Posts Tagged ‘prohibition’

Radley Balko evinces a typically obtuse libertarian reaction to a typically horrifying Mexico drug war murder:  in this case, a police chief and his family gunned down in Monterrey.  Of course, it’s always the drug war itself that has the chief responsibility with libertarians.  There is no condemnation of the murder or the murderers.  They are compelled, as it were, to murder.

I will grant arguendo that laws may make certain crimes more profitable and more likely and thus those laws may be on balance more costly than the benefits, but only a callous partisan would thereby absolve the killers of their moral responsibility for their acts.   These killers are bad people with the chief moral responsibility for their murder.  It’s a stretch to say the drug war “made” them do it.  You need food, clothing, and shelter.  You don’t need to get rich quick trafficking cocaine.  These people are callous, generally dull, and greedy people.  I also remain unconvinced that there penchant for violence would not find another outlet in the absence of drug prohibition.  Some people who are not that bright don’t want to work 9-5.  They like the money, bling, and power of their present criminal activities.  They will find something to do criminal, whether it’s theft, forced prostitutition, human trafficking, counterfeiting, dog-fighting, recreational rape, or generalized shakedowns of legitimate businesses.  It’s not like the real Mafia did not preexist prohibition or disappeared after the end of prohibition; instead, it began in the lawlessness that was 18th and 19th Century Italy, and, after the 1930s, the original Mafia changed its attention to skimming profits from otherwise lawful enterprises like the garment and sanitation trade in NYC.

So much of the empirical case for libertariansim consists of a pretty thin melange of fallacies, where all the costs of the current world we live in are attributed to those laws and institutions they do not like, and all the benefits projected into a yet-to-be-seen world without these laws.  They say this even though obvious complexities present themselves.  Countries with relatively strict drug laws are not unusually violent or lawless–Finland or Singapore come to mind–and Mexico in particular has had a 100 year bloody history rooted in age-old traditions of corruption, demagoguery, and various resentments among social classes.  These aspects of these societies exist in spite of and in parallel to the drug trade.

But hey, I’m sure Radley’s and his sycophantic followers’ priorities are straight:  we are all to blame at least equally with the drug dealers.  And the most important thing is that when the Mexican police do raid these drug gangs that they knock and announce first.  I would not want to see police be militarized against these well armed sociopaths.  It would be unseemly.

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Noah Sweat in the Mississippi legislature giving perhaps the most skilled “political” speech in history:

My friends,

I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.


If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

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