Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some Great Questions from Don Boudreaux

Don Boudreaux poses an excellent series of about 16 thought-provoking questions in his most recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial, here are six of my favorites:

1. Why are the pundits and politicians who most fear the motives and the power of private corporations typically also the most strident advocates of higher tariffs to protect these corporations from competition?

2. Why do so many conservatives who profess dedication to individual liberty oppose the liberty of adults to smoke marijuana and to consume other narcotics?

3. Why do so many "progressives" believe that higher marginal tax rates on incomes will not dampen workers' efforts to earn income, but that higher marginal tax ("tariff") rates on imports will dampen importers' efforts to supply imports?

4. Why do so many "progressives" who preen publicly about their magnanimity toward the poor want to prevent foreign workers -- most of whom are far poorer than is any American -- from bettering their lots by competing freely against relatively rich American workers?

5. In the same vein, why do so many "progressives" -- nearly all of whom seem to regard differences in income earnings across workers to be an Olympian injustice -- support protectionist policies that artificially enhance the incomes earned by relatively rich American workers by artificially reducing the incomes earned by much-poorer foreign workers? Why is this greater income inequality of no concern to "progressives"?

6. Why are "progressives" madly obsessed with inequality of incomes but not with inequality of work effort, risk taking, prudence, courage, honesty, integrity, ambition and dedication? Monetary incomes, after all, are largely a result of the application of these qualities: Those who apply more of these qualities to their lives and careers generally earn higher incomes than are earned by those who apply fewer of these qualities to their lives and careers.

77 Comments:

At 12/27/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Simple. They have never really think about what they profess, but only regurgitate what they've been indoctrinated to think. In fact they don't think at all. They only feel.

 
At 12/27/2011 2:41 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Why do so many conservatives who profess dedication to individual liberty oppose the liberty of adults to smoke marijuana and to consume other narcotics?"


Because they rightfully believe that the loss of liberty in this case will be suffered by those who are tasked with cleaning up the mess created by drug abusers.

 
At 12/27/2011 2:48 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Simple.

Liberals and conservatives believe in canards and shibboleths

Want to cut income taxes Don Boudreaux?

I do too.

Here is a list of federal agencies that eat your income taxes, listed by number of employees who draw salaries and then pensions and health care on your tax dollar.

Defense 3,200,000
Veterans Affairs 240,000 

Homeland Security 200,000
Treasury 162,119 

Justice 124,870 

USDA 100,000 

DOT 100,000
Health and Human Services 62,999 

Interior 57,232 

Commerce 41,711 

NASA 19,198 

EPA 18,879
State 18,000 

Labor 16,818 

Energy 14,000 

GSA 14,000 



Gee, what agencies do we cut in order to cut taxes?

 
At 12/27/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger Craig said...

2. Why do so many conservatives who profess dedication to individual liberty oppose the liberty of adults to smoke marijuana and to consume other narcotics?

I have lived in low rent(poor) accommodation and had my children suffer through the ungodly stench and headaches of weed smoked in profusion by our neighbors. My wife as a child suffered through sever psychological abuse as a result of recreational narcotic use by her carer.
People who espouse the position given in the second question never have these experiences under their belt. Rather, it is from a place of naivety so extreme, that it has become obtuse. Do some engage in the illicit recreational activities responsibly? Sure. Many however, do not. For the very simple reason that irresponsible people act irresponsibly, without one whit of consideration given to others.
Here's a return question: Why do people who espouse the naive crap in the question you gave never once think of the victims their so called oh so enlightened libertarianism would result in?
As I said, when you have first hand experience from the victim end, your position changes. Remember the old joke: The only difference between a liberal and a conservative is that a liberal hasn't been mugged yet! Same applies here.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:13 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

craig-

do you not see the glaring flaw in your argument?

that happened when drugs were illegal.

that mess exists anyway. there is no way to ban something in that much demand, and that is far from a common, representative situation.

che-

you argument doesn't make any sense. legal drugs take away liberty? BS. who are these "people cleaning up the mess"? what about all the people who live in violent neighborhoods because of illegal drug dealing? they gain a great deal of liberty by not being victimized by well funded gangs.

they win big. so do all those who chose to use drugs responsibly.

and this mythical "liberty losing cleanup crew" simply does not exist. tax drugs, pay counselors. what's so difficult about that? who loses liberty?

based on you previous arguments, you'll claim addicts, but that's an inconsistent augment. shall we ban everyhting addictive? video games? gambling? smoking? booze? sex? why do you get to draw this arbitrary line?

and why punish the majority because a few cannot handle freedom? i find this a very surprising tack for you to take given your general inclinations toward individual liberty and responsibility. it seems out of line with my understanding of your other views.

the response to someone knifing someone else is not to ban anyone from having a kitchen knife, nor is the response to alcoholism banning alcohol (and look at how well it worked when they tried).

all you get is organized crime and and marginalized, criminalized group of citizens that in most cases harmed no other people and in the event that they did, were already answerable under law. you don't need to ban booze to prosecute drunken child abuse.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:14 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Because they rightfully believe that the loss of liberty in this case will be suffered by those who are tasked with cleaning up the mess created by ___________ {insert your favorite mess created by.... }

but putting 18 years olds in prison with hardened criminals as punishment for have weed/etc on their person is worse if you inevitably turn him lose later and with a prison record cannot get a job and is driven back to illegal drugs and receiving entitlements.

we have more people in prison than any other nation in the world and yet we say we are the fountain of liberty....

which is worse..recreational drug use or permanent unemployment and crime?

our drug policies reward catching and imprisoning the youngest and dumbest which we then turn lose and pay them via entitlements and property crimes.

but it's okay.. we've no provided them with a super "fence" - Ebay.

the ultimate capitalist antidote to drug use and prison.

;-)

 
At 12/27/2011 4:15 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Che is Dead and Craig: To be consistent you have to take the same position on alcohol, and must therefore support prohibition and a "War on Alcohol."

The only two consistent positions would be: a) all intoxicants should be legal, including alcohol and weed, or b) all intoxicants should be illegal, including alcohol and weed.

The middle ground position of alcohol being legal and weed being illegal is so internally inconsistent that it's a position that I cannot take seriously and there dismiss as nitwitery.

 
At 12/27/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Craig said...

morganovich - yes, I understand very well that the experiences I described occurred with illicit drugs being illegal. Legality of such substance would only enhance availability and so abuse. Particularly among the lower socioeconomic bracket which exhibits these excesses disproportionally across the board, something which I have had extensive life experience in, but which I suspect from your statement "and that is far from a common, representative situation." you have only pontificated about. As I said in the joke in my previous entry in this thread, you haven't been mugged.

Mark - I would rather be inconsistent, and mitigate a further spread of such substances and the pain they cause to those in economic situations unable to escape them, than pride myself on my consistency while airily waving away any thought of the victims I mention.
I see your postion as a purely intellectual exercise, one which, you would not suffer any personal ill effects from if it saw fruition. Perhaps if you were in a situation where you were surround by the reckless, you wouldn't be so quick to hand the monkey not just the keys to the banana plantation, but a loaded .45 as well.

 
At 12/27/2011 5:25 PM, Blogger Jody said...

"The only two consistent positions would be: a) all intoxicants should be legal... or b) all intoxicants should be illegal..."

Not so.

Assume a utilitarian moral calculation. Then assume that there is a definable all-encompassing cost, C_i, and all-encompassing benefit, B_i, associated with each intoxicant.

Then there a lot (infinite really) number of rules for determining when an individual intoxicant should be legal of the form C_i < B_i + epsilon that are consistent from a utiliarian perspective.

I think some variation of this is what most people use with relation to drugs.

As to the other objections, assume that I am free to assign a non-uniform weight vector to all humans. Then for all possible policy outcome combinations constrainted such that the total number of policy outcomes considered is < # humans, there exists some weighting that is consistent with the policy outcomes (or there is some x such that Ax=b assuming proper dimensioning, and frequently there are an infinite number of x's that satisfy the constraints).

More on point, everyone that I've ever met follows a non-uniform weighting such that weights decrease with social distance. This easily explains the "us" versus them preference.

All that being said, I'm in favor making all drugs legal (ban the FDA! or more preceisely make them an advisory group) and so on.

But I also believe that assuming your opposition is irrational demonstrates a lack of imagination.

 
At 12/27/2011 5:55 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

irresponsible people act irresponsibly, without one whit of consideration given to others.

+++++++++++++

End of story. Applies equally to liberals, conservatives, drug users, single issue advocates of all kinds, rich, poor, business people and even charities.

 
At 12/27/2011 5:59 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"irresponsible people act irresponsibly, without one whit of consideration given to others"

sounds like the perfect environment for law making, eh?

 
At 12/27/2011 6:05 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Simple answer. The ideologues on the left and right are ignorant of reality and do not think logically.

 
At 12/27/2011 6:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Ideologues on the left and the right...


For once, Vange and I agree.

 
At 12/27/2011 7:07 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich says: "craig-do you not see the glaring flaw in your argument?...that happened when drugs were illegal...that mess exists anyway."

It shouldn't happen when it's illegal, and when it does, the law should be enforced.

Just imagine the utility tens of millions of Americans would derive if they weren't constrained by those annoying drunk driving laws or speed limits.

Sure, a few thousand people would likely get run over. Yet, the additional utility to those tens of millions would be enormous.

Anyway, I think, Boudreaux should take the liberty to move into a crack house (if he doesn't live in one already).

 
At 12/27/2011 7:12 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

the irony is that there is rampant abuse of prescription drugs but it is done by a "nicer" "breed" of people, eh?

 
At 12/27/2011 7:19 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I would rather be inconsistent, and mitigate a further spread of such substances and the pain they cause to those in economic situations unable to escape them

Does that include the pain of the rise of the police state due to the illegality of drugs? Why when you talk about the harms of legalizing drugs do you ignore the harm of prohibition? The harms of prohibition are numerous, huge, and incredibly damaging.

First and foremost, due the incredible profits being made due to drugs, corruption is rampant. Who doesn't think that a significant percentage of cops are not on some drug dealer's payroll or that a significant percentage of politicians do not receive substantial financial backing from drug dealers.

Second, anyone thinking that the loss of liberty due to prohibition is insignificant lives in a bubble. Ask anyone who lives in low income areas and ask them if they trust cops or anyone in any position of power. For good reason, the answer is "No". From cops to teachers to politicians to community organizers, these people in positions of power regularly abuse those who live in ghettos using the drug warrior mentality to deprive liberty, to physically and psychologically abuse, and even to kill.

Third, entire countries (Mexico, Columbia, Afghanistan to name a few) in the world are unstable due to the power of drug cartels. These cartels only have the power they do due to prohibition. Keeping drugs illegal is in their best interest and they work hard to ensure the stupidity of prohibition continues.

So, Craig, while you preen that you care about the pain of substance abuse, you completely ignore the pain inflicted by the state that is very real and very large, much larger than the damage done by substance abuse. The weak arguments you and Che bring forth are the exact same as those that were used for alcohol prohibition, yet I'm sure both of you know that the problems associated with alcohol prohibition were far larger than the problems associated with alcoholism. The problems of prohbition of victimless crimes are always larger than any problems associated with victimless crimes.

 
At 12/27/2011 7:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Larry says: "the irony is that there is rampant abuse of prescription drugs but it is done by a "nicer" "breed" of people, eh?"

I'm sure they set a fine example to their children.

 
At 12/27/2011 8:10 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: example for children

well.. it's been the dirty little secret but the numbers I've seen recently say it's a big, big problem and the kids may not even know that mom/dad are drugging themselves.

and let's be honest... drinking Alcohol is widespread and at the root of many domestic issues ...

and this issue is in many ways very illustrative of the divergent views of the role of govt.

some see these problems as individual irresponsibility that ultimately burdens others ...basically robbing them of their rights.....

while others see a intervention by the govt as an assault on their right to engage in activities even if others see those activities as harmful to others.

 
At 12/27/2011 8:41 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Ken - it is patently obvious just from your opening remarks that you come at this question on the legalization of illicit drugs as a blinkered ideologue. Talks of police states and communities hating cops etc., do absolutely nothing to address the simple and wholly unarguable points that I have already given to both Mark and morganovich. That being, when you are in an economic situation where you are surrounded by the irresponsible and have been victimized as a result (and believe me I have only given a few of my experiences) you come to understand that as bad as it it, if you removed all the brakes, it would be utter chaos. Of course, like both Mark and morganovich, you would have no direct contact with the consequences that would result should your position be brought into being. And I'm talking real consequences here, not the imagined ones you hold as carrying such gravity from within your tin foil hat conspiracy rants.
Ken, I do not preen about anything. But I do know that if illicit drugs were made legal in the areas that I have lived, and do live, Jesus...
Your argument, for all its presentation of grand facts, comes from your imagination, because you have no concept of what it is really like to deal with the kind of reckless people you would breezily describe in a sentence. No idea of what it is like to try and keep your children safe in such a situation. That's where I am coming from. So don't you dare tell me like Mark did, that I must consistent and give the maniacs that surround me even more fuel to throw on the fire. Don't grandly proclaim what happens in foreign countries, and expect me to endorse that which I know would put my entire family at even greater risk. Don't you dare.

 
At 12/27/2011 8:55 PM, Blogger kmg said...

"Progressives' are just parasites who want to mooch off of others.

They are regressive, in reality.

 
At 12/27/2011 9:19 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Talks of police states and communities hating cops etc., do absolutely nothing to address the simple and wholly unarguable points that I have already given to both Mark and morganovich

Arguable talking point: Legality of such substance would only enhance availability and so abuse.

Increased availability may happen, but to say that this automatically leades to more abuse isn't as clear. You offer this up with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

Arguable talking point: mitigate a further spread of such substances and the pain they cause to those in economic situations unable to escape them

You claim that drug use and not the government heal is what keeps those who coulde escape from actually escaping their economic situation. It is obvious to anyone who knows something about economics that government policies are the drivers behind much of the poverty in this country, from the government monopoly on education to the employment stifling foolishness that seemingly every politician embraces.

it is patently obvious just from your opening remarks that you come at this question on the legalization of illicit drugs as a blinkered ideologue.

Since it is you, and only you, who ignore both costs and benefits of prohibition, it is clear that you are the ideologue.

That being, when you are in an economic situation where you are surrounded by the irresponsible and have been victimized as a result (and believe me I have only given a few of my experiences) you come to understand that as bad as it it, if you removed all the brakes, it would be utter chaos.

The paternalistic, statist sentiment of this sentence is repulsive and comes down you claiming that politicians and bureuacrats somehow know what's best for others and beyond that knows the solution. Thinking that is truly irresponsible.

Of course, like both Mark and morganovich, you would have no direct contact with the consequences that would result should your position be brought into being.

Of course, you have no idea what Mark's, morganovich's, or my situation in life actually is, so this sentence is just another indication of your complete ignorance of other people's lives and what "consequences" may come.

I'm talking real consequences here, not the imagined ones

All the consequences I've mentioned are real. A quick internet search will show you a slew of cops, politicians, judges, etc., who routinely violate the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eigth, ninth, tenth, and fourteenth amendments, including, but not limited to, no warrant searches and seizures, SWAT style raids on non-violent "offenders" which yield no evidence whatsoever of any crime, much less drug crime, shot pets, blown up body parts and people being killed. These are not imagined. They are real and need to measured against what might happen with prohibition ending. As the end of alcohol prohibition shows, prohibitionists really have no clue as to the actual societal consequences of legalization, but think they do.

But I do know that if illicit drugs were made legal in the areas that I have lived, and do live, Jesus

I live in Baltimore, a city ruled by the illegal drug trade, and a city that would benefit immensely if cops and prosecuters, you know, focused on actual crimes, rather than run down some dude selling something in a peaceful manner. It's hard to catch real criminals, but it's easy to pad the stats with arrests and prosecutions. In 2010, BPD made more arrests than there are actual people living in Baltimore. It's a catch and release system that is based on the fraudulence of drug prohibition.

 
At 12/27/2011 9:19 PM, Blogger Ken said...

for all its presentation of grand facts

Nice to see facts hold little sway for you.


comes from your imagination

Except that I can back up everyone of them with specific examples.

because you have no concept of what it is really like to deal with the kind of reckless people you would breezily describe in a sentence.

That's right. Baltimore is know for not having any reckless people living there.

because you have no concept of what it is really like to deal with the kind of reckless people you would breezily describe in a sentence.

Because locking up a father or mother for doing nothing other than buying or selling or smoking or sniffing an unpopular substance does wonders for family cohesion.

That's where I am coming from.

I know. You come from the position that drugs can ruin someone's life and just to prove it you'll lock them up and give them a felony record. In the process, deprive their children and family and sort of support they would have given their families and made it harder for them to find a job in the future. Truly you are a benevolent person.

So don't you dare tell me like Mark did, that I must consistent and give the maniacs that surround me even more fuel to throw on the fire. Don't grandly proclaim what happens in foreign countries, and expect me to endorse that which I know would put my entire family at even greater risk. Don't you dare.

I do and have all ready dared. I dare to speak the truth about drug prohibitions affects on people, states, countries, and the world, especially to people like you who want to shutter out the actual devestating reality of drug prohibition. It's wrong and it makes people's lives worse. But it does give politicians the opportunity to grab more power and more money to themselves. And they have willing fools like you who blithely give up your rights and money to them.

 
At 12/27/2011 9:25 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

I know that Mark, Don and Morgan are elders in our society. As elders, would they warn others of the dangers of narcotics, even though they endorse the freedom to consume them?

I wonder if they would idly stand by, as a heroin salesman talked their eighteen year old child into shooting up? Eg; "You have good veins for this stuff."; You want to feel good all the time? Then put this stuff in those good veins, and you will feel good all the rest of your life".

Sure, marijuana is probably more benign then alcohol. I can't argue with that, as far as the knowledge we have at this time.

There is a whole constellation of narcotics available, or will be available, that are very dangerous.
As an elder myself, I am not going to go full whacko, and endorse the free ingestion, or shooting, of very dangerous narcotics.

I have seen the effects, and I won't be idle in warning of the results of wanton narcotic use.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Might as well ask "I wonder if they would idly stand by, as an alcohol salesman talked their eighteen year old child into shooting up?"

Championing liberty to do things doesn't necessarily mean endorsing all legal actions. It's fine to champion free speech, but I don't endorse people using the words "hill billy", "nigger", "spic", or "kike". I support the freedom to attempt the long motorcycle jump, but I don't endorse it. Your "question" is a childish one, particularly from a self proclaimed "elder".

I have seen the effects, and I won't be idle in warning of the results of wanton narcotic use.

Have you seen the effects of smoking and alcohol? 443,000 dead due to smoking, annually. 75000 dead due to alcohol, annually. Less than 20000 dead due to all other drugs, most of which are due to the violence of the drug trade because it's illegal, not due to drug abuse and acting stupidly while high.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:09 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Edit: Might as well ask "I wonder if they would idly stand by, as an alcohol salesman talked their eighteen year old child into drinking up?"

 
At 12/27/2011 10:18 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Ken - living in a city where there are drugs, and living across the hall from where there are drugs, are two entirely different things. It's the difference between living in a city with a high crime rate, and having someone stick a gun your face, literally. If you had really experienced anything you would not be going down the road of, oh, well I live in such and such a city. What utter pap.
Paternalism, is telling me that the people I KNOW AND EXPERIENCE on a day to day basis, would not go completely off of the freaking rails under the policies you endorse. That is what you are doing. After all the tin foil hat rants and self proclamations of logic and reason, that, is exactly what you are doing. And it is that that evidences just how warped you are in your perspective. Honestly, do you really think your self-congratulatory arguments would disabuse me of the reality I and my family experience day in day out? Well, clearly you do. And that puts you on the far side of a chasm of crazy which no bridge of commonsense could possibly hope to breach.
Here's an idea, why don't you get a badge made up with "I dare to speak the truth about drug prohibitions affects on people, states, countries, and the world". Sure, it will be a little big. But just think how you will be able to puff out your chest and display it with pride the next time you buy a latte. Why, when you're back in the car you can even put on some Gangsta rap! All the Baltimore boys shout Yo! Good grief.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:41 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Nice discussion, but you have to ignore the realities of politics to believe that illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin will ever be legalized. For that to happen on a national scale, which would be required, would take either the Democrats or Republicans to endorse it as a major item on their party platforms and still get elected.

Why don't all you supporters write your Congressmen tonight instead of Carpe Diem and see what kind of response you get. I'm sure they will get started on that as soon as they cut Social Security and enact tough new gun laws :)

 
At 12/27/2011 10:47 PM, Blogger Comparative Disadvantage said...

Craig describes the problems caused by prohibition and associates them with the prohibited substance. The problem is in the black market, not the substance.

1. Overdose: Caused by the irregularity of drug substances. Problem would be immediately solved in a post-prohibition world with mass produced highly pure drugs.

2. "Drugs across the hallway" Indeed, drug sales is one of the few markets where dangerous violently-inclined individuals can seize market share from legitimate and law-abiding businesses with concerns for safety and customer service. Why? Because legitimate businesses aren't allowed to sell drugs, only criminals sell drugs.

3. Vagrant addicts. There have always been people who choose a nomadic lifestyle, coupled with substance abuse. Whether this is because of substance abuse itself, mental problems, or a rational choice to abandon society is of little importance. The reality is that counseling is a preferential treatment for addicts as compared to prison.

I shouldn't even continue. The fact of the matter is that the Baptists in this Baptists and Bootleggers scenario have no proof that drug use would rise if drugs were legalized. Indeed, the only legitimate concern they hold is that drug use would rise, and there is only suggestive evidence to the contrary: see alcohol prohibition. So to continue to benefit their egos by believing that they have a role to play in making decisions for other people (because of their enlightened state), the Baptists endorse the use of force to increase all of the negatives associated with drug use. It's the ultimate bullheaded solution.

 
At 12/27/2011 11:29 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Ken retorts " Your "question" is a childish one, particularly from a self proclaimed "elder"."

This is in response to my question:

"I wonder if they would idly stand by, as a heroin salesman talked their eighteen year old child into shooting up?"

Well, answer the question ken, or are you a little boy? Stand by? Be a responsible adult, an elder?

 
At 12/27/2011 11:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


Have you seen the effects of smoking and alcohol? 443,000 dead due to smoking, annually. 75000 dead due to alcohol, annually. Less than 20000 dead due to all other drugs, most of which are due to the violence of the drug trade because it's illegal, not due to drug abuse and acting stupidly while high.


Prohibition proved that making something illegal did not have a material reduction in use. If you want to smoke, snort, or inject some illegal drug it is easy to find it today. The people who argue that drugs should be illegal make the error that doing so significantly decreases risk when it doesn't.

 
At 12/27/2011 11:53 PM, Blogger Ken said...

living in a city where there are drugs, and living across the hall from where there are drugs, are two entirely different things. It's the difference between living in a city with a high crime rate, and having someone stick a gun your face, literally.

Again, you make assumptions that are incorrect. Are you a lefty? You think like a good little Obamanaut, spouting out ignorance as if you speak from a position of knowledge. Living in Baltimore, I am surround by know it all lefties who think nothing of destroying the lives of those who live in the city, all for their betterment, and their children, of course.

I live in a blue collar neighborhood, that while not so much today, when I first moved in drug dealers dealt openly on the street corner, with the row house two doors down from me raided by the police, as well as the house five doors down from me, with a murder occurring not 200 feet from my front door. I have been threatened on multiple occasions, mostly by mere fists, but with knives and guns as well.

If you had really experienced anything you would not be going down the road of, oh, well I live in such and such a city.

Well, as you can see, you are wrong… again… making know it all assumptions about people you don't know. That's no way to run a discussion and a disastrous way to think about policy, including drug policy.

Paternalism, is telling me that the people I KNOW AND EXPERIENCE on a day to day basis, would not go completely off of the freaking rails under the policies you endorse.

Of course, this is non-sense. People who let their lives go off "the freaking rails" do so regardless of the legalities. Locking them up, pulling apart families, and keeping people from working doesn't help them or their families. It's short sighted thinking, but it helps incumbent politicians get reelected.

After all the tin foil hat rants and self proclamations of logic and reason, that, is exactly what you are doing.

I offered you clear, logical statements supported by facts. You claim that drugs are so bad, yet can't answer why so few people die every year due to the use of drugs (and don't forget that the bulk of that 20,000 listed above is due to illegality of drugs, such as violence in turf disputes or outright robbery).

do you really think your self-congratulatory arguments would disabuse me of the reality I and my family experience day in day out?

Basing a nationwide policy on your specific experience is using the logical fallacy of composition. This is why I brought numbers into the discussion to show you just how over blown your claims of the dangers of drugs really are. It's easy to get caught up in your own little reality and generalize the situation assuming it applies for all time and places. Of course, it doesn't.

The last little bit of your comment is pretty funny. You make idiotic assumptions about my life, simply assuming that I haven't seen the bad sides of drugs, but you stupidly assume that gangsters will thrive with the legalization of drugs. Bust this, yo, when was the last time there was a drive by due to the sale of alcohol? That's right, the 1930's, during alcohol prohibition. The hilarity of you assininity would make me double over laughing if you weren't supporting the violent culture by supporting policies that created that violence.

 
At 12/28/2011 12:04 AM, Blogger Craig said...

"Craig describes the problems caused by prohibition and associates them with the prohibited substance."

Craig does no such thing. What I do recognize is just how far degeneracy would reach in the people I know and experience if all the brakes were thrown off. Something not one adherent of legalization ever addresses. It's fine to talk of crime rates, but lets talk of all crimes. Apparently, the innocents who want no part at all of drugs, and yet who would be drowned in them even further if legalization was brought to being, well, that's not criminal at all. As I have already said, when you throw off all of the brakes with the irresponsible...
Ken - got that badge made yet? Better yet, get two done, you can pin the other to your hat.

 
At 12/28/2011 12:07 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Well, answer the question ken, or are you a little boy? Stand by? Be a responsible adult, an elder?

And you miss the point. How many alcohol dealers talk up 18 year olds to get drunk? What makes you think it would be any different with legal drugs? Are you so clueless as to not understand that the play ground dealer exists because dealing is illegal anyway, might as well deal to kids?

But I'll answer your childish question. When my child turns 18, I plan to kick him out so he can live on his own two feet. I made my way, he can make his. At 18 he's old enough and knowledgable enough to make a living. My job is to teach that knowledge and I do a good job.

I won't be around him most of the time, even before he's 18, including when that alcohol salesmen or heroin dealer offers their product. If he asks my advice, I will tell him to be careful and what the potential dangers are, but the decision, as for all adults, is his to make. While living in my house, though, it will be forbidden. I'm sure you are waiting for me to make such a statement, so you can rush off to say that because I forbid it, then it should be illegal, but again you'd be wrong. I would also forbid him from having sex until he's married in my house. My house my rules, regardless of legalities.

Infantalizing adults doesn't do anyone any good, as it breeds a culture of reliance on elites, rather than self reliance. We are now paying for that culture, or have you not been paying attention lately? Part of self reliance is making your own decisions and living with the consequences. Part of being a parent is teaching your kids how to live responsibly. If you can't do that, you get to live with the consequences. Just because you admit your too bad of a parent to teach your kid responsibility, doesn't mean everyone else, or even most, are as bad a parent as you self admittedly are.

 
At 12/28/2011 12:17 AM, Blogger Craig said...

"And you miss the point. How many alcohol dealers talk up 18 year olds to get drunk? What makes you think it would be any different with legal drugs? Are you so clueless as to not understand that the play ground dealer exists because dealing is illegal anyway, might as well deal to kids?"

So in this legalize utopia of yours, drugs would be legal for kids as well would they? No? If not, then there would still be the market for people to sell to them. Keep those stellar arguments coming. That one earns you another badge. You're up to three now!

 
At 12/28/2011 12:24 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Craig does no such thing.

Of course you do. You lament gangs and gangbangers and the violence of the drug trade and claim that it is drugs that make it violent, not the prohibition surrounding it. This is false. Gangs arose during alcohol prohibition, but the crime, gangbanging and gangsters involved with alcohol went away when alcohol became legal again.

In fact, describing the situation caused by prohibition, and not drugs, is your entire argument.

the innocents who want no part at all of drugs, and yet who would be drowned in them even further if legalization was brought to being

Do you have any evidence of this? I mean, at all? The drug prohibition we once had (alcohol) prohibition did not see the US "drown" in crime once it was legalized again. But this is the same exact argument teetotalers used. They were proven wrong then and there's no reason at all to believe they (and you) aren't wrong now.

 
At 12/28/2011 12:25 AM, Blogger Ken said...

So in this legalize utopia of yours, drugs would be legal for kids as well would they?

An 18 year old isn't a kid... so no. An 18 year old is an adult.

Nice straw man though. How hard did you have to huff and puff to blow that one down?

 
At 12/28/2011 3:17 AM, Blogger Craig said...

"play ground dealer exists because dealing is illegal anyway, might as well deal to kids?"

You are either being deliberately dishonest, or you are obtuse. That is a direct quote of yours above and it does not refer to 18 year old's.

"Of course you do. You lament gangs and gangbangers and the violence of the drug trade and claim that it is drugs that make it violent, not the prohibition surrounding it."

I have not once said that the violence that permeates illicit drugs does not come as a result of crime. If you hold that I have, quote my exact words where I do so. If you cannot, then you are concocting charges in your imagination.

"Do you have any evidence of this? I mean, at all? The drug prohibition we once had (alcohol) prohibition did not see the US "drown" in crime once it was legalized again. But this is the same exact argument teetotalers used. They were proven wrong then and there's no reason at all to believe they (and you) aren't wrong now."

Lets run with that exact example. Lets say alcohol had been banned and that law had been effectively (and by that I mean ferociously) enforced. Over the 91 year period such a ban would have been in place (since 1920), how many families would not have disintegrated due to alcoholism? How many women not beaten bloody? How many children not tortured psychologically and physically? How many deaths would not have occurred on our roads? The mind truly boggles at the numbers. Those are the innocents I am talking about Ken. Indeed, lets look at some numbers pulled off the net with 2 mins of Google:
1. An estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 years live in households with at least one alcoholic parent (1). Current research findings suggest that these children are at risk for a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. (http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa09.htm)
2.Alcohol abuse kills some 75,000 Americans each year and shortens the lives of these people by an average of 30 years, a U.S. government study suggested Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the study, estimated that 34,833 people in 2001 died from cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and other diseases linked to drinking too much beer, wine and spirits. Another 40,933 died from car crashes and other mishaps caused by excessive alcohol use.(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6089353/ns/health-addictions/t/alcohol-linked-us-deaths-year/#.TvrMYvnEEcs)
The above stats were each taken from the 1st page of Google results. Millions of kids growing up under the spectre of alcholism. Tens of thousands killed outright. But hey, there's no drive by shooting at the speak easy right?
That such suffering has occurred you cannot deny. No-one of any integrity could. But now, you want to do the same all over again with illicit drugs? Do you really suppose the effect would be any different? Politicians and others would still find a way to game the system, even after the bulk of the black market dried up. Many, many more people would use, just as with alcohol. And so many more innocents would suffer. Just as with alcohol.
I imagine the irony of your own example being used to nail to the wall the fatuousness of your position will be lost on you ("Are you a lefty? You think like a good little Obamanaut") Sigh...
I will take you at your word though that you have seen somethings, but to paraphrase Churchill: Men can stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and hurry on their way as if nothing at all happened.
Regretably Ken, that is what has happened with you. I do not expect you to abandon your position though, it evidently fuels too many fires.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:53 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

No one has proven legalizing drugs would be a net benefit for society.

Yes, the benefits would exceed the costs for some people and the costs would exceed the benefits for other people.

Also, it's uncertain if the positive externalities would exceed the negative externalities or vice versa.

However, we do know many people will use illegal drugs regardless of how many deaths or injuries they cause, which says something about the addictive properties of illegal drugs, the disregard of other people, or a lack of sound judgement.

If I knew repealing a law, whether it's drug use, drunk driving, speed limits, etc. would be a net benefit for society, I'd be for it.

Here's what the DEA says about drug use:

"It’s clear from history that periods of lax controls are accompanied by more drug abuse and that periods of tight controls are accompanied by less drug abuse.

In 1880, many drugs, including opium and cocaine, were legal — and, like some drugs today, seen as benign medicine not requiring a doctor’s care and oversight.

Addiction skyrocketed. There were over 400,000 opium addicts in the U.S. That is twice as many per capita as there are today.

From 1984 to 1996, the Dutch liberalized the use of cannabis. Surveys reveal that lifetime prevalence of cannabis in Holland increased consistently and sharply. For the age group 18-20, the increase is from 15 percent in 1984 to 44 percent in 1996.

Specific federal drug legislation and oversight began with the 1914 Harrison Act, the first broad anti-drug law in the United States.

Enforcement of this law contributed to a significant decline in narcotic addiction in the United States.

Addiction in the United States eventually fell to its lowest level during World War II, when the number of addicts is estimated to have been somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000. Many addicts, faced with disappearing supplies, were forced to give up their drug habits.

The head of Holland’s best-known drug abuse rehabilitation center has described what the new drug culture has created: The strong form of marijuana that most of the young people smoke, he says, produces “a chronically passive individual—someone who is lazy, who doesn’t want to take initiatives, doesn’t want to be active—the kid who’d prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something.”

The growing Ecstasy problem in Europe, and the Netherlands’ pivotal role in Ecstasy production, has led the Dutch government to look once again to law enforcement. In May 2001, the government announced a “Five Year Offensive against the Production, Trade, and Consumption of Synthetic Drugs.”

The greatest weakness in the logic of legalizers is that the violence associated with drugs is simply a product of drug trafficking. That is, if drugs were legal, then most drug crime would end.

But most violent crime is committed not because people want to buy drugs, but because people are on drugs.

Drug use changes behavior and exacerbates criminal activity, and there is ample scientific evidence that demonstrates the links between drugs, violence, and crime.

According to the 1999 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) study, more than half of arrestees for violent crimes test positive for drugs at the time of their arrest.

Joseph A. Califano, Jr., of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University stated, “Drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous.”

 
At 12/28/2011 9:00 AM, Blogger Joy said...

Mark,
The others are fair enough, but I think no. 2 isn't. Think about it this way with a similar question: "Why do so many conservatives who profess dedication to individual liberty oppose the liberty of adults to physically attack themselves?" Or "Why do so many conservatives who profess dedication to individual liberty oppose the liberty of adults to murder?"

I know the knee-jerk libertarian answer to my first question is "As long as they're not harming anyone ELSE, whatever..." and the answer to my second is, "That's not the same thing, because drugs only potentially harm the user, not anyone else," but two things in response to those.

First, conservatives have an idea of ordered liberty, not libertinism. The idea is that you are free to do good, and act justly, not free to do whatever the hell you want.

Second, drugs do actually harm society. Perhaps not so much marijuana, but think of PCP, meth, and others. That's why I might favor legalizing marijuana, but not drugs that make you act out and act crazy and also make you keep rampaging even when shot.

--Joy Pullmann

 
At 12/28/2011 10:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Craig does no such thing. What I do recognize is just how far degeneracy would reach in the people I know and experience if all the brakes were thrown off.

Most people are not degenerates. That includes most addicts. You let them use drugs that they can buy cheaply and they will. But what they won't do is use guns to steal money to feed those addictions because the price would be so low that they won't have to.

And the criminal gangs who terrorize neighborhoods will be out of business once their fat profit margins are gone. Those terrorist groups that fund themselves by selling drugs will have their income severely reduced. And the taxpayers will not have to support a huge prison population of users and dealers.

Something not one adherent of legalization ever addresses.

Of course they do. You are not paying attention.

It's fine to talk of crime rates, but lets talk of all crimes.

That is what the proponents of legalization do.

Apparently, the innocents who want no part at all of drugs, and yet who would be drowned in them even further if legalization was brought to being, well, that's not criminal at all.

Alcohol is legal now. The innocents who want no part of it do not have to drink it. They don't have to deal with criminal gangs who sell it. They are not robbed by alcoholics who need a huge sum of cash to support their addictions. So what exactly are you talking about?

As I have already said, when you throw off all of the brakes with the irresponsible...

But you can't make people responsible if they don't want to. Drugs are not legal today yet they are in use just as they were when they used to be legal.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:03 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

So in this legalize utopia of yours, drugs would be legal for kids as well would they? No? If not, then there would still be the market for people to sell to them. Keep those stellar arguments coming. That one earns you another badge. You're up to three now!

Drugs would not be sold by legal means to minors who are not competent. Just as alcohol is not sold by legal means to minors who are not competent. I suspect that minors will still be able to get drugs but they get them now.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:19 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

1. An estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 years live in households with at least one alcoholic parent (1). Current research findings suggest that these children are at risk for a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. (http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa09.htm

So what? How does prohibiting alcohol change any of this? Would the kids be better off if their alcoholic parents were buying booze from the mob and ingesting toxic wood alcohol?

You are assuming that when the government prohibits the use of something that individuals want to use they will lie down and obey. But people don't do that. They simply figure out another way to get what has been banned by government and a black market pops up to serve it.

Let me do the same as you did and see what the data for drug use tells us.

September 2010 Report: 21.8 million Americans age 12 or older used illegal drugs in the past month, up from 19.7 million in 2006. million Americans used drugs in the past month. The highest age percentage for illicit drug use is 18 to 21. This represents 8.7 percent of the population. The most abused illicit drug is marijuana with 14.6 million drug users. On a regular basis,.2.4 million Americans use cocaine.

13 million Americans have an alcohol drinking problem. Their alcohol use has resulted in a criminal arrest, termination from their job, or family disruption such as divorce. It is important to realize that alcohol is a drug. In 2005, 2.5 million Americans received treatment for alcohol addiction.

Over 60 million prescriptions were written by American doctors for Valium and other similar acting tranquilizers. Many people do not consider the legal drugs, alcohol, and mood altering prescription drugs to be a safety risk. When used as directed, most of these drugs are safe. However, when tranquilizers such as Valium, Soma, or Xanax are mixed with even small amounts of alcohol, the synergistic effect quickly becomes dangerous. In 2005, 1.8 million Americans abused tranquilizers.

40% jump in employees testing positive for prescription narcotics form 2005-2009. A November 18, 2010 report by Quest Diagnostics also found that post-accident drug tests are four-times more likely to find narcotics than pre-employment drug tests (3.7% vs. 0.78%). Vicodin is the most frequently found narcotic prescription drug of abuse.


Note the fact that even though man drugs are illegal, they were still used by 21.8 million Americans. And note the problem with prescription drug abuse. There are all kinds of rules and regulations to control illegal drugs, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Yet, the 'problems' persist.

It is about time that the nannies and meddlers began to mind their own business. In a human society prohibition has a very small positive effect that is more than offset by the negatives. Spending billions of the DEA, local drug enforcement efforts, prisons, courts, international aid to drug exporting countries, etc., is not worth any perceived benefit. It is time to realize that we live in the real world and move on.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

In 1880, many drugs, including opium and cocaine, were legal — and, like some drugs today, seen as benign medicine not requiring a doctor’s care and oversight.

Addiction skyrocketed. There were over 400,000 opium addicts in the U.S. That is twice as many per capita as there are today.


Just how stupid are you? Opium is no longer a popular drug. The fact that opium addiction is down does not mean that addiction rates are lower today than they used to be when drugs were legal. Today we have a huge segment of the population hooked on OxyContin, Demerol, Hydrocodone, and other pain killers. Kids use cough syrups, take meth, MDMA, uppers, downers, sniff glue, etc., etc., etc.

There is actually no evidence that prohibition has any positive effect on overall addiction rates. In fact, it has many unintended consequences that lead to worse outcomes than the problems that the prohibition was supposed to deal with.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

First, conservatives have an idea of ordered liberty, not libertinism. The idea is that you are free to do good, and act justly, not free to do whatever the hell you want.

Like many liberals, conservatives are confused. They believe that rights are positive and support legislation that is in line with that confusion. But rights are actually negative. We have the right to our lives, our liberty, and our property. And as long as we do not violate the rights of others we should be free to do as we wish regardless of what busybody ideologues on the left or right believe. If a competent individual owns his body he should be free to ingest whatever he wishes. That includes alcohol, salt, corn syrup, trans-fats, cocaine, heroin or meth. If such a person were foolish enough to do himself 'harm' it is not your business or mine and we have no right to interfere.

Second, drugs do actually harm society.

Society? Who exactly is society and who speaks for it? It seems to me that the public hates prohibition of many drugs and has no desire to see users put in jail. The average voter certainly does not want to spend billions to pay the salaries of rent seekers like the DEA people or career 'advocates' like Bennett and Califano.

Perhaps not so much marijuana, but think of PCP, meth, and others.

They are illegal but still in use. Those that use them, along with marijuana are still put in jail courtesy of the taxpayers. They still clog our courts and fill our prisons. All this costs a great deal of money that many do not wish to pay. If drug use were legal not only would the costs of prohibition disappear but a new source of revenue would help to reduce the budget shortfalls at all levels of government.

That's why I might favor legalizing marijuana, but not drugs that make you act out and act crazy and also make you keep rampaging even when shot.

Prescription medicine can make you act crazy too. And if the market were allowed to work the drugs that have the worst effects would be squeezed out and replaced by those that do the least harm. Unfortunately, conservatives have no more faith in the markets than liberals.

 
At 12/28/2011 11:08 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


1. Why are the pundits and politicians who most fear the motives and the power of private corporations typically also the most strident advocates of higher tariffs to protect these corporations from competition?

Those companies are within the regulatory jurisdiction of the US, and provide jobs within that regulatory jurisdiction. Other countries only provide pliant slaves as a way to undercut countries that give freedom to more than just businesses. For an example: not only does China manipulate its currency to stay below the US - as to keep the jobs flowing to their country and keep the US appeasing China despite such harm to the US.



3. Why do so many "progressives" believe that higher marginal tax rates on incomes will not dampen workers' efforts to earn income, but that higher marginal tax ("tariff") rates on imports will dampen importers' efforts to supply imports?

Tariffs are a defense of country.



5. In the same vein, why do so many "progressives" -- nearly all of whom seem to regard differences in income earnings across workers to be an Olympian injustice -- support protectionist policies that artificially enhance the incomes earned by relatively rich American workers by artificially reducing the incomes earned by much-poorer foreign workers?


Those people in those foreign lands are (more or less) being used as pawns. Their economic value is far exceeded by their political value as slaves.

I have a question for Boudreaux - why does business always seek slavery, despite asking for freedom? Could it have something to do with business wanting freedom for itself, and not towards those that are not businesses?

 
At 12/28/2011 11:12 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


And if the market were allowed to work the drugs that have the worst effects would be squeezed out and replaced by those that do the least harm.

The problem is that it is simply not so.

The company would just find a way to paper over the effects, deny the effects existed, and make sure that the victims (or next of kin) were told to STFU (either with money or with direct/indirect threat).

 
At 12/28/2011 3:02 PM, Blogger Craig said...

"Alcohol is legal now. The innocents who want no part of it do not have to drink it. They don't have to deal with criminal gangs who sell it. They are not robbed by alcoholics who need a huge sum of cash to support their addictions. So what exactly are you talking about?"

6 million kids growing up under the specter of alcoholism? Families disintegrating. Spouses abused. And it is your serious contention that in a hypothetical argument of alcohol being illicit, these numbers would be even remotely the same? That is nonsense.
What the alcohol hypothetical shows is that usage rates skyrocket and that innocents suffer in the millions in countless ways. But most insidious of all? How all this suffering so deeply ingrains itself into a culture, that is becomes normal. So normal, that people such as yourself and Ken, are clueless as to not just all the suffering that occurs under the alcohol example you both champion. But in addition, suggest as cogent, functioning adults, that usage rates of illicit drugs would not skyrocket if made legal. And as well, that the resultant hell this would plunge millions more into, would not come in to being. Why indeed, things would be exactly the same as they are now! I wonder though, for people such as yourself, how quickly such suffering would become normalized? And as a result, so much easier to ignore?
One more thing, to all those who champion the legalization stance, please stop quoting levels/stats that show precisely just how great is the number of gross negligence and abuse (prescription drugs etc), and then use that to make the argument that free reign is the answer. Show some commonsense.
Alcohol - millions and millions of kids abused, millions of assaults, cumulatively, millions of deaths. But yeah, lets give the monkey's even more loaded .45's in the form of illicit drugs. After all, the responsibility they've showed in using the ones they already have has been fantastic!

 
At 12/28/2011 4:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I have a question for Boudreaux - why does business always seek slavery, despite asking for freedom? Could it have something to do with business wanting freedom for itself, and not towards those that are not businesses?"

mailto: dboudrea@gmu.edu

Ask him directly. Let us know what he says.

An important question like that shouldn't go unanswered.

 
At 12/28/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Ken said...

You are either being deliberately dishonest, or you are obtuse. That is a direct quote of yours above and it does not refer to 18 year old's.

This is a case of you being obtuse AND dishonest. As is clear from my writing sales to children of drugs is due to the illegality and would disappear if it were illegal. This is due to the same reason that liquor stores are so adamant about not selling to minors.

I have not once said that the violence that permeates illicit drugs does not come as a result of crime.

Throughout this entire discussion, your WHOLE point is the people's lives would go off "the freaking rails", then discussed gangbangers, yo!

Lets say alcohol had been banned and that law had been effectively (and by that I mean ferociously) enforced.

The alcohol ban was ferociously enforced, as is the current drug prohibition. This is my point. The dangerously ferocious and violent enforcement of drug prohibition is far worse than drug abuse. The number of families that have "disintegrated" due to felony arrests, forced separation from families (jail time) due to peacefully owning a substance you don't like eclipses the number of families that would have disintegrated due to drug abuse.

The rest of your post is dedicated to showing the evils of alcohol, yet you've said above you think alcohol should be legal. That 75,000 that die anually is nearly four TIMES the size of the less than 20,000, that die annually from ALL illegal drugs. And don't forget that most of that 20,000 die violently due drug turf wars or drug deals gone bad, not from people acting recklessly while high or OD'ing.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:23 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Craig, so let me get this straight, you want to make alcohol and cigarettes illegal also? Where do you stop: do we make cars illegal and make everybody drive bikes because 30-40k people die because of cars every year? Do you want to ban all guns also? You claim that you have lived with the consequences of drug abuse and you are probably right that usage might get worse to some extent if legalized, but you do realize that the "maniac" "monkey" with a .45 coming after you would still be illegal, right?

If you're worried about your safety, nothing stopping you from getting a gun either. I doubt anybody here endorses drug use, we just think making it illegal doesn't impede much usage but greatly raises violence and crime while costing us billions of dollars every year. Therefore, after weighing all those costs and benefits, we'd prefer to legalize all drugs, including prescription drugs. You claim that you have direct experience with the consequences of drug use, but we suggest you are overreaching by using your anecdotal experience to then call for a ban on all drugs.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:03 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

According to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, approximately 10.1 million young people aged 12-20 reported past month alcohol use (28.5 percent of this age group). Of these, nearly 6.8 million (19 percent) were binge drinkers.

According to the DEA:

With drugs, teenagers would have an additional outlet: the highly organized illegal trafficking networks that exist today and that would undoubtedly concentrate their marketing efforts on young people to make up for the business they lost to legal outlets.

The cost of cocaine production is now as low as $3 per gram. At a market price of, say, $10 a gram, cocaine could retail for as little as ten cents a hit. That means a young person could buy six hits of cocaine for the price of a candy bar.

On the other hand, if legal drugs are priced too high, through excise taxes, for example, illegal traffickers will be able to undercut it.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:49 PM, Blogger Craig said...

"Craig, so let me get this straight, you want to make alcohol and cigarettes illegal also?"

That blatantly dishonest representation of what I wrote showcases the very unstable ground your position rests upon. I never said any such thing. What I did do was use the oft cited alcohol/prohibition argument used by the legalize crowd to show exactly how many have died and suffered as a result. Using this same argument, I showed how usage rates increased with legalization, something which in turn saw an incredibly large increase in the number of innocent victims. 6 million children living under the specter of alcoholism! You can't have it both ways. You can't wave prohibition about as a triumph of how the black market was crippled when it was lifted, and then get all hysterical when someone points out the irrefutable figures that show just how many innocents have suffered as a result. 6 million kids! You do not once defend this for the reason that it is indefensible. The issue is, why would the legalization of illegal drugs not follow the exact same path? The answer is, of course it would.

"As is clear from my writing sales to children of drugs is due to the illegality and would disappear if it were illegal."

I am assuming you meant legal for the final word in that sentence. That being the case, the profit motive would still exist to sell to children. The only way to remove that would be to make drugs legal for kids as well. So you either don't recognize such base market dynamics which you self-proclaim expertise on. Or, you favor legalization to kids. It’s one or the other. Either you give kids the drugs too, or you do not, leaving open a strong profit motive for adults to sell to kids. Something which in fact would be much easier to do, given that would be dealers could purchase their supplies legally. But oops, that's right, according to you legality would not increase usage rates.

"people's lives would go off "the freaking rails"

You equate this to a statement on my part that illegality does not promote crime? Now Ken, there's desperate, and then there's that time for the nice men with quiet voices and the comfortable straight jacket to come and lead you off to a padded room. Irresponsible people, when all the brakes are taken off, act even more irresponsibly. Before, I categorized you as a cogent, functional adult. I now have serious reservations about my initial judgment in this matter.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:54 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Using the increased rates of alcohol use and the staggering rise in the number of innocents who have had their lives destroyed by this, I have made the case that the legalization of illicit drugs would follow the exact same dynamic. As I have already stated, it is fine to talk of a reduction in crime. But let’s talk about all crime. Using the stats for alcohol it is easy to irrefutably show that millions upon millions of non-drinkers have suffered. All these are crimes too. ALL INCREASED in their number.
My position acknowledges that the cost in crime as bad as it is, is worth it to protect the millions of non-users who would be directly affected (irrefutably cited through comparison to alcohol stats) if illicit drugs were legalized.
The legalize position to date talks only of a reduction in one form of crime, while NOT ONCE talking about all those non-users who would be victimized if illicit drugs were made legal and flooded the country. That being the case, whose position is more honest?
Look, to any legalization proponents who have managed to get this far down this thread, I welcome being convinced that my argument is wrong. But to do that, you have to clearly explain why the legalization of illicit drugs would not follow the exact same path as the legalization of alcohol. Or, if you accept that it would, why the millions of innocents who would suffer because of this, is a preferable number to the levels of crime we currently experience. That's it. Put your case honestly. As the respondents that have come before you have wholly failed on this measure. As a show of good faith, I am prepared to accept that their behavior need not be representative of the banner they march beneath. I just hope that that faith can be rewarded with integrity on your part.
Once more:
Explain why the legalization of illicit drugs would not follow the exact same path as the legalization of alcohol. Or, if you accept that it would, why the millions of innocents who would suffer because of this, is a preferable number to the levels of crime we currently experience.
I am not going to engage the nutbars and the desperately dishonest in this thread anymore. But if a newcomer would like to answer my questions with integrity and intelligence, I would be more than happy to respond. And even state happily that I was wrong, if you can prove to me that I am.
Until then, signing out.

 
At 12/28/2011 7:13 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I am assuming you meant legal for the final word in that sentence.

Nice. You simply assume what you want to assume independent of what I wrote.

That being the case, the profit motive would still exist to sell to children. The only way to remove that would be to make drugs legal for kids as well.

Why do liquor stores go to such trouble to not sell to minors? According to you, the profit motive still exists to sell alcohol to children, and further by your logic, the only to remove that would be to make alcohol legal for kids as well. Do you not see the weird logic you're using here?

By this strange logic, since you believe alcohol should be legally available, you must also believe that it should be legal to sell to children as well. If this is not correct, then why would you assume that I want it to be legal to sell drugs to kids?

As for the rest of your (well really all) "rebuttal" to the second quote from you, this is simply a reading fail. But this isn't surprising. This is the motif of your drug bigotry.

 
At 12/28/2011 8:18 PM, Blogger Vagabundus said...

"I should, of course, like to see society organized so that the individual would be free to carry on his "pursuit of happiness" as he sees fit and in accordance with his own capacities. That is because I assume that the individual is endowed at birth with the right to do so. I cannot deny that right to my fellow man without implying that I do not have that right for myself, and that I will not admit. I claim for myself the prerogative of getting drunk and sleeping off my condition in the gutter, provided, of course, I do not interfere with my neighbor's right to go to the opera; that is my, and his, way of pursuing happiness. How can a third person know that getting drunk or going to the opera is not "good" for either of us? He, or society, or a majority may claim that we, my neighbor and I, have "wrong" values, and might try to tell us so, but the imposition of force to get us to change our values is unwarranted; such use of coercion stems from an assumption of omniscience, which is not a human quality. The best that society can do in the circumstances is to see that one's way of pursuing happiness does not interfere with that of another's — and then to leave us all alone." - http://mises.org/daily/5027

 
At 12/28/2011 8:26 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Ken concludes his monologue with:

"This is the motif of your drug bigotry."

Invoking the bigotry line, is an ultimate refuge of a truly weak position.

 
At 12/28/2011 9:14 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Craig, considering your repeated criticism of the legalization of alcohol, I think it's a fair question whether you want to make alcohol illegal also, since you have not stated a position on that, not to mention cigarettes or cars or guns, which is why I asked. Nobody is having it "both ways:" I agreed that use might go up somewhat, but that was more than made up for because violent crime from dealers goes to nil. As we have said many times in this thread and which you refuse to engage with, when was the last time you heard of somebody getting shot while "dealing" vodka? Also, you simply assume that alcohol abuse would greatly decrease if we made it illegal again. I'm not even sure it would go down at all: it might go up because it gains more cachet for being illegal again as alcohol was still widespread during Prohibition.

Unlike softer drugs like alcohol or marijuana, let's assume that usage of other drugs might go up somewhat, so what? I'll take that in return for not having people killed by the police simply because they suspect them of dealing drugs. Portugal and other countries have had good results from decriminalizing drugs and all those who said even medical marijuana would cause big problems in California have been proven wrong. I suggest that you are not approaching this complex issue properly, simply hyperventilating about possibly increased drug usage while ignoring all the violence and crime that such drug bans already cause today.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:03 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Those companies are within the regulatory jurisdiction of the US, and provide jobs within that regulatory jurisdiction. Other countries only provide pliant slaves as a way to undercut countries that give freedom to more than just businesses. For an example: not only does China manipulate its currency to stay below the US - as to keep the jobs flowing to their country and keep the US appeasing China despite such harm to the US.

More of the usual drivel. First, the Chinese currency is just as useless as the USD in the long run. Both will lose purchasing power, which is why so many Chinese are doing all that they can to get rid of their RMB as quickly as possible. Second, the last time I looked GM did not use slaves in China. It actually had to pay the market rate and has been increasing salaries in China much faster than it has in the US. Third, tariffs hurt domestic consumers, who you wish to sacrifice so that the domestic producers can have higher profit margins. Forth, the people hurt the most by such protection are the working poor who find their costs rising but do not see an increase in their salaries to offset those increases.

Tariffs are a defense of country.

The North Koreans agree. You seem to share the same economic ideology.

Those people in those foreign lands are (more or less) being used as pawns. Their economic value is far exceeded by their political value as slaves.

Ever look at your political system? The mainstream parties dominate it and put up barriers against political competitors. And no matter what voters want the insiders still get their way. If you want to see a political slave look no further than your mirror.

I have a question for Boudreaux - why does business always seek slavery, despite asking for freedom?

Because business hates competition. Luckily, it has useful idiots like you to help raise barriers against it.

Could it have something to do with business wanting freedom for itself, and not towards those that are not businesses?

Absolutely. That is why you need to stop protecting businesses via the crony capitalist system and open up markets to real competition so that consumers can call the shots as they should.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem is that it is simply not so.

But it is so. Dead customers can't be persuaded to buy dangerous products.

The company would just find a way to paper over the effects, deny the effects existed, and make sure that the victims (or next of kin) were told to STFU (either with money or with direct/indirect threat).

But its competitors can use their own treasury to expose the problems. Or simply claim that their products are better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMo6o0BtFG8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXDSWhobbfc

Or you will have individuals and organizations bring up the dangers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWKB_6lwcx4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T67DvoH2H3E&feature=related

Ninnies like you think that you are smarter than other people and that they must have your stupid rules to protect them from themselves. But that is not at all true.

 
At 12/28/2011 10:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

6 million kids growing up under the specter of alcoholism? Families disintegrating. Spouses abused. And it is your serious contention that in a hypothetical argument of alcohol being illicit, these numbers would be even remotely the same? That is nonsense.

Yes. Alcohol usage was rampant during Prohibition. But the harm done was worse because it took a lot more cash to buy the product and the product was not of very good quality.

What the alcohol hypothetical shows is that usage rates skyrocket and that innocents suffer in the millions in countless ways.

Actually, it does not show anything. It is simply another unsupported claim that makes no sense whatsoever. We already have history as a guide to tell us exactly what the dangers of Prohibition are. It clearly establishes that the harm done was much greater than any hypothetical good it may have done.

But most insidious of all? How all this suffering so deeply ingrains itself into a culture, that is becomes normal. So normal, that people such as yourself and Ken, are clueless as to not just all the suffering that occurs under the alcohol example you both champion. But in addition, suggest as cogent, functioning adults, that usage rates of illicit drugs would not skyrocket if made legal.

It wouldn't because anyone who wants drugs now can get them. And let us look at the harm done by cannabis and compare it to that done by coke. Given what we know about the harm done why is cannabis illegal but one can purchase Coke at your local grocer?

 
At 12/28/2011 10:54 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

According to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, approximately 10.1 million young people aged 12-20 reported past month alcohol use (28.5 percent of this age group). Of these, nearly 6.8 million (19 percent) were binge drinkers.

So what? You assume that if alcohol were illegal young people would not drink. But that is not true. If you look at remote communities where alcohol is hard to get you find the young sniffing gasoline, glue, etc.

And the last time I looked young people used drugs even though they were illegal. If you look at the stats you find that around 22 million Americans age 12 or older use illegal drugs regularly. This number does not include the many millions who abuse prescription drugs.

What gets to me about the loony right wing nutcases is that they are more than willing to give up their freedom to protect 'society' from terrorists even as they give up more freedoms in a war on drugs that ensures that terrorists have a huge source of funding that would disappear if drugs were legal. The 'they' who hate America for its freedom are not the terrorists but conservatives like Bennett and Califano. And does anyone other than me find it ironic that Bennett uses arguments against drug addiction to feed his gambling addiction? I guess that gambling is more virtuous.

 
At 12/29/2011 1:57 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "The cost of cocaine production is now as low as $3 per gram. At a market price of, say, $10 a gram, cocaine could retail for as little as ten cents a hit. That means a young person could buy six hits of cocaine for the price of a candy bar."

Well, there you go, Peak, business opportunities abound for resourceful entrepreneurs. Ain't free enterprise great? :)

 
At 12/29/2011 3:11 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "...business opportunities abound for resourceful entrepreneurs. Ain't free enterprise great? :)"

Yes, even for the lunatics who want to buy or sell nuclear bombs.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:42 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:48 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Dead customers can't be persuaded to buy dangerous products.

Dead customers don't complain about dangerous products or object to their next of kin being silenced.




Second, the last time I looked GM did not use slaves in China. It actually had to pay the market rate and has been increasing salaries in China much faster than it has in the US.

When the market rate excludes the freedom of those that perform the work (by the function of the working arrangements), you have slavery.



Third, tariffs hurt domestic consumers, who you wish to sacrifice so that the domestic producers can have higher profit margins. Forth, the people hurt the most by such protection are the working poor who find their costs rising but do not see an increase in their salaries to offset those increases.

Those increased profits within the nation are what allow those people to be employed. These working poor are then able to get work that makes them no longer so.

Only if the cheaper goods aren't shoddier and thus cost more over the long run from replacement costs. Getting rid of the high quality alternatives doesn't make your point any more valid.

Given your position, you help make the working poor worse off. They lose their job, their ability to counter genuinely bad offers, and if allowed to go far enough, their freedom.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Dead customers don't complain about dangerous products or object to their next of kin being silenced.

The next of kin always complain about dangerous products and take the businesses to court. They go out of business very quickly.

As I wrote, there is no incentive to try to harm your customers because if you do you will be out of business quickly.

When the market rate excludes the freedom of those that perform the work (by the function of the working arrangements), you have slavery.

But it doesn't. Workers in China have the ability to switch jobs and do as they please. Employers have to compete hard to get the best people and often use incentives to poach workers from competitors.

Only if the cheaper goods aren't shoddier and thus cost more over the long run from replacement costs.

Actually, people will return shoddy goods to the stores and those stores will not buy them from the suppliers. You think that people are very stupid but when it comes to what they want and what they are willing to pay, they do quite well for themselves.

What is "lost" in the expense is made up in time and money saved.

Like I said, producers of bad products don't stay in business very long. And stores that continue to offer those products go out of business.

You keep ignoring the reality again. Consumers know what they want and how much they want to pay. Tariffs only reduce their choices and reduce their real standard of living as their purchasing power goes down.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Those increased profits within the nation are what allow those people to be employed.

Yes, tariffs allow people who work in uncompetitive industries to keep their jobs for a while. But by making consumers spend more the lost purchasing power cannot support other jobs in the economy. That means that other jobs are lost thanks to the tariffs and that the consumer has to do with a lot less.

These working poor are then able to get work that makes them no longer so.

No. As I said, jobs are lost and the working poor have less because they are forced to pay more to protected industries.

Only if the cheaper goods aren't shoddier and thus cost more over the long run from replacement costs. Getting rid of the high quality alternatives doesn't make your point any more valid.

Shoddy? Can't you return goods that you find are not up to snuff? And if people return those goods wouldn't the maker go out of business? And let us not forget that protected industries are more likely to make shoddy goods that consumers will be forced to buy.

Given your position, you help make the working poor worse off.

Not at all. They will have access to much cheaper goods and services and will be able to make their earnings stretch much further. The only people worse off are those that can't compete for the consumers' purchasing power.

They lose their job, their ability to counter genuinely bad offers, and if allowed to go far enough, their freedom.

Not at all. The only people who lose their jobs are those that are not very productive. The consumer wins and those people will have to figure out what they are better at. It seems to me that you think that American workers are not good enough to compete.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:40 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Not at all. The only people who lose their jobs are those that are not very productive"

but those folks end up on entitlements, right?

is that cost a transferred cost when they lose their jobs and taxpayers end up paying?

 
At 12/29/2011 11:54 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

but those folks end up on entitlements, right?

Some might for a while. But entitlements end and are not enough for the productive individual who wants more. Such a person needs to work at an activity that is competitive, not for a business that cannot make a good enough product to survive without protection.

is that cost a transferred cost when they lose their jobs and taxpayers end up paying?

Taxpayers should not support anyone. People should purchase their own private insurance as they used to.

 
At 12/30/2011 12:52 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Ruddy,

It is indeed bigotry when in the face of overwhelming opposing evidence of your view that drugs, in particular heroin, will destroy society, you fail to change your mind. If calling Craig a bigot were my first move, then you'd be right. However, it wasn't and demonstrated, using numbers, how ridiculous and wrong Craig's position was. Yet he failed to change his mind, hence the rightful identification of his anti-drug bigotry.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:08 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" But entitlements end and are not enough for the productive individual who wants more"

not things like MedicAid, EMTALA, food stamps, housing vouchers, and SSI and Medicare.

in our system, every person who end up unproductive enough to pay for their own needs - receive life-long entitlements.

that's a reality.

 
At 12/31/2011 6:45 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


VangelV said...

You use the words consumers and competitiveness as wedges to divide people within a nation. I'm only making it possible for more people in the US to be included in the recovery - versus those who most favorably appease businesses.




The only people who lose their jobs are those that are not very productive. The consumer wins and those people will have to figure out what they are better at.

Only if you're on the correct side of the wedge, you benefit. If one is on the wrong side of your wedge, you think they're accursed.

You want to think that these accursed people can do no right if not sanctioned by the world of business. You also believe that business has a divine right to curse people - for not possessing traits that businesses could develop in those same people through training. Then you use the words "consumer" and "competitive" to try to defend the indefensible.





But entitlements end and are not enough for the productive individual who wants more. Such a person needs to work at an activity that is competitive, not for a business that cannot make a good enough product to survive without protection.

Then you are advocating harm while trying to justify it with divisive words such as competitiveness. If you really were interested in using it in a non-divisive way - companies would be required to directly hire and train those otherwise deemed unfit, discovering what their requirements truly are in the process, and paying wages that incentivize people to leave government assistance.

You propose slavish deference to companies, and try to hide this deference by saying it's for the amorphous, voracious group known as consumers.


Shoddy? Can't you return goods that you find are not up to snuff?

That costs time and money, which is saved by the higher quality good that you demonize.



Taxpayers should not support anyone. People should purchase their own private insurance as they used to.

Those agencies did not offer a uniform way to applying/receiving assistance nor the scale that only comes with the government.

 
At 12/31/2011 6:52 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


not things like MedicAid, EMTALA, food stamps, housing vouchers, and SSI and Medicare.

in our system, every person who end up unproductive enough to pay for their own needs - receive life-long entitlements.

Thanks to businesses that ask for people to appease them, but act as if it's the worst wrong if a business has to do the same to attract people off of assistance.

 
At 12/31/2011 12:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You use the words consumers and competitiveness as wedges to divide people within a nation.

Not at all. I am saying that everyone should be free to make a choice about what they purchase with the money that they earn. It is you who would drive a wedge by having government put up barriers so that some people are forced to buy from others.

I'm only making it possible for more people in the US to be included in the recovery - versus those who most favorably appease businesses.

No you are not. You are making it possible for more people in the US to pay much higher prices than they would have in a free market. And it is you who appease business by reducing competition. I care nothing for specific businesses but only care about the consumer being able to choose.

Only if you're on the correct side of the wedge, you benefit. If one is on the wrong side of your wedge, you think they're accursed.

You benefit if you are productive and have the ability to satisfy demand for what you sell. You get richer and your earnings go much further. If you don't have the ability to satisfy demand for what you sell you will have to find something else to do. But you will still benefit from lower prices that will allow your earnings and savings to have a higher purchasing power.

You want to think that these accursed people can do no right if not sanctioned by the world of business. You also believe that business has a divine right to curse people - for not possessing traits that businesses could develop in those same people through training. Then you use the words "consumer" and "competitive" to try to defend the indefensible.

 
At 12/31/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Then you are advocating harm while trying to justify it with divisive words such as competitiveness.

Nonsense. I advocate choice and freedom. You advocate barriers that force the many to pay higher prices so that the few could benefit.

If you really were interested in using it in a non-divisive way - companies would be required to directly hire and train those otherwise deemed unfit, discovering what their requirements truly are in the process, and paying wages that incentivize people to leave government assistance.

If you waste resources you do harm to the individuals in society as you make everyone poorer. It may have seemed like a good idea to you when the US government supported the domestic alternative energy companies because the huge handouts created a few jobs for a while, but when reality intervened taxpayers were much poorer and those people still wound up unemployed. Most of the capital is gone and can never be recovered.

You propose slavish deference to companies, and try to hide this deference by saying it's for the amorphous, voracious group known as consumers.

But it is you who want to protect the companies from competition, not me. It is you who is in favour of handing out taxpayer subsidies to companies, not me. You are the type of useful idiot that companies dream of. You take their side and favour the use of force to protect them even as you think that you are standing up for the taxpayer.

That costs time and money, which is saved by the higher quality good that you demonize.

I am not demonizing anything. I want everyone to have a choice. If you want to buy a high-quality $1,475 razor from a domestic artisan you should be able to get it. (I prefer a 7/8 Spanish Point, half hollow.) But if you don't have the cash and prefer a more reasonable German alternative why should you have to pay a duty to the government?

Those agencies did not offer a uniform way to applying/receiving assistance nor the scale that only comes with the government.

You mean corruption and inefficiency on a scale that only comes with the government.

 
At 12/31/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


You mean corruption and inefficiency on a scale that only comes with the government.

Unlike the obsolete private sector assistance, no dignity is lost. It is provided in a manner without personal judgment, but with a neutral criteria.

The only thing missing is that the private sector would rather write people off instead of try to outdo assistance. If you want to talk about inefficiencies, the private sector isn't helping in that respect.


But it is you who want to protect the companies from competition, not me.

I only propose something where both businesses and regular people can work together in the ways each know best. Not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit in them, but are fine enough at what they do for a company - if given the respect of a long-term investment versus the disrespect of a lifetime of one-night-stands.


I am not demonizing anything. I want everyone to have a choice.

That presumes they have a choice that doesn't resemble a Morton's Fork.

For some items, it is possible to have bespoke items created. For larger and more specialized objects, it is not possible. This is the case with modern electronics and cars (amongst other things).

 
At 1/01/2012 5:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Unlike the obsolete private sector assistance, no dignity is lost.

Really? You ever wait in line to be served by some nosy government bureaucrat?

It is provided in a manner without personal judgment, but with a neutral criteria.

But there should be personal judgment. Why should people who make lousy choices deserve continued handouts without question? And why should 'friends' of bureaucrats get the government contracts when better alternatives are available?

The only thing missing is that the private sector would rather write people off instead of try to outdo assistance. If you want to talk about inefficiencies, the private sector isn't helping in that respect.

Not at all. The private sector wants people to get off welfare rolls and take responsibility. It is the government sector that wants to encourage permanent dependence.

I only propose something where both businesses and regular people can work together in the ways each know best. Not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit in them, but are fine enough at what they do for a company - if given the respect of a long-term investment versus the disrespect of a lifetime of one-night-stands.

No. You propose that inefficient companies are protected from competition by having consumers be offered less choice and higher prices. I guess that you don't think of anyone who buys stuff as a regular person.

That presumes they have a choice that doesn't resemble a Morton's Fork.

Most people have choices that you want to limit. You can't pretend to want to help them even as you treat them as pawns in your game.

For some items, it is possible to have bespoke items created. For larger and more specialized objects, it is not possible. This is the case with modern electronics and cars (amongst other things).

Ah, 'the central planning is better,' argument. How has that worked out so far?

 

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