6 Liberty-Oriented Great Thinkers Who Say No to the War On Drugs and Prohibition
n the past, I've shown that the War on Drugs is only based on emotions and that it serves many, many, many special interests. Since most people — including our parents' generation — agree with the legalization of marijuana, then surely they could ultimately agree with the legalization of all others drugs. Here are six famous thinkers who would approve of legalization (or would have if drugs had been a problem in their era).
1. Frédéric Bastiat:
Better known for his writings that turned to ridicule government intervention in the economy, Bastiat also opposed such intervention in people's lives. Although he didn't explicitly talk about drugs but vices, he still wondered if "By adding to the bad effects of the vice the bad effects inherent in all legal machinery, we are not in the long run producing a sum of evils in excess of the good that the legal sanction can add to the natural sanction." In other words, let people learn from their mistakes rather than punish them right away.
2. Ludwig Von Mises:
Mises was also know for his opposition to government coercion. To him, free choice must prevail in a free society. He said that if one thinks alcohol and tobacco are bad and wants other people to avoid them too, "let him try, if he will, to convert his fellows to his own views on abstinence ... [no one] in a capitalist society, whose basic principle is the self-determination and self-responsibility of each individual, force them against their will to renounce alcohol and nicotine."
3. Milton Friedman:
The famous free-markets defender was also a staunch defender of individual liberties. He knew how terrible Prohibition worked for alcohol; he was old enough to remember the 1920s, and said it was very easy to get all the alcohol you want. He also knew about the immorality of imprisoning people who consume drugs; we punish people for harming themselves. Using that logic, then skiing and overeating must be banished too, since they harm or can harm people.
4. Jean-Michel Costes:
This French sociologist and founder of the Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (French observatory for drugs and addictions) said for Le Monde: "[Drugs are] the only occasion where an individual can be put to jail for harming himself. Could we imagine, ethically speaking, acting upon and preventing suicide by jailing those who fail at their attempt?" He also says that decriminalizing illegal drugs (it wouldn't be a crime to have some on you, but it would still be illegal) would make health care for addicts seeking it more efficient.
5. Ron Paul:
The famous retired libertarian politician sees parallels between Prohibition and the War on Drugs. In both instances, criminals make indecent profits because the black market surcharges because of the risks involved. By making drugs legal, vendors would be more likely to ID customers as it is done with alcohol and tobacco. Of course, he sees the War on Drugs as a violation of our rights, since it's written nowhere that D.C. should control any substances.
6. Thomas Sowell:
For this famous professor, illegality is the main problem of drugs. It makes otherwise honest citizens commit crimes to get their fix. He also sees how much the black market profits from that situation; he even claims that bootleggers financed campaigns so that alcohol would remain locally illegal at the end of Prohibition.