January 21, 2016 at 11:19 pm #20406sheyboerParticipant
In a recent debate about legalizing all drugs an argument was made that hard drugs cause users to become violent towards others (which of course would violate the victim’s rights) and thus, hard drugs should remain illegal. The person equated it to DUI laws. The statement was made that if a person agrees with laws that make driving under the influence illegal because inebriated drivers might hurt others, then that person should also support laws against hard drugs because they may cause users to become violent and hurt others.
How would a libertarian respond to such statements?January 22, 2016 at 5:58 am #20407
That is fine but I don’t support DUI laws so I have no reason to support drug laws.
If I’m remembering correctly the significant majority of car accidents are not alcohol related and of the ones that are that majority is caused by the sober driver. The question is; if sober drivers might hurt others then shouldn’t we also support laws making driving while sober illegal?
Why is it any more a crime to harm someone while drunk or high than sober?
There is no reason to charge a person with crime for something they didn’t do or they might do, you charge them for what they did do.
If you follow the logic of the argument you shared then not only should virtually everything be illegal but it should also be illegal to not make virtually everything illegal.January 23, 2016 at 9:16 am #20408tfolger08Member
I think the comparison’s a little weird because we’re talking about an impaired person behind the wheel vs. an impaired person not behind the wheel. If the argument is simply that hard drugs can make people violent (I think Walter Block refers to this as the werewolf complex), then it’s kind of puzzling why you wouldn’t make the same statement about alcohol in general. If anything, comparing how we treat hard drugs vs. how we treat alcohol would seem to suggest that hard drugs SHOULD be legal, and only driving under the influence of hard drugs should be illegal.
On the other hand, our current justice system is so barbaric and heavy handed, that I flinch at allowing the state any room to use it. Imagine what any jail time at all does to a person’s life and career and future prospects. It’s offensive to my sense of justice to allow the state to criminalize anything but the most severe crimes, as long as it treats the offenders the way it does. Sometimes, I find myself sitting in traffic, and for whatever reason, space out, or am looking in some other direction, and then I step on the gas as the light turns green only to notice a pedestrian crossing in front of me at the last minute, and I put on the brake. Then I sit there thinking to myself how my life would basically have been over if I hadn’t caught that pedestrian in my sight at that moment, and how easy it really is to become a victim of the state’s fullest ire.January 27, 2016 at 3:45 pm #20409
I agree with Rusty that the argument for legalizing drugs should address the already existing legality of alcohol but comparing the two does not alone lead to the conclusion that therefore drugs should be legal. It is an impasse, If one then the other, but, which one? It also does not follow from that that driving under the influence of drugs should be illegal.
I do agree with Rusty that drugs should be legal and that owners can set the terms for usage of their property. I don’t think he has properly understood or addressed the argument presented by Sheyboer.
If a person agrees with laws that make driving under the influence illegal because inebriated drivers might hurt others, then that person should also support laws against hard drugs because they may cause users to become violent and hurt others.
Following this argument the “person who agrees” should also support laws against alcohol in general. Whether or not he does does not invalidate the argument. The logic of the argument does, however, lead to absurdity. People who are angry might hurt others. Should we support laws making it illegal to be angry? There is little that wouldn’t be something that might hurt others, perhaps, such laws themselves might fit that criterion.
It is not my contention that the state, in its capacity as road owner, cannot set rules for use of its roads, including prohibition of inebriated motorists. Rather, the state should not go beyond its capacity as road owner and make drunk driving illegal. If this seems like a distinction without a distinction consider that the state already has usage prohibitions on drunk driving and charges penalties for readmittance, this comports with the rights of a private owner. Currently, the state goes beyond these rights in making drunk driving in and of itself a criminal act. Drunk driving for its own sake is not a harm to anyone or anything. If a harm does occur it is not a given that the drunk driving was the culprit. Any “accident” involves some kind of negligence and it is why we seek to find who caused the “accident” not who caused you to drink.
If you think drunk driving should be illegal because a drunk driver might harm someone else then you should think drugs should be illegal because a drug user might harm someone else. Me, I think it should be illegal to harm someone else, not possibly, actually.January 27, 2016 at 10:45 pm #20410sheyboerParticipant
Thanks Osgood and Rusty for your comments. They were very helpful.February 9, 2016 at 11:25 am #20411tfolger08Member
Thanks for the clarification, Osgood. I find Libertarians, myself included apparently, are prone to falling into a trap of over-aggregating the state. You’re right that drunk driving is in a sense doubly illegal. It’s prohibited by the arm of the state that manages roadways and licensing, and then criminalized by the arm of the state that writes and enforces criminal law. If we want to seek a next-to-best solution by assuming the state to be the legitimate owner of the roads, it should only have the power to enforce a prohibition against drunk driving consistent with what a private owner would have.
It’s a distinction with a difference, but within the faulty context of statism, the end results might be the same, and so I’d still be hesitant to allow the state leeway to enforce the rule.February 12, 2016 at 9:06 am #20412
A private road owner would be entitled to damages but there would have to be damages. If I paid you for a years worth of driving privileges, provided I don’t do X on your road, then I do X on your road, I would lose those privileges and you would still have the initial payment. As far as you’re concerned the contract has been fulfilled and you are whole. If my doing X resulted in damages then restitution could be sought. This would make something like speeding fines impossible to enforce. You could still collect those fines by incorporating them into a new contract or as a condition for reinstating the original.
I agree with you that privatization is the solution. I wanted to show where they are comparable, clearly you can’t enter into a contract in good faith when you are the one who settles the disputes. It can be very challenging to try to theorize how things, justifiably, should be. It’s downright depressing to try to theorize how to get there from here.
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