Voting Right

Election day has arrived.

For the past few weeks, conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have been urged from their church pulpits to vote on election day. Not just to vote for anyone, of course, but to vote right, vote smart, vote correctly, or vote biblically—all meaning vote Republican.

But in some states, it is not just people that these Christians have been urged to vote for. Conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians in North Dakota, Michigan, Utah, Missouri have also been told to vote on ballot initiatives.

Why especially those states? Many other states have ballot initiatives. According to Ballotpedia: “Voters in 37 states will decide 155 statewide ballot measures in November 2018.”

The answer is marijuana, the evil weed that, in the minds of most conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians, rivals the Democratic Party in its evilness.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have already legalized marijuana for medical use. This means that only the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have not legalized medical marijuana. The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Buy New $19.95 (as of 05:45 EDT - Details)

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. These states are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Now, on election day, voters in two states—North Dakota and Michigan—will decide on initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana. Voters in two other states—Utah and Missouri—will decide on initiatives concerning medical marijuana. Voters in Oklahoma already approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana back in June.

Conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christian pastors and church leaders are adamant that the marijuana juggernaut be stopped dead in its tracks.

Why?

There are a multitude of reasons why these Christians and their followers are opposed to people using marijuana. As a theological and cultural conservative Christian, I would probably agree with many of them so there is no need to list them here.

But why people should or shouldn’t use marijuana is not the issue. The issue is simply this: In light of all the negative things about marijuana use, what should the government do when it comes to marijuana?

Absolutely nothing.

The libertarian position on marijuana and any other drug is straightforward and consistent.

There should be no laws at any level of government for any reason regarding the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, or possessing of any drug for any reason.

This is true for three reasons.

First, because it is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to buy, sell, grow, process, transport, manufacture, advertise, use, or possess or what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.

Second, because every man should be free to live his live in any manner he chooses as long as his activities are non-violent, non-disorderly, non-disruptive, non-threatening, and non-coercive.

And third, because a free society has to include the right of people to take risks, practice bad habits, partake of addictive conduct, engage in self-destructive behavior, live an unhealthy lifestyle, participate in immoral activities, and undertake dangerous actions—including the use and abuse of drugs.

Consequently, the war on drugs should be ended immediately and completely. All drug laws should be repealed, all non-violent drug offenders should be pardoned and released from prison, and all government agencies devoted to fighting the drug war should be shut down. Free Trade or Protecti... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $5.95 (as of 05:30 EDT - Details)

This doesn’t mean that libertarians think people should use drugs or that there are no good reasons to not use drugs. It just means that libertarians don’t think it is any of the government’s business.

So, if voting right doesn’t mean voting Republican, then what does it mean?

Voting right means voting for less government. Voting right means voting to let people do anything that’s peaceful as long as they don’t violate the personal or property rights of others. Voting right means voting to get the government out of our personal lives. Voting right means voting for people to have the freedom to do things that you personally would not do. And voting right includes voting for ballot initiatives that loosen government prohibitions of, regulations concerning, or penalties for using, marijuana, no matter what you personally think about the risks, morality, dangers, and sinfulness of how people use marijuana.

“A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper,” explained Ludwig von Mises. “He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.” Concludes Mises: “He who wants to reform his countrymen must take recourse to persuasion. This alone is the democratic way of bringing about changes. If a man fails in his endeavors to convince other people of the soundness of his ideas, he should blame his own disabilities. He should not ask for a law, that is, for compulsion and coercion by the police.”

And neither should he ask that such laws, compulsion, and coercion that are in force be continued.