Italy overturns ‘absurd’ drug law equating marijuana and hard drugs

Italy overturns ‘absurd’ drug law equating marijuana and hard drugs

The title really gives all of the details. Libertarians are usually quick to celebrate these kinds of liberalizations of government authority but I always take these times to reiterate and oft forgotten fact.  Italy has not “given more rights to drug users”.  I hear this so often and strangely enough almost universally from more “left” policies such as gay marriage “Massachusetts has given the right to marry to homosexuals.”  This is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth.  The right of self-ownership is universal and each and every person already has the right to consume any drugs they please or to marry whomever they choose.  Government action has taken away those rights and them removing that restriction is not the same as giving away rights.  Rights cannot be granted, they are innate and inalienable.  Rights can only be removed by force.  Two forces in this world deny rights to others.  Criminals and the Government.  Most libertarians do not make a distinction between the two.

21 thoughts on “Italy overturns ‘absurd’ drug law equating marijuana and hard drugs”

  1. “Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Most libertarians do not make a distinction between the two.”

    Is there a militia wing of libertarians?

      1. I’m not implying anything, I’m asking if there is a militia wing among libertarians. The language of government-as-criminals pops up there a lot:

        “The militia movement is a paramilitary out-growth of the independent survivalist, anti-tax and other causes in the patriot movement subculture in the United States. The formation of the militias was influenced by the historical precedent of existing paramilitary movements such as the Posse Comitatus and groups associated with protecting liberties of governed people.

        Although the far-right Patriot movement had long been marginalized, cultural factors paved the way for the wide-scale growth of the libertarian or ideological Militia movement. This attitude corresponded with the perception that the federal government’s powers and reach had increased greatly.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_movement

        The fact that some militia movement people subscribe to certain aspects of libertarianism doesn’t mean much; there are a large number of progressive Democrats that do as well.

        But as a recent post here pointed out language is important, it reveals a lot. If, as you stated most libertarians don’t distinguish between criminals and governments that’s meaningful. Hence the question. If you don’t know or don’t want to answer perhaps others can.

      2. How can there be a wing of something that is completely decentralized? There can be no militia because there is no centralized body to regulate or run a militia. Or to quote Walter Block “The position of Commander in Chief of the libertarian army is and always will be open”.

        Second, libertarians cannot wage war due to the non-aggression principle. War is an act of destruction against people and property which is by definition against libertarian ethics. War is the exclusive domain of the state and the term libertarian-state is an oxymoron.

        Third, yes the language of government as criminals does pop up because well they are by nearly any definition of the word. I don’t believe society (through any social contract) can grant powers to a body that any individual member of that body does not possess on its own. If no man may murder another how can a group of men legally commit murder? Despite this language that isn’t an advocacy for violent action against any government any more than I suggest that your average libertarian don spandex tights and rough up your local rapists and burglars.

    1. Oh wow. From a discussion of rights to accusations of militia membership, and Uncle Terry did it all with the first comment of the thread (why waste our time discussing the issue at hand, anyway?)

      Luckily, Uncle Terry has subtly proved how violent libertarians are by providing us with a well-sourced wikipedia article on “militia movements.” Among the sources of the article include those bastions of centrism The Nation, The New York Times, and Progressive Magazine.

      Let me see if I can lay out Terry’s devastating argument (for the sake of my own clarity, of course):

      1. Adam posts on his conception of rights and the drug war
      2. Terry asks about a “militia wing of libertarians”

      How could I not see the light before? Thanks to Terry’s clear-eyed analysis, I am now a pragmatic pragmatist. From now on, anything I disagree with is too far to the Left, or too far to the Right. It has to be this way, because I don’t agree with it and I represent the Center of Everything.

  2. Ah, thank you. I was under the impression that libertarians were a polythetic group. I stand corrected.

    1. Libertarianism is technically an umbrella, you are again confusing libertarianism as some sort of hierarchical organization that holds meetings and takes notes. You will even find people who claim to be libertarian-socialists. Now on the other hand I personally disagree with that sentiment and find these off-shoots to be incompatible with voluntarism or as I like to call it consistent libertarianism. I call it this because the belief in private property and self-ownership is absolute, without subjectivity, and without value judgments.

      Libertarian socialists for example will often claim that equality is necessary for freedom but who decides what is equal? I say every man is entitled to eat lobster and caviar for dinner every night. Is that economically possible? Not at all. They respond with concepts such as “a living wage” but what is that? Who defines it? It also ignores the fact that in order to enforce these programs the money to support the less productive must come from somewhere so their version of libertarianism almost always involves theft of person and property which is antithetical to the most base libertarian beliefs.

      In this same vein I do not believe there can be half-measures and in fact the constant need to pursue half-measures are one of the most damaging things to the philosophy. For example privatizing prisons when the courts are still public is worse than just letting the prisons remain public. To quote Murray Rothbard:

      “If liberty is to be the highest political end, then this implies that liberty is to be pursued by the most efficacious means, i.e. those means which
      will most speedily and thoroughly arrive at the goal. This means that the libertarian must be an ” abolitionist,” i.e., he must wish to achieve the goal of liberty as rapidly as possible. If he balks at abolitionism, then he is no longer holding liberty as the highest political end. The libertarian, then, should be an abolitionist who would, if he could, abolish instantaneously all invasions of liberty ”

      These half-measures are why I personally find Campaign for Liberty and the Free State project to be not only harmful to the libertarian movement but also against the core values of libertarianism.

      1. @Adam
        “Libertarianism is technically an umbrella, you are again confusing libertarianism as some sort of hierarchical organization that holds meetings and takes notes.”

        Wrong. I was very clear about what I assumed; that libertarians were a polythetic group with some principles widely held but none universally held. And, in fact, that seems to be what you’re saying in this post, that there are ‘off-shoots’ [libertarian-socialists] and groups that don’t share all of your beliefs [Campaign for Liberty, Free State project].

        You ended your original post with “Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Most libertarians do not make a distinction between the two.” If “most’ libertarians view governments as criminals then it’s one of those widely [but not universally] shared beliefs.

        L.A. Repucci recent wrote here: “The words we chose to use when we frame our thoughts betray our underlying perspective. Language is the seat of understanding, and can be deconstructed to suggest motivation and perspective.” The common belief that governments-are-criminals suggested to me that there might be a militia faction [you didn't like 'wing'] among libertarians. Hence the question.

        @Brandon
        “Let me see if I can lay out Terry’s devastating argument (for the sake of my own clarity, of course):

        1. Adam posts on his conception of rights and the drug war
        2. Terry asks about a “militia wing of libertarians”

        For the sake of your own clarity, you forgot 1.A. At the end of Adam’s post he states “Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Most libertarians do not make a distinction between the two.”

        Now this is language that I don’t recall seeing among libertarians but there’s been no clamor of disagreement from the Note writers on the left margin of the blog. Since this language is very common among militia movement people it’s not an unreasonable question to ask.

        Btw, subtlety is not one of my strong points. If I have an accusation to make it’ll be clear. I’m conscious of the Please Keep it Civil at the top of the comment box but my aggression is only as passive as necessary. Put away your spandex tights for the moment.

      2. It seems that this entire conflict comes from my use of the word “most” which I simply used because I try not to speak for other people whenever possible. I am, after all, an individualist. Change it to the following if it suits you.

        “Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Libertarians do not make a distinction between the two since both criminals and the government operate through the violation of property rights both personal and physical.”

      3. @Terry
        I don’t need spandex tights to point out your fallacies.

        Again: Adam produced a post on rights and the drug war, and you responded by asking about a “militia wing of libertarianism.” There is nothing in your well-sourced wikipedia article to suggest that Adam’s choice of words echoes far right extremists, either.

        You are simply making up an argument and then knocking it down as if it’s somebody else’s.

  3. @Adam
    My interpretation is that you’ve moved from ‘most’ to all. Let me ask your opinion….
    In your opinion, what percentage of self-designated libertarians would agree with this statement: “I do not make a distinction between criminals and government.” I use the term ‘self-designated’ because you pointed out a number of off-shoots that believe themselves to be libertarians that you disagree with [Campaign for Liberty, Free State project, et cetera].

    @Brandon
    Sigh. I didn’t make an argument, I asked a f–cking question. Learn the difference.

    “Adam produced a post on rights and the drug war, and you responded by asking about a “militia wing of libertarianism.”

    Yes he did. Everything before the last couple of sentences, seemed straight forward to me and didn’t provoke any comments from me, or anyone else.

    He ended his post with “Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Most libertarians do not make a distinction between the two.”
    Which he’s since refined to ““Two forces in this world deny rights to others. Criminals and the Government. Libertarians do not make a distinction between the two since both criminals and the government operate through the violation of property rights both personal and physical.”
    Adam stated that most/all [or some significant proportion] proportion of libertarians don’t distinguish between government and criminals. I’ve never heard this from libertarians [limited exposure I guess] before, but I have heard this from militia movement people such as one of my nephews. This made me wonder about the overlap and I asked my question.

    “There is nothing in your well-sourced wikipedia article to suggest that Adam’s choice of words echoes far right extremists, either.”

    I will rectify that since you dispute my claim.

    1. “Let me ask your opinion….
      In your opinion, what percentage of self-designated libertarians would agree with this statement:”

      In my opinion believing that taxation is theft is a requirement of being a libertarian. However since anyone can use the term libertarian to describe their philosophy less than 100% of people self-describing as libertarians would agree with this. There is a difference here that I do not believe you are acknowledging between people calling themselves libertarian and actually being a libertarian.

      1. @Adam

        Thanks.

        “There is a difference here that I do not believe you are acknowledging between people calling themselves libertarian and actually being a libertarian.”

        Yes, I struggle with this.

  4. The original post doesn’t use the word criminal, he uses subversive. Both ByteEnable [quoted below] and my nephew are from Texas.

    http://www.militianews.com/if-they-come-for-your-guns-do-you-have-a-responsibility-to-fight/

    “I used to dismiss the notion that our federal government had a coup in the past. Some say it happened with the JFK assassination. The more research I do only confirms that this has occurred. I’m from Texas and currently reside in Texas. The Texas politicians talk a big talk about gun ownership and the 2nd amendment. However, I have read stories about other Texan’s 2nd amendment being assaulted. I have had mine assaulted even in Williamson County, eventually I got my guns back. My point is that there are criminals even in local government. On one hand I can see why the PD’s and the SO’s are getting all these toys. Heck its free! Why not! The problem is that it goes to their head. Then they want to be rambo and use those toys on civilians. In some cases its for good, in some cases its for evil and also used out of ignorance. Overwhelming force is a military doctrine not a peace keeper doctrine. Peace keepers in this country have forgotten their mission. They have self labeled themselves “law enforcement”. Only a jury of your peers can enforce the law.

    So what this boils down to is that you have evil (criminals) or bad leaders (ignorance) that get elected to office. It’s difficult to ascertain from a moments notice if they are evil or ignorant. If they show up at your door to confiscate your weapons its one or the other.

    The primary mission of OathKeepers is to help educate those that are willing to listen. I can’t think of any other organization today that has such a noble mission; peace through education.”

    1. Well I’ll be! Is it so? Can it be? Did I really get Professor Terry to cuss at me in frustration? Dr J would be proud. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing, but he would be proud. Terry writes:

      Sigh. I didn’t make an argument, I asked a f–cking question. Learn the difference.

      Have you stopped beating your wife, Dr Amburgey?

      The article from militianews.com does not, in my mind, connect the dots between Adam’s argument and far right extremism. At all. For example, the article states that:

      [...] what this boils down to is that you have evil (criminals) or bad leaders (ignorance) that get elected to office. It’s difficult to ascertain from a moments notice if they are evil or ignorant.

      There is absolutely nothing in this argument that claims criminals and governments are the same thing. Indeed, it looks as if the article is stating that criminals and morons get elected to office. The article does not state that elected officials or bureaucrats are criminals by their very nature. In fact, it looks to me like the article you cite is merely repeating some obvious truths: Namely, that democracy is not perfect, and that cops and politicians can sometimes be the bad guys, and that there is an increase in the militarization of police forces in the US today.

      Now, the logic from an imperfect democracy to militia membership is going to be faulty somewhere along line, but I can’t find it in the article you gave us (I only read the excerpt you provided, though). Nevertheless, your logic on this matter is what I am honing in on. It seems to me that your attempt to go from a discussion of rights to a question of militia membership was disingenuous. It seems to me like you were trying to paint those you disagree with as extremists, and yourself as the moderate centrist. Such a tactic is beneath you Dr A.

  5. @Brandon
    “It seems to me that your attempt to go from a discussion of rights to a question of militia membership was disingenuous. It seems to me like you were trying to paint those you disagree with as extremists, and yourself as the moderate centrist. Such a tactic is beneath you Dr A.”

    I was not being disingenuous. Stating that rights are inalienable not bestowed by the state is not surprising to see on a Libertarian blog. Seeing a statement that Libertarians don’t distinguish between government and criminals was very surprising to me. I’m certainly not knowledgeable about Libertarianism, that’s why I enjoy spending time here.

    Adam has given an unambiguous answer to my question. He sees Libertarians as a monothetic group with very clear boundaries. There can be no militia type faction within the group because organizing for potential violence runs counter to one of the group-defining principles.

    If, as I suspect, Libertarianism is polythetic there is still the question in my mind which I will read up on elsewhere.

    1. Ah gotcha, Dr A. Here is where I think we diverge:

      Seeing a statement that Libertarians don’t distinguish between government and criminals was very surprising to me.

      I can see how this would pique your interest, but what I cannot see is how that spurred you to ask about a militia wing of libertarianism. The article you linked to in support of your tenuous connection only serves to bolster my suspicions of your motives, since it didn’t actually state that government and criminals are one and the same.

      As far as your question regarding the argument that government and criminals are one and the same, I don’t agree with it and many libertarians don’t, either (I don’t have any numbers to support my intuition, but I am anxiously waiting for a FEE debate on just this subject). I think it’s an absurd position and that it does libertarianism a great disservice. It’s obviously incoherent and, when challenged, produces fallacious reasoning. Nevertheless, proponents of this distinction have a small-but-vocal wing within the libertarian quadrant and as such the more pragmatic among us – such as myself – are forced to grapple with these issues more often than folks in the other three quadrants.

      I think it makes us stronger. Maybe an analogy using the outdated-but-often-useful Left-Right paradigm will help. Milton Friedman is like a Left-wing statist in our quadrant (his son, a libertarian anarchist and law prof at Santa Clara, once argued that MF’s positions were fascist). FA Hayek is the centrist, and Murray Rothbard is the far Right radical (he even has purges of hippies under his belt).

      I’m a Hayekian. I think anarchy would work much, much better than what we currently have in place, but I also realize that democracy will not allow for anarchy anytime soon and that rule-bound democracy is a much better mode of governance than rule by one or a few. I also realize that calling for the prohibition of the State is incoherent and un-libertarian (even by Adam’s strict standards!).

      I think shrinking it until it disappears is a worthy intellectual pursuit. So I support change along the margin (gay marriage through the courts) and promote ideas that destroy commonly-held myths (the US is an oligarchy and the rich aren’t taxed enough).

      My own view on defense organization is that ours is not so bad. I think we could tweak it here and there, but as long as conscription by the government remains unattainable I think we’re in pretty good shape, all things considered.

  6. @Brandon
    “I can see how this would pique your interest, but what I cannot see is how that spurred you to ask about a militia wing of libertarianism. The article you linked to in support of your tenuous connection only serves to bolster my suspicions of your motives, since it didn’t actually state that government and criminals are one and the same.”

    I’m going to speculate that you don’t have any family or close friends that are militia movement types. I’ve heard that government-as-criminals stuff ad nauseum although the last couple of years survival prepping has come to dominate. I’m not sure why my nephew needs to buy a .50 caliber Barrett rifle to defend against the apocalyptic marauders but apparently it’s the latest shiny toy. Personally I think he should use the money to pay child support but I’m old fashioned that way….

    However, I’m not going to try to change your mind. If you’re sceptical that the militias view government as criminals so be it.

    1. Professor Amburgey:

      I don’t have any family members that are part of a militia, but I did grow up in a crummy part of a crummy town and many of the skinheads and Nortenos (sorry I don’t the html code for an enye) there saw the government as criminal. Feel free to ask me about the connection between libertarianism and street gangs.

      Again, there are criminals in the government. Additionally, government itself gets away with things that would be considered crimes if others did them all the time. Do you disagree with this assessment? If you do not disagree with it, does that make you a potential member of a militia? How about a potential member of a street gang?

Please keep it civil (unless it relates to Jacques)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s