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The Tea Party and the Drug War
National Review ^ | June 7, 2010 | Jeffrey A. Miron

Posted on 06/07/2010 11:20:04 AM PDT by bamahead

Voter dissatisfaction with Republicans and Democrats is at historic levels, and the tea-party movement is hoping to play kingmaker in the November elections. The country’s current breed of discontent is ideal for the tea parties, because economic concerns are foremost, allowing the movement to sidestep the divisions between its libertarian and conservative wings.

As the elections near, however, voters will want to know where the party stands not just on the economy but on social issues. A perfect illustration is drug policy, where conservatives advocate continued prohibition but libertarians argue for legalization. Which way should the tea party lean when this issue arises?

If the party is true to its principles — fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — it must side with the libertarians.

Fiscal responsibility means limiting government expenditures to programs that can be convincingly said to generate benefits in excess of their costs. This does not rule out programs with large expenditures, or ones whose benefits are difficult to quantify; national defense is guilty on both counts, yet few believe that substantial military expenditure is necessarily irresponsible.

Any significant expenditure, however, should come with a credible claim that it produces a benefit large enough to outweigh both the expenditure itself and any ancillary costs. From this perspective, drug prohibition is not remotely consistent with fiscal responsibility. This policy costs the public purse around $70 billion per year, according to my estimates, yet no evidence suggests that prohibition reduces drug use to a significant degree. And prohibition has unintended consequences that push its cost-benefit ratio even farther in the wrong direction. Prohibition generates violence and corruption by pushing drug markets underground and inflating prices. Prohibition inhibits quality control, so users suffer accidental poisoning and overdoses. Prohibition destroys civil liberties, inhibits legitimate medical uses of targeted drugs, and wreaks havoc in drug-producing countries.

Drug prohibition, at least when imposed at the federal level, is also hard to reconcile with constitutionally limited government. The Constitution gives the federal government a few expressly enumerated powers, with all others reserved to the states (or to the people) under the Tenth Amendment. None of the enumerated powers authorizes Congress to outlaw specific products, only to regulate interstate commerce. Thus laws regulating interstate trade in drugs might pass constitutional muster, but outright bans cannot. Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it amended the Constitution itself to do so. The country has never adopted such a constitutional authorization for drug prohibition.

Finally, drug prohibition is hopelessly inconsistent with allegiance to free markets, regardless of the level of government. Free markets should mean both that businesses can operate as they please and that individuals can purchase and consume whatever they want, so long as these actions do not harm others, even when such decisions seem unwise. Drug prohibition interferes with precisely these activities.

Thus, if the tea-party believes in its principles, it must choose the libertarian path on drug prohibition.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: acornpaidfor; assclownposse; bongbrigade; commerceclause; dailyobot; dopersunited; drunkdialing; drunkdrivers; fakers; faketeapartier; frauds; givememydope; inflitraitors; liarschoir; libertarians; lping; lunaticfinger; medicalmarijuana; nro; obamalover; obots; organizingforamerica; potheads; sorosstoodges; teaparty; wantmydope; wickard; wosd
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At its core, the Tea Party is not about these types of issues, granted. But as the movement tries to raise more awareness to the extent of waste that permiates the federal government, this dollar and liberty consuming monstrosity known as the War on Drugs needs to be among the first examined for elimination.

Many folks are now beginning to see that the WOsD is nothing more than another excuse for the federal gov't to usurp power via the commerce clause, or whatever else the statists' want to use as their rationale-du-jour for dismantling your enumerated rights.

1 posted on 06/07/2010 11:20:04 AM PDT by bamahead
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To: Abathar; Abcdefg; Abram; Abundy; akatel; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Alexander Rubin; Allerious; ...



Libertarian ping! Click here to get added or here to be removed or post a message here!
View past Libertarian pings here
2 posted on 06/07/2010 11:20:45 AM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: bamahead
No what is needed is for various activists to quit trying to hijack the tea party onto their pet cause.

We have much larger issues, of spending, deciding the scope and role of government etc that must be resolved as soon as possible to maintain a healthy future for the USA. Once those are resolved we can start worrying about the Drug War or other single issue hot buttons items.

First we save the future of this country, everything else can wait.

3 posted on 06/07/2010 11:26:57 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (The problem with Socialism is eventually you run our of other peoples money. Lady Thatcher)
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To: bamahead

The war on some drugs has shown to be a failure.


4 posted on 06/07/2010 11:27:33 AM PDT by Darren McCarty (I don't look for leaders. I follow my own path, my way.)
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To: bamahead

Securing the borders would go a long way toward cutting down the scope of our drug problem... and securing the borders is one of the few legitimate functions of government.


5 posted on 06/07/2010 11:30:27 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: bamahead

nonesense

to side with it’s true priciples, the good of the people demands that drug use be illegal

That means drug legalization is an abomination.


6 posted on 06/07/2010 11:31:35 AM PDT by RaceBannon (RON PAUL: THE PARTY OF TRUTHERS, TRAITORS AND UFO CHASERS!!!)
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To: bamahead

Great Post


7 posted on 06/07/2010 11:32:34 AM PDT by orlop9
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To: bamahead

” voters will want to know where the party stands “

“Party”? I wouldn’t really consider it that. It’s just a bunch of citizens who agree on at least a few fundamental issues.


8 posted on 06/07/2010 11:32:35 AM PDT by Pessimist
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To: RaceBannon

“the good of the people demands”

Pray tell, what else does “the goiod of the people” demand in your eyes?

Federal laws for whatever you deem appropriate?


9 posted on 06/07/2010 11:33:52 AM PDT by Pessimist
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To: bamahead

We are united by our common recognition that our corrupt political class must be removed.


10 posted on 06/07/2010 11:35:18 AM PDT by Lexington Green (By any means necessary....)
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To: RaceBannon
to side with it’s true priciples, the good of the people demands that drug use be illegal

Even more nonsensical is that your stance is not much different than the rationale used by leftists that healthcare must be passed for the 'common good', and that the 'general welfare' clause in the preamble justifies the governments authority over things like this.

No such power as you describe it, is enumerated.
11 posted on 06/07/2010 11:36:58 AM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: bamahead
. . .and the tea-party movement is hoping to play kingmaker in the November elections

Uh, no. What we're hoping to do is elect real conservatives who know that the American people are the boss. That's the exact opposite of king-making.

12 posted on 06/07/2010 11:40:51 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: RaceBannon

Pot would be a lucrative business if the Government stayed out of the growing and distribution.. Tax it and let the tax revinue go to hiring additional LE officers. But that is a perfect Scenario that would never happen because the gubment would want to control it all..


13 posted on 06/07/2010 11:41:30 AM PDT by crazydad
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To: bamahead
Thus, if the tea-party believes in its principles, it must choose the libertarian path on drug prohibition.

The tea-party does not "believe" in anything. In fact, there is no "tea-party". There are tea parties in which freedom loving American's of all stripes gather together to protest government statism, irresponsibility, profligacy, corruption, malignancy, usurpation and oppression.

I'm against the WOD. I am also against using "The Tea-Party" to promote any political agenda because "The Tea-Party" does not exist.

14 posted on 06/07/2010 11:42:25 AM PDT by Theophilus (Not merely prolife, but prolific!)
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To: bamahead
. . .this dollar and liberty consuming monstrosity known as the War on (insert favorite destructive activity here) needs to be among the first examined for elimination.
15 posted on 06/07/2010 11:42:26 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Pessimist
“Party”? I wouldn’t really consider it that. It’s just a bunch of citizens who agree on at least a few fundamental issues.

Amen

16 posted on 06/07/2010 11:43:20 AM PDT by Theophilus (Not merely prolife, but prolific!)
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To: RaceBannon

That means drug legalization is an abomination.

**********************************

Then ‘abomination’ was the American norm until the 20th century.

As American as Coca-Cola.


17 posted on 06/07/2010 11:43:40 AM PDT by Psalm 144 (Let me be clear. The voluntary pancipation of Cinco de Quatro is mandated in all 57 states.)
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To: Darren McCarty
The war on some drugs has shown to be a failure.

So has every other war against every other crime. Does that mean we should just make it all legal so we don't have to spend money? If not, just exactly where do we draw the line?

18 posted on 06/07/2010 11:44:14 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: bamahead
If Libertarians take over the Tea Party movement, the Left wins and America is doomed.

Guess what? You have no Constitutional right to drugs. Destroying two generations should be enough for you. You don't get any more.

19 posted on 06/07/2010 11:47:36 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: MNJohnnie

the war on drugs is perhaps the greatest threat to liberty in this country. When police can storm your home because someone has a plant the government doesn’t approve of, we all lose a bit.

It is also a colossal waste of $$$ at the federal, state and local levels.


20 posted on 06/07/2010 11:48:04 AM PDT by ChurtleDawg (voting only encourages them)
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To: crazydad
Tax it and let the tax revinue go to hiring additional LE officers. But that is a perfect Scenario that would never happen because the gubment would want to control it all..

The State of California is trying to do this.

The illegal drug producers are opposing it.

21 posted on 06/07/2010 11:51:41 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Deb

“Guess what? You have no Constitutional right to drugs. Destroying two generations should be enough for you. You don’t get any more.”

Ummmm. . . it was illegal for those two generations. Our prisons have plenty of nonviolent offenders, the police act like the military and invade homes in alarming numbers, etc. etc. etc.

I think if you want to save the next two generations, you may want to reconsider your approach.

If it didn’t work the first time, it didn’t work the second time, try it a third time! Yeah! Then it will *really* work great!

P.S. I’ve never even tried the crap, I have kids and I am not as afraid of the poor choices my children may make as I am of the poor decisions the government makes.


22 posted on 06/07/2010 11:58:45 AM PDT by cizinec
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To: MEGoody

We draw the line where it should always be drawn in order to maximize personal liberty. Any behavior that doesn’t cause harm to an uninvolved party should be legal.

Having said that, if you are stupid enough to use drugs, then I am patriot enough to let you.


23 posted on 06/07/2010 12:03:45 PM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: Deb

You have no constitutional authority to prohibit them, either.

The constitution is meant to be a limit on GOVERNMENT; not on a free people.


24 posted on 06/07/2010 12:05:26 PM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Of course they are. Legalization would take most of the profit out of it.


25 posted on 06/07/2010 12:06:26 PM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: MEGoody
"Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it amended the Constitution itself to do so. The country has never adopted such a constitutional authorization for drug prohibition."

So has every other war against every other crime. Does that mean we should just make it all legal so we don't have to spend money? If not, just exactly where do we draw the line?

How about some amendments for the war on some drugs like they had the courtesy to enact for alcohol prohibition. Making alcohol requires work. Many of these drugs are found in nature and are medicinally useful.

26 posted on 06/07/2010 12:06:32 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Deb
Suppose California passes the marijuana legalization measure this November (most polls have it slightly ahead).

Will you support CA's prerogative under the Tenth Amendment to enact the policy without fedgov interference? Or, would you support fedgov trying to shut it down under authority of the Commerce Clause?

27 posted on 06/07/2010 12:08:49 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: clee1

And think of the OSHA, EEOC, DEA, CBER, and FDA audits they’d have to endure. ;)


28 posted on 06/07/2010 12:16:17 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Ken H
Amazing how many times this forum is used to promote drug legalization and how the arguments never change. Libertarians are Socialists in dirty suits.

And pretending to advocate for "freedom" while promoting a lifestyle of destruction, degradation and hopelessness would be laughable if it wasn't so evil.

29 posted on 06/07/2010 12:17:22 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Deb

Ah, the Drug War Fascists...


30 posted on 06/07/2010 12:20:28 PM PDT by sargon (I don't like the sound of these "boncentration bamps")
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To: Deb
Amazing how many times this forum is used to promote drug legalization and how the arguments never change. Libert

Classic confusion of the issue. ALMOST NO ONE WANTS LEGALIZATION--BUT STOP THE ALL OUT WAR. IT IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Why is that so hard to understand?

31 posted on 06/07/2010 12:27:43 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: Deb
So... if CA passes the measure, would you support CA's prerogative under the Tenth Amendment to enact the policy without fedgov interference? Or, would you support fedgov trying to shut it down under authority of the Commerce Clause?
32 posted on 06/07/2010 12:32:18 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: Deb; bamahead; Bokababe; dcwusmc
You have no Constitutional right to drugs.

Yes and no. In accordance with the Tenth Amendment, the Federal "war on drugs" is improper, but that does not preclude the States (or their constituent jurisdictions) from banning or otherwise regulating the consumption of various controlled substances nor does it preclude the People themselves voluntarily electing not to consume said controlled substances.

The heart of the matter here is whether the Federal government should have the right and power to regulate what substances are consumed by individuals. If you believe that the Federal "war on drugs" is proper and Constitutional, then you should have no qualms about a "war on obesity," a "war on smoking," etc. as it is necessary to completely control every essence of the lives of the People in order to effectively enforce said "war on drugs."

Note that I am not advocating for the consumption of controlled substances, nor am I advocating that said consumption is a good thing or a desirable choice for individuals, nor am I advocating that the undesirable consequences of the consumption of controlled substances by individuals be involuntarily socialized to the entire population. I am, however, advocating that the Federal government not infringe upon the right of individuals to their freedom to elect to consume controlled substances in accordance with their natural, unalienable rights to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness, pursuant to those individuals' willingness to accept and uphold their responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

33 posted on 06/07/2010 12:33:51 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: Deb; bamahead; Bokababe; dcwusmc
And pretending to advocate for "freedom" while promoting a lifestyle of destruction, degradation and hopelessness would be laughable if it wasn't so evil.

So you're for a "war on obesity"?

Does this mean you favor giving the Federal government the effectively unlimited right and the power to micromanage the lives of their citizens in order to promote a lifestyle not "of destruction, degradation and hopelessness"?

Or maybe you favor such a course of action, so long as you're making the determination.

34 posted on 06/07/2010 12:37:03 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: MNJohnnie
Re keyword "SOROSSTOODGES"... It's spelled "stooges", not "stoodges":)
35 posted on 06/07/2010 12:37:24 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: subterfuge
Yeah, right. No on wants legalization. You just want the laws against drug use abolished or unenforced. That's all. Well, like Bill Clinton, the Socialists in the White House right now, will be happy to accommodate the Libertarian wet dream of non-enforcement.

It beats me what you're all whining about. Federal drug enforcement barely exists. Go home and stay stoned. Please. The sooner you all destroy your brains, the better off everyone else will be.

36 posted on 06/07/2010 12:38:02 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: rabscuttle385

Drop dead, loser. Figures you’d be pro-drug.


37 posted on 06/07/2010 12:39:30 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: MEGoody
Does that mean we should just make it all legal so we don't have to spend money? If not, just exactly where do we draw the line?

99% of it outside of the borders, the feds should stay out of it. The rest should be decided by local and state matters. Personally, I think things that don't directly harm other people (IE, crimes against persons and property) should be mostly decriminalized. If someone smokes a joint, I don't care unless they are driving stoned and putting others at risk. Meth and heroin I have more of a problem, but they need help, not prison.

38 posted on 06/07/2010 12:46:19 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (I don't look for leaders. I follow my own path, my way.)
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To: Deb
Libertarians are Socialists in dirty suits.

Socialism and Libertarianism are polar opposites. One side thinks all economic matters should be controlled by the government. The other believes in almost no government.

39 posted on 06/07/2010 12:48:55 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (I don't look for leaders. I follow my own path, my way.)
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To: neverdem
How about some amendments for the war on some drugs like they had the courtesy to enact for alcohol prohibition.

If you want. I've just never understood the whole argument that falls along the lines of "Well they've been fighting against drugs for decades and people are still using drugs, so the war is lost. Lets give up." Every crime continues. That doesn't give us a reason to make the thing (whatever it is) legal. There needs to be some other argument made.

40 posted on 06/07/2010 12:51:38 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: clee1
We draw the line where it should always be drawn in order to maximize personal liberty. Any behavior that doesn’t cause harm to an uninvolved party should be legal.

I'm not so sure the line can be so easily drawn. At some point, the damage done to the fabric of society needs to be taken into account.

What about the families of those on drugs? Do we just let the kids go hungry because dad is a druggie? After all, it isn't OUR fault he takes drugs. If he wants the liberty to get high, then we let his family suffer as "punishment" for his addiction?

I am just not convinced that legalization of drugs is the way to go. And yes, I'm aware the same issues can be made with alcohol, which is currently legal. I'm one who was a hungry, sometimes homeless kid because of dad's drinking. Thank God mom finally gave up on him and left. At any rate, the whole "but alcohol is legal" argument doesn't get anywhere with me.

41 posted on 06/07/2010 1:02:25 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: bamahead

The WOD’s is big business, To big to fail.


42 posted on 06/07/2010 1:10:01 PM PDT by muddler (Obama is either incompetent or malicious, and it makes little difference which.)
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To: Deb

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and put you down as a jack-boot there Deb. You see, you are a moron. Show me anywhere where I said I don’t want drug laws enforced and I’ll take it back, but you won’t, so I won’t. You want to equate me with Bill Clinton? F*CK YOU. You’re idea of freedom is a lot closer to what both Clintons want than me or any real FReeper.

I’m guessing your real problem is you can’t get a man. Yeah, thats probably it.


43 posted on 06/07/2010 1:18:50 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: subterfuge

Holy mackerel.


44 posted on 06/07/2010 1:21:04 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: bamahead

Look at what the drug issue has done for the Libertarian Party since they made it their signature issue.


45 posted on 06/07/2010 1:21:45 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: trisham

Yeah, I know. Sorry trisham. “Deb” is on the verge of his conservative credentials being revoked.


46 posted on 06/07/2010 1:22:41 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: Deb; Bokababe; dcwusmc; rabscuttle385
Or maybe you favor such a course of action, so long as you're making the determination.

Exactly. Statists come in all forms and all sizes. Some even call themselves conservatives, hide on conservative forums, and call themselves Republicans.

Someone said it best the other day - Democrats want a mommy government, and Republicans want a daddy government. There is no difference between the two. They're all statists and basically 'progressives' when you strip down to it. They advocate increasing federal power beyond that which is enumerated to impose their will on others. Not people I want on 'my' side!
47 posted on 06/07/2010 1:25:27 PM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: MEGoody

The “but alcohol is legal” argument gets nowhere with me, either.

Families of addicts are not “society’s” problem. Teenage pregnancy wasn’t society’s problem either until the shame of being pregnant w/o being married became passe’ in our culture.

I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I don’t think there will be more addicts if drugs are legalized, nor do I believe that less families suffer because they are currently illegal.

My objection to the WoD is based on the corruption and police-state tactics that have emerged as a result, as well as the patriot notion that my personal business has no place within goobermint oversight UNLESS it causes immediate harm to another.

Try it this way: It is legal for me to get drunk as a skunk, but driving that way is (rightfully) forbidden.


48 posted on 06/07/2010 1:31:23 PM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: Moonman62

The problem at the Party level is that practically made it their ONLY issue. And I admit, the legalization rationale does sound ridiculous standing on it’s own, until you quantify it within an overall movement toward smaller, less intrusive government, and the elimination of the welfare state as a whole.

The Libertarian Party has failed to craft that message as part of the broader move toward smaller government. Purists are only good at picking one issue and running with it...they typically don’t have the mental depth to make it part of a broader strategy, nor are they adept at effectively communicating that strategy. And the Libertarian Party has been controlled by rather unrealistic purists for some time now, since the early 80’s.


49 posted on 06/07/2010 1:31:41 PM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: subterfuge
If I have any "problem" at all, its that too many amazing and extraordinary men love me, but I don't consider that a problem. Gorgeous, yummy, brilliant men. Happy happy, joy joy. What were talking about?

Oh, yeah, your happiness at destroying generations of young people with drugs.

But I appreciate your concern about my life. Not easy to find in self-obsessed, dope-drenched losers with no regard for the future of the country.

50 posted on 06/07/2010 1:35:01 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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