I occasionally get some unusual responses when I write about the evils of the government’s war on drugs.
On election day, Tuesday, November 6, I had an article published on this website titled “Voting Right.” The article was about the marijuana ballot initiatives that were being voted on that day. I maintained in the article that voting right meant voting in favor of ballot initiatives to legalize the medical or recreational use of marijuana.
I took this position because, as a libertarian, I believe that 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 not because libertarians believe that drugs are beneficial or harmless and not addictive or dangerous, but because
1) it is not the proper role of government make such laws, The Free Society Best Price: $39.90 Buy New $19.95 (as of 02:25 EDT - Details)
2) anyone should be able to do anything that’s peaceful as long as he doesn’t infringe upon the personal or property rights of others, and
3) a free society has to include the right of people to use or abuse drugs.
Just because libertarians oppose the war on drugs doesn’t mean that they believe it would be a good thing for anyone to use drugs, that they are indifferent to or unconcerned about the dangers of drugs in the hands of children, or that they are naïve about the potentially negative consequences of drug abuse.
In my article I called for the war on drugs to be ended immediately and completely, although the article was mainly about marijuana.
Here is the only negative response to the article that I received. I have obscured the writer’s name to protect his privacy.
From: W****** P******** <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Nov 06, 2018 9:11 am
my dead son thought the same way
Now, I assume from this response that this man lost his son. This is a terrible thing that I would not want anyone to have to go through. I also assume that this man’s son used marijuana on a regular basis, and not just on occasion. I think it is also safe to assume from this response that this man blames his son’s death on his marijuana use. I don’t know what else to make of this response. I am commenting on it because I am sure that others who have had loved ones die from drug overdoses feel the same way.
I’m sorry to have to tell you, Mr. P., but marijuana did not kill your son.
First of all, as I wrote about a few months ago, the federal government acknowledges that no one has ever overdosed on marijuana.” Does this mean that smoking marijuana is beneficial, healthy, safe, wholesome, risk-free, and harmless? Of course not. Does this mean that someone high on marijuana has never had an accident or done something stupid that resulted in his death? Of course not.
Second, and more importantly, even if marijuana did kill those who smoked too much of it, even if marijuana was the most dangerous Schedule I drug, and even if marijuana was the most dangerous substance known to man, the person smoking it is directly responsible for the consequences of his actions.
Libertarians make much of individual liberty when it comes to the drug war. As well they should. Any legal adult should have the freedom to use marijuana to medicate himself or to get stoned out of his mind. But with freedom comes responsibility. This is why personal responsibility should be preached when it comes to the drug war just as much as individual liberty. Free Trade or Protecti... Buy New $4.39 (as of 12:25 EDT - Details)
To the drug user I would say:
- Using drugs may adversely affect your health
- Using drugs may ruin you financially
- Using drugs may be addictive
- Using drugs may grieve your family and friends
- Using drugs may cost you your job
- Using drugs may cost you your family
- Using drugs may destroy your mind
- Using drugs may cause you to lose your friends
- Using drugs may wreck your life
- Using drugs may have unintended negative consequences
- Using drugs may kill you
I would also say to the drug user that you are fully responsible for the costs and consequences of your actions—not your family, not society, and certainly not the government. It is not the job of the government to prevent anyone from using drugs, to warn anyone about the dangers of drug abuse, to provide drug users with clean needles, to send anyone to drug rehab, to help anyone get off drugs, or to pay for anyone’s drug-related medical treatment.
No, Mr. P., marijuana did not kill your son. Marijuana did not kill your son anymore than a knife, a gun, or a blunt instrument committed a murder. Your son is personally responsible for whatever happened to himself or anyone else because of his marijuana use.