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It is with a bit of trepidation that I am posting this now, just following the terrible news about JohnGaltII's death. Following his masterful post on "Economics and Health Care" ( http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20918101 ), he and I began corresponding by email, and he extended an invitation to me to join this community.

I hesitated to do so, as I typically avoid the Fool's political boards, because I often find the people who post to be more interested in flame wars and personal attacks than in discussing and debating actual ideas and ideals. I've been lurking here for a few days, and this board seems at least a bit more sane than the other political boards.

Personally, politically I consider myself somewhere between Republican and Libertarian. In a perfect world, I think I would be a full-fledged Libertarian, but I have enough disagreement with the Libertarian party platform (see http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_all.html ) to not self-identify as one. I am a Cato Institute sponsor, and Cato now gets the money that I had formerly been donating to Republican candidates and party branches.

The only time I've ever actually voted Libertarian was in 2000, for a county commissioner's office. I live in Hamilton County, Ohio, which is to Republicans pretty much what Chicago is to Democrats. In 2000, there was a huge uproar about the tax-and-spend nature of the county commission, and their half-a-billion-dollar give-away to the Cincinnati Bungals - er, make that Bengals. There was enough disgust among the voters that year that a Democrat actually won a seat on the commission - a rarity in this county. In this year's Republican primary, a sitting Republican commissioner was actually ousted by a primary contender running on a smaller government, lower taxes platform. So even the Hamilton County Republican Base is turning against pure encumbant loyalty when the encumbant espouses larger, more expensive government.

I am disgusted enough by President Bush's destruction of the First Ammendment (McCain/Feingold campaign finance 'reform', aka "Thou shalt not criticize politicians"), his increasing socialization of medicine (Medicare Prescription Drugs), and his federal assult on education, especially gifted education, (via the "No Child Left Behind" act) that I currently expect to vote Libertarian in the 2004 Presidential election. (I am ambivalent about the USA PATRIOT act, mostly because of the expiration dates on some of the more controversial provisions of it. What I've noticed though U.S. history is that there is often a lag between government granting itself power and government abusing that power...)

With Ohio such a critical swing state and Hamilton County no longer a sure, huge Republican lock (ref. the 'near miracle' Democrat win four years ago on the county board along with the recent primary defeat of another 'big government Republican' in the primary), Bush may find it tougher to win in Ohio in 2004 than in 2000. If the non-stop campaign advertising that started in May (or was it April?) is any indication, both 'major' parties realize that Ohio is likely to be tight.

If Ohio goes to Kerry because enough disgusted Republicans vote Libertarian or stay home, and if Ohio's 'defection' is enough to turn the electoral college towards Kerry, I won't mind. I think the Republicans will retain both the House and Senate, and the last time that Republicans held congress with a Democrat president appears to me to have also been the last time that there was any sort of attempt at fiscal restraint from D.C. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and unchecked Republicans have proven themselves to be just as poor stewards of the treasury as unchecked Democrats were. (See page 26 of this document: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2005/pdf/hist.pdf .) I'd rather have divided government and some sort of restraint than unified government and a complete feeding frenzy.

The reason I do not view myself as primarily Libertarian is because of what I call the "rational actor" problem with the Libertarian platform. There are a few key-to-me issues that keep me from fully aligning myself with the Libertarians, and they essentially revolve around that issue.

The "rational actor" problem is that for a Libertarian society to succeed, people must be capable of making rational choices. There are several instances where that breaks down and I must disagree with the Libertarian platform on how those breakdows should be handled, significantly enough to not identify as one.

Since these topics are hot-button ones, I am a bit fearful of bringing them up on this board. I don't want to start a flame-war, but I do want to make my position known. I have no interest in getting into a futile arguement over beliefs, but since I mentioned that I don't consider myself a full-fledged Libertarian, I figured I could at least explain many of the reasons why.

Abortion.
While the pregnant woman may be capable of making a rational choice to abort, the yet-to-be-born child cannot consent to dying. That yet-to-be-born child is most certainly affected by the abortion, yet has no say in the matter. I believe an innocent individual's right to life is second-to-none, and that includes those still in the womb (Granted, if the choice is between a pregnancy termination or the death of the woman, I'd side with keeping the woman alive, but those cases are fortunately rare in modern times). Abortion fails the rational actor test because a significantly affected party cannot make a rational choice to consent to the procedure.

Drugs.
Addict behavior is not rational behavior. While a person nearly certainly may have been using rational logic in making the initial choice to begin taking addictive substances, once 'hooked', that person often loses the ability to make the rational choice to stop. Additionally, there are numerous substances "on the street" that cause people to lose the ability to act rationally. PCP ( http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pcp.html ) is one such agent. A man on PCP recently died around Cincinnati in police custody. That death was linked to the tactics police had to employ to control him ( http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Midwest/12/03/died.in.custody/ ), likely because of his use of PCP.

If a person can't make the rational choice to stop using a substance, and loses the ability to make rational decisions while using the substance, then that person fails the "rational actor" test. If such behaviors are (nearly) universal with the use of a substance, then I question the logic of condoning the use of the substance.

I will agree with the Libertarians that the current prosecution of the drug war is outrageous. I especially think property seisure provisions of laws are an affront, as are warrentless and without-suspicion searches of person and property (IE random traffic stops).

Mental Illness.
There are people with mental illnesses who present a danger to themselves and (more importantly in a Libertarian society) to others. By definition, many people with legitimate mental illnesses are not "rational actors." For example, I have a family member with bipolar disease. When he 'cycles' uncontrollably, he becomes irrationaly violent - including an altercation that resulted in a felony assult and battery conviction for actions he took against a family member. When medicated, he can control himself.

Unfortunately (and from what we're told from his case worker, very commonly) people medicated for this disease, when given a choice, often cease their medication - often because they believe they're "cured" and no longer need it. By the time the symptoms return, they've lost their ability to act rationally (such as making the choice to resume medication) and slip again into the dangerous behaviors that got them in trouble in the first place. In the case of my afflicted family member, that includes irrational violence.

So the choice is really not pretty... Involuntary medication/treatment or a viscious cycle of irrational violence... I have to say, in contradiction to the Libertarian platform, that I support the involuntary treatment of the mentally ill - who by definition cannot make choices that pass the "rational actors" test.

Suicide.
As much as I support a rational individual's ability to make a rational choice to suicide, I am very much opposed to the government sanctioning suicide. The reason is primarily because the government has shown itself all too willing to influence behavior, and I do not want the government getting into the business of influencing, encouraging, or even 'requiring' people to suicide. If anything, in my opinion, government influence should either stay entirely out of the way or be biased towards survival. There is no 'do over' option on a suicide - the decision is final and permanent.

From a "rational actor" perspective, not all suicidal attempts are rational attempts to end one's life, though many (such as a person with an incurable, painful, fatal disease with near-zero quality of life and a short remaining life span anyway) may very well be. In many cases (especially among the young or abused, suicide attempts are often cries for attention and requests for help rather than legitimately rational choices to end one's life.

If the government must have a bias, I would much rather its bias be in favor of survival. A determined, rational individual legitimately wishing to end his or her life can always find a way to do so, whether or not it is legal. An irrational person or someone really crying out for help or attention through suicidal attempts may not really be making the rational decision to want to die. In an environment where the government enables or encourages suicides, such people may be 'helped' in carrying out their suicidal acts, rather than given the more life-affirming help that they were really seeking. And in fact, such people may be discouraged from receiving the help they were really seeking, by state policy that puts the right of the person to commit suicide over the right of 'interested other parties' to check in and make sure that person is making a rational choice.

Because suicide is permanent and there is no 'do over' or 'undo', it is a case where I believe that societal structures and government biases should be in place to afirm and protect the lives of those whose rational wish is really not suicide, in spite of actions that may appear contrary to that on the surface.

----

These are primary (though not the only) places where I disagree with the Libertarian platform. I generally support the principles of freedom, liberty, and the rights of rational beings to make rational decisions, whether or not those would be the same decisions that I would make. My big differences with the party primarily boil down to "rational actor" tests and what the appropriate government responses should be towards those who are not necessarily making or even capable of making rational decisions for themselves.

I have voted for a Libertarian candidate. I currently expect to do so again this year. I financially support an organization with Libertarian leanings. I do, however, have a significant difference of opinion with the Libertarian party when it comes to the appropriate government response for failures of the "rational actor" test.

I don't know how welcome I will be in this community, and I can certainly remove this board from my favorite list if it appears as though my presence is rejected by this group due to my differing convictions. My previous experiences with politically motivated boards here has been less than stellar. Out of respect for the dead and his request that I participate here, I am introducing myself and laying my cards on the table.

Thank you for your time and attention,
-Chuck
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Welcome Chuck!

I hope you come out of the shadows and post more often. Great initial post. I am very much of the same mind that you are. I would classify myself to be a liberal in the classic sense of the word. That would be a Milton Friedman brand of liberal not a Michael Moore brand of "liberal". I am not a "Libertarian" (the party) for much of the same reason that express that you are not.

Incidentally, my view on abortion is nearly identical to yours. I explain my justification as an issue of personal rights. In my view, the life of an unborn child trumps any rights of the mother in most cases. Much like you indicated, I see a difference when the mother's life is in danger. I also see a difference when the mothers quality of life is in grave danger.....for example, the prospect of a woman dealing with the psycholical horrors of bearing a child from a rape or incest. What I do not subscribe to is relying on these extremely rare cases as a justification of all abortion.

In regards to "life of the mother" concerns....I have some personal experience. When my now wife became pregnant while we were dating, it was unclear what the ramifications would be. Doctors gave us grave predictions. She had previously had a brain tumor as a teenager. The doctors were extremely concerned about hormonal changes and the like wreaking havoc. They warned of possible grand mal seizures. They warned that the metabolic rat race in her body could spur tumor growth if any mutated cells remained. It was a scary time. My now wife had more courafe than I. I was scared to death of losing her. I urged her to terminate the pregnancy. My wife never gave it a second thought. One night she lost her patience with me and proclaimed "I did not fight for my life to one day kill my baby.....you have to love me enough to live this with me". Thirteen years later I have the most beautiful wonderful daughter you can imagine and the most wonderful wife and mother I know.

I do not offer this commentary as a solicitation for an argument with anyone. I generally agree to disagree with anyone that sees this issue differently than I.
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That was a wonderful post. I don't know if I can say "welcome" since I post very rarely, but ... welcome! :) I agree with many of the views you expressed. You may have heard of the Constitution Party, but if not, take a glance at their platform. I have problems with parts of both the LP and CP platforms (some of LP's you mentioned), but I keep both parties on my radar screen and probably align myself more with the CP than LP. I will likely vote for the CP presidential candidate in November, Michael Peroutka. http://www.peroutka2004.com/

I agree with you on abortion.

I personally don't know what I think about the legalization of drugs, but like you, I think the current "war on drugs" is outrageous. It seems to only exacerbate the problem ... and may also be adding to our gun control problems. I came across an interesting editorial today: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39174
"Little did we realize the seeds for banning firearms were buried in our own misguided call for drug prohibition. In trying to jail the dealers, we were feeding the Brady beast." I don't know if I agree with him, but he makes some good points and it's obvious to me that the current policies are not solving anything.

Although the Republicans often pay lip service to the concept of limited government, it's clear to me that they are unwilling or unable to put those views into action on the national level (and often on the state or local). It's a rare man or bureaucracy that can cede power. Power is only safe in the hands of those who don't love it. Restoring the Constitution to the status of supreme law of the land will probably require that type of person. That's why I'm not running for political office. :)

Thanks for your post. It was thoughtfully written and thought provoking.
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Wow, that's an amazing post.

I haven't posted here for a while, and I think I'll start again. Your post kind of inspires me :)

So, you're a Libertarian with a Conservative bent. Well, I'm a Libertarian with a Liberal bent. I'm one of the less common converts from the Democrat party.

I encourage you to identify yourself as Libertarian and become a member of the Libertarian party. I *completely* disagree with you on the issues you disagree with the Libertarian party on, and there are other similar issues that I also disagree with the Libertarian party on from the liberal side -- *precisely* because I also reject the "rational actor" part of the Libertarian party.

But I am a member of the Libertarian party anyway, and you should be, too. Because of all of the issues you stated as the reason you disagree with the Libertarian party, none are probably as divergent (or *significant*) as your differences with the Republican party. If you do the excercise of listing your differences with the Libertarian party and compare them with your differences with the Republican party, I think you'll find your views are much closer to the Libertarian party.

Perhaps I'll post a refutation of your various disagreements with the Libertarian party. One that's obvious is the drug situation. If you punish the *results* of behavior that hurts other while on drugs, and as part of the punishment force them to get drug treatment, you will do a lot better than the government now, and you won't be unnecessarily persecuting those who use currently illicit drugs effectively, recreationally, and medicinally.

-JAR

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Excellent post! I'm basically in the same boat, a Republican that leans libertarian more and more every day. I also have the same objections to the libertarian platform, the main issue being drugs (I just see no excuse for allowing people to destroy their minds, even if it is of their own free will.) However, the economic policies of the libertarians are 100% on target IMHO.

This leaves me in a bit of a quandry. I voted for Bush in 2000, and plan to do so again this year. He didn't carry Michigan last year, and this year... who knows? Most of the state is fairly conservative, but most of the population lives in the Southwest corner, which is fairly liberal. I'm basically surrounded by liberals, which is perhaps why I'm loathe to abandon the Republican Party. They aren't perfect, but they're far better than the Democrats. The Republicans often only pay lip service to fair economic policies, but occasionally they actually do pass good laws in this regard. The Democrats don't even pay such policies lip service, and rigorously oppose them when they come up for a vote, and since I basically oppose everything they stand for I could never vote for a Democrat. The Libertarian Party seems to be practically nonexistant in Michigan (but then again I really haven't searched them out, to be fair), so I've never voted for them. However, given the area I live in, I might as well. Republicans are persona non grata in Wayne County, Michigan.

As for this board, as long as you're here to talk or debate (but not attack) you're welcome. I've learned much from this board, and I'm sure I'll continue to learn here.

Mike
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So, you're a Libertarian with a Conservative bent. Well, I'm a Libertarian with a Liberal bent. I'm one of the less common converts from the Democrat party.

This idea is something I'd like to explore a bit, with both big-"L" Libertarians and those with libertarian-leanings who still self-identify as something else.

There was a letter to the editor in my local paper a few months ago (amidst a flurry of name-calling from Dems and Reps directed at each other) in which the author asked for a party including conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. My answering letter concluded with this comment: "My suggestion to those searching for a party like Ms. Smith describes is to check out the Libertarian Party, where limited government and personal responsibility are the cornerstones of an effort to ensure the freedom of future generations."

This comment was questioned by my dad (a big-"L" like me) and a close friend with political experience, a staunch Republican (but of the rapidly-dwindling small-government variety). Both wondered how the heck I could proffer the Libertarian party as the "middle ground" party (their words, debatable as they are). I thought it was relatively simple and straightforward, that a Libertarian can answer virtually every policy question (but by no means all, and in the same way by each and every Libertarian) by looking at it from a natural rights/freedom/liberty perspective.

More specifically, I thought it made sense that, for example, conservatives who were upset with the welfare state would appreciate the free-market principles of Libertarians, and liberals who were upset with legislated morality would appreciate the social freedom advocated by Libertarians.

So anyway, I thought since this thread was peopled by two libertarian-leaners from different sides of the spectrum, it might be a good place to bring that up and ask opinions.

JT
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The reason I do not view myself as primarily Libertarian is because of what I call the "rational actor" problem with the Libertarian platform. There are a few key-to-me issues that keep me from fully aligning myself with the Libertarians, and they essentially revolve around that issue.

The "rational actor" problem is that for a Libertarian society to succeed, people must be capable of making rational choices. There are several instances where that breaks down and I must disagree with the Libertarian platform on how those breakdows should be handled, significantly enough to not identify as one.


Libertarians have different views of what it means to be a "rational actor," but we all agree that (1) the State has no right to define what this means, and (2) it has no right to interfere with acts that do not violate anyone's rights. This is probably the key theoretical difference distinguishing libertarians from both liberals and conservatives.

Abortion.
While the pregnant woman may be capable of making a rational choice to abort, the yet-to-be-born child cannot consent to dying. That yet-to-be-born child is most certainly affected by the abortion, yet has no say in the matter. I believe an innocent individual's right to life is second-to-none, and that includes those still in the womb (Granted, if the choice is between a pregnancy termination or the death of the woman, I'd side with keeping the woman alive, but those cases are fortunately rare in modern times). Abortion fails the rational actor test because a significantly affected party cannot make a rational choice to consent to the procedure.

Abortion is perhaps the most contentious issue among libertarians.
Doris Gordon, a libertarian atheist, founded Libertarians for Life in 1976, and has long argued against abortion. LfL's website is at:

http://l4l.org/ and this has links to other material.

Here is an interesting blog discussion about abortion at Reason online:
"Libertarians for Life:

http://reason.com/hitandrun/005006.shtml

The National Platform of the Libertarian Party argues against state-funded abortions and for keeping the State out of the issue:

http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/womerigh.html

The libertarian philosopher Jan Narveson defends the right to abortion in "Why Libertarians Should Be Pro-Choice Regarding Abortion" at:

http:www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~jnarveson/abortion.htm

Murray N. Rothbard, "the Karl Marx of the libertarian movement," defended the right to abortion in his books _For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto_ and in _The Ethics of Liberty_.
His discussion in _FANL_ can be read here:

http://www.mises.org/rothbard/newliberty5.asp

scroll down about half way under "Sex Laws."

Rothbard claimed that the issue has nothing to do with when life begins (and by implication with the rational status of the fetus). Instead, he argued that a woman has a right to expel any unwanted entity from her body. If a fetus dies when being expelled, that does not overturn the right of the mother not to have the fetus within her body if she
so chooses.

Drugs.
Addict behavior is not rational behavior. While a person nearly certainly may have been using rational logic in making the initial choice to begin taking addictive substances, once 'hooked', that person often loses the ability to make the rational choice to stop.

Two libertarian scholars, psychiatrist Thomas S. Szasz M.D., and psychologist Jeffrey A. Schaler, both argue that so-called addictive
behaviors are in fact voluntary choices, and that the State has no right to interfere in voluntary choices, at least those that do not result in crimes, i.e. acts that are malem in se, such as murder or arson or rape or robbery. (Insider trading is not a crime under libertarian law.) It's safe to say that the vast majority of libertarians agree with this view.
As for the rational actor test, without getting into the definition of this term, libertarians argue that people have a right to imbibe drugs, even if this causes their volition and rationality to be compromised. They just don't have a right to commit a crime, either sober or "stoned."
Driving while intoxicated is against the law (I think), and people get convicted of this crime every day (except maybe in New Jersey, where it's apparently not malem in se to kill someone while drunk, at least according to a report about someone who did the O.J. walk after killing a young girl while driving drunk).

Szasz's website is here:

http://www.szasz.com/

And Schaler's is here:

http://www.schaler.net/

There are links to his book _Addiction Is a Choice_ and an interview about this subject, "Is Addiction a Choice?":

http://www.schaler.net/inthenews/stosselschalerchat.html

Mental Illness.
There are people with mental illnesses who present a danger to themselves and (more importantly in a Libertarian society) to others. By definition, many people with legitimate mental illnesses are not "rational actors." For example, I have a family member with bipolar disease. When he 'cycles' uncontrollably, he becomes irrationaly violent - including an altercation that resulted in a felony assult and battery conviction for actions he took against a family member. When medicated, he can control himself. .

Thomas Szasz argued the case against the concept of mental illness in many books and articles. His book _The Myth of Mental Illness_ is a classic and _Insanity_ is another good book on the subject.
At his website, you can read "The Myth of Mental Illness," _American Psychiatrist_, and "Mental Illness: Psychiatry's Phlogiston."

I don't know what his view of bipolar disease is, but I think he would say it's a physical illness of the brain, just as tuberculosis is a physical disease of the lungs, and arteriosclerosis is a physical disease of the arteries. It's not a "mental illness," but rather a physical illness with violent manifestations. If he neglects his medication, then unfortunately he may commit a crime (I gather).
Libertarians would say that his family or guardian should see that he takes his medication and stays as healthy as he can be and otherwise out of trouble, but that he has no call on taxpayers' (stolen) resources to keep him in this state.

So the choice is really not pretty... Involuntary medication/treatment or a viscious cycle of irrational violence... I have to say, in contradiction to the Libertarian platform, that I support the involuntary treatment of the mentally ill - who by definition cannot make choices that pass the "rational actors"
test.


Even if we accept that people sometimes commit crimes because they are "mentally ill" and therefore not rational actors, it doesn't
follow that they should be involuntarily medicated and treated.
Szasz has argued in numerous books and articles that this leads to all sorts of unpleasant state interventions.
One of his books is about the gruesome history of how mentally ill people have been treated by the State.

Suicide.
As much as I support a rational individual's ability to make a rational choice to suicide, I am very much opposed to the government sanctioning suicide. The reason is primarily because the government has shown itself all too willing to influence behavior, and I do not want the government getting into the business of influencing, encouraging, or even 'requiring' people to suicide. If anything, in my opinion, government influence should either stay entirely out of the way or be biased towards survival. There is no 'do over' option on a suicide - the decision is final and permanent.

Libertarians accept the right to commit suicide, but oppose state-sanctioned or -assisted suicide, just as we oppose state-sanctioned or -
assisted abortion.
In the U.S. at least, I am unaware of any government intervention on behalf of would-be suicides.
I haven't read Szasz's book on suicde, but I think he argues against physician-assisted suicide on the ground that (don't quote me here) a physician's job is to sustain life. (I think his argument is more complex and subtle than I'm making it out to be, so you should read that book to get his views.
He does accept the right to commit suicide, as almost all libertarians do.

ValueSnark










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JT,

Your point brings up a pet peeve of mine. Why are members of the Libertarian party afraid of moving the party in the direction of the mainstream? Because that's what I think is crippling the Libertarian party from growing. Are we Libertarians so idealogical that we can't comprimse on *anything*? How can a viable political party not compromise and cast a wider tent? The answer is that it can't, and currently we have a glorified debating society, and not a political party.

How about recruiting Jesse Ventura (who describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and who says a viable third party must be centrist) as a presidential candidate for the Libertarians in 2008. Does anyone seriously think Badnarik is going to do better than Browne in 2000?

-JAR
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"I am very much opposed to the government sanctioning suicide"

so are libertarians.

The subtlety of this political dilemma is the crazy notion that government laws should exist simply as a "guide" for how individuals should live their lives. And that's actually correct, many people *do* treat laws as a *guide* for behavior, but the simple fact is that laws are enforced, and as soon as you have a law you put the power of one person to impose his will on another, for no other reason than because one person thinks he knows better how to live another person's life. Well, it's *my* life, not yours, and if I make a choice to commit suicide, rational or not, why shouldn't I? And how do *you* presume to know what is "rational" for me? Do you even *know* me? *This* is the libertarian philosophy. According to libertarian philosophy, government laws sanction *nothing*, and they should only exist to guarantee the rights of the individual to live his life the way he wants.

As for guides of behavior, other influences (religion, family, philosophy) should guide you, and not some government law.

How can the government know what's in an individual's best interests? An ephemeral, unknown, nameless individual? Wouldn't you rather be influenced by religion, members of your community, family members whom you know care about you?

Let's look at tobacco. Society has mobilized an all-out assault to convince individuals that smoking is not in anyone's best interests. That's how the majority of people feel, is it not? Should the government have the authirity to *prevent* people from getting that message out? And once the message is blasted all over the place and has been socialized to the point that all of the relevant data is out there, if people decide for themselves to smoke tobacco, who am I, or you, or anyone else to force that person to not smoke? How do you presume to know that that person is *not* a "rational actor"?

libertarians know that people are constantly making bad decisions. But it's *their* decisions, and certainly that individual is the only person who truly has that individual's best interests at heart.

Government laws are not a subsitute for proper education.

-JAR
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Your point brings up a pet peeve of mine. Why are members of the Libertarian party afraid of moving the party in the direction of the mainstream? Because that's what I think is crippling the Libertarian party from growing. Are we Libertarians so idealogical that we can't comprimse on *anything*? How can a viable political party not compromise and cast a wider tent? The answer is that it can't, and currently we have a glorified debating society, and not a political party.

A realist might look at our heavily gerrymandered congressional districts and conclude that the best strategy for libertarians would be to use whichever party holds the monopoly in a given district to take control of government. Both major parties give lip service to libertarian ideals during elections. (Thank you, CATO Institute, et. al.) Over 90% of all congressional districts are now rigged to elect whoever is nominated from one of the two major parties. A libertarian Democrat or a libertarian Republican could win the primary contest championing libertarian principles with a little 'mainstream' compromise here and there.

Once elected, libertarian minded members of congress from both parties could make common cause to champion individual liberty over government power. The precarious balance of power between the parties makes this strategy especially potent. These proven candidates could eventually move into other parts of government including the Senate and positions of power in state government including governorships. They could also influence their party platform toward more libertarian positions.

In the House of Representatives money no longer buys elections. Districts are gerrymandered to ensure that each party gets a set share of seats. This was intended to protect incumbents and it has done so; however, incumbents eventually move on and leave a district that is designed to go Democrat or Republican until redistricted after the next census. This provides a wedge for libertarians.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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The following are not rhetorical questions, but actually an attempt to understand better your point. Forgive me if I'm being a little dim-witted.

So is your point that the party is, in fact, dead, and the evidence of this is that Ron Paul is a Republican?

Would you like to see the party actually succeed at something?

Do you believe it's futile to think the party could succeed?

-JAR
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Hi JAR,

Your point brings up a pet peeve of mine. Why are members of the Libertarian party afraid of moving the party in the direction of the mainstream? Because that's what I think is crippling the Libertarian party from growing. Are we Libertarians so idealogical that we can't comprimse on *anything*? How can a viable political party not compromise and cast a wider tent? The answer is that it can't, and currently we have a glorified debating society, and not a political party.

The challenge is that one of the underlying core tenets of libertarianism is the respect of dissenting views.

Politics in America (or anywhere, for that matter, right now) is a "moving away from" game. In order to win you must rally to move away from the other guy's position, rather than to build into your own.

The Libertarian Party is observably growing currently PRIMARILY from ultimate disgust with the polarizing idiocies of both the left and the right... but true libertarians embracing tolerance (perhaps the deepest core value of libertarianism) are still rare.

The rally cry of "Tolerance & Reason" are simply not dramatic... there's no way to play them in the victim-perpetrator-saviour triad of drama which triggers human passion.

THIS is the underlying challenge of libertarianism as a popular movement.

Cheers,
Dave
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ValueSnark,

Thank you. You've proven my point. That is exactly the sort of response I was hoping to see. Your response is exactly the reason why I do not self identify as a Libertarian. If the rights of the individual are supreme, several of your suggested alternatives are impossible to allow. The individual has rights, the family of that individual does not.

Libertarians would say that his family or guardian should see that he takes his medication and stays as healthy as he can be and otherwise out of trouble, but that he has no call on taxpayers' (stolen) resources to keep him in this state.

Under libertarian law, I as a family member would have no more rights over his behavior than either you or the state would. And in fact, I would have less, since the state's policy would be protecting his right to remain unmedicated over my right as his family member to assure he be treated. If the individual's rights are sacred above all others, then nobody has the right to force him to remain either medicated or locked up. The logical result would either be a dead family member (if he attacked someone less forgiving of his actions than another member of the family) or long term incarceration (at tax payers' expense) when under his uncontrolled condition, he battered someone else, again.

By the way, for information on bipolar disease, see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm

Libertarians accept the right to commit suicide, but oppose state-sanctioned or -assisted suicide, just as we oppose state-sanctioned or -
assisted abortion.


The problem is not the right to die. The problem is the very common case where a suicidal attempt is not really a rational choice to end one's life but is in fact a cry for help and attention. In a society where others could not intervene in a person's 'right to die' (after all, the rights of the individuals are sacred), then those whose suicidal attempts are cries for attention or help and are not really rational wishes to die would be successful in suiciding and unsuccessful in getting the help they really wanted and needed.

Even with laws preventing suicide, a determined, rational individual can end his or her own life, with no earthly punishment. My concern is not with the rational person who can suicide regardless of whether there are laws preventing the action. My concern is with the young, abused, and other not-really-suicide suicides. With laws protecting suicide, there will be no legal mechanism for anyone else to intervene and help those whose suicidal attempts are in fact cries for attention and help. In a Libertarian society, the rights of the individual are supreme. Not the rights of the family of that individual to intervene. And in this case, protecting the rights of the individual would cause exactly the opposite result than that individual really intended.

As for the rational actor test, without getting into the definition of this term, libertarians argue that people have a right to imbibe drugs, even if this causes their volition and rationality to be compromised. They just don't have a right to commit a crime, either sober or "stoned."
Great. Now, let's take some real world examples, such as PCP abusers Nathanial Jones (Cincinnati) and Rodney King (L.A.). In both cases, to subdue, police had to resort to levels of force that would have been excessive had the PCP abuser been capable of rational control. In Rodney King's case, the police were criminally acquitted. The community reaction was rioting. In the Nathanial Jones case, I'm not sure whether a conclusion has been reached for the police yet, but the community did stage mini-riots just after Jones' death, blaming the police for brutality.

If PCP were legalized, then PCP users who committed other crimes would also likely require otherwise excessive force to be subdued by arresting officers. "Suicide by cop" is certainly one way to get rid of criminals, but I would much prefer due process, constitutional protections, and a civilized and impartial judiciary to a front-line police force that would be required to resort more frequently to potentially lethal means. Not only for the constitutional protection of the accused individual, but also for the protection of the rest of society, whose lives and property are at risk from the riots that have happened when such "Suicide by Cop" events happen to PCP abusers.

---

Like I mentioned before, in an ideal world, I would probably self identify as a Libertarian. The problem is that the law of unintended consequences works both ways. And when probable, preventable death is the natural, unintended consequence of a Libertarian model, then I must disagree with implementing the model.

-Chuck
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"The rally cry of "Tolerance & Reason" are simply not dramatic... there's no way to play them in the victim-perpetrator-saviour triad of drama which triggers human passion."


Am I the only person who doesn't *hate* either G.W. Bush or Bill Clinton? I don't hate these men, but I also think they were/are lousy Presidents. And I don't think either one works on my behalf. Not even close.

I hadn't looked at it from this point of view, but you've hit the nail on the head. What I said above does not trigger human passion.

As a side note, I'm amused by those who *hate* G.W. Bush or Bill Clinton more than, say, Saddam Hussein. But I also think the vitriol against the opposing party is a bit of hyperbole. Me, they're six dozen of one, half a gross of another. One sticks me in one place, the other one in another. As it has been since I was born. And life goes on...

-JAR
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"And when probable, preventable death is the natural, unintended consequence of a Libertarian model, then I must disagree with implementing the model."

Republican and Democrat policies kill people all the time, wouldn't you agree? Our leaders make life-and-death decisions all the time. Why take the decision over my own life away from me? What purpose does that really serve?

The most preventable deaths in the U.S., I think, come from automobile accidents. The government could make decisions to save those lives, like mandating safety improvements to vehicles, mandating that only vehicles with the same bumper height can be on certain designated roads. Or as simple as raising the gas tax, which will keep people from driving as much, which will lead to many fewer highway deaths.

If you *really* want the government to prevent death, then why not address that problem first?

In fact, if you were to take away the license of everyone who drives while under the influence, you would save far more lives than any of the stupid and draconian drug possession laws that we have.

The number of people who will feel pressured to commit suicide if physician-assisted suicide is allowed is miniscule compared to the number of highway fatalities. Yet somehow the economic well-being of the country is more important than those highway fatalities. So why isn't my right to decide when and if to end my life more important than the unwanted deaths physician-assisted would cause?

So what is the cost of a human life, anyway? That is what our leaders must judge *every single day*. All us Libertarians ask is that we, as individuals, have the most control over our own life as possible. Why is that a bad thing?

Personally, I know I'm taking a risk when I drive and I accept it. Why can I have the freedom to take my life in my hands when driving, but not have the freedom to decide when and if to end my own life?

-JAR
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If the rights of the individual are supreme, several of your suggested alternatives are impossible to allow. The individual has rights, the family of that individual does not.

Only individual people have rights, not families. For example, if a family consists of two parents and two children, killing this family implies killing four people, and therefore committing four crimes, not one.
Taxing a corporation with 100 shareholders is a crime against 100 people, not a fictitious holder known as the XYZ Corp.

Under libertarian law, I as a family member would have no more rights over his behavior than either you or the state would. And in fact, I would have less, since the state's policy would be protecting his right to remain unmedicated over my right as his family member to assure he be treated. If the individual's rights are sacred above all others, then nobody has the right to force him to remain either medicated or locked up. The logical result would either be a dead family member (if he attacked someone less forgiving of his actions than another member of the family) or long term incarceration (at tax payers' expense) when under his uncontrolled condition, he battered someone else, again.

What I neglected to say, and will now, is that under libertarian law, a guardian could be appointed (even self-appointed) to oversee the welfare of an adult "nonrational person" (for lack of a better term), just as a parent has legal guardianship over his child. (See Rothbard, _The Ethics of Liberty_ for a good discussion of the libertarian case for guardianship.) The guardian would be legally responsible for any crime committed by the person he oversaw. So for example, if your family member committed a crime, and he were found to be "nonrational" because he failed to take his medication, then his guardian would be *legally* responsible for that crime, having failed in his *legal* obligation to see that he took his medication.
This is consistent with a theory of individual rights.
Thanks for the info. on bipolar, which I'll check out later with some trepidation, considering the source--the State.

[Regarding suicide]:
My concern is with the young, abused, and other not-really-suicide suicides. With laws protecting suicide, there will be no legal mechanism for anyone else to intervene and help those whose suicidal attempts are in fact cries for attention and help. In a Libertarian society, the rights of the individual are supreme. Not the rights of the family of that individual to intervene. And in this case, protecting the rights of the individual would cause exactly the opposite result than that individual really intended.

But there are no laws to protect (I assume you mean the right to commit) suicide. There are just no laws against it, and would be none in a libertarian society.
People have a right to intervene in the case of depressed people and to try to help them, and they do it all the time without violating any libertarian test, for example by talking with them, having them seek counseling, etc. All well and good, but what they don't have a right to do is have their intervention cross the line into crime.

Now, let's take some real world examples, such as PCP abusers Nathanial Jones (Cincinnati) and Rodney King (L.A.). In both cases, to subdue, police had to resort to levels of force that would have been excessive had the PCP abuser been capable of rational control. In Rodney King's case, the police were criminally acquitted. The community reaction was rioting. In the Nathanial Jones case, I'm not sure whether a conclusion has been reached for the police yet, but the community did stage mini-riots just after Jones' death, blaming the police for brutality.

This is an old story. Drug laws lead to drugs of bad quality (which is what PCP is, if my understanding is correct), which in turn cause bad reactions (eg., Messrs. Jones and King), which lead to crimes, overreaction by the State's cops, and riots (in these cases).
Get rid of the drug laws, and my bet is that there's no repeat of these fiascos. Getting the State out of crime prevention and enforcement, and privatizing the streets would also curb street crime.

If PCP were legalized, then PCP users who committed other crimes would also likely require otherwise excessive force to be subdued by arresting officers. "Suicide by cop" is certainly one way to get rid of criminals, but I would much prefer due process, constitutional protections, and a civilized and impartial judiciary to a front-line police force that would be required to resort more frequently to potentially lethal means. Not only for the constitutional protection of the accused individual, but also for the protection of the rest of society, whose lives and property are at risk from the riots that have happened when such "Suicide by Cop" events happen to PCP abusers."

Due process is better, I agree, but your reference to "a civilized and impartial judiciary" makes me smile. If you read the Metro section of the NY Times, you know how corrupt NY judges are. I know they are corrupt in other states, such as California and Illinois, too. When government monopolizes the supply of something, like the judiciary, you can be sure it will be supplied badly.
And what about jurors? Were they "civilized and impartial" in O.J.'s first trial? How about in Martha Stewart's? Heaven help you if you are tried before a jury in this country.
And don't even get me started on corrupt NYC cops. There are lots of people in my neighborhood, who loathe the cops around here for their outrageous arrogance, and would not help one in trouble.
ValueSnark





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JAR,

Why can I have the freedom to take my life in my hands when driving, but not have the freedom to decide when and if to end my own life?

As I mentioned before (go back and read the first note of the thread) I support the right of a rational being to make the rational choice to kill himself or herself. There are no laws that could prevent you or me from killing ourselves if we were really rationally determined and choosing to do so. There is no human punishment that can affect us once we have succeeded in the act of suiciding. No matter what society or the government tries to do, there is no really effective anti-suicide law, nor would I particularly want to live in a world where there is one. As a (presumably) rational human being, you are in ultimate control of your right to die, no matter what the government says.

The problem is that government policy and laws that enforce the right to suicide take away the rights of intervention of others. Since suicide attempts, especially among the young and the abused, are quite often attempts to cry out for help or attention, rather than rational choices to die, the right of intervention is important. A direct consequence of laws protecting suicide will be the prohibition of intervention in suicide attempts, thereby depriving those 'not really suicide' suicides of the help and attention they really were looking for.

In fact, if you were to take away the license of everyone who drives while under the influence, you would save far more lives than any of the stupid and draconian drug possession laws that we have.
I am confused - are you advocating taking away the licenses of people who had not broken any other laws, other than driving while under the influence? In a Libertarian world, driving while intoxicated should logically be legal, as long as that driver does not directly harm others. Preventative laws like those that punish DUI and DWI restrict the individual's freedoms to act, which by Libertarian doctrine, should be unlimited so long as that individual causes no harm to others. A person driving under the influence causes no harm to others, unless that person loses control of his or her vehicle. Following the Libertarian doctorine to its logical conclusion, driving while intoxicated should be permitted, as long as the driver causes no harm to others. I am against people driving while intoxicated, because the probabilty of those people causing harm to others is simply too high to allow 'reactive only' laws to work. I support reasonable laws that punish those actions, even when the inoxicated driver caused no direct harm to others. (I am still opposed to random traffic stops and other either without-probable-cause or without-warrant detainments and searches.) If that makes me non-Libertarian, so be it. I never claimed to be one, anyway, especially when it came to illegal drug use.

-Chuck
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The following are not rhetorical questions, but actually an attempt to understand better your point. Forgive me if I'm being a little dim-witted.

So is your point that the party is, in fact, dead, and the evidence of this is that Ron Paul is a Republican?

Would you like to see the party actually succeed at something?

Do you believe it's futile to think the party could succeed?

-JAR


1. I was not making a comment on the Libertarian Party. Instead I was offering an alternative route to advancing libertarian political power. I see Ron Paul as an example of a libertarian working through one of the two major parties.

2. I would like to see the Libertarian Party succeed though I have serious reservations about a few of the extreme, fringe positions that it champions. Most often it is not the position itself, but the naïve belief that the government (short of revolution or extreme crisis) can change course radically. Insisting on all or nothing attains nothing.

3. I think that the Libertarian Party almost always produces candidates who cannot be elected. If success involves winning elections then it is futile to think that the party can succeed anytime soon. The structure of the US government supports a two party system. To succeed, the Libertarian Party must displace or take over the Republican Party or the Democrat Party. There's nothing wrong with the Libertarian Party fighting the good fight and remaining ideologically pure in the process. I applaud them for the effort. I just doubt that this is the most effective way to change the political landscape.

Regards,
Prometheuss

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ValueSnark,

What I neglected to say, and will now, is that under libertarian law, a guardian could be appointed (even self-appointed) to oversee the welfare of an adult "nonrational person" (for lack of a better term), just as a parent has legal guardianship over his child. (See Rothbard, _The Ethics of Liberty_ for a good discussion of the libertarian case for guardianship.) The guardian would be legally responsible for any crime committed by the person he oversaw. So for example, if your family member committed a crime, and he were found to be "nonrational" because he failed to take his medication, then his guardian would be *legally* responsible for that crime, having failed in his *legal* obligation to see that he took his medication.

Unfortunately, that logic runs directly contrary the Libertarian party platform. To quote from http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_all.html , under the "Government and mental health" section:
Medication must be voluntary. We oppose the involuntary commitment of any person to or involuntary treatment in a mental institution. We strongly condemn Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), where the patient is ordered to accept treatment, or else be committed to a mental institution and forcibly treated. We oppose government pressure requiring parents to obtain counseling or psychiatric drugs for their children.
The Libertarian party is against forcible medication. If a parent or guardian is prohibited from forcing a person to take his or her medication by a Libertarian policy that prohibits forcible medication, why should that parent or guardian be held responsible for the illegal acts of the person under his or her care? What rational person would accept a guardianship of another adult, if the guardian was prohibited from treating that person, but ultimately responsible for the illegal actions of that person?

This is an old story.
The Nathanial Jones December 2003 story is not an 'old story', especially for those of us who live in Cincinnati.

Drug laws lead to drugs of bad quality (which is what PCP is, if my understanding is correct), which in turn cause bad reactions (eg., Messrs. Jones and King), which lead to crimes, overreaction by the State's cops, and riots (in these cases). Get rid of the drug laws, and my bet is that there's no repeat of these fiascos.
I doubt that a legal market would remove bad quality drugs off the street. In fact, I am certain it would not, as can be seen in the 'dietary supplement' controversy raging currently. You can still legally buy a lot of useless, expensive, non-standardized, and even harmful ingestible substances. As happens now, for addicts who cannot afford the market price for the "good stuff", those requiring their fix would go to less reputable dealers... Making it legal does not make it quality, especially for those at the low end of the economic spectrum. Even outside of the drug/medication world, in most cases in a free market, there is a clear link between quality and price. And that presupposes that it is the 'quality' of the substance, not the content of the substance itself that leads to the problems, an assertation that I do not agree with.

Getting the State out of crime prevention and enforcement, and privatizing the streets would also curb street crime.
How would that work, exactly? What power or authority other than the state could give any individual the right to arrest any other individual? Show me a potentially workable alternative, and I'd be glad to hear it. In all probability, it would work about as well as fire protection that only responded to insured houses worked before the days of the public fire department. Or densly populated cities before the days of government mandated fire codes. The Chicago Fire is more than a professional soccer team, you know.

Due process is better, I agree, but your reference to "a civilized and impartial judiciary" makes me smile. If you read the Metro section of the NY Times, you know how corrupt NY judges are. I know they are corrupt in other states, such as California and Illinois, too. When government monopolizes the supply of something, like the judiciary, you can be sure it will be supplied badly.
Here in Ohio, we elect our judges, even the State Supreme Court judges. Poor or corrupt judges can be booted out, just like any other poor or corrupt politician can, via an electoral process. I do not doubt that corruption and graft exists even in the judiciary, but the judicial electoral process, combined with a legitimately free press, is a one-two punch that has done a better job of policing the judiciary than any other process that I am aware of. How would you propose the laws of the land be adjudicated, if not by a state judiciary?

And what about jurors? Were they "civilized and impartial" in O.J.'s first trial?... Heaven help you if you are tried before a jury in this country.
That's funny, I thought Libertarians were all about supporting the rights of the accused until convicted. O.J.'s criminal charges jury found him not-guilty, in spite of the fact that the kangaroo court of public opinion had him hung shortly after the Bronco chase. The Jury system, followed by appeals if a person is convicted, while not perfect, is by far the best system of justice I have ever seen in action. What would you replace it with that would be better? I have been on two juries in my life. In both cases, we took our responsibilities very seriously. In both cases, we acquitted the accused of at least some of the charges, because we the jury found that the state failed to meet its burden of proof. In one case, after the trial, we found out about a ton of evidence that the judge and both attorneys knew about but which was inadmissable to the jury. Had that evidence been admitted, my decision to acquit would certainly have been reversed. It would seem to me that the jury system is the best available system. Certainly it is better than one in which unelected, unaccountable, and not-removable political appointees are the only ones involved. What would you replace it with, and how would it be better?

-Chuck
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I'm not a frequent poster on the board, but one of these topics is something that I have thought a little bit about. I'm also not sure exactly how my stance would be perceived, as being libertarian or not. (Or Libertarian, for that matter.) So, here we go...

The problem is not the right to die. The problem is the very common case where a suicidal attempt is not really a rational choice to end one's life but is in fact a cry for help and attention. In a society where others could not intervene in a person's 'right to die' (after all, the rights of the individuals are sacred), then those whose suicidal attempts are cries for attention or help and are not really rational wishes to die would be successful in suiciding and unsuccessful in getting the help they really wanted and needed.

My latest considered stance on this issue is that I think suicide should be legalized with a consideration. That consideration would be a stipulation that a minimum amount of counseling be attended before the suicide action. Then, if the person still wished to commit suicide, they legally could.

There are still a couple of problems with my idea that I'm trying to work through. The first is whether it is within the rights of the state to require the counselling first, from a (l/L)ibertarian viewpoint. I could see the possibility of an argument being made for the state ensuring a rational actor is participating in this, but that argument would open up the ability for the state to require something before almost anything is done, for the same reason.

The second problem, of course, is how much counselling would be required, and how "counselling" would be defined, etc., etc.

Can I get anyone's opinions on this, in particular?

Caleb
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What I neglected to say, and will now, is that under libertarian law, a guardian could be appointed (even self-appointed) to oversee the welfare of an adult "nonrational person" (for lack of a better term), just as a parent has legal guardianship over his child. (See Rothbard, _The Ethics of Liberty_ for a good discussion of the libertarian case for guardianship.) The guardian would be legally responsible for any crime committed by the person he oversaw. So for example, if your family member committed a crime, and he were found to be "nonrational" because he failed to take his medication, then his guardian would be *legally* responsible for that crime, having failed in his *legal* obligation to see that he took his medication.
This is consistent with a theory of individual rights.
Thanks for the info. on bipolar, which I'll check out later with some trepidation, considering the source--the State.


WHy in the world would ANYONE ever consent to being appointed guardian of a crazy person? Why would I ever consent to being responsible for the crimes of someone else, especially someone who tended to wander off the grid now and again?

Thanks,
R:
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"I am confused - are you advocating taking away the licenses of people who had not broken any other laws, other than driving while under the influence?"

I'm sorry for the confusion. No, I'm just using it as an example as a law that is designed to minimize death in society. I don't advocate this as an individual, and I agree it's not a libertarian law.

I'll try to make myself clearer. My essential point is that I don't believe that laws should be judged *alone* by the volume of lives that are saved/cost, and I don't believe anyone else who really thinks about it seriously actually believes that as well. Otherwise we could easily pass laws that will lower the amount of lives lost on the highway at the expense of some economic activity (the lower economic activity would cost some lives but less suppose we know that it costs less than the number of lives saved on the highway).

The fact is, there *is* a value that we all put on human life. And if we assume you're correct (I'm not really sure) that physician-assisted suicide laws lead to more suicides from irrational actors, I believe that that is a cost of freedom in society.

Death is a cost of economic activity and freedom in society. And if you don't like it, then think about how draconian our laws could be in order to preserve life.

The leaders of all countries (and this one) make value judgements on other people's lives *daily*. This is *unseemly*, and people don't really want to think about it, but it's there nonetheless. A Libertarian asks that the individual have as much control over making the value judgement over his/her own life. In my opinion, death isn't even close to the worst thing that could happen to me. But that's just my opinion. Would you like me to make that judgement for you? Would you like Ted Kennedy to make that judgement for you?

And medical proxies can be generated for a person when he/she is rational so that when he/she is suffering from mental illness, his/her rational wishes are clear. Isn't that better than the government making a blanket decision the same for everybody?

"Give me liberty or give me death" - Patrick Henry

I understand you don't consider yourself a libertarian, but I'm just trying to get you to understand better the libertarian viewpoint. In my "conversion" to libertarian thinking, understanding better the libertarian viewpoint made me realize I was on the wrong side of a number of issues. But that's just me :)

-JAR
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A better idea is a standard proxy ("living will") that everyone would sign. Absent of such a document being available, I don't think you could punish anyone for trying to save the life of a suicide attempt, especially since it may be difficult to ascertain whether it actually *was* a suicide attempt. I don't think that's contrary to the Libertarian platform. I also think that once someone commits a serious crime, then coercion/commitation becomes justified. It's certainly better than incarceration. This *should* be the Libertarian platform, if it's not.

Seriously, our health care system already largely ignores the mentally ill. There are *lots* of mental patients that need treatment that aren't getting it. I don't see the Libertarian platform worse than what we currently have.

-JAR
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Unfortunately, that logic runs directly contrary the Libertarian party platform. To quote from http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_all.html , under the "Government and mental health" section:
Medication must be voluntary. . . .
The Libertarian party is against forcible medication. If a parent or guardian is prohibited from forcing a person to take his or her medication by a Libertarian policy that prohibits forcible medication, why should that parent or guardian be held responsible for the illegal acts of the person under his or her care? What rational person would accept a guardianship of another adult, if the guardian was prohibited from treating that person, but ultimately responsible for the illegal actions of that person?


The LP Platform dovetails with my point, which I guess I didn't make clear. Guardianship can best be illustrated by considering the parent-child relationship. A parent is normally his child's guardian, with occasional exceptions, which don't bear on the point at hand. That means he has a right to care for the child and look out for his best interests, etc. So for example, a parent has a right to "force" his two-year old kid to eat his veggies and codliver oil, and certainly won't go to jail for "forcing" the brat to eat what's good for him. My point about your family member with bipolar runs parallel to this point and addresses your last point above. Someone could presumably be his legal guardian with all that implies, and get him to "eat his veggies" or in this case take his medicine. That or face the legal consequences of failing to do so. Libertarians deny that this could ever be the State.
I see this point as being consistent with the LP's point, contrary to what you believe.

I doubt that a legal market would remove bad quality drugs off the street. In fact, I am certain it would not, as can be seen in the 'dietary supplement' controversy raging currently. You can still legally buy a lot of useless, expensive, non-standardized, and even harmful ingestible substances.

These dietary supplements, etc. aren't street drugs that cause drug gangs to have turf wars and kill people. The reason for this is precisely because they're legal and don't cost an absurd amount of money (with high risk premia) to obtain.

Making it [a street drug] legal does not make it quality, especially for those at the low end of the economic spectrum.

It improves the quality of street drugs at the margin and that makes a huge difference, as libertarian drug policy analysts Ethan Nadelman, Mark Thornton, and James Ostrowski have argued, with some history to back them up. Before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, drugs of all sorts abounded, yet there was no street crime and you could buy them essentially over the counter for relatively low prices. There was no risk premium and no profit potential for drug gangs to get started.
There were gangs (as in _Gangs of New York_, but they weren't into drugs).

Even outside of the drug/medication world, in most cases in a free market, there is a clear link between quality and price. And that presupposes that it is the 'quality' of the substance, not the content of the substance itself that leads to the problems, an assertation that I do not agree with.

Milton Friedman and others pointed out until they were blue in the face that the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s was directly caused by the Rockefeller drug laws. The link was crystal clear and no one, not even dyed in the wool drug law enforcers, denied this. Do you have a better theory that a Nobel laureate and dozens of other analysts are unaware of? Tougher laws against cocaine led to its crack form, which was a derivative substance of lower and more lethal quality.
If those sanctions had not been created, crack would never have come into existence.
Mark Thornton's book on the economics of prohibition is very good on this subject. Btw, Prohibition killed a lot of people in the years after the Volstead Act was passed, because of low quality, poisonous "street liquor," which came into existence as a result. This disappeared after the 18th Amendment was passed, although high quality moonshine lives on. No reputable historian disputes this.


Getting the State out of crime prevention and enforcement, and privatizing the streets would also curb street crime.

How would that work, exactly? What power or authority other than the state could give any individual the right to arrest any other individual? Show me a potentially workable alternative, and I'd be glad to hear it. In all probability, it would work about as well as fire protection that only responded to insured houses worked before the days of the public fire department. Or densly populated cities before the days of government mandated fire codes. The Chicago Fire is more than a professional soccer team, you know.

I don't have time now to give a libertarian rendition of private law enforcement, so I'll refer you to three classics on the subject, all available at amazon, I think:

Murray Rothbard, _For a New Liberty (I provided a link to the text at mises.org above)_;
Bruce Benson, _The Enterprise of Law_ (a must read);
David Friedman, _The Machinery of Freedom_.

Re: the fire department of yore: in 2004, what nitwit doesn't have homeowners' insurance? Somehow, I doubt the fire dept. responded only to fires at homes that were insured, and even if they did, what would have prevented them sending a bill for services rendered? Are you saying an uninsured homeowner wouldn't have wanted to have a fire at his residence extinguished? A free rider in such a case would quickly find himself ostracized and likely subject to a boycott if he owned a business, for instance.
If he were dying on the street, would his insured neighbor go to his aid, at least before thinking about it long and hard?

Here in Ohio, we elect our judges, even the State Supreme Court judges. Poor or corrupt judges can be booted out, just like any other poor or corrupt politician can, via an electoral process. I do not doubt that corruption and graft exists even in the judiciary, but the judicial electoral process, combined with a legitimately free press, is a one-two punch that has done a better job of policing the judiciary than any other process that I am aware of. How would you propose the laws of the land be adjudicated, if not by a state judiciary?

All states elect state judges, as far as I am aware, but in many states, I think, certain judges are appointed. Here in NY, Brooklyn has the best Democratic Party hack-elected judges money can buy, and the NY Times ran a number of interesting articles about them in the last year or so. It's almost impossible to get rid of these jerks.
Maybe you read about the recent shenanigans of Judge Laura Blackburne, a holdover from the Dinkins mayoralty, who was *appointed* by Mr. Dinkins for doing some bootlicking/politicking on his behalf.
For the second time, she let a violent felon literally walk out of her chambers scot free when a police officer showed up to discuss the case with here and take the thug to jail. She has been put someone else in the system and may be sanctioned up to and including losing her position permanently, but I'm not holding my breath.
A British libertarian friend thinks it's ludicrous that Americans elect judges, which is not done in the U.K. There they are appointed for their probity and judicial acumen, and generally stay far away from and above politics.
In a libertarian world, there would be for profit firms that offered judicial services, such as Judges 'R Us; Appellete (sp?) Judges Unlimited, etc.

And what about jurors? Were they "civilized and impartial" in O.J.'s first trial?... Heaven help you if you are tried before a jury in this country.

That's funny, I thought Libertarians were all about supporting the rights of the accused until convicted. O.J.'s criminal charges jury found him not-guilty, in spite of the fact that the kangaroo court of public opinion had him hung shortly after the Bronco chase.

Libertarians do support these rights. If you think that justice was served in O.J.'s case, read Laurie (sp?) Rantala's book on the subject.
In Martha's case, there was a juror (Hentridge?) interviewed on the i-box after the decision, who was an all-but-certified moron, and who apparently withheld information about a prior felony conviction before he was selected to be on the jury in the case. If I had been on that case, I would have emphasized to the other jurors that they were there to try the case on the facts and the law, not to "send a message," as Hentridge evidently thought.
I hope Hentridge is reading this, but I'm not holding my breath.

The Jury system, followed by appeals if a person is convicted, while not perfect, is by far the best system of justice I have ever seen in action. What would you replace it with that would be
better?


Well, since most potential jurors have been intellectually corrupted and stupified by the public school system, maybe there's not much hope.
Get back to me fifty years after the Libertarian Revolution, when public schools are just a bad memory.
Before 1894, juries could decide the validity of the law and nullify bad ones (jury nullification). Those were the (almost) libertarian days! In a libertarian world, we'd be back to those days.

It would seem to me that the jury system is the best available system. Certainly it is better than one in which unelected, unaccountable, and not-removable political appointees are the only ones involved. What would you replace it with, and how would it be
better?


The jury system is the best system, but it's far from perfect, as you acknowledge. But it has gradually been whittled down by being more and more politicized, unfortunately. I've never served on a jury, as I tell the court during the voir dire process that I'm and anarchist and support the repeal of drug laws. Just do that and you'll be excused every time.
A friend of mine served on a jury in a murder trial in which the evidence was absolutely overwhelming that the (black) defendant was guilty, his finger prints all over the car and the murder weapon, etc. A (black)/(female) juror was outrageously (and I gather "irrationally") prejudiced in favor of him, and it took a tremendous effort by all of the other jurors to win her over to convict.

ValueSnark
































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WHy in the world would ANYONE ever consent to being appointed guardian of a crazy person? Why would I ever consent to being responsible for the crimes of someone else, especially someone who tended to wander off the grid now and again?

Why couldn't there spring up a market in guardians' liability insurance, just like D&O or any other kind of insurance?
Ralph, when dealing with libertarians, you have to think outside the box a bit.

ValueSnark
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"I am a Cato Institute sponsor, and Cato now gets the money that I had formerly been donating to Republican candidates and party branches... I'd rather have divided government and some sort of restraint than unified government and a complete feeding frenzy..." - babs

"Your point brings up a pet peeve of mine. Why are members of the Libertarian party afraid of moving the party in the direction of the mainstream? Because that's what I think is crippling the Libertarian party from growing. Are we Libertarians so idealogical that we can't comprimse on *anything*? ... So, you're a Libertarian with a Conservative bent. Well, I'm a Libertarian with a Liberal bent. I'm one of the less common converts from the Democrat party. I encourage you to identify yourself as Libertarian and become a member of the Libertarian party..." JAR

Permit me weigh in and encourage you to consider another path. I was first introduced to the Libertarian Party over 25 years ago. I identified big "L" Libertarian and voted Libertarian many times. In recent years (last 10 or so) I have gravitated to voting, proselytizing, and supporting main-stream candidates of both parties that I believe will actually further the Libertarian agenda. This is a choice based on continuous, non-stop compromise. To be true to the Libertarian ideas, you simply accept certain facts about how our government really works, and vote based on that reality vs. what your heart or the candidates say.

For example - Stipulated: Kerry is a liberal and Bush is a conservative. Nevertheless, if you believe that fiscal restraint and limiting government growth is important, you must support Kerry. Here is why:

http://www.cato.org/dailys/05-07-03.html

In the linked article, William A. Niskanen - chairman of the Cato Institute and former acting chairman of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, shows conclusively that you get federal fiscal restraint only when you have divided government. This is simple "A is A" reality. If you vote straight ticket Republican (or Democrat) you are voting for bigger government. This is a fact. If it makes you uncomfortable to vote Kerry for smaller government, perhaps you can take solace in the fact that this strategy also requires that you vote and support candidates to ensure Republican control of Congress (which I am also doing). In 2004 I consider voting for a Kerry president and a Republican congress to be casting a practical and effective libertarian vote.

I also feel that Libertarians have been wildly successful over the last 20 years as a fountainhead for injecting libertarian ideas into the mainstream political process. 20 years ago, you never really heard about libertarian ideas, except in the context of a fringe political party. Today, the Cato Institute is a respected Wahington mainstream thinktank, and you have politicians of both parties embracing and quoting Libertarion principles. Consider this exchange on yesterday's "Hardball with Chris Mathews":

-------------------------------

Inteview with SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (Republican-NEBRASKA), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE:

MITCHELL: The Supreme Court, 8-1 in one instance, voted against the president's policy on the detainees. Was the administration wrong to assert that foreign and other detainees did not have the right to challenge their detention?

HAGEL: Well, I think the Supreme Court's decision was a correct decision. Yes, this country, the United States of America, was under attack. It was unprecedented what happened to us September 11, 2001. But at the same time, we are a nation of laws, and no president, no matter what the challenge is, is above those laws. We have rights, and those rights must be maintained and sustained. So I think the Supreme Court was correct in its decision.MITCHELL: Well, there are a couple of other issues coming up that are going to contentious in this campaign. One of them is the constitutional ban on gay marriage. There are conservative groups calling on you to support them on getting this ban through the Senate. Will you?

HAGEL: Well, first of all, I, like I suspect, most Americans, believe that maybe should be a contract. It's a sacrament between a man and a woman. That's not the issue. The real issue is how do you assure that or protect that? Historically, the United States has been about states having the authority to control and delegate authority over civil contracts. On one level, that's what a marriage is. On the second level, a marriage is a religious commitment. It's part of a religious institution. It's a sacrament. And I don't think that, based on the 38 states that now have laws on their books, including my state, Nebraska, which defines what marriage is, or at least the recognition by the state of a marriage between a man and a woman, you need a constitutional amendment to protect that. The fact is, we do have a federal law on the books right now which gives each state the power to make that decision for themselves. So I'm an old-fashioned conservative, when it comes to the Constitution of the United States. I think we should be very careful...

MITCHELL: More of a Libertarian.

HAGEL: Well, maybe a Libertarian's a better word.
But we should be very careful how we use the Constitution. And I do not see, at this point, a need to amend the Constitution in order to protect the sanctity of marriages.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5334015/

-----------------------------------------

"More of a Libertarian" Yes, that is exactly how I would call it. Here is a a Republican Senator articulating two positions in direct opposition to his Republican President, and in both cases he is embracing a Libertarian perspective. This is a man I could vote for (if I lived in Nebraska).

Vote Libertarian - Vote Kerry - Vote Republican Congress - Vote for Freedom.

-- exoracle
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WHy in the world would ANYONE ever consent to being appointed guardian of a crazy person? Why would I ever consent to being responsible for the crimes of someone else, especially someone who tended to wander off the grid now and again?

Why couldn't there spring up a market in guardians' liability insurance, just like D&O or any other kind of insurance?
Ralph, when dealing with libertarians, you have to think outside the box a bit.

I forgot to point out that the reason this institution doesn't exist now is that the State has, in effect, usurped the role of legal guardian for adults to such as extent that only libertarians and other romantic malcontents (as Mencken used that term) would think of it.
The State has done this by its system of prisons and prison-like mental health institutions and hospitals, which are almost always heavily subsidized by us taxpayers.

Sucker! (looking in mirror)

ValueSnark
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WHy in the world would ANYONE ever consent to being appointed guardian of a crazy person? Why would I ever consent to being responsible for the crimes of someone else, especially someone who tended to wander off the grid now and again?

Why couldn't there spring up a market in guardians' liability insurance, just like D&O or any other kind of insurance?
Ralph, when dealing with libertarians, you have to think outside the box a bit.


Since I am so dull, bear with me and answer these questions for me.

Assume I have a bipolar brother.

Does the state FORCE him to accept a guardian or go to jail or preventive detention? If not, WHY would he accept a guardian? Or if it is not a matter of accepting a guardian, why wouldn't some libertarian "rescue" him from being forced against his will to take medicine by someone else?

As the potential guardian, why would I consent to be guardian? Is the idea that someone would be PAID to be his guardian by him? That his family would pay someone to be his guardian to keep him out of jail?

Would guardianship for the purpose of avoiding consequences of your criminal action be available to REGULAR citizens? If I had a taste for torture or rape, could I hire a guardian on some contractural terms to take the rap in case I got caught? If guardianship is only available to crazy people, who decides who is crazy enough to get one?

As you point out above, I am rather uncreative and thick, so bear with me and try discussing the answers to my questions instead of just how dull I am. Please.

R:
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Since I am so dull
You are far from it, but libertarians are used to getting hard questions, so we have to think of "futuristic" answers that naturally invite a certain sceptism. Unfortunately, our detractors often inveigh against our positions without actually engaging the merits--actual or merely perceived--of our arguments. I am not accusing you of this, but if you think I have slighted your ability and prefer I not make further posts, please let me know privately.

Does the state FORCE him to accept a guardian or go to jail or preventive detention? If not, WHY would he accept a guardian? Or if it is not a matter of accepting a guardian, why wouldn't some libertarian "rescue" him from being forced against his will to take medicine by someone else?

The State doesn't exist in my version of libertarianism, but let's assume a limited state type of system, sometimes called minarchy.
The State would not force him to accept a guardian, but if he were non compos mentis, presumably he would not decline to have one. Why look a gift horse in the mouth, especially one you played chess with and were comfortable with?
To repeat what I said about guardians, one would be violating his duty as a guardian and committing criminal aggression by forcing someone to take medicine. The guardian is there to be a helper and to remind his charge to take his medicine, just as a parent is there to remind his child to take his Castor Oil and eat his veggies, by preparing food, having a family meal, etc., and performing other normal parental duties.
In those unfrequent cases where a guardian committed a crime against his charge, then he'd be liable to whatever legal penalties attached to the action in question, just as a criminal would in any other case not involving the execution of a guardian's services.

As the potential guardian, why would I consent to be guardian? Is the idea that someone would be PAID to be his guardian by him? That his family would pay someone to be his guardian to keep him out of
jail?


Are parents paid to be guardians of their children, or do they pay many thousands of dollars and hours of blood, sweat and tears, until their kids gain adulthood? A couple years ago, I read a moving story about an incredible 14-year old boy who spends a large chunk of his time helping his disabled mother, obviously at no little cost to himself.
That boy defined the meaning of "hero," and will grow up to be alright, I'll bet.
I have heard many cases about adults becoming guardians for their disabled siblings and even non-relatives. I doubt they get paid.
This may come as a shock, but people often take on important responsibilities such as this, often to their cost, because they feel morally obligated or perhaps for other reasons known only to themselves.
This leads to a point it's all too often to forget, but which Rothbard and David Friedman emphasized: voluntary, market institutions involving free exchange can solve seemingly intractable problems that governments can't do as well, because catallaxys (Hayek's term for a spontaneous order) take pathways undreamed of by the State, with its rigid, top-down, command approach to organizing economic activities. Therefore market institutions emerge that do all sorts of things we can't even imagine.
Could a blue ribbon committee of government bureaucrats have created the magnificent combo of businesses that is Berkshire Hathaway (assembled by two business geniuses), or would it have squandered all that capital on white elephants? To ask is to answer. . . .

Would guardianship for the purpose of avoiding consequences of your criminal action be available to REGULAR citizens? If I had a taste for torture or rape, could I hire a guardian on some contractural terms to take the rap in case I got caught? If guardianship is only available to crazy people, who decides who is crazy enough to get one?

In all forms of law I'm aware of, contracts can't be made for criminal purposes. You can't make a contract to avoid criminal sanctions.
If you were a serial rapist, you'd probably be in jail. Legal guardians stay legal guardians only by being law abiding citizens, as Joel Steinberg found out 18 years ago. He was just sprung from prison after serving 18-years for torturing and killing his young daughter. If she had survived, he would have lost his right to be her guardian, and someone else could have adopted her, if her mother had been found to be incompetent.

Guardianship is available to more than just crazy people, who would constitute a very small minority of people with guardians.

ValueSnark










Would guardianship for the purpose of avoiding consequences of your criminal action be available to REGULAR citizens? If I had a taste for torture or rape, could I hire a guardian on some contractural terms to take the rap in case I got caught? If guardianship is only available to crazy people, who decides who is crazy enough to get one?
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Actually, I never suggested that he *vote* for Libertarian candidates, just to become a member of the Libertarian party.

This is all strategic, and I believe being a member of the Libertarian party helps further libertarian ideas. *Voting* is a strategic system, and what exoracle suggests is intriguing.

Being from Mass., I can assure everyone on this list that Kerry is a powermonger, and while he has no idealogical bent (that's right, I believe if he lived in Virginia he'd be a staunch conservative), he will work as tirelessly as Bush to get as much power for the government as possible.

However, if there's divided government...that assumes the Democrats can't resume control of Congress.

In Mass., CNN already projects Kerry the winner :), and the Democrats control every single U.S. congressional seat, so my voting for Libertarian candidates is really a no-brainer.

Like I said, voting for divided government is intriguing, but I still think you will move the two political parties towards libertarian ideas best by voting for third-party libertarian candidates, unless one major party candidate is significantly more libertartian than the other.

And I don't think what we have today in the legislative and executive branches in anything even remotely close to libertarianism. Even the judicial branch is pretty distant from libertarian values.

In Mass., the Republican party really *is* libertarian, and is actually to the left of the Democrats on social issues (on the state level, not nationally). But they've only been able to compete for the Governor office.

-JAR
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Milton Friedman and others pointed out until they were blue in the face that the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s was directly caused by the Rockefeller drug laws. The link was crystal clear and no one, not even dyed in the wool drug law enforcers, denied this. Do you have a better theory that a Nobel laureate and dozens of other analysts are unaware of?

With all due respect to the Nobel Laureate, it would appear to me as though he has gotten himself so caught up in his advanced theories that he has lost sight of the basic tennant of economics - the law of supply and demand. It happens quite frequently in academics. A favorite saying of several of my professors in college was "I've forgotten more [fill in the blank] than you'll ever learn." That was especially a favorite when they would mess up basic fundamental tennents of their field. I had computer architecture professors who could not add without a calculator, computer algorithms professors who couldn't hand out bug-free sample code to save their lives, experimental psychology research professors who couldn't keep Freud and Jung straight, differential equations professors who kept forgetting order of operations... It seems anecdotally, anyway, that the more advanced an academic gets, the greater the likelihood that his or her basic-level skills would deteriorate. It's kind of like Warren Buffett petitioning for higher taxes on investors and investment income. Buffett seems to have forgetten that at the margin lies millions of small investors like me - small investors that benefit greatly from investment tax releif. And in the aggregate, we small investors control far more capital than even the Oracle of Omaha himself. While investment tax relief may have ment nothing to Buffett, to the rest of the market's participants, it meant plenty.

Getting back to the point... the arguement that cheap, legal cocaine would have kept crack off the street presupposes that crack would have never been invented had the supply of cocaine been larger and the price therefore lower. As every good economist knows, for a normal good, in the absence of any other changes, when price rises, quantity demanded drops, and when price falls, quantity demanded rises. A greater, and legal supply of cocaine would likely have lowered the price of cocaine, but given the addictive and cumulative nature of cocaine use, there would still be people priced out of the market, no matter what non-zero price cleared the market. Quantity demanded is greatest when price is zero (or below), therefore desire outstrips supply whenever there is a price attached to any desirable product, especially those with an addictive quality to them.

Since desire would outstrip supply of cocaine at any price, there would always be a 'market need' for crack - originally developed as a lower price alternative to cocaine. In fact, since the quantity of cocaine demanded would be larger at lower prices, the market would have more participants, and crack would have likely developed earlier. Cocaine was outlawed in 1914, but as you attested above, the crack 'epidemic' erupted in the 1980s, some 60-70 or so years later. I would argue, based on basic supply and demand, that with a larger participating market, the quantity demanded just below the clearing price margin (where many innovations happen) would be larger, likely making crack appear earlier. And by the way, why is cocaine okay, but widespread crack use 'an epidemic'? If Libertarians feel that any drug should be legal, shouldn't crack therefore be legal as well?

Think price has no affect on supply and demand when it comes to drugs? Consider the drops in cigarette smoking since the government put the squeeze on 'big tobacco' with the legal settlements and hiked-up sales tax extortions. Cigarette sales are dropping nationwide, and fewer underaged teens are reporting that they smoke. Looking at Altria's most recent annual report: http://www.altria.com/download/pdf/investors_AltriaGroupInc_2003_AnnualRpt.pdf, where on page five it says, of the U.S. cigarette business:

For the year, as
anticipated, due primarily to lower volume and
significantly increased investments to narrow
price gaps, PM USA's operating companies
income declined 22.4% to $3.9 billion.

Reading through the rest of the annual report, you will find that most of the company's growth came from those parts of the world that aren't trying to tax cigarettes out of existance. The laws of supply and demand are not repealed for drugs - the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded. The lower the price, the higher the quantity demanded. And a lower price and higher quantity demanded means more participants and more innovation just below the market clearing price.

So with all due respect to the Nobel Prize Winning Economist, I must disagree that legally available cocaine would have meant crack would have never been developed. On the contrary, I believe it would have hastened its development by inviting more participants.

-Chuck
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In Mass., the Republican party really *is* libertarian, and is actually to the left of the Democrats on social issues (on the state level, not nationally). But they've only been able to compete for the Governor office.

If you live in The People's Republic of Taxachusetts, you have my deepest sympathies.
Kathleen
(Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt and left that he77 hole)
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Hmm.....

It's better than Northern California, where I grew up :)

Mass. actually has a large libertarian contingent. Influence of MIT and a large engineering population.

In my district, a libertarian is running for state rep, at all of the volunteers I've met are MIT class of early ninetees.

-JAR
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VS,

That's a pretty picture of familial love, taking on the legal guardianship of your bipolar brother.

But bear with me, because you wrote something earlier which I replied to, and NONE of those ideas are showing up here in this lofty appeal to human altruism, kindness, and love.

Lets try some questions again, but THIS time I'll quote what you originally wrote in the hopes that I will finally be able to express my concerns to you.

You wrote:
What I neglected to say, and will now, is that under libertarian law, a guardian could be appointed (even self-appointed) to oversee the welfare of an adult "nonrational person" (for lack of a better term), just as a parent has legal guardianship over his child.

What is the mechanism for this? My brother is bipolar, 35 years old, obviously an adult, pretty smart, has a job, but has the possibility of once in a while losing it for about 2 weeks at a time. WHO appoints me guardian? A court? MUST my brother agree? What is the consequence to HIM if he does not agree? That is, what is his incentive to agree? What are my rights as guardian? You say to "help" him to remember to take his medication, but previously this thread has talked about bipolars often wanting to cut their medication down. Can I force him? What can I do to "help" him as a guardian which I could not do to "help" him as just his brother, or just a concerned citizen?

The guardian would be legally responsible for any crime committed by the person he oversaw. So for example, if your family member committed a crime, and he were found to be "nonrational" because he failed to take his medication, then his guardian would be *legally* responsible for that crime, having failed in his *legal* obligation to see that he took his medication.

THIS is what put me off being guardian. I might love my brother. I might have him live with me. I might make drs appointments for him, go the store and get his medication, put his medication out for him in ways to make it seem like the most natural and pleasant thing in the world. But why would I as a rational independent adult ACCEPT responsibility for his crimes? And WHO would assign that blame to me? I expect I would REFUSE legal guardianship under such a situation. I would be happy to keep an informal relationship with my brother to help him, but I would seem to be an idiot if I allowed someone (I still don't know whom) to formalize this relationship in such a way that I took on a liability without a corresponding asset of some sort.

R:
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With all due respect to the Nobel Laureate, it would appear to me as though he has gotten himself so caught up in his advanced theories that he has lost sight of the basic tennant of economics - the law of supply and demand. It happens quite frequently in academics.

I think if you knew much about Milton Friedman you would suspect more that you had not followed his arguments and less that he had forgotten the law of supply and demand.

You ought to know that during prohibition, alcohol was made in bathtubs in private homes, illegally, for illegal sale. The process was a bit rough, and a fair amount of Methanol would be present along with the desired Ethanol product. The methanol was actually harmful to those who drank it, if I recall correctly it blinded many people.

Since prohibition was lifted, there is effectively NO alcoholic beverage contaminated with methanol for sale anywhere in the United States.

Which seems more likely:
1) EVERYBODY involved in alcohol production and consumption in the United States does not understand the laws of supply and demand?
-0r-
2) That when significant forces in the market are shifted, signficant changes in the available supply to meet the demand are generated?

*****

Products disappear all the time in response to shifts in the economics of production. Where is the analog oscilloscope? Where is the slide rule? Where is the bathtub gin with the methanol in it? Where is the back alley abortion? Where is the carburetor? Where is the solid rubber automobile tire?

I think it is plausible that were drugs legal, there would be effectively NO PCP use, no glue sniffing, and I don't know what else because I really do not know my drugs all that well. But the use of stupid dangerous drugs seems plausibly created by supply shortages of much safer and higher quality drugs induced by their illegality.
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VS:
under libertarian law, a guardian could be appointed (even self-appointed) to oversee the welfare of an adult "nonrational person" (for lack of a better term), just as a parent has legal guardianship over his child.

R:
What is the mechanism for this? My brother is bipolar, 35 years old, obviously an adult, pretty smart, has a job, but has the possibility of once in a while losing it for about 2 weeks at a time. WHO appoints me guardian? A court? A court is the likely appointor.

MUST my brother agree? What is the consequence to HIM if he does not agree? That is, what is his incentive to agree? What are my rights as guardian? You say to "help" him to remember to take his medication, but previously this thread has talked about bipolars often wanting to cut their medication down. Can I force him? What can I do to "help" him as a guardian which I could not do to "help" him as just his brother, or just a concerned citizen?

I'm not going to pretend that I know the answer to these outlier questions. What I am sure of is that in the overwhelming majority of cases, a satisfactory solution would be found to the benefit of all concerned. In those "hard" cases with no easy solutions, all I can say as a libertarian is to keep the State out of it. Why should millions of taxpayers be burdened to solve a few tough outlier cases?
There are some "crazy" people walking the streets of NYC, and I see them around. Occasionally they commit violence against innocent people, sometimes with tragic results, but most are harmless.
The few who aren't usually end up in prison or dead. No great loss in my decidedly non-bleeding heart view of the world.

I might love my brother. I might have him live with me. I might make drs appointments for him, go the store and get his medication, put his medication out for him in ways to make it seem like the most natural and pleasant thing in the world. But why would I as a rational independent adult ACCEPT responsibility for his crimes? And WHO would assign that blame to me? I expect I would REFUSE legal guardianship under such a situation. I would be happy to keep an informal relationship with my brother to help him, but I would seem to be an idiot if I allowed someone (I still don't know whom) to formalize this relationship in such a way that I took on a liability without a corresponding asset of some sort.

You have no legal obligation to be your brother's keeper, but neither do you have a right to prevent him from getting another guardian.
In a libertarian world, I can envision voluntary institutions funded by philanthropists that take in people who need this kind of help and attention. Some of them might even be able to work and contribute toward the cost of their upkeep.

VS
P.S. I don't have a brother. A fils yes, but not a frere.





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If you live in The People's Republic of Taxachusetts, you have my deepest sympathies.
Kathleen
(Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt and left that he77 hole)


Kathleen,

Massachusetts used to be know for its taxes ("Taxachusetts"), but if my understanding is correct, the Bay Staters lowered their taxes quite a bit a few years ago, and Mass. is now somewhere in the middle of the pack, as far as taxes go. _The Economist_ had something about this a while back.

VS

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Mass. actually has a large libertarian contingent. Influence of MIT and a large engineering population.

In my district, a libertarian is running for state rep, at all of the volunteers I've met are MIT class of early ninetees.


Yep, all the kids from generation that didn't get disgusted and leave (like me).
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Mass. recently got 46% of the vote to abolish the state income tax, which is currently only 5.3%.

Libertarians got 12% and 18% of the vote in the last two U.S. Senate elections.

I'm betting your state can't top three of those four things.

Things are improving in Mass. We've had libertarian-ish Republican governors for over 13 years running...

-JAR
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Mass. recently got 46% of the vote to abolish the state income tax, which is currently only 5.3%.

Libertarians got 12% and 18% of the vote in the last two U.S. Senate elections.

I'm betting your state can't top three of those four things.

Things are improving in Mass. We've had libertarian-ish Republican governors for over 13 years running...


Well, you are correct in that this state did not vote to abolish the income tax law, but in comparison ours is already low (range of 1.0 - 6.0 percent), and we have no tax on food which I believe Mass still does, along with a number of other taxes that we do not have.
Libertarians always get a good portion of the vote here if there is a candidate.
We also hosted the National Convention this year.
BTW, one the country's top Libertarian radio show hosts has his home base here (Neal Boortz).
If you haven't figured it out yet, I live in Georgia.
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RaplhCramden,

In the absence of regulations, proscriptions, or enforced monopoly power restricting competition, the marketplace dictates that there will be innovation. If crack was a 'black market' innovation response to the price of cocaine, then it would likely have been an innovation regardless of whether the substance was legal or not. In fact, if PhD pharmacologists, market researchers, and other sharp, legal actors were brought to bear on the problem, I'd bet they would have formulated crack well before the 1980s.

After all, crack is usually viewed as more addictive than straight cocaine, is cheaper per dose to produce, and the usage profile indicates more return hits. From a profit-minded business perspective, ignoring the legality of crack, it appears to be a far better profit-source drug than cocaine.

Think businesses wouldn't innnovate to make their drugs more potent? Again, look at the tobacco industry - where one of the charges against cigarette manufactures is that they artifically add extra nicotine to make their product more addictive. Think similar innovation wouldn't have happened in the cocaine industry?

I think it is plausible that were drugs legal, there would be effectively NO PCP use, no glue sniffing, and I don't know what else because I really do not know my drugs all that well.
I seriously doubt that. PCP was originally invented as an anasthetic, by legitimate medical researchers. It likely would have been invented regardless of the prevailing drug laws at the time, because it was invented legally. Its legal use quickly stopped once people started having psychotic reactions to the drug. In low doses, according to http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pcp.html , the drug itself causes "Feelings of euphoria (well-being), relaxation, numbness, sensory distortions, feelings of detachment from one's own body..."

Many of those would appear to me to be desirable sensations, for a large segment of the population. As such, I very much doubt that, once the substance had been invented, people would avoid it were it freely available. The disassociative anesthetic nature of the substance, however, would dictate that the unfortunate police encounters such as with Misters King and Jones would still be a problem, even if PCP were legalized and available freely.

You ought to know that during prohibition, alcohol was made in bathtubs in private homes, illegally, for illegal sale. The process was a bit rough, and a fair amount of Methanol would be present along with the desired Ethanol product. The methanol was actually harmful to those who drank it, if I recall correctly it blinded many people.

In an unregulated free market, the rule is 'caveat emptor', let the buyer beware. Prior to the creation of the FDA and truth in advertising laws, Snake Oil salesmen abounded across the countryside, selling their potions as cure-all products to all who would listen. At best, their products did no harm. At worst, they were damaging. Even today, in the legal, unregulated dietary supplement market, false claims, non-standardized dosages, and impure products run rampant. The FDA, for all its bureaucratic delay and excessive cost-imposing problems, does serve a function in quality and product standardization control. In the absence of regulation, the market would dictate that there would still be quality products, but instead of nearly uniformly standardized products, the market itself would dictate varying quality levels across the different demand points.

In a world where any substance could be ingested, the laws of supply and demand would still rule. Some businesses would compete on quality and deliver 'pure' drugs. Others would compete on price and would deliver lower priced, likely impure substances. And others would attempt to find innovative solutions, such as crack, to be able to compete at lower price points. The symptoms from 'impure drugs' that the legalize drugs crowd argues would be eliminated were drugs legalized would still exist. Any competitive marketplace has price and quality points at which different products and companies compete. In wine, you can go from "Two Buck Chuck" to "Dom Perignon" or even higher.

Suggesting that an unregulated free market would naturally eliminate quality control problems ignores a very large chunk of human history and economic reality. Are you suggesting, instead, that the government be involved in mandating product safety standards? How would those laws look and work, in a world where the government could not prevent the personal ingestion of any substance? It could not mandate that cocaine be sold only as pure cocaine, and not mixed to form crack. And speaking of cocaine, the drug itself is found naturally in leaves. If the product must be taken 'au naturale' as a consequence of any laws restricting alteration, the powdered substance itself could very well be prohibited, as it would be an alteration of the natural form of the substance. Additionally, any legal scheme restricting chemical alteration could potentially take a whole host of currently legal compounds and make them illegal.

In an unregulated free market where 'caveat emptor' ruled, nor could the government enforce civil penalties against the manufacturers or producers of the lower quality substances. After all, the purchaser knowingly and willingly purchased the substance and used it, in spite of the fact that it was a risky substance. Think it wouldn't happen? Look at the difficulty that private and class action lawsuits have in getting civil judgements to stick against the tobacco industry, in spite of evidence directly linking smoking to cancer and death. The only one of any consequence that has really 'stuck' has been the one levied by the state governments themselves. And that to me has more a feel of Mafia-esque 'protection' money than a legitimate liability claim.

Presume, for a minute, that liability claims could be enforced in a Libertarian, 'any substance can be ingested' world. The result of expensive liability claims would, by economic necessity, be higher prices. And higher prices would increase the likelihood of black market, uncontrolled alternatives - or precisely the types of substances and behaviors you claim will be eliminated by following the Libertarian philosophy. In other words, Crack Happens.

The fact is, mandatory, uniformly high quality control requires regulation. And regulation implies government enforced restrictions of and penalties on behavior. The market itself does not deliver uniformly high quality across the entire demand curve, otherwise my Saturn would be as luxurious and as high quality as my neighbor's Lexus and my Coach Class airplane seat would come with the same ammenities as my boss' Business Class one. The market does deliver high quality goods and services, but the market does not restrict the delivery of lower quality goods and services at lower price points along the demand curve than can be served by producers of the higher quality goods.

If you accept the need for regulation to enforce uniformly high quality control standards, then you accept the need for restrictions on behaviors and substances, and you therefore implicitly reject the Libertarian principle that any substance should be legal to ingest. And if you believe that the unregulated free market provides uniformly high quality products across the demand curve, making such regulation unnecessary, then you ignore human history.

-Chuck

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I'm sorry I can't find unifying themes in that long post. SO the only thing I can think to do is rebut point by point and maybe between the two of us looking at that we'll have a better idea where our essential disagreements are.

In the absence of regulations, proscriptions, or enforced monopoly power restricting competition, the marketplace dictates that there will be innovation. If crack was a 'black market' innovation response to the price of cocaine, then it would likely have been an innovation regardless of whether the substance was legal or not. In fact, if PhD pharmacologists, market researchers, and other sharp, legal actors were brought to bear on the problem, I'd bet they would have formulated crack well before the 1980s.

The relevant question is not whether it would have been figured out, but whether it would survive in the legal market. I actually don't have much of an opinion on crack because I am really quite ignorant of the difference between crack and cocaine, and why or how crack achieves its market strength.

But to the extent that crack is valued on the street because it uses less of the expensive cocaine in its formulation, it would effectively COMPLETELY lose that advantage if cocaine were legalized. Sugar costs pennies per POUND, cocaine is, at the street, ~$100/gram? That would be $45,000/pound or something like 100,000 times as expensive as sugar. It seems clear enough that technically, cocaine should be in the neighborhood the same expense to produce as sugar. So I would expect the price of cocaine to collapse AT LEAST 99.9% under legalization, possibly more. At that price, cocaine consumption forms would be traded off entirely on the basis of the quality of the consumption and various intangibles like faddishness.

THe closest legal market I can think of is bottled water. The cost of the raw material is not relevant to the success of the product. Smaller bottles of fancy shmancy water will sell just as well if not better as larger cheaper bottles saying "kirkland" or "walmart" on them.

But in NO case is anybody wasting their time trying to sell low quality water. There is no point, no material economic advantage in doing so.

That was the important point. When a good quality raw material costs a tiny fraction of the final selling price of an item, ALL competitors will use a high quality raw material.

So unless Crack is simply more fun than cocaine, or unless it achieves and maintains a cultural or stylistic appeal, it will not survive in the market, if there are any DISADVANTAGES to it.

After all, crack is usually viewed as more addictive than straight cocaine, is cheaper per dose to produce, and the usage profile indicates more return hits. From a profit-minded business perspective, ignoring the legality of crack, it appears to be a far better profit-source drug than cocaine.

Cheaper per dose advantage disappears under legalization, with raw cocaine at ~$1/pound. More addictive is a competitve DISADVANTAGE if it is true, unless crack is also more fun. Given a choice between getting drunk on something that addicts your or gives you a hangover, and something that gets you just as drunk but without a hangover or addiction, it is beyond plausible that the market would choose the latter.

Business might WANT to sell the more addictive substance. Let them try and see how well they do with better buzzes available on the market without the harmful side effects.

Or, heaven forbid, take the middle ground and legalize drugs one or two or three at a time, just to see what ACTUALLY happens, and keep crack really low on the list. See if OTHER legal drugs drives crack off the market anyway. It probably would: with the vast majority of the market switching to cheap legal drugs, the criminal gangs would be out of the drug business.

Think businesses wouldn't innnovate to make their drugs more potent? Again, look at the tobacco industry - where one of the charges against cigarette manufactures is that they artifically add extra nicotine to make their product more addictive. Think similar innovation wouldn't have happened in the cocaine industry?

And as information came out, they artificially lowered nicotine content to create a marketing niche for those smokers who thought that would help.

Drug addicts may not be "rational actors" by YOUR definition, but they are not stupid, by my definition. They definitely have wants and desires and goals that they are trying to meet with these drugs. And changing the mix of what is available to them under what conditions and what prices, will change their behavior.

I think it is plausible that were drugs legal, there would be effectively NO PCP use, no glue sniffing, and I don't know what else because I really do not know my drugs all that well.
I seriously doubt that. PCP was originally invented as an anasthetic, by legitimate medical researchers. It likely would have been invented regardless of the prevailing drug laws at the time, because it was invented legally. Its legal use quickly stopped once people started having psychotic reactions to the drug. In low doses, according to http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pcp.html , the drug itself causes "Feelings of euphoria (well-being), relaxation, numbness, sensory distortions, feelings of detachment from one's own body..."


My point is NOT that PCP never would have been invented. Again my point is its success in the market place. When drug distribution is as haphazard as it is, with high quality drugs only intermittently available at probably 1000X the price they would be under legalization, then people who want drugs will try lower quality CURRENTLY lower cost alternatives. But when cocaine and heroin rival sugar to see which is the cheapest per pound, why would ANYONE not pick these high quality drugs over something as stupid as PCP?

Further, maybe there would be some wierd hardcore of idiots who chose PCP. But with the market for PCP DECIMATED by the presence of cheap high quality other drugs, these connossieurs of bad highs will NOT have a supply made available for them. Especially if society takes the middle course and only legalizes drugs a few at a time, leaving the scariest ones for last.

Many of those would appear to me to be desirable sensations, for a large segment of the population. As such, I very much doubt that, once the substance had been invented, people would avoid it were it freely available. The disassociative anesthetic nature of the substance, however, would dictate that the unfortunate police encounters such as with Misters King and Jones would still be a problem, even if PCP were legalized and available freely.

The desirable sensations of PCP are available from other drugs, in most drug users opinions the sensations are BETTER from the other drugs. The idea that rate of people choosing PCP over cocaine or heroin when cocaine and heroin cost a fraction as much (under a partial legalization) flies in the face of what we know about market behavior.

You ought to know that during prohibition, alcohol was made in bathtubs in private homes, illegally, for illegal sale. The process was a bit rough, and a fair amount of Methanol would be present along with the desired Ethanol product. The methanol was actually harmful to those who drank it, if I recall correctly it blinded many people.

You think without regulation people wouldn't have figured out how to get safe alcohol? I think you are just wrong. Seagrams would make it a point to sell safe alcohol because a trusted brand name is valuable. They don't actually NEED someone from the government to tell them not to poison or blind their customers in order to figure out that is bad business.

In an unregulated free market, the rule is 'caveat emptor', let the buyer beware. Prior to the creation of the FDA and truth in advertising laws, Snake Oil salesmen abounded across the countryside, selling their potions as cure-all products to all who would listen. At best, their products did no harm. At worst, they were damaging.

The amount of business they could do that way was INFINITESIMAL compared to other delivery channels. Consider even the corner drug store or even a grocery selling drugs and remedies. There store was in one place, depending ENTIRELY on repeat business of the local folk. What kind of rate of poisoning customers do you think they could tolerate and still do well? Pretty low I'll tell you what. And if they did sell something that was questionable, do you think they would order it in again? No, the system corrects itself ADMIRABLY in the absence of regulation.

In the absence of regulation, the market would dictate that there would still be quality products, but instead of nearly uniformly standardized products, the market itself would dictate varying quality levels across the different demand points.

This is a feature, not a bug. If I want to pay extra for more quality and I can afford it, yay for me! Meanwhile, if a dirt-poor country in some tropical clime is losing 5% of its population per year from some stupid preventable infection, should they NOT be able to buy at a low price a less-than-perfect supply of antibiotics, when the real choice is simply not having enough antibiotics? If the "unsafe" supply of antibiotics would save 80% of the people dying, should the really be "regulated" into waiting, at the cost of 4% of their population per year, until they can afford better quality control?

Quality SHOULD be available at a price on the free market.

In a world where any substance could be ingested, the laws of supply and demand would still rule. Some businesses would compete on quality and deliver 'pure' drugs. Others would compete on price and would deliver lower priced, likely impure substances. And others would attempt to find innovative solutions, such as crack, to be able to compete at lower price points.

Yes thats right! And by keeping the price of cocaine and heroine at 100,000X what they would be in the absence of drug laws, government is giving these low quality low price producers 100,000X the incentive to do that work. Methanol in alcohol was a problem during prohibition. Not after, and not before. The higher quality raw material was too cheap before and after prohibition for such low quality as poison to succeed in the market at any price point.

The symptoms from 'impure drugs' that the legalize drugs crowd argues would be eliminated were drugs legalized would still exist. Any competitive marketplace has price and quality points at which different products and companies compete.

Yes, and price points at which certain products become uneconomic.

In wine, you can go from "Two Buck Chuck" to "Dom Perignon" or even higher.

And two buck chuck will NOT kill you, or at least it is no more dangerous than Dom Perignon. Under prohibition, the HIGHER priced illegal alcohol avaialble would kill or blind people.

PRICE MATTERS.

Suggesting that an unregulated free market would naturally eliminate quality control problems ignores a very large chunk of human history and economic reality. Are you suggesting, instead, that the government be involved in mandating product safety standards? How would those laws look and work, in a world where the government could not prevent the personal ingestion of any substance? It could not mandate that cocaine be sold only as pure cocaine, and not mixed to form crack. And speaking of cocaine, the drug itself is found naturally in leaves. If the product must be taken 'au naturale' as a consequence of any laws restricting alteration, the powdered substance itself could very well be prohibited, as it would be an alteration of the natural form of the substance. Additionally, any legal scheme restricting chemical alteration could potentially take a whole host of currently legal compounds and make them illegal.

The most basic driver or quality control is free market. Brands or delivery channels that hurt their customers are driven out by brands or delivery channels that are safer through pure human nature.

If the FDA were stopped tomorrow, would you buy ANY of the new drugs that came on the market the next day? The answer is:
1) If you were smart and you were not in imminent danger, you would not, you would wait to see what happened with them, and you would check with experts and do other things to figure out if they were worthwhile
2) If you were about to die of a tumor or something that was untreatable using legal drugs, you MIGHT buy something that came out, even though it might be unsafe! And it would be INCREDIBLY rational for you to make that choice, and it is incredibly annoying that the FDA prevents us now from making that choice.

In an unregulated free market where 'caveat emptor' ruled, nor could the government enforce civil penalties against the manufacturers or producers of the lower quality substances. After all, the purchaser knowingly and willingly purchased the substance and used it, in spite of the fact that it was a risky substance. Think it wouldn't happen? Look at the difficulty that private and class action lawsuits have in getting civil judgements to stick against the tobacco industry, in spite of evidence directly linking smoking to cancer and death. The only one of any consequence that has really 'stuck' has been the one levied by the state governments themselves. And that to me has more a feel of Mafia-esque 'protection' money than a legitimate liability claim.

Lets face it, anybody suing the tobacco companies that is less than about 50 years old in the U.S. has no one to blame but themselves. The information was crammed down my throat in public schools about how bad tobacco was. Yet my reject friends all took up smoking, as teenagers. How do you blame the tobacco companies for that?

There may be a lot of "all or nothing" types around here, but I am not one of them and it is a counter productive way to argue. If SOME drugs, the less scary ones, were legalized, and they WERE covered by FDA rules to list ingredients, to follow some nanny-state rules, then would we be better off or worse off? Why argue against legalization of drugs because Crack and PCP suck, when hardly ANYBODY can think of a case against Marijuana or Psilocybin?

Baby steps, babyfrog, baby steps. To paraphrase Bob.

Presume, for a minute, that liability claims could be enforced in a Libertarian, 'any substance can be ingested' world. The result of expensive liability claims would, by economic necessity, be higher prices. And higher prices would increase the likelihood of black market, uncontrolled alternatives - or precisely the types of substances and behaviors you claim will be eliminated by following the Libertarian philosophy. In other words, Crack Happens.

Lets get our orders of magnitude in order.

First of all, liability claims would serve to weed out the more dangerous drugs, since it is the price of THOSE which would rise to cover the claims history. Second of all, with legal coke going for $2/hit in 7/11, $6/hit in the juvenile night clubs, and $7/24 hits at Costco and Walmart, just how much can the black market PCP and crack dealers make? I'll give you a hint: a LOT less than when illegal coke goes for 10 or 100 times those prices.

Wouldn't you LIKE to see lower success rates for PCP and Crack?

If you accept the need for regulation to enforce uniformly high quality control standards, then you accept the need for restrictions on behaviors and substances, and you therefore implicitly reject the Libertarian principle that any substance should be legal to ingest. And if you believe that the unregulated free market provides uniformly high quality products across the demand curve, making such regulation unnecessary, then you ignore human history.

Between the theoretical extremes is a vast playing field called reality. If you think I am extreme, then consider where the tradeoff should be made. Politics and government and policy are NOT all or nothing, not in real life.

Consider legalizing MORE drugs, skipping the ones you are most afraid of.

Consider some level of regulation of the substances if that makes you comfortable. Perhaps a level of regulation that does not involve military attacks in columbia? A level of regulation that does not result in shootouts between the regulators and those in the business as commonly happens now?

Consider the fact that we have more Americans in prison than any other country has of their citizens, and we could fix that in a hurry by decriminalizing drugs.

I hope this helps.
R:

-Chuck
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5.3% is top rate, and no tax on food.

Check out

http://www.taxfoundation.org/statelocal04.html

Georgia is ranked 18th in Tax Burden. (10.0%)
Massachusetts is ranked 36th in Tax Burden. (9.4%)

No longer Taxachusetts. Thanks to libertarians.

-JAR
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In the second part of the table though, when you add federal taxes they jump up to the 4th most taxed state. I guess I'm a little unclear why unless it has something to do with the proportion of certain income classes or business/personal income.

Eric
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In the second part of the table though, when you add federal taxes they jump up to the 4th most taxed state. I guess I'm a little unclear why unless it has something to do with the proportion of certain income classes or business/personal income.

Eric

======================================================================

From the web page:

"Follow each row to see how a state's ranking changes when federal taxes are added back in. Generally, high-income states rise because, with their high costs of living and commensurately higher salaries, they are hit harder by the progressive federal income tax."

Yeah, you pretty much got it right.

-JAR
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Yeah, you pretty much got it right.

Got it. I probably should've read carefully, eh? =)

Eric
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Interesting, that web site also has historical rankings.

During 1988, the famous presidential election when G.H.W. Bush team coined the phrase "Taxachusetts",

Mass. was ranked 31st (and 27th when fed burden was included).

Perhaps all libertarians did was keep it low, and perhaps (I can't believe I'm saying this), the Bush team was lying. That's really surprising.

-JAR


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During 1988, the famous presidential election when G.H.W. Bush team coined the phrase "Taxachusetts",

Mass. was ranked 31st (and 27th when fed burden was included).

Perhaps all libertarians did was keep it low, and perhaps (I can't believe I'm saying this), the Bush team was lying. That's really surprising.


In 1987, though, they were ranked 19, and the two years before that they were ranked 15th. Not exactly stellar rankings there. I didn't bother to look even further back.

Eric
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In 1981, Mass was ranked 4th. In 1980, third. In 1979, 2nd, etc. etc. Perhaps the term Taxachusetts was coined far earlier than Bush's election.

Eric
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RaplhCramden,

This may be a case where we have to agree to disagree. There's an old saying, often called 'the first law of economists...' "for every economist, there's and equal an opposite economist."

The next 'law', of course, is "they're both wrong."

Neither one of us is going to convince the other one, and frankly, all this is serving to do for me is to have me question my current electoral position and is making me seriously consider voting for Bush instead of Libertarian.

You can't convince me that the unregulated and free market by itself is going to eliminate 'bad or dangerous drugs', especially since in the legal marketplace, it hasn't eliminated bad or dangerous products.

Tobacco is clearly a dangerous and deadly drug - definitively linked to cancer, emphezema, and premature death. You, yourself admit that: Lets face it, anybody suing the tobacco companies that is less than about 50 years old in the U.S. has no one to blame but themselves. The information was crammed down my throat in public schools about how bad tobacco was. Yet my reject friends all took up smoking, as teenagers. How do you blame the tobacco companies for that? If it has been well known for +/- fifty years that tobacco is a bad drug, then why has the free market not eliminated tobacco through mass-individual selection? Why has only government price control and behavior intervention led to a slowdown of tobacco use?

In addition, many chronic diseases in innocent bystanders, such as asthma and emphezema, are linked to being around smokers, failing the Libertarian premise of "do no harm to others". Yet cigarettes are still legally bought and sold, and private liability claims have failed to put a dent in the use of cigarettes. Only government extortion, via the multi-state settlement, outrageous surcharge taxes on sales of cigarettes, and behavioral dictates on where and when a person can smoke have actually managed to lead to a slowdown of cigarette use.

So which is it? Does the free market really automatically, quickly, and efficiently remove bad drugs from use? Is private drug litigation really effective in a "caveat emptor" marketplace, especially when the substances are known to have negative effects? Or is tobacco really a 'harmless, feel good' substance, and all the stuff about cancer, premature death, emphezema, and asthma merely correlation statistics gone wild?

Nobody reputable claims that cocaine and heroin are harmless, feel good substances without serious negative side effects of their own. So will the result of legalized use of the substances be a "caveat emptor" marketplace like tobacco, where the free market, combined with the futility of private prosecution, has failed to eliminate a drug commonly acknowledged as 'bad'? That runs counter to the theory that litigation risk would quickly drive 'bad' drugs (as defined, I guess, the same way as tobacco, by negative side effects) out of business. Or will the legalized use of cocaine lead to a lawsuit-happy user population, driving up the market price, creating a price-imposed demand gap, and again making crack an economically viable, though potentially 'black market' option? Well, that runs counter to the theory that allowing cocaine legally would drive crack out of business.

I offer this as a counterpoint to your 'methanol' example and an illustration of how the first and second laws of economists (quoted above) work in reality. In all honesty, this is a point on which I can tell we will likely never agree. So I am going to agree to disagree with you, and I hope you will do the same with me.

I do appreciate the debate and discussion. It was probably the most entertaining political debate I've had in quite a long time. I appreciate that it did not stoop to the personal attack level of many I've seen.

Thank you.

-Chuck
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babyfrog,

Please don't give up on libertarianism just yet.

The most obvious example of what decriminalization of drugs does is the repeal of alcohol prohibition some 70 years ago.

Would you be in favor of criminalizing tobacco or alcohol? If your answer is no, then decriminalization of other substances, especially those less harmful than those two, is not really a great leap, regardless of the propaganda from the Republicrats.

"Gateway drugs" is just another tired dominoe theory.

-JAR
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Mr Frog,

"for every economist, there's and equal an opposite economist."

The next 'law', of course, is "they're both wrong."


I love it! I also always enjoyed
"Economists have predicted 27 of the last 12 recessions."

Neither one of us is going to convince the other one, and frankly, all this is serving to do for me is to have me question my current electoral position and is making me seriously consider voting for Bush instead of Libertarian.

I'll probably vote for Bush too. You weren't expecting me to tell you lies, sweet little lies, to keep you in the Libertarian fold, were you :)?

You can't convince me that the unregulated and free market by itself is going to eliminate 'bad or dangerous drugs', especially since in the legal marketplace, it hasn't eliminated bad or dangerous products.

I wouldn't dream of trying to convince you of that.

Only that less harm would arise to society from drugs being legalized than currently arises from drugs being illegal. And I would use alcohol as an example of that. Prohibition was not abandoned because everybody realized that alcohol was really good for them. It was abandoned because under prohibition, gangsters had a great way to make piles of money, degrading the crap out of the cities they were in, and otherwise law-abiding citizens were turned into criminals. Sound familiar? Its what has happened with drug criminalization.

Tobacco is clearly a dangerous and deadly drug - definitively linked to cancer, emphezema, and premature death. If it has been well known for +/- fifty years that tobacco is a bad drug, then why has the free market not eliminated tobacco through mass-individual selection? Why has only government price control and behavior intervention led to a slowdown of tobacco use?

Would we be better off making tobacco illegal? Turning my 83 year old grandmother into a criminal AGAIN? (She was a criminal during prohibition, she actually knowingly rode in a car smuggling booze from canada into the U.S. once. She did pass away years ago at the age of 83 after smoking since she was 16.)

In addition, many chronic diseases in innocent bystanders, such as asthma and emphezema, are linked to being around smokers, failing the Libertarian premise of "do no harm to others". Yet cigarettes are still legally bought and sold, and private liability claims have failed to put a dent in the use of cigarettes. Only government extortion, via the multi-state settlement, outrageous surcharge taxes on sales of cigarettes, and behavioral dictates on where and when a person can smoke have actually managed to lead to a slowdown of cigarette use.

Your unstated conclusion is that we would be BETTER off if we criminalized tobacco. If, in addition to foreigners running our borders employing psychopaths with good weaponry to smuggle in drugs, we turned over the multi-billion $/year tobacco market to them as well.

Seems we'd have to triple the number of armed federal agents we have fighting drugs in order to add tobacco to the list, and we would fail even MORE miserably. And meanwhile, we would go from having more of our citizens in jail than any other nation on earth to what? EVEN MORE? For SMOKING????

Its not a matter of choosing between a perfect answer or not. The current system is absolutely NOT perfect. All I have to do is show something BETTER.

So which is it? Does the free market really automatically, quickly, and efficiently remove bad drugs from use? Is private drug litigation really effective in a "caveat emptor" marketplace, especially when the substances are known to have negative effects? Or is tobacco really a 'harmless, feel good' substance, and all the stuff about cancer, premature death, emphezema, and asthma merely correlation statistics gone wild?

I can't imagine why you are giving me those choices. But let me point out: the current drug laws ABSOLUTELY FAIL at removing bad drugs from use. Legalized tobacco is sold under regulation with labels about its effects and in law only to people officially old enough to make their own decisions. When I was in high school, it was way easier for me to get Marijuana than alcohol. Why? Because alcohol was sold in stores and they might Proof me (what we called carding or IDing in New York). Marijuana on the other hand, was sold more informally by a distribution network that actually rather preferred to sell to younger buyers.

It IS NOT whether legalizing drugs would make everything perfect.

It IS whether legalizing drugs would make things BETTER than criminalizing them has.

Nobody reputable claims that cocaine and heroin are harmless, feel good substances without serious negative side effects of their own. So will the result of legalized use of the substances be a "caveat emptor" marketplace like tobacco, where the free market, combined with the futility of private prosecution, has failed to eliminate a drug commonly acknowledged as 'bad'? That runs counter to the theory that litigation risk would quickly drive 'bad' drugs (as defined, I guess, the same way as tobacco, by negative side effects) out of business. Or will the legalized use of cocaine lead to a lawsuit-happy user population, driving up the market price, creating a price-imposed demand gap, and again making crack an economically viable, though potentially 'black market' option? Well, that runs counter to the theory that allowing cocaine legally would drive crack out of business.

Legalizing cocaine and heroin would result in the removal of, what, 90%? More? of the funding of criminal gangs. It would empty our jails and free police resources for use against things that actually harm me that are not the result of criminalization. Drug gangs don't shoot at the police, the civilians and each other because it is drugs they are selling, this is a symptom of an illegal enterprise. Shooting was a real part of the alcohol trade in prohibition (Tommy Guns are SO COOL!), shooting is virtually irrelevant to the current alcohol market.

So heroin and cocaine addicts would still suffer from heroin and cocaine. JUST AS THEY DO NOW UNDER CRIMINALIZATION. But they would certainly have les danger in their lives with these things legalized. They would certainly spend less money on these things with legalization, which might be good for their families.

Did the end of prohibition make alcohol MORE or LESS a problem for society overall? You might think MORE, but the people who lived through both prohibilition and not-prohibition were pretty clear on which was worse.

I offer this as a counterpoint to your 'methanol' example and an illustration of how the first and second laws of economists (quoted above) work in reality. In all honesty, this is a point on which I can tell we will likely never agree. So I am going to agree to disagree with you, and I hope you will do the same with me.

Sorry, you can disagree with me, but I won't agree to disagree with you. Or maybe I mean it the other way around. Wow, this is confusing!

I do appreciate the debate and discussion. It was probably the most entertaining political debate I've had in quite a long time.

Hey, thanks! I'm enjoying it too! I'm enjoying it TOO much, i'm not at all sure I'm ready to give up. But I should show some discipline and give it a rest at least. And get some work done before I get fired.

I appreciate that it did not stoop to the personal attack level of many I've seen.

Whew! Thanks! I must be having a good day! Plus you seem pretty smart, which always makes it easy for me to keep to the higher standards I aim at, but don't always achieve!

Keep on posting,
R:

PS - I would LOVE to hear how you picked that name!
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Gonna jump into this one...I am enjoying this discussion...thought I would throw in my 2 cents and pick a few nits.

You can't convince me that the unregulated and free market by itself is going to eliminate 'bad or dangerous drugs', especially since in the legal marketplace, it hasn't eliminated bad or dangerous products.


Funny, I don't really see teapots that explode on use (sounds like a bad and dangerous product) on the market. They seem to have been eliminated. There are many products (drugs included) that have been eliminated because they were dangerous or bad, and no laws had to be passed. We just don't see them anymore...so it is easy to dismiss them.


Tobacco is clearly a dangerous and deadly drug...

I am not too sure of this...I know of people who have lived long lives but still enjoyed tobacco products.


If it has been well known for +/- fifty years that tobacco is a bad drug, then why has the free market not eliminated tobacco through mass-individual selection?

See above...with use in moderation, it can be an okay drug.


Why has only government price control and behavior intervention led to a slowdown of tobacco use?

I dislike your use of only...(in fact it is what prompted me to post). I think that is impossible to prove...Are you saying that private people getting the word out about smoking being possible harmful didn't have any affect?


In addition, many chronic diseases in innocent bystanders, such as asthma and emphezema, are linked to being around smokers, failing the Libertarian premise of "do no harm to others".

Do you have a link to a study that proves this...I haven't seen one yet. Not saying there isn't a link...just haven't seen it proven. Would be interesting to see a conclusive study of such. If you are talking about people around it continuously (parents, workplace) then maybe I have heard of one...but not of incidental exposure.


Only government extortion, via the multi-state settlement, outrageous surcharge taxes on sales of cigarettes, and behavioral dictates on where and when a person can smoke have actually managed to lead to a slowdown of cigarette use.

First off, has cigarette use actually slown down? Again with the 'only government', Are you absolutely sure that nothing else has? No private individual or organization has done anything to slowdown cigerette use?


So which is it? Does the free market really automatically, quickly, and efficiently remove bad drugs from use?

Yes. From use (in general)...from anybody ever selling some? No (but neither does making it illegal). You use the term 'efficiently', which do you think was/is more efficient in terms of money (per capita, infaltion adjusted) spent, lives (per capita) destroyed, and level of violence; prohibition of alcohol or how it is now. How about the war on drugs or RC's proposal?



hewler
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During 1988, the famous presidential election when G.H.W. Bush team coined the phrase "Taxachusetts",

I don't think George Herbert Walker Bush coined that phrase, as I remember hearing it in the early 80s. It would have been ironic, given his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge, which he violated, costing him the election.

ValueSnark
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PS - I would LOVE to hear how you picked that name!

Well, since you asked, that story has already been told, here:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18211902

-Chuck
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You can't convince me that the unregulated and free market by itself is going to eliminate 'bad or dangerous drugs', especially since in the legal marketplace, it hasn't eliminated bad or dangerous products.

No libertarian of whom I am aware ever claimed the free market would eliminate all bad things in life, whether they are bad drugs, bad schools, crime, etc. You are correct on this point.
Libertarians make the more modest claim that there would be fewer of these bad things in a free market, that their consequences generally would not be as bad, and, very importantly, that the deleterious effects of governmental attempts to mitigate the bad consequences of these things would be eliminated. That's all.
If we had a libertarian society, there would be bad drugs, bad schools, "bad" crime (as if some crime is not bad), bad food, bad movies, and -- believe it or not -- bad baseball teams, no names mentioned.

Tobacco is clearly a dangerous and deadly drug - definitively linked to cancer, emphezema, and premature death.

Some people smoke and don't get these illnesses. For example, T.S. Eliot was a four-pack-a day man, but his autopsy supposedly revealed lungs in excellent condition for his age. Even if we accept the NIH agitprop regarding smoking, people have a natural right to smoke.

The term "coffin nail" to describe smokes dates from the 19th century, and it was well known then that smoking was problematic for your health.
Between 1890 and 1930, 15 states enacted laws to ban the sale, manufacture, possession, and/or use of cigarettes, and 22 states considered similar legislation. The anti-smoking crusade is very old in this country and even older in Europe. See Cassandra Tate, _Cigarette Wars: The Triumph of 'the Little White Slaver'_ (1999).

Those bans created black markets and probably diverted some demand for cigarettes to pipes and stogies. They certainly didn't eradicate smoking anywhere. And of course, they trampled the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law, not that these things mean much to monsters like the Cheney-Bush regime-junta-hopefully-not-Eight-Year-Reich.

Why has only government price control and behavior intervention led to a slowdown of tobacco use?

This claim is unsupportable and in fact is false on its face. For example, I have several libertarian friend who quite smoking for a variety of reasons. Cigarettes aren't price controlled, I don't think, but they are heavily taxed. Tobaccy farmers are also subsidized by taxpayers.

Lots of people take all sorts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, without negative consequences, or at least without the consequences that the U.S. Drug Czar and his minions would have us believe.
There was a libertarian in NYC who took heroin for years and gave it up because he got bored with it, the same way I kicked a bad high school golf habit when I graduated. I've only played once since, on a working vacation in Key Largo, and shudder to think of picking up a driver again.

ValueSnark



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PS - I would LOVE to hear how you picked that name!

Well, since you asked, that story has already been told, here:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18211902

-Chuck



Ohhh.... That explains it. I thought maybe you were french.

R:
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During 1988, the famous presidential election when G.H.W. Bush team coined the phrase "Taxachusetts",

I have news for you, I lived in Massachusetts at that time, and had lived there for quite a while (born there, don't cha know).
"Taxachusetts" was coined long before that election. We had be using it for at least 10 years at that point.

I even still remember when Dukakis was running for President, I took a trip to NJ with a friend. While there, we were talking with some folks and one of them said, "Oh, you're from Massachusetts. You must be hoping Dukakis wins."
I replied, "Are you nuts?? I've got him for a governor, I sure as he77 don't want him for a President."
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You can't convince me that the unregulated and free market by itself is going to eliminate 'bad or dangerous drugs', especially since in the legal marketplace, it hasn't eliminated bad or dangerous products.

babyfrog, I've read mostt of your posts, and I have the same question for you that I asked of the other poster. What exactly do you disagree with the Republicans with? So far, especially in your first post, I haven't seen much, so I'm very confused.
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babyfrog: <<Tobacco is clearly a dangerous and deadly drug...>>

hewler: <<I am not too sure of this...I know of people who have lived long lives but still enjoyed tobacco products.>>

I could name a few people who never smoked but died very young. A few isolated examples don't indicate that smokers are healthier people who live longer. My statistical instincts were begging me to point this out.
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OK, since I moved to mass. in 1986, I'm sure you're right.

It was still disingenuous, though, and very ironic since the Bush family has done nothing since then but try to increase the power of the federal government.

-JAR
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It was still disingenuous, though, and very ironic since the Bush family has done nothing since then but try to increase the power of the federal government.

CONGRESS has raises taxes, not the President (note: not the same thing as increasing the power ot the FED), so how can you call the tag ironic?
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It was still disingenuous, though, and very ironic since the Bush family has done nothing since then but try to increase the power of the federal government.

CONGRESS has raises taxes, not the President (note: not the same thing as increasing the power ot the FED), so how can you call the tag ironic?

Bush II is easily the biggest spending president since Truman.
He's the only president who has signed every spending bill that's crossed his desk.
He's not the worst president in U.S. history yet, but not for lack of trying. If he gets another term (heaven help us), he just might creep up the rankings of the all-time worst, although there's probably no way he'll catch Lincoln, FDR, and Truman. Wilson, LBJ, and Trixson, maybe.

Congress actually cut taxes during Shrub's term, which is the only good thing he gets credit for.
And Herbert Spencer pointed out that no politician should ever get credit for rolling back the state, because it was a politician who rolled up the state to begin with. All pols are evil, but some are less evil than others.

VS
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Labels and semantics doesn't change the fact that we all pay for increased spending at the federal level. And whether or not you call it taxes, I call it horrible. And the President signs the budget, so who's kidding who?

Look at the track record of the Bush family, and you will find that they always take the side of more power for the government. They may lower taxes at some juncture, but without decreasing spending they're taking the money out of the economy and away from someone anyway. All they're really doing is shifting the burden from one group to another. You may support the shift, but that doesn't change the fact that the Bushes are horribly guilty of increasing the size and power of the federal government.

I don't see how any libertarian could support Bush. And I don't see how you can call a Bush supporter a libertarian.

Let's not kid ourselves here. Bush is an authoritarian, the direct opposite of libertarian. Many libertarian Republicans are realizing this, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change it.

I won't be voting for either Bush or Kerry, but at least Kerry is socially liberal (although not to the extent, even close, of the Libertarian party). Bush is NOT fiscally conservative, and to me the evidence is clear in this. I'm 100% sure in my mind that Kerry is closer to libertarian than Bush. But I'll vote for the real libertarian, Badnarik.

And if you wish to blame Congress, so be it, but Congress is currently controlled by the political party that is currently led by the Bush family, and if you really believe he can't control his own party (which I don't), then you still have to admit that Bush is incapable (whether it's because he doesn't want to or can't) of stopping the increase of size of the federal government.

-JAR
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Thank you. You've proven my point. That is exactly the sort of response I was hoping to see. Your response is exactly the reason why I do not self identify as a Libertarian...

Under libertarian law, I as a family member would have no more rights over his behavior than either you or the state would.


Why should you decide for him?

nobody has the right to force him to remain either medicated or locked up.

Seems pretty reasonable... if you can't decide what to put (or not put) into your own body, you're not very free, period!

The logical result would either be a dead family member (if he attacked someone less forgiving of his actions than another member of the family) or long term incarceration (at tax payers' expense) when under his uncontrolled condition, he battered someone else, again.

People attack other people for all kinds of reasons, and I don't really care what his state of mind was at the time, he should be held accountable for his actions. Period.

If they locked up crazy Eddie for slamming his Mom into the wall, maybe he wouldn't have been around to slash her throat. Maybe he'd ALSO consider the likely result of going off his medication BEFORE doing so. (And if while on the Meds he wasn't a "rational actor" capable of making such decisions for himself then what was the point of the meds in the first place?) Instead, he knows that while off his medication he can go off the deep end and get all violent and they won't send him to prison... they'll just call him "crazy" and punish him with a hospital visit.

The problem is not the right to die.

Okay. Glad you're on board with that.

The problem is the very common case where a suicidal attempt is not really a rational choice to end one's life but is in fact a cry for help and attention. In a society where others could not intervene in a person's 'right to die' (after all, the rights of the individuals are sacred),

You have every right to intervene. You just don't have the right to make the decision FOR HIM then FORCE him to live with YOUR decision.

then those whose suicidal attempts are cries for attention or help and are not really rational wishes to die...

...can still get all the attention and help they want. And there's nothing keeping friends, family, or anyone else from trying to talk the would-be suicidee into reconsidering. I respectfully suggest that the very reason so many people "attempt" suicide is precisely because they know someone will show up to save their life... generally by pumping their stomach or bandaging their wrists for them.

With laws protecting suicide, there will be no legal mechanism for anyone else to intervene and help those whose suicidal attempts are in fact cries for attention and help.

You can't FORCE someone to accept help. You can't MAKE someone change their mind. You can't substitute your judgement for theirs. I can't think of a much better definition of freedom than that.

My concern is with the young, abused, and other not-really-suicide suicides.

It's either a genuine suicide attempt, or it's not. If you remove the artificial safety net, this "attempted" BS will dry up real fast.

In a Libertarian society, the rights of the individual are supreme. Not the rights of the family of that individual to intervene. And in this case, protecting the rights of the individual would cause exactly the opposite result than that individual really intended.

What you're essentially arguing is that those who try to fake suicide might do a bad job of it and accidentally kill themselves. That's just Darwin at work, dude. With freedom comes an equal measure of personal responsibility.

As for the rational actor test, without getting into the definition of this term, libertarians argue that people have a right to imbibe drugs, even if this causes their volition and rationality to be compromised. They just don't have a right to commit a crime, either sober or "stoned."

Precisely. An individual is ultimately responsible for his actions and the results thereof, in ALL situations.

If PCP were legalized, then PCP users who committed other crimes would also likely require otherwise excessive force to be subdued by arresting officers.

Excessive force is never warranted. On the other hand, unusual force may well be required in such situations. I don't see what this has to do with police beatings nor the resultant riots, despite your implications of a link.

when probable, preventable death is the natural, unintended consequence of a Libertarian model, then I must disagree with implementing the model.

To have freedom - TRULY have freedom - you must as a natural course and consequence allow people to pay the price for their decisions. Your disagreement with the Libertarian model stems from the fact that you want to separate the action (i.e. suicide attempt) from the consequence (possible death).

You just don't want to give someone control over the end of their own life because you're afraid someone might use it. Welcome to the nanny state.

-NGR
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Following the Libertarian doctorine to its logical conclusion, driving while intoxicated should be permitted, as long as the driver causes no harm to others

Personally, I think this goes too far. The trick is that someone should not be allowed to drive their car while in no condition to do so safely, no matter the cause. Evidence of unsafe operation could include an at-fault accident, but also other things like an inability to maintain a regular speed or weaving. Most if not all drunk drivers of the dangerous variety display their intoxication through their driving... which means if you're driving fine, you're not in violation, but if you're driving badly, you can be cited for it... which just happens to make perfect sense.

-NGR
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WHy in the world would ANYONE ever consent to being appointed guardian of a crazy person? Why would I ever consent to being responsible for the crimes of someone else, especially someone who tended to wander off the grid now and again?

The original poster wanted a means to substitute his judgement (as a concerned family member) for that of another. The bar for seizing this kind of control over another's life should be set very high... and have consequences attached to it.
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Following the Libertarian doctorine to its logical conclusion, driving while intoxicated should be permitted, as long as the driver causes no harm to others

In a libertarian society, the roads would be privately owned and financed and policed by private police companies, which would have a profit incentive to provide better service than is provided under the state protection racket and tax-exacted setup we have now.
Therefore, the owners of the roads would have a profit incentive to have safe roads with low accident and death rates, just as airlines trumpet their low accident rates. They could prohibit drivers that drank while driving on their roads, and perhaps invent ways to detect drivers' blood alcohol levels that would be consistent with the preservation of the drivers' rights and satisfy the ACLU's concerns, etc.

(The WSJ pointed out the other day that Ryannair has never had a fatal accident. I don't think JetBlue has had one either. Eastern had a string of fatal accidents in the 1970s on their way to bankruptcy.)

In no way does libertarian doctrine arrive at the conclusion that driving while intoxicated should be permitted absent harm to others.

ValueSnark
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Babyfrog, I'll ask again. You say you do not consider yourself a Republican. What exactly do you disagree with?
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