David Leyonhjelm guest post. Marijuana’s time has come

From The Financial Review last week.

Few still believe the old myth that smoking marijuana leads to a spiral of drug dependence and dissipation. Some claim prolonged use can adversely affect the mental health of certain individuals, and it certainly has the potential to make driving dangerous, but compared to alcohol it is a drug of peace and tranquillity.

That being the case, it is difficult to understand why marijuana remains prohibited. It is especially bizarre that its medical properties cannot be utilised.

These properties have been known for a long time. Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung wrote of the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant in the 28th century BC. The ancient Egyptians used medical cannabis extensively four thousand years ago, and the diuretic, antiemetic, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects of cannabis were well known in medieval medicine.

In the early 20th century, before it was banned, numerous tonics and tinctures containing cannabis extract were available. More recently, studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the active ingredients for treating conditions such as glaucoma, migraine and arthritis, providing relief from chronic pain associated with degenerative diseases and spinal injuries, and alleviating the unpleasant side effects of common treatments for cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Its relative safety, long recognised in folk wisdom, has also been borne out by research. When taken as an oral tincture, cannabis-based therapies are not only safe for children but beneficial in treating the frequency and severity of seizures associated with childhood epilepsy.

Despite its continuing prohibition, attitudes are changing. The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey reported that 70% of respondents were in favour of legalising marijuana for medicinal purposes while 75% were in favour of further clinical trials. In 2013 the NSW Legislative Council’s inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes concluded there was sufficiently robust evidence to support its use as a treatment option for certain conditions.

The rest of the world is changing faster though. Medical marijuana is already legal in Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, and under state laws in more than twenty US states. In two of those, Colorado and Washington, recreational use is also legal.

The quest for additional taxation revenue is one of the reasons for this. Colorado, for example, expects to generate US$133 million in taxes annually. Both medical and recreational sales are subject to a 2.9% sales tax, while recreational sales are also subject to a 10% sales tax and 15% excise. The vast majority of the revenue is expected to come from recreational marijuana.

There are many reasons why marijuana should be legal, especially for medical reasons. It is unconscionable to deny people an effective, safe solution for chronic pain, for example. There is no doubt it helps some conditions when nothing else works. It would also be cheaper than most current therapeutics.
The cultivation of cannabis on a commercial scale, along with the preparation and dispensing of medical marijuana, has the potential to generate significant employment. The largest cannabis dispensary in Oakland, California (a third the size of Perth) has over 104,000 customers and employs 120 people.

There is also scope to expand our burgeoning biomedical sciences sector, with particular regard to creating innovative delivery systems such as cannabinoids in lozenge, vapour and tincture form.

Legal availability would deprive organised crime, including some bikie gangs, of a major source of income and relieve police of the cost of finding and destroying illicit crops. Of the $1.5 billion spent annually on drug law enforcement, 70% is attributable to marijuana. State and federal budgets would benefit from reassigning police to catching criminals who harm and defraud other people, and many otherwise innocent people would be spared a criminal conviction.

Legalisation of recreational use would also acknowledge the reality that most people have tried it, legal or not, at some point in their life, me and President Obama among them.

I do not recommend the use of marijuana except for medical purposes, but ultimately whether it is used for medical or recreational purposes should be a matter for adults to decide for themselves. Whether others approve, or would choose it themselves, is not relevant. It is especially not the business of the government.

As the father of liberalism, John Stuart Mill, put it, “But it is not legitimate, for government to involve itself in things that a person voluntarily does to him or herself, or that people choose to do to each other by mutual consent, when nobody else in harmed.”

Mill was not thinking of marijuana when he wrote that, but he could have been.

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrats’ Senator-elect for NSW.

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702 Responses to David Leyonhjelm guest post. Marijuana’s time has come

  1. MemoryVault

    I find it hilarious that people believe that if marijuana was legalised . . . . .

    You left out the burning, raping and pillaging.

  2. Pickles

    And you start talking to your girlfriend’s dog.

  3. rebel with cause

    I’ve learnt from this discussion that a ‘more nuanced libertarian’ is basically a statist that grumbles something along the lines of ‘welfare state…public health…not going away anytime soon…’ before they launch into a plan to restrict freedom.

    I’m expecting Labor will rebrand themselves as ‘more nuanced libertarians’ any day now.

  4. Yobbo

    Yeah. Basically we must all be locked in our houses and restricted from doing anything because of Medicare.

    That’s a “more nuanced libertarian” view.

  5. stackja

    rebel with cause
    #1257195, posted on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am
    I’ve learnt from this discussion that a ‘more nuanced libertarian’ is basically a statist that grumbles something along the lines of ‘welfare state…public health…not going away anytime soon…’ before they launch into a plan to restrict freedom.
    I’m expecting Labor will rebrand themselves as ‘more nuanced libertarians’ any day now.

    Freedom comes with responsibility. To me unrestrained freedom is another way of saying anarchy. Let us legalise all activities but do not expect utopia. The nirvana fallacy seems to sum many of the things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives.

  6. stackja

    Yobbo
    #1257207, posted on April 8, 2014 at 10:31 am
    Yeah. Basically we must all be locked in our houses and restricted from doing anything because of Medicare.
    That’s a “more nuanced libertarian” view.

    We can just run across a busy road. No problems.

  7. Adam d

    This is the best thread ever, loving the vitriol on supposed libertarians.

    I am not sure what the usage statistics are but anecdotally I only know one other person beside myself who hasn’t touched the stuff. So putting all other arguments aside what’s the point of unenforcible laws? In fact all other arguments are moot if you can’t enforce bans effectively anyway.

    The libertarian count is disturbingly rather low it seems.

  8. rebel with cause

    Stacja – except the ‘Nirvana fallacy’ is on your side with the folks saying we can’t have freedom until we achieve the dream of a zero welfare state.

  9. Ellen of Tasmania

    Yes, these are fightin’ words, but I just wanted to make it very, very clear that as far as I can see, the words ‘libertarian’ and ‘libertine’ are not interchangeable.

    I’m sorry I haven’t been able to read through all the comments on this thread and I realise that I may well just be repeating (poorly) what others have said well.

    I think Philippa has pinpointed the problem that lies between the conservatives and the libertarians on this site.

    It’s obviously politically expedient for the LDP to go after the ‘marijuana vote’ and it certainly falls in line with libertarian/small government principles. I think the problem some people are facing here has to do with order and priorities.

    I don’t want governments involved in any of my medications – I don’t believe it’s their job. But I don’t want freedom to mean license. I believe that there are different levels of government with different responsibilities. The first level of governance is self governance.

    Our culture at the moment celebrates immaturity and irresponsibility. So when people look at decriminalising certain things they are wondering who is going to pick up the responsibility. If the LDP wants us to trust them with our votes, they are going to have to look like people who recognise the consequences of process and timing as well as the civil liberty rights of the thing. They at least need to look mature and responsible.

    Maturity doesn’t mean being old enough to stay out till 4am and drink and drug yourself silly. Maturity means taking responsibility.

    I want small government. But I don’t want to behave like immature brats who rejoice because dad and mum are gone for the weekend and they left the car keys. That’s not the road to freedom.

    I want government to crawl back into the hole allotted to it. And I want individuals, families and communities to pick up the responsibilities that belong to their sphere.

    Legalise marijuana by all means. And let me go and buy some Cold & Flu tablets without getting the third degree. But look like grown ups in the way you go about it. Appeal to our love of liberty and not to our libertine immaturity.

  10. Ellen of Tasmania

    ” Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government. For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”

    Samuel Adams: Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

  11. Hoaxx

    Make all drugs legal.
    However to buy them you must first get a prescription from your doctor.
    The doctor then posts the information on a national OPEN database that any member of the public can access.
    That way everyone’s ass is covered when things go wrong.

  12. Ellen of Tasmania

    ” … we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    John Adams.

  13. Woolfe

    So putting all other arguments aside what’s the point of unenforcible laws?

    They are enforceableto some degree but the cops aren’t interested. And why should they be?

    I work in an environment where we alcohol test everyone every day and random drug test. You want to work here? Don’t come to work pissed or drugged. Your call.

  14. dragnet

    By the way some people are going on here you would think David L. is advocating forced-inhalation of the entire population. I repeat what I said here yesterday (and which I am sure has been repeated many times by others in the last 19 hours) – just about everybody who wants to smoke dope is already doing so, and ditto to a somewhat lesser degree for other drugs.

  15. Roger

    Marijuana’s time has come
    This illustrates the trouble with ideologically driven parties of the Left or Right: in the quest for doctrinal purity they alienate the Australian electorate. It was funny to see Mr Leyonhjelm on TV last night saying the people who voted for the LDP expect them to stick to their policies. Poor chap is under the delusion that the people outside his little cabal who “voted for” the LDP actually knew what those policies were.

  16. Paridell

    Mill would never have dreamt of countenancing the use of marijuana, or hashish as it was known in his lifetime. It was also unthinkable fifty years later in the 1920s, when Malcolm Muggeridge was teaching in Egypt. As Muggeridge wrote of such proposals in 1972:

    “When I hear or read their apologies for hashish, I recall the Zaffaran Palace and the stupefied faces and inert minds of so many of the students there; the dreadful instances of the destructive effects of this drug on bodies and minds which any resident in the Middle East was bound to encounter. I know of no better exemplification of the death wish at the heart of our way of life than this determination to bring about the legalisation of hashish so that it may ravage the West as it has the Middle and Far East.”

    In short, not a good idea – and the sudden enthusiasm for legalisation on the part of strapped-for-cash American state governments doesn’t make it any better.

  17. Infidel Tiger

    I know of no better exemplification of the death wish at the heart of our way of life than this determination to bring about the legalisation of hashish so that it may ravage the West as it has the Middle and Far East.”

    Thank God no one uses it then. Sounds terrible.

  18. Yohan

    In my discussions with the general public on the topic of dope legalisation, people generally understand the point about freedom and rights, but then always say ‘what about the violence and damage it causes society? we have a right to be protected from it’

    It never occurs to them that Alcohol causes more rape, murder and domestic violence than all the other drugs combined. The reason is IMO social conditioning. From a young age we are taught that drugs are bad but alcohol is socially acceptable.

    There is also the fact that before 1920 almost all drugs were legal in Western countries, dope, cocaine, opium, heroin e.t.c and society was not collapsing back then.
    The more you look at the issue with rational logic instead of our social conditioning, the case for prohibition falls away.

  19. Jannie

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but the question of drugs always brings out the authoritarian in many alleged libertarians. Onya David, I voted for your lot in WA, hopefully a better result next time.

  20. Yohan

    In many of the comments I see a lot of talk about the psychotic effects of marijuana.

    Because its illegal, most dope is indoor hydroponically grown and laced with strong chemicals and growth hormone boosters. The days of getting some clean outdoor is long over.

    This change to almost all hydro weed happened in the 1990′s in Australia, and this parallels with the rise of increased psychosis due to dope use. Once again the illegality and regulation has caused the very problems it now claims to protect us from.

  21. james

    Thank God no one uses it then. Sounds terrible.

    Indeed IT, thank God good Australian types don’t indulge in such eastern perversions.

  22. james

    Yeah. Basically we must all be locked in our houses and restricted from doing anything because of Medicare.

    That’s a “more nuanced libertarian” view.

    I hate agreeing with you Yobbo.

    Lets argue about SSM.

  23. tgs

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but the question of drugs always brings out the authoritarian in many alleged libertarians.

    It’s amazing isn’t it.

  24. Rabz

    This change to almost all hydro weed happened in the 1990′s in Australia

    My supplier back then (an in law) used to grow massive plants (literally tree sized) in his backyard on the Central Coast, nourished solely by ol’ Sol. How he ever avoided being busted, I’ll never know.

    One of his most intractable problems with looking after his crops was that his Chows were partial to chowing down on the plants. I think he ended up rigging up some sort of film/mesh around the base of the plants to prevent this intolerable behaviour.

    BTW, didn’t the whole hydro thing go belly up when the cops started obtaining the power usage information of various ‘suspicious’ residences from the electrickery companies? Once the cops had this information it was a cinch to bust people growing hydro – I’d even heard of desperadoes trying to divert their neighbour’s power, etc.

  25. Aristogeiton

    Same crew; Joe Goodacre, jupes and some other nicks I recognise. jupes wants to abolish an accused’s right to silence and ban religions he doesn’t approve of. Joe Goodacre thinks Andrew Bolt should be nicer to fair skinned Aborigines and readily admits to being a racist. Illiberal tossers.

  26. I don’t have time to read all the comments, but the question of drugs always brings out the authoritarian in many alleged libertarians.

    If you bothered to read all the comments, you’d see that there were actually a number of schools of thought arguing about this, and almost all of them sit within a libertarian framework.

    I think we might need a new thread on the subject of people who use the term ‘libertarian’ to mean ‘libertine’ – and who in fact show no willingness to have any discussion about what constitutes a ‘libertarian’ position, and what doesn’t.

    Shutdown of free debate, much?

  27. Empire Strikes Back

    I’m warming to you Ari.

  28. Rabz

    Shutdown of free debate, much?

    Yes, speaking as a cranky ol’ conservative, I’ve been very unimpressed with the bankruptcy of some of the ‘arguments’ of some self declared ‘Libertarians’ on this thread.

  29. brc

    By the way some people are going on here you would think David L. is advocating forced-inhalation of the entire population. I repeat what I said here yesterday (and which I am sure has been repeated many times by others in the last 19 hours) – just about everybody who wants to smoke dope is already doing so, and ditto to a somewhat lesser degree for other drugs.

    It just has to be repeated over and over again, until people start to understand:
    1) everyone who wants to smoke a joint is already regularly doing so
    2) laws are already in place to stop people from doing their job intoxicated from anything. Most people turn up for work sober because getting fired is a poor outcome.
    3) legalization arguments are structured to create the minimum amount of harm – there is no optimal solution except for everyone to decide clean living is best. Which isn’t going to happen, so the optimal solution is the one that causes the least amount of harm. Currently, it would seem as though prohibition causes large amounts of harm.
    4) when access to drugs becomes open, most people freely choose mild versions and infrequent use. Despite the macho drinking culture of Australians past, most people choose mid-strength beer. Making anything illegal just ramps up the concentration so you can get short, sharp highs. Most bootlegging done during alcohol prohibition was in hard liquor, not 3.5% beer.
    5) drugs are bad. They mess people up. Is prohibition preventing this? No.
    6) Does the average voter really care if some loser wastes away their life on the couch, if it means that they are less likely to be robbed or have a set of drug dealers move in next door?
    7). How can people argue passionately for free speech, correctly noting that making something illegal just drives it underground and gives it status that it doesn’t deserve; yet put the blinkers on about drugs and flip the argument round the other way? Drug abuse is a health problem, whether it is prescription drugs or illegal drugs.

  30. Aristogeiton

    Rabz
    #1257322, posted on April 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm
    Shutdown of free debate, much?

    Yes, speaking as a cranky ol’ conservative, I’ve been very unimpressed with the bankruptcy of some of the ‘arguments’ of some self declared ‘Libertarians’ on this thread.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLsCC0LZxkY

  31. Indian Hemp”, Chapter 7 of The Forbidden Game: A Social History of Drugs (London, 1977) by Brian Inglis.

  32. Aristogeiton

    Fuck me dead, I thought this all seemed a little familiar:

    http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/01/14/the-politics-of-drug-use/

    I believe it was there first established that marijuana use leads to the drinking of the blood of one’s enemies.

  33. james

    BTW, didn’t the whole hydro thing go belly up when the cops started obtaining the power usage information of various ‘suspicious’ residences from the electrickery companies? Once the cops had this information it was a cinch to bust people growing hydro – I’d even heard of desperadoes trying to divert their neighbour’s power, etc.

    I have a sparky mate who made a very tidy sum hooking up people around the meter no questions asked.

    As long as the growers didn’t stay in the house longer than five-six months [about two or so crops] the electrickery companies and the plod were none the wiser.

  34. james

    I believe it was there first established that marijuana use leads to the drinking of the blood of one’s enemies.

    If only.

  35. Aristogeiton

    For those interested, the switch to hydroponic product was a consequence of increased policing and urbanization. Growing marijuana outdoors is risky, whereas hydroponic growth can occur indoors and is the best way to cultivate the product under such conditions. If you’re running lamps 18 hours a day, I don’t think you would bother growing bush weed.

  36. politichix

    Great youtube link Aristogeiton, many thanks!

  37. Infidel Tiger

    Great youtube link Aristogeiton, many thanks!

    Uncle Milt is the best.

  38. Joe Goodacre

    Paridell,

    As Muggeridge wrote of such proposals in 1972:

    Thanks for the reference – an interesting opinion.

  39. Goanna

    Shameful admission here – I was listening to John Faine about a year ago. A talkback caller phoned up to say she’d never driven a car Not Stoned and moreover had sat for her licence Stoned. Faine was genuinely shocked. It appears too many Catallaxy respondents have been brainwashed by Reefer Madness.
    Advice: Chill. Be a libertarian first setting your mind free then proceed by getting your hand out of my pocket and tell your copper friends to put their cuffs away – the make work scheme needs to finish. The proper place for Neo-Puritans is at the Greens.

  40. kae

    Some years ago a student was conducting some research into hemp for textile production. One hemp plant apparently looks pretty much like another hemp plant, though the textile one has no THC to speeak of.

    The plants were in the greenhouses. At some stage the plants disappeared.

    This was about the same time as the headless, limbless torso was found in Lockyer Creek at Helidon (the body was that of Nicholas Moore, a heroin addict).

    I commented that, should the thieves sell the hemp they may find themselves in a spot of bother when there is no kick from the hemp, and perhaps that’s what happened to the “torso in the creek”.

  41. rebel with cause

    You’d be wanting to pull a few cones too if you had to start the day with Jon Faine. The self-righteousness would make you sick otherwise.

  42. Joe Goodacre

    brc,

    It just has to be repeated over and over again, until people start to understand:
    1) everyone who wants to smoke a joint is already regularly doing so

    This is an assertion – people are free to disagree with your opinion that the use of dope won’t increase.

    2) laws are already in place to stop people from doing their job intoxicated from anything. Most people turn up for work sober because getting fired is a poor outcome.
    I can remember humping bananas in North Qld with the fella swinging the machete doing joints on his break. This wasn’t an unusual situation.

    My experience today is that gear is operated by some people who are still under the effect of drugs.

    Your comments may describe a white collar workplace – there is much more grey in this issue outside of that limited environment, hence why some workplaces avoid drug testing -they don’t want to know.

    3) legalization arguments are structured to create the minimum amount of harm – there is no optimal solution except for everyone to decide clean living is best. Which isn’t going to happen, so the optimal solution is the one that causes the least amount of harm. Currently, it would seem as though prohibition causes large amounts of harm.

    This statement is premised on the belief that prohibition is in place – some people disagree with you on this point. No one in this discussion to date has been able to demonstrate real penalties that are consistently applied to users of drugs.
    4) when access to drugs becomes open, most people freely choose mild versions and infrequent use. Despite the macho drinking culture of Australians past, most people choose mid-strength beer. Making anything illegal just ramps up the concentration so you can get short, sharp highs. Most bootlegging done during alcohol prohibition was in hard liquor, not 3.5% beer.

    This appears pure speculation. Maybe it’s true, however I don’t think that everyday experience supports this point. Bicycles are legal and people continue to push for the lightest and fastest. Food is legal and people continue to push for the best taste sensation. It appears a predictable feature of the market that competition encourages people to innovate and provide a better product for the same cost. Why would drugs be any different – isn’t it possible that in a free market, potency will increase?
    5) drugs are bad. They mess people up. Is prohibition preventing this? No.
    Again a presumption that prohibition is in place.
    6) Does the average voter really care if some loser wastes away their life on the couch, if it means that they are less likely to be robbed or have a set of drug dealers move in next door?
    Most concerns that people have on this issue relate to the subsidies that exist for people on pot through the welfare state.

    7). How can people argue passionately for free speech, correctly noting that making something illegal just drives it underground and gives it status that it doesn’t deserve; yet put the blinkers on about drugs and flip the argument round the other way?
    That’s a fair point.
    It appears to me that the distinction between free speech justifications and drug laws is thus:
    a) Free speech restrictions are ultimately impractical attempts to control thoughts – thoughts are not an appropriate category of harm;
    b) drug use in a welfare state causes harm by increasing the tax burden on others – this is a recognisable category of harm
    Drug abuse is a health problem, whether it is prescription drugs or illegal drugs.
    It is a health problem in a classical liberal society.
    We are not in a classical liberal society.

  43. Freedom comes with responsibility.

    Does it? According to who?

    The implication is that freedom is conditional, and thus a privilege that can be taken away, rather than the right it clearly is. I have the right for you to leave me the fuck alone.

    It’s not my fault medicine has been socialized. Other people paying my medical bills is therefore not my problem.

  44. The libertarian count is disturbingly rather low it seems.

    No one has yet produced such a count. Consider yourself ignored.

  45. tgs

    b) drug use in a welfare state causes harm by increasing the tax burden on others – this is a recognisable category of harm

    So you must obviously be in favour of restricting access to alcohol in a welfare state as well then?

  46. Joe Goodacre

    Jannie,
    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but the question of drugs always brings out the authoritarian in many alleged libertarians.

    This appears to me to miss the crux of what people who are against legalising, are saying.

    To be libertarian doesn’t mean to be non-judgmental.

    One can be judgmental on all sorts of decisions and actions yet recognise that it is not their place to tell someone else how to live their life.

    Our society does not impose the full consequences of drug taking on drug users. Some of these costs are borne by other taxpayers.

    If people want the freedom to do drugs, they should relinquish all claims on others for the costs of that behaviour. Since there is no demand for the latter, why should there be any give on the former?

    It is entirely morally consistent for people who love freedom to be against the legalisation of drugs in the current context.

    If people want to argue over the nuts and bolts and say the tax imposition is less after legalisation – fine, make that case. Most of the comments on here though are people pretending to be more moral because they somehow love freedom more – anyone who disagrees is simply engaging with their inner tyrant. That’s a good excuse to completely talk past the many objections on here against legalisation.

  47. JC

    Yeah. Basically we must all be locked in our houses and restricted from doing anything because of Medicare.

    I toyed with that view for about 33.27 seconds once and then i realised the best way to destroy Medicare is to send it fucking broke any way we can.

  48. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    So you must obviously be in favour of restricting access to alcohol in a welfare state as well then?

    Yes.

  49. It never occurs to them that Alcohol causes more rape, murder and domestic violence than all the other drugs combined.

    That bad, huh? Wow, we better ban it in the Middle East then.

  50. A new survey, released by the US publication Law Officer, has found, in a survey which questioned more than 11,000 officers, that over 64% of police officers support some form of cannabis law reform.

  51. So you must obviously be in favour of restricting access to alcohol in a welfare state as well then?

    Yes.

    We already do, Joe. It’s called an excise. Anything else is tyrannical in the face of forced socialization of medicine.

  52. Oops, for “more than 11,000 officers” please read “almost 11,000 officers”.

  53. Joe Goodacre

    The Beer Whisperer,

    The implication is that freedom is conditional, and thus a privilege that can be taken away, rather than the right it clearly is. I have the right for you to leave me alone.

    In the natural world the strong dominate the weak – whether that be an individual or group.

    The right that you claim only exists if there is a social contract that restricts how the strong will use their strength – i.e. their strength being to to protect the weak, as opposed to taking from the weak.

    You’re pro regulation – just regulation that protects you. People who are against legalising in the current context are simply protecting their interests as well.

    It’s not my fault medicine has been socialized. Other people paying my medical bills is therefore not my problem.

    It is if you want to live a lifestyle that has more expensive medical or other bills.

  54. tgs

    Yes.

    Well at least you’re consistent.

    It is if you want to live a lifestyle that has more expensive medical or other bills.

    So you would also want to restrict access to unhealthy foods? Dangerous sports? Too much sun light?

  55. JC

    It is if you want to live a lifestyle that has more expensive medical or other bills.

    Oh fuck off. By that premise only a sovietized system offers value for cost.
    Bought any food at the local government store lately?

    Another fucking moron who thinks the slope of demand and supply curves work the opposite direction at the doctor’s or hospital door.

  56. Joe Goodacre

    The Beer Whisperer,

    We already do, Joe. It’s called an excise. Anything else is tyrannical in the face of forced socialization of medicine.

    We’re agreed that it’s tyrannical. Socialised medicine is the most tyrannical legislation of all because nearly everything we do affects our health. Therefore nearly everything we do can become banned in an effort to limit those costs on others.

    Ann Coulter nails it… it’s alright for libertarians to talk about legalising pot (which most progressives agree with), yet there’s no chance that socialised medicine is getting repealed. All that happens is that conservative values go out the window and other people are left picking up the tab.

  57. tgs

    Therefore nearly everything we do can become banned in an effort to limit those costs on others.

    You realise this isn’t the only solution though, right?

    Another option would be to tax the activity that causes the negative externality an amount that offsets the costs of the negative externality.

    You know, exactly how society deals with the negative externalities of alcohol and tobacco consumption.

  58. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    So you would also want to restrict access to unhealthy foods? Dangerous sports? Too much sun light?

    These questions become empirical – what’s the net effect on the hip pocket. I don’t know enough about those to have an opinion.

  59. Infidel Tiger

    Joe, everyone here (of sound mind) will gladly get rid of the welfare state and socialised medicine too.

    Does that put your fascist heart at ease?

  60. JC

    Ann Coulter nails it… it’s alright for libertarians to talk about legalising pot (which most progressives agree with), yet there’s no chance that socialised medicine is getting repealed. All that happens is that conservative values go out the window and other people are left picking up the tab.

    Bullshit. If it can’t be repealed then destroy it until there’s forced repeal. It’s called skinning a cat. Maggie was right socialism is fine until you run out of other peoples money.

  61. JC

    Joe, everyone here (of sound mind) will gladly get rid of the welfare state and socialised medicine too.

    Does that put your fascist heart at ease?

    In addition to introducing the Fisk Doctrine.

  62. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    Another option would be to tax the activity that causes the negative externality an amount that offsets the costs of the negative externality.

    In theory this is true.

    In practice a couple of issues arise:

    a) it can be hard to establish a causative link between drug users and a subsidy in the welfare state because it may cost a lot to research, and we are dealing with imperfect knowledge – i.e. what subsidy is being received by dope smokers because when they have a family, other taxpayers pay single parent benefits to the dope smokers ex? The answer is who knows, but it appears unlikely to me that the answer is zero; and
    b) if we could quantify the subsidy being received, people can avoid paying the tax through the purchase of illegal weed – i.e. the EU estimates it loses 10 billion euros of excise tax each year to Cigarette smugglers.

  63. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257475, posted on April 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm
    tgs,

    So you would also want to restrict access to unhealthy foods? Dangerous sports? Too much sun light?

    These questions become empirical – what’s the net effect on the hip pocket. I don’t know enough about those to have an opinion.

    Liberty is a matter of economics? FMD. You know the problem with utilitarians? No principles and sloppy, self-serving empiricism.

  64. Another option would be to tax the activity that causes the negative externality an amount that offsets the costs of the negative externality.

    The public health argument is a very, very new one for excise taxes.

    In years and decades and centuries gone by, it was just revenue-raising, plain and simple. Usually to fund costly wars.

    At least that was honest theft.

  65. Grumbles

    My decision, my consequence. You are either libertarian or totalitarian there really is no grey, freedom to the extent you allow it is still totalitarianism. Using socialist healthcare as an argument against personal freedoms is perverse and illogical.

  66. tgs

    These questions become empirical – what’s the net effect on the hip pocket. I don’t know enough about those to have an opinion.

    Oh, so before you were happy to make an ideological argument against any activity that has negative externalities under a system of socialised medicine but now you want to hide behind empirics? Smells like intellectual cowardice to me.

    But let’s indulge your cowardice and give you a concrete example:

    Sports injuries are estimated to cost the between $1.65 billion and $2 billion each year according to a 2013 report by the Victorian Government. Those figures are probably rubbery but there is no denying that it’s a material figure and is to a large degree borne by the taxpayer.

    Are you in favour of banning sports that have a high risk of injury as these impose costs on taxpayers via our current system of socialised medicine?

    i.e. what subsidy is being received by dope smokers because when they have a family, other taxpayers pay single parent benefits to the dope smokers ex? The answer is who knows, but it appears unlikely to me that the answer is zero;

    Now you’re just being silly or you don’t understand what a subsidy is.

    b) if we could quantify the subsidy being received, people can avoid paying the tax through the purchase of illegal weed – i.e. the EU estimates it loses 10 billion euros of excise tax each year to Cigarette smugglers.

    Ah I see. Even though a solution might be better than the status quo, we shouldn’t enact it unless it is perfect.

    Makes perfect sense.

  67. stackja

    The Beer Whisperer
    #1257432, posted on April 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Freedom comes with responsibility.

    Does it? According to who?
    The implication is that freedom is conditional, and thus a privilege that can be taken away, rather than the right it clearly is. I have the right for you to leave me the fuck alone.
    It’s not my fault medicine has been socialized. Other people paying my medical bills is therefore not my problem.

    You allowed medicine to be socialized by not demanding your representatives repeal the medicare act . Other people paying your medical bills is therefore your problem. And what about all the taxpayers who are subsidizing your medical care. And using swear words in demanding more “freedoms” does not help.

  68. Yobbo

    Joe Goodacre is just an out and out fascist.

    If he had his way football would also be illegal.

  69. rebel with cause

    Joe’s got himself awfully hot and bothered about ensuring the sustainability of the welfare state for someone that claims to be a libertarian.

  70. Aristogeiton

    stackja
    [...]
    You allowed medicine to be socialized by not demanding your representatives repeal the medicare act . Other people paying your medical bills is therefore your problem. And what about all the taxpayers who are subsidizing your medical care. And using swear words in demanding more “freedoms” does not help.

    You weasel. It’s about the poor taxpayer! I see. We can never have freedom until we get rid of socialised medicine? Because you can dodgy up some statistics which describe how activity ‘A’ costs amount ‘$’. Fuck you.

  71. JC

    If he had his way football would also be illegal.

    Soccer? Of course it should be illegal. It’s perhaps the one and only thing I’d ban.

    It’s a socialist sport and teaches boys to be effeminate.

  72. Joe Goodacre

    Infidel Tiger,

    Joe, everyone here (of sound mind) will gladly get rid of the welfare state and socialised medicine too.

    Does that put your fascist heart at ease?

    It’s people’s actions, not their intentions that concern me. Currently you’ve got good intentions regarding repealing medicare, but would vote to legalise weed regardless of our success with the former. My fascist heart weeps.

  73. Aristogeiton

    rebel with cause
    #1257497, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm
    Joe’s got himself awfully hot and bothered about ensuring the sustainability of the welfare state for someone that claims to be a libertarian.

    Pace his phony concern for Andrew Bolt’s tone in his articles, and the consequential effect that this may have upon the sympathies of leftists. He’s a fucking numpty.

  74. Snoopy

    Surely being able to stick whatever you want into your own body, via mouth, nose or vein should be a basic human right. And no, that isn’t an argument for abortion.

  75. JC

    Ari, please no swearing at the Cat. It’s a gentleman’s site with pre-approved ladies present.

  76. Infidel Tiger

    Joe’s got himself awfully hot and bothered about ensuring the sustainability of the welfare state for someone that claims to be a libertarian.

    Joe’s a libertarian in the same way Christine Milne is.

  77. Yohan

    I toyed with that view for about 33.27 seconds once and then i realised the best way to destroy Medicare is to send it fucking broke any way we can

    Barack Obama may be the worlds most useful Libertarian.

  78. Joe Goodacre

    Grumbles,

    You are either libertarian or totalitarian there really is no grey, freedom to the extent you allow it is still totalitarianism

    Total freedom is no laws – since no one on here is for anarchy then by your logic we are all totalitarian.

    If there’s one thing the discussion today has shown, there is grey in the issue.

  79. Aristogeiton

    JC
    #1257506, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm
    Ari, please no swearing at the Cat. It’s a gentleman’s site with pre-approved ladies present.

    Hilarious!

  80. Demosthenes

    This is an assertion – people are free to disagree with your opinion that the use of dope won’t increase.

    No, it isn’t, it’s an oft-repeated finding that anyone who participates in this discussion should be aware of, if they want to be taken seriously.

  81. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257509, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm
    Grumbles,

    You are either libertarian or totalitarian there really is no grey, freedom to the extent you allow it is still totalitarianism

    Total freedom is no laws – since no one on here is for anarchy then by your logic we are all totalitarian.

    If there’s one thing the discussion today has shown, there is grey in the issue.

    It’s shown again that you are a statist, no more.

  82. Infidel Tiger

    This is an assertion – people are free to disagree with your opinion that the use of dope won’t increase.

    The use of them would almost certainly increase. Who cares?

    If raw milk wasn’t banned the use of that would increase too.

  83. Aristogeiton

    Demosthenes
    #1257513, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm
    This is an assertion – people are free to disagree with your opinion that the use of dope won’t increase.

    No, it isn’t, it’s an oft-repeated finding that anyone who participates in this discussion should be aware of, if they want to be taken seriously.

    Demosthenes, while we have since ancient times been at odds:

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0074%3Aspeech%3D25

    I find myself in agreement with you yet again.

  84. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    Oh, so before you were happy to make an ideological argument against any activity that has negative externalities under a system of socialised medicine but now you want to hide behind empirics? Smells like intellectual cowardice to me.

    I’m more confident in my belief that legalising drugs in a welfare state will have greater costs on taxpayers than making it illegal with real penalties for users. I have the same opinion on cigarettes, alcohol and homosexuality (yep that’s a controversial one – not many things receive more subsidies than homosexual unions).

    I haven’t thought enough about the other items you’ve mentioned and so have no opinion on them.

    Sports injuries are estimated to cost the between $1.65 billion and $2 billion each year according to a 2013 report by the Victorian Government. Those figures are probably rubbery but there is no denying that it’s a material figure and is to a large degree borne by the taxpayer.

    This is a red herring. Sport has health benefits – you’ve ignored those. I can’t quantify the benefits, however would suspect them to be substantial. Our PM is an active fellow. I’m yet to hear about a weed smoking PM.
    now you’re just being silly or you don’t understand what a subsidy is.
    Without the welfare state, there would be a greater reliance on families, and greater pressure within families to be responsible. Women would be less likely to open their legs to a weed smoking no hoper if they or their family had to bear the full cost of that decision. In this light, single parent benefits are a subsidy to dope smoking behaviour. They subsidise their ability to have relationships by removing the necessity for them to be productive or responsible.
    Ah I see. Even though a solution might be better than the status quo, we shouldn’t enact it unless it is perfect.
    I haven’t argued that.

  85. Empire Strikes Back

    Our society does not impose the full consequences of drug taking on drug users. Some of these costs are borne by other taxpayers

    Our society does not impose the full consequences of drug taking action (and inaction) on drug users individuals. Some of these costs are borne by other taxpayers individuals.

    You’ve spent more than a day conflating personal freedom with personal responsibility, arguing the two cannot be exclusive (an ideal I support). Practically though, they do exist exclusively and there are negative consequences.

    The tyrannical compulsion to collectivise (social insurance in various guises for example) may be sub optimal, but does not justify curtailing freedom. By your reasoning, the following must be prohibited until the welfare state is dismantled:
    Alcohol
    Tobacco
    Sugar
    Trans-fats
    Prescription drugs
    Dogs
    Disposable packaging
    Private transport
    Arts degrees
    Religion
    Collingwood Football Club
    Booty calls
    Saturday night
    etc.

    I don’t buy it. I will not trade my liberty for the defeat of socialism. That is a justifiable end of itself.

  86. I’m yet to hear about a weed smoking PM

    I could name some weed-smoking premiers, attorneys-general, ministers, judges and the like, but shan’t.

  87. Joe Goodacre

    rebel with cause,

    Joe’s got himself awfully hot and bothered about ensuring the sustainability of the welfare state for someone that claims to be a libertarian.

    I don’t subscribe to the belief that if we can’t get our way immediately we should burn the furniture and run the current system into the ground. What springs up in its replacement may be worse.

  88. Joe Goodacre

    Infidel Tiger,

    Joe’s a libertarian in the same way Christine Milne is.

    I missed the memo where Milne wants to remove all welfare and all enforced taxation.

  89. tgs

    This is a red herring. Sport has health benefits – you’ve ignored those. I can’t quantify the benefits, however would suspect them to be substantial. Our PM is an active fellow. I’m yet to hear about a weed smoking PM.

    There are sports with materially higher risks of injury than others (e.g. Rugby Union vs. Tai Chi). You can conceivably gain the benefits from participating in sport (e.g. increased fitness levels, social interactions, etc) from both high and low risk sports.

    Therefore, using your flawed logic the State should ban high risk sports because they impose burdens on taxpayers.

  90. Joe Goodacre

    Infidel Tiger,

    The use of them would almost certainly increase. Who cares?

    Those who are subsidising the costs of that behaviour.

  91. tgs

    Empire Strikes Back nailed it.

  92. Infidel Tiger

    I’m yet to hear about a weed smoking PM.

    Gillard admiited smoking dope and no that’s not a euphemism for Tim.

    Abbott has also admitted to smoking dope.

  93. Joe Goodacre

    Demosthenes,

    No, it isn’t, it’s an oft-repeated finding that anyone who participates in this discussion should be aware of, if they want to be taken seriously.

    It is a bold argument that lowering the cost of drugs won’t increase the demand. Maybe that is true, but it contradicts most people’s experience relating to price behaviour.

  94. Yobbo

    Let’s not forget swimming pools. Just a luxury that does nothing except increase the risk of drowning. Ban those too.

  95. Joe Goodacre

    Empire Strikes Back,

    By your reasoning, the following must be prohibited until the welfare state is dismantled:
    Alcohol
    Tobacco
    Sugar
    Trans-fats
    Prescription drugs
    Dogs
    Disposable packaging
    Private transport
    Arts degrees
    Religion
    Collingwood Football Club
    Booty calls
    Saturday night
    etc.

    I don’t enough about all these categories so some are supported by me, others would stay unchanged if I was given a vote.

    Currently the logic on here appears to be that because we can’t remove subsidies, we shouldn’t restrict actions which increase those subsidies.

    Anyone care to put the shoe on the other foot and argue where that logic take us?

  96. brc

    when access to drugs becomes open, most people freely choose mild versions and infrequent use. Despite the macho drinking culture of Australians past, most people choose mid-strength beer. Making anything illegal just ramps up the concentration so you can get short, sharp highs. Most bootlegging done during alcohol prohibition was in hard liquor, not 3.5% beer.

    This appears pure speculation. Maybe it’s true, however I don’t think that everyday experience supports this point. Bicycles are legal and people continue to push for the lightest and fastest. Food is legal and people continue to push for the best taste sensation. It appears a predictable feature of the market that competition encourages people to innovate and provide a better product for the same cost. Why would drugs be any different – isn’t it possible that in a free market, potency will increase?

    It’s not speculation at all. Given a (somewhat) free market in beer, people prefer a lower controlled dose of alcohol rather than a higher strength. It’s probably because hangovers suck.

    The bit about food and bikes are wrong. There is little market for intensely rich flavours like barely-edible curries and 90% cacao chocolate. You can buy light and fast bikes but the main market is for regular ‘good enough’ bikes. But comparing food and cycles to drugs is a poor choice, when alcohol is the most direct comparison.

    Legalization would lead to controlled doses of some description – probably plain packaging with warnings all over it as well. Of course some people will want to has 50 joints in a night until they pass out – same as they do with vodka- but for most, if they choose, they’ll opt for a decent high that they can control. This is already evident in the medical marijuana available in the USA.

    Look, I don’t smoke pot and I detest the harder drugs. The thought of legalization makes me uncomfortable – that’s my conservative side showing. But the hatch-potch of farce policies we have in place at the moment achieve nothing in terms of preventing drugs getting into peoples hands, but they do provide a handy income stream for criminals and create a giant black market which could be tapped to reduce some very real taxes. It’s time a society took a proper look at these things. Whining about reefer madness moves the conversation nowhere. Drugs are here. Drugs are staying here. The game is harm minimization – a big part of that is eliminating the criminal gangs that control the trade.

    It’s universally agreed that the US prohibition era was a complete failure. Why are we even having this conversation?

  97. stackja

    Yobbo
    #1257561, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    Let’s not forget swimming pools. Just a luxury that does nothing except increase the risk of drowning. Ban those too.

    Public or private? Few even today have private pools.

  98. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    There are sports with materially higher risks of injury than others (e.g. Rugby Union vs. Tai Chi). You can conceivably gain the benefits from participating in sport (e.g. increased fitness levels, social interactions, etc) from both high and low risk sports.

    Therefore, using your flawed logic the State should ban high risk sports because they impose burdens on taxpayers.

    Fair point.

    Obviously practical considerations go into answering these questions as well – such as politics being the art of the possible.

  99. stackja

    brc
    #1257568, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm Drugs are here.

    Not in my experience. Maybe Green electorates.

  100. rebel with cause

    What springs up in its replacement may be worse.

    Hard to believe that it would be worse than the system you propose where a team of bureaucrats tails me all day to make sure I’m not doing any activity you consider to be dangerous.

  101. Infidel Tiger

    Not in my experience. Maybe Green electorates.

    Good God man! Where do you live?

    p.s Some of your neighbours are probably engaging in coitus out of wedlock.

  102. brc

    Nobody is saying that usage wouldn’t go up – but it’s not necessarily true that the price would go down- I would expect once a supply chain and excise were figured in, the going price would be about the same. But price (at least for MJ) is not likely to be a deciding factor as from what I know, it’s pretty cheap anyway, and there is a limit to how much you can actually consume.

    Again. The fundamental mistake being made is that somehow drug use is significantly curtailed because it is currently illegal. Yes, it’s likely to increase at the margin, but it’s not going to double. Even if it does, there are offsetting savings from diverting police from tracking down crops, and increases in excise. More than enough to pay for some dope heads to spend their days drooling at a mirror.

  103. Empire Strikes Back

    Currently the logic on here appears to be that because we can’t remove subsidies, we shouldn’t restrict actions which increase those subsidies.

    That is not the argument and clearly there is no logic in your statement. How you arrived there is a mystery. The argument is: liberty is not dependent on the dismantling of the welfare state.

    You advocate restricting my personal freedom because some bad apples are costing you a few bucks. I get your grievance, but how I choose to get my rocks off is none of your business. Take it up with the bad apples and get the hell out of my way.

  104. brc

    stackja – I don’t know where you live, but 80% of the houses in my street have a pool. 3 people I know had a pool installed in the last 12 months. Private pools are definitely not in decline – save maybe for uninhabitable states where it’s too cold for such a mark of civilized living.

    As for your neighbourhood not containing any drug users. Well, sorry to burst your bubble. It has. I live in a decent area and know most of my neighbours. I don’t know for sure but I can identify those households where it is likely that some type of drug has been consumed on the odd occasion.

    Not all drug users look like meth-heads with needles hanging out of their arms.

  105. dave up north

    A few years back the Qld Police estimated the annual dope market was worth 4.5 billion dollars in Qld. Cambell should get a cut of that.

  106. Paridell

    Yobbo says, “Joe Goodacre is just an out and out fascist. If he had his way football would also be illegal.”

    You are aware, Yobbo (or perhaps you are not), that sport was glorified under fascism? That was one of the things its admirers in democratic countries praised so highly about it. Evidence: the warm reception given by the Women’s League of Health and Beauty to Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, head of the National Socialist Women’s Union, when she visited London in 1939. By then, the Sports Association organised by the Nazi Labour Front had 10,000 clubs and almost 2 million soccer players.

    Ergo, football would not be illegal under a latter-day fascist regime. It would be compulsory.

  107. Empire Strikes Back

    p.s Some of your neighbours are probably engaging in coitus out of wedlock

    Only if the neighbours are irreligious. Such activity is prohibited for the faithful. We know from this thread that prohibited activity does not occur, but if it did, the shaggers ought to get 10 hard no parole.

  108. Joe Goodacre

    Empire Strikes Back,

    liberty is not dependent on the dismantling of the welfare state

    Liberty can increase costs on others in a welfare state.

    A cost paid by someone else is a subsidy to the person who would otherwise have incurred the cost.

    Hence the statement that people on here are advocating for not restricting actions which increase subsidies.

    I’m sure that plenty of progressives would agree with you that liberty is not dependent on dismantling the welfare state. I disgaree with them.

    You advocate restricting my personal freedom because some bad apples are costing you a few bucks

    If you don’t actually do weed then this is a moot point. I’m restricting your hypothetical freedom – not your actual freedom. The only people whose actual freedom is being restricted are those who want to do drugs. To them, I would say that their beef is with those who want socialised medicine. It is the same logic as with the victims of racial profiling. The innocent Arab who is searched before they board a plane should be angry at Arab terrorists. Likewise, your grief is with proponents of the welfare state, not me.

  109. Freedom comes with responsibility.

    Does it? According to who?

    The implication is that freedom is conditional, and thus a privilege that can be taken away, rather than the right it clearly is. I have the right for you to leave me the fuck alone.

    Erm – that would be John Locke, actually, grandaddy of libertarianism.

    “To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
    Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

    The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”
    Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

    And that all men may be restrained from invading others rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution of the law of nature is, in that state, put into every man’s hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree, as may hinder its violation…”Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

  110. brc

    I’m beginning to understand that some of the people on this thread think of drugs as either a bowl of cocaine at a rock stars house party, or a dirt-covered junkie shooting up behind a dumpster. Because they see neither of these things in their daily life, they assume prohibition is working a treat.

    Drug use is a bit like childbirth, getting informed by watching movies leaves you with a very inaccurate impression of what actually goes on.

    That reminds me – I was once at a party in the Hollywood hills. Noone famous, just a bunch of PR and advertising people in a pretty modest house. They actually had a bowl of cocaine at the table. I didn’t partake. But I did watch a pretty young thing get snorted up and then dump her boyfriend for bringing the wrong type of beer, which was weird, because she had already drank one of them. That stuff makes people say and do weird things. It wasn’t my scene so I left. And got lost in all those winding little roads.

  111. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257572, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm
    tgs,

    There are sports with materially higher risks of injury than others (e.g. Rugby Union vs. Tai Chi). You can conceivably gain the benefits from participating in sport (e.g. increased fitness levels, social interactions, etc) from both high and low risk sports.

    Therefore, using your flawed logic the State should ban high risk sports because they impose burdens on taxpayers.

    Fair point.

    Obviously practical considerations go into answering these questions as well – such as politics being the art of the possible.

    So let me get this straight. I currently train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Admittedly I am a bad example, because I have private health cover, in order that I might get a rapid surgery on my knees (the most likely injury). The practice of BJJ has improved my health, and I participate in it because I enjoy it, and because I care for my health (I am stronger and fitter as a result). It is undoubtedly dangerous, but I care for my health, will not do callisthenics because they are ridiculous, and appreciate the ongoing mental challenge of the sport. I also want to improve and avoid injury, so I am smart about how I approach my training. Even assuming I don’t get health cover, what is the problem here? I know best how to live my life. I don’t want to be hurt. Even if your empiricism says I will be injured in a costly fashion (and you readily admit that you can’t quantify the benefits of the activity), what concern is it of yours? I imagine you are a fat, indolent shit; do I have a right to slap the third doughnut today from your fat, puckered lips?

  112. Empire Strikes Back

    If you don’t actually do weed then this is a moot point. I’m restricting your hypothetical freedom – not your actual freedom.

    Glorious weasel words. What’s the difference Joe?

    I’ll say it again – how I choose to get my rocks off is none of your business.

  113. Aristogeiton

    Philippa Martyr
    #1257603, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Phillipa, you are doing violence to the harm principle here.

  114. Joe Goodacre

    tgs,

    There are sports with materially higher risks of injury than others (e.g. Rugby Union vs. Tai Chi). You can conceivably gain the benefits from participating in sport (e.g. increased fitness levels, social interactions, etc) from both high and low risk sports.

    Therefore, using your flawed logic the State should ban high risk sports because they impose burdens on taxpayers.

    May I also make the point that I agree that some of my preferences may be illogical or based on incomplete or incorrect information. If we weren’t in a welfare state, any defects or inconsistencies in my reasoning as to which things should be banned would be at my own expense. In a welfare state, unfortunately everyone gets to experience the errors in my judgment, we all have to experience the errors and deficiencies in everyones judgment – that’s what welfare does. Makes others bear the costs of our decisions.

    Again our beef is with the welfare state – all these examples are merely symptoms of that underlying reality.

  115. Yobbo

    An adult on cocaine is a bit like a kid who’s had too much red cordial.

  116. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257610, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    [...]
    Again our beef is with the welfare state – all these examples are merely symptoms of that underlying reality.

    The beef is with illiberal twerps like you. The welfare state is a distraction you introduced from your fascistic tendencies.

  117. Joe Goodacre

    Empire Strikes Back,

    Glorious weasel words. What’s the difference Joe?

    There’s an immense difference, as with the introduction of any law preventing an action that one was never going to undertake.

    Sure I may understand your beef, but the actual damage to you is non-existent.

  118. Empire Strikes Back

    In a welfare state, unfortunately everyone gets to experience the errors in my judgment, we all have to experience the errors and deficiencies in everyones judgment – that’s what welfare does. Makes others bear the costs of our decisions.

    Not all Joe, some.

  119. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257619, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    Empire Strikes Back,

    Glorious weasel words. What’s the difference Joe?

    There’s an immense difference, as with the introduction of any law preventing an action that one was never going to undertake.

    Sure I may understand your beef, but the actual damage to you is non-existent.

    If I introduce a law expropriating your real property I am not curtailing your actual freedom but your hypothetical freedom: you could always not have acquired it in the first place.

    Idiot.

  120. Joe Goodacre

    rebel with cause,

    Hard to believe that it would be worse than the system you propose where a team of bureaucrats tails me all day to make sure I’m not doing any activity you consider to be dangerous.

    Fear not – no one is advocating that.

  121. Joe Goodacre

    Empire Strikes Back,

    Not all Joe, some.

    Agreed.

  122. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257627, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm
    [...]
    Fear not – no one is advocating that.

    The idea that you or your ideas would be feared is beyond parody.

  123. tgs

    There’s an immense difference, as with the introduction of any law preventing an action that one was never going to undertake.

    What a profoundly illiberal attitude to have.

  124. Joe Goodacre

    brc,

    Nobody is saying that usage wouldn’t go up

    Some people are making that argument – so we are agreed that usage would go up.

    it’s not necessarily true that the price would go down- I would expect once a supply chain and excise were figured in, the going price would be about the same. But price (at least for MJ) is not likely to be a deciding factor as from what I know, it’s pretty cheap anyway, and there is a limit to how much you can actually consume.

    As supply is illegal, a premium is attracted which represents the price people deem satisfactory to make it worthwhile breaking the law. With this gone, more competition comes in, innovation comes in and the price comes down. Maybe it won’t, but if I was in the business of weed futures I would be comfortable betting that price would be lower once the illegality premium was removed and economies of scale was brought to the industry.
    Again. The fundamental mistake being made is that somehow drug use is significantly curtailed because it is currently illegal.
    Firstly it may be illegal to use, but use is not punished.
    If use was actually punished, I suspect use would go down as would any behaviour if it was made more expensive.
    Secondly, I’m strongly of the view that being illegal increases the cost due to the monopoly drug dealers have. Without the illegality premium, weed would probably be as expensive as any other vegetable.
    Yes, it’s likely to increase at the margin, but it’s not going to double.
    Who knows what the situation will be like in 60 years.
    60 years ago no one was talking about gay marriage.
    Even if it does, there are offsetting savings from diverting police from tracking down crops, and increases in excise. More than enough to pay for some dope heads to spend their days drooling at a mirror.
    Maybe – this is a productive area of the discussion – are enforcement costs more expensive to taxpayers than the increased welfare costs. I tend to think that since it’s not currently illegal in the sense that users are punished, a significant portion of money that is spent is probably wasted because it only targets the supply side.

  125. I spoke at an AMA meeting quite a few years ago, discussing drug-reform, and the other speakers were a senior police officer and a headmaster* of a major independent school here in Hobart. The headmaster boasted of the good, friendly relationship he had with his students, and how they’d surely have told him if anyone were using illicit drugs at the school, but none did. I, sadly, had to inform him that I knew that many of his students smoked cannabis, and that I even knew of quite a few who were selling the stuff at his school and elsewhere.

    * a few years later he moved to WA but was then sacked by his new school (which he subsequently sued) for breaching the school’s internet policy he’d established—the school alleged that he’d searched the internet using the terms young and boys and erections which could, I suppose, have been for perfectly legitimate pedagogical purposes; the charge was dismissed by the magistrate after prosecutors declined to offer evidence.

  126. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    I’m continually amazed as to how much of your time you spend attacking people as opposed to discussing ideas.

    Why anyone would waste so much time on such pointless discussion is beyond me – but don’t let that deter you.

  127. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257660, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    Aristogeiton,

    I’m continually amazed as to how much of your time you spend attacking people as opposed to discussing ideas.

    Why anyone would waste so much time on such pointless discussion is beyond me – but don’t let that deter you.

    Your ‘ideas’ are facile; you don’t respond to any legitimate criticism thereof, no doubt leading you to the impression that it’s all personal.

  128. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    I imagine you are a fat, indolent shit; do I have a right to slap the third doughnut today from your fat, puckered lips?

    Doughnuts are yum – jujitsu away.

  129. Demosthenes

    Sport has health benefits – you’ve ignored those.

    Drugs have benefits too. Also, you are assuming large costs from drug use. I’d like some detail, please.

  130. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1257670, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm
    Aristogeiton,

    I imagine you are a fat, indolent shit; do I have a right to slap the third doughnut today from your fat, puckered lips?

    Doughnuts are yum – jujitsu away.

    Well, do I?

  131. Joe Goodacre

    Demosthenes,

    Drugs have benefits too

    Maybe they make people more productive. That hasn’t been my experience.

    Also, you are assuming large costs from drug use.

    I admit that my experiences and calculation as to the cost of drugs may not be agreed with by all.

    It’s possible that my assessment on the entire issue is incorrect. I’m not advocating for anyone to agree with me – you clearly have a different approach to the issue which is fair enough. I’ve shared how I would vote on the issue and why – but the fact that I’m forced to vote at all on the issue is due to the welfare state. That’s the crux of the situation.

  132. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Well, do I?

    Yes if you thought that fat people were making you pay more tax, and you wanted to ban food correlated with fat people. If I disagreed with your assumption (that being fat increases the burden on other taxpayers), which I don’t, my beef would be with the welfare state – not your particular interpretation of how best to limit the damage to yourself. I don’t believe anyone can know as a certainty what is the right answer in this scenario (i.e. what is the net effect on freedom) – I’m not going to hold you to an unrealistic standard of what research you could do yourself. It would be a different story if your believed the opposite to be true, but maliciously sort the states involvement for other reasons.

  133. a few years later he moved to WA but was then sacked by his new school (which he subsequently sued) for breaching the school’s internet policy he’d established—the school alleged that he’d searched the internet using the terms young and boys and erections which could, I suppose, have been for perfectly legitimate pedagogical purposes; the charge was dismissed by the magistrate after prosecutors declined to offer evidence.

    You do have the most interesting life.

  134. Hoaxx

    I can’t believe that none of you potheads posted this link as an argument.
    Obvious really…

    http://www.leafscience.com/2013/10/15/clinical-study-finds-thc-effective-anorexia-nervosa/

  135. Peter

    Some might argue that the welfare state is not a distraction, but the reality with which we have to deal.

    Those who refuse to accept this are beginning to sound remarkably like the Greens’ refusal to accept that a CO2 tax will fail while the rest of the world is burning coal in increasing quantities. It should give us pause when fundamentalist Libertarians sound so similar to fundamentalist Greens.

    Those who truly believe in Libertarianism must also believe that people should be persuaded to embrace it, rather than heckled for doing no more than pointing out that SOME of the arguments presented so far are deeply flawed.

    I believe that legalisation is probably the way to go in the long run, but if we do not approach it sensibly, we will do more harm than good to the cause of Liberty. One only has to look at what percentage of the population of the former Soviet Union prefers authority to anarchy and chaos.

  136. Aristogeiton

    Peter
    #1257799, posted on April 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm
    [...]
    It should give us pause when fundamentalist Libertarians sound so similar to fundamentalist Greens.

    Those who truly believe in Libertarianism must also believe that people should be persuaded to embrace it, rather than heckled for doing no more than pointing out that SOME of the arguments presented so far are deeply flawed.
    [...]
    I believe that legalisation is probably the way to go in the long run, but if we do not approach it sensibly, we will do more harm than good to the cause of Liberty.

    “I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.” (Margaret Thatcher)

  137. .

    It should give us pause when fundamentalist Libertarians sound so similar to fundamentalist Greens.

    They don’t so carry on.

    Those who truly believe in Libertarianism must also believe that people should be persuaded to embrace it, rather than heckled for doing no more than pointing out that SOME of the arguments presented so far are deeply flawed.

    You are being heckled because your critiques are crap.

    I believe that legalisation is probably the way to go in the long run, but if we do not approach it sensibly, we will do more harm than good to the cause of Liberty.

    This is how you legalise anything: repeal the law forbidding it.

  138. wreckage

    My decision, my consequence. You are either libertarian or totalitarian there really is no grey

    What total bullshit.

    That said, dope should be decriminalised.

  139. Peter

    Thankyou for proving my point…..

    Instead of demonstrating where I am incorrect, the responses are denial and insult – the tactics of those who cannot reason. The tactics of the Greens.

    I am coming rapidly to the conclusion that many here have little knowledge of history. ….. Which is a far better guide to human behaviour than just about anything else. The evidence of human history is that when human society does not have some kind of constraint upon its members, the result is chaos and predatory behaviour. All one has to do is understand how many totalitarian regimes have arisen because the majority prefer an oppressive government to chaos.

    As a believer in personal responsibility, I believe that social cohesion and moral culture are both more effective and philosophically preferable to government regulation. ….. The challenge to Libertarians is to demonstrate how they bring the benefits of Liberty without creating chaos.

    You can pull down the Ancien Regime and shout “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” all you like, but it takes more than high-sounding words to stop The Terror.

  140. Jazza

    Just WOW!
    Here I was thinking it was always the lefties who personally disparaged anyone with an opinion differing from theirs!

  141. Joe Goodacre

    Peter,

    Some might argue that the welfare state is not a distraction, but the reality with which we have to deal.

    Agreed.

    I believe that legalisation is probably the way to go in the long run, but if we do not approach it sensibly, we will do more harm than good to the cause of Liberty.

    Agreed – in the short run, knowing that the welfare state won’t be removed, advocates of legalisation of weed end up in the same camp as progressives – more freedom with no corresponding responsibility. Legalising weed is one of those policies that alienates social conservatives on both sides of the spectrum and appeals only to lovers of weed or libertarians ideologues who care more about hypothetical freedoms most will never use, at the expense of political capital within the broader elecorate. Make no mistake – the Greens (an environmental and progressive party) love weed. The difference between the Greens and some Libertarians on here is that the Greens aren’t silly enough to burn political capital on an issue that impacts few mainstream people.

    It’s no different than the Racial Discrimination Act. Sure a Libertarian argument can be made that we have a right to be racists and bigots. Since most of us will never want to exercise that freedom, what’s the point of framing the debate that way – it’s possible that the way the Liberals raised this issue is why there was a swing against Liberals in the second WA senate lection.

  142. Aristogeiton

    Peter
    #1258227, posted on April 9, 2014 at 6:49 am
    [...]
    I am coming rapidly to the conclusion that many here have little knowledge of history. ….. Which is a far better guide to human behaviour than just about anything else. The evidence of human history is that when human society does not have some kind of constraint upon its members, the result is chaos and predatory behaviour. All one has to do is understand how many totalitarian regimes have arisen because the majority prefer an oppressive government to chaos.

    Provide examples or shut up; this just sounds like preening nonsense otherwise. Since drugs were only criminalised at the turn of last century, what precisely are you talking about? Everybody is going to quit work, go on the dole and smoke reefer if it is decriminalised or legalised? This despite the fact that marijuana is readily available and cheaper than ever? The reason posters here are deriding your views is because they are stupid, not because of some Green conspiracy.

  143. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258259, posted on April 9, 2014 at 7:49 am
    [...]
    It’s no different than the Racial Discrimination Act. Sure a Libertarian argument can be made that we have a right to be racists and bigots. Since most of us will never want to exercise that freedom, what’s the point of framing the debate that way – it’s possible that the way the Liberals raised this issue is why there was a swing against Liberals in the second WA senate lection.

    Ignoring your difficulty with the separate concepts of ‘right’ and ‘freedom’, why do you think that the fact that most people do or do not want to express themselves in a certain manner is determinative of the morality of enjoining the behaviour? What right do you have to interfere with a person’s free expression; by virtue of the fact that you can muster a majority to support your bigotry? Basically, an appeal to violence?

  144. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258259, posted on April 9, 2014 at 7:49 am
    [...]
    Legalising weed is one of those policies that alienates social conservatives on both sides of the spectrum and appeals only to lovers of weed or libertarians ideologues who care more about hypothetical freedoms most will never use, at the expense of political capital within the broader elecorate.

    Find a principle you weasel.

  145. rickw

    Legalise marijuana by repealling all the ridiculous laws around it.
    Legalise concealed carry by repealling all the absurd gun regulations.
    End welfare

    A perfect balance.

    All of these concepts only came into play relatively recently in historical terms. Government had no great interest in restricting drugs until sensationalised stories of the supposed consequences emerged. Government had no great interest in restricting access or use of arms for self defence until the division between criminal behaviour and the weapons they used became completely blurred. Welfare is a relatively recent and unsustainable occurrance, in the past no one really cared if someone wasted their life smoking or drinking or taking drugs, because they weren’t funding that lifestyle choice via welfare.

    As for the supposed criminal ravaging of society by drug users. The concealed carry will sort that problem out very nicely should it ever arise.

    I think the apparent lack of support for de-criminalising marijuana is because there is a log-jamb of related issues that also need to be similtaneously addressed.

    Personally I am not in favour of a liberation of drug laws until my right to defend myself is reinstated so I can deal with any resultant criminality, and welfare is ended so that I don’t finish up funding someones habit.

  146. Peter

    Aristo….

    Examples? Do you not recognise that the French Revolution started out with some noble principles but so little practicality that it was taken over by fanatics and descended into despotism. Or that , even when that despotism was finally overthrown, it was replaced by a system that elevated one of the greatest Emporer-by-conquest in all of history?

    Or – as I think that I already have – I can cite the former Soviet Union in which the vacuum created b the deposing of the Communist regime was filled by criminals who were stronger and more organised by he government…… which in turn led to a resurrection of support for the communists and the election of an autocrat like Putin.

    Right out at the far end of the scale we have the Afghani Taliban getting support from the locals because at least the Talibs keep the bandits at bay, and at the other end we have the USA re-electing a statist President despite the freedoms enshrined in their Constitution and history, because the voters prefer comfort and the illusion of security.

    Now in the spirit of “put up or shut up”, it is your turn. Where are your examples of lawless societies that have not been distinguished by chaos and the predation of the strong upon the weak?

  147. Aristogeiton

    Peter
    #1258361, posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:17 am
    [...]
    Now in the spirit of “put up or shut up”, it is your turn. Where are your examples of lawless societies that have not been distinguished by chaos and the predation of the strong upon the weak?

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

    Very undergraduate.

    Example of a successful society with readily available drugs: America during the Gilded Age.

    I do like the suggestion that legalising marijuana will result in fascism or oligopoly.

  148. Peter

    Perhaps the question is whether the aim is to bang on about Rights on the internet, to to actually contribute to real, long-term change.

    My viewpoint is heavily influenced by the contrast between the French Revolution and the longer, slower but ultimately far more effective development of recognition of the Rights of the individual under the Anglo-American system.

    There is an old saying that you can win battles but lose the war. F we don’t fight the right battles at the right time, we lose in the long term. Being prepared to look at the long-term outcomes isn’t appeasement or lack of principle. It’s called “maturity”.

    As the old bull said to the young bull when they found the gate open into the heifer paddock. … ” We will not run down there and do a couple. We will WALK down o the heifers, and DO THEM ALL.”

  149. .

    Instead of demonstrating where I am incorrect, the responses are denial and insult – the tactics of those who cannot reason. The tactics of the Greens.

    Chest beating.

    You haven’t even looked at the copious evidence supplied against your argument. You are ignorant. When you are not ignorant, we will value your opinion.

    As a believer in personal responsibility, I believe that social cohesion and moral culture are both more effective and philosophically preferable to government regulation. ….. The challenge to Libertarians is to demonstrate how they bring the benefits of Liberty without creating chaos.

    Because your liberty ends where my body and property begins.

    You’re new to this, aren’t you?

    It’s no different than the Racial Discrimination Act. Sure a Libertarian argument can be made that we have a right to be racists and bigots. Since most of us will never want to exercise that freedom, what’s the point of framing the debate that way

    Because you are too stupid to realise giving the government control over speech is a bad thing and can be abused.

  150. Aristogeiton

    Peter
    #1258376, posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:28 am
    [...]
    My viewpoint is heavily influenced by the contrast between the French Revolution and the longer, slower but ultimately far more effective development of recognition of the Rights of the individual under the Anglo-American system.

    What a shallow bore you are. Again, this is a straw-man; who has suggested that we overthrow our democratic institutions in order to legalise marijuana? Nobody. I’ll take my principles over what you call ‘maturity’ any day, you smart-alec.

  151. .

    My viewpoint is heavily influenced by the contrast between the French Revolution and the longer, slower but ultimately far more effective development of recognition of the Rights of the individual under the Anglo-American system.

    What was the bodycount?

    Laws of Edward the Confessor
    Charter of liberties
    Scottish Coronation oath
    Magna Carta
    Thomas a Beckett
    Great charter of Ireland
    Wat Tyler’s rebellion
    Petition of right
    habeas corpus act
    English bill of rights
    Act of Settle ment
    repeal of penal laws
    US revolutionary war
    US Constitution & Bill of Rights
    Electoral reform (1832)
    Eureka Stockade, Armistar etc
    US Civil War & XIV amendment

    It took over 1000 years and millions of dead bodies to grant us the Anglo-American system.

  152. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Find a principle…

    a) it is anti-liberal in a welfare state to extend more freedom to people if that can result in a loss of freedom for others (i.e. through greater taxation);
    b) if you’re finding common ground with greenies on rights and failing to find common ground with other libertarians then you’re probably on the wrong side of the issue;
    c) pursuing principled arguments for major hypothetical increases in freedom, which result in little change in most peoples lives at the expense of broader political consensus on more important issues appears counter effective; and
    d) imperfect knowledge means that no one can know with certainty the net effect of extending these freedoms in a welfare state – anyone who has a really strong opinion on the morality of this issue is probably biased by some other consideration.

    Care to suggest an issue that these principles wouldn’t extend consistently across?

  153. Aristogeiton

    .
    #1258389, posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I love how the historical development of the Anglo-American politico-legal system, the bastion of liberalism, is used to boost an argument against individual liberty.

  154. .

    a) it is anti-liberal in a welfare state to extend more freedom to people if that can result in a loss of freedom for others (i.e. through greater taxation);

    Duh. The same with prohibition. QED.

    I love how the historical development of the Anglo-American politico-legal system, the bastion of liberalism, is used to boost an argument against individual liberty.

    Yeah I know. My point was to tell someone 1000 years ago they can be free if they waited that long and we killed a few tens of millions of people, they’d probably say no dice. Hence the French Revolution argument was equally irrelevant.

    Or is it?

    Let’s apply the same absurd standard (ala the Greens) as a precautionary principle on banning drugs in the first place.

    Since this was never done and prohibitionists IGNORE the evidence and bodycount of the drug war, we can ignore their evidence free arguments about rapid change (which only a naive child believe is going to happen rather than changing the status of what millions of people do anyway) etc.

  155. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258394, posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Priceless. That is one of the most unprincipled set of assertions I have ever read. b) and d) are not principles at all, and merely expressions of antipathy. c) is an argument against any specific principles and an appeal to moderation. I will leave others to beat you about the head in regards to a); you have not proven your premise that there will be greater welfare expenditure as a result of the change, and seem to ignore the increased tax revenue. You can levy the same argument form, using similarly specious assertions about cost and the welfare state, against any individual liberty. Pathetic.

  156. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Example of a successful society with readily available drugs: America during the Gilded Age.

    This was a period where total government spending was less than 10% of GDP.

    A period where there was no socialised medicine, pensions, single parent handouts, unemployment benefits and people were able to carry weapons as they saw fit.

    You’ve thrown up a straw man… very few people on here would argue on here that in those circumstances drugs should be legal because with the costs appropriately placed, the worst effects of improper usage would be kept in hand.

    It is precisely because 21st Century Australia is not in this situation that other Libertarians on here don’t want it legalised.

  157. Joe Goodacre

    You’ve thrown up a straw man… very few people on here would argue on here that in those circumstances drugs should be legal because with the costs appropriately placed, the worst effects of improper usage would be kept in hand.

    Correction – very few people on here would argue that they shouldn’t be legal.

  158. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258413, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:00 am
    [...]
    You’ve thrown up a straw man…

    Since drug prohibition has been in effect since the turn of last century, I suppose that you can never be proven wrong. You have been given modern examples of decreased regulation above, like the Netherlands and Portugal, but you ignore those. Also, this is not a straw-man; Peter challenged me to show a society which had not descended into anarchy, one assumes where drug laws were liberal.

    It is precisely because 21st Century Australia is not in this situation that other Libertarians on here don’t want it legalised.

    You’re not a libertarian.

  159. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Priceless. That is one of the most unprincipled set of assertions I have ever read. b) and d) are not principles at all, and merely expressions of antipathy

    All are ‘A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning’ – i.e. principles.

    In the case of the d), a failure to recognise that as a central principle to any discussion regarding increasing freedom in a welfare state is to say the opposite – that you believe that we can have perfect knowledge of the effects of legalisation. You will be pleased to know that you share a principle of perfect knowledge with central planners of the former USSR. You also share that principle with people arguing for global warming. I’m not arguing that you believe in either of these, only that they shared the same confidence you do in understanding and anticipating the effects in a complex system.

  160. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258423, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:12 am
    [...]
    You will be pleased to know that you share a principle of perfect knowledge with central planners of the former USSR. You also share that principle with people arguing for global warming

    Would that I had your wisdom and humility, you odious little man.

  161. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Since drug prohibition has been in effect since the turn of last century, I suppose that you can never be proven wrong.

    Said another way – drug prohibition coincided with the increase in government spending. Interesting.

    You have been given modern examples of decreased regulation above, like the Netherlands and Portugal, but you ignore those.

    It is optimistic to think that the consequences of these policies can be understood over such short timeframes.

    As Zhou Enlai was meant to have said when asked in the 1970′s to comment on the effects of the French Revolution – ‘it is too early to say’.

  162. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Would that I had your wisdom and humility, you odious little man.

    Another example of failing to address the issue.

    Do you agree that central planners and global warming enthusiasts share the same propensity as you to have confidence in their understanding as to the workings of complex social systems?

  163. Peter

    OK….

    The historical argument is not that the Anglosphere arrived at a system based (at least theoretically) on principles of individual responsibility and liberty cheaply and easily. The argument is that those who have tried to do it quickly and without convincing the majority have FAILED. There is no easy way to do this, and it is the failure to appreciate this that is “shallow”.

    How do any of you propose to bring about a Libertarian state without convincing the majority? By force?

  164. Peter

    Aristo…

    In fact, the straw-man is yours…..

    I am not equating the repeal of a minor – in my view – prohibition with the overthrow of government. What I have demonstrated is that society requires some form of order and that simply abandoning one form f order without thinking through the issues is a recipe for bad results…… and this holds true at all levels, whether it is the overthrow of government or giving the car keys to children.

  165. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258425, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:19 am
    [...]
    You have been given modern examples of decreased regulation above, like the Netherlands and Portugal, but you ignore those.

    It is optimistic to think that the consequences of these policies can be understood over such short timeframes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5BMGYkVdX8

    ‘I see this happening on all sorts of issues, from Federal Reserve policies on across the board. You say: “Here’s this wonderful program, and it will do wonderful things and the burden of proof is on others to show that it will not do those things”, and no matter how long it’s been going on, it’s never long enough. If it fails there just wasn’t enough commitment, the budget wasn’t big enough, it should have had a larger staff, wider powers. But there is never any sense of a burden of proof on you to [...] advance the empirical evidence to support what you’ve been doing.
    [...]
    Well, what is a sufficient period? [...] What temporal units are we talking about? Centuries? Decades?’
    (Thomas Sowell)

  166. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258427, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:21 am
    Aristogeiton,

    Would that I had your wisdom and humility, you odious little man.

    Another example of failing to address the issue.

    Do you agree that central planners and global warming enthusiasts share the same propensity as you to have confidence in their understanding as to the workings of complex social systems?

    So the ‘issue’ is now whether groups of people share propensities? I thought we were arguing about drug policy.

    Here’s the problem. Your argumentation is muddled, tends toward special pleading, and you repeatedly attempt to change the grounds of the argument to suit yourself. We’ve had the appeal to complexity, the appeal the moderation, the appeal to the populace. At the end of the day, you are arguing for the current state of drug prohibition. I am not going to treat your arguments seriously when you ignore contrary evidence and repeatedly change the subject.

  167. Aristogeiton

    Peter
    #1258433, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:26 am
    OK….

    The historical argument is not that the Anglosphere arrived at a system based (at least theoretically) on principles of individual responsibility and liberty cheaply and easily. The argument is that those who have tried to do it quickly and without convincing the majority have FAILED. There is no easy way to do this, and it is the failure to appreciate this that is “shallow”.

    How do any of you propose to bring about a Libertarian state without convincing the majority? By force?

    False dichotomy.

  168. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    I’ve watched the episode that you’re referring to and know the particular context he said those words.

    You’re either new to Sowell, don’t understand his overall view or you’re purposefully using his name in vain. Sowell has written in many other places of his respect for Hayek and his work on the limitations of knowledge.

    Milton Friedman would disagree with you as well. One of the final speeches he gave before passing away was that people shouldn’t be too militant about this stuff because no one really knows that they are right.

    You bluster about a lot which indicates you may have a superficial understanding of a lot of this stuff and none of the humility that comes with recognising that we are talking about complex social systems.

  169. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258455, posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:50 am
    [...]
    Milton Friedman would disagree with you as well. One of the final speeches he gave before passing away was that people shouldn’t be too militant about this stuff because no one really knows that they are right.

    Posted Friedman’s take on drug policy upthread. I suppose he’s too militant? Or was he high when he consistently advocated for legalisation?

  170. .

    Deregulation is central planning! Too much freedom too quickly is bad!

    Right. Milton Friedman was the lackey of Allende and Poland and the Czechs need “guided democracy” like Malaysia.

    You enemies of freedom are off your fucking rockers.

  171. .

    You’re either new to Sowell, don’t understand his overall view or you’re purposefully using his name in vain. Sowell has written in many other places of his respect for Hayek and his work on the limitations of knowledge.

    Bullshit. Bullshit and lies. You’re going to enforce prohibition because of the conceit of central planning? For fucks sake. This country is rooted.

  172. Aristogeiton

    .
    #1258463, posted on April 9, 2014 at 11:00 am
    You’re either new to Sowell, don’t understand his overall view or you’re purposefully using his name in vain. Sowell has written in many other places of his respect for Hayek and his work on the limitations of knowledge.

    Bullshit. Bullshit and lies. You’re going to enforce prohibition because of the conceit of central planning? For fucks sake. This country is rooted.

    “Drug raids are good politics, but they don’t make a dent in the problem.

    Like prohibition, the ban on drugs has been a financial bonanza for organized crime, and its profits have financed the corruption of law enforcement agencies, politicians, and judges.

    It is a dangerous illusion that we have the omnipotence to undo every evil. A crusading mentality can easily makes things worse. Drugs are inherently a problem for the individual who takes them, but they are a much bigger problem for society, precisely because they are illegal.

    This is just one more area where we have to recognize government has its limits. Ignoring those limits is not only reckless arrogance, but dangerous.”
    (Thomas Sowell, Compassion Versus Guilt, and other Essays)

  173. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Posted Friedman’s take on drug policy upthread. I suppose he’s too militant? Or was he high when he consistently advocated for legalisation?

    The issue is not Milton’s particular opinion on drugs policty. Milton was always open to the possibility that he could be wrong. One can strongly argue a position without thinking that everyone that disagrees with them is a moron. Milton walked that line well, hence why he was a widely respected across the spectrum. I don’t think you walk that line well and particularly overestimate how well anyone can know the ‘fact’s regarding the various costs and benefits. Overestimating how well we can understand the workings of complex social systems explains most of the positions of the Left. Again I think you’re on the wrong side of the principle (how certain we can be of these things) if central planners and global warming proponents agree with you.

  174. tgs

    Don’t use his name in vain, Aristogeiton!

    /sarcasm

  175. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258490, posted on April 9, 2014 at 11:32 am
    Aristogeiton,

    Posted Friedman’s take on drug policy upthread. I suppose he’s too militant? Or was he high when he consistently advocated for legalisation?

    The issue is not Milton’s particular opinion on drugs policty. Milton was always open to the possibility that he could be wrong. One can strongly argue a position without thinking that everyone that disagrees with them is a moron. Milton walked that line well, hence why he was a widely respected across the spectrum. I don’t think you walk that line well and particularly overestimate how well anyone can know the ‘fact’s regarding the various costs and benefits. Overestimating how well we can understand the workings of complex social systems explains most of the positions of the Left. Again I think you’re on the wrong side of the principle (how certain we can be of these things) if central planners and global warming proponents agree with you.

    What a snivelling load of bullshit. I don’t understand Sowell, except to the extent that he expressed identical views? Friedman wouldn’t agree with me, except to the extent that he also passionately argued against prohibition? In the end, however, we get to the Brombergian distinction. It’s either the case that one needs to read ‘between the lines’ of the express views of Sowell and Friedman, or that it’s just a matter of tone, and Friedman was more polite than I – and asides, he walks a better ‘line’ (whatever that may mean). You have reached peak retard here.

  176. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Arguing without a shadow of a doubt that Sowell and Milton would have the same opinion as to the appropriate course of action in Australia which has different laws and cultural experiences is bold.

  177. Aristogeiton

    Also, stop misusing the fucking apostrophe, you want-wit.

  178. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258502, posted on April 9, 2014 at 11:41 am
    Aristogeiton,

    Arguing without a shadow of a doubt that Sowell and Milton would have the same opinion as to the appropriate course of action in Australia which has different laws and cultural experiences is bold.

    Yes. America during the 70′s and 80′s was worlds apart from Australia is now. By the way, I am arguing no such fucking thing. You are arguing that because you have been caught out lying, and because it is in your nature to change the terms of the debate and verbal your opponents.

  179. Aristogeiton

    s/is now/as now/

  180. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1258490, posted on April 9, 2014 at 11:32 am
    [...]
    I don’t think you walk that line well and particularly overestimate how well anyone can know the ‘fact’s regarding the various costs and benefits. Overestimating how well we can understand the workings of complex social systems explains most of the positions of the Left.

    Again, an argument introduced by you but attributed to me, and part of a continuing attempt to change the subject matter of the debate to one which you think provides you stronger ground. Then comes the argumentum ad hominem by association.

  181. brc

    Personally I am not in favour of a liberation of drug laws until my right to defend myself is reinstated so I can deal with any resultant criminality, and welfare is ended so that I don’t finish up funding someones habit.

    rickw- one of the main arguments for legalization is to reduce the price of drugs. This mainly applies to heroin which has a much higher price. I suspect very few people have ever been robbed to buy weed, because the price is pretty low and you can always grow your own if you want. The number of personal and property crimes to buy beer and cigarettes is pretty low. In a legalized society the streets would be safer without the need for concealed carry.

    One of the massive hidden costs for drug prohibition is the amount of crime that goes on to fund buying. This is done to pay the prices caused by illegality and restrictions on supply. The proceeds from burglaries tends to go into organized crime, making them more powerful and increasing the chance that corruption of the police will happen.

    As I’ve already posted – would most of us really care if a chunk of people were spaced out on the couch every day, if they stopped robbing us to pay for it? It sounds like a pretty good trade off to me. I lived next to a house full of drug dealers once. I would gladly have let them spend the welfare they were no doubt already getting on shooting up or snorting up or lighting up and watching ren and stimpy, if it stopped the endless parade of cars and strangers wandering in and out, and the occasional all-out brawls over who knows what.

    Everyone bleating about welfare probably thinks that lots of lay-about habitual drug users aren’t currently collecting welfare and ending up in Medicare. Well, they no doubt are. So we pay twice – once for their welfare, and once again in increased insurance and security costs as well as the cost of robberies. And that extra money is going into the hands of people who don’t pay tax and run criminal gangs.

    People want to argue that drugs are bad and societies shouldn’t have them – points with which I agree. But it takes a special kind of blindness not to see that we are currently in the worst of both worlds – drugs are everywhere and the benefits exclusively flow to criminals and corrupt law enforcement. We have all the costs and the benefits flow to people who don’t pay tax or follow the laws. That is perverse.

  182. Yobbo

    Since drug prohibition has been in effect since the turn of last century, I suppose that you can never be proven wrong.

    Actually many currently illegal drugs have only been illegal since about 1960. So we can in fact prove them wrong because these drugs were readily available alongside a generous welfare state for many decades.

    They were banned purely out of moral panic. No other reason.

  183. Paridell

    Ah, our old friend “moral panic”.

    Sure to be invoked when resistance is offered to a dodgy idea.

  184. Joe Goodacre

    Dot,

    You’re going to enforce prohibition because of the conceit of central planning?

    You’ve mixed issues.

    The primary argument by libertarians against legalising weed in a welfare state is that freedom comes with responsibility for the costs of our choices. Without the responsibility, freedom should be limited if the use or abuse of a particular substance will increase the burden on others.

    There is a long history associated with the unregulated use of weed – after this experience, many countries have consistently referred to problems of criminality, mental illness and stupour when weed was unregulated. The study below into the history of weed in Egypt (a country whose history with the drug goes back far longer than western countries) is an example of the long links between these social costs and the drug.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1911881/pdf/bullnyacadmed00061-0046.pdf

    A few on here have referred to Sowell – he was also a big fan of Justice Oliver Wendell Homes Jnr and this particular quote…
    The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience… The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.
    Prohibition of weed is best seen in this light – many countries recorded similar experiences with unregulated weed use and the proponents of prohibition were basing their arguments for prohibition on the basis of these experiences. To argue centuries later that they were wrong (despite no one here living through a society with long term unregulated drug use) and that a couple of decade long trials in countries such as Portugal and the Netherland are more informative than a century of experiences in a variety of other places appears wishful thinking. Conservatives attach more weight to the experience of hundreds of millions of people as opposed to simply believing our own judgments. I rely upon these experiences in my own assessment that we have already left prohibition of use (no one is seriously punished for use), the welfare state is larger than ever historically and greater legalisation of supply holds few upsides and a lot of potential downside to overall freedom.
    The absence of perfect knowledge is not raised to justify prohibition – it is raised to indicate that anyone who thinks that they know without a doubt what the best or most moral course of action is, shares the same confidence in their understanding of complex social systems as central planners.

  185. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1259695, posted on April 10, 2014 at 9:23 am

    You’re a twit.

    That you still attempt to marshall Sowell to your cause, and the fallacious manner in which you endeavour to do so, this despite it being proved that he held the contrary view, is a staggering exercise in dishonesty.

  186. Demosthenes

    Just WOW!
    Here I was thinking it was always the lefties who personally disparaged anyone with an opinion differing from theirs!

    Anyone who genuinely (as opposed to banter and heat-of-the-moment exagerration) thinks bad behaviour is dictated by political preference is either developmentally challenged, or just plain stupid.

  187. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    This is another example where you argue what you want, regardless of what is actually said.

    We’re agreed that Sowell is in principle, against prohibition.

    So am I.

    That is a separate from the issue of whether the best way to get to a situation consistent with that principle is to immediately repeal prohibition laws regardless of what welfare state is in place.

    Libertarians can disagree over the practical question of the path to a particular principle whilst still being in agreement on the theoretical principle.

    Sowell has indicated that he falls on the side in the case of the US of believing that the costs of prohibition are greater than its benefits. That is an opinion based upon his experience within the US. There are substantial cultural differences between the various states of the US, let alone between Australia and the US. These can relate to usage rates, associated crime rates, incarceration rates, enforcement strategies and supply considerations (such as the ease or difficulty in practice of preventing importation or cultivation of these substances). There are different welfare systems between the states, let alone differences to what welfare is available in Australia. It’s possible for Libertarians to disagree on the applicability of Sowell’s US opinion to the Australian experience.
    Nowhere have I said that Sowell supports my judgment on the situation in Australia. That would be an absurd comment – equally as absurd as saying that Sowell would support your judgment.

    Where I have referred to Sowell myself is a separate issue to the question of prohibition. My reference relates to your propensity to speak in absolute terms on this topic, where anyone who disagrees with you is either a moron or a totalitarian fascist. Both Sowell and Friedman are fans of Hayek, in particular his work on the limitations of knowledge within complex social systems. Both recognise that given the limitations of our knowledge, no one knows with certainty the actual outcome of intended changes. There is normally a recognition on the Right of the limitations of our ability to predict with certainty outcomes in a complex social system. You appear to disagree with them on this principle and lead with the chin with a confidence that shares the same company with people normally associated with the Left – i.e. central planners and global warmers.

  188. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1260136, posted on April 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Lies, bullshit and fallacy.

  189. Joe Goodacre

    What a surprise.

  190. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1260160, posted on April 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm
    What a surprise.

    What happened to your distinction between actual and apparent freedom? What was it in Sowell and Freidman’s analysis of the failure of drug prohibition which is so peculiar to the USA? What empirical evidence do you have which indicates differently? You still persist with the ad hominem by association; how do you think it advances your argument? How does Sowell and Friedman being ‘fans of Hayek’ (your words) translate their express arguments against prohibition, made in many cases upon considerations of broad principle, into something else? Do you think parroting the phrase ‘complex social systems’ makes you appear smart?

    This is all dribble, bullshit and lies. You have humiliated yourself here and made provably and proved wrong statements about two respected economists. You would think that slinking away with your tail between your legs would be the least you could do. But no, the bloviating continues. The distractions, lies, misdirection, fine distinctions and recent inventions. You are a sickening little man.

  191. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    What happened to your distinction between actual and apparent freedom?

    Another issue you have mixed up – this was relevant in the context of responding to people who were saying:

    a) how repressed they were by my opinion; and
    b) that the principle on this particular issue was more important than the practical politics.

    What relevance does it have to my comments above?

    What was it in Sowell and Freidman’s analysis of the failure of drug prohibition which is so peculiar to the USA? What empirical evidence do you have which indicates differently?

    You’ve shifted the burden of proof – if relying on an expert opinion given in the context of the US it’s your responsibility to argue on what basis it would be the same. How does the enforcement of prohibition in all the states of the US compare with Australia? What bearing does Australia being an island continent have on the economics of policing importation vs the US sharing a land border with Mexico? What are the relevant similarities between the welfare systems? Were usage rates comparable prior to prohibition? All these questions affect the equation of calculating the net burden on other taxpayers. Sowell for instance lives in California – an area that can barely keep out illegal immigrants, let alone weed. Why would we assume the same economics of enforcement between Australia and California?
    How does Sowell and Friedman being ‘fans of Hayek’ (your words) translate their express arguments against prohibition, made in many cases upon considerations of broad principle, into something else?
    Please provide a quote where I have said that Sowell and Friedman were ‘for’ prohibition.
    This is an example of you arguing with a strawman version of my comments – I suspect that you will have difficulty providing a quote.
    Do you think parroting the phrase ‘complex social systems’ makes you appear smart?
    Appearances have nothing to do with it – does this suggest that you’re not familiar with Hayek’s theory? It would explain why you’ve mixed issues.

    This is all dribble, bullshit and lies. You have humiliated yourself here and made provably and proved wrong statements about two respected economists.
    See above – it appears you’ve misunderstood what was being argued.

  192. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1260263, posted on April 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm
    [...]
    You’ve shifted the burden of proof – if relying on an expert opinion given in the context of the US it’s your responsibility to argue on what basis it would be the same.

    I did no such thing. As I have pointed out above, this is your tactic to change the subject. This is pathetic, undergraduate argumentation.

    Do you think parroting the phrase ‘complex social systems’ makes you appear smart?
    Appearances have nothing to do with it – does this suggest that you’re not familiar with Hayek’s theory? It would explain why you’ve mixed issues.

    I’ve read Hayek’s essay ‘The pretence of knowledge’ in “New Studies”. Similar ideas appear in his works on legal philosophy. You self-important little twat.

    Please provide a quote where I have said that Sowell and Friedman were ‘for’ prohibition.
    This is an example of you arguing with a strawman version of my comments – I suspect that you will have difficulty providing a quote.

    Here, clear as day:

    You’re either new to Sowell, don’t understand his overall view or you’re purposefully using his name in vain. Sowell has written in many other places of his respect for Hayek and his work on the limitations of knowledge.

    Milton Friedman would disagree with you as well. One of the final speeches he gave before passing away was that people shouldn’t be too militant about this stuff because no one really knows that they are right.

    You fucking liar.

  193. .

    Joe Goodacre
    #1259695, posted on April 10, 2014 at 9:23 am
    Dot,

    You’re going to enforce prohibition because of the conceit of central planning?

    You’ve mixed issues.

    The primary argument

    Eat a dick pal. Don’t conflate the arguments and then tell me I’ve mixed them up when I point out how absurd your argument is. To wit, it isn’t an argument at all.

  194. Aristogeiton

    .
    #1260297, posted on April 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm
    Joe Goodacre
    #1259695, posted on April 10, 2014 at 9:23 am
    Dot,

    You’re going to enforce prohibition because of the conceit of central planning?

    You’ve mixed issues.

    The primary argument

    Eat a dick pal. Don’t conflate the arguments and then tell me I’ve mixed them up when I point out how absurd your argument is. To wit, it isn’t an argument at all.

    You just don’t understand the towering complexity of the argument here, Dot. Drs. Sowell and Friedman would agree with Joe; he told us so, and is on a nickname basis with the learned Dr. Friedman (calling him ‘Milt’). They would wave their hands, mumble something about ‘complex social systems’, offer a prayer to F. A. Hayek and bless whatever Joe had to say; then renouncing all previous views. If only you could stop ‘mixing issues’ (whatever that may mean).

    On second thought, make that two dicks.

  195. Aristogeiton

    Token
    #1260913, posted on April 11, 2014 at 9:25 am
    Does anyone have an opinion as to why the settlements are morally ok or not ok?

    I’d love for the Zorastraians, Jews, Christians, Alawis and other minorities to get the same legal rights and civil protections across the Middle East that Palestinians & Israeli Arabs (including gay ones) get in Israeli.

    Can we hand the Mediterranean Basin back to Italy, or do we have to go further back?

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