L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 55, September 15, 1999
Fire Still Burning
Libertarians and Prohibition
by Larry Baird
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
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
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
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
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 ..."
"It's the Economy, Stupid" -- ed.
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