We should not legalize murder, only victimless crimes, like drug use, where prohibition has more ill effects than what it fails to stop. by GT Slade
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Libertarians want most federal laws eliminated, from bans on individual consumption of drugs to those against prostitution, gambling and other "victimless crimes." Politicians want more laws, Libertarians want adults to make their own moral decisions.
Drugs are a flash point because of the damage inflicted by the "War On Drugs." Criminalizing an activity criminalizes its participants, as historians learned from studying alcohol Prohibition. When a substance (or activity) is popular, declaring it illegal will not curtail or reduce its use. The Drug War becomes more expensive and intrusive, while remaining as unsuccessful as ever.
When confronted with hard facts on drug usage, faux Conservatives deny their "war" has failed for decades, preferring to blurt out non-sequiturs like, "Murder is illegal and there are still murders. Should we legalize murder?"
That could be a conversation stopper, but there is an answer. "No."
Murder is not a victimless crime. No sane person believes its illegality will eliminate homicides, but society is obliged to punish murderers, who have ended the life or lives of others.
Murder is not analogous to substance usage. For instance, it is not a crime to have used "illegal" drugs, while it is a crime to have killed someone. And there is no statute of limitations. Presidents, Supreme Court justices and many other high officials have sampled illegal drugs, if we can believe them. Many probably continue to do so. Had they been caught experimenting with drugs when younger, their lives might have taken a different course. Now, they tiighten laws punishish others for doing what they did. What is that called? Oh, hypocrisy.
It is not just conservatives. Most so-called liberals are as vested in the Drug War as conservatives, since they love big, intrusive government in any form and are too wussy to take a stand.
One tactic (often used by Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly) is denying that drugs are a victimless crime. It may be true, as Bill asserts, that drug abusers make poor parents and spouses. Drugs can lead to the user's death, on which basis nearly everything should be illegal.
If someone eats delicious cheesecake all day long, she may become anti-social or ill. Of course, while it is a pricey pastry, it is much cheaper than it would be if it were illegal, but she need not fear that government agents will break down her door to seize her cheesecake and shoot her pets, unless they are serving a drug warrant to the wrong home.
As with cheesecake addicts, there is help for drug abusers who decide to quit. Sadly, the consequences of drugs being illegal are far worse than their usage, affecting everyone. Buy a box of Sudafed®, you are treated like a criminal suspect, although the FDA classifies it as an over-the-counter medication. It can be used as an ingredient for mixing another government-banned drug. So? Invasive precautions will not halt methamphetamine production, they will only intimidate law-abiding citizens, who may be so shaken that they turn to drugs, or worse, get so enraged at the government that they become libertarians.
Libertarians do not advocate legalizing murder, theft or fraud, unless initiated by the government. We want to restore the human freedoms delineated in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence because this country was founded on the principle of limited government, with citizens freely in control of their bodies and minds.
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