Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Victim of P & Prohibition [update 2]

By Susan Ryder

Damn the Kiwis.  Any other weekend I’d have been ecstatic at the upset win over the Kangaroos in Brisbane on Saturday night, to capture the Rugby League World Cup for the first time in its 54 year history. To say that the win was unexpected would have been refuted by only the most diehard of diehard supporters, and therefore all the sweeter.

But I couldn’t savour the win on Saturday due to receiving some shocking news that morning. It was the sort of news that you just can’t stop thinking about, try as you might.

I’d heard the radio news report of a brutal sexual attack (is there any other?) upon a 99 year old woman in her home during the early hours of a morning last week. You read it correctly: the lady was 99.  I remember being momentarily horrified. The story was repeated over the next couple of newscasts and then that was that.  Just another forgotten victim of another horrific attack right here in Godzone.

Until, that is, I spoke to Mum on Saturday morning.  It turns out that the victim – let’s call her Mrs X - has three children, one of whom we’ll call Jean.  Mum and Jean share a hobby and when Mum rang her on Friday, Jean was just leaving for the hospital where she and her two siblings are providing a 24-hour watch over their mother who, unsurprisingly, is in a terrible physical and mental state.  This sprightly, independent, female nonagenarian tried to defend herself against a 20 year old male under the influence of P.  Jean does not believe her mother will come out of hospital.

If it’s possible to feel sick and numb and horrified and repulsed simultaneously, I did.  I still do.  I have a 95 year old grandmother who’s of the same ilk as Mrs X.  Nana, too, insists on living alone and doing for herself.  These women have lived good lives and raised families.  They have witnessed the events of most of the 20th century in all its glory and despair.  They do not deserve even a fraction of the fate that befell Mrs X.

Which brings me to her attacker and his choices, namely to take an illegal, highly dangerous drug.  The media is full of stories as to the potency, danger and addictive properties of methamphetamine, known in New Zealand as “P”.  It is the latest drug horror story to reach our shores.  And with each horror story, the calls for even more regulation and policing are heard all over again.  I know, because I used to be one of those voices.

I used to scoff at those who called for the legalisation of marijuana.  Well, it was pretty easy to scoff.  They were largely hippies and no-hopers or, most painful of all, affluent varsity students sporting Greenpeace t-shirts and adopting the latest social cause … while quietly cashing regular cheques from boring old Mum and Dad.  Notwithstanding my ongoing scorn for the hippies, the truth is that they were right and I was wrong.

It’s oh so difficult to be rational about the subject of illegal drug use -- it’s an emotive topic and you’ll appreciate that I’m very emotive at present -- but if you wish to reduce the problem, it is essential to be so. Consider this:

  • When you ban something – anything – you create a black market: an illegal market that operates underground, ie outside the law.
  • Black markets are run by outlaws. In NZ’s case, they're run by gangs -- those despicable criminal gangs.
  • In contrast to the peaceful resolution carried out in ordinary legitimate businesses, criminals solve problems associated with the distribution and supply of their products violently.
  • Not being subject to the natural product regulation that occurs in an open, legal market, the banned product is always of sub-standard quality.
  • Consumers have limited knowledge as to product ingredients, which may be dangerous and harmful.
  • Black markets create artificially inflated product prices, perfect for criminals who are only interested in high profits with no regard for their own risk.
  • Addicts resort to crime to pay the high prices, creating community distress and further stretching police resources.
  • Criminals do not care to whom they supply, hence your children and grandchildren become prime targets.

Contrast all that with, say, the sale of paracetamol, a widely-used, easily available pain relief medication.  No matter from which outlet you purchase paracetamol -- a pharmacy, supermarket, dairy or even petrol station -- you can be assured that it has been legitimately manufactured by a reputable company, and duly tried and tested before being released for sale at a price acceptable to the market.

But if we banned it, and overnight tried to limit its supply, you would then have to resort to buying your pain relief (whatever it consists of) from some crook behind a filthy public toilet in your local crappy council park.  Gee, I can’t wait.  And who knows what is in that bottle you'd be so keen to purchase.

Did you ever stop to think that neither kids nor criminals are interested in stealing Viagra or Cialis from their local pharmacy?  These are wildly popular but the kids aren't interested precisely because they are legal, which means there's no money in it for them.

Did you ever stop to think that the government is not there to tell adults what they may voluntarily put into their bodies?

That the great majority of people who use illegal drugs do not abuse them, are not addicted, are harming nobody (are just getting on with their own lives), but are nevertheless considered criminals in the eyes of the law?

That we already, rightly and properly, have laws that prosecute those who harm others or neglect children, whether “under the influence” or not?  And that every single time you call for more regulation, you have just put even more money into the gangs’ pockets?

Yes, I’m talking to you, the well-meaning person who’s actually making matters worse. You cannot save people from themselves (and God knows the state can’t) but you sure as hell can make things worse -- and you have.

Your local pharmacist is a drug-dealer. But he or she is a much nicer person with whom to do business, and you can do it in much nicer surroundings. They are fully qualified, supplying reputable products priced to meet the market. They are hardly likely to hang around school gates in order to supply children. They stand and fall upon their service as per any legitimate business.

Criminals, on the other hand, can never compete with private enterprise for the reasons provided, which means that a drug like P would simply not exist in an open market.  No pharmaceutical company would manufacture it, marketing a safer substitute instead.  But in the market made by prohibition, it's the ideal drug for dealers to push.

Look, I don’t like drugs any more than you do.  I don’t even like taking prescription drugs if I can avoid it. But the truth is that the likes of Al Capone and Pretty Boy Floyd only went out of business in Chicago after Prohibition was thankfully repealed. Their black market profits disappeared at the stroke of a government pen (virtually the only good thing Roosevelt ever did with his pen) and at that stroke the gang violence and the police corruption of alcohol prohibition ended as well.  The only difference between the Chicagoan gangsters and New Zealand’s Black Power?  Capone and his colleagues had better dress sense.  Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work then, and prohibition of drugs doesn’t work now.

One last word, please.  Do not make excuses for the vile individual who attacked Mrs X.  I’m in no mood to listen.  You see, he could have chosen an alternative drug that day, one that wasn’t so destructive.  He could have chosen not to consume anything, not to fry his brain at all. He could have done a lot of things.  But the choices he did make saw him end up brutally violating, perhaps destroying, a sweet lady old enough to be his great-great-grandmother.  For that, I damn the bastard to hell.

* * * More brave and brilliant writing from Libertarian Sus here at Sus's Soundbites * * *

UPDATE 1: Disgraced former media tycoon Conrad Black, convicted last year for his theft of company funds, and now sharing a prison with assorted Florida felons  ("It is a little like going back to boarding school," he says of his stay) has finally woken up to the effects of The War on Drugs - a war he himself once championed.  But in a letter to London's Sunday Times he says the the War has failed:

    "U.S. justice has become a command economy based on the avarice of private prison companies, a gigantic prison service industry and politically influential correctional officers' unions that agitate for an unlimited increase in the number of prosecutions and the length of sentences."
   
Fruitless attempts to wipe out the illegal drug trade are to blame for the situation, says Black, taking up a battle cry long espoused by people he's never traditionally associated with - those on the left of the political spectrum, including groups like the American Civil Liberties Union.
   
"The entire 'war on drugs,' by contrast, is a classic illustration of supply-side economics: a trillion taxpayers' dollars squandered and (one million) small fry imprisoned at a cost of $50 billion a year; as supply of and demand for illegal drugs have increased, prices have fallen and product quality has improved."

Says PM Jaworski at The Shotgun Blog,

it looks to me like Black thinks money spent on the war on drugs is money "squandered." That in spite of blowing through ridiculous sums of money, there is just about nothing to show for it.
 
Conrad Black understands what Milton Friedman said so long ago: "The war on drugs is a failure because it is a socialist enterprise." It always amazes me that there are still so-called conservatives who manage to somehow reconcile opposition to social engineering and big government, with the ultimate social engineering and big government program: the war on drugs ...

UPDATE 2: And let's not fail to mention Milton Friedman's Iron Law of Prohibition,,which explains why outlawing drugs only increases the virulence of recreational drugs: The more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.  Which means  'P' is precisely the sort of drug you should expect when you start a War on Drugs.

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31 Comments:

Anonymous Fred Stevens said...

I heard about this on the news a few days ago and was shocked and saddened. I hope they catch the 20 year old no-hoper....but even if they do, our justice system won't provide any justice and nothing can undo the hurt and damage done to Mrs X. What a shame that someone who has lived through so much and was still independent at almost 100 years of age has to endure something like this.

11/25/2008 08:31:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your argument falls over completely PC. Nothing in your post regarding a scenario of freely available P has suggested that the attack on that unfortunate 95 year old women would not have happened. In fact the probability of more attacks with legalized P would increase

11/25/2008 09:29:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

It wasn't PC's post Anon, it was mine - and therefore I should respond.

With respect, you need to read it again, carefully.

1. The victim was 99.

2. In an open market, an abominably destructive drug such as P would not exist. Criminals cannot compete with legitimate private enterprise (re price, service, quality, etc) and no legitimate company would market such a travesty.

11/25/2008 09:37:00 am  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

Sus

Precisely.

Drug companies fall over each other trying to market how their pill for A dosent have side effect B like other leading brands blah blah. For instance cold remedies the dont leave you drowsy - the list goes on.

Massive pharmaceutical corporations could easily produce a range of inexpensive, safer, clean alternative recreational drugs that the criminal body would have no chance in hell of competing with.

And - to qualify what I have stated above - like Sus I have never taken recreational drugs (besides caffine and alcohol) in my entire life. I work as a fitness professional and activly discourage anyone I deal with from gettign involved with drugs.

11/25/2008 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Sean said...

Another Anon shows how worthless there posts are. They don't even bother to read the articles before making vague criticism--aimed at, in this case, someone that didn't even write the article. If they are are not bright enough to read a byline they are not bright enough to post.

11/25/2008 10:18:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the bottom were it said posted by PC
Attack my comments - not me. Get of your high horse Sean.
Do you think this criminal cares about side effects?
Do you think he cares if drug A is going to be slightly safer than drug B
There are plenty of drugs out there now legal and non legal yet he prefers P
You also state
"In an open market, an abominably destructive drug such as P would not exist. Criminals cannot compete with legitimate private enterprise (re price, service, quality, etc) and no legitimate company would market such a travesty"
Why? If it is the drug of choice people will want to use it, whether it is legal or not.
My view is that legalizing drug will increase supply. Anything that increases supply decreases my safety

11/25/2008 10:44:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Why? If it is the drug of choice people will want to use it, whether it is legal or not."

1. Why would this 20 year old pay for something many times more expensive, if there were cheaper alternatives?

2. Legitimate companies stand and fall by their reputations. The bigger they are, they harder they fall. And drug co's are some of the biggest. Can you imagine the hooha if they were dumb, unethical and irresponsible enough to manufacture something like P?

3. Do the gangs go to the bother of making booze? Of course they don't. They cannot compete. THERE'S NO BLOODY MONEY IN IT! High profits are their *only* interest.

You're not thinking. Sean 1's penultimate para says it all.

11/25/2008 11:08:00 am  
Anonymous WantsToBeAnonymous said...

You're an idiot, Anonymous. Posted by doesn't mean written by. Read the byline on the post, which is at the top of the page underneath the title "Another Victim of P & Prohibition".

And how do you expect us to proceed and attack your comments when you have already committed yourself to being afraid of a higher drug supply? What could possibly be said that would convince you otherwise? You could have the reality of drug use completely wrong but what arguments could we make that you would listen to?

11/25/2008 11:09:00 am  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

Look, I don't like drugs any more than you do.

Correct. ;-)

Excellent post, Sus.

11/25/2008 11:29:00 am  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

Legitimate companies stand and fall by their reputations... Can you imagine the hooha if they were dumb, unethical and irresponsible enough to manufacture something like P?

Ever heard of Desoxyn?

11/25/2008 11:37:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Richard

You're dropping context.

LGM

11/25/2008 12:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

You're dropping context.

How?

11/25/2008 12:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Hi Richard .. I thought of you when writing that line - and grinned accordingly! ;)

Re Desoxyn: a dangerous drug, for sure. But so is morphine and yet it has its medicinal place.

LG's correct re context. The difference, as you're aware, is that I was able to easily access pertinent information, disclosed by the manufacturer. Maybe I should have added "for general consumption" at the end of that sentence.

(It's ironic that I'm defending drug co's when I prefer complementary solutions myself, where possible!)

ps: you won't believe this, but the word verification below reads 'goode'! Cross my heart!

11/25/2008 12:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

Anon

Im afraid you appear again to not really read what is written.

"Do you think this criminal cares about side effects?"

Criminals, no. But we are talking about reputable drug companies operating in a free market who manifestly DO care about side effects. Both for altruistic reasons and competitive reasons.

"Do you think he cares if drug A is going to be slightly safer than drug B"

You are talking again here about a criminal supplier and the answer is clearly no - but the comment was in reference to a CONSUMER with a variety of potential sellers to choose from. Once again you just seem to be skim reading what was written and having no consideration for context.

"There are plenty of drugs out there now legal and non legal yet he prefers P"

Again, who do you refer to here? The criminal seller of the customer? If the former I think you have already been well answered by the others. If the latter the reason, stated elsewhere, is because there is no consumer choice: you either buy from Criminal Ratbag A or Criminal Ratbag B - some choice!

In the days of prohibition a lot of bootleg liquor was downright dangerous and probably tasted fucking terrible as well. End of prohibition, good quality, enjoyable liquor was again available without the risk it was going to make you go blind.

Hope this helps - but do please try to read posts a few times and then think before responding.

Peace and Piece.

SF

11/25/2008 12:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Last go for this post

As I said my view is that decriminalization increases supply. When supply increases, so does social problems along with it
You bring up Alcohol.
Prohibition choked supply. Legalized alcohol supply has improved the supply of the drug but the quantity consumed has gone through the roof. Were once could only buy from bottle shops, you now can purchase from all sorts of avenues such as supermarkets, local corner stores etc.
What has happened?
A huge increase in consumption and social problems.
It would be the same with any other drugs
What you are advocating is fine if people weren't more likely to get bashed, raped, shot, killed. History of alcohol has shown that you would be wrong

11/25/2008 02:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Ann said...

Good post Sus - one of these days politicians will wake up to the fact that prohibition encourages crime. (Yeah, right!)

Gangs could NEVER compete with drug companies simply because of that profit margin that they need to make crime worth the risk. Risk apart, there needs to be a large payoff for a life of crime... being a successful criminal is damned hard work!

One of the main factors gangs won't ever compete with drug companies is that a huge number of people don't take drugs; even if gangs still continued to try and sell drugs, the turnover will never be sufficient for criminals to sell them at the low prices they'd need to provide. On top of that the market would be totally flooded, and prices would drop further.

And I'm really sorry the league got spoiled for you - my husband and I have still got ridiculous smiles on our faces.

PC - it's wrong to dismiss League as 'five-tackles-and-a-kick'. It's far more subtle than that... sometimes they kick after only FOUR tackles.

11/25/2008 02:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with regard to legalization, I hope it increases supply enough so every numbskull junkie od's.
on a tangent NZ firearms laws prevented this lady from defending herself, shame.

11/25/2008 02:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Ideally would be a small Libertarian state somewhere, where these arguments about drugs and prohibition could be tested in the real world. If drugs were legalized it would be a long time before it was possible to say whether the benefits outweighed the disadvantages, some social effects might not be apparent for at least 1 generation.

11/25/2008 03:25:00 pm  
Blogger MikeE said...

Can someone please actually explain what their objection would be to me consuming a illicit substance, such as MDMA, as opposed to a perfectly legal substance such as Alcahol.

You are not allowed to say "because its illegal"

I want to hear someone try and give me a rational explaination of why I should be in jail for consuming E, Pot, LSD or any other mind altering substance.

Let the drug hysteria and ignorance commence.

11/25/2008 03:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Peter:
We don't need to argue theory and "what if".

We've seen what happens when a substance was prohibited - and what happened afterward.

Alcohol or drugs: the nature of the substance doesn't matter. It's the prohibition of it that's at fault.

Anon:
"What you are advocating is fine if people weren't more likely to get bashed, raped, shot, killed."

Silly argument. Yes, the availability of alcohol is widespread in comparison with past times, but you fail to acknowledge that most consumers do so safely. To blame the levels of increased violence on the widespread availability of alcohol, whilst ignoring other factors such as increased welfare, accepted lower standards of behaviour, absentee fathers, etc, is absurd.

What "you're" advocating is more of the same. More of what patently isn't working, ie, "let's ban drugs in the hope that people won't take them!"

We can't even keep drugs out of jails, for goodness sake. You're fooling yourself. Read Milton Friedman. He made sense.

11/25/2008 04:29:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

Excellent article Susan. I had this conversation with my parents and their friends only last saturday, my idea wasn't terribly well received and I got the, "when you're older you'll agree with us" treatment (I'm 28).

My father cited that since Sweden legalised pot, it's use has risen, and now their public health system is having to cope with the health problems associated with it. The thought that perhaps people should accept responsibility for their own actions seemed to escape my audience.

11/25/2008 08:00:00 pm  
Blogger Callum said...

Anon, you point to increased availability of alcohol as the main cause of social problems in the world today. However, there is one factor that you are missing entirely. How do you explain France's attitude towards wine, for instance, when it has often been the most common form of drink (since it was actually safer than water for most of France's history)?

Look at where most of these crimes occur. They are the areas that receive the most welfare money. They are the areas with the worst schools, the worst parents, and most social workers. Similarly, they are the areas with the highest availability of alcohol -but why? Why not other areas?

The fact is, that alcohol availabilty per se has nothing to do with crime -as crime is fundamentally caused by culture. People set up alcohol stores in these areas because that is where alcohol is most in demand -that's it. It is the culture of welfare dependence and self-worthlessness that leads to crime.

To get back to my original point, France never had those problems because it has always had a sense=of=life culture. Perhaps this is a consequence of food being scarce throughout much of its history, so food was enjoyed more. Nevertheless, that sense-of-life culture managed to avoid many of these problems, although I'm not pleased to say that with the rise of the welfare state in France, that that culture is being reversed at speed.

So, if you want to lower social problems, change the culture -teach the destitutes in south Auckland self-reliance and self-esteem. Do NOT try to take away alcohol -than the drunkards will simply put worse substances in their bodies, and crime will rise.

11/25/2008 09:29:00 pm  
Blogger smithsan said...

The Fijians, thrown together and headed by a handful of Australian NRL professionals, were never expected to bring off an upset, but they went out of the World Cup with all guns blazing and left their mark on the Kangaroos.
----------
smithsan
link building

11/25/2008 11:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...


Peter:
We don't need to argue theory and "what if".

We've seen what happens when a substance was prohibited - and what happened afterward.

Alcohol or drugs: the nature of the substance doesn't matter. It's the prohibition of it that's at fault.


The experience with Prohibition is a strong argument, but not necessarily a convincing one. Legalising one particular type of drug "worked", how certain can we be that it will also work to legalise any and all drugs?

You are saying that if the manufacture of P is legalised, people will stop manufacturing P and make other, safer drugs. Economic theory might predict this, but how can we know this without putting it to the test- and do we want to be the ones who conduct the social experiment?

You might be able to repeal the drug laws, but you probably still wouldn't end up with an ideal Libertarian state. So if the expected decrease in crime did not occur, a Libertarian could still find plenty of reasons to explain the failure: welfarism, socialism, not an individualistic enough culture so no self responsibility etc.

I suppose I'm asking for the impossible: prove that legalising drugs is "safe" and I'll support it. A bit like the Greens and GE.

11/26/2008 10:56:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Hi Peter .. "You might be able to repeal the drug laws, but you probably still wouldn't end up with an ideal Libertarian state."

Very true, which is why I've never made that point. Legalising drugs is merely one example of removing the state from our lives. There are many.

Conservatives who are normally in favour of smaller govt and all that goes with it, tend to balk at drug legalisation using the argument DS's parents made, ie the subsequent strain on public health services, & thus their opposition to repealing the drug laws.

My answer to that is always the same: two wrongs (state health & banning drugs) don't make a right.

I also never talk of the "ideal" libertarian state, because problems will always ensue under any system. There's no 'ideal'; there's just 'free' - and I'll take my chances with the latter everytime! :)

Re the 'social experiment' of legalising drugs ... I'd suggest that the only social experiment going on, is the one we currently have. And what a bloody disaster it is. All the money, all the policing, all the programmes - and the problems only get worse.

You're not sure that the legalisation of drugs would have the same outcome as the legalisation of alcohol, but we already *have* a legal drug supply, and there are minimal problems with it, as per the examples of Viagra & Cialis. Essentially, I'm calling for a total legalisation of the drug market, as opposed to a partial one.

And using that argument alone, where we have minimal problems with the legalised sector of the market, yet horrendous problems with the banned sector, is that not 'proof' enough?

11/26/2008 11:20:00 am  
Blogger Phil (Pacific Empire) said...

Legalising drugs is not a theoretical proposition. Drugs have not always been prohibited - a century ago in New Zealand, you could buy cocaine, cannabis and opiates at the local chemist, and crime rates were far lower. Some people were addicts, but in general, the legally available drugs were not so expensive that addicts turned to crime to satisfy their habits. At the same time, there was absolutely no control over firearms, yet armed incidents were so rare that the NZ police stopped carrying guns altogether.

11/26/2008 01:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Hi Sus. I guess a conservative is more likely to think of state health and drugs as pragmatic issues rather than right or wrong. That is the way I think of them myself: if the market can deliver health more efficiently than the state then we should use it as much as possible, if not then use the state or a mix of the two. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say that we shouldn't have state-funded healthcare on principle - regardless of how well it works! To me the only question is how well it performs compared to the alternatives.

As for drugs, I agree that in principle it's better for people to exercise their own self-discipline and personal responsibility than have the state do it on their behalf. But the nature of substances like meth, cocaine etc is that they undermine those qualities (which is why your comparison with Viagra and Cialis isn't valid, with all due respect).

In the light of all that it seems easist to say better the devil you know than the one you don't, keep the dangerous recreational drugs illegal unless it can be shown that it will improve things and not make them worse. Legalising prostitution was supposed to remove the gangs and (maybe libertarians aren't quite so thrilled about this) allow it to be regulated. It doesn't seem to have improved things a great deal; gangs can still run their brothels but now they do so legally and can use them to launder money.

I didn't know that cocaine and opiates were actually available over the counter in NZ; if it really is true that it caused few social problems than outlawing them it would be better not to outlaw them. Why did we do so?

11/27/2008 11:48:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Peter, you raise a few issues. I shall attempt to address them ... although I'm nearly 'commented' out already this week, battling several threads on more than one blog!

Perhaps if PC sees this note, he might highlight a few articles for you to access for more info, in that I really do need to keep this brief, which runs the risk of less than satisfactory explanation.

To start at the end: Phil's right, opiates, etc, were once easily available. Why control? Because that's what govts do. They interfere and grow bigger as a result. It is their reason to be. It's *only* thing they do successfully. :(

When you continue to justify a public, or even semi-public healthcare system, you are justifying taxation (being the means to fund it). Which means that you are technically justifying force, ie theft-by-state. Force is force and we are opposed to it. I quite rightly cannot demand money from you, so neither should the state. Tax is theft and therefore immoral.

Re P, I can only reiterate that the excessive danger (of it) lies in the prohibited environment we have. It would not be in the interests of a legitimate company to manufacture something so horrific. Sean & others have made the point in earlier comments.

That gangs are still able to run brothels is a given ... but with deregulation so, too, can non-criminals. If prostitutes choose to work for gang members, then more fool them, I say. That gangs can use brothels to, as you say, launder money is all the more reason to legalise the market from which they earn their ill-gotten gains ... ie, drugs! :)

The major point here is that 'freedom' is a moral absolute. It cannot be divided. You can't be partly free, inasmuchas you can't be partly dead. You're either free or you're not.

No system guarantees perfection -- although idiot socialists will keep trying! -- and neither will libertarianism. Not one of us will ever tell you otherwise, because we know there's no Utopia.

But better to live freely and deal with the ramifications that come with it, than the alternative don't you think?

11/27/2008 01:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Thanks Sus, nice to talk to you!
This blog is always worth a read, so I'll be happy to look at any articles PC wants to point out.

I must say I don't really understand the position that taxation is theft. (Well I do understand the reasoning behind it but I don't take it as an axiom). Unless you are proposing to have no state at all then somehow or other it will need a source of revenue. As I understand it, Libertarians generally accept the need for a state to rule on contractual disputes, enforce the law and defend against foreign aggression. Wouldn't some form of taxation be needed to pay for this? Unless the state is going to ask for voluntary payments, or itself be a kind of enterprise.

That gangs can use brothels to, as you say, launder money is all the more reason to legalise the market from which they earn their ill-gotten gains

That does sound like what I suggested might happen: Something is implemented (legalisation of prostitution / drugs) on the grounds that it will reduce crime, crime does not reduce, the original proponents then claim that another plank of their agenda needs to be implemented to be really effective. I know this isn't what you are saying, but I think this is what would happen. When Communism didn't work as expected the Communists simply claimed that they needed to take the revolution a stage further.

The major point here is that 'freedom' is a moral absolute. It cannot be divided. You can't be partly free, inasmuchas you can't be partly dead. You're either free or you're not.

Hm... surely freedom is something which can increase or decrease, and any increase is an improvement?

11/27/2008 03:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Peter, these are all excellent questions/points you raise. Goes to show you're thinking! ;)

When we discuss the abolition of all taxation, we are discussing bona fide libertarianism. That's a long, long way off.

Obviously people don't go from A to Z in one jump - it's *transitional*, which is why those transitional tax policies are clearly outlined on our site to enable a gradual weaning off the state.

Yes, we believe the state should exist - to believe otherwise is anarchic. The purpose of govt is to protect individuals' rights, period. The libertarian state would see govt reduced to its core duties: police, defence & justice.

Funding this much smaller govt would be via tax in the first instance - transitional arrangements again - after which time it would be voluntarily funded.

It's easy to write this off as bizarre, to start with. "Who the hell would pay", etc. But it would be in people's personal & commercial interests to pay for their protection. They're already do it via tax for bugger all in return.

I cannot hope to do that argument justice here, so I recommend PC's "Cue Cards to libertarianism" - on different topics - which you'll find floating around somewhere on this site.

Re gangs & crime again .. the only way to reduce their stronghold is to neutralise them. And the only way to do *that* is to hit them where it hurts, in their back pockets.

I can only repeat, somewhat ad nauseum: crooks don't bother making booze and they don't bother making cigarettes, because there's no money in it.

There's no magic wand to wave to be rid of all problems. But for some reason, that's what people constantly search for and balk at an alternative because "there's no proof", thus preserving the miserable status quo! I don't get it.

But what I do get is that I know what's best for my life, as opposed to central planners for whom I'm forced to pay (via tax).

Other libs would doubtless have other, probably better!, ways to explain it, but it would amount to the same thing. Do some poking around .. the irony is that libertarianism (freedom with responsibility) isn't new; far from it. It's just been forgotten.

Cheers.

11/27/2008 04:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Thanks Sus, I'll have a look at those articles some time. I've read some of them already. Cheers.

11/28/2008 10:44:00 am  

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