leed the user to not as easily differentiate between harmless and life threatening. make a difference that is how freedom starts.

4/15/2009 06:41:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and 1 more thing alcoholics. you belong in prison.-kristo

4/16/2009 01:35:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a total pain to read without paragraph breaks...

10/10/2010 07:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really man? Do you know how many people commit crimes while they are on drugs? that can take the form of coked up crimimals or wife beaters or drugged up drivers. The fact is many crimes against another people occur precisely because the perpetraitor is on drugs. That makes the the victim a victim of drug use even though they didnt use themselves.

2/22/2012 09:06:00 am  

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