Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.”     Frederick Bastiat

January 7, 2007

A Liberal Who Just Doesn’t Get It

by Doug Mataconis

Randy Balko cites this post by Matthew Yglesias as evidence that so-called “liberaltarianism” is a pipe dream, and I’ve got to say that I agree:

I guess this is something liberals and libertarians are supposed to agree about, but I consistently find it bizarre that there are some people who seem to think it would be a good idea if you could just walk into your local convenience store and pick up some heroin or crack along with your Fritos and Diet Coke. At times, people taking this line seem to argue that drug prohibition couldn’t possibly be having any beneficial effects because, after all, you can still find heroin. Naturally enough, you don’t see anyone proposing that the “war on mugging” be ended simply because mugging-prohibition has failed to actually eliminate the proscribed activity.

The difference, Mr. Yglesias, is that mugging constitutes at least two violations on the rights of another individual — namely, assault and robbery. Ingesting currently illegal drugs, as unwise as such as decision might be, violates the rights of no person. Therefore, the analogy is completely inapplicable.

Related Posts:

Should Libertarians Leave The GOP ?
Brock Lindsey’s “Liberaltarianism”
F.A. Hayes On Conservatives vs. Classical Liberals
Matt Welch on Liberaltarians
Why Republicans Need Libertarians
More On “Liberaltarians”

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  1. It’s even easier to point out. Crimes with victims can rely on the victim reporting it to the police and sending them off to find the perpetrator. Crimes without victims require police to violate our civil liberties in order to figure out that we’re committing these “crimes”.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 7, 2007 @ 8:15 pm
  2. But, I thought leftists and socialists were supposed to be tolerant and understanding of all lifestyle choices. It is none of their business that I go into a convenience store and buy heroin with my hot dog. In fact, it tastes quite good together.

    Comment by Kevin — January 7, 2007 @ 8:34 pm
  3. Kevin,

    There are even those who might say that you need to be on heroin to even want a convenience store hot dog ;)

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 7, 2007 @ 8:35 pm
  4. You probably at least need to be smoking some really good dope!

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 7, 2007 @ 8:38 pm
  5. If cocaine had been legal ex ante, then crack would never have been invented.

    Comment by KipEsquire — January 8, 2007 @ 4:22 am
  6. Any libertarian or classical liberal who thinks we can work with the leftists need to read this op-ed in the Boston Globe.

    Comment by Kevin — January 8, 2007 @ 10:52 am
  7. Yikes, Kevin! That one was a doozy!

    I found it especially funny that he accused Bush of slashing needed social spending, when Bush has increased domestic spending at a rate higher than LBJ.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 8, 2007 @ 3:27 pm
  8. I think one gets to Mr. Yglesias’ position by putting society ahead of the individual.

    Comment by tkc — January 8, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

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