Ideology Bound Libertarians Look a Lot Like Leftists

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Libertarians on Drugs #2

Mark Thornton, writing for the libertarian Mises Daily, points out that “drug reform” is a hot issue. By drug reform, he means decriminalization or legalization of drug use.

He writes:

Political candidates, politicians, former presidents, interest groups, and even the Global Commission on Drug Policy are all calling for drug-policy reform

He rhetorically asks “why the interest in this reform?” and then answers his own question:

…. the more important reason for the interest in this issue is economic sense. Drug prohibition is a burden on taxpayers. It is a burden on government budgets. It is a burden on the criminal-justice system. It is a burden on the healthcare system. The economic crisis has intensified the pain from all these burdens. Legalization reduces or eliminates all of these burdens. It should be no surprise that alcohol prohibition was repealed at the deepest depths of the Great Depression.

Mark Thornton speaking in Mises University 2008, photo Wikimedia: Alfrpunt

Mark is as wrong as he can be. Firstly, alcohol does not pose the same problems as addictive narcotics and is not comparable. Secondly, drug prohibition is not the burden. Illegal drug sales and use, and the cartels that commit the crime of selling illegal drugs, are a burden — a burden that is exacerbated by an administration that refuses to stop smugglers. Mark is blaming the victims for the crime. Thirdly, he is relying on false figures released by an incompetent Portuguese government trying to cover up a flawed policy.

The economic burden he mentions is intensified exponentially by our open borders policy and tolerance of illegal immigration. Thousands of Mexicans are now crossing the border into the US with huge shipments of narcotics in vehicles, as shown here

…or bales of marijuana strapped to their backs, as shown here.

Yet this same Mark Thornton who advocates legalizing illegal drugs precisely on economic grounds, also criticizes those of us who want to keep illegal aliens out and keep the borders closed for economic reasons – i.e., to protect American jobs in a time of record unemployment. Thus, through convoluted logic worthy of a mental contortionist, he wants us to believe that two of the main contributors to the Western economic malaise are in fact beneficial.

He is right when he states that one main problem with immigration is government largesse extended to them. But it is unrealistic to advocate for illegal immigrants at a time when our welfare state has never been more generous with your money and when jobs have never been more scarce. According to Milton Friedman, whom libertarians like to consider one of their own when such is convenient, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.”

In a perfect world, we could open the borders and legalize drugs without fear because no one would use drugs to the extent of causing anyone harm, and immigrants would not be lured by free schools and hospitals and other social assistance but rather by a drive to earn money honestly by the sweat of their brow.

But we don’t have that world – quite the opposite. So why talk about hypothetical policies that might word in a utopia that simply will never be?

But Mark is worse than just a Polyanna. He is either disingenuous or self-deceived when he refers to the Cato report showing that Portugal’s “success” with their drug decriminalization experiment. The fact that it was the libertarian Cato Institute that released the report should raise a red flag because their clientele all support drug legalization/decriminalization and have already bought into the highly suspect hypothesis that drug liberalization will automatically redound to everyone’s good. They should also raise an eyebrow at the thought that it was the nearly bankrupt Portuguese government that released the fishy-sounding facts on which it rests – a government that has a vested (financial) interest in wanting the world to believe in it now that the risk rating agencies no longer do.

This was my line of reasoning when I set about doing an online search for a web site in Portugal that would shed some light on this. Now not every American can search the foreign press in a variety of languages, and this language barrier is one of the setbacks for US scholars and journalists. But because of my translation background, non-English foreign reports are one of my specialites and a good reason to visit Laigle’s Forum, where language is not a barrier to accessing truth.

What I found in my Portuguese-language search (I would never have found it in English) went beyond my wildest dreams, and I published a preliminary article on it here.

Gulag Note: Fore more, see the GB tag, Libertarians on Drugs

Don HankFrom 1971 to 2009, Don Hank was the owner and operator of a technical translation agency. He has translated professionally from over 20 languages and is the author of Japanese-to-English Technical Translation Manual and French-English Dictionary of Aluminum Manufacturing Terms.  Since 2006, he has been the owner/operator of the Christian news and views site Laigle’s Forum ( His straightforward and common-sense articles on politics, economics, science, government and culture have been published in WorldNetDaily, Canada Free Press, Christian Worldview Network, Etherzone, FedUpUSA, Renew America, Desert Conservative and Midia Sem Mascara.

Graphics added by Gulag Bound

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