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55


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 55, September 15, 1999
Fire Still Burning

Libertarians and Prohibition

by Larry Baird
BEDOYA2@aol.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

           It seems that every time a Libertarian candidate is moving close to winning an election, the opposition trots out the same old rhetoric attacking the Libertarian Party position on prohibition. We saw that in the last campaign for Moreno Valley City Council. Unfortunately, campaign rhetoric seldom resembles truth, and quite often is just the opposite, but elections are seldom won with truth or logic, but a lot of emotional diatribe. In the last election one would have believed that the winning candidate was a barking maniac with nothing in mind but her next fix and spreading addiction to the youth of Moreno Valley.
           Having seen the results of narcotic addiction, I'll have to admit that before examining all the arguments, that I too, was a bit uncomfortable with the Libertarian position of repealing prohibition. One of the biggest conundrums was the position versus the sobriety of the Libertarians I have met.
           The first Libertarian candidate I ever supported for office was a heart surgeon, and I don't remember seeing him indulge in any type of narcotic, legal or otherwise. No booze, tobacco nor caffeine, yet he embraced the Libertarian position of ending prohibition.
           I had a similar experience while attending the California Libertarian Party Convention in San Jose earlier this year. I saw very few folks drinking alcohol, but none to the point of intoxication. Tobacco use was next to nil, and nowhere in the hotel did I smell the fumes of burning cannabis. I didn't check every arm for needle marks, but none were apparent.
           While at the convention I met the Libertarian Moreno Valley Councilman who was the target of the vicious accusations and offered to buy her a beverage. Her choice? An ice cream soda! That certainly doesn't sound like one who wants to be stoned and turn Moreno Valley into a bunch of raving addicts!
           The entire experience has reminded me of a quotation by NRA executive director, Wayne LaPierre, "It's not about guns, it's about freedom". The same can be said about prohibition, it's not about narcotics, it's about freedom, and just as not all those who support our constitutional rights to self defense are gun owners, those who favor ending prohibition do not necessarily indulge in that which they want to liberate.
           Researching further, I've found that the vast majority of mind altering substances are not illegal, and even fewer are regulated. Every automobile and household will contain some type of substance that can be used as a narcotic and several narcotic producing plants grow wild in our area. Substances that have narcotic properties are sold without restriction, even to children! So why are only some mind altering substances prohibited or regulated and not all?
           As with all laws, we need only follow the money trail. When the railroad was being built from coast to coast, in the 1800s, it was mostly Irish building from the East, and they enjoyed their whiskey, and Chinese from the West, and they indulged in opium. So long as they were all laboring on the railroad, no one seemed to care. When the railroad was finished thousands of Chinese became active competitors in the job market and the best way to take them out of the job market was to ban their intoxicant and put them in jail for using it.
           Similar circumstances surround the banning of other intoxicants and for similar reasons. Marijuana was the drug of choice of Mexicans and Cocaine was the drug of choice of blacks. The bottom line is, drug laws are racist and always about money, and the Libertarian Party isn't an never was about drugs, it's about Liberty.


"... part-time or temp jobs comprise 30 percent of the workforce, married couples have to work 326 hours a year more to maintain 1979-level buying power, and the average starting wage is one-fifth lower than it was 20 years ago ..."

source: http://www.villagevoice.com/features/9936/vest.shtml

"It's the Economy, Stupid" -- ed.


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